Monthly Archives: June 2015

Three helicopters evacuate victims from California accident

Six pedestrians were struck, and one was killed, when a 65-year-old man drove his Nissan sedan onto the sidewalk in the 3600 block of Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo. Three helicopters descended on the scene to transport victims. Two of them were a 4-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy, who were hurt alongside their mother.

A traffic sergeant from the police department said that the northbound car initially crashed against a bus stop and injured a 50-year-old man. Then the driver hit a telephone pole before swerving into a group of five pedestrians, composed of three women and the two children. A 40-year-old woman was declared dead at the scene. She had been dragged beneath the car along with another victim. The police sergeant said that a tow truck driver who happened to be on the street helped get the car off the two people.

Rescue workers rushed the other injured people to area hospitals. Their conditions ranged from serious to critical. The police sergeant expressed the opinion that some of them might not survive. Police detained the driver for a medical assessment, suspecting intoxication.

A severe accident like this one illustrates the catastrophic injuries that can be imposed when a vehicle strikes pedestrians. A pedestrian injured by a car might be able to make the case that the driver failed to operate a vehicle safely, especially if the injured person occupied a space specifically for foot traffic. Discussing the situation with an attorney could help to determine if the evidence could support a personal injury lawsuit. If negligence could be proven against the driver, compensation for medical bills, lost income and other damages might be awarded.

Source: KRON 4, “Six pedestrians involved in deadly Vallejo accident; intoxication may have been a factor“, Annie Andersen, June 19, 2015

6 dead, 7 injured in balcony collapse in Berkeley, California

Six people died and seven others were seriously injured when a fourth-floor balcony collapsed during a birthday gathering early Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Berkeley, California. This tragic incident occurred at the Library Gardens Apartment near the UC Berkeley Campus.

Thirteen people fell from the balcony when it gave way. Four were pronounced dead at the scene, and two died at San Francisco Bay Area hospitals. Five of the deceased and several of those injured are Irish nationals. Some of the victims were Irish students on temporary work visas in the Bay Area for the summer months.

In California, when someone is injured or dies as a result of a defective or unsafe balcony a lawsuit can be brought by the victims or their families against negligent parties. With balcony, deck, stair or landing collapse cases, the responsible parties typically include building owners, architects, designers, engineers, construction companies and contractors. The investigation of this horrible accident will likely reveal what caused it to happen and what could have been done to prevent it.

Berkeley balcony collapse draws attention to serious safety issue

While she was traveling in Ireland, newspaper Irish Independent sought Mary Alexander’s input concerning the Berkeley collapse and the potential legal issues that could follow. Mary has represented victims and their families in balcony lawsuits involving very similar circumstances, including a case involving another residential balcony collapse that occurred in 2009.

Mary noted to the Irish Independent that structural integrity is an issue in the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather that makes it such a wonderful place to live and visit is very hard on building materials, especially wood – something city officials have targeted in their investigation of the Berkeley accident. Knowing the high potential for issues such as dry rot, everyone involved in the construction and real estate industries have a duty to make sure buildings they erect and maintained buildings properly. Unfortunately, not all people take this responsibility as serious as they should.

They cut corners by using subpar materials, fail to give appropriate attention to structural engineering or don’t spend money on necessary repairs, putting innocent lives in very serious danger. When their actions fall below reasonable standards, victims and their families can file a lawsuit for compensation.

A lawsuit may not seem like a priority during a time of mourning, but it is crucial that anyone involved in this type of situation get an experienced personal injury attorney involved as soon as possible.

The attorney can work alongside others involved in any investigation to help make sure that evidence is not lost or destroyed. In addition, the attorney can take care of details that are often very confusing, frustrating and stressful for the family – like dealing with insurance companies.

Our hearts go out to all of the families in California and Ireland who are dealing with the aftermath of the terrible tragedy. Their pain is unimaginable, but it has helped bring attention to a very serious issue involving the structural integrity of apartment buildings.

