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CALIFORNIA LITIGATION UPDATE

When should I file a loss of consortium claim?

If your spouse died as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be considering filing a loss of consortium claim in California. Having the right information is crucial in this case, as these types of claims can be highly confusing to those lacking the pertinent legal knowledge.

Loss of consortium refers to damages sought based on the wrongful death of a family member, according to the American Bar Association. While in some courts immediate family is permitted to file such a claim, in most cases it is filed on behalf of a widow/widower who has lost a spouse. Loss of consortium claims can also be filed as a result of a significant and debilitating injury, although this is less common.

Possible link between head injury and mental illness

Much like people all over the nation, residents of Orange County are well-aware of the many damaging aspects of significant brain injuries. What may be less well-known is the effect a head injury can have on one’s mental state. In fact, recent studies have shown a link between brain injuries and mental illness. Here at Callahan & Blaine, we’ve seen firsthand the struggles faced by victims of head injuries. That’s why we go above and beyond when lending legal support to such clients, who often have much to contend with throughout their recoveries.

According to Scientific American, a study conducted at the University of Copenhagen found that test subjects who experienced head injuries were more likely to develop a range of mental disorders during their lives. For instance, of the 113,906 people tested, 59 percent had an increased rate of depression, while 65 percent were at higher risk of developing schizophrenia. Those most at risk were subjects who sustained brain injuries from age 11 to 15, and the risk of developing a mental disorder was highest in the first year after the injury occurred.

Older motorcyclists face a greater risk of injury

In California, many veteran motorcyclists are extremely responsible and cautious when partaking in this beloved pastime. However, research shows that older motorcyclists face a greater risk of serious injury or even death as compared to younger riders.

As illustrated by Consumer Reports, the age in which a motorcyclist experiences an accident can have a huge impact on the outcome. Although riders in their 20s experienced accidents in far greater frequency throughout the duration of the study, motorcyclists 60 and older had more significant health effects as a result of their accidents.  Older riders were three times more likely to require hospitalization, sustained head and chest injuries in greater numbers and succumbed to their injuries at a much greater rate.

How can I ensure playground equipment is safe?

Designers of California playgrounds have a responsibility to create a safe environment for children. However, as a parent you are no doubt concerned about your child’s overall well-being when using playground equipment. In some cases improper design can cause your child to become seriously injured, which is why you must remain vigilant to what ultimately makes a playground safe for use.

KidsHealth.org provides some important information on playground safety, particularly as it relates to design. Knowing what to look for is essential in this case, such as equipment with moving parts that could pose a crushing hazard. You should carefully inspect things like seesaws to identify any potential pinch-points, which could result in bruises, broken skin or even fractures. Equipment that contains any moving parts should also be situated in its own section of the park.

Drivers must take pedestrian safety seriously

Beautiful California weather often means an increased amount of pedestrian foot traffic on busy roads and intersections. That’s why pedestrian safety is so crucial; drivers must take into account their presence on the road, and also ensure they are following common sense principles when it comes to preserving the well-being of others.

To this end, DefensiveDriving.org provides a few essential tips to help drivers keep pedestrian safety in mind. Distractions are highly dangerous when driving, whether they involve eating, having a conversation, using a mobile device or simply changing the music on the radio. Speeding is another dangerous driving behavior that should be avoided at all times, as speeding can greatly increase the odds of a fatal accident occurring.

How can I identify a gas leak?

Gas leaks can pose a serious threat to families all over California. As a result, it’s imperative that you know the proper methods for detecting a gas leak to ensure you and your family remain safe. Certain sights, sounds and smells can give a clear indication of danger, and failing to recognize the common signs could end in tragedy if you don’t act accordingly.

That’s why the Southern California Gas Company urges its customers to know how to properly detect a gas leak if one is suspected. Gas odor is perhaps the most common way to detect a gas leak, as natural gas has a very distinct smell that is somewhat similar Sulphur. In the event you smell a strong natural gas odor, the most important thing to do is to immediately leave the area where the smell persists. Once you are a safe distance from the leak, you can then alert the authorities.

Types of head injuries and their impact

While people in California know the dangers associated with significant brain injuries, they may not be aware that that there are actually several different types of injuries that can occur. Brain injuries can have numerous causes, and in some cases may result in lasting damage that is capable of impacting a person’s life indefinitely.

Healthline.com provides some important information on the many different types of brain injuries and their overall impact. For instance, most people are familiar with concussions, which often entail a temporary loss of brain functionality. Concussions occur when the brain comes into contact with the skull with great force, and multiple concussions have been associated with severe health issues that can have a lasting effect.  

How motorcyclists can increase safety on the road

Motorcycle safety is of the utmost importance to riders in California. There are numerous factors that riders must account for, from road hazards to the actions of other vehicles. Failure to undertake all necessary precautions can lead to devastating accidents and injuries, which is why all riders must remain vigilant when taking to the open road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges motorcyclists to take certain steps to reduce the risk of a serious accident from occurring. Following all posted traffic regulations is a major factor in motorcycle safety. This entails using the proper methods for signaling, yielding and navigating through intersections. It’s also essential for riders to use defensive driving tactics to signal their presence to other vehicles on the road.

Are landlords required to install smoke detectors?

If you are living in a rental property in California, you know that your landlord has certain responsibilities under the law. This includes ensuring a home has working smoke detectors throughout the property to alert renters in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors are mandatory in all properties in the state, and landlords are obligated to provide their tenants with functioning detectors in both commercial and residential buildings.  

According to SFGate.com, California law is rather strict when it comes to the presence of smoke detectors within properties. The type of smoke detector and where it is situated in the home can actually change based on the age of the property. Older homes can utilize battery-powered smoke detectors, which must be placed outside of each bedroom. When it comes to homes constructed after 1992, smoke detectors with hardwiring and accompanying battery backups should be placed both outside and inside each bedroom. Additionally, apartments must have working detectors in all stairwells.

What to do if you’re involved in a car accident

For drivers in Orange County, even seemingly minor car accidents can be a huge hassle. Cases where damage is minimal can still incur exorbitant repair costs, and might even entail some degree of physical injury. Here at Callahan & Blaine, we know that car accidents are stressful no matter the circumstances. That’s why we recommend the following tips to help drivers mitigate the negative effects of a car accident.

U.S. News & World Report lists a few important steps to take when involved in a collision. The first step is to clear all vehicles from the path of traffic to prevent further collisions from occurring. When possible, vehicles should be moved to the side of the road with hazard lights turned on to alert other drivers. It’s also a good idea to call the police even if no serious injuries or damage has occurred.

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