Month: April 2011

‘Rock-N-Roll’ and Ice in Flight

Over 50 years ago in 1959, a small private single engine plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa shortly after 1 a.m. bound for Fargo, N.D. It did not get far. A cold northeasterly wind gave way to heavy snow, reducing visibility to almost whiteout conditions. One wing hit the ground and the plane crashed. The accident claimed the lives of Rock-N-Roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. “Big Popper” Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson.

The cause was most likely pilot error due to inexperience with instrumentation flight. When visibility is lost due to heavy snow and high winds, it is easy to get disoriented and fly into the ground. While some have said that “Rock-N-Roll” died that day, the “Rock-N-Roll” genre of music lives on and has infiltrated country, religious and even classical music!

Dave Berglund, Senior Litigation Attorney at Berglund & Johnson is an instrument-rated pilot and understands the significant weather conditions and how the pilot’s experience can make for a safe flight. Berglund & Johnson has handled several aviation accident cases from single engine light airplanes to commercial passenger airliners, such as Southwest flight #1455, which over-shot the runway at Burbank Airport and crashed into a gas station. Berglund & Johnson’s experience as seasoned litigators, combined with having a licensed instrument rated pilot on board, makes for the right combination to represent aviation accident victims and/or their families.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of an aviation accident, call us at 1-800-4-IF-HURT (1-800-443-4878) for a free, no-obligation evaluation.

Protecting Victims from Unethical Legal Practices

As in any profession, there are those who give others a bad name. For those who practice personal injury law, it’s the unscrupulous attorneys who improperly and aggressively solicit the representation of victims of major accidents.

In 2008, before the dust even settled from the Metrolink Train 111 crash, some attorneys found the names of victims and pursued them right away, even going into hospitals looking for potential clients- a practice that is illegal in California.

“Any unsolicited contact with a potential client, either in person or by telephone (and perhaps even by mail), by an attorney or someone acting on his or her behalf is both illegal and unethical,” warned the California State Bar’s chief trial counsel, Scott J. Drexel, in a letter to area hospitals.

He also cautioned potential claimants against agreeing to unsolicited representation or quick settlements, as many victims and families may not be thinking clearly in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy.

If you need a reputable attorney, look for one the same way you would a good doctor or dentist- ask for recommendations from trusted friends or associates. Here at Berglund & Johnson, we are thankful that many of our referrals come from past clients, other practicing attorneys, judges and church pastors.

ABC’s of Dog Safety

Each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites, half of which are children. Of those injured, 386,000 require emergency treatment and about a dozen die from their wounds. Dog-bite related injuries are highest among children ages 5 to 9; the rate decreases as children get older.

Some basic safety rules for children when they encounter dogs:

  • Do not approach or play with an unfamiliar dog, unless supervised by an adult.
  • Before you pet a dog, allow it to see and sniff you first.
  • Stand still if approached by a strange dog. (“Be still like a tree.”) Don’t run away screaming.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“Be still like a log.”)
  • Report strays or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

Under California state law, a dog’s owner is liable for any damages suffered by a victim in an attack that happens in a public area or lawfully in a private place. If the injury takes place in a dog owner’s home, the homeowner’s liability insurance will compensate for the damages.

At Berglund & Johnson, we have represented many dog-bite victims over the past 32 years. We have established relationships with highly skilled medical providers who are experts in treating bite wounds and plastic surgery for scar revision, when necessary.