• Personal Injury

    Posted on December 7th, 2010

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    SUV-Car Bumper Mismatches Increase Risk of Serious Accidents

    Mismatches between the heights of bumpers of passenger cars and larger cars and SUVs, mean that the smaller car is at a higher risk for severe damage even during a minor accident. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that federal failure to regulate bumpers of SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans places the drivers of smaller passenger vehicles at a higher risk of injuries during even low-speed crashes.

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted tests on seven pairs of small car-small SUVs from the same automaker, and compared the extent of the damage to the two cars during collisions at a speed of 10 mph. They conducted tests with the SUV striking the back of a passenger car it was paired with, as well as the car striking the back of the SUV that it was paired with. Researchers found car damage ranging from $850 to more than $6,000. According to the researchers, if these accidents had actually occurred in the real world, even at those low speeds, the impact of the crash would have been severe enough to destroy the engine and severely damage the body of the car.

    According to the study, when there is a mismatch between the bumper heights of an SUV and a passenger car in an accident, the kind of energy that is released causes severe disruption to the body of the passenger vehicle. The SUVs in the study did sustain damage too, but the damage was higher for the passenger vehicle.

    The problem exists because of a federal failure to regulate bumper heights for SUVs, pickup trucks and vans. The federal legislation has standards for all bumpers of passenger cars. These rules protect the car within a zone of 16 to 20 inches from the ground. However, there are no such corresponding height standards for SUVs, pickup trucks and other larger vehicles.

    Los Angeles car accident lawyers believe that this is one of the reasons why occupants of passenger vehicles are at a higher risk of injuries during an SUV-small car collision. Small passenger vehicle occupants in such an accident are likely to suffer injuries, and better bumper matches could possibly reduce that risk.

  • lawyer

    Posted on November 29th, 2010

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    Decline in Toy-Related Deaths in 2009

    Parents and grandparents shopping for holiday gifts for children can look forward to some good news from the Consumer Products Safety Commission. In 2009, there was a decline in toy-related deaths across the country. The CPSC is crediting this decline to the fact that more recalls are being announced, yanking unsafe and defective toys from our shelves.

    There were 44 recalls in 2010, compared to 50 last year and 152 the previous year. When it comes to children below the age of 15, there were 12 deaths in 2009, down from 24 deaths each in 2008 and 2007.

    Not all was good news, however. There was a slight increase in the number of toy-related injuries last year. Overall, in 2009, there were approximately 185,900 toy-related injuries that required children to be taken to the ER. Most worryingly for California product liability attorneys, these toy-related injury numbers have been on a steady increase from 2005. Approximately 27% of toy-related injuries in 2009 were related to the use of scooters. They accounted for approximately 49,500 injuries last year.

    Many toy-related injuries involve children below the age of three, when they get their hands on toys that are meant for older children. Parents must look at the packaging of the toy carefully to make sure that it’s safe for children below the age of three to use. However, many times, younger children in the house are able to get their hands on toys owned by their older siblings. These toys may have detachable parts that may pose a serious choking or aspiration hazard for a young child. Besides, children may even swallow small parts, causing internal injuries.

    This Christmas season, make sure that you buy age-appropriate toys, and encourage your children to use proper safety gear while using these toys. Supervise children when they play with toys.

  • Criminal Law

    Posted on November 9th, 2010

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    NAACP Rallies about Racial Disparity in Prison Sentences

    This week the NAACP held a rally to focus on a problem that has not gone unnoticed by Alabama criminal defense lawyers.  The rally was held to focus on the disparities in sentencing for black convicts compared to white convicts.

    The rally was followed by a news conference addressed by Bernard Simelton, the president of the Alabama chapter of the NAACP.  The rally specifically focused on the difference in sentencing for two men who were convicted of similar charges recently.

