Tag: Vehicle Safety

Female Driver Sending Text Message Whilst Driving

Texting While Driving: Who Wins in a California Accident Lawsuit?

Distracted driving kills thousands of people a year, and hundreds of thousands of people are injured by distracted driving, yet over a third of teenagers admit to texting while driving. We all know texting while driving is dangerous yet the truth is many teenagers and adults do it, and, even where they may not be texting, other drivers are distracted by music, podcast, email, GPS, and all other sorts of applications on their phone. California has comprehensive laws addressing the use of wireless devices by drivers, but what does that mean for a person who is injured in a car accident when cell phone use is involved? Continue reading “Texting While Driving: Who Wins in a California Accident Lawsuit?”

Bicyclists Beware!

The California Vehicle Code 21650.1 section states that “[a] bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.”

Traffic collisions involving automobiles and bicyclists are frequent. You must be careful to obey this law. Motorists are usually looking in the opposite direction as they are merging onto the roadway and not expecting traffic from the opposite direction.

Nevertheless, you may still have a claim if you were injured in the crosswalk or the sidewalk due to the negligence of a motorist. An argument can be made that the crosswalk or sidewalk are not considered as a roadway where vehicles are driven. Bottomline, be careful!

If you are the unfortunate bicyclist who is injured due to the negligence of a motorist, call us at Berglund & Johnson (1-800-443-4878) for a free consultation.

Happy biking and be safe.

Booster seat law affecting children in 2012!

Last year the California Legislature approved new law on booster seats which will affect drivers and passengers in 2012, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Starting Jan. 1, young passengers ages six and seven will be required to ride in a booster seat in any vehicle, unless they are at least 4-feet-9-inches tall. Previously, only child passengers who were up to age six or weighing less than 60 pounds were required to ride in a car seat or booster seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now recommends that all children who’veoutgrown their car seat continue to ride in a booster seat until they’re at least 8 years old and 4 feet 9 inches tall.

“Traffic safety research shows that children aged four to seven are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a vehicle crash if they are in a car seat or booster seat than if they are wearing a seat belt,” said Alice Bisno, the Auto Club’s senior vice president for public affairs. “Adult-size seat belts do not properly protect young children because they don’t fit them correctly.”

As with the previous child seat law, the fine for a first offense is $100 and $250 for a second offense not including court assessment costs. The bottomline cost of the ticket will be $446 for a first offense or over $1,000 for a second offense.

Certified technicians (usually CHP) are available to check your car seat installation for free. Check the NHTSA website to find your nearest inspection station. Call us at Berglund and Johnson at 1-800-4-IF-HURT (1-800-443-4878) to discuss your personal injury matter.

Have a safe, blessed and prosperous 2012! “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you.” (Psalm 91:9-11, NKJV)

Frontovers and Backovers

With summer finally here, children are beginning to play in their neighborhood streets and driveways, which increases the risk children face with frontover and backover accidents. In 2010, there were 70 frontover fatalities and 60 backover fatalities because children cannot be seen around vehicles. Toddlers 12-23 months represent 70% of these victims. These young children are most at risk because they are unable to realize and comprehend the dangers associated with moving vehicles.

According to Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, “Children often don’t want to be left behind when a beloved relative is leaving; they impulsively follow them out and put themselves in a dangerous position near the vehicle where they can’t be seen.” The same thing happens when parents come home from work, and their children come running out to greet them. All vehicles have some sort of blind spots in the rear, front and corners, and even with proper use of the mirror, accidents can happen. Furthermore, inclines can increase the blind zones of these vehicles and increase the risk of a frontover or backover.

As for backover prevention, rear camera units are now being installed in newer model vehicles, which will decrease the risk of backover accidents. However, preventing frontovers continues to be a serious concern. Fennell advises, “KidsAndCars.org will continue to raise awareness and work to find solutions to eliminate these tragedies.”

Kids and Driveway Safety

Every year thousands of children are injured or killed by drivers accidentally backing over them. These accidents usually occur in residential driveways or in parking lots. Because more people are driving larger, longer and higher vehicles, we are seeing more of these back-over accidents. Tragically, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel in more than 70 percent of such incidents which involve children as young as 12 months up to 14 years of age.