Small bumps and brain injuries in California

Although researchers have known that large hits to the head can cause long-term trauma, they are starting to realize that smaller hits can have lasting effects as well. Typically, mild brain injuries are caused by the inertia of the moving brain inside of the skull. They tend to cause dizziness and headache but don’t lead to a concussion. A study was conducted to determine how fast the brain would have to move to cause an injury.

It was determined that the brain oscillates at five hertz when a person turns his or her head normally. Injuries can be sustained when the brain starts to oscillate inside of the skull at 15 hertz or higher. When a player plays a contact sport such as football, their brains could be oscillating at 20 hertz each time they get hit. Over the course of a game, those little hits could add up to significant brain deterioration.

Researchers were able to determine that the injury risk was roughly the same whether or not a player was wearing a helmet. This means that research into future helmets for football players and other athletes should focus on how to stop the brain from moving after contact. Each year, there are 1.7 million cases of head trauma are diagnosed in the United States. In 80 percent of those cases, the injury is considered to be mild.

Those who suffer brain injuries caused by the negligent or intentional acts of another may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney to see if there is any recourse to obtain compensation for medical bills and other expenses. They may also want to discuss the advisability of pursuing legal action if an initial misdiagnosis by a health care practitioner led to a worsened medical condition.

Driver in zombie parade incident pleads not guilty

California residents may be interested to learn that a driver who was responsible for driving through a crowd of pedestrians during San Francisco’s Comic-Con pleaded not guilty to charges on May 3. The incident occurred at a zombie parade near 2nd and Island avenues in July 2014.

During the preliminary hearing, more than a dozen individuals who witnessed the incident stated that the driver appeared angry as he attempted to nudge his way through the crowd while the crowd tried to get him to stop. The driver then suddenly accelerated. One of the witnesses stated that she heard someone screaming. A second witness, an off-duty deputy, stated that he actually knocked on the driver’s side window, but the driver refused to make eye contact. He stated, however, that the driver did not appear angry. Additional witnesses stated that multiple individuals tried to get the driver to stop.

The accused driver, who is reportedly deaf, stated that he was confused by the crowd and did not know why people were banging on his windows. He stated that he was nervous and tried to go very slowly. He was charged with reckless driving and could face up to three years if he is convicted.

A auto-pedestrian accident can leave the victim with serious injuries that could be life-altering. If the driver of the vehicle was distracted, failed to yield to a pedestrian’s right of way or was otherwise negligent, the injured person may wish to consult with an attorney to discuss the filing of a personal injury lawsuit that would seek damages from the responsible party.

Source: NBC San Diego, “Zombie Walk Crash Witness: Driver Was “Super Angry”“, R. Stickney, June 3, 2015

California girl collapses with brain aneurysm

A California teenager collapsed with a brain aneurysm while playing softball in May 2015, and her friends and family are hoping to raise awareness of the condition. A brain aneurysm occurs when a brain artery weakens and ruptures. This can lead to a brain injury, a stroke or death. According to reports, the girl told her coach she felt dizzy before she collapsed.

It is rare for children or teenagers to have aneurysms, and they are most common for people between the ages of 35 and 60. Generally, people whose aneurysms rupture first have a severe headache followed by unconsciousness. Aneurysms are fatal in about 40 percent of cases. The degree of damage to the brain and the amount of bleeding that has occurred when the person arrives at the hospital can usually be a good indicator of how likely the victim is to survive.

Medical professionals do not know exactly why aneurysms occur. In some cases, they are hereditary. They may also be related to smoking. They generally do not rupture even as a result of head trauma although they do sometimes occur if the brain is pierced.

If untreated because of a health care practitioner’s failure to diagnose the condition, a brain aneurysm can result in significant and life-altering consequences to a victim. The costs of the medical care and treatment that may be required in the future can be prohibitive, and in many cases the victim will be unable to obtain gainful employment, causing even more financial hardship. A medical malpractice attorney might examine the medical records of a patient who has been damaged in such a manner to determine whether a lawsuit based upon medical negligence should be brought against the responsible party.

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