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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,...
Los Angeles Truck Crashes

Los Angeles Truck Crashes

This afternoon, Los Angeles experienced a horrible truck crash on the 5 Freeway in Los Feliz. Early reports are that one person was killed, and several were injured when a truck crossed the center median, collided with several vehicles, then jackknifed. The truck exploded, causing a large fire.  Traffic was jammed for hours. This tragic case highlights the deadly consequences of Los Angeles area truck crashes. An investigation will be made as to what caused this Los Angeles truck crash. Nationwide, truck driver fatigue has been cited as a common cause of truck crashes. The issue is so important that a few years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised truck regulations affecting how many hours a truck driver is allowed to work per week. Thousand of truck crashes occur across the country each year resulting from truck driver fatigue.  It’s too early to tell what caused this horrific Los Angeles truck crash, and our thoughts go out to the victims. Finally, trucks traveling across state lines are federally mandated to carry higher insurance.  After seeing the carnage from today’s Los Angeles truck crash, the reasons are obvious. For questions about your Los Angeles truck crash case, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Can you Sue the Federal Government for Personal Injuries?

Can you Sue the Federal Government for Personal Injuries?

Can an injured person sue the federal government for his or her injuries?  It’s a question I receive from time to time.  The answer: it depends! Injury claims brought against the U.S. government must be brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Originally, the federal government was immune from personal injury lawsuits.  That changed when Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act, waiving the government’s immunity in many cases. The Federal Tort Claims Act has several exceptions–meaning that the Government’s immunity from these lawsuits still exists in these listed exceptions. One of the exceptions is when the claim arises in a foreign country. What does “arises” mean?  That was the subject of a recent Ninth Circuit decision in S.H. v. United States. S.H., a minor, was born on an Air Force base hospital in Spain in 2005.  Her father, Air Force Master Sergeant Holt, was cleared by his Air Force physician to travel to Spain with his wife while she was pregnant with S.H. S.H. was born premature while on the trip to Spain.  S.H. suffered a birth injury that was later determined to be cerebral palsy.  This diagnosis was not made until years later, when the family was stationed in South Carolina. The family sued the U.S Government, arguing that the claim against the Air Force physician (who they claim negligently cleared Sgt. Holt to travel to Spain) “arose” at the time the child received the diagnosis in South Carolina years later.  The District Court agreed, awarding over $10 million to S.H.’s parents. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It held that the claim arose at the time of S.H.’s...