    This year, Brian Christopher Pettibone, a black teacher from Mobile, was convicted in Baldwin County of child sexual abuse.  Pettibone’s case involved four white girls, and he was sentenced to five years each on four felony counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes, second degree sex abuse charges which resulted in a one-year term, and six months on an attempted sex abuse charge.  In all, Pettibone was sentenced to 20 years.  He was convicted by an all-white jury.

    Last year, attorney John McCain had been convicted of second-degree sexual abuse, enticement and unlawful imprisonment.  The case involved two girls aged 12 and 13 years old.  He was given a six-year prison sentence.

    The NAACP is using the difference in sentencing for these two men, convicted of similar crimes, to illustrate the differences in sentencing that exists for black and white convicts.  According to the NAACP, a report by the US Sentencing Commission shows that black convicts receive jail sentences that were at least 10% longer than white convicts.

    The difference may not be as much a product of racial inequities or racism, as it is a result of poor criminal defense.  African Americans for instance, may be less likely to afford a criminal defense attorney in Alabama, and may have to do with an overworked public defender.  That often impacts the outcome of their cases.

  • lawyer

    Posted on October 25th, 2010

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    Vicious Dog Bites Often Result in Eye Injuries

    According to information released at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting, the more serious and severe a dog bite involving a child, the more likely that eye injuries are involved.  Besides, eye injuries in a dog bite mean extensive hospitalization for the child, and possibly even the need for multiple surgeries.

    The doctors who presented the paper said that half the children who were treated for eye injuries from dog bites required surgery and 18% of the children needed to be hospitalized again for additional surgery.  In almost all the children who suffered eye injuries in a dog bite, the eyelids were severely damaged.  However, children were less likely to suffer corneal damage or fractures of the bones surrounding the eye during a bite.  Some of the most common breeds involved in attacks were German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Rottweilers.  The average age of a child who suffered eye injuries in a dog bite was 3.9 years.

    Moreover, children who suffered eye injuries were more likely to suffer complications in the future, including tear duct obstructions and scarring.  The 18% of children who required additional surgery, needed at least 15 different types of revision procedures to correct these complications.  Overall, eye injuries seem to be an indicator of the severity of the attack.  For instance, children who suffered eye injuries, were also found to have more facial zones that were badly injured and more facial lacerations.  These children required more extensive medical treatment and hospitalization.  They also typically required a longer recovery time.

    Los Angeles dog bite lawyers suggest that whenever children are involved in a serious dog bite that includes facial lacerations and even minutely damages the eye, it’s always prudent to consult with an ophthalmologist right at the very outset.  This can help determine whether there has been eye damage that requires surgery, and could reduce the need for revision surgery later.

  • DUI

    Posted on October 21st, 2010

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    Review of California’s DUI Laws

    California has some of the toughest laws in the country.  If you’re charged with DUI in the state, prepare for some of the harshest punishments, even for first-time drunk driving convictions.

    A first-time DUI conviction in California can mean jail time for between 96 hours to six months, and fines of between $390 and $1,000.  Besides, you could lose your license for six months, and will be required to go through a DUI Program.  You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.  Further, you may be required to purchase California SR 22 insurance for a restricted license.

    A second DWI conviction in California, within 10 years of the first one, will mean jail time of between 90 days and one year, and fines of between $390 and $1,000.  You could lose your license for two years and must attend a court mandated DWI program.  The California SR 22 provisions for a restricted license will also apply in this case.

    In case of a third DUI conviction, jail time increases from 120 days to one year, with fines between $390 and $1,000.  You will lose your license for three years, and will be designated as a habitual offender.  You may be able to apply for a restricted license after one year.  You will need an ignition interlock device on your car, and must complete a DUI program.

    For a fourth California DUI conviction, within 10 years of the third one, you can expect a prison term of between 180 days to one year, and fines of between $390 and $1,000.  You may lose your license for four years, and can apply for a restricted license only after one year.  You must install an ignition interlock device in your car, and must complete a DUI program.

    From 2010, motorists in Tulare, Alameda, Sacramento and Los Angeles counties will have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles after even a first DUI conviction, as part of a pilot program that has been criticized by Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers.

