Friday, 31 December 2010

San Diego Sheriff's Department Will Continue DUI Crackdown Efforts through New Year's

The San Diego Sheriff's Department has concluded its Christmas enforcement crackdown. The Department conducted sobriety checkpoints and sting operations targeting DUI offenders. The Sheriff‘s Department will conduct another initiative over the New Year's weekend.

Over the Christmas weekend, approximately 658 people were arrested for DUI across California. This enforcement went on for a little longer than usual, because Christmas Eve was on Friday. The holiday crackdown began on Thursday at 6 PM, and ended on midnight on Sunday. According to the San Diego Sheriff's Department, the number of alcohol-related accident fatalities over the Christmas holiday weekend this year was down from last year.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and San Diego criminal Defense attorneys would advise motorists to avoid driving under the influence over the New Year's holiday. It's important to make plans to travel safely over the weekend. It's not just California Highway Patrol and San Diego Sheriff’s Department officers, who you can expect on the roads this New Year's weekend. Local police departments are also participating in the statewide efforts against DUI. You can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints around San Diego County, as well as large numbers of officers patrolling the roads. Most departments have all their police officers on duty for the New Year’s crackdown on drunk driving, and some have hired extra officers for the holiday.

San Diego criminal defense attorneys would advise motorists to take a designated driver service that is being offered for free by the Automobile Club of Southern California. This year too, the Auto Club is offering its Tipsy Tow service between 6 PM on New Year's Eve and 6 AM the following morning. Drivers can get themselves and their vehicles a free ride home.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Maximum Enforcement DUI Patrol

San Diego drivers will come across more numbers of California Highway Patrol officers over the Christmas weekend as part of a major anti-DUI offensive. The campaign is called a Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period and will last between 6 PM on Friday to midnight on Sunday. Just about every officer of the California Highway Patrol will be on duty during this period of time. That makes it a total of 7,000 CHP officers in California who will be patrolling California roads and highways, looking out for motorists they suspect of drunk driving.

Another Maximum Enforcement Period is scheduled for the New Year's holiday. That campaign will start at 6 PM on December 31, and last through midnight on January 2. Both of these Maximum Enforcement Periods are in addition to the Avoid the DUI Task Force Crackdown which runs for 17 days. That particular campaign will have California Highway Patrol and local law-enforcement agencies participating in more than 237 checkpoints across the state.

Simply put, it would not take much for a California Highway Patrol officer to pull you over for suspected DUI over this Christmas weekend. A lot of money is being funneled into these crackdowns, and California Highway Patrol Officers, as well as local enforcement agencies who are participating in these campaigns, are likely to be under pressure to arrest the maximum number of people.

No San Diego DUI defense lawyer would deny that the time between Christmas and New Year's sees more numbers of drunk drivers. However, very often, these holiday crackdowns are used to make a statement about the efficiency of a police department or other law enforcement agency.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

More Information about Los Angeles Red Light Cameras at Dangerous Intersections

The LA Times reported a follow up to story about the concerns of red-light cameras us in Los Angeles. Questions arose last September about the the costs involved, and the true impact on safety on the many accidents at Los Angeles intersections. The cameras have been installed at 32 intersection since 2006. When violations occur a photograph is taken showing the vehicle license plate number and in many cases the driver can be clearly seen behind the wheel.

During a meeting with civilian member board Tuesday, Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michel Moore listed a few notes about the effectiveness of the red-light cameras

  • 63% reduction in red-light-related traffic
  • Zero fatal accidents related to red lights (compared to five in the three years previous to the cameras)
  • A rise in red light violations given- 14,000 to 59,000
Regarding the cost of the program, one notable issue was the actions taken against people who ignored the violations and the amount of money at stake - 7-11 million dollars. Apparently, when fines are not paid to the city, the matter goes to a collection agency - not to the DMV as most other moving violations would. Thus, the incentive to pay the ticket is not the same, as it doesn't affect your driving record, or lead to a vehicle lien.  Does knowledge of this impact the effectiveness of the camera's purpose?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Botox Could Cause Muscular Weakness in Cerebral Palsy Patients

For years now, doctors have been using Botox to help patients with cerebral palsy regain control of some of their muscles. Now, a new study finds that use of Botox could lead to muscular weakness away from the injection site.

The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Calgary. The study will soon be published in the Journal of Biomechanics. The researchers injected rabbits with the botulinum toxin, and found that the rabbits experienced muscular loss and atrophy six months after the injection. Even worse, this muscular weakness wasn't confined to the injection site. According to the researchers, the effects of the Botox spread far away from the injection site. The toxin affected muscles that were located far away from the injection site.

Earlier research had shown that the Botox injection also affects muscles surrounding the injection site. However, this new study finds that even muscles located elsewhere in the body may suffer from weakness and loss of muscle mass as a result of the injection.

Botox helps to block the nerve signals that tell specific muscles to remain clenched. It therefore helps patients with cerebral palsy to regain some control over their muscles. In fact, Botox has given patients with cerebral palsy not just a quick fix to their problems with muscle control, but has also allowed these patients increased mobility through physiotherapy exercises focusing on the spastic muscles.

No one is calling for this new research to be taken as a sign that Botox should not be used on patients with cerebral palsy. Currently, the benefits of using Botox seem to outweigh any adverse effects from it. However, Arizona medical malpractice lawyers believe that more research is needed into the long-term consequences of using Botox to treat muscular weakness in cerebral palsy patients.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Study Finds Children's Medicine Dosages Can Be Irregular, Confusing

This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association released a study which shows that dosages for children's medications involved inconsistencies and irregularities that could increase the risk of an over dosage or other injuries.

The study examined several popular brands of cold, cough, energy, allergy medicines, painkillers and antipyretic medicines for children below the age of 12. They examined a total of 200 products. They found that approximately 25% of these products failed to include a measuring device, like a dropper. The remaining products that came with measuring devices contained at least one inconsistency between the dosage instructions printed on the labels and the measuring device. In one particular case, a product had a label that calls for a teaspoon dosage, while the measuring cup included with the product was marked in milliliters.

Pediatricians prescribe medications based on a child's weight. However, when parents at home try to use a teaspoon to measure the right amount of dosage, it can lead to dramatic fluctuations in dosage. This can actually be dangerous. In the absence of accurate measuring devices and consistency, parents will try to figure out the dosage themselves with serious consequences.

The best thing you can do as a parent to prevent the risk of an overdose, is to ask your doctor for clear instructions about the dosage. Don't be embarrassed about asking questions. Ask your pharmacist to give you clear instructions too. Compare your doctor’s and pharmacist’s instructions - they should be identical. California pharmaceutical negligence lawyers know that doctors advise using a syringe to deliver medications - these have clear markings, and are more precise. Avoid using household teaspoons and tablespoons to deliver medication - these make it hard to deliver the right dosage.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Yet Another Johnson & Johnson Recall of Children's Medication

It’s the latest recall for a company that is already reeling under federal and state investigations for quality deficiencies. More Johnson & Johnson children's medications are being recalled due to “insufficiencies” in manufacturing.

The latest recall involves at least 800,000 bottles of children's Motrin and about 4 million packages of children's Benadryl allergy tablets. The recall specifically includes Children's Benadryl Allergy Fast Melt Tablet in cherry and grape flavors. Besides the US, these were distributed in Belize, Barbados, Saint Martin, Saint Thomas, Puerto Rico and Canada. Also involved in the recall are Junior Strength Motrin caplets distributed in the United States.

So far, the recall has not been linked to any reports of adverse events or injuries. According to Johnson & Johnson, there is no indication that the products do not meet quality standards, and consumers can continue to use these products.

Johnson & Johnson's latest recall comes during a year that has been plagued by massive recalls of children's medications related to musty smells and overdoses of active ingredients. The company has also been the subject of federal and state investigations into quality control inadequacies. J & J’s problems have been serious enough to warrant Congressional hearings.

