Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
Personal Injury Attorney
Serving the Stockton and Petaluma California Regions
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Petaluma Premises Liability Lawyers Look at Slip and Fall Details

At Sette Law, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys know that most people are at least vaguely aware of slip and fall litigation. For instance, someone falls in a retail store, breaks a leg and subsequently sues the store owner to recover financial losses due to the serious injury. Lawyers, however, are quick to point out that this kind of law is under the umbrella of premises liability and is often anything but simple. In this July blog our Petaluma injury and accident attorneys will discuss a few of the complexities and details included in this arena of law.

Personal injury attorneys say that slip and fall incidents are very common civil court actions nationally and in Petaluma. Accident lawyers say that slip and fall liability allows the average person to recoup often significant costs incurred due to the negligence of another party. Certainly, our injury personal lawyers agree that this legal option creates greater vigilance on the part of property owners, provides financial redress for losses suffered by slip and fall victims and helps to protect people from injury. Attorneys believe that premises law serves the cause of justice, but has also been abused by litigants in the past. Consequently, laws have been refined and increasingly included protections for property owners from people who claim harm when there has been no verifiable injury accident. Lawyers must be aware of provisions that protect both the public from harm and the property owner from frivolous claims of losses due to injury. 

Attorneys Outline Slip and Fall Liability
Petaluma personal injury lawyers will first verify that the condition or item that caused a slip and fall accident can be linked to the premises owner or to his or her employee. Secondly, our liability lawyers will seek to establish these parties knew about the danger and still did nothing to remedy the condition that led to the injury. Attorneys know that current law indicates that owners exert the most control over their property and therefore bear significant responsibility to protect users of their property from harm and injury.

Our personal injury lawyers use the following example – If the owner of a boutique hotel in Petaluma knows an air conditioning unit is leaking water onto the entry stairs below and does nothing to remedy that condition, a patron or visitor who slips and falls would likely have a valid claim for personal injury. Attorneys would point to the building owner (or an employee) as responsible for the Petaluma injury. 

But lawyers say that other circumstances could change potential liability. Consider a guest on the second floor of hotel property who decides to have a smoke and chooses to do so sitting atop the window air conditioning unit. It breaks free and crashes to the ground, leaving the guest with a debilitating back injury. Here, attorneys for the property owner would have a strong case against liability for the injury accident. Lawyers would rightly point out that air conditioners were never intended for use as chairs and the responsibility lies with the guest. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say that uses outside the “normal” and commonly understood can imply a lack of liability on the part of the property owner.

Slip and fall injury accidents send lawyers into investigations that can involve several layers of potential liability. Often a building will have an owner, a manager, a lessee or tenant and employees. Petaluma personal injury attorneys are tasked with making certain an injury plaintiff identifies the proper responsible party. When this is not initially clear, an accident and injury lawyer can issue a notice of claim for more than one party – for example, an owner and a manager. If the responsible person is not noticed in the initial claim, the plaintiff may lose the ability to file at a later time. Slip and fall injury attorneys often leave the determination of responsibility up to insurance companies for the respective parties.

Liability Statutes Protect the Public from Injury
Attorneys explain that property owners have a specific responsibility that’s defined as a Duty of Care. This comes with the privilege of owning real property. The law says that a property owner must take reasonable care to provide a safe environment that protects visitors and others from injury.  But attorneys say this concept really can’t be exactly defined and universally applied to specific conditions that contribute to a Petaluma slip and fall accident. Lawyers for the injured party will have to carefully scrutinize the details of each case.

Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers offer the following example: A young child spills a bottle of water on the floor of a neighborhood grocery store and mom and toddler run off to find a store employee. Within seconds another shopper comes along and slips and falls, sustaining a serious knee injury. Lawyers say it’s not likely the store would be held responsible because the owner or employees had no notice or knowledge of the spill. However, if store management knew about the spill, left the water in the floor for thirty minutes and then a shopper slipped and fell, the store would likely shoulder liability. Attorneys further explain that property owners can take precautions to protect themselves. If store employees had surrounded the spill area with barriers and “caution” signs and someone breeched those barriers and fell, the property owner may not be held liable for the accident. Attorneys point out that ideas such as reasonable judgment pay a role in slip and fall injury claims.

