the-crash-1415222.jpgIn Delgado v. Las Lomas Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a woman in a car crashed into a bike rider. The woman had just finished preaching door-to-door as a Jehovah’s Witness. She was a member of the religion and the Bancroft Congregation, which shared its Kingdom Hall with other congregations, including Las Lomas Congregation.

This ruling by this California appellate court is an unpublished opinion, meaning it is only binding on the case which they ruled. Although the ruling is unpublished, it does illustrate the rules when suing the employer of an employee.

Members of the religion engage in field service, which involves preaching door-to-door and distributing religious literature. While performing field service, members don’t ask for donations, although they can accept them. The congregation was made up of elders, ministerial servants, pioneers, and publishers. The last were rank and file members. Pioneers were an appointed volunteer position with slightly more hours in preaching work than publishers. Watchtower was the publisher of the religion’s written materials and, prior to the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses overseeing the governing body, was the managing entity.

parking-lot-1445848.jpgSlip and fall cases can be challenging to prove in California. In many cases, defendants bring motions for summary judgment to get the case dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiff can’t prove crucial elements of notice or causation.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 437c read in relevant part, “Any party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceeding if it is contended that the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding…”

Essentially, if a motion for summary judgment is granted the trial court is dismissing the case and not allowing the parties to proceed in court. The trial court does not always make the final decisions on these types of issues. A party to an action can appeal or seek a ruling of a higher court, known as an appellate court.

beer-on-painted-table-1140847.jpg Generally bar owners and operators in California cannot be held civilly liable for the acts done by their patrons while intoxicated. Liability that is extended to bar owners for the actions of their patrons is known as “dram shop” laws. Laws that protect the bar owners is known as “anti-dram shop” laws. In California, the general rule is that owners and operators of bars cannot be held civilly liable for the acts done by their patrons while intoxicated. (see Cal. Business & Professions Code §25602) However, there are limited exception, one of which is servicing minors alcoholic beverages.(see Cal. Business & Professions Code §25602.1)

Busiåness and Professions Code section 25602.1 reads, “a cause of action may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered injury or death against any person licensed, or required to be licensed, pursuant to Section 23300,. . . who sells, furnishes, gives or causes to be sold, furnished or given away any alcoholic beverage . . . to any obviously intoxicated minor (emphasis added) where the furnishing, sale or giving of that beverage to the minor is the proximate cause of the personal injury or death sustained by that person.” (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 25602.1.)

This means that the provider of alcohol must use reasonable care to ensure the person receiving the alcohol is not an “obviously intoxicated” minor. (Schaffield v.Abboud (1993) 15 Cal.App.4th 1133, 1141.) Under this section the term “minor” means someone under 21. (Rogers v. Alvas (1984) 160 Cal.App.3d 997, 1004.)

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According to the Los Angeles Times article published on October 27, 2014, California leads the nation in bicycle accident deaths. The LA Times article references a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association. In that study Dr. Allan Williams, found that today 84% of bicycle fatalities were people 20 years and older, vs. 40 years ago when that number was only 20%.

These numbers show us that more and more adults are riding bicycles than ever before. This is particularly true in urban areas such as Modesto, California, which boasts many impressive bicycle trails. In addition, the summertime brings upon more bicyclists which can lead to more fatalities or injuries.

If one is injured in a bicycle accident, what limitations are placed on an uninsured California bicyclist’s rights to recover damages, if he or she is hit by a car and severely injured? The calculation of damages can be complex, especially when an accident victim is an uninsured bicyclist who has not been able to pay his or her own substantial medical bills after a serious accident.

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Modesto motorcycle accident attorney knows that Modesto’s area summer weather brings out the motorcycles. Modesto and its ideal central California location, being 90 minutes from San Francisco and within an hour of various mountains, make it a motorcycle enthusiast ideal location. Stanislaus County extends into the foothills where motorcycle are often ridden into Jamestown, Sonora and other Mother Lode neighboring cities. More motorcycles means more motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, half of all fatal motorcycle collisions involve other vehicles. Fatal motorcycle accidents can lead to wrongful death lawsuits. Serious motorcycle accidents can cause loss of life and loss of limb.

Where the other party is negligent in causing such injury, the plaintiff can be awarded money damages after a trial. Most cases do not go to trial but are settled after negotiating with insurance or other companies. However, when John Hendrickson had his leg crushed on August 27, 2009. He was hit by while riding his motorcycle while riding in a remote area of California’s San Diego area. A Border Patrol Officer in a truck came around a sharp turn at an unreasonably high rate of speed. The officer did not see Hendrickson and the truck collided with the motorcycle.