  • lawyer

    Posted on October 15th, 2010

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    David Lederer Attorney | Profile Updates

    Reputation management is becoming more and more important these days.  When someone searches for you online, you want to be sure they find information that is accurate.  If you are a business owner and move offices, does the internet know?  You may update your website and your Google Places listing but what about the 10, 20 or 100 other sites that have you listed under your old address.

    It is important to keep a record of all of the websites that your business is listed on.  If you forget to update a popular directory like Yahoo’s directory you could miss out on a lot of future business and never even know it.  Below is an example of attorney David Lederer.  I have linked to several profiles that are reputable and able to be updated by him.  With the thousands of directory sites that are out there now, you may never be able to update them all but do your best to change as many as you can.

    David Lederer’s Profile

    David Lederer’s LinkedIn Profile:  LinkedIn is a very popular and well respected, professional directory.  Having a profile on LinkedIn allows you to control the information that people find about you.  Make sure to keep your profile updated if you changed your job, address, phone number or email address.

    David Lederer’s FindLaw Profile:  FindLaw is an attorney specific directory that allows lawyers to list their business information, experience and other credentials.  The search engines respect websites like FindLaw because they are constantly updated, do quality control on all profiles and specialize in one particular area, lawyers.

    Those are only two examples but you can find hundreds more online.  It is always good to have profiles in industry specific listings and a couple of the major listings like Google, Yahoo and YP.com.

    Remember to protect your information by knowing where it is and how to update it when necessary.

  • Personal Injury

    Posted on October 12th, 2010

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    California’s Route 46 All Set to Receive Safety Improvements

    Years after a deadly crash on California’s Route 46 killed one person and seriously injured members of a family, authorities are beginning safety improvements to the accident magnet that also claimed the life of James Dean in 1955.  A project to make safety improvements to Route 46 will now receive funding of $78 million.  These funds will be used to widen the road, and eventually, the entire 110-mile stretch of the highway may be turned into a four-lane road.

    For years, this spot has been the scene of deadly accidents.  Since 2000, there have been at least 30 people killed in car accidents on the road.  The road was built back in the 20s, and quickly became one of the most congested roads in the state.  In 1955, Route 46 claimed its first high-profile victim.  Actor James Dean was killed as his car approached the Route 46-Highway 41 junction.  His car collided with a Ford Coupe, and he sustained fatal injuries.  The spot where he died is now known as James Dean Memorial Junction.

    However, the safety improvements didn’t start soon after that accident.  In fact for several decades later, there were no safety improvements made to Route 46.  In 1995, authorities implemented several new safety rules, including the mandatory use of headlights during the day.  New rumble strips were installed, and speeds were reduced on the highway, encouraging Los Angeles car accident lawyers.

    Then in 1999, another major accident severely injured four members of a family and one motorist.  A couple and their two sons were headed to the coast for Fourth of July celebrations, when their car was involved in a collision with another car.  The driver of the other car died, while the couple and their two sons sustained serious injuries.  They sued the California Department of Transportation claiming that the accident was caused due to poor highway conditions.  They ultimately settled for $4 million with the state.

  • Immigration Law

    Posted on October 5th, 2010

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    Thousands of Asylum Seekers Disappointed Because of Deadline

    A filing deadline that went into effect in 1998, effectively blocks asylum for foreigners who didn’t apply for asylum within one year after they arrived in the United States.  Since that time, approximately 21,000 refugees have had their asylum applications rejected because they failed to file an application before the deadline.  That information comes from a study published in the Social Science Research Network.

    The study has been conducted by law professors from Georgetown and Temple Universities.  The study coincides with a separate report published last week by Human Rights First.  According to the report, the deadline has increased delays and costs for asylum cases pending in immigration courts.   Judges have become distracted by the clog in the system due to delayed cases, and they have been left with little time to ponder over the merits of asylum applications, many of them filed by refugees who face a serious threat to their life if they’re forced to return to their countries.

