Articles Posted in Personal Injury

After suffering injuries in a fall while working in the defendants’ home, the plaintiff in a recent personal injury case before the California Court of Appeal brought causes of action for premises liability and negligence.  A lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant homeowners, but the appellate court reversed, finding that triable issues of fact remained as to whether there had been a hidden dangerous condition the owners should have disclosed, and whether the parties involved in the lawsuit acted reasonably.

attic

The defendants in this case hired a licensed contractor to paint their home, and the plaintiff was an employee of this contractor.  While moving a cabinet in an attic, on the second floor, the plaintiff stepped on a portion of the floor covered by a thin plastic sheet and fell 10 to 12 feet to the floor, suffering serious injuries.  While he believed he had stepped onto the floor, it was in fact a poorly constructed and concealed skylight, built into the floor.

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After suffering injuries when a water truck ran over her at a fire base camp, a plaintiff in a recent case before the California Court of Appeal brought a lawsuit against the Fire District and their employees. She alleged that her damages were caused by their negligence, a dangerous condition of public property, and their failure to warn. The lower court had held that the defendants were immune fromfirefighter liability, according to the firefighter’s rule, and on appeal, the court analyzed whether the defendants had waived their claim to immunity.

A fire broke out in the Plumas National Forest in September 2009, and a base camp was set up at Plumas County Fairgrounds.  The plaintiff worked as a Forest Service firefighter and slept in an area that had not been properly roped off and marked “no vehicles allowed.”  In the evening, a water truck servicing a nearby shower unit ran over the plaintiff, who was sleeping on the ground, and severely damaged her heart, lungs, and eyes.

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The California Court of Appeal reversed a decision in favor of a golf course owned by the City of Pasadena in a lawsuit brought by a baby and his mother after the baby was injured while on a trail adjacent to the golf course. The issue before the appellate court was whether the City was entitled to trail immunity.  The baby had been struck in the head by a golf ball while being pushed by his mother in a stroller. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a brain injury.

golf course

The plaintiffs brought a lawsuit on the legal theory of a dangerous condition of public property posed by the golf course.  At issue was whether the City had established that design immunity entitled it to summary judgment.  The court stated that a dangerous condition of public property creates a substantial (as opposed to a minor) risk of injury when the property has been used with due care, in a manner that is foreseeable for its use.

Public entities are liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions of property when the plaintiff shows that the property was dangerous at the time of the injury, the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, the condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury that resulted, and either an employee’s negligence created the condition or the public entity had notice of the condition.

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In a recent case before the California Court of Appeal, the court addressed whether the lower court had properly ruled in favor of the defendant, a company that shipped chemicals to the government that allegedly caused the plaintiff injuries while he was working for the government.

boat

The plaintiff alleged he was harmed while working as a machinist for a company that contracted with the United States Navy to supply insulation for stainless steel piping.  He brought a lawsuit for general negligence and strict liability manufacturing and design defect claims, including claims for failing to warn of the hazards of the chemical use. First, the court analyzed whether the defendant was a government contractor, entitled to the defense that shields military contractors from state tort law liability when there is a defect in military equipment that has been supplied to the United States.

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The California Court of Appeal recently found in favor of a plaintiff who alleged that she had developed mesothelioma due to her husband’s exposure to asbestos fibers at work. The significance of this opinion is that it relies upon new case law set forth by the state Supreme Court. In light of the new law, the appellate court expanded the duty of care outside the employer-employee realm, holding that the employer may have owed a duty of care to the wife of the deceased employee.

construction work

In reviewing recent caselaw concerning the duty of care owed to family members, the court stated that we all have a duty to use due care, avoiding injuring others.  Turning to the Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108 (Rowland) factors, the court had previously held that premises owners do not need to protect family members from harm caused by contact with family members wearing asbestos-contaminated work clothes home. However, Kesner v. Superior Court (2016) 1 Cal.5th 1132 (Kesner) was recently decided, and the California Court of Appeal stated that based on that decision, the employer in this case owed the plaintiff a duty.