At the center of the storm is Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary McNeil Consumer Health, which manufactured the children's medications that were involved in the earlier recalls. Soon after those recalls, the company shut down a Fort Washington plant, which led to the loss of more than 300 jobs.

All these quality control inadequacies have meant not just increased scrutiny from California pharmaceutical liability lawyers, but also loss of confidence and trust from parents and doctors everywhere. Surveys have found that the company’s reputation has dropped by 27% among mothers, and 31% among pediatricians.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Estate Planning for an Adoptive Family

Estate planning is one of the most important things that parents need to do to ensure that their children are cared for financially and emotionally after they are gone. However, for parents of adopted children, the process must be number one on their list. Estate planning for parents with biological children will be much simpler and very different from estate planning for parents who have adopted children.

The adoption process itself is a very long one, and can take from a few months if you adopt a child from inside the country, to a few years in case of an overseas adoption. Besides, the adoption process must be complete for your adopted children to be eligible for your assets after your death. If the adoption process is not finalized, then the children may be in a situation where they're not entitled to any of your assets.

That’s the reason why you must begin the process of rewriting your will as soon as you begin the process of adoption. If the adoption has been finalized, you can use the same language for your adopted child as you do for your biological children, if you have any. Typically, a California estate planning attorney will recommend setting up a trust to hold assets for an adopted child until he reaches the age of majority.

There are equally complex issues to consider when you decide on a guardian for your children. It's very important to make sure that your child's guardian has all knowledge of the adoption, and is in possession of all the papers. Your guardian must also be able to care for your child taking into consideration your wishes and the nature of the adoption.

For instance, if your adoption was an open adoption, and you have a relationship with the biological mother of your adopted child, then you may want the guardian to continue that same kind of relationship with the biological mother even after your death. If you're guardian has qualms about continuing such a relationship, you'll need to look for another guardian. Any details about the guardian's relationship with the biological parents should be spelled out clearly in formal documents.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Promising New Light Therapy for Treatment of Hospital-Acquired Superbug Infections

Scientists in Glasgow have developed a lighting system that they claim can destroy the deadly superbug MRSA. According to researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the lighting system works by stimulating the molecules within the MRSA. This produces highly reactive chemicals inside the bacteria, which are actually lethal to it. The lighting system decontaminates surfaces through visible light wavelengths.

Clinical trials have already been conducted at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The trial suggests that the lighting system, which is called the HINS -Light Environmental Decontamination System, could do a much better job of eliminating pathogens in hospitals and other healthcare facilities than traditional cleaning and disinfection procedures. Some of the deadliest MRSA infections originate in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and spread mainly through contaminated surfaces.

Current methods of controlling MRSA and preventing infections are inadequate. There is only so much that chemicals and disinfectants can do. Other stronger methods of killing aggressive MRSA organisms, like gas sterilizing products or ultraviolet light can actually be hazardous to patients. However, the new technology makes no use of toxic gas, and is much stronger than disinfectants. It uses violet light, but can be combined with LED technology to a warm white lighting system that can safely be used alongside traditional hospital lights.

Arizona medical malpractice lawyers will find this an exciting development, because for the first time, there is a product that not only instantly eliminates deadly infection-causing MRSA bacteria, but also keeps hospital staff and patients safe from any dangerous side effects. The product can be used easily, without any risk to the health of patients.

Approximately 90,000 patients in American hospitals contract MRSA superbug infections every year. Those numbers have stayed high despite growing awareness about these infections and hospital education campaigns to minimize the incidence of these infections.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Sleepy Drivers Cause One in Six of All Deadly Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many of us are guilty of driving in a tired and drowsy state, but that doesn't negate the potential for serious accidents when there is a fatigued driver behind the wheel. Most people underestimate their own fatigue levels, or their ability to drive when sleepy. Part of the reason is an auto safety culture that places strong emphasis on drunk driving or distracted driving, with little emphasis on the risks from drowsy driving, in spite of the hundreds of lives that are lost every year from these crashes.

A new study by the Foundation for Traffic Safety should wake everyone right up. According to the study, drowsy drivers account for approximately 17% of all motor vehicle accidents. That makes it one of every six fatal accidents linked to a fatigued driver. The rates of drowsy drivers therefore are much higher than Los Angeles car accident attorneys had been aware of.

The study, which was based on a questionnaire, found that:
  • 41% of respondents admitted to having fallen asleep while driving at least once during their lives.
  • One out of every 10 respondents in the study admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving over the past year.
  • More than a quarter of the respondents admitted that over the past month, they had driven in such a fatigued state that they could barely focus on the road ahead.
Safety analysts say that this is a frightening scenario. Los Angeles car accident lawyers believe that is an understatement. It's highly likely that while driving home today, you’re sharing the road with a motorist who needs toothpicks to prop his or her eyelids open and focus on the road ahead. What is worse, drowsy driving accidents are some of the most serious crashes. These are typically high-impact head-on collisions of the kind that usually result in severe injuries and instant fatalities.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Combination of Enforcement & Awareness Lowers DUI Crashes Around UC San Diego

A combination of strict enforcement of minimum drinking age laws as well as education campaigns has helped lower the number of DUI accidents around the University of California, San Diego. According to the California Highway Patrol, it has had great success in lowering the numbers of DUI crashes around campus over a year-long sustained effort.

The program, which began in June 2009, was aimed specifically at drivers between 18 and 24. CHP officers engaged in enhanced education efforts, and followed this up with expanded enforcement. As a result, according to the CHP, the number of DUI collisions has dramatically reduced from 68 the previous year, to 25 last year. The number of DUI accident fatalities also declined by 40%, from five in the previous year to three last year. Injuries in these accidents declined 72%, from 100 injuries the previous year to 28 injuries last year.

The CHP officer specifically targeted UCSD college communities where they observed incidences of DUI. The agency increased enforcement on sections of interstate highways 5, 805 and 8. It also undertook an education campaign in partnership with the University's Student Health Services, UCSD Police and the San Diego Police Department.

Teens and young drivers are much more susceptible to drunk driving than the general population. That's no secret to San Diego DUI defense lawyers. In fact, these motorists are much more likely to be involved in accidents as a result of drunk driving. These drivers also pay a heavy price if they're caught while driving under the influence. A DUI conviction while you're still in college can mean license suspensions, fines, penalties and, depending on the situation, even jail time. These are the years that will decide the rest of your life, and a DUI conviction on your record can significant mar your future prospects.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

New Device Promises Enhanced Monitoring of Brain Injury

British researchers are excited about a new device that could allow enhanced monitoring of brain injury, and possibly provide clues about the reasons for a second wave of brain injury.

Approximately 1 million people in the United States, who suffer a brain injury, suffer another unexplained second round of brain injury just as they are beginning to recover. The causes of the second round of damage have, for the most part, been a mystery to researchers. Now, a new device developed at the Imperial College London, promises to provide California brain injury lawyers and researchers some more clues into these mysteries.

The device uses the micro fluidic method to measure glucose as an indicator of brain activity. In patients who have suffered a brain injury, there is a decrease in brain activity after the initial injury. This occurs because of chemical changes that spread from the site of the brain injury. These nerves can be reactivated by large amounts of glucose. The brain injury device is meant to help doctors monitor the condition of the patient by monitoring the glucose levels. Current methods to monitor these glucose levels tend to be inefficient, and this device will allow for researchers to monitor glucose levels very closely. The device allows for monitoring of brain chemistry on a second by second basis.

Clinical trials using the device have already begun. The trials are currently in a limited stage. The device is currently being tested on patients who have suffered brain injury, aneurysm and stroke.

If the clinical trials are successful, doctors treating a brain injury would be in a position to better monitor and track a patient's progress after an injury. More precise monitoring of injury could allow doctors to restrict the extent and severity of the injury, possibly preventing a second wave of damage.