    The deadline was imposed by Congress in 1996 as part of a general overhaul of immigration law.  According to the study, out of about 304,000 asylum applications that were presented during the 11 years since 1998, approximately 93,000 cases were filed after the one-year deadline for filing of applications expired.  By comparing statistics of application rejections with those that were accepted, the study found that more than 15,700 claims involving more than 21,000 refugees would likely have been approved if they had been filed  before the deadline.

    Even more disturbingly to Orange County immigration lawyers, the backlog seems to involve a race angle.  The study found that there were serious differences in the likelihood of being accepted or rejected depending on the home country of the applicant.  For instance, Iraqis who filed applications late were less likely to be rejected, compared to Guatemalans.

  • Estate Planning & Probate

    Posted on September 20th, 2010

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    Estate Planning for Patients with a Chronic Illness

    Millions of Americans live with a chronic ailment, and this not only makes it necessary for them to consider estate planning more seriously, but also poses several challenges for the probate attorneys who help them.  A group of researchers has published the results of a study into the psychological and emotional impact of chronic illness on the estate planning process.

    Researchers compared persons suffering from Parkinson’s disease with those suffering from multiple sclerosis to compare the impact on estate planning.  Approximate 105 million Americans suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, diabetes, and AIDS.  Unfortunately, many estate planning attorneys may not possess the skills and knowledge required to help these people in the planning process.  Different conditions involve different symptoms, and the challenges involved in handling these patients can be daunting.

    The researchers have advice for estate planning professionals dealing with patients suffering from chronic or acute illnesses.  For instance, someone who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis will find that their symptoms continually deteriorate over a period of time.  That may not be so for someone suffering from controlled diabetes.

    For instance, when a Los Angeles estate planning attorney is dealing with a patient with multiple sclerosis, it’s important to understand that the illness may change the patient’s feelings as the years progress.  It is therefore advisable that annual reviews of the estate planning are conducted.

    Besides, estate attorneys must be able to understand when the client is not able to make accurate judgments.  It is extremely important to be alert to signs of poor judgment and lack of focus.  Keep meetings with such clients short, and understand that there are serious fatigue issues involved, not just because of the physical condition, but also because of the medications the patient is on.  These medications may also have effects on the patient’s mood and mental state.   Be prepared for sudden mood changes, and make sure that you have all your information in a bullet form so you’re able to go through these quickly without wasting a patient’s time.

  • Malpractice Lawyers

    Posted on September 10th, 2010

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    Concern about Diagnostic Errors

    There’s plenty that Arizona medical malpractice lawyers and patient safety advocates can advise to prevent medical and medication errors.  However, there are other equally deadly errors that sometimes seem to stay under the public radar.  We’re talking about diagnostic errors, and according to the New York Times, these error rates average about 10% across all conditions.

    The topic of diagnostic errors is being brought up by Doctor Robert Wachter, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.  Writing in the journal Health Affairs, Doctor Wachter bemoans the strange lack of attention paid to diagnostic errors in the entire political debate generated over American healthcare.  According to him, diagnostic errors are not getting their place in the sun, not because these don’t occur often.  In fact, these are widely prevalent in American hospitals as any Arizona doctor malpractice lawyer will tell you.

    However, unlike medical errors that can be fixed more easily by using simple and established measures, it is much harder to fix diagnostic errors.  You can train physicians to diagnose conditions better, but the improvements can be intangible.  It’s not like preventing hospital-acquired infections, where there are a series of steps you can take-improving hand washing rates, increasing hygiene, and using a checklist-that can give you solid and tangible results.  Diagnostic errors are a somewhat gray area, but there should be no mistaking the devastating impact they have.

    In fact, according to Doctor Wachter, all this attention on improving patient care could be fruitless if we don’t focus on diagnosing the disease right in the first place.  Too often, patients are treated for the wrong condition, merely because doctors want it to seem like they began treatment right away.

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