Most people in California are familiar with the legal term “tort,” but according to our Stockton personal injury attorneys there is a good deal the public doesn’t understand about this expansive arena of law. Most often, public exposure to the concept of tort comes at statewide election time when the issue appears on voters’ ballots. Although the issue usually centers on limiting claims for damages, our Stockton liability and injury lawyers know that tort law covers a great deal of legal territory. Consequently, this blog will cover some of the issues involved in torts that our Stockton personal injury lawyers frequently deal with.
Tort law involves civil wrongs which our injury attorneys explain as the claims of one individual or group of people against another person or group. This differs from criminal trials in which the state (not the individual) brings the legal action to court in Stockton. A personal injury lawyer will represent a plaintiff who claims a civil wrong - harm or injury - has been done to him or her by a person or a group. Tort law, according to our Stockton personal injury attorneys, aims to levy punishment for a wrong, as well as to prevent future similar acts.
The dual purpose of tort law can be seen in current actions against car makers throughout the nation and in Stockton. Liability lawyers are representing plaintiffs harmed in car accidents due to faulty equipment – personal injury attorneys are mostly focused on defective airbags produced by the Takata Corporation. Throughout the past year, our Stockton personal injury attorneys have monitored lawsuits involving car makers such as Chevy, GM and others. At the present time, our injury attorneys say there are about several lawsuits pending (including a class action suit), mostly related to faulty airbags. Although a few cases have been settled out of court for monetary damages, several plaintiffs are pursuing trials for the preventative effect a guilty decision might have. Our Stockton Liability lawyers point out this dual-effect is inherent in tort law – one purpose to punish and the other to prevent further harmful acts. In court, personal injury attorneys can further request from the judge an injunction to prevent the company (or individual) from future similar actions. For example, the plaintiff’s liability attorney may ask the court to prohibit the use of airbags purchased from a maker ruled liable for injury. Lawyers at Sette Law closely follow developments of these civil action suits related to defective airbags.
It’s also important to know that in cases such as those just outlined, liability attorneys representing the plaintiff can also extend responsibility (liability) to the entire manufacturing, marketing and sales chain. That means Takata itself can be held liable all the way through to the dealership selling the vehicle in Stockton.
Liability Attorneys contend with Inconsistent Statutes
Our Stockton personal injury attorneys admit that tort law is pretty complicated, in part, because there is no overall federal products liability law. Instead, individual states create liability statutes, so a Stockton liability lawyer must be acquainted with differing laws from one state to the next. To mitigate the lack of overarching tort law, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its own statutes, known as MULPA (Model Uniform products Liability Act). Stockton personal injury attorneys say there is no requirement to reference MULPA in court actions and state use of these statutes is purely voluntary.
Getting into more detail, our Stockton personal injury lawyers explain that the category of products liability has three distinct areas: strict liability, negligent, and intentional torts. Strict liability is the action our Stockton injury lawyers deal with most. In the case of Takata, for instance, the company may have demonstrated adequate “care” in manufacturing airbags and still be held liable for death and injury. Our personal injury lawyers theorize that this element of products liability will apply in the Takata actions.
Moving on, injury lawyers explain that negligent torts involve someone who does not show “care” and causes harm. Say a drunk driver gets behind the wheel and hits a bicyclist on a roadway in Stockton. Liability lawyers will establish the driver’s intoxicated condition shows he failed to demonstrate required care and was therefore negligent.
Next, our Stockton injury lawyers deal with intentional torts in which an individual causes harm to another through physical assault or some active intent to cause harm. Liability lawyers must prove the action was, indeed, intentional. Intentional tort circumstances may include trespassing, intent to exert emotional distress, false imprisonment. Stockton injury lawyers may also represent people involved in defamation and the invasion of privacy, among other acts, under the title of intentional tort law.
Our Stockton personal injury attorneys and lawyers across the nation, have access to the American Law Institute, commonly referred to as the ALA. This organization is a collection of about 4,000 legal experts who produce the “Restatement of Torts,” a reference publication that clarifies and updates the application of law throughout the United States. Our Stockton liability lawyers can leverage the work of these scholars as circumstance arise for our clients in Stockton.
Liability Attorneys contend with Tort Complexities
Personal injury lawyers are keenly aware of the complexities of liability and tort law and, with many years of study and experience behind us, want to help clients better understand how we may assist them in tort cases in Stockton. Our liability attorneys take on the responsibility of staying informed about changing interpretation of law based on cases across the county. At the same time, injury lawyers feel obligated to inform clients about rulings and opinions that may affect their case in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys know that tort law offers opportunity to victims who, through no fault of their own, are injured due to the negligence, intention or actions of others. In addition, our Stockton liability lawyers get satisfaction from knowing that some tort cases have national implications that can save lives. From cities like Stockton, personal injury attorneys can highlight wrongs that, without tort law, could continue to cause injury and even death. Many injury lawyers believe the current actions highlighting auto makers and the Takata Corporation may be just such an instance of tort law opening the door for greater scrutiny of quality in automobile safety equipment.
