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Unbuckled in the Back Seat?  Don’t Risk Being a Human Missile!

Unbuckled in the Back Seat? Don’t Risk Being a Human Missile!

Are you riding in the back seat without your seat belt fastened? If you answered yes, you could become a human missile in the event of a crash, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in a report released this week. In the event of a collision, an unbelted passenger in the back seat can become a projectile, slamming into the driver seat at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.  That impact, in turn, can propel the driver into the airbag, causing further injuries or worse. The Insurance Institute’s study cites statistics that unbelted passengers in the back seats have increased as a result of increased ridesharing like Uber and Lyft. For some reason, many passengers believe they are safer in the back seat, even when not wearing a seat belt.  Four out of five adults who sit in the back seat for short rides admit to riding unbuckled. As this article points out, the laws of physics aren’t suspended just because a passenger is sitting in the back seat.  In 2015, 1,018 unrestrained back seat passengers were killed in collisions in the United States. Wearing a seat belt is required under California law, even in the back seat.  Buckle up! For questions about your Los Angeles accident case, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
Negligent Supervision Cases in California

Negligent Supervision Cases in California

When parents or homeowners assume the responsibility of supervising another’s child or children, can that result in liability if something goes wrong? The answer depends, as explained by a very sad case decided last week by the California Court of Appeal in Taylor v. Trimble. Jerry Taylor brought his 5 year old son Jaylen to a backyard party hosted by Alton and Judith Trimble.  The backyard had a swimming pool, and Jaylen did not know how to swim. After a short while, Mr. Taylor left Jaylen under the supervision of the Trimbles, who observed Jaylen wading in the shallow end of the pool.  Eventually, Jaylen’s grandfather Donald Green, a Captain with the Los Angeles Fire Department, arrived at the party and took over supervising his grandson Jaylen.  Tragically, Jaylen drowned a short while later. Mr. Taylor sued the Trimbles, arguing that they were negligent in supervising Jaylen as they’d agreed to do.  The Trimbles supported their summary judgment motion by arguing that Donald Green, Jaylen’s grandfather, had assumed the responsibility of supervising Jaylen when he arrived at the party.  The Court agreed. The Court of Appeal explained that “a defendant is not, by virtue of his or her status as a homeowner, responsible for supervising children who are invited onto his or her property where the children’s parents are present and supervising or expected to be supervising the child.” (Padilla v. Rodas (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 742, 748-49.)  It is normally the duty of a parent or other adult having primary supervisory control over the child to see to it that a child would not be going into a place of obvious...
Hancock Park Accidents Increasing on 6th Street

Hancock Park Accidents Increasing on 6th Street

There’s some serious news for drivers and pedestrians in Hancock Park, Los Angeles. Collisions are increasing on 6th Street on the blocks between Highland and La Brea. Residents have expressed concerns to Councilman David Ryu and other City officials. There are a few reasons for the increase in collisions on that stretch of roadway.  The Metro Purple Line construction could be one factor. Also, 6th Street is a major east-west artery, and commuters prefer it to other high-traffic streets like Wilshire and Third Street. Some of the increased collisions have been caused by drivers attempting to turn left, only to get broadsided by cars traveling straight. Residents have seen collisions result in cars spinning out of control.  A few times, cars have been catapulted into retaining walls that border homes in the area. Of particular concern is the possibility of increased pedestrian accidents in that area.  One resident told the Larchmont Ledger that it’s only a matter of time before a pedestrian is in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve personally handled accident cases that occurred on 6th Street.  Accidents are common there during early morning and late afternoon, when the sun could be limiting visibility. Keep in mind that 6th Street is seeing more collisions.  Pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution on 6th Street, especially in the Hancock Park area where accidents have increased. For questions about your Hancock Park accident case, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
How Does an Underinsured Motorist Case Work?

How Does an Underinsured Motorist Case Work?

As a Los Angeles auto accident attorney who handles underinsured and uninsured motorist cases, this is a question I receive pretty often. Underinsured motorist cases are unique because the plaintiff/claimant recovers from two separate insurance companies.  These cases occur when the driver responsible for a collision doesn’t carry sufficient insurance coverage to cover the injuries he/she caused to another driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Here’s how a typical underinsured motorist claim works. The plaintiff must first present a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. After the at-fault driver’s insurance pays the full policy limits, the plaintiff then presents an underinsured motorist claim to his/her own auto insurance carrier for the balance. If there’s a dispute between the claimant and his/her insurance company as to the value of the claim, the policyholder claimant can demand arbitration. Underinsured motorist claims are unique because it’s one of the rare occasions an insured has some leverage against an insurance company. That’s because the insurance company owes strict fiduciary duties to its insured drivers. As you can tell, uninsured and underinsured motorist cases in Los Angeles can be tricky.  Whether it’s a hit-and-run, a bicycle versus auto, or an auto versus pedestrian, these cases require unique skill and diligence. The Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist,...
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,...