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Serving Alcohol: When is the Bar Liable?

Serving Alcohol: When is the Bar Liable?

If a bar or licensed establishment serves alcohol in California, and a patron becomes intoxicated and causes injury to another, can the bar be held liable for the third person’s injuries? The question sheds light on what’s known as the “Dram Shop” statutes.  A little history is in order. For many years (what the law calls “at common law”), bars or “dram shops” were not held liable when a drunk patron went out and injured someone else.  The reasoning was that when a third person was injured by a drunk patron, the consumption of the alcohol was the cause of the injuries.  The bar furnishing the alcohol to the patron was not the legal cause of the injuries. During the 1970s, several California Supreme Court cases overturned this precedent.  The cases held that a bar could be liable when a drunk patron went out and hurt someone else. That changed in 1978 when the State Legislature enacted Civil Code 1714.  This law restored the prior precedent, and essentially provided immunity to bars for injuries caused by drunk bar patrons. The Civil Code does, however, contains an important exception: when alcohol is served to a minor at a residence. In that case, parents who knowingly serve alcohol to a minor (under the age of 21) can be held civilly liable by a third person injured by that intoxicated minor. It is also a misdemeanor for an establishment to serve or sell alcohol to a minor. The takeaway–bars are immune from lawsuits when a patron, under the influence of alcohol served at the bar, injures someone else.  If that person was a minor, there could be liability based on the particular circumstances. Contact...
Is the “3 Foot Rule” for Bicyclists Working?

Is the “3 Foot Rule” for Bicyclists Working?

Two years ago, the three feet for safety act became law in California. It forbids drivers from passing a bicyclist unless there’s a minimum of 3 feet clearance between car and bike. According to a thought-provoking article in the Orange County Register, the law isn’t working in the OC. Twelve bicyclists were killed throughout Orange County in 2016 in collisions with cars.  That means roughly one cyclist was killed per month each month of 2016. Despite the increased awareness, “share the road” signs, and clearly marked bike lanes, too many drivers are colliding with cyclists, causing serious injuries or worse. In 2013, California lost 123 bicyclists.  The DMV says that each year, on average, over 100 people are killed on their bikes in California. The article discusses important ways that both drivers and bicyclists can help reduce car versus bicycle collisions. For questions about your bicycle collision case in Orange County or Los Angeles, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Flying Golf Balls: Court of Appeal Denies Government Immunity

Flying Golf Balls: Court of Appeal Denies Government Immunity

Can a city claim immunity from injury lawsuits when an errant golf ball leaves a city-owned golf course, which is operated by a private company, and injures a pedestrian on an adjacent public walkway? That is the question decided this week by the California Court of Appeal in Garcia v. American Golf Corp. Jacobo Garcia, a minor, was in his stroller being pushed along West Drive, which borders the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena.  Brookside is owned by the city of Pasadena, but operated by American Golf Corporation.  An errant golf ball slammed into Jacobo, causing brain injuries. Jacobo’s parents sued the City of Pasadena, arguing that the City allowed a dangerous condition of public property to go unrepaired.  They argued that there should have been fences along the golf course to contain flying golf balls. Pasadena defended on the grounds of trail immunity.  As I’ve discussed before, trail immunity offers governments immunity from injury lawsuits when an injury occurs on a trail leading to a publicly owned recreational property. The trial court agreed with Pasadena.  This week, the Court of Appeal reversed. The Court held that since Jacobo Garcia was not on a trail, but on a public street when he was hit by the flying golf ball, trail immunity does not apply. According to the Court, trail immunity does not apply when 1) a golf course is adjacent to a trail abutting a public street; 2) a golf course is a commercially operated, revenue-generating enterprise; 3) a golf course has a dangerous condition that exposes people outside it to a risk of harm from third parties hitting errant golf balls; 4)...
Crash Injuries are Down in Hancock Park

Crash Injuries are Down in Hancock Park

Los Angeles is known to all as a city with a diverse population, and way too much traffic. While the excess traffic in many areas of the City has led to more frequent collisions in those areas, statistics show that Hancock Park is experiencing less traffic collisions and fatalities. Specifically, Council District 4, which comprises Hancock Park, Larchmont, and Windsor Square, has had relatively few traffic-related fatalities compared to other Los Angeles neighborhoods. According to the Larchmont Ledger, one reason that might explain these statistics is the implementation of the Vision Zero plan.   The photo of the new crosswalk at Hollywood and Highland is an example. Vision Zero seeks to eliminate traffic fatalities in Los Angeles by 2025. City officials are concentrating on roughly 450 miles of Los Angeles streets that have been identified as part of the  “high injury network.” The Los Angeles Department of Transportation released statistics showing that in 2016, 216 people were killed in traffic collisions across the City.  Pedestrians and cyclists comprised 53% of those fatalities. We can all agree that even one death in Los Angeles is one too many.  Let’s be safe, pay attention, and share the road with cyclists. Watch out for pedestrians wherever you may be driving in Los Angeles. For questions about your Los Angeles case, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Teen Driving Crash Statistics

Teen Driving Crash Statistics

A few months back, we discussed some tips for teenage drivers just beginning to take the wheel. As a Los Angeles car accident lawyer, I can tell you that these tips are just as important now. The Automobile Club has put out some statistics involving teenage drivers. According to the Auto Club, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, an average of 10 people die every day across the U.S. from a crash involving a teenager. Nearly 60% of teenage crashes occur as a result of some form of distractions behind the wheel.  These distractions include cell phone use, texting, and internet or app browsing. Another common form of distractions occur when teenagers interact with passengers.  The social benefits may be entertaining, but too often these scenarios attract disastrous consequences. If you have a teenager who recently began driving, or will soon start, have a talk with him or her.  Your instruction could impart responsible habits to someone who could be driving for decades. Parents can find helpful information for teen drivers on the Auto Club’s website. For questions about your Los Angeles case involving a distracted teenager, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Mistaking the Brake Pedal for the Gas Pedal

Mistaking the Brake Pedal for the Gas Pedal

We’ve all heard of cases like these. Someone was driving, tried to step on the brakes, and instead hit the gas and crashed into another vehicle or property. What can be done? Unfortunately in most cases, these types of collisions usually boil down to simple human error. I’ve been asked if a case can be made against the car manufacturer for these cases.  Usually, the answer is no, because the crash wasn’t caused by a defect in the car.  The exception was when a few years ago, several car manufacturers were sued for unintended acceleration. Sadly, when we hear about these types of collisions, we often hear about them involving elderly drivers. Everyone should be careful while driving not to mistake the gas pedal for the brake pedal. While confusing the gas pedal with the brake pedal is a common Los Angeles car accident scenario, that doesn’t absolve the mistaking driver from fault for the crash. If you or someone you know were the victim of a driver who mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...