Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a California car accident case requiring the court to discuss whether the lower court was proper to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim in a pre-trial motion for summary judgment. The lower court based its decision to dismiss the case on its finding that the defendant did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care. Ultimately, on appeal, the court concluded that the defendant may have owed the plaintiff a duty of care, and therefore it reversed the lower court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.

Traffic LightThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the vehicle in which she was traveling entered an intersection during a power outage and was struck by another motorist. At the time of the collision, the traffic light was not illuminated despite the fact that the traffic light had a back-up battery power source.

The defendant was a private company that was contracted by the city to perform the necessary maintenance on the back-up battery systems in all of the city’s traffic lights. Evidently, earlier in the year, the back-up battery system in the traffic light at the intersection where the accident occurred was failing to hold a charge. The defendant eventually installed a new battery pack in the light in August. However, a new battery was not placed in the unit, so the light was left without a functioning back-up power source.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a California car accident case involving the allegedly negligent acts of an employee and whether his employer could be held liable for the wrongful death of the plaintiffs’ loved one. After discussing the doctrine of respondeat superior and applying it to the facts of the case, the court ultimately determined that the employer could not legally be responsible for the employee’s actions. Specifically, the court noted that the “going and coming” rule precluded liability because the employee was traveling to work when the accident occurred.

Golden Gate BridgeThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving family members of a woman who was killed when the vehicle in which she was riding was struck by another driver while crossing the San Mateo Bridge. The other driver was employed by the defendant.

On the day of the accident, at around 3:30 a.m., the employee was driving to work in San Francisco when he struck the vehicle carrying the plaintiffs’ loved one. The employee worked the night shift, which began at 7 p.m., and it was undisputed that this trip to work was not for the employee’s regular shift.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a California personal injury case brought by a man who was injured when the crane he was operating tipped over. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the relation-back doctrine and its applicability to the facts at hand. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s late-filed certificate did not relate back to his original filing, and thus his case was barred by the statute of limitations.

CraneThe Certificate Requirement

In California, certain cases alleging professional negligence must be accompanied by a certificate from an expert in the field, indicating that in the expert’s opinion, the plaintiff’s case has merit. Alternatively, if there is not time to obtain this certificate before the statute of limitations expires, a party can submit a certificate of excuse asking for additional time. Under the relevant statute, a certificate of excuse must be filed within 60 days of the filing of the case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when the crane he was operating tipped over. The date of the plaintiff’s injury was May 5, 2014. The plaintiff filed a negligence claim on May 3, 2016 against the company that was providing engineering services at the job site where the injury occurred. The relevant statute of limitations was two years, so the plaintiff filed the case just two days before the deadline.

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When someone is injured while playing sports or engaging in another recreational activity, the injured party may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries against the responsible parties through a California personal injury lawsuit. However, the doctrine of assumption of the risk can act to bar some plaintiffs’ lawsuits when the activity at issue is inherently dangerous and comes with well-known risks.

Sand DunesThe idea behind the assumption of the risk doctrine is that plaintiffs are in the best position to avoid known risks associated with certain activities. If a plaintiff choses to disregard a known risk and engage in the activity nonetheless, courts will not hold a defendant liable when a plaintiff is injured due to the presence of a known risk. However, there are exceptions to the assumption of the risk doctrine, one of which is when the defendant creates an additional risk that is not normally present when engaging in the recreational activity.

A recent California personal injury case illustrates one plaintiff’s attempt to establish an exception to the general assumption of the risk rule. While the plaintiff was unsuccessful in convincing the court, the case is important in understanding the assumption of the risk doctrine.

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Anyone injured while on the job in California may be entitled to receive compensation while they are recovering from their injuries under the California Workers’ Compensation Act (CWCA). Under the CWCA, when an employee suffers a qualifying injury, their employer must cover the employee’s medical expenses as well as provide the employee with ongoing workers’ compensation benefits for the duration of their recovery.

Slip-and-FallThe Requirements of a Workers’ Compensation Claim

After suffering a California workplace injury, an employee should obtain the necessary medical care. In some cases, an employee will need to visit a specific doctor. However, in emergency cases, the employee can seek medical attention at the nearest hospital or medical facility.

The employee should then notify the employer immediately, or within 30 days at the very most, in order to preserve their right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. In cases in which an employee’s injury has developed over time, the employee should notify the employer as early as practicable. Often, this would be the first time that the injury required the employee to miss a day of work. If an employee does not report the injury in a timely manner, the employer may have grounds to contest the employee’s workers’ compensation application.

