Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

San Francisco Legal Blog

Preparing for life after a spinal cord injury

Damage to the spinal cord is permanent. This is your new reality if your loved one's recent involvement in an accident resulted in paralysis from a spinal cord injury. The shock of the diagnosis may still be protecting you from an emotional breakdown, or you may be well past that phase of grief and ready to move forward.

Moving forward requires having as much reliable information as you can find about what you can expect from your loved one's injury and recovery. You certainly want the best care for your family member, and this may mean psychological and vocational as well as medical.

Which cars have the worst medical and personal injury claims?

Smaller and lighter cars are becoming more popular in California as drivers try to lower gas expenses. However, according to Forbes, these vehicles can be costly in other ways. Smaller and lighter cars tend to have more medical payments claims than any other category of cars. The main reason for this is easy to guess at. Smaller cars typically sustain greater damage during a car crash, which means that the occupants of the vehicle may suffer greater injuries.

Forbes also points out that the cars alone are not to blame for the higher rates of medical claims. The drivers who choose these cars represent a more vulnerable demographic. The affordability of these cars tends to attracts newer and younger drivers who may be less experienced and sometimes more prone to distractions on the road.

How can you know if your child has a concussion?

Having your kids play sports after school is good for them in many ways. It teaches valuable skills and keeps them active.

However, sports, especially ones that involve physical contact, can be dangerous for your children. Sports like tackle football, soccer and hockey, among others, pose a few risks to your children. You might be worried about your children suffering a concussion during their after school activities.

Proposal to prevent unintended acceleration halted

The Los Angeles Times reports that previous plans to obligate mandatory safety features to prevent the unintended acceleration of vehicles are no longer in motion. The change comes after automakers voluntarily installed safety systems, which were implemented because of issues with Toyota accelerators that caused numerous accidents from 2009 to 2012. Automakers claim that all vehicles currently being manufactured have override systems that prevent acceleration if both the brakes and the gas are pressed at the same time. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rescinded their previous request for an official requirement for such safety systems. 

The issue began in 2010 amidst claims that some Toyota vehicles had electronic defects that caused accidental acceleration. In other cases, acceleration was blamed on operator error or occurred as a result of gas pedals becoming stuck by floor mats or carpeting. In one incident, four people were killed in San Diego after the gas pedal of a Lexus was trapped by the floor mat. This led to a recall of 2.17 million cars, as well as a $50 million fine assessed to Toyota for not acting swiftly enough. 

School-transportation vehicles are the safest way to travel

Parents in California are always looking for new ways to keep their children safe and to play an active role in their lives. As a result, many parents opt to drop kids off at school themselves, rather than let them take the bus. However, year and year, statistics have shown that school-transportation vehicles have the lowest crash and fatality rates.

According to the NHTSA, there were 324,710 deadly motor vehicle crashes from 2006 to 2015. School-transportation vehicles were involved in only 0.4% of those crashes. It is also well to note that of that 0.4%, only 9% were onboard the school-transportation vehicles. The other fatalities occurred among pedestrians, cyclists and occupants of other vehicles.

Self-driving cars may put an end to distracted driving

According to the NHTSA, in 2017, distracted driving cost 3,166 people their lives. In California, teens were often blamed for this problem, but studies show that parents struggle just as much with setting their phone aside. This is despite the fact that there is more pressure on parents to lead by example. After all, teens are unlikely to listen to their parents when they talk about distracted driving, if the parents are still using the phone while driving.

Forbes also points out that distractions do not just come from smart phones. Sleep deprivation and substance use or abuse are also behind catastrophic motor vehicle accidents. Even so, phone makers are also trying to limit distraction. Both Apple and Google phones have automatic Do Not Disturb functions that block messages while driving.

Recovering from catastrophic burns

California has more vehicles on the road than ever before. When you add construction site slowdowns, detours, road rage and distracted driving, there is also an increased number of crashes involving more than two vehicles. At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP our team of attorneys often represent clients with catastrophic burns sustained in a car accident.

Paradigm Corp reports that a serious, life-changing burn injury typically covers more than 20 percent of the total surface area of the body. Burns of this nature often involve the face, hands and feet as well as cross major joints. They require comprehensive care and active follow-up over a period of several years.

How can you keep your teen from texting and driving?

You have been worrying about your child since the day they were born. Now that they are old enough to drive, you probably start sweating every time you watch them leave the driveway.

In the modern world there are plenty of distractions that make driving dangerous. It is so easy for your teenage child to grab their phone while they are behind the wheel. What can you do to keep them safe?

How can wind increase the chances of auto accidents?

Bad weather can really cause trouble for San Francisco area motorists. The Federal Highway Administration points out that an average of over a million motor vehicle crashes are caused by adverse weather. Strong winds are one such example. When high winds strike California roads, drivers can face a number of hazards that could damage their vehicles or cause serious personal injury.

To start with, wind can make it hard to maintain full control of your vehicle. If you are driving down a road and your vehicle is hit by wind from the right, your vehicle might jolt a little to the left. Depending on the severity of the wind, the lightness of your vehicle and your alertness behind the wheel, you might swerve into the path of another vehicle or strike a nearby physical obstacle.

Distracted driving is the new American epidemic

Distracted driving is not a new problem in California. Still, over the past few years, distracted driving reached epidemic levels all across the United States. What originally began as a social ill attributed to young teens behind the wheel is now committed by drivers of all ages. CNN reports that as a result of this, distracted drivers kill eight people per day. What is worse is that a significant number of these are children.

Fortune agrees that distracted driving is an American epidemic. The company reports that in 2015, there was a 7.2 percent spike in traffic accidents — the highest jump in five decades. Of these accidents, 10 percent involved distracted driving. Texting and other forms of phone use are not the only cause factors either. Other dangerous activities include applying makeup or changing the radio station.

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