The Law Offices OfPhilip M. Tobin

San Jose Personal Injury Law Blog

Can parents sue a school after a shooting?

The school shooting occurring at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL in 2018 is a part of a years' long sad and sickening trend of violence involving this nation's children. Survivors of the shooting and victims' families have launched more than 100 lawsuits against the school board for its failure to protect children and staff. Education Week explains the motivations behind these suits and the chances that claimants will receive a successful verdict. 

While the trial is still ongoing, alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz has given a confession on camera stating his responsibility for the incident. Courts are also working to determine the liability of the school district itself when it comes to the 17 deaths and 17 injuries that occurred because of Cruz's actions. One suit cited the Broward County school district's inability to protect students and staff, calling the failure “unreasonable, callous and negligent”. 

What can commercial drivers do to keep others safe?

It's up to commercial drivers to behave in a safe and responsible manner at all times. Doing so can prevent major accidents from occurring, which may cause significant property damage and severe injuries. Accordingly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends the following tips to help commercial truckers and other drivers to make safety a top priority. 

Before setting out, truckers are encouraged to check and re-check the condition of their vehicles for any issues. When hauling a heavy load, the mechanisms used to secure it should be assessed for security. Truckers should also make sure there aren't any loose items that could possibly break free. Components of the vehicle should also be assessed. This includes brakes and tires, which can pose a significant safety issue when malfunctioning. 

What is lane splitting?

Driving around motorcycles can be a different experience for California drivers. Motorcycles are narrow and smaller than cars, which makes them harder to see, and motorcyclists operate differently than motorists do. One driving phenomenon that is unique is lane splitting, which is only legal in the state of California. It is important that both motorcycle and vehicle operators understand what it is and how to deal with it to enhance safety on the road.

According to the American Motorcyclist Association, lane splitting happens when a motorcycle splits or shares a lane with another vehicle. While this may seem like a dangerous move, studies show that the practice actually improves motorcycle safety. Congested traffic can pose a danger to motorcyclists, but being able to pass next to vehicles reduces their exposure to things such as rear-end crashes. Lane splitting can also decrease the incidences of torso, head and fatal injuries.

Factors that impact injuries in car wrecks

People who are involved in car wrecks can suffer from a variety of injuries. When they go in for medical care after the crash, the nurses and doctors will look into the type of impact that took place to determine what injuries are most likely.

While most individuals look at the wreck as one single impact, the medical staff will look at three separate impacts that are intertwined.

  • Impact of objects: This includes the vehicle and whatever it came into contact with. This can be another car or something like a tree or roadside barrier.
  • Impact of the body: This includes whatever the body hits, as well as the location on the body that is hit. In many vehicle accidents, a person will hit the dashboard, the steering wheel or windows.
  • Impact of the organs: Even though you can't see it, the violent jerk that comes with a car wreck forces the organs to move around. They can slam against the supporting or protective structures. An example of this is the brain slamming against the skull, which can cause bruising or other damage to the brain.

Is it legal to use a cell phone while driving in California?

As a California driver, you may have heard a lot of discussion about distracted driving, especially with the state's recent public awareness campaigns. While most of the PSA materials discuss the dangers of distracted driving, they do not clarify the legal specifics related to cell phone use. However, there are clear laws about when and how you may use your cell phone while in a vehicle.

The California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that the most serious distraction for drivers is texting. According to a 2016 survey, 54% of California drivers stated they have personally experienced an accident or near miss with a driver talking or texting on a cell phone. OTS says that dialing or texting may increase your risk of an accident by up to three times. Using your phone may require you to take your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. If you are going 55 mph, you may drive the length of a football field in those few seconds.

Is legalized marijuana contributing to an increase in accidents?

The legalization of marijuana in California has been a big win for those who support this movement. Many states have also legalized the drug in one way or another. Since this has been a fairly recent movement, there has not been a lot of information about the impact it has on society. However, recent reports from NBC News suggest that the legalization of marijuana may have a link to an increase in auto accidents.

Statistics gathered from states with legalized marijuana show a large increase in the number of auto accidents. The increase was six percent over previous years before the legalization. These statistics were compared with neighboring states that do not have legal marijuana. However, it is difficult to know how large of a role marijuana plays for a few reasons.

What is statute of limitations?

When you want to take any case to court in California, it is important to understand the statute of limitations. This key point to any legal case will allow you to know if you can file a lawsuit or make a claim. It also dictates to prosecutors whether they can make criminal charges against someone. In a wrongful death case, it tells you when you should file your case and ensures you are within the legal time frame to do so.

The California Courts explains a statute of limitations is the time limit in which you can file a legal case. It also tells you when the time begins. In a wrongful death case, for example, the statute of limitations tells you the clock starts at the moment of the incident and ends two years later. So, you have two years in which to file you case after the incident occurs. If you fail to file your case within the statute of limitations, the court will probably throw it out because the time limit expired.

Seat belts can save your life in a collision with a semi-truck

On any given day, tractor-trailer trucks line California freeways and secondary roads. While they are a vital part of the economy, they can also be hazardous when the driver suffers from fatigue or distraction. At The Law Offices of Philip M. Tobin, we often represent clients seriously injured in a collision with a big rig.

According to LiveStrong, while airbags and seat belts can prevent serious injuries in a collision with another vehicle, they also create injuries of their own that are not always obvious. Watching for symptoms in the days following an accident is crucial in identifying and treating the injury:

  • Weakness in the legs can result from damage in the spinal nerves, abdomen or lower back. General feelings of weakness or dizziness can also indicate internal organ damage or shock.
  • Blood in your stool or urine may signal damage to the bladder or urinary tract, occurring when the pressure of the seat belt compresses those areas in an accident. Vomiting or coughing up blood could mean you have a respiratory tract injury or lung damage.
  • Abdominal pain and pain between the hips and ribs where the lap strap rests might be the result of kidney damage. If not treated, the injury can lead to infections, delayed bleeding and kidney failure.
  • Difficulty breathing after an accident may signal heart or lung damage.
  • Neck stiffness requires monitoring. While it could be whiplash, it may also indicate a spinal injury.

Do semitruck drivers get enough training to be safe?

It can be quite nerve-wracking to glance up into the rearview mirror and see a huge semitruck bearing down on your bumper. You can only hope that the driver has sufficient training and experience to avoid a catastrophic highway accident.

But do truckers get enough training before being turned loose on the roads? Certain factors currently affecting the trucking industry may mean that they don't.

How can I cope with post-injury depression?

Car accidents involving pedestrians can result in severe and sometimes debilitating injuries. Along with significant physical effects, people with serious injuries may also experience depression or other mental health issues, and these can get in the way of the recovery process. To help you cope after an accident, Thrive Global offers the following advice.

First of all, don’t forgo diet and exercise while you’re in recovery. While you may experience challenges when it comes to physical activity, your medical team can offer instruction on what is and is not safe for your condition. Staying fit has an impact on your mental and emotional health, and spending most of your time in bed or on the couch may only exacerbate bad feelings. The food you eat also plays a role in mood, so make sure your diet includes, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and other healthy items. 

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