Monday, 1 November 2010

MRSA Infections More Prevalent in US than UK

MRSA infections are some of the deadliest hospital-acquired infections, accounting for approximately 90,000 illnesses every year. A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compares MRSA infection rates between the USA and the UK. The results are not so surprising to Arizona medical malpractice attorneys, who are aware of the massive problems involved in controlling MRSA infections in hospitals and healthcare facilities in the US. The study shows that Americans are up to six times more likely to contract an MRSA infection than Britons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the first-ever study that compares the rates of MRSA infections in both countries. The researchers looked at MRSA infection data, both from the CDC as well as the UK Health Protection Agency. Twenty-nine persons in every 100,000 in the United States contact an MRSA infection every year. In comparison, only 11 Britons out of every 100,000 contract the same infection.

The difference in infection rates is starker considering that the superbug was first discovered in the UK. In fact, MRSA didn't make it to the US until several years after it had first emerged in the UK. In spite of this, it seems to have gained a much stronger foothold in this country.

The research analysts have an explanation for these increased infection rates in the US. They believe that this could be because more Americans are in touch with hospitals and healthcare facilities than Britons. For instance, Americans who contracted the infection were at least twice as likely to have undergone dialysis. The United States has higher rates of dialysis for kidney failure than in the UK. Besides, Americans have higher diabetes rates, and are more likely to have had procedures that require the insertion of a central intravenous line. Both of these are high contributing factors to MRSA infections.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Poll Shows Californians Have Positive Views on Immigration and Oppose Deportations

Immigration has become a political football around the country, and California has been no exception. Immigration issues typically arise during election times, and this election year has seen similar mudslinging. However, a new survey shows that Californians actually have a much more positive view on immigration than politicians would like to have you believe.

The poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times/USC has no surprises for Los Angeles immigration lawyers. It shows that California voters overall have a positive view of immigration, and favor legalization of undocumented workers who have held jobs in the state.

When asked whether immigrants are a benefit or a burden to the state, approximately 48% of Californians in the survey called them a benefit, and of these, 36 % felt very strongly that they were a benefit.

Only 32% of respondents in the survey felt that undocumented workers were a burden to California because of the impact of public services. Further, among these people, only 22% felt very strongly that way.

59% of respondents believed that an undocumented worker who had lived and worked in the country for at least two years should be allowed to remain in the US.

Only 30% of the respondents felt that all undocumented workers should be deported.

Not surprisingly, liberals were much more likely to be supportive of undocumented workers and a smooth phasing into legal immigration status for these groups. Conservative respondents were more likely to be in favor of deportations.

Obviously, the Hispanic population was much more supportive of immigrants, with 76% saying that undocumented workers should be allowed to stay on in the country.

Respondents over the age of 65 were split equally, but even in this demographic, 55% believed undocumented workers should be allowed to keep their jobs.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Alabama Street Task Force Announces Accomplishments

Last week, the Northeast Alabama Safe Streets Task Force announced a list of accomplishments by the organization since 2007, when it was started. According to the task force, since 2009, the organization has been responsible for:

• 67 state/local arrests
• 13 federal arrests
• 11 federal indictments
• 10 federal convictions
• Seizure of 25 firearms
• Seizure of more than 11 kilos of cocaine
• Seizure of more than 2400 grams of crystal methamphetamine

The Northeast Alabama Safe Streets Task Force consists of full time members from the Albertville Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, Etowah County Sheriff's Office, Marshall County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Northeast Alabama Safe Streets Task Force was established to identify organized criminal groups involved in drug trafficking, alien smuggling, money laundering, murder, robbery and aggravated assault. The task force also targets these entities for prosecution focusing especially strongly on violent street gangs.

Federal crimes include white-collar crimes, drug crimes, firearms and weapons crimes, crimes involving child pornography, identity theft and bank robberies. Local crimes include those for DUI. Whether you have been charged with DUI or a federal crime, the implications for the rest of your life can be substantial. Even a simple DWI conviction in Alabama, can lead to license suspension, fines and even jail time. Depending on the number of convictions, you could even be looking at the revocation of your license, installation of an interlock device on your vehicle, impoundment of your car, mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment programs and increased insurance rates.

Whether you're facing charges for state crimes or federal offenses, it's important to consult with an experienced Alabama criminal defense lawyer immediately. An attorney can help you understand exactly what you're up against, and can devise the best possible strategies to mount a defense for you.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Medtronic Agrees to $258 Million Settlement in Sprint Fidelis Lawsuits

Medtronic has agreed to pay $258 million to settle more than 8,100 personal injury lawsuits arising from injuries caused from fractured wires in the Sprint Fidelis cardiac defibrillator leads. Sales of the devices in question have been stopped since 2007. At least 13 deaths have been linked to defibrillators which came with the fractured wires. Four of those deaths occurred when patients underwent surgery to remove the devices.

The settlement will provide an average payout of approximately $33,000 to patients who currently have the defibrillators implanted with the defective wires that are likely to break, or those with devices that already have fractured wires. The actual amount of the payout will depend on the defect and the severity of the injuries.

The wires in the defibrillators are responsible for delivering electric shocks to the heart when the device recognizes a faulty or irregular heartbeat. In the defective defibrillators that California pharmaceutical liability lawyers have come across, persons received an unnecessary electric shock, causing serious injuries, or the device failed to regulate the person's heartbeat altogether.

Between 2004 when the devices were introduced and 2007, the company had a lion’s share of the $5.8 billion international market for defibrillators. According to Medtronic, about 170,000 people worldwide still have the defibrillators implanted in them. For persons who have these devices implanted in them, the choice has been hard to make. If they continue to retain the implanted devices, there is the risk of suffering an electric shock somewhere in the future if the wires break. There might also be the risk of malfunctioning of the device, in which case, the device would fail to serve its purpose. If they choose to have surgery to remove the device, they are at risk from a procedure is fraught with challenges and risks.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Accutane and The Effects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Over 400 pharmaceutical liability lawsuits mention the use of anti-acne drug Accutane as a factor in the development of debilitating Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Research has found a strong link between the use of the anti-acne medication and the development of IBD.

According to a study conducted by University of North Carolina researchers, persons who used the medication are at a risk of developing IBD that is twice as high as those who did not use it. Besides, the researchers found that the risk of developing IBD increased with increasing use of Accutane. In 2009, Accutane was removed from the American market. However, California Accutane lawyers find that patients may be at risk from the gastrointestinal disorders and injuries caused by generic versions that continue to remain on the market.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is the term used to describe chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Broadly, there are two conditions that are included under the term IBD. Persons may suffer from either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease. In both these cases, there is severe inflammation of the digestive tract. The person may suffer from severe pain and diarrhea. There may also be infection, and this could cause other complications, like bowel obstruction.

In both these conditions, the symptoms may not always be chronic or consistent. Sometimes, they may suddenly flare up without warning. There is no complete and final cure for these conditions. Treatment mainly consists of controlling symptoms.

There are several complications that patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease face. For instance, the consistent inflammation in the digestive tract can lead to infections, and can also result in scarring. When infections develop, it leads to narrowing of the intestine, and this could lead to bowel obstruction. In severe cases, patients may be forced to have part or all of their intestine, removed.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Car Insurance: A Competitive Industry for Your Money

Spend any time in front of a TV or listening to the FM radio and you will hear a multitude of  advertisements for car accidents. Many gimmicks, catch phrases, taglines, and mascots are ever present. Some insurance companies even have a few of each of the aforementioned.

Insurance is an important thing. Having insurance protects you from overwhelming costs in the event of unforeseen incidents like car accidents, floods, fires, health issues and untimely death. For anyone who drives, auto insurance is practically the most imperative insurance to have - as car accidents seem inevitable.

