Category Archives: Blog

What Kind of Damage Did the Wine Country Fires Leave Behind?

California wildfire season has been especially nightmarish this year. In Wine Country, fires destroyed over 5,000 homes and killed 44 people. Usually by this time of the year, the season would be ramping down as fall showers move in, but this year has been different. Just a few weeks ago, more fires popped up in Southern California. What’s going on? Why are fires still terrorizing the countryside?

Will Northern California Recover from the Wine Country Fires?

Public officials are asking residents in our communities to do their part to prevent wildfires. This includes clearing fire breaks, and making better emergency plans. Officials are even urging residents to connect with community members who may be disabled or otherwise unable to evacuate as easily as others. Including those neighbors in your plans to evacuate could save lives. And with signs that fire season could get longer and more severe in years to come, such plans may become essential.

Experts believe that this wave of fires may be caused by global warning, which is keeping seasonal rains away, extending California’s dry season. This is causing more agencies to ramp up for the potential threat of fire to thousands of homes, but natural causes aren’t the only danger these agencies are worried about.

Many fires in our areas are caused by humans. The Wine Country fires that struck so close to home are suspected to have been caused by the negligence of PG&E, and other man-made sparks could be responsible for the fires terrorizing Los Angeles and San Diego right now. So far, lawsuits have been started to ensure that the responsible parties pay for their part in this tragedy, but even now, residents are having a hard time returning home. For many, the damage is too great, and they can no longer afford to live in their neighborhood.

This means contacting an attorney has become one of the best solution for the many who lost their homes to the rising fire dangers of California. Keep following the attorneys at Mary Alexander and Associates to learn more about other solutions wildfire victims can pursue.

What Does It Take to Be Selected as One of 2018’s Best Law Firms?

The personal injury attorneys here at Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. have good news to share with the Bay Area. We have been chosen as one of the best law firms in the San Francisco area by US News and Best Lawyers. But what does that mean to our clients, and how was our law firm selected for such an honor?

How to Become One of 2018’s Best Law Firms

To be selected as one of the “Best Law Firms”, the firm must first have an attorney who is recognized in the current edition of Best Lawyers. To achieve this, that lawyer has to be well reviewed by her or his peers when Best Lawyers sends out its annual peer-review survey.

The next step in choosing the law firms that rank in “Best Law Firms” is a review of client feedback as well as what has been said on the Law Firm Survey, the Law Firm Leaders Survey, and the Best Lawyers peer-review survey. There aren’t any fees associated with submitting or receiving rank, so getting mentioned is never a matter of who paid more, but rather it is a result of what your community and peers think of that particular law firm.

That means that being ranked as a Tier 2 firm in the area of “Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs” here in San Francisco was a matter of being selected by fellow legal professionals and clients. We appreciate that the community thinks so highly of our service, and we will work hard to continue to bring strong representation to the people who need our help.

Thank you—from the Bay Area personal injury lawyers at Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C.

PG&E Lawsuits Filed, Will More Wildfire Victims Join?

On October 8-9, wildfires raged through the countryside of Northern California. These blazes burned nearly 6,200 homes, wiped out around 150 commercial buildings and killed 43 people. Thankfully, the fires were contained a few short weeks ago, but many families are returning to find they no longer have homes. Now, these wildfire victims are banding together with Mary Alexander & Associates to claw back some of what they lost from the responsible party—PG&E.

Why Are Wildfire Victims Filing Lawsuits Against PG&E?

The topic of gross negligence became the center of attention at San Francisco Superior Court on November 2nd. That’s because three families joined 12 other wildfire victims in filing lawsuits against energy provider PG&E. Mary Alexander and one of the clients she is representing, Nemesio Ruiz, spoke to the press after filing the lawsuit.

Ruiz described how his family had just celebrated his son’s 17th birthday right before having to leave everything behind as fires burned ever closer to their home. After the blaze was contained, and the family returned only to find the burnt remains of the life they once had. Alexander says, “These families deserve to be compensated,” but how is a power company responsible for so much destruction?

The lawsuit alleges that PG&E neglected the proper maintenance of a group of powerlines that are being investigated as the source of the wildfires that ripped through neighborhoods, destroying homes and precious memories. Vegetation was allowed to grow too close to these PG&E powerlines, so when high winds knocked the lines down, they caught the dry brush on fire and caused a horrific blaze. Worse yet, this isn’t the only lack of maintenance issue PG&E is involved in.

Mary Alexander & Associates is representing 11 families and 39 victims of the Wine Country fires.

Back in December 2016, a fire broke out at the Ghost Ship night club, killing 36 people. Maintenance issues on the part of PG&E may be the cause of that fire as well, and Mary Alexander & Associates are representing plaintiffs in the lawsuits filed by the Ghost Fire victims and their families.

This update was brought to you by the attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates—handling the most complex legal matters when the Bay Area is in need.

