Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
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Fewer Sacramento Car Accidents Over Holiday Weekend

Reports indicate that fewer car accidents and truck accidents occurred this past Thanksgiving weekend, although California DUI arrests were up. California Highway Patrol (CHP) attributes the decline in accidents to an increased police presence. The Northern division of the CHP, which includes Mt. Shasta, Crescent City and Yreka reported no fatal collisions. In Colusa County, only one major injury accident was reported.

The CHP Valley Division, including Sacramento, mounted a similar crackdown over Thanksgiving, aimed at reducing drunk-driving accidents.

In the United States drunk driving is the leading cause of car accidents, followed by distracted driving. The lives of victims injured as the result of others negligence may change in an instant, often facing lifelong medical costs, physical pain and loss of enjoyment of life. Whether the increased police presence, or the growing awareness of distracted driving and serious risks of drinking and driving, fewer accidents and fewer DUIs is good news for all California drivers and passengers.

For more information, or if you have been injured in a California car accident, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, helping the injured for more than 15 years.

Palo Alto Veteran Settles Hospital Negligence Case

According to the Silicon Valley Mercury News, a military veteran has resolved his medical negligence claim against a Northern California Veterans Administration hospital for $250,000. David W. Woodward Sr. alleged that he became legally blind as the result of negligent care he received at the hospital.

Woodward is one of eight patients who were treated for eye problems at the Palo Alto hospital, only to be informed later that improper care may have caused their loss of vision.

Medical malpractice occurs where a medical professional's inadequate, negligent or reckless conduct causes harm. When doctors, nurses or other hospital staff fail to provide the standard of care required, they may be found negligent and required to compensate patients for their injuries. Here, Woodward was informed by the hospital's chief of staff that his glaucoma may have been prevented if his eye treatment had been overseen and reviewed by an eye care specialist.

Although physicians and other health care professionals cannot guarantee results, when we go to the doctor we expect to be treated adequate care and skill. Here, although the government did not admit responsibility the chief of staff revealed there may have been "improper care."

If you have believe you have been harmed by the wrongful or negligent conduct of a health care professional, contact The Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping victims of negligence for more than 15 years.

Cal/OSHA To Investigate Sacramento Construction Accident

The Mercury News reports that Cal/OSHA will begin investigation into the circumstances surrounding a fatal construction accident at the Woodlake Shopping Center. A Sacramento man, Cristobal Reyes-Segura, suffered fatal injuries after falling 15 feet from a beam where he was standing to install metal studs in building frames.

Under California law, when work-place accidents occur you may have remedies both through workers' compensation and traditional tort law. The general rule is that you cannot sue your employer form on-the-job injuries. However, you may be able to submit a claim for benefit to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. Where a death occurs, these benefits are paid to your dependents. The type of compensation recoverable includes medical bills, lost income, permanent disability and death benefits. Often the amount of compensation is much lower than you would be able to recover in a civil proceeding.

Although you may not sue your employer in civil court for your workplace injuries, in some circumstances it is possible to file a lawsuit where a third party is responsible. In construction cases this may be a third party contractor, the owner of a site [who is not your employer] or other party on the premises. If one of these parties is responsible for creating an unreasonable risk of harm, providing faulty equipment, or otherwise engages in reckless or negligent conduct, they may be held responsible and required to compensate you or your family for the injuries sustained.

For more information, or if you have been injured in a construction accident or other work environment, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping those injured for more than 15 years.

Roseville Galleria Fire Ends With No Injuries

Last week's stand-off at the Roseville Galleria luckily ended with no injuries. According to the Sacramento Bee, a man walked into the mall's Gamestop, began talking incoherently, then ordered the employees out. The man subsequently set fire to the mall.

The fire garnered national attention as police and fire fighters mounted a massive response, surrounding the building and assisting shoppers out of the mall. The mall sustained significant water damage and the roof collapsed over two shops. Fortunately no one was harmed in the incident.

When large-scale accidents causing significant damage occur - several issues are raised. First, what is the primary cause of the accident? Here, a man suspected of arson has been arrested for the crime. Next, did those charged with responding to the accident and putting out the fire act with reasonable care? Police and employees are paid to perform their duties to an established standard of care - if their conduct falls below this threshold, liability may exist. In such instances, individuals, their employers and even local governments may be held responsible.

Finally, did the owner of the building in some way contribute to the damage by failing to protect themselves from fires? Reports have surfaced indicating that the sprinkler system failed to work properly, either as the result of a police officer or firefighter turning off the system or due to a failure of the system itself.

As the investigation into the fire continues, questions of liability will undoubtedly surface. When injuries occur, a victims' compensation depends on the answers to these questions.

For more information, or if you have been harmed in a California accident, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, helping the injured for more than 15 years.

Serious California Motorcycle Accidents Underscore Need For Rider Safety

According to the SanFrancisco Examiner, a major-injury motorcycle accident earlier this week disrupted traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge during morning rush hour.

A southbound motorcyclist rear-ended a Toyota 4Runner just north of the toll-plaza.

Further, according to Nevada Highway Patrol reports, last night a 49-year-old Landers, California woman died after being struck by a car traveling in the wrong direction.

When motorcycles and cars collide, the potential for injury to the motorcyclist is great. Unlike cars, motorcycles have no shell protecting the rider from the full force of an impact when an accident occurs. As a result, crashes often lead to serious, even fatal, injuries.

Although motorcycle fatalities are down, these accidents serve as a reminder of rider and motorist safety. These safety tips include the following:

• Wear a helmet and other safety gear

• Don't drink and ride

• Pay attention to speed and roadway conditions

• Try to avoid motorists blind spots

• Assume people in cars can't, or don't, see you.