For those that are involved in motor vehicle accidents, insurance and attorneys may be words that go together. Negligence, distracted drivers, hit and run, and drunken driver related accidents might easily become highly contested litigation. Having insurance can protect and provide.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Feds Will Soon Roll out Enhanced Medical Helicopter Safety Rules

Inspired no doubt, by a string of deadly medical helicopter and air ambulance crashes this year, the Federal Aviation Administration is soon expected to roll out its new safety standards for the medical helicopter industry. So far, we've lost more than a dozen people in medical helicopter crashes this year, and it looks like we are well on our way to beating the record of 29 medical helicopter crash fatalities set in 2008. Unless the FAA quickly moves in to set stricter restrictions, and stronger regulations that provide for greater oversight over medical helicopter operators, we will continue to see unnecessary deaths occurring in these crashes.

Some of the provisions that the proposed new regulations are expected to include are enhanced training for pilots, tighter restrictions on medical helicopter operators and requirements for enhanced safety equipment. Terrain Avoidance Warning Systems are likely to feature in the new proposed regulations. These systems are in place in several medical helicopter fleets and can prevent crashes that occur in poor weather. The National Transportation Safety Board has for years now recommended that all medical helicopters come with these Terrain Avoidance Warning Systems. In spite of this, an estimated 60% of all medical helicopters in the country are not equipped with these systems.

Another factor in medical helicopter crashes that has concerned California helicopter crash lawyers and which the FAA is likely to address is enhanced risk assessment before medical helicopters are operated in poor visibility or adverse weather conditions. Many helicopter crashes occur in poor visibility conditions, and there must be rules that require operators to undertake proper risk assessment before they allow medical helicopters to take off in such conditions. The Federal Aviation Administration is also likely to require night vision goggles for all medical helicopter pilots.

However, the federal agency is likely to not address the two-pilot rule. It's safer to have two pilots in a medical helicopter, but the FAA is likely not to include this in its proposed regulations.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

California Dog Owner to Spend 15 Years to Life in Prison in Fatal Attack

A San Francisco Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction of a woman in a fatal dog bite attack that killed lacrosse player Diane Whipple. The court upheld Marjorie Knoller’s conviction of second-degree murder. She is now looking at spending 15 years to life in prison.

Diane Whipple was Marjorie Knoller’s neighbor. On January 26, 2001, she was walking into her apartment, when she was attacked by the two dogs. Witnesses would later confirm that Knoller had been present at the scene and had insufficient supervision of the animals. In the ferocious attack that followed, Whipple suffered approximately 77 bites all over her body. She suffered massive blood loss, and consequently died.

The case took several unexpected turns. In 2001, a grand jury indicted both Marjorie Knoller and her husband Robert Noel for involuntary manslaughter. In addition, Marjorie Knoller was indicted for second-degree murder. The San Francisco Superior Court ordered a new trial for Knoller, but that order was reversed by the Court of Appeal. Ultimately in September 22, 2008, a trial court ruled that Knoller be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Last month, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that Knoller had acted in conscious disregard of the danger to human life on the day of the attack.

It wasn't the first time that the animals had displayed an aggressive temperament. There had been several instances where the animals had growled, barked and displayed aggression and a ferocious temper even before the fatal attack that killed Diane Whipple. Both dogs were put down after the attack.

The attack that killed Diane Whipple was a ferocious one and received wide attention around the country. Los Angeles dog bite lawyers believe that pet owners have a responsibility to keep pets that can cause that kind of damage to a human being as far away from people as possible.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

New California Legislation Ensures Strict Oversight of Diagnostic Scans

It doesn't include all the points that California radiation overdose lawyers would have liked to be covered in legislation aimed at reducing the number of radiation overdose-related injuries in California. However, it is a start. This week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed new legislation that is aimed at increasing oversight over CT scans and preventing overdoses.

The legislation comes in response to serious injuries suffered by hundreds of patients from radiation overdoses between 2008 and 2009. The patients had undergone CT brain scans for stroke, and the injuries surfaced last year at Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai medical Center. Up to 269 patients received severely high doses of radiation during the scan process. In some cases, the overdose was as high as eight times the recommended dosage. These overdoses continued for up to 18 months before they were discovered. Eight hospitals nationwide have been identified as having been the sites of radiation overdoses, and out of these, six are in California.

Discovery of these overdoses has coincided with increased use of radiation for diagnostic purposes across the country, including in California. More diseases are now diagnosed through the use of medical radiation. These scanners are believed to improve diagnosis, but because the technology is so new and so undeveloped, and training so insufficient, the incidences of overdoses have been unforgivably high.

Serious errors have been made while programming the machines and have resulted in major overdoses. The machines have not been equipped with safeguards that prevent radiation from being emitted when the device is not programmed correctly. In many hospitals, staff has not been trained to use this equipment correctly, or to identify errors. This has meant devastating consequences for patients.

Much of the problem lies in the fact that there has been lax regulation of the medical scanner industry, and California and other states have been guilty of lack of oversight over the industry. Legislation is the first and most important step in improving scanner safety standards in California, and this legislation is a first step towards that direction.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Fox News Named in Gender, Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against News Corp.'s Fox News alleging that the broadcaster discriminated against a reporter on the basis of gender and age.

The lawsuit has been filed against Fox News Network LLC, which owns the Fox News Channel in Washington DC. The lawsuit alleges that Fox News retaliated against reporter Catherine Herridge, after she complained of discrimination in pay and employment opportunities on the basis of her age and gender. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for Herridge. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit is also seeking an injunction against Fox News from discriminating against employees who oppose the company’s employment practices.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Herridge has claimed that she was demoted, denied equal pay, and repeatedly denied assignments and promotions based on her gender and age. In 2007, Herridge complained several times to Fox News management about the alleged discriminatory employment practices. Fox says it conducted an investigation into the complaints and found no basis for them. In 2008, when Herridge's contract came up for renewal, Fox included language in it that referred to the complaints that Herridge had made.

The language was apparently intended to discourage the reporter from making any further complaints. When Herridge refused to sign the contract with such language included, Fox simply stopped communicating with her or her agent about a contract. Because the company refused to proceed with a new employment contract, Herridge was placed in the position of being an “at will ”employee which she claims caused her considerable distress.

Fox insists that Herridge continues to remain an employee of the company since before and even after the complaints were filed. As any Los Angeles employment lawyer will tell you, retaliation does not simply have to mean terminating an employee from his or her position.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Researchers Find Drug Therapy Combo Effective in Treating Brain Injury

A complete cure for traumatic brain injury remains elusive, but researchers from the State University of New York Downtown Medical Center have reported success treating brain injury using a combination of drugs. The therapy involves a combination of the antibiotic minocycline and N-acetylcysteine, and according to the researchers, animals that were treated with this therapy showed a marked improvement in memory and reasoning powers. They showed a “synergistic” improvement in both memory abilities and cognition when they were treated with this combination of drugs to treat a brain injury. The researchers will continue these studies further.

There is no single drug that can be used in the treatment of brain injury. There have been several promising leads as far as drug therapy for brain injury is concerned, but unfortunately, none of these have failed to show effective results. That is why researchers have been experimenting more and more with combinations of drugs recently. The idea is to take drugs that have already been confirmed to be effective, and to use these in combination to treat brain injury. In this particular research, the researchers tested several different combinations of drugs to test the effect on brain injury.

Approximately 50% of all brain injuries occur during motor vehicle accidents. Other persons who may be at risk are victims of falls, military personnel, and victims of assault and violence. Although animal tests using this combination of drugs have been successful, it is still too early to say whether we can expect to see beneficial results during clinical trials on human beings. California brain injury lawyers understand that for the millions of people who live with a brain injury, there is an urgent need for medications that can help regain some of their cognitive, memory, reasoning and other abilities that are lost because of the injury.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Did Johnson & Johnson Hide Risks of Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch?

It’s the question California pharmaceutical liability lawyers, Public Citizen and victims’ families are asking. When did Johnson & Johnson learn about the serious risks of its Ortho Evra birth control patch? An investigation by MSNBC found that between 2002 and 2004, the best-selling patch was about 18 times more likely to cause blood clots than birth control pills, and 12 times more likely to cause strokes.