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Back in 2016, a fatal accident between a semi-truck and a charter bus claimed the lives of 13 people and injured 31 others. At the time of the accident, the reason why the two vehicles collided was unknown, but authorities could tell that the charter bus crashed into the rear of the semi-truck and that there was a large speed differential between the two vehicles. Due to the high death toll, an in-depth investigation was conducted, the results of which have recently been released.

Truck on HighwayAccording to a recent news report, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has announced that the driver of the semi-truck involved in the accident will face a number of criminal charges for his role in the fatal California bus accident. The charges will include 13 counts of vehicular homicide and additional counts of reckless driving.

The charges were announced after the investigation into the accident was recently concluded. Evidently, the semi-truck driver was driving westbound on Interstate 10 when California Highway Patrol conducted a routine closure of all lanes for construction-related reasons. The semi-truck driver put the vehicle in park and fell asleep. Once CHP reopened the lanes of traffic, the driver remained asleep as surrounding traffic resumed.

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Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District issued a written opinion in a California car accident case involving the use of a video deposition for a witness who became unavailable during the pendency of the lawsuit. The court was tasked with determining whether the plaintiff’s objection to the use of the video deposition was valid, and if so, whether the video deposition should have been excluded at trial. The court ultimately held that the defendant complied with the applicable court rules and that the video deposition was properly admitted.

HourglassThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a low-speed car accident when the defendant rear-ended him on a California highway. Immediately after the collision, both drivers made their way to the road’s shoulder, where the plaintiff explained that he was not injured. However, once the vehicles were moved to a nearby parking lot, the plaintiff began to complain of severe neck pain.

The plaintiff was taken to the hospital by ambulance, and an X-ray confirmed that no bones were broken. The plaintiff sought medical treatment once, about a month after the accident. No further treatment was sought. Approximately two years later, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for the injuries he sustained in the accident.

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Over the past several years, significant evidence has come to light that there is likely a link between talc-based hygiene products and ovarian cancer. Indeed, manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson is currently facing almost 5,000 lawsuits brought by women who have developed various types of cancer after years of consistent use of the company’s talc-based baby powder product.

Baby PowderIn fact, according to a recent news report, just a few months ago, a jury issued a substantial verdict in a California product liability lawsuit brought against Johnson & Johnson by a woman who claimed that she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder. The plaintiff’s claim was not just that Johnson & Johnson products caused her cancer, but also that the company failed to warn consumers about the risks that were known to the company. The verdict – totaling $417 million – consisted of $70 million in compensatory damages and an additional $37 million in punitive damages.

Prior Product Liability Cases Involving Talc-Based Baby Powder

The above-mentioned verdict is one of several that have recently been handed down finding Johnson & Johnson liable for failing to warn consumers of the dangers involved with the use of its baby powder products. Until this most recent verdict, the largest award amount was $110 million. The extent to which Johnson & Johnson will be liable in the nearly 5,000 pending cases remains to be seen.

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When a Southern California car accident case is filed against a government entity based on the alleged negligent conduct of a government employee, issues of sovereign immunity will often arise. Sovereign immunity is a concept that was built into the Constitution during the formation of the country, and it essentially stands for the proposition that a government entity cannot be sued without its consent.

Highway PatrolIn California, the state legislature has passed a series of bills that waive sovereign immunity under some circumstances. For example, the California Tort Claims Act contains a broad waiver of immunity and permits lawsuits against government entities in situations in which the negligent act of an employee results in injuries, as long as the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.

While the California Tort Claims Act grants broad immunity, other statutes limit that immunity. For example, California Vehicle Code 17004.7 grants immunity to law enforcement agencies for injuries or deaths that occur while an officer is in pursuit of a driver whom the officer suspects has violated the law. A recent case discusses section 17004.7 as it pertains to a city’s policy to handle fleeing motorists.

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Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District issued a written opinion in a California premises liability lawsuit discussing the rule of appellate procedure that any grounds cited on appeal must have been raised at trial. Ultimately, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s case based on the fact that the plaintiff’s theory of liability on appeal (which was only slightly different from the theory of liability at trial) was not raised below.

Swimming PoolThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and his wife were looking to buy a rental property and were working with a realtor to help them in their search. The realtor had a home in mind that she thought the plaintiff would like. The home was one that the realtor had previously listed, and it had a pool in the backyard. Prior to listing the home, the realtor conducted a 30-minute visual check of the home, including the backyard and pool. The realtor also arranged for the pool to be emptied and contacted a pool maintenance company to conduct any necessary repairs.

When the plaintiff and his wife went to see the home, the plaintiff climbed atop the diving board that was adjacent to the pool to see over the home’s fence. After about 30 seconds, the plaintiff felt the diving board come loose from its base, and the plaintiff fell into the empty pool, resulting in serious injuries.

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