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Horseback Riding Injuries in California

Horseback Riding Injuries in California

Southern California is replete with horse trails.  Whether it’s for leisure or endurance riding, there are ample opportunities for horseback riding throughout the region. Is the owner of a horse responsible when that horse injures a fellow rider? This week the California Court of Appeal ruled on this important question involving horseback riding injuries.  The case is Swigart v. Bruno. Kathleen Swigart was leading a group of endurance riders on a 50 mile ride through Hemet.  Halfway through the ride, she got off her horse for a moment.  At that point, Carl Bruno’s horse bumped into another horse. That collision, in turn, spooked Bruno’s horse.  It bolted towards Ms. Swigart, who was injured in the collision. Ms. Swigart sued Mr. Bruno.  The trial court dismissed the case, concluding that it was barred by the “primary assumption of the risk doctrine.” The doctrine holds that a participant in an inherently dangerous activity assumes the risks associated with the activity.  It means that a defendant does not owe any duties of care to the injured plaintiff, and it acts as a complete bar to recovery. (Knight v. Jewel (1992) 3 Cal.4th 296, 308) Primary assumption of the risk essentially recognizes that certain dangers are often integral to the activity, and defendants generally have no duty to protect a plaintiff from such risks. The doctrine is commonly applied to sporting events.  Many sports contests involve rigorous physical activities, and injuries are common.  The doctrine bars co-participants from suing each other for injuries that arise during the game–unless they are inflicted intentionally. Horses are by their nature unpredictable and difficult to control. That, combined with the...
Is Uber Reducing Drunk Driving?

Is Uber Reducing Drunk Driving?

Is Uber reducing drunk driving in the U.S.? The answer is no, according to a recent study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study tracked instances of drunk driving between 2009 through 2014.  That’s when Uber blew up, and drunk driving fatalities haven’t decreased overall during that time. One possible explanation is that many people who are under the influence don’t feel like paying for a ride when they have their car keys with them. Overall, the U.S. experiences 10,000 DUI fatalities per year.  Only a small fraction of those who drive drunk are actually caught and prosecuted. The authors of the study are hopeful that as time goes on, there will be a stronger correlation between ridesharing and fewer drunk drivers. If you were injured in an Uber  collision  or one caused by a drunk driver in Los Angeles or Orange County, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Los Angeles Dog Bites

Los Angeles Dog Bites

As a Los Angeles accident attorney, I receive frequent questions about dog bites in Los Angeles.  And it’s a topic I’ve discussed before. What does an injured dog bite victim need to prove in California? The answer is found in CACI (civil jury instruction) 463. “To establish his/her claim, plaintiff must prove: Defendant owned a dog; That the dog bit plaintiff while he/she was in a public place or lawfully on private property; That plaintiff was harmed; and That defendant’s dog was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm”. These elements reflect California’s strict liability for dog owners.  Unlike some other states that require a dog to first establish itself as a biter, California imposes civil liability on dog owners the very first time the dog bites someone. Dog bites can be traumatic. Most dog bite victims are young children, and the consequences can impart a lifelong fear of dogs. If you or someone you know was the victim of a Los Angeles dog bite, my office is ready to assist, 24/6....
California Boating Accidents and BUI Laws

California Boating Accidents and BUI Laws

Fourth of July weekend is a time when thousands of Southern California residents head out on their boats and watercraft. What many people don’t know is that California law makes it illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, much the same as it’s illegal to operate a car while under the influence. California’s Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655 forbids a boat operator to operate a watercraft with a BAC of .08% or higher. An operator of a commercial water vessel must maintain a BAC of .04% or lower. It’s also illegal for a watercraft operator to negligently injure someone else while under the influence of alcohol. Remember that if you’re enjoying drinks while on the water, you must designate a sober operator of your particular water vessel. If you’re the victim of someone else’s negligence while on a boat, or the victim of someone who was BUI–boating under the influence– the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Is Marijuana Legalization Leading to More Crashes?

Is Marijuana Legalization Leading to More Crashes?

California voters recently voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. Does that mean that pot legalization is contributing to more car crashes in California? Statistics for the Golden State aren’t available yet. But if trends in other states are any indicator, the answer to this question could be a resounding yes in the coming months. For instance, an insurance study found that after Colorado legalized marijuana, car accidents increased nearly 3%. Time will tell if California will experience similar trends. As a reminder, it is illegal to drive in California while under the influence of any drug, including marijuana. If you or someone you know was the victim of a car crash caused by someone driving while high, my office is ready to assist,...
LAPD’s 30 Day Impound Policy Ruled Unconstitutional!

LAPD’s 30 Day Impound Policy Ruled Unconstitutional!

When the LAPD impounds a vehicle for 30 days pursuant to Department policy, and refuses to release the vehicle to the registered owner until 30 days are up, does this policy violate the Constitution? Yes, says the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in last week’s case of Brewster v. Beck. Lamya Brewster loaned her car to a relative, who was later pulled over and discovered to be driving with an expired license.  The LAPD impounded the car as required by California’s Vehicle Code. LAPD policy had an additional requirement that the car remain in the impound lot for 30 days.  Lamya visited the lot, presented proof that she owned the car, but the LAPD wouldn’t release it until 30 days were up. Lamya sued, arguing that the 30 day impound of her car was an unlawful “seizure” of her property, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The Court agreed. “A seizure is justified under the Fourth Amendment only to the extent that the government’s justification holds force.  Thereafter, the government must cease the seizure, or secure a new justification.  Appellees (LAPD) have provided no justification here.” (Id. at 7.) In this case, the LAPD had no further legitimate purpose to hold Lamya Brewster’s car after she presented her proof of ownership.  The LAPD, therefore, violated her property rights by improperly seizing her property. Interesting case–let’s see if the LAPD makes needed changes to its arbitrary impound rules. For questions about your case, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...