Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
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Governor Signs Bill Allowing Video Monitors In Cars To Record Accident Information

Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a new law - AB 1942 - into effect that will allow carmakers and owners to install video recording devices on their windshields. The monitors will save video and audio information if there is unusual movement or a crash. It also will record how fast, the direction of travel, a history of where your car has been, steering and brake performance and seat belt usage.

The purpose of the law is to promote safe driving habits and reduce car accidents. Although the bill received much support from companies who hire drivers and want to ensure they are driving safely, critics fear the devices could be used to secretly record conversations. Other concerns include who will control the device and whether it can be remotely activated by third parties such as the note holder, the DMV, or insurance company.

Click here for the entire text of the bill.

As a California personal injury attorney, I am hopeful that this law will have its intended purpose - ensuring and improving California roadway safety.

For more information, or if you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to 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.

Fatal Antioch Motorcycle Accident Kills 2

According to KTVU San Francisco, two people were killed in a hit and run accident on the Highway 4 Bypass when a pick-up truck swerved into the lane of another car. The car then crossed the median and hit a motorcycle head on. Both the driver and passenger were thrown from the motorcycle and died shortly thereafter. The pick-up driver fled the scene and the driver of the car sustained serious injuries to her leg.

The motorcycle crash is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, the potential for serious injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents is great. Motorcycle drivers have little protection from the impact of a crash, and as a result, falls from motorcycles often end in serious, even fatal, injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 5,000 motorcycle deaths occur each year in the United States.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, a California personal injury attorney committed to helping those injured in accidents for over 15 years.

Millions Approved To Improve Sacramento's Roadways - Including "Blood Alley" - And To Prevent California Car Accidents

According to the Central Valley Business Times, the Sacramento area will receive close to $250 million to improve its roadways. Significantly, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has approved $45 million to widen Highway 46, a dangerous two-lane highway that serves as a major link to the Central Coast.

Highway 46 has received much notoriety as a deadly stretch of highway. Dubbed "blood alley," since April 2005 there have been 391 car accidents, with 130 injuries and 24 deaths on that stretch of road.

Most recently, on April 6 three people were killed and two seriously injured in a head-on collision, about 2 miles west of Lost Hills.

Other improvements include substantial rehabilitation of Highway 99 and resurfacing of Interstate 5 from Florin Road to the Sacramento/San Joaquin County line.

The projects are a welcome improvement for Sacramento's roadways. As a Sacramento personal injury attorney, I understand the impact dangerous and poorly maintain roadways can have on a driver's safety. Too often, even the best drivers are caught off guard - and injury accidents occur - when dangerous road conditions obscure their vision or require quick reflexes.

Hopefully, as a result of these changes and improvements, Highway 46 will lose its reputation as one of California's most dangerous roads.

Marin County Head Injury May Lead To Metal Bat Ban

On Wednesday, California lawmakers advanced a bill that would ban the use of metal bats in high school for two years.

This ban comes after a teenager was hospitalized and remains in critical condition with a severe head injury after he was hit by a line drive. Principals from the 10 highschools in the Marin County Athletic League have already banned the use of metal bats at games.

The accident has spurred discussions throughout Marin County, and now the legislature, regarding what is safe for highschool sports. Because metals bats can hit harder than wooden bats, the risk of head and brain injuries is greater. Despite the Marin County ban, the North Coast Section (which governs highschool sports from the Bay Area up the coast) did not pass a ban for their teams - arguing that using wooden bats would put their teams at a competitive disadvantage.

The dialogue surrounding the use of metal bats is similar to many discussions throughout the years pitting sports safety against fun, comfort, convenience and competition. Sporting event safety - both for players and spectators - is often not a concern until a highly publicized event calls people into action.

As an avid sports fan and California personal injury attorney, I believe the time to act on safety measures is before serious accidents occur.