Petaluma personal injury lawyers don’t expect average consumers to know all the nuances of slip and fall cases. Our most experienced liability attorneys continue to encounter new circumstances that call for additional research. But, one practice we can advise for people who experience a slip and fall accident is to pay attention to the details of the accident. Our attorneys say that noting the substance on the floor that caused the fall is very important for injury attorneys presenting evidence to the court. Our Petaluma liability attorneys know that memory can change and fade with the passage of time, and slip and fall victims must be very clear and consistent about their experience.

Awareness can Prevent Stockton Motorcycle Accidents

Attorneys at Sette Law understand the lure of riding motorcycles in and around Stockton. Our lawyers, however, also understand the often dire consequences of a serious motorcycle accident. As attorneys we are aware of grim statistics that clearly indicate the high risk factors attributed to riding motorcycles. Our Stockton injury lawyers have access to state and national data bases that show how vulnerable riders are in any kind of motorcycle accident.

Our attorneys point out that it’s not just the obvious factors – such as driving while intoxicated – that contribute to Stockton motorcycle accidents. Lawyers, however, highlight the fact that drinking and riding a bike is a particularly bad combination. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 27 percent of motorcycle accident deaths in 2012 were attributed to drunk driving. A full 2,000 deaths involved single car accidents. Attorneys add that 43 percent of all motorcycle crashes that year involved drunk driving – except on weekends when the figure rose to 64 percent! Stockton injury lawyers note that this is one kind of crash that can, in fact, easily be avoided.

Clearly, drinking and driving is a bad idea for all drivers, but Stockton injury attorneys emphasize, particularly so for motorcyclists. Alcohol diminishes balance and judgment – critical to avoiding any accident but more so for Stockton motorcycle riders. Injury lawyers say that, all too often, an alcohol impaired rider will be the cause of an accident. Irresponsible riding while under the influence can easily lead to the rider being held liable for a motorcycle accident, our injury lawyers say.

Bike Riders at Higher risk of death and Injury
Attorneys are alarmed at the disproportionate number of injuries and deaths to motorcycle riders, compared to motorists. According to a 2006 NHTSA report 13.10 percent of 100,000 car accidents led to deaths. But our Stockton injury lawyers observe that figure pales compared to the 72-plus percent of deaths for motorcycle riders in the same period.

Stockton accident and injury attorneys say that additional NHTSA data highlights even greater risk inherent in motorcycle accidents. Attorneys say Administration figures for 2012 showed a 7.1 percent increase in motorcycle accidents over 2011. This translates to far greater risk of death in a motorcycle accident. Injury lawyers know that bike riders are five times more likely to die in an accident than are vehicle drivers. In 2012, NHTSA recorded 93,000 injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys believe these figures are a wake-up call for all motorcycle riders.

Older Riders face Higher Risk of Stockton Accidents
Our injury lawyers reference 2011 data from the NHTSA showing that riders over the age of 40 accounted for 56 percent of motorcycle deaths. Older riders seem to favor big bikes – comfortable for touring and traveling the byroads of Stockton. Injury attorneys, however, say the weight of such bikes makes them harder to handle. Roll overs of big bikes are not uncommon in Stockton accidents. Attorneys say the heft of such bikes, coupled with somewhat diminished physical condition of older riders adds to the risk of injury and death in Stockton motorcycle accidents. Our lawyers say that NHTSA looked at accidents from 2002 to 2011 and found a 78 percent rise in fatalities of riders 40-plus. During the same period, fatalities to younger motorcycle riders actually declined.

Stockton injury lawyers also report that riders of so-called super bikes, favored by young and often inexperienced riders, also faced an increased risk of death in a Stockton accident. Injury attorneys say these light and very fast bikes (some can get up to 190 mph) were four times more deadly in an accident. Lawyers posit that although speed is a factor, young riders are often inexperienced and lack mature judgment.