Can Medical Facilities Be Held Responsible for Not Reporting Child Abuse?

It was late January of 2011 when a seven-week-old baby was brought into Sutter Amador Hospital in Jackson, California. The boy had injuries to his eye, bruising on the face, and a mouthful of blood, yet doctors only treated the child and sent him home with his teenage parents and maternal grandmother. Now, several years later, a California court thinks the medical facility may have been partially responsible for what later happened to the child because potential abuse was not reported.

Who Is Responsible When Child Abuse Is Not Reported?

Three weeks later, the child from before was back at the hospital. This time the child had a broken clavicle, two broken ribs, bruising over much of his body and a spinal cord injury. The spinal injury left the boy permanently paralyzed from the waist down, and it spurred the hospital to notify Child Protective Services.

The boy was taken from his biological parents and placed into the care of a foster family that would later go on to adopt him. However, over the years questions began to arise and it soon became clear that the boy’s paralysis should never have happened.

California law requires that mandated reporters—such as doctors, nurses and other hospital staff—report instances of child injury that may have been caused by abuse. But during this little boy’s first visit to the hospital, when he sustained injuries to the face, hospital staff never reported the boy’s injuries to CPS.

This factor—and many others—landed a doctor, a nurse, two nurse practitioners, and Sutter Amador Hospital’s supervising medical group in court. Along with the biological parents and maternal grandparents, the hospital was sued for not reporting potential child abuse, which may have led to the paralysis of this child. The boy, who is now 6 years old, was subsequently awarded an $8.4 million verdict.

This story was brought to you by the child abuse attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates—remember, if you don’t stand up for a child, who will?

Are San Francisco Bicycle Accidents Common?

San Francisco is known as one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the entire country. However, that doesn’t mean that bike accidents don’t happen in the Bay Area. Medical costs from bicycle accidents are rising, even though there have been fewer biking fatalities in the area. That could mean more cyclists are finding themselves injured in accidents, which means it could be important for you to know what to do if you are involved in a bicycle crash.

Are Bicycle Accidents Common in San Francisco?

A 34-year-old woman from Mission recently shared her bike accident experience with StreetsBlog. She was riding down Valencia between 14th and 15th street, when something struck her from the left. An SUV took a right turn, and the driver failed to notice the woman riding right beside the vehicle. The rider was taken to the hospital, where they concluded that she only had soft tissue damage, but it could have been worse.

Advocacy groups are now pushing for physical barriers between cars and riders along Valencia street. Efforts like these could go a long way toward reducing cyclist injuries and fatalities, but a recent report warns that medical costs resulting from bike accidents are going up. A study published in June said that annual costs for bike injuries rose 137 percent between 1999-2013 study period. Which means you could end up with a stack of medical bills if you find yourself in a collision while riding your bike.

What Do I Need to Do If I Get into a Bicycle Accident in San Francisco?

So, what should you do if you have a bicycle accident in the Bay Area?

  • Call and wait for the authorities. A police report can be critical evidence in any claim you make related to a bike accident.
  • Make sure police get your side of the story, even if you think you might not be injured. Adrenaline does crazy things to the body, and you may have been hurt worse than you think.
  • Get contact info from the vehicle driver and witnesses to the accident. If you are too injured to do so, ask a bystander if they can help.
  • Take pictures and document your experience in writing. Smartphones allow us to do so much now, so take advantage of this technology.
  • Don’t talk to the other party’s insurer, they are not looking out for you.
  • Get medical attention! This is the most important thing you can do, because your personal safety in a crash situation is what matters the most.
  • Contact an experienced professional. A Bay Area bike accident attorney has the experience you need to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed by medical expenses.

Brought to you by the personal injury attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C.—we are dedicated to helping you when catastrophe strikes.

Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C to Investigate Northern California Wildfires

The last two weeks have been among the worst in California’s history. Wildfires have ravaged more than 250,000 acres Northern California. Thousands of homes and businesses in Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Rosa are destroyed. Despite the best efforts of firefighters, the wildfires in Northern California are still not contained.

Did Downed PG&E Equipment Cause the Northern California Wildfires?

Californians deserve answers. We deserve to know why these fires broke out in the first place. Mary Alexander & Associates is investigating how the faulty equipment operated by PG&E contributed to this unpresented natural disaster.

In the moments before the fires began, California emergency crews responded to multiple reports of downed PG&E powerlines and transformer explosions. Over the last several years, our state has experienced the worst drought in its history. Sparks from the powerlines or transformers likely ignited nearby brush that had dried out due to a lack of rain.

PG&E claims that its equipment was damaged by “hurricane force winds.” However, there are reasons to doubt these claims. To be considered hurricane-force winds, windspeeds must exceed 75 miles per hour. Reports suggest windspeeds were not this high when the power lines were knocked over. In addition, PG&E has a record of neglecting maintenance on its equipment. PG&E is responsible for four of the 20 largest wildfires in our state’s history.

