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New California Laws Take Effect For 2013

With the New Year upon us, Californians need to be aware of several new laws that have now taken effect. The nearly 800 new 2013 laws are wide ranging, and cover areas as diverse as drunk driving to sales tax hikes. If you have questions about any of the new laws and how they may affect you, it's a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable Sacramento personal injury attorney to answer your questions and give you the guidance you need regarding California laws.

A number of the new laws involve cars and drivers. For example drivers will now be allowed to provide proof of car insurance via cell-phone or other electronic device. This eliminates the requirement that you carry proof of insurance in the car.

Another law, SB 1303 concerns red-light cameras. As of 2013, law enforcement may not use red light cameras primarily as a way to raise revenue. The law makes it easier for California drivers ticketed as the result of evidence collected by a red-light camera to challenge the citation.

Drivers will also be allowed to take advantage of advances made in technology. AB 1536 allows California drivers to send, dictate and listen to text-based messages while driving as long as they use voice-command or other hands-free technology.

Another significant law is AB 45 - named after 19-year-old Brett Studebaker of San Mateo, who died in 2010 after drinking on a party bus and crashing his own vehicle while driving home an hour later. It holds party bus operators to the same standards as limousine drivers, making them legally responsible for drinking by underage passengers.

Other laws to take effect in 2013 involve worker's rights when they've been injured. In 2012 California lawmakers worked hard to overhaul the California's public pension and worker's compensation system. As a result of legislative hard work, SB 863 increases the amount of money available to employees who suffer permanent disabilities as the result of job-related accidents by $740 million. Depending on the particular circumstances, on-the-job injuries can be covered by Workers' Compensation laws, by tort law or by both. An experienced personal injury attorney can decide on the most productive way to approach your case.

Although workers compensation benefits are often lower than those obtained in a civil lawsuit (such as a claim for negligence) with the increased amount of money set aside for on the job accidents, hopefully the recovery obtained by those injured will increase.

Other laws adopted include the following:

• Some undocumented immigrants may be able to obtain driver's licenses and qualify for California college financial aid. This includes individuals who came here as children and who were given work permits by the Obama administration.

• Banning individuals from carrying unloaded rifles and shotguns in public and urban areas.

• Regulated and licensing certain "microbrews" aged in wood barrels as beer throughout California. 

• Attempts to make stadiums and sports arenas safer (in response to the horrible personal injuries suffered by Brian Stow) by requiring arena management to post contact information for security personnel that is visible from seating and parking areas so help can be summoned quickly when injuries or violence occurs.

These are but a few of the hundreds of new laws that took effect Jan. 1.

For more information or if you have questions contact the experienced California personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate appointment.

Drunk Driving Accident Injures CHP Officers

Bakersfield news reports that a former substance abuse counselor was arrested on DUI charges after a drunk driving accident. According to the news, Jessica Woodward slammed her car into the back of a California Highway Patrol vehicle while the officers were performing a traffic stop. The driver and the two officers all received injuries and were treated at local hospitals.

If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, it is important to contact a Sacramento drunk driving accident lawyer to provide advice concerning your next steps.

Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car crashes in the United States - representing 40% of the total traffic deaths. On average, a drunk driving accident occurs every 30 minutes, putting all California drivers at risk.

If you suffer injuries as the result of a DUI crash, the drunk driver may be liable for civil damages in addition to facing criminal charges. If you are injured by a drunk driver, an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney can help you recover compensation for medical bills, physical pain, lost wages, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment. If the damages are permanent, you may also recover damages required for future care, economic loss and mental anguish.

Here, the police officers were the victims - injured when the drunk driver hit their vehicle. Criminal charges were filed - it is unknown whether the officers will seek to recover civil damages as well.

With the end of summer and Labor Day approaching, the number of drunk drivers on Sacramento's roads is increasing. Use caution while driving, understand the steps to take if you are in a car crash and contact an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer if you are injured in an accident.

For more information, contact the dedicated Sacramento personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, helping those injured by the carelessness and recklessness of others for more than 15 years.

California Worker's Compensation - California Supreme Court Reviews Cost Of Living Adjustments In Christine Baker as Administrator v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board and X.S.

Generally, if you've been hurt on the job California worker's compensation determines your right to recover. However, in some cases a tort remedy (i.e. filing a civil lawsuit) may be available. Other times, both types of claims may be filed. Consulting with a Sacramento worker's compensation lawyer is the best way to determine your next steps and your best options to obtain compensation when you've been injured.

On the job injuries include a variety of situations, from obvious injuries requiring medical care - such as head and brain injuries, back injuries and slips and falls - to diseases acquired from working around toxic substances such as asbestos and conditions that develop as the result of repeated strain or continuous trauma.

Where workers' compensation provides recovery to victims of work place accidents, you may be able to recover medical costs, lost income, expenses related to vocational training, permanent disability compensation and death benefits. A recent California worker's compensation case reviewed just how damages from work place injuries should be measured. Specifically, it evaluated how cost of living adjustments (COLAs) should be determined. This is a significant decision because it determines whether payments are measured prospectively from January 1st of the first year after a worker is injured or retroactively to January 1st after the year in which a worked is injured.

Here, a worker was injured in 2004 and asserted that his weekly payment should be adjusted based on his injury date. The appeals court agreed. However, the California Supreme Court overturned this decision. The Court reasoned that COLAs are intended to be "calculated and applied prospectively commencing from January 1st following the date on which the injured worker first becomes entitled to receive, and actually begins receiving such benefit payments."

Workers' compensation laws are complex and can be very confusing. An experienced Sacramento workplace accident lawyer can evaluate your circumstance and determine whether alternative avenues to compensation exist. Because recovery of damages may be limited in a worker's compensation case, filing a tort claim may provide an opportunity for greater recovery. 

Workplace accidents that may allow you to file a civil lawsuit include where a third party is somehow involved in causing the accident. This may be where a manufacturer provides malfunctioning equipment used at a work site and this equipment injures you, where you are exposed to toxic substance, if you are injured in a traffic accident caused by another driver or where a third party contractor creates a dangerous condition that leads to harm. In fact, many different types of negligence third party actions exist that may allow an individual harmed in a workplace accident to bring a civil lawsuit. Types of lawsuits available may include product liability or premises liability. If successful, you may be able to recover past and future medical costs, past and future lost wages, emotional distress and other damages, often substantially more than is available through California worker's compensation laws.

Because workplace accidents involve so many different factors and considerations, it is best to contact a Sacramento personal injury attorney to determine the best strategy for you to ensure you are compensated for your harm.

For more information, or to speak with a dedication Sacramento injury lawyer, contact the experienced Sacramento accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for a confidential consultation.