Tactics to prevent Stockton Motorcycle Accidents
Injury attorneys at Sette Law first highlight the obvious – no one should ever drink alcohol and drive a motorcycle. Clearly, impaired riding is a major factor in deaths and injuries to motorcycle riders. But accident lawyers say there are many other precautions that can make it safer for bike riders in Stockton.

Injury lawyers completely support helmet laws. Head injuries are the leading cause of fatalities in motorcycle accidents. Without a helmet a rider faces a 40 percent greater chance of death and 15 percent increase chance of injury in a Stockton accident. Injury attorneys consider this as basic safety equipment for all motorcycle riders.

Motorcycle associations across America offer further guidelines for safer riding. Stockton injury lawyers admit that most of the responsibility for riders’ personal safety rests with the motorcyclist. Although this may seem a bit ‘unfair’ the NHTSA statistics on motorcycle deaths and injuries support heightened awareness for rider in Stockton. Our injury attorneys say that cars making left turns in front of a bike rider is both common and dangerous. Unfortunately, it may be up to the motorcyclist to monitor his surroundings because many times, vehicle drivers seem blind to motorcycles. Stockton accident lawyers also say that motorcycle associations caution riders about the potential for car drivers to change lanes without signaling their intentions. Fair or not, our Stockton injury lawyers say that vigilance on the part of motorcyclists can prevent an accident in which they have the most to lose.

Deaths, disabilities and the risk of injury are ever present in the recreational pastime of motorcycle riding. Our Stockton injury attorneys understand the allure of riding and, at the same time, deal directly with the outcome of motorcycle crashes. A serious accident can change lives and take lives of riders in Stockton. Our injury lawyers believe that riders must step up their safety game so that they can enjoy the thrill of riding while minimizing risk. Since bike riders face the biggest risk of death and injury, our Stockton accident attorneys encourage riders to access safety courses offered by the California Highway Patrol. By developing consistent safety habits, Stockton motorcycle riders can enjoy the thrills of riding minus the perils and pain of accidents our Stockton injury attorneys deal with all too often.

Safety First for Bicyclists in Stockton

Bicycle accident lawyers at Sette Law in Stockton look at national trends regarding safety for residents who enjoy bike riding for fun and recreation. Those statistics, according to our Stockton personal injury attorneys, show a heightened need for vigilance and adherence to traffic laws for both bicyclists as well as motorists in Stockton.

Bicycle accidents increased from 2011 to 2012, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Center. This trend may be due to an increase in riders nationwide and, our Stockton bicycle accident attorneys say, probably underestimates the number of people injured in bicycle accidents. Law enforcement is often not notified about minor accidents, victims may not visit hospital emergency rooms and many bike injuries go unreported. Safety Center researchers estimate the number of Stockton bicycle accidents reported may be as low as 1- percent. Our Stockton bicycle accident lawyers believe that a great deal of education needs to happen to create a safer urban environment for bicycle riders.

Stockton bicycle accidents are most threatening to youngsters. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of accidents involving riders under the age of 15 earned a dubious ranking for Stockton. Bicycle accident lawyers explain that, out of 13 similar cities, Stockton ranks the second most dangerous for these young riders. The city placed ninth on the scale for riders over 15 in Stockton. Bicycle accident lawyers say the reported 138 bicycle accidents logged in 2011 probably represent a fraction of actual Stockton bicycle accidents.

Lawyers at Sette Law believe riders and motorists must step up vigilance and build greater awareness of safety on the streets of Stockton. Bicycle accidents most often result in serious injuries to riders, given the vast difference in speed, weight and protection between bikes and cars. Consequently, our Stockton injury attorneys call for mutual respect on the roads. Motorists should be on the watch for bike riders and bicyclists must not only anticipate movement in vehicle traffic but also ride responsibly.

Unfortunately, because bike riders are so vulnerable in Stockton, bicycle accident lawyers advise riders to adopt consistent rules for riding in traffic. A first basic rule would be to always, unfailingly, wear a helmet on the streets of Stockton. Our personal injury attorneys know that most bicycle accidents result in head injuries – damage that can impact victims for a lifetime.