If PG&E is responsible for this wildfire, they must be held accountable. More than 100,000 Californians have been evacuated from areas affected by the fires, and an estimated 8,400 houses have been destroyed. At the time this blog was published, 42 Californians are dead and dozens more are still missing. The number of casualties is expected to rise in the coming days.

Can I Sue if I Am Affected by the Wildfires?

The San Francisco personal injury and property damage lawyers Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. have a proven record of working tirelessly on behalf of our clients. Our law firm is currently representing victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that occurred earlier this year in Oakland.

You can speak with our San Francisco personal attorneys if you or loved ones were affected by the recent wildfires. Our law firm offers free initial consultations that could explain your legal rights and possible options for compensation. For more information on this wildfire and to determine your eligibility for filing a lawsuit, please call us at 415-966-2626.

Did Negligent Security Contribute to the San Francisco UPS Shooting?

Bay Area LawyerOn June 14th, the calm of the morning was broken by the crack of gunfire and screams. A lone shooter walked into a UPS facility here in San Francisco, and opened fire. Five victims were shot during the incident, but only two of these victims survived. The shooter later took his own life when confronted by police.

This tragedy shook the lives of families and workers, some of whom claim they cannot return to work due to resulting post-traumatic stress disorders. Even more astonishing, some of these workers claim that this senseless loss of life could have been avoided. Now they are taking these claims to court.

Will Witness Testimony Prove UPS Shooting Lawsuits’ Negligence Claims?

According to witnesses, when the shooter entered the UPS building, he passed through metal detectors. As he passed, a MAC-10 semi-automatic machine gun, an automatic pistol and ammunition hidden in a bag, set off a metal detector. However, the guards on duty allegedly let the man pass. This wasn’t the first time workers claimed to have witnessed such negligence.

Other incidents involving the presence of guns, and times when guards failed to stop unauthorized personnel were reported to supervisors and the company. Yet nothing was done, according to employees and family members who have filed these recent lawsuits.

Who Is Responsible When Security Fails to Protect?

Allied Universal (the company hired to man the metal detectors), Valacal Company (the building owner), and UPS have all been named in these lawsuits. These civil suits claim that the defendants were negligent of worker safety and did not provide adequate security, which resulted in the injury and death of several employees.

In California, as in most states, employers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment for employees. This includes providing security in areas where it could be unsafe. If a company’s employees are attacked, hurt or even killed after their employer neglected to provide reasonable security, then that company could be held liable for damages suffered by the victims and their families.

As personal injury lawyers representing people from Oakland, San Jose, San Mateo and San Francisco, Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. has a deep understanding of workplace incidents such as this. Our record shows our passion for protecting victims of violence and negligence, so you can look to us for help and to keep track of the legal news you need to know as workers here in the Bay Area.

California Talc Powder Lawsuit News

image of the product involved in the talcum powder lawsuitA recent verdict was announced in a Los Angeles, California, lawsuit against manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, awarding $417 million to a woman who alleged that she developed ovarian cancer due to long-term use of the company’s talcum powder. The judgment included $347 million in punitive damages.

The California talc powder lawsuit was the sixth of its kind brought against Johnson & Johnson, with other plaintiffs also alleging that the company failed to warn both the public and the medical community about the risks of long-term use of the product for feminine hygiene, which has been shown to have a potential link to ovarian cancer. The previous cases were tried in St. Louis, Missouri. Four of the five previous lawsuits were ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, with a total of over $307 million awarded to the victims.

Details of the Latest California Talc Powder Lawsuit

According to the California talc powder lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the plaintiff who was awarded $417 million had been using Johnson & Johnson baby powder often twice a day for approximately 41 years. Upon being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the woman continued to use the talcum powder until she saw a news report concerning another woman who had developed ovarian cancer from talcum powder use.

During the trial, evidence was shown that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of developing ovarian cancer from talcum powder use as feminine hygiene as early as 1964. A spokesperson from Johnson & Johnson said the company plans to appeal the court’s decision.

More Baby Powder Lawsuits Being Filed

As of now, there are nearly 5,000 claims against Johnson & Johnson with regard to the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, with plaintiffs claiming that the company knew about, and chose to ignore, the risks of using their Johnson & Johnson and Shower to Shower products for feminine hygiene purposes. Undoubtedly, this will not be the last California talc powder lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson must deal with.

Because the risks and potential results of long-term use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder are individual and highly personal, California talcum powder lawsuits are not class action lawsuits. Each case receives individual attention for much higher potential monetary awards, concurrent with the damages, pain and suffering caused to the victims and their families.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or fallopian tube cancer that is potentially linked to use of Johnson & Johnson or Shower to Shower products, the knowledgeable talc powder lawsuit attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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