The biggest factor contributing to the increased risk of strokes and blood clots is the high amount of estrogen the patch delivers. With the birth-control pill, the estrogen dissolves in your system. However, with the patch, the estrogen keeps pumping into your system, flowing through your bloodstream for almost a week. Experts estimate that the patch delivers about 60% more estrogen than birth-control pills. That makes it much more dangerous and riskier than the use of the pill.

Several medical experts believe that the patch is more dangerous than other forms of birth control, although all hormone-based contraceptives are risky. This comes from the increased amount of estrogen that is delivered to the body. In 2006, Johnson & Johnson changed the label on the patch packaging, including a warning in fine print about the increased risk of blood clots. The company like so many others, hopes that this fine warning will relieve it of all liability.

Doctors continue to prescribe the Ortho Evra birth-control patch. Since it emerged on the market, more than 20 million prescriptions have been written for it. The Food and Drug Administration refuses to ban the patch outright, in spite of petitions by consumer safety group, Public Citizen. The appeal was made two years ago, and the FDA has not made a decision about whether to ban the patch. Johnson & Johnson in the meantime has quietly continued to settle product liability lawsuits, paying out an estimated $60 million so far to victims.

The company also faces other similar questions from California pharmaceutical liability attorneys about when it received information about defects in its DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System hip impants.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Fresno Girl Mauled by Stolen Dog

A five-year-old girl in Fresno, who was bitten by a pit bull while she was playing with the animal in the yard, is now recovering. There's plenty of mystery about the owner of the dog. According to the girl's mother, her son was dog sitting for the animal, and the little girl was playing with the animal when she was bitten. However, since the local TV stations carried news of the attack, a local family has come forward to claim that the dog is theirs. They claim the pit bull was stolen from their yard last month. They have since been looking for him, and had even offered a reward for his return.

The family is coming apparently forward to prevent the dog from being euthanized, not to take responsibility for the attack on the little girl. They claim the attack would never have happened if the dog had not been stolen. However, as Los Angeles dog bite lawyers often explain, under California’s strict dog bite liability statute, a dog owner is liable for dog bites even if the dog has never bitten anyone or even shown a tendency to bite.

This should be a warning to all owners of dog breeds that are more frequently involved in dog attacks like this, to make certain that their dogs are secured properly. Parents must also make sure that their children are not playing alone with dogs at any point in time. Children below the age of five tend to be the most frequent victims of dog bites, and you can help prevent these by making sure that your child knows how to behave around dogs. That means no pulling ears or tails, and no smacking on heads. Children of this age must be supervised when they are around dogs of any breed.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New Federal Rules Allow Airline Pilots More Rest

Under new rules proposed by the Department of Transportation this week, airline pilots will now get nine hours of rest between shifts. That works out to a 13% increase over the current rest hours that pilots enjoy. The rules are part of a series of measures that are in the works to deal with airline pilot fatigue.

The rules are also a direct response to the deadly Buffalo plane crash in 2009 that killed 50 people. The pilots of the Colgan Air flight involved in the crash had been operating the plane in a fatigued state, having missed out on many hours of sleep in the days leading up to the crash. Under the new rules that were announced by Transportation Secretary LaHood, pilots will now get at least 30 consecutive hours of weekly rest from work. That is a 25% increase over current rules. Workdays may be limited to as few as nine hours a day, when a pilot flies more than seven segments.

For the first time, the new rules differentiate between flying at night and flying during the daytime. Pilots who fly between midnight and 4 AM will get to fly for nine hours. However, pilots who fly between 7 AM and 1 PM could work as much as 13 hours. This is meant to consider the difference between the difficulties and challenges of flying at night compared to flying in the day time. For the first time, fatigue rules for pilots take into consideration not just work hours, but also the difference between night and day, sleep cycles and the rest effect.

The current rules force pilots to switch on or off like a machine when they fly a plane, no matter what time of day or night it is. The new rules will change that. These rules take a humane and compassionate approach to flying that treats pilots like human beings. California plane crash lawyers would definitely approve.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Family of Man Killed after Dog Bite Sues Owner

An interesting case out of Seattle involves a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was killed after he developed a deadly infection, following a dog bite. Kenneth Bock was bitten by a dog that belonged to Konrad Haskins. The bite was on the finger, and it drew blood. On its own, this was not a serious dog bite. In fact, it was one of the millions of dog bites every year that that do not end in hospitalization, or the need for a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer.

Except that the very next day, Bock developed a strange and unexplained pain in his leg. When he went to the hospital, doctors diagnosed a blood clot. Bock soon developed an infection called Capnocytophaga canimorsus sepsis. This infection is caused from a bacterium that is normally found in the saliva of dogs and cats. Ten days after he was bitten by Haskins’ dog, Bock died from complications resulting from the dog bite.

His family has now filed a lawsuit against Haskins, claiming that the dog owner was aware of his animal’s history of biting people, but still allowed him to roam around without a leash. Bock’s family is relying on the animal's alleged history of biting. They are also pointing to another dog bite involving the same dog on the same day on the same property. According to lawyers for Haskins, at the time of the bite, the dog was in Haskins’ SUV, and Bock had put his hand through the window to pet the dog, and was bitten instead. Haskins insurance company refused to pay out the full amount of his policies, amounting to $1.5 million to Bock’s family, and hence, the lawsuit.

Fatalities from dog bites are not unheard of, but are relatively rare. Usually, these fatalities involve little children or infants who are mauled by dogs. A death from an infection that develops as a result of a dog bite, is even rarer, but again not unheard of. According to estimates, about 16 percent of all dogs carry the Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacterium in their saliva. Approximately one-third of these dog-bite related infections end in death.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Brain Injury Support Award for Ventura County Social Worker

The California Brain Injury Association held its annual state conference in Los Angeles this week. Part of the commemoration every year includes an award for Professionalism in the Field of Brain Injury. This year, the award was handed out to Celeste Racicot, a rehabilitation and vocational counselor, cognitive therapist and case manager.

Racicot has experience of about 25 years in human services, and is a member of the Brain Injury Center of Ventura County's Professional Advisory Council. She also leads Brain Injury Center support groups in Ventura, Santa Paula and Camarillo. According to Racicot, she is committed to educating the public about brain injury, and helping train survivors to regain their sense of belonging. Judging by the comments of brain injury survivors who attend her rehabilitation and support sessions, Racicot does an excellent job of boosting brain injury survivors’ sense of self-worth. She helps them forget about their disabilities.

Any California brain injury lawyer knows that's not an easy thing to do, when you're dealing with patients who suffer a great range of physical, mental, emotional and cognitive limitations. Racicot says she focuses on helping survivors to make the transition back into their home and community.

When a person suffers and survives the brain injury, it's not the end of his life. After his stay in the hospital, the person needs to go back home and integrate into his life as before the injury. These patients face enormous challenges when they begin to do so. Not only are they forced to relearn routine activities, but they are also now faced with a diminished sense of self-worth. For the process of recovery to continue, it's important for a brain injury survivor to learn to love himself or herself again. People like Racicot play a major part in helping these patients do so.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Annual Accident Costs Equal $500 for Every Licensed American Motorist

In 2005, costs from fatal and injurious accidents cost the US economy $99 billion, or $500 for every licensed motorist in the country. That information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency’s division of unintentional injury prevention analyzed accident and cost data for the year 2005. The costs include medical expenses and days off work from injuries. In fact, according to the CDC, when you factor in insurance increases and taxes, the estimate is likely to cross $200 billion.

Approximately 31% of the $99 billion incurred as a result of accidents in 2005, was a result of motor vehicle accidents, with costs touching $70 billion. The cost of fatal and injurious motorcycle accidents was $12 billion dollars, and for pedestrian and bicyclists, the cost was $10 billion and $5 billion respectively.

