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Santa Monica Personal Injury Law Blog

Undue public risk from police chases gets grand jury endorsement

The finding of a recent civil grand jury in Los Angeles holds no particular sway when it comes to changing policy. It does reinforce the claims of critics who say current police high-speed chase practices in Los Angeles County pose an unnecessary death and injury risk to innocent bystanders. It's an issue that has been getting attention for a while. Indeed, we wrote about it last year on this blog.

The foundation of that previous post was a Los Angeles Times report that noted that 2015 was the worst year of the previous 10 for the number of injuries suffered by everyday people as a result of police car chases. As is the case whenever recklessness or negligence is a factor, victims or their loved ones have a right to seek compensation for suffering endured – physical, emotional and financial.

When bad decisions result in wrongful death

Movies make for great entertainment. But what goes into making a major motion picture can prove to be dangerous. For stunt people, taking risks is part of the job. For most other production people, the process shouldn't be quite so hazardous. Of course, shooting on location can be another story.

The jarring reality of loss is something still fresh for the parents of one young camera assistant. She died in February 2014 after being struck by a freight train. She was on a trestle helping shoot a scene. What she and most of her crewmates didn't know is that they didn't have authority to be there. Now, the parents are suing the railroad for her wrongful death.

Burn injuries can be inside and out

The biggest risk to individuals caught in a fire isn't necessarily the burns to the outside of the body. As we have noted in other posts, external burning can be minor or it can be severe. In the most severe cases, the external physical damage can be permanent. Burn victims can also suffer mental health complications. However, it's worth noting that the main cause of death from fire is smoke inhalation.

The damage that smoke, heat, fumes and gases do to the inside of the body may be less apparent, but it can be more debilitating to the victim in the long run, causing chronic health issues for the rest of a person's life. Treatment and care can be costly and if someone's negligence led to the exposure, legal accountability may be called for.

What does it take to resolve an injury claim without a trial?

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The art of negotiation isn't something many have mastered. It simply is not part of our day-to-day experience. When you walk into most retail operations (car dealerships might be the only exception), you expect to pay what the price tag says. Bigger market forces are supposed to dictate pricing and we usually expect sellers to make adjustments to remain competitive.

Market forces tend to play a limited role when gauging the overall economic impact of a vehicle crash. The cost of repairing or replacing your physical property is rather simple to assess. But if you've suffered physical injury in a crash, it's much more difficult to nail down what your recovery is likely to cost. Yet, more often than not, personal injury claims settle out of court. Obtaining optimal compensation requires that you know what you will need, for how long, and have the help of a skilled negotiator on your side.

Musical helmet trend may be fashionable, but is it safe?

A sportswriter coined the phrase, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." Apparently of equal merit to some in sports is the wisdom of actor Fernando Lamas who said, "It is better to look good than to feel good." The question, however, is just how deep one should dive in honor of that last pearl.

As we pointed out in a previous post, athletics can be the cause of significant and debilitating brain injuries. That certainly has been proven true for football players - both amateur and pro. But as our item observed, blows to the head can occur in nearly every sport. And they don't always have to cause a concussion to result in brain injury. Repeated hits, even minor ones, can do serious damage.

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What effect might Takata bankruptcy have on air bag recalls?

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Clouds of uncertainty continue to hinder resolution of the largest recall of defective auto parts in world history. We are talking about Takata air bags. As we have noted before, some bags that are supposed to be a cushion against serious injuries or death in vehicle crashes are potentially deadly. And because some are making their way into salvage cars without anyone knowing, an already herculean effort to replace them is facing more hurdles.

Unstable chemicals in some bags have led to explosive inflations in crashes, spraying vehicle interiors with shrapnel. Officials blame more than a dozen deaths and nearly 200 injuries on the defective devices. And in recent days there's been word that the Japanese manufacturer of the bags is effectively going out of business.

3 ways to de-escalate road rage before someone gets hurt

Keep your cool to avoid serious accidents or roadside violence.

Los Angeles is known across the nation for its traffic. For those of us who drive, crawling down the expressway is a fact of life. With that fact often come frustration, anger and the occasional obscenity hurled between drivers: all symptoms of road rage.

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Lazy-hazy-crazy summer days bring spike in wrongful deaths

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It can seem like endless summer in Los Angeles. Even when you go further north, the climate along the coast remains mild. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the country only enjoys the kind of weather noted in Nat King Cole's song "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" during June, July and August.

Despite the carefree nature of the title, there's some statistical information readers might benefit from knowing. According to the National Safety Council, July and August are peak months for the highest number of deaths due to preventable injuries -- that is, wrongful deaths caused by someone's negligence.

Burn injuries: Think beyond physical trauma to the mental

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Sunburn hurts but it's nothing compared to the pain of a catastrophic burn by fire, electricity, chemicals or a scalding liquid. If a victim survives such severe trauma, treatment itself can be painful and take years to complete. Optimal recovery from the physical damage might be less than 100 percent.

The physical trauma of burn injury typically receives the most attention. It's what's visible after all. The damage that it can wreak on the victim's mental condition too often is overlooked, even though it can influence the physical healing process. And there can be negative implications for the victim's relationships with family and friends. Experienced attorneys understand that any compensation claim needs to anticipate costs across the physical and emotional spectrums.

There are different kinds of brain injury. Many are disabling

One noted advocacy site makes the observation that, "Brain injury is not an event or an outcome." The alternative view offered by the Brain Injury Association of America is that a brain injury is essentially a symptom of a hard-to-diagnose, little known disease, the ravages of which can leave victims and their families facing quality-of-life challenges for a lifetime.

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While various groups work to raise awareness about the scope of this health issue and the need for greater investment in research and care policies, experienced attorneys in this area of law appreciate that each victim's needs are unique and more immediate. Holding those responsible for causing injury accountable and lining up the resources for care needed is not something victims or their families have to face alone.

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