Tips for Keeping Kids Safe:Always assume children could be present, and carefully check the street, driveway, and the area around your vehicle before backing out. Another good idea is to walk around and behind your vehicle prior to moving it.

  • When backing up, always know where all children are and have them stay in your full view and away from your vehicle.
  • Always look behind as you back out S-L-O-W-L-Y with your windows rolled down to listen for children who may have dashed behind your vehicle suddenly- and be prepared to stop!
  • Use extreme care whenever you back up. If you’re driving an SUV or truck, remember that the blind spot behind your vehicle can be especially large.
  • Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for one minute.
  • Trim landscaping around driveways to remove any visual obstructions.
  • Make sure all children passengers have left the car after it is parked.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway and always set the parking brake.
  • Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
  • Hold your child’s hand firmly while walking from a car into a building.
  • Never let your child walk or run ahead of you to anyplace where cars are.
  • Make your driveway a toy-free zone. Never allow any toys, bikes, chalks or any type of equipment to remain on the driveway.
  • Teach children not to play in, under, or around vehicles- ever.
  • Avoid making your driveway a ‘playground.’ If you do allow children in this area, make sure that it’s only when there are no vehicles present.
  • Teach your children that parked vehicles might move.

This list may seem long, but it is not exhaustive. Here at Berglund & Johnson we assist folks daily in dealing with personal injuries and other traumatic events. Our years of experience have taught us the value of being prepared. That is why we at Berglund & Johnson will continue to provide any information that could be useful to our clients and friends for their safety.

‘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.

CO Poisoning: A Silent Boating Hazard

A growing number of boating deaths caused by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning prompted the National Park Service to investigate CO exposures from generators and propulsion engines on houseboats. Studies showed there have been more than 600 boating-related poisonings in 35 states, with more than 100 deaths occurring in the past eight years.

The cause: CO engine exhaust builds up inside and outside the boat in areas near exhaust vents.

Ski boats were also studied- both transom and sideswipe exhaust. Researchers found that CO levels were highest when the boat was motionless. As the boat reached 20 mph and the person being towed was 10 to 60 feet behind, the levels were minimal. For details, click here.

Some important facts about CO:

  • CO cannot be seen or smelled, but it can be fatal or make people very sick
  • Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, confusion, fatigue, seizures, dizziness and loss of consciousness or nausea.

If anyone on your boat experiences these symptoms, get him or her to fresh air and seek medical help immediately.

Every boat should have a battery operator CO detector that is tested daily. See www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/coboating for more information.

Berglund & Johnson attorneys have handled CO exposure cases and know the experts necessary to prove your case. If you are someone you know has experienced CO poisoning, call us at 1-800-4-IF-HURT ; 1-800-443-4878 for a free consultation.

Car Safety First

Nothing beats that new car smell. However, before you revel in the smell and feel of your new ride, there are many things to consdier before buying a car. With more options to choose from, it’s important to consider every feature carefully, with care safety topping the list.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site (www.safercar.gov) is a good first stop on the road to car ownership. It offers important safety insights about vehicle defects, recalls, crash test and rollover ratings as well as other safe driving resources.

At Berglund & Johnson, we handle claims involving defective automobiles, such as cars that roll over or are equipped with defective and dangerous parts. One of our cases involved an automobile where a defective hood design resulted in it breaking away from its hinge and penetrating the windshield, causing serious person injury to the passengers. If you or someone you know has experienced personal injuries as a result of a car defect, call Berglund & Johnson for a free consultation.

Out of the Blue

Airplane crashes are the most unfathomable of disasters, causing trauma to survivors and devastation to families who have lost a loved one. At Berglund & Johnson, we’ve represented victims of airplane crashes. David Berglund is an experienced and fully instrument rated pilot and has logged thousands of hours flying his own airplane, which also means that he will fly to meet with you if you live outside of Los Angeles county. He has the knowledge and experience needed to properly represent victims or family members who have suffered injury or loss in a crash due to airplane defects or pilot error.

Berglund & Johnson is currently working on a case regarding a single engine airplane crash in Africa while taking vacationers to a Safari location. Whenever traveling overseas investigate the local airlines’ accident history and flight experience prior to flying with them. Call Berglund & Johnson for more information on airplane crash cases, or if you feel that you may have a case involving an airplane accident.