Teenagers made up just 14% of the American population, but accounted for 28% of all fatal and nonfatal motor vehicle injuries, and 31 percent of the total accident-related costs. Motorcyclists accounted for 12% of the costs, although they were involved in just 6% of the fatal and nonfatal injuries. That is because motorcyclists are more likely to suffer from serious injuries like brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that require extended hospitalization and higher expenses.

The CDC has no magic formula that it recommends to prevent fatal and nonfatal injury accidents and minimize those staggering cost estimates. The agency recommends what every California auto accident lawyer already knows. The risk of fatal accidents can be prevented simply by:

• enacting stronger graduated drivers license (GDL) policies for teen motorists
• enhancing car safety seat education and awareness for parents and caregivers
• making helmets mandatory for motorcyclists and bicyclists
• enacting primary seat belt laws and enforcing these
• having more numbers of DUI checkpoints to keep drunk drivers off the roads

Monday, 30 August 2010

FAA Fines American Airlines Record $24 Million for Unsafe Flights

This week, the Federal Aviation Administration told American Airlines it means business by imposing a penalty of $24.2 million on the carrier for making thousands of unsafe flights. It is the largest fine in US aviation history, and American Airlines has already opposed it. The airline has confirmed that it will fight the penalty, and the company has a 30-day period in which to do so.

The fine comes as part of the FAA's efforts to get tough on airlines that ignore maintenance issues. Much of the criticisms that California plane crash lawyers have levied against the FAA have involved the agency's failure to crack down harder on erring airlines. The penalty follows American Airlines’ alleged failure to comply with an agency order called an Airworthiness Directive. This particular order was issued back in 2006, and required all airlines to conduct an inspection of some wire bundles in the wheel wells of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 planes. According to the directive, the wires could chafe, and this could spark a fire or trigger an explosion because of the wires’ proximity to the fuel tanks.

The airworthiness directive set a deadline of 2008 for compliance. Soon after the deadline, the FAA found that American Airlines had failed to comply with the directive. Violations were found in at least 10 MD 80 planes during inspections conducted at the airline's maintenance center in Tulsa and at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. In April 2008, FAA ordered American Airlines to ground its entire MD 80 fleet. About 300 planes were affected, and more than 3,000 American flights were grounded.

American Airlines disputes the agency's findings. The company says it has taken steps to ensure that its fleet of MD-80 planes meets all federal technical specifications.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Would Hen Vaccine Have Prevented Tainted Egg Salmonella Scandal?

More than 10 years ago, Great Britain began a program to vaccinate hens against salmonella to deal with frequent food poisoning outbreaks. The results have been breathtaking. In 1997, there were more than 40,700 salmonella poisoning outbreaks in England and Wales. Vaccination programs were begun the following year, and in 2009, there were just 581 salmonella cases. That was a drop of 96% from before the vaccination program. By any standards, the hen vaccination program in that country has been outstandingly successful.

That proves to California salmonella poisoning class action lawyers that such hen vaccination programs could minimize salmonella poisoning risks in the US too. Unfortunately, the federal administration has not been convinced. In July this year, when new egg safety rules went into effect, the vaccination program was nowhere in sight. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there was no strong evidence to prove that vaccinating hens against salmonella could prevent salmonella poisoning, and therefore, there was no need to mandate vaccinations. This is in spite of the ridiculously low cost of vaccinations, less than a penny per hen.

The New York Times claims that this failure to vaccinate hens is at least part of the reason why the Food and Drug Administration is currently in the middle of the largest ever egg recall - currently over half a million eggs. The 550 million eggs came from two Iowa farms, and the resulting salmonellosis food poisoning epidemic has spread nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration says that its egg safety rules only went into effect on July 9, and that if these rules had gone into effect earlier, then the outbreak could possibly have been prevented. However, critics are not buying that argument. The fact that the safety rules don't include a vaccination program provides a tiny door for salmonellosis to creep through. The FDA's new egg safety rules include testing of eggs, and strict cleanliness standards for hen houses. But without salmonella vaccination, there will continue to be chances that a hen will develop the disease, and will spread the infection to the developing egg.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Thank Safer Planes for Zero Fatalities in AIRES Plane Crash

The media has been quick to thank the Almighty for the fact that there was just one fatality after a devastating AIRES plane crash in the Colombian island of San Andes, calling it a miracle. However, it might have been less divine creatures, including aviation engineers and scientists who might have been responsible for the fact that the Boeing 737-700 split into three pieces while attempting to land on runway, but no passenger was killed on impact.

The only fatality that occurred after this accident was a 72-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack after the crash. Considering the devastation of the tragedy with the plane completed destroyed and in three separate pieces, it's easy to see why people would consider this a miracle. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the fact that there were no multiple fatalities or injuries was the result of the efforts of aviation engineers and scientists over the years.

Back in the 80s, a plane crash like this would have resulted in almost all the passengers being killed. However, since the 80s, the Federal Aviation Administration has required stricter standards on airplane jets. These have included plane seats that can resist impact upon a crash, enhanced emergency lighting, enhanced fire protection systems and accessible exits. Earlier, an accident like this would typically have resulted in a massive fire, or the plane careening off the runway and hitting a natural or man-made object, contributing to multiple fatalities. None of that happened here, and that has been largely due to the stress on more safety devices in place to prevent fires, explosions and disintegration aircraft on the runway.

The fact that all passengers survived intact is laudable, but not rare. In fact in recent years, many plane crashes that have involved low altitude crash landings, have not resulted in multiple fatalities or injuries. California aviation lawyers will have the efforts of our engineers and scientists to thank for this, and not any Almighty powers.

Proposal to Mandate Speed Limiters on Trucks Gain Traction

Installing speed limiters on trucks is an idea whose time is long overdue. Las Vegas truck accident lawyers are excited at the fact that there has been progress made towards mandating these limiters on all trucks. What has galvanized the movement by trucking safety groups to have the limiters installed on all trucks, has been the fact that the Obama administration has moved forward on a proposal to increase fuel efficiency of trucks and reduce greenhouse gases.

In 2006, the American Trucking Associations, and Road Safer America each petitioned the federal administration to require speed limiters on all commercial trucks with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds. These devices would set speed limits on the trucks at 62 mph. In May this year, President Obama, directed his administration to move forward on drafting a double-edged policy to aim at increasing trucking efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Speed limiters would take care of both of these. For every 1 mph reduction in speed limits of trucks, there is a 1% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Lower speed limits are also the easiest way to increase fuel efficiency. It's easy now to see why Las Vegas truck accident lawyers are so excited about the possibilities ahead.

High speeds are a major contributing factor to trucking accidents in Nevada and around the country. An 18-wheeler traveling at a speed of 75 mph takes approximately 1/3 longer to stop after applying the brakes, compared to a truck traveling at 65 mph. That's not the only reason why we need limitations on the speed of these trucks. Accidents involving large commercial trucks traveling at high speeds and passenger vehicles, are invariably catastrophic, high-impact accidents that end in serious injuries and deaths.

Unfortunately, almost 4 years since both trucking safety groups and the trucking industry petitioned the federal administration for these limiters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still waiting to act on these proposals.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Keep Your Child Safe in a Drop-side Crib

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is moving quickly towards a complete ban on the manufacture, installation and sale of drop-side cribs in the United States. Crib recall lawyers around the country have been supportive of such a ban, which would also impact hotels, motels and day care centers, preventing them from installing drop-side cribs in their facilities.