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A proposed bill to be considered by California lawmakers will allow bicyclists to yield at stop signs, as opposed to coming to a complete stop, provided there is no oncoming traffic.  Assembly Bill 1103, is based on the “Idaho Stop” law that permits bicyclists within that state to treat stop signs as though they are yield signs.   According to the California Bill, bikers would have a legal duty to stop for pedestrians as well as cars that have the right of way.  This change in the Vehicle Code may benefit motorists by making intersections more efficient, encouraging bicyclists to simply roll through the stop sign if they have the right of way.

stop sign

According to some studies, the law that has been adopted by Idaho, nearly three decades ago, has resulted in increased bicycle safety.  Injuries among bicyclists declined after the law took effect in 1982, and they have remained at the same level thereafter.

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In a personal injury claim following an accident while trimming trees, the plaintiff argued that the defendant tree trimming company’s negligence caused his injuries.  After the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant, the California Court of Appeal reviewed whether substantial evidence supported their finding.  In their analysis, the court stated that whether a breached duty of care caused harm is within the jury’s domain to determine. Therefore, treewhen a party to a lawsuit challenges the sufficiency of evidence, it is a “daunting burden.” In this case, the court upheld the jury’s determination that the defendant’s conduct had not substantially caused the accident.

According to the appellate court, there was a “lengthy chain of reasoning” set forth by the plaintiff that attacked the verdict. The facts indicated that the plaintiff and his brother were trimming trees under a power line. The plaintiff was using a metal rod to measure the evenness of the trees when he made contact with a power line and suffered injuries after falling to the ground from his ladder. He brought a lawsuit against a tree trimming company, among others, since the company had the duty of ensuring a clearance around the power lines. While the tree trimming company had inspected the trees months before the accident, they had decided the trees did not need trimming.

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In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal recently affirmed a judgment in favor of the City of Pasadena, after the trial court held that the plaintiff had not set forth evidence supporting his negligence claim, nor had he shown that Pasadenahe suffered damages, emotional distress, physical injuries, or property damage due to the underlying incident.  In the underlying case, the plaintiff had proceeded in pro per, meaning that he was not represented by legal counsel.

At issue before the appellate court was whether the appellant had presented an adequate record for review of his wrongful death action. The court of appeals stated that the burden is on the party that appeals the lower court judgment.  They must demonstrate an error, and in doing so, they must supply an adequate record for the reviewing court to assess the lower court’s actions.

The plaintiff in this case filed a wrongful death action, alleging that the City of Pasadena’s fire department paramedics negligently transported his son to an emergency room after his son suffered gunshot wounds by a third party.  The trial court eventually granted summary judgment in favor of the City after the City’s requests for admissions showed that the plaintiff admitted he did not have evidence supporting his allegation of negligence. Additionally, the requests for admissions showed that he had not suffered compensatory damages, emotional distress, physical injuries, or property damage due to the incident.  Judgment had been entered for the City.

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In a recent California appeal, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit following a motor vehicle collision argued that the trial court should not have admitted certain portions of the defendant’s medical expert’s testimony.  Since the issues to be determined by the jury included negligence and causation, on appeal, the plaitraffic lightntiff argued that the jury verdict in favor of the defendant should be reversed. She contended the expert testified as to matters outside the scope of his expert designation, and that testimony should have been offered by an accident reconstruction expert.

At the trial level, the issue was whether the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm.  The facts showed that the defendant had been in his pickup truck, stopped about 10-12 feet behind the plaintiff’s car.  While reaching for an item in his cab, the defendant stated that his foot slipped off the brake, and his truck collided with the back of the plaintiff’s car.  At the time, there was minimal damage to the vehicles, and no emergency services or tow trucks were called. Both drivers separately drove away in their vehicles.

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In this recent opinion, the issue before the California Court of Appeal was whether a mobile home park owed a duty of care to prevent harm by a third party to residents of the park. The Court of Appeal addressed policy issues regarding extending a duty knifeof care to the landlord in this case, and specifically, whether it was foreseeable that the individual in this case would inflict harm.

The facts indicated that two residents of the mobile park home suffered stabbing wounds by an individual who lived with his aunt but was not a resident of the park. One victim died, and their heirs, along with the surviving victim, filed a civil lawsuit against the mobile home park. The lower court held in favor of the mobile park home, finding that a knife attack had not been sufficiently foreseeable.

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