Hendrickson suffered severe fractures and had one of his legs amputated below the knee, forever changing his life. As a recording artist and motorcycle enthusiast, his lingering pain and the emotional trauma keep him from working and partaking in the same activities he always enjoyed. He went through 6 months of post open treatment for a comminuted distal femur fracture and dealt with several other injuries. Hendrickson filed a negligence lawsuit against the United States government and on June 20, 2014, the court awarded him 5.4 million dollars. This large verdict was reported by ABC New 10 in San Diego.

On Christmas Eve 2013, a 9 year old Manteca Girl was died as a result of a car accident in Escalon, California, just north of Modesto. As reported by the Modesto Bee, nine year old Mariah Izzo of Manteca, California suffered fatal injuries when the Toyota Rav-4 in which she was riding with her aunt at the wheel was rear ended at 35 MPH by another driver, after the light at which they were stopped turned green. Although alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as a contributing factor to the cause of this crash, a determination of the actual cause has yet to be made. It seems, however, that this collision is of a type that could have been avoided by the exercise of due care. The family is devastated which can be sensed in the video posted on youtube celebrating the life of Mariah Izzo.

Family Raising Money To Pay For Her Death And Medical Expenses

Hitting the Road

As the spring weather heats up, more and more Modesto and Stockton families and ‘weekend warriors’ will be ‘hitting the road’ to their respective recreational destinations. Unfortunately, some of these families will be injured in an car accident. As traffic increases along with the seasonal temperatures, so too does the risk of being involved in vehicle collisions which may cause personal injury. These circumstances necessitate enhanced vigilance with regard to road safety by those behind the wheel or otherwise on the road. Driving defensively and maintaining constant awareness of one’s surroundings while driving greatly decreases the risk of being involved in an accident. The following tips should prove helpful:

  • Maintaining an appropriate distance from the car ahead

Class Action Settlement

file5001254688763As a Modesto personal injury lawyer, this writer was all ears when he was informed that Toyota was settling a class action lawsuit for 1.1 billion dollars. The settlement may be the largest ever against an automaker according to attorneys representing some of the plaintiff’s. A U.S. judge in Santa Ana, California granted preliminary approval on December 28, 2012 to Toyota’s $1.1 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought by Toyota owners who claimed they lost value on their cars due to unexpected, sudden and unintended acceleration. U.S. District Judge James Selna has scheduled a hearing in June of 2013 regarding the final approval of this settlement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVQg5_gyOgM

Every year my family participates in Halloween from our Modesto home. We also have a dog in our family so I wanted to post a blog entry about Halloween and dog safety. Halloween can be fun for kids and parents alike. Dressing up like ghosts, pirates, zombies as well as princesses or cowboys can be exciting. Thumbnail image for trick or treaters.jpgHalloween can make some dogs nervous and anxious. When dogs normally protect the home from intruders, the dog owner would applaud them. A family dog confronted by a masked child is a receipt for disaster. A well meaning dog trying to protect the owner by biting that masked stranger can be costly to the dog owner, especially when that masked stranger is an 8 year old child.

Dog Statistics

According to a 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey 62% of U.S. households own a pet. dog.jpgOf those homes with pets, there are 46.3 million homes in the United States with a least one dog. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. The CDC also reveals that of those 4.7 million people, 800,000 of them seek medical treatment for those bites and half of those seeking treatment are children. There are more than 386,000 people that require medical treatment in an emergency room from dog bite injuries. Sadly, 16 people die each year from dog bites in the United States. Children are the most at risk for injury, specifically those children between the ages of 5 to 9. About 2/3 of the injuries to children ages 4 and younger are to the head and neck region.

In a horrific tragedy, a child was killed in a car accident 30 miles north of Modesto in Stockton, California. The accident occurred on Highway 4, known as the “cross town freeway” which connects Highway 99 and Interstate 5 in Stockton.


The name of the child was not released nor would it be blogged here anyhow. In any event, local news outlets such as the Stockton Record and News 10 in Sacramento have reported two children were in the back seat of a Ford Fusion which was hit from behind by a two truck traveling the same direction on Eastbound Highway 4. Once child, a toddler was killed and the other was placed in critical condition as of Friday night. The California Highway Patrol has also reported that the tow truck driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The tow truck company is out of Manteca, California, which is located between Modesto and Stockton.

This accident will surely lead to a civil liability on behalf of the two truck driver and the company for whom he works. In light of this tragic event, it is still important to review the legal principles behind accidents such as this.