However, we know for a fact that there are millions of parents in the country who continue to use drop-side cribs. These cribs are extremely convenient, and many parents would like to continue to use these until a better option comes along. So how can these parents keep their children safe in a drop-side cribs?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following safety tips:

  • Most drop-side cribs come as an self-assembly model. Many crib-related fatalities are related to improper assembly of the crib. Parents must follow all the manufacturer’s instructions carefully during assembly of the crib. If you have questions during assembly, contact the manufacturer.
  • Check your crib every time you use it. Whenever you change the sheets, check to see if all the screws and bolts are tight enough. Make sure that the drop-side of the crib is right on track.
  • Many parents have a drop-side crib, but don't use the drop-side very often. Even if you don't use the drop-side, make sure that you check it often. Most drop-side crib-related injuries occur because of the frequent use of the side, which results in wear and tear. However, it is advisable that you stay on the safe side, and continue to check that the drop-side is on track even if you don't use it often.
  • Shake the crib, and check if it wobbles or seems unsteady. If it does, check if all the screws and bolts are tight enough. Sometimes, a wobbly crib could be the result of unstable wood joints.
  • If the drop-side has become loose, don't simply push the crib up against a wall, and assume that your baby will be safe. Contact the company for details on what to do, or discard the crib altogether.
  • Never perform repairs of a drop-side crib at home. Never use tape or wire or to attach a loose side to the crib.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

All Too Common Rear End Car Accidents - Insurance Claims

Today there was a multi-car rear end pile up on the 405, and the TV coverage showed an image of cars smashed bumper-to-bumper, 5 cars lined up in the fast lane. Rear end collisions probably happen on the 405 a few times a day, but I doubt to the extent shown. The picture at the left is not the accident that I was on TV, but is a good smaller-scale example.

Some rear end collision statistics I found on
  • 29.7% of all accidents are rear end collisions.
  • 94% of all rear end collisions occur on straight roads.
  • Rear end collisions account for 38% of all the dollars paid for automobile insurance claims.

I didn't find the exact source of the data above, but the numbers seem reasonable. Especially with the many distractions drivers allow - cell phones, texting, and more (a recent study suggests increased car accidents by men in the summer due to being distracted by women wearing less clothing than during the other seasons). Personally, I know that rear end accidents are over 50% of the incidents among friend and family members that I asked.

Hit and run incidents, often due to uninsured motorists, is also related to such common accidents. Many people think that if a motorists without insurance hits their car, damages will not paid for - however, most drivers carry some form of insurance to cover un-insured or under-insured motorists. In these cases, often speaking with Encino Car Accident Lawyer or a Ventura Car Accident Lawyer (or whatever city you may be looking for) about rear end accidents or insurance issues. Both  sites have dedicated pages about rear-end collisions, insurance, and even hit-and-run accidents.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Federal Administration Rule to Prevent Workplace Discrimination against Disabled

Last week, the country commemorated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federal legislation marked the anniversary by announcing a series of steps to give the disabled better access to employment, and to remove some of the traditional barriers that have prevented them from becoming a sizable part of the workforce.

President Obama has signed a new executive order under which federal agencies have been ordered to step up their efforts to hire disabled workers over the next few years. Agencies must hire 100,000 disabled employees. This is not exactly a new program. Ten years ago, President Bill Clinton had signed such an order, but the steps were not implemented. The administration now seeks to change that state of affairs.

The Office of Personnel Management must consult with the Labor Department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Management and Budget to develop strategies for the recruitment and hiring of disabled workers. The strategy must be decided within a period of 60 days. Managers at government agencies must be trained in employing these workers. President Obama also announced that the Justice Department has written rules to ban discrimination against disabled workers by private businesses and government agencies. That's not all. Beginning in 2012, there'll be new standards for production and design that will be more disabled friendly, in order to encourage employment of the disabled. The design standards will extend to doors, windows, bathrooms and elevators.

Implementing these rules will be a huge challenge, as the Clinton administration found out. However, with the 20th anniversary of the ADA, California disability rights lawyers believe the time is right and the mood is perfect for changes that will accommodate more numbers of disabled workers in the American workforce. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, workers with certain disabilities constitute less than 1% of the workforce. These workers include those with some degree of mental retardation, blindness, deafness and paralysis. We need not just more anti-discrimination policies, but also more proactive action to accommodate these people in our workforce.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Study Shows That Colleges Have Not Addressed Drinking Problem

College drinking is on an increase, even as alcohol use has stayed more or less consistent in the rest of the population. In spite of that, colleges are doing precious little to prevent drinking among students. A new report, in fact, shows that many colleges are not even aware that they can implement strategies and programs to reduce drinking among their students.

In 2002, the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism made recommendations for minimizing alcohol use among college students. The recommendations involved a four tier program. Tier 1 involved individual interventions, while Tier 2 involved the regulation of liquor licenses and making alcohol more expensive through increased taxes. Tier 3 involved banning the use of alcohol on campuses and other practices, while Tier 4 was found to be the least effective and focused only on educating students about the dangers of alcohol.

A new study by the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, shows that very few colleges have been successful in implementing the recommendations, and reducing the incidence of drinking on campus. Out of the 300+ colleges that participated in the University of Minnesota study, 22% were not even familiar with the recommendations made by the NIAAA. Twenty-three percent of the institutions had not bothered to implement even one of the conditions contained in the Tier 1 and 2 programs. These are some of the most effective strategies to contain college drinking. About 65% of the colleges had implemented one or two recommendations from the Tier 1 and 2 programs.

About 50% of the colleges are using intervention programs. However, only 7% have acted to restrict licensed alcohol outlets and retailers, and only 2% have experimented with increasing the price of alcohol to prevent college drinking. However, 98% have implemented some form of education programs to warn students about the dangers of alcohol excesses.

As any Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer will tell you, there is only so much effect that an education program will have on impressionable college students. What is concerning is that, while every college admits that underage drinking is a fact of life in their institutions few have actually managed to take any steps to prevent this.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ex-Employee of San Jose Trash Hauling Company Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

A wrongful termination dispute involving a former employee of a trash hauling company, is raising quite a stink. The employee, José Castellano, used to work for Coastside Scavenger. He has now filed a lawsuit against his former employer, alleging that the company terminated his services in retaliation for his children's decision to file grievances over unsafe working conditions at the company.

These two sons and two other employees of the company were fired in 2008. The four employees had formed a group to take legal action to defend themselves against the company's retaliatory action. Soon after his sons made that decision, Castellano claims he began to feel the heat at his office. The company allegedly began to criticize his job performance for no reason. He was also quickly promoted to lead mechanic from his earlier position as operations manager. He was soon fired. He had been working for the company for 37 years.

The company's harassment apparently didn't end there. Castellano alleges that even after he was fired, the general manager of Coastside Scavenger, Chris Porter, continued to defame him, calling him all kinds of names and maligning his reputation in order to diminish his prospects of further employment.

Castellano is alleging harassment just because his sons dared to blow the whistle on the company's unsafe work practices and wage and hour violations. After Castellano was fired, he wrote to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the California Highway Patrol and the Pacifica Building Department, to inform them about the serious violations of safety codes that were going on at Coastside Scavengers. These violations include a number of unethical practices, including putting mechanically malfunctioning garbage trucks into service, and illegally providing electrical wiring to a garage without a permit.

It can be complex for a California employment lawyer to prove that there were no grounds for an employee’s termination. The employer-employee relationship in California is an “at will” relationship, which means that the employee can be fired at the free will of the employer, except in certain exceptional circumstances. In a situation like this, your Los Angeles employment lawyer will use other tactics, like proving that the termination was against company policy.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Can Listening to Radio Sports Increase Your Accident Risks?

A new study in the UK reveals that motorists, who are listening to sports commentary on the radio while driving, can experience a drop in reaction time that is 20% lower than for those who are not listening to sports commentary or paying attention to it. This drop in reaction time is slightly higher than the drop recorded for intoxicated motorists. In other words, that exhilarating sports commentator you're following on the radio, could actually seriously increase your risk of an accident, and you may not even know it.

The Houston Chronicle has a report on the British study, which focused on motorist distractions from sports commentary, just before the soccer World Cup and Wimbledon. Even a drop of 20% in reaction time could add about 20 feet to a car which is traveling at 78 mph. That is enough distance to dramatically increase the risk of colliding with a car in front of you, running off the road, or any other numbers of accident risks.