Another simple prevention practice is for riders to dress in brilliant colors to make themselves clearly visible to vehicle drivers in Stockton. Bicycle accidents can, and do, happen because the rider seemed to blend with the environment. Our bicycle accident lawyers encourage riders to be colorful when riding on the streets of Stockton.

Bicycle accidents can also be minimized if bikes are outfitted with good lights, reflectors and mirrors. Making eye contact with vehicle drivers signals awareness of both rider and car for mutual safety in Stockton. Furthermore, our Stockton bicycle accident lawyers say riders need to think ahead about the intentions of drivers. Something as simple as a car door swinging open can cause serious injury or death in a resulting bicycle accident in Stockton.

If these suggestions seem to place the greatest responsibility on riders to avoid bicycle accidents, our lawyers agree. After all, the bicyclist is almost always at greatest risk in a bicycle accident. Ultimately, if the result is serious injury or death in a Stockton bicycle accident, lawyers know that, despite monetary recovery that may be won, the rider suffers the greatest harm. It is in the rider’s personal interest to adopt consistent safety habits when riding in Stockton.

Bicycle accident lawyerrs urge riders to take these simple precautions and to also recognize that their actions can contribute to Stockton bicycle accidents. Our attorneys are watching a case in nearby Sacramento in which a rider hit a pedestrian and left her disabled for life from a bicycle accident. The bicyclist was riding on a sidewalk and hit the woman from behind. In this case, the bicycle was the dangerous vehicle. The victim is suing for damages in the bicycle accident, contending that the city vehicle code regarding riding on sidewalks is unclear. The rider who caused the bicycle accident has not been identified. Our Stockton bicycle accident lawyers know that riding on busy streets can be a frightening experience. Proper bike lanes are often nonexistent and bicyclists are drawn to the safety of sidewalks. But, Stockton personal injury attorneys point to the Sacramento incident as a case in which a bicycle proved as dangerous as a car to a pedestrian.

Clearly, responsibility for bicycle and pedestrian safety is shared. Our Stockton bicycle accident lawyers believe it is time for state and local traffic laws to adapt to an increase in bicycle use. This requires education and vigilance of bike riders and motorists to keep themselves and pedestrians safe from Stockton bicycle accidents.

TBI a Danger to Young and Old in Stockton

Personal injury lawyers in Stockton look at the rise in head injuries to children and older adults with concern. Sette Law’s, Stockton head injury attorneys are aware that many serious injuries are preventable with some basic precautions in homes in Stockton. Our personal injury attorneys encourage families to educate themselves about how to protect loved ones from TBI and prevent accidents.

Head injuries can occur when there’s a blow to the head – falls, sports injuries, explosions and a wide variety of events can cause brain injuries in Stockton. Our head injury lawyers explain that the effects of TBI dramatically changes daily life and impacts long term health. Symptoms of TBI can be mild or severe for victims in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers see a wide range of effects – from dizziness to crippling confusion. In extreme cases, victims can be in a coma that lasts indefinitely. In the experience of our Stockton head injury lawyers, TBI can be very costly – both financially and emotionally to families in Stockton.

Head Injury Attorneys Call for Safety First
Children, whose brains are still developing, are highly susceptible to head injuries. Our Stockton personal injury lawyers recommend safety equipment such as kid-safe car seats and seatbelts for all youngsters in Stockton cars. Injury lawyers also agree that children should ride in the back seat of cars. Young brains are delicate and extra caution is called for in Stockton. Injury attorneys at Sette Law have seen the pain suffered by families whose child suffered TBI in a car accident in Stockton. Our head injury lawyers know that affordable safety solutions make a big difference.

Our Stockton injury lawyers also emphasize the importance of children wearing helmets when enjoying recreational activities. Personal injury attorneys are aware of the increase in head injuries related to sports participation. Stockton injury lawyers believe youth sports teams and parents should employ heightened safety standards for young athletes in Stockton. Head injury lawyers know that helmets can provide important protection for youngsters engaged in a wide variety of sports – from football and cheer squads to soccer and baseball. Our Stockton injury lawyers say there is nationwide recognition that sports activities present inherent dangers of head injuries. When the threat of TBI reaches youth sports, the need for precaution is heightened for parents in Stockton.