As cities across the nation encourage residents to leave cars at home and ride bikes, it’s important that riders step up their attention to safety. Stockton bicycle accident lawyers report that over 100 people lost their lives in bicycle accidents and thousands more were injured across the California and in Stockton. Bicycle accidents, our lawyers at Sette Law report, rose significantly over the past three years across the nation. But, there is reason for bicyclists to be extra concerned in Stockton.
Bicycle accident lawyers say Stockton ranks as the second most dangerous city in its region for riders under the age of 15 and ninth for all riders, as measured by the California Office of Traffic Safety. According to the OTS 2011 report, 138 bike riders were killed or injured in Stockton. Bicycle accident lawyers who work closely with law enforcement, add that these figures likely do not reflect reality on the streets of Stockton where bicycle accidents often go unreported.
Clearly, vehicle drivers must become more aware of bike riders to play a role in preventing Stockton bicycle accidents. But, since it’s the bike riders who are most at risk, adopting some strict safety practices is essential to preventing Stockton bicycle accidents. Our attorneys encourage riders of all ages to follow basic practices:
Be Predictable: Prevent Stockton bicycle accidents by making sure car drivers know your intention to turn and make moves in traffic. Adhere to traffic laws on the streets of Stockton.
Visible Bicycle Accident Prevention: Don’t blend in with the environment when riding a bike! Wear bright clothes, equip your bike with reflectors and lights, make eye contact, make sure you’re seen by drivers.
Total Attention Required: Prevent Stockton bicycle accidents by thinking ahead about your environment and what vehicle drivers might do. Anticipate car doors opening or vehicles making sudden turns in Stockton.
Bicycle injury attorneys at Sette Law are also staunch supporters of bicycle helmets – we think helmets should be basic to bicycle safety for all riders in Stockton.
Our personal injury attorneys say that it is very important for any victim to remember all the details of a bicycle accident. Lawyers working on their behalf will need to prove liability, and personal witnesses along with traffic reports can support the case of a bicycle accident victim.
We’ve all read frightening news stories about dog Bite injuries and deaths. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers know of many local cases that never made front page headlines. Every year people are harmed by out-of-control dogs in Stockton. Dog bite attorneys at Sette Law say that owner liability for dog bite injuries has some specific requirements if victims are to be compensated for their many personal losses.
The statutes governing dog bites often vary among jurisdictions and in some regions “common law” applies. According to our Stockton dog bite lawyers, generally, a few key factors are considered. Personal injury attorneys representing a dog bite victim will investigate whether or not the dog had a known reputation for being aggressive and also consider if the animal had suffered abuse. But, essentially, the focus of any Stockton dog bite legal case will also be on the owner of the animal.
Several Layers of Dog Bite Laws may Apply
Stockton personal injury lawyers reference California code that says an animal’s owner bears responsibility for its behavior. Whether in public or on private property, dog bite lawyers say owners most often bear liability for a dog bite. However, Stockton dog bite lawyers point out that dog owners also have certain protections. If, for example, a person trespasses onto private property and is bitten by the resident dog, the owner may be shielded from responsibility in Stockton. Conversely, dog bite attorneys say that owners usually have liability for injuries when the victim was legally on his or her property when the dog bite happened. Lawyers at Sette report that courts have ruled that dog bite victims who were trespassing on private land played a role in the attack and also took on a risk. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers say this determination can be complicated and may result in the court assessing a percentage of liability to both parties – the injured plaintiff and the dog owner.
However, personal injury lawyers say that dog owners have basic responsibilities. If, for example, an owner knows a dog can be aggressive and takes no steps to protect the public, the owner may be deemed liable. According to Stockton dog bite lawyers, indications that an owner was aware of a dog’s dangerous temperament include posting a warning sign or having to muzzle a dog in Stockton. Dog bite lawyers say common law requires the victim of a dog bite to prove the animal’s owner knew about the dog’s potential to be aggressive.
To further complicate the issue of liability, a person suffering a dog bite in the course of his or her employment can also bear some legal responsibility in Stockton. Dog bite lawyers say that contractual employees at a kennel or boarding facility, for example, may accept the inherent risk of their occupation. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys must look very closely at the details of each dog bite lawsuit or court case to determine liability.
Dog Bites associated with Certain Breeds
In general, common law indicates dogs that have no history or demonstrated behavior of viciousness are to be considered harmless. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers explain this principle can be flexible in interpretation by including specific breeds of dogs with a reputation for being aggressive. Pit bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans, for example, may be among such breeds. Stockton dog bite lawyers say that breeds identified in this category may inherently bear the description of “dangerous.” However, dog bite lawyers recognize it’s important to note that individuals within these breeds are often harmless in nature and do not exhibit vicious tendencies.
Both common law and state statutes can influence the outcome of any Stockton dog bite case. Lawyers should be familiar with landmark cases that established precedents in dog bite law and victims of dog bites are advised to be very clear about the circumstances under which they were injured when consulting with a Stockton dog bite attorney.
Lawyers at Sette Law appreciate the appeal of riding motorcycles in the Central Valley – plenty of great weather and many exhilarating rides in the region surrounding Stockton. Motorcycle accident lawyers also recognize the serious dangers surrounding this popular mode of transportation and fun in Stockton.
Personal injury lawyers refer to data collected by national and state agencies that documented a 175 percent increase in deaths due to motorcycle accidents over 10 years (1998-2008). In 2012 the NHTSA reported that riders faced a 26 percent increased risk of death, according to miles traveled, than do people traveling in cars. Stockton motorcycle accident lawyers also note that public perception of motorcycle riders may be skewed, with officials sometimes assuming the rider was responsible for a crash. In handling numerous Stockton motorcycle accidents our lawyers know this assumption can be far from the truth.
Stockton Injury Lawyers say Motorcycle Riders at Bigger Risk
But, motorcycle riders must be aware they are in greater danger of serious harm from an accident in Stockton. Injury lawyers caution the margins for error are small on a motorcycle. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, driving at high speed, improper turns and driving while intoxicated are the top three causes of motorcycle accidents. Of course, these behaviors apply equally to car drivers in Stockton. Motorcycle accident lawyers refer to police reports, witnesses and accident scene evidence to establish liability for a crash in Stockton.
Motorcycle Accident lawyers advise riders to be aware of some startling statistics. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, in 2006 13.10 vehicles out of 100,000 were involved in fatal accidents. Comparable motorcycle crashes resulted in 72.34 percent deaths per 100,000 nationwide and comparably in Stockton.
Motorcycle accident Lawyers encourage Education for Riders in Stockton
Personal injury attorneys at Sette are alarmed at these statistics. It is clear that motorcycle riders must take extra precautions on the roads of Stockton. Our motorcycle accident lawyers believe education and training enhance safety, and we recommend the California Motorcyclist Safety program sponsored by the California Highway Patrol. This proven program equips riders with important skills and leads to a certificate that provides a waiver for the requirement that motorcycle riders take a Driving Skills Test at the DMV in Stockton.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers also point to NTHSA research that shows riders over the age of 40 were involved in 56 percent of fatal accidents across the U.S. and similarly in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys report that injuries to riders in this age group were also more severe, according to the 2012 study. Stockton accident lawyers tapped research from Brown University for reasons behind these numbers and found that the over-40 group tended to ride big motorcycles that are heavier and more prone to roll over. Researchers also attributed diminished vision and slower reaction times in older riders.
Stockton motorcycle accident lawyers note alarming statistics on the other end of the age spectrum. Young (and inexperienced) riders often choose Super-Sport-Bikes which are lighter, faster, powerful, and quickly reach high, dangerous speeds on roads in Stockton. Motorcycle accident lawyers say riders on these youth-oriented bikes face a risk of death or injury that’s four-times high than for other model motorcycles in Stockton.
Personal injury attorneys at Sette see the devastating impacts of motorcycle accidents in Stockton. Our motorcycle accident lawyers urge riders to take advantage of the CHP training course and to ride with extreme awareness, as if your life depends on it!
As the popularity in sports grows, our Stockton personal injury lawyers, note that concerns over head injuries are also on the rise – particularly in a sports-minded community like Stockton. Injury lawyers and the public have seen much of the focus regarding traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on football. However, now our Stockton head injury lawyers say the problem crosses the spectrum of sports activities.
Of particular interest is the recurrence of head injuries in soccer, a much loved sport in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers at Sette Law point out that “heading” is an accepted part of the game. Consequently, head protection in soccer can’t cause the game to be modified for players in Stockton. Our injury attorneys say protective head gear has, thus far, been ineffective or inappropriate to the game. A study done by McGill University in Canada, found that 60 percent of players on college teams had suffered concussions. That number was much higher than expected and certainly serves as a caution to soccer teams in Stockton.
Injury attorneys were also surprised to learn that TBI and concussions are now identified in cheerleading teams. Once a role played by energetic young women with bright smiles and pom-poms, cheer squads have morphed into nimble acrobats and gymnasts across America and in Stockton. Brain injury lawyers say high risk jumps and athletic routines increased the incidence of injury. 2010 Cheerleading data showed that almost 20 percent of injuries were to the neck and head. Stockton brain injury attorneys say that new safety guidelines have been issued to protect participants on college, high school, and competitive teams, including teams in Stockton. Our personal injury attorneys point out that not all rules are embraced by every organization from the public and private sectors. By their very nature, cheer teams strive for excellence and new routines, despite the risks, to dazzle audiences in Stockton.
Personal Injury Attorneys broaden TBI Scope
Of course, it’s the rough and tumble sports that are most identified with brain injuries in Stockton. Our injury lawyers handle football and soccer injuries that are direct contact sports and popular in Stockton. Our personal injury attorneys recognize that regulations for the protection of players are in development. However, there seems to be a failure of systems to reach agreement across the spectrum of organizations. In Stockton, injury attorneys say that different rules apply at different levels of participation. From college football to youth soccer and high school sports, there is no common standard for safety for athletes in Stockton. So, personal injury lawyers must follow multiple sports organizations and associations plus monitor lawsuits related to TBI across America and in Stockton. Injury lawyers at Sette Law support the development of sane and consistent regulations that safeguard athletes.