There’s bad news for Los Angeles car accident lawyers and motorists here. The researchers also believe that Americans probably have sharper reactions to sports coverage on radio than British motorists. American radio announcers tend to be more aggressive about grabbing driver attention. The Houston Chronicle quotes one US radio executive, who says that while listening to audition tapes, the number one factor he has in his mind is whether the sports announcer would be able to take motorist attention away from the road, and toward the game.

Grabbing driver attention might be great for the ratings, but can play havoc on motorists. Distracted driving as a factor in accidents has been receiving a lot of attention around the country, and the efforts that began only with cell phones and text messaging devices, have now expanded to include a host of other distractions. The fact is that motorists are distracted every day by digitized billboards, highway signs, and their fellow passengers. Perhaps it's time to add sports commentators to that list.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Bicycle Accidents in Southern California - Road Cyclists at Risk

As the Tour de France is in full swing, one thing to think about regarding cycling is the safety of riding a bike on shared roads.  As a former avid cyclist, too many close calls have happened and here is some research that was found online that demonstrates how risky biking can be:
Four states lead cycling deaths -California, Florida, New York, and Texas accounted for 43% of bicycle deaths in 1999.  Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Risk of injury from bicycling compared to driving a motor vehicle.
45,000 cyclists vs. 2.4M motorists were injured in 2005 yielding 7.3 injuries per million miles for cyclists and 1.5 injuries per million miles traveled for motorists. This makes cyclists  about 5 times more likely to be injured per mile of travel. Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2005 (biking seem more popular now, but so are bike lanes so these numbers might be changed.)

Great Safety Tips

If you have been involved in an accident and need legal advice,  Here are some attorneys who may be able to help - based on southern California location:
San Fernando Valley Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Ventura Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Having someone who is familiar with the streets where your accident occurred should obviously be beneficial to help you. Dangerous roads and intersections, traffic patterns, and  even local weather conditions may have been a factor in a bike vs. car collision.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

SEC Agrees to Pay Former Lawyer $755,000 to Settle Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

It's not every day that Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers see the country's premier securities watchdog agency settling a lawsuit. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has agreed to pay $755,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by an enforcement lawyer. The plaintiff Gary Aguirre, claimed that he was fired by the securities watchdog agency for “aggressively pursuing” an insider trading case that involved hedge fund Pequot Capital Management, and its founder Arthur Samberg.

Aguirre began investigating Pequot and Samberg in 2004, but was fired a year later after disagreements with his superiors about how the case should proceed. According to the Wall Street Journal, Aguirre was terminated from his services after he asked for permission to interview John Mack in connection with the probe. Mack was a senior Wall Street executive who later went on to become CEO of Morgan Stanley. According to Aguirre, Mack received preferential treatment, not just because of his powerful position, but also because of his lawyer.

Aguirre complained to his superior about his inability to interview Mack, and was fired soon after. The investigation into Pequot’s insider trading ended in 2006, without any case being filed.

Aguirre went on to accuse his superiors of misconduct. The agency denied any wrongdoing in the matter, and its investigation arm conducted a thorough probe into the matter. However in May, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an insider trading case against Arthur Samberg and Pequot. Arthur Samberg agreed to pay $28 million to settle allegations that he had engaged in insider trading of Microsoft stock.

The $755,000 that the SEC has now agreed to pay reflect Aguirre‘s pay for the four years and 10 months since was wrongfully terminated. However, the SEC does not admit any wrongdoing through this settlement.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Los Angeles Archdiocese Faces yet Another Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

There has been yet another sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This one was filed by a 27-year-old man, who alleges that the church failed to protect him from abuse perpetrated by former priest Michael Baker.

The unidentified man says he was abused by Baker for three years. The abuse began when he was a 12-year-old boy. At the time, he was an altar boy at the St. Columbkille Parrish in Los Angeles. The plaintiff here is the brother of a man, who the former priest admitted to molesting during a criminal case. That victim identified as Lewis C. has since settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with the Archdiocese for $2.2 million.

Michael Baker has pleaded guilty to criminal charges of child molestation. His case has proved to be a thorn in the side of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Known as Father Mike, Baker was a popular priest, but his sunny personality concealed an evil side. Prosecutors charged that the priest molested two boys between 1994 and 1998, while he served at churches in Los Angeles and Pico Rivera.

In 1986, Baker apparently confessed to Cardinal Roger Mahony. The Cardinal, instead of defrocking the priest, sent him to psychotherapy sessions. After he returned from therapy, Cardinal Mahony simply reassigned Baker to at least nine other parishes. The criticism against Cardinal Mahony has been swift and furious, and the Cardinal has been forced to apologize for his error in allowing Baker to stay on at the Ministry. Baker was removed from the priesthood in December 2000. But that has hardly dulled the criticism against Cardinal Mahony, who says that Baker's case ”troubles” him the most.

There has been a common pattern that has emerged in the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The perp priest, the benevolent Bishop/Cardinal/insert any other senior clergy member who chooses to look the other way, the psychotherapy and rehabilitation treatment programs, the reassignment to other, usually smaller churches, until the whole thing explodes in their faces and they face the police, a furious public, and a sexual abuse attorney.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Home Repair - Take advantage of the economy and don't get hurt!

The construction industry has been very affected by the slow economy, as home builders have essentially slowed new development to a crawl. However, home maintenance companies continue to be in demand as home owners, apartment dwellers, and commercial building occupants require repair and upgrade services.

Although many people like to take the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, each year hundreds of thousands are hut in home repair and construction related injuries. Some examples:
  • Ceiling fans injury over 19,000 people a year, mostly due to improper sized fans or poor mounting – according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
  • Back injuries account for a large portion of injuries.
  • Hand injuries are also very common.

People should let professionals handle dangerous repairs and now is and excellent time to use a construction company for repair services. A major benefit of doing so includes having a licensed contractor doing your repair. Contractors typically carry insurance and bonds, and can do jobs requiring more than $500 worth of work. Many construction companies offer Los Angeles Handyman Services, and can do a variety of work, saving your back and other body parts from injury. Outdoor projects can also be dangerous as wood decks, and patios can be home to insects, snakes and vermin. Especially in Southern California hills, wood deck repair can be tricky with burrowing animals and spiders. Rattlesnakes, black widows, and rats come to mind.

Most homes need some maintenance on regular basis, and just because property values aren't what they used to be, isn't a reason to let things get worse - and don't get hurt doing it yourself

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Debate over Traffic Cameras Continues to Rage

This November, the city of Anaheim, California will go to vote over a proposed ban on red light camera systems. It is one of several cities around the country that are moving to challenge traffic camera enforcement to enforce laws and reduce accidents. This is even as other communities across the country are moving to install red light and speeding camera systems in order to prevent accidents.

The biggest objection to these camera systems is that they have evolved into a revenue generation measure for local law enforcement officers. Many people believe that authorities are using the excuse of highway safety in order to pump up revenues. This complaint has become even more vocal during a recession, when hard-pressed law enforcement agencies around the country are looking at traffic camera systems as a means of generating revenue.

However, opposing red light camera systems and speeding camera systems that have been proven to reduce crashes just because they make a lot of money for local authorities, is a little like throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is no denying that the systems do generate huge revenue for local law enforcement authorities wherever they are installed. It's also true that in many communities, the fact that these systems can generate revenue has been one of the primary factors pushing law enforcement authorities to install them.

However, the fact is also that there are several studies showing that both red light camera systems and speeding cameras reduce some kinds of accidents. One study has found that communities that have red light camera systems installed, see an approximately 25% decrease in broadside accidents. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the installation of speeding cameras reduced accidents by approximately 9% to 15%.

The evidence that these systems seem to help reduce some kinds of crashes is too strong for any complaints about their revenue-generating powers. To a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, it seems like much of the argument against red light camera systems and speeding cameras seems to be driven by those who see no harm in violating traffic rules and breaking speeding limits, very often to the detriment of their own safety or the safety of others.