Injury Attorneys say Elders at High Risk in Stockton
Head injury lawyers are also concerned about the region’s older residents. Without proper exercise and muscle strengthening, elders become increasingly at risk of falls in their homes in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys agree with the National Institute of Health’s statement that falls are preventable for elder people nationwide and in  Stockton. Our head injury lawyers say that remaining physically strong and balanced is a first line of defense. In addition, living spaces should be safe. Our Stockton head injury lawyers advise residents to get rid of slippery area rugs, install handrails in bathrooms and create a clutter-free home in Stockton. Head injury lawyers report that elder victims of falls that result in head injury may experience lengthy recovery and healing.

Our Stockton personal injury attorneys are hoping for less business in this arena of law – protecting vulnerable people from head injury is a shared responsibility of the community and families that our Stockton head injury attorneys accept.

A Critical Look at Stockton Bicycle Accidents

Lawyers know there are at least 2 sides to every story. This holds true as we look at car vs Bicycle accidents in Stockton. Injury attorneys also know that in such accidents, it’s usually the bicycle rider who sustains the most serious injuries. Nonetheless, as in car accidents, liability has to be established in cases brought to court in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys at Sette Law look at all the facts and evidence in a bicycle accident, knowing that bike riders, like car drivers, can make bad decisions and disobey traffic laws in Stockton.

Bicycle accident lawyers know that legal issues surrounding a bicycle accident are similar to those arising from automobile accident. In addition, our Stockton personal injury lawyers, also agree that safety laws and precepts governing both modes of transportation are analogous. The concept of “duty of reasonable care” applies to all drivers, meaning they must exercise care for all who share the road with them – other cars, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycles on the streets of Stockton. Our Bicycle accident lawyers say a similar concept applies to bike riders.  Traffic laws must be obeyed and care for the safety of others is a responsibility for bicyclists in Stockton. Injury attorneys remind riders and motorists that common courtesy and good judgment are essential to personal and community safety.

Asking the right Questions about Bicycle Accidents in Stockton
Personal injury lawyers in Stockton help to establish liability when working on behalf of a bicycle injury client. We investigate the circumstances of the accident, with our Stockton injury lawyer looking at the behavior of the driver of the car, as well as the actions of the bike rider who is also bound by traffic rules in Stockton. Bicycle accident lawyers must have information about both (or all) parties to an accident in Stockton. Injury lawyers can help establish liability or responsibility for an accident by knowing, for example, the bike rider was following traffic laws and not behaving in a reckless manner. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys explain that actions like riding the wrong way on a one-way street, ignoring stop signs or darting out into car traffic lanes are acts that put bicyclists at risk and can contribute to serious accidents.

Stockton injury lawyers say that motorist liability is also scrutinized. If witnesses report a driver was speeding or ignoring traffic signals, there may be an indication that driver negligence caused the accident in Stockton. Sette injury lawyers also check police logs for any citations issued around the time of the accident. If the driver had been ticketed for reckless driving or speeding, this could be used as evidence of liability for the bicycle vs. car accident in Stockton.

Injury Lawyers back Bicycle Safety
At Sette Law, our Stockton personal injury lawyers know that regardless of liability, it’s most often the bicycle rider most injured in a collision with a car. In researching bike accidents, our Stockton injury attorneys learned that at least fifteen percent of bike vs. car accidents result in traumatic brain injury. We also accessed research that concluded up to 88% of those brain injuries could be prevented if riders simply wore bicycle helmets in Stockton. Our injury attorneys strongly urge bike riders to protect themselves with approved bicycle helmets on the roadways of Stockton.

Bicycle accident lawyers emphasize that bike riders are vulnerable – speed plus a lack of protection for the body (and head) can have life changing, sometimes deadly, consequences.