Recently, the California Highway Patrol has launched several campaigns to raise public awareness about motorcycle safety.

For more information, or if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping the injured for more than 15 years.

Court Allows Metrolink Accident Case To Proceed Against Los Angeles

On August 30, the California Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court erred in throwing out a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles based on negligence arising from the fatal Blue Line Metro accident. The metro train ran into a car, driven by Sara Tovar, crossing the tracks. Tovar died from her injuries.

According to testimony, Tovar failed to see the flashing lights or hear the train's bells as it approached. Experts testified that inadequate signage existed at the intersection. Charges were dismissed by the court against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but allowed to continue against the city. At issue - whether the city maintained a dangerous condition on public property.

When accidents occur on another's property, potential claims for negligence exist if the owner is aware, or shown have been aware of unreasonably dangerous conditions that contributed to or caused an accident. A dangerous condition is one that "creates a substantial risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner is which it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used." Where municipalities or other public entities are involved, the analysis may be more complex, however public entities may still be found liable for injuries caused by a dangerous condition on public property.

For more information, or if you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dangerous condition, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping those injured by the negligence of others for more than 15 years.

Schwarzenegger Signs California Teen Alcohol Safety Act

Earlier this week, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 2486, the Teen Alcohol Safety Act. AB 2486 allows for civil litigation against "social hosts" who serve alcohol to underage individuals. Social hosts include parents, homeowners, or other individuals over 21 who furnish alcohol to underage drinkers who are in their homes.

A Redding, California couple spearheaded AB 2486 after their daughter died from alcohol poisoning at a friend's house. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), over 10% of drunk driving fatalities are caused by teen drinking and driving. In many cases, those teenagers were served alcohol at a home where an adult was present before getting behind the wheel.

Although the new bill removes immunity previously afforded to social hosts, it does not automatically establish liability. Rather, families of those injured or killed must establish negligence occurred. Specifically, those injured must show that the adult or "social host" knowingly furnished alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person under 21 years of age.

In a press release Schwarzenegger stated that he was pleased to sign AB 2486 because "parents and adults have a responsibility to protect children and underage youth from alcohol."

As a California personal injury attorney concerned about the safety of California roadways and protecting consumers from harm, I believe this law is necessary and am hopeful that it will help prevent more tragic alcohol-related accidents and deaths.

For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping the injured for more than 15 years.

Driver Linked To Fresno Bus Accident Was Drunk

According to Sonoma County's PressDemocrat, the driver of the SUV which led to the tragic bus accident near Fresno was drunk.

Sylvia Lopez Garay had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11. California's legal limit is 0.08.

The accident occurred after Garay's SUV rolled over on Highway 99. Garay and her passengers exited the vehicle, leaving the overturned truck in the fast lane. Witnesses report that the Greyhound bus driver didn't have enough time to react as he approached the overturned vehicle, first crashing into the SUV, then another vehicle, before careening off an embankment and into a large tree.

Although the accident is still under investigation, it appears that drunk driving played a role in this tragedy. In California and across the United States, driver intoxication is a leading cause of accidents. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that one person dies every 30 minutes due to an alcohol related crash.

The good news is most California towns are reporting a decrease in DUI accidents as compared to 2009. However a few cities, such as Santa Cruz, report a dramatic increase in DUIs.

As a personal injury attorney concerned about safety on California roadways, I urge you not to drink and drive. For more information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping the injured for more than 15 years.

Landowners - And Their Employees - Responsible For Negligent Conduct In National Parks

In a recent decision, the California Supreme Court held that National Park and other recreational workers must ensure the safety of visitors, or be found liable for their actions.

The impact of this holding could have far-reaching implications throughout California - including in National Parks such as Yosemite and Muir Woods - and across the country.

In Klein v. US, a bicyclist was riding through the Angeles National Forest when he struck head-on by a car driven by a volunteer working for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. He was seriously injured in the collision.

At issue was whether a landowner owes a responsibility to those on its land for recreational purposes. Here - the landowner is the United States government. After extensive review, and based on the plain language of the statute at issue (Civil Code Section 846) the Court determined that landowners may be held liable for the negligent conduct of their employees - including vehicular negligence. The Court rejected the United States' argument that the landowners were shielded from liability for negligent acts because they were on Federal Property. Rather, the Court was swayed by California's "strong interest in promoting the safe driving of motor vehicles and in preventing or minimizing personal injuries from motor vehicle accidents."

As a California personal injury attorney, I strongly support this decision. When an individual suffers serious injuries due to the negligence of another, they should be entitled to recover damages. Hopefully this decision will lead to greater protection and safety to the hundred of thousands of individuals who enjoy our National Parks each year.

Sacramento County Sets Up Checkpoint To Eliminate Boating Accidents

The Sacramento Bee reports that in order to decrease the number of boating accidents in Lake County and throughout the Sacramento County area, the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Patrol will set up a boating under the influence (BUI) checkpoint this Saturday, July 24 on Clear Lake.

The Marine Patrol aims to reduce alcohol -related accidents and enforce boating laws on Clear Lake. At the checkpoint, boaters will be asked some brief questions. Boat operators will be detained longer for testing if they show signs of intoxication or impairment.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that in 2008, alcohol use was the leading contributor to boating accidents, and the leading factor in 17% of fatalities.

Alcohol has been shown to seriously impair boater's vision, which in turn may lead to serious accidents. Recreational boaters are often less experienced on the water than drivers on the highway, and their lack of experience is exacerbated by alcohol use.

The USCG suggests bringing non-alcoholic beverages on board, keeping plenty of food and snacks and avoiding excessive fatigue.

Although alcohol is a leading contributor to boating accidents, other factors play a role including excessive speed, driver distractions and reckless conduct. 

For more information on boating safety, or if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette.