Common Injury Accidents that Lead to Traumatic Brain Injuries

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 10.20.51 AM.pngIn the personal injury world, few injuries that a person can suffer are as life-changing and debilitating as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). While victims who suffer a mild TBI may be fortunate enough to make a full recovery, moderate or severe TBI victims are often left with some impairment or loss of functioning that remains long after the victim leaves the hospital. It is not unheard of for some young individuals who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries to recover millions of dollars in compensation through a personal injury lawsuit because of the past and future medical expenses, lost wages and earning potential, and pain and suffering such an injury can cause.

Top Injury Accidents Resulting in Traumatic Brain Injuries

Thankfully, traumatic brain injuries that result in some temporary or permanent loss of functioning and/or disability are not extremely common. Nonetheless, some injury accidents have a greater likelihood of resulting in a traumatic brain injury than others. These accident types include:

  •      Slips and falls: A slippery floor or a defective staircase can catch a person by surprise, sending them tumbling to the ground. In a slip and fall case, the victim may not have the time and/or coordination to brace him- or herself or take measures to protect his or her head. In a slip and fall, the victim may strike his or her head with a considerable amount of force, thereby resulting in a traumatic brain injury.
  •      Car accidents: The forces involved in any motor vehicle accident are sufficient to cause the head of a person to quickly go in one direction and then the other (this is not abated by the victim’s use of a seatbelt). This rapid acceleration and deceleration is sometimes referred to as “whiplash,” and it can result in a traumatic brain injury as the brain is “jostled” inside the skull. The greater the forces present in the crash, the more severe the traumatic brain injury can be.
  •      Pedestrian / bicyclist / motorcyclist accident: A pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist who is struck by a car is at an elevated risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury – especially if the bicyclist or motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet. These accidents can literally send the victim flying, causing the victim to strike his or her head on the ground or another object.

Traumatic brain injuries can also result from falls from heights (even “small” heights like a stepladder) and sports injuries. In both of these cases, wearing appropriate safety equipment and exercising caution can reduce the chance of a traumatic brain injury.

Take Action After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Unless you are absolutely certain you did not suffer anything other than a “bump on the head,” seek out medical care if you suffer a head injury. This is especially important if you lose consciousness for any length of time and/or experience amnesia. Then, call the Costa Mesa brain injury law firm of Case Barnett Law to review your legal rights and options. If your TBI was brought about because of another person’s careless or reckless actions, you may be entitled to compensation. You can reach Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990, or you can contact the firm online.

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Catastrophic Damage in Car Accident Cases Can Come from Tiny Culprits

 

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Last month an elderly California man was killed in a car accident. This tragic occurrence would not likely have gained must attention by the news but for the manner in which the accident occurred. The man was traveling northbound on the highway at about the time a state-owned Caltrans water truck was traveling that same highway, going southbound. According to investigators, a metal cap used to seal the opening on the top of the truck’s water tank detached and flew across several lanes of traffic, striking the elderly man in his neck. The cap was described as being about the size of a baseball and about two to three inches in width. The man crashed into the center median before his car came to a stop. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

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When a “Simple” Car Accident is Not So Simple

When one hears of an injury or death resulting from a car crash, one might naturally assume that the cause for the crash is simple and straightforward: One or both drivers drove their cars in a careless fashion and the crash ensued as a result. For investigators and others looking at this case, determining the precise cause of the crash is not so simple. While it can be said that the cause of the crash was the metal cap that became detached and hit the man in his neck, this does not necessarily explain who or what entity was actually at fault. There could be any number of culprits responsible in this crash:

  •      The truck driver, if he or she failed to ensure that the cap was properly secured before driving;
  •      The truck’s maintenance department, if the cap was damaged in some manner and a maintenance worker should have or could have discovered the damage through routine inspection;
  •      The agency or office responsible for maintaining the road, if a defect in the road (such as a large pothole) caused the cap to come loose;
  •      The manufacturer of the cap, if a design or manufacturing defect resulted in the cap not being safe for its intended use.

Answering the questions necessary to determine liability in a case such as this (unfortunately) takes time – the sort of time that surviving family members and/or injury victims do not generally have. The sooner such an investigation is completed and responsible parties identified, however, the sooner the victim(s) can obtain compensation and monetary damages for their losses.

The Case for an Attorney

This is why hiring an experienced car crash attorney is crucial: The attorney’s experience and resources can be used to complete the requisite investigation in a timely manner. Injury victims who attempt to “go it alone” (unfortunately) find out quickly that obtaining adequate compensation for their losses is no easy task.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or collision, contact Case Barnett Law right away for assistance. Our years of experience helping numerous car accident clients means that you can trust our firm to identify and pursue compensation against those responsible for your injuries in a prompt manner. Call our firm at (949) 861-2990 to learn how we can help you or your loved one. You can also contact our firm online for assistance.

Is Your Child at Risk of a Daycare Injury Accident?

 

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For many California parents, daycare is not a luxury – it is a necessity. When a parent lives away from friends and family members who are able to stay with the child with the parent is at work, a daycare facility is usually the parent’s last resort – somewhere where the child can be safe and supervised while the parent is away at work. When using a daycare facility, the parent may be lulled into a false sense of security: The regulations and laws with which a daycare facility in California must comply in order to continue operations can make a parent feel confident that their child will return to them from the daycare facility uninjured and in good health. This is not always the case, however.

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Common Daycare Injuries to Children

As much as parents may not wish to dwell on the thought, a daycare can be a dangerous place for a young child. Some children have been injured through deliberate acts inflicted upon them by daycare staff, but a child can suffer serious – even fatal – injuries simply because a daycare worker acted carelessly or had a momentary lapse of judgment. Just a few of the injuries that can befall a young child while at daycare include:

  •      Falls down steps or falls from heights which can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death;
  •      Cuts and serious lacerations from sharp objects like scissors or knives that are left in areas accessible to children, or from sharp corners on tables and other furniture;
  •      Serious burns of various types. Chemical burns can result from being exposed to powerful cleaners and disinfectants (even the fumes can cause internal injuries). Electrical burns can come about if the child is permitted to play with an active electrical socket. Heat burns can occur when the child is permitted to touch a hot stove or radiator.
  •     Traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and other injuries commonly associated with car accidents if the child is being transported in a daycare vehicle and the driver is involved in a crash.

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Parents of daycare-age children should carefully investigate a daycare facility before enrolling their children in the facility. Ensure that the facility is properly certified by the State of California. Tour the building and speak with the teachers, assistants, and staff. Does it appear that there are too many children and not enough adults? Are children supervised or do they appear to run wild? Are the facility, toys, and equipment in a good state of repair or are things falling apart? When it comes to your child’s safety, go with your gut – if you do not feel comfortable leaving your child at the facility for eight hours or more each day, it may be advisable to find another facility.

When to Call a Southern California Daycare Injury Attorney

If your child was injured while at a California daycare, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses and losses. Contact Case Barnett Law Firm at (949) 861-2990 today, or contact us online to discuss your case.

Personal Injury Claims and Pokémon Go

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.03.14 PM.pngAs the Pokémon GO craze sweeps the nation, young and old alike are taking to the streets in mass in search of the elusive Pokémon. In case you haven’t heard, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game produced by Nintendo that users play on their smartphones. The app encourages its users to go out into the real world in search of virtual Pokémon characters that can only be seen by looking through the camera on your phone. The game is wildly popular and, according to the Newport Beach Indy, boasts 30 millions downloads and $35 million in revenue in less than a month. The Newport Beach Indy also notes that there are several popular spots in Newport Beach where Pokémon can be found including Balboa Island, Dover Shores, Newport Beach Civic Center, and Crystal Cove State Park.

 

While Pokémon GO is undoubtedly fun, and can take credit for getting its users off the couch and out of the house, users are becoming so engrossed in the game that some people aren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings and are getting hurt. Dopplr.com reports that a rash of concerning personal injuries have been reported across the country including:

  • July 12: Teenage girl breaks her collarbone and foot in Pennsylvania after being hit by a car while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 12: Teenager is bitten by snake while playing Pokémon GO in Texas.
  • July 12: A man in New York is injured after crashing his car into a tree while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 13: Two distracted men survive a fall off of a cliff in southern California while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 18: A distracted driver hits a police car while playing Pokémon GO in Baltimore.

 

Can Nintendo Be Held Liable For These Injuries?

 

While reports of Pokémon GO related injuries continue to surface, many people are wondering if Nintendo will soon be facing a rash of personal injury lawsuits? An interesting report from CNN claims that the liability issues surrounding augmented reality games, such as Pokémon GO, represent a new legal frontier. The report notes that the Pokémon GO app contains a comprehensive Terms of Service Agreement that users are required to agree to before they are allowed to play the game. Nintendo’s Terms of Service Agreement protects the company from being sued by its users for property damage, injuries, and even death. In other words, users agree to play Pokémon GO at their own risk. However, CNN points out that non-users do not sign the Terms of Service Agreement and are therefore are not precluded from suing if they are injured by Pokémon GO players. These non-users may potentially be able to sue the app or even be sued themselves. While Nintendo has tried its best to shield itself from liability, so many people are being injured while playing Pokémon GO that we will likely see at least a few related lawsuits surface in the near future. These lawsuits will help define how much liability videogame makers incur for augmented reality games.

 

Need Legal Advice?

 

If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim in southern California, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers are committed to obtaining justice for our clients and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Our office in Newport Beach can be reached at (949) 861-2990.

 

See Related Links

 

Can I Sue For A Slip and Fall in a Public Place?

Nursing Home Saves Money at the Expense of its Patients. Ends up Being a $1 Million Dollar Mistake.

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L.F. v. Nursing Home

Case Barnett Law Corporation

Settlement: 1 Million Dollars

A lucrative nursing home in Orange County decided to save money on nursing staff. The nursing homes make more money by hiring fewer nurses than needed to provide appropriate care. Patients are then left in their own feces and urine for hours at a time. These patients frequently develop bedsores and other humiliating and painful injuries because they aren’t helped. Case Barnett Law made this facility pay.
91 year old L.F. ends up in the emergency room septic, with a bed sore, a 102 degree fever and a soiled diaper. She had been essentially forgotten about and left to die. Then, adding insult to injury, the nursing staff “backdated” their notes writing that they had recently bathed her and she had rolled herself in a wheelchair to the cafeteria smiling and laughing.
For two years the nursing facility refused to accept responsibility only offering $30,000, nuisance value to make the lawsuit go away. The family and Case Barnett Law refused to accept this. Like L.F., they are fighters. Case Barnett Law took more than 20 depositions and engaged in vigorous discovery to prove that the nursing home had neglected this beautiful woman. As part of the resolution, the facility must pay $1,000,000 to the family of L.F. and was forced to make changes in order to prevent this from happening to any one else ever again.

California Distracted Driving Accidents

Traffic crashes are often referred to as “accidents” giving the impression that crashes just happen out of nowhere. But traffic crashes happen because someone was negligent. Someone wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do. Someone was not obeying traffic laws. Whether someone was driving too fast, or distracted because of their mobile device, accidents don’t just happen. According to The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, 3,154 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. If a person is traveling 55 mph, that is enough time to cover the length if a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI).

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Distracted Driving and Traffic Laws

Legislators in the state of California take traffic safety very seriously, and they are trying to reduce the number of car accidents by enforcing various laws that are supposed to deter drivers from speeding, running a red light, driving under the influence, or using cell phones while driving, which are some of the most common traffic violations in the U.S. Talking on a cell phone while driving is the most common cause of distracted driving, and most states have specific laws banning it. Distracted driving laws in the state of California have existed since 2006, when the first cell phone legislation was introduced.(dmv.com)

Distracted Driving Laws For Teen Drivers

Currently, there is a law in effect that prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless communications device while driving. This ban is an addition to the provisions that are already in existence, which prohibit teen drivers from using cell phones. (dmv.com)

Cell Phones

The prevalence of mobile devices in life, has created addictions and people can’t just stay off of their phones. It only takes a fraction of a second to change someone else’s life forever. There is no excuse for looking at a text messages or email while driving. “Everyone does it,” is not a defense. For more information on teen distracted driving data, please go to: http://www.distraction.gov/downloads/pdfs/11381-Distracted_Driving_Teens_2013_032415_v1a_tag.pdf

Text Messaging Bans

Sending text messages while driving is a huge distraction, but a lot of people don’t realize that and still do it. It’s a potentially dangerous activity because it requires you to take at least one hand off the steering wheel to type and send a message, and you can lose control of your vehicle pretty quickly that way. That’s why the state of California has banned all drivers from texting, and this ban is considered a primary law. Furthermore, drivers are also prohibited from hands-free text messaging, as well as voice-operated text messaging. The text messaging fine is $20 for a first offense, and $50 for a repeat offense. (dmv.com)

Using a GPS App

Using a smartphone while driving for navigational purposes is also not allowed. Drivers can’t use a GPS application while holding a smartphone in their hands, which used to be allowed until April 2013. (dmv.com)

Adult Drivers

Drivers aged 18 and above can only use a cell phone with an attached hands-free device. There is a hand-held ban for both adult and teen drivers, which is considered a primary law. (dmv.com)

School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, be it hands-free or hand-held. They have a special responsibility due to the fact that they transport children to school and that’s why they are not allowed to use a cell phone with a hands-free device, which other drivers are allowed to do. (dmv.com)

General Distracted Driving Laws

Some states forbid specific activities while driving. While recent years have seen states address telephones and electronic gadgets, some low-tech distractions have been specifically banned in certain states for a long time. States have specifically prohibited activities including personal grooming (such as shaving or putting on make-up), reading, writing, interacting with pets, and other common in-vehicle distractions. (findlaw.com)

Evidence of Negligence or Recklessness

A traffic ticket is by far the least serious outcome of distracted driving. Distracted driving poses far more serious dangers such as accidents and injuries which can lead to lawsuits. The fact that a driver was distracted greatly increases the likelihood that a driver will be found responsible for damages caused.

For example, if someone has an accident while or shortly after talking on a cell phone, evidence of their phone call could be presented to prove negligence or recklessness. With the issue of negligence deciding many auto injury lawsuits, evidence of distraction could result in potentially large monetary liabilities.

With cell phone records detailing when people use mobile devices and how, evidence relating to phone calls and messages sent or accessed close to the time of an accident become crucial in many auto accident related lawsuits.

Even if there is no specific law against what the driver was doing, evidence of distracted driving can help prove negligence, perhaps leading to civil liability, For example, even in states which have not banned texting while driving, evidence of texting while driving may cause a driver to lose a lawsuit stemming from an accident. (findlaw.com)

Conclusion

Distracted driving has many variations and can happen when tending to a crying child or looking at your phone when you receive a text message. California  has enacted laws banning specific acts such as texting or using a handheld phone while driving.

In addition to traffic tickets, distracted driving can cause accidents, injuries, or even death, and can be used as evidence of a driver’s negligence or recklessness in lawsuits stemming from an auto accident.

If someone is on their cell phone, tablet or otherwise just not paying attention while driving, and crashes in to you, contact Case Barnett Law so we can help you. Let Case Barnett Law deal with the insurance companies and all of those hassles so that you can focus on healing.

For more information on California distracted driving laws visit

Can I Sue If I Was Hurt Or Injured Volunteering?

Scharf v. Calvary Chapel-Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement Won by Case Barnett Law Corporation

​Verdict: Church Found 49% Responsible

Settlement: 3.8 Million Dollars-

Churches must acknowledge the pastor/congregant dynamic and ensure that the desires of their followers to serve the church, doesn’t overcome safety precautions. CACI 401 discusses the basic standard of care in negligence cases. The last line instructs the jury, “You must decide how a reasonably careful person would have acted in defendant’s situation.” The key part of the instruction is in defendant’s situation.

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January 25, 2005, Dennis Scharf, a low voltage electrician had volunteered to run low voltage electrical for his church as part of a church remodel. On Sunday, Dennis arrived at church to be told by the head pastor that there was still work left to be completed, and the work must be completed that night. Mr. Scharf, feeling the pressure to please his church, his pastor and his God, spent the evening completing the job. Dennis ended up falling from a wall of approximately 12 feet, landing on his head suffering a serious traumatic brain injury. After clawing his way back from he edge of death, Dennis Scharf still suffered from serious cognitive and emotional deficits.

After more than eight years of litigation Case Barnett Law took the reigns of this case in 2013. We decided to change the theory of the case to better reflect the true shortcomings of the church and its lead pastor. We argued:

1) The reasonable person standard of CACI 401 means a reasonable pastor needs to acknowledge and account for his influence in the Church.

2) A reasonable pastor needs to ensure that his congregants are not unnecessarily exposing themselves to harm for the betterment of the Church.

3) A volunteer is an employee and should be protected by Cal-Osha standards.

4) A church assumes the responsibility for the safety of a worksite, when they choose not to hire licensed individuals.

The third issue would have meant that any Cal-Osha violations by the Church would have made them strictly liable for any injuries suffered by Dennis Scharf because of those violations. Ultimately, the court found that Dennis Scharf, as a volunteer was not a statutory employee and therefor not entitled to the protections of Cal-Osha. This issue is novel, as there are no cases directly on point. But, theoretically, if you have an individual, performing work that requires a license, and that individual does not have a license, then that individual becomes an employee pursuant to labor code section 2750.5. But, the court found that a volunteer, who is unpaid, does not get those protections (while someone paid, who is unlicensed, would get the protections).

Ultimately, the jury found that the general negligence of the church and pastor under theories 1, 2 and 4. The church had received a quote to get the work done for $35,000. The Church choose to With this decision, the Church assumed responsibility for the safe construction of the Church.

The defense in the case moved to bifurcate liability and damages. At first, we opposed the motion under the general theory that plaintiffs want the liability and damages issue to buttress each other. After further consideration, we withdrew our opposition to the motion, and decided that a jury would be more likely to put a greater liability on the church, if the amount the plaintiff was claiming in recover was not before the jury.

After 2 weeks of trial, a Riverside jury returned a liability verdict against the Church finding Dennis Scharf 51% responsible, and the Church and the Pastor 49% responsible.

The insurance company had rejected multiple offers to settle this case at or below the policy limits of $1million. Facing a potential substantial verdict, the insurance company came to the table willing to negotiate.

Rather than spend several more years in litigation regarding this case, and then trying to collect against the insurance company in a bad faith claim, plaintiffs agreed to settle all claims for $3.8 million. This settlement was nothing short of a miracle given that the case had been thrown out on appeal and the highest defense offer was $200,000.

If you have been injured in an accident contact Case Barnett Law for a free consultation.

Can I Sue For A Slip and Fall In A Public Place?

Dr. Beltran vs. Homeowner’s Association-Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement Won by Case Barnett Law

CorporationSettlement: 2.5 Million Dollars

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It’s not often that an attorney settles a trip and fall case for $2 million, but in 2015, Case Barnett Law did. Dr. RB lived in a posh Orange County neighborhood paying over $700 a month in monthly homeowner’s association dues. A water meter box was continually broken in front of his home. Dr. RB complained to his homeowner’s association about the broken water meter box on multiple occasions.

After a day at work, Dr. RB returned in the evening and parked his car in the driveway. He exited the car to get his mail. His second step went in to the broken water meter cover causing serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury and severed tendons in his hand.

The defendants repeatedly passed responsibility amongst each other and pointed the finger back at Dr. RB for not fixing it himself, and for knowing about it, but failing to avoid it. The liability issues were complicated because of the covenants, codes and restrictions (the CC&R’s), the governing documents for the homeowner’s association and the HOA’s attempts to shift responsibility to the homeowners. CC&R’s give HOA’s the ability to make their own laws and distribute responsibilities. A close inspection of these governing documents is essential to suing any homeowner’s association.

We were able to settle four of five defendants for $2 million before trial, leaving one defendant who refused to accept any responsibility. This defendant, insured by Liberty Mutual, insisted its client had zero fault. A jury of 12 Orange County Citizens disagreed and found the last defendant 32% responsible. The case currently waits for the damages phase to begin. Case Barnett Law will be seeking damages of more than $10 million. Insurance companies never learn.

If you have been injured in an accident contact Case Barnett Law for a free consultation.