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While dogs traditionally are regarded as “man’s best friend,” the behavior of any animal can be unpredictable. Our Orange County personal injury lawyers recognize that many people never expect to be attacked and bitten by a dog, but dog bite incidents are more common than you might realize. There were over 16,550 homeowner’s insurance claims filed for dog bite injuries in the United States during the most recent year for which data is available from the Insurance Information Institute (III). California had the nation’s highest number of dog bite claims with over 1,867 dog bite claims during that period, amounting to 54 percent more dog bite claims than the next highest state. Overall, the enormous impact of dog attacks is reflected by the fact that they account for one-third of all homeowner’s insurance claims in an aggregate amount that exceeds $530 million per year.

California Imposes Strict Liability on Dog Owner’s for Bite Injuries

Because the risk of suffering a serious injury in a dog attack or mauling incident is an all too common scenario for many people, our Orange County personal injury lawyers have provided an overview of the legal basis for imposing liability in dog bite cases. The applicable law will vary depending on the location of your injury because many cities have leash laws and their own dog bite laws that can provide a basis for liability. However, the good news for dog bite victims is that state law in California imposes strict liability on dog owners whose canine bites others without being provoked subject to narrow exceptions. California Civil Code, Section 3342 provides in pertinent part:

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An ABC affiliate in Bakersfield reported that a record-breaking settlement worth $2 million was reached in a dog bite case, which was the largest award for a dog bite case against a public entity in California. The case revolves around an incident wherein a K-9 unit from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in Bakersfield escaped from a patrol car in 2013 and bit 21-year old Erin Casey in a gas station parking lot. There was apparently a defect in the patrol car’s door which enabled the dog to escape, and according to the deputy, he was unable to get the German shepherd under control because it refused to obey his commands. The deputy needed to call for backup to get the dog off of Casey.

Dog bites can result in serious injury, and in some cases, death. If you have suffered injuries due to a dog bite in California, the attorneys at the law firm of Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc., can provide you with experienced counsel who may help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

Nationwide and California Dog Bite Statistics According to a report by the American Veterinary Medical Association cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people get bitten by dogs each year, of which 20 percent require medical attention and 27 thousand undergo reconstructive surgery. There were 31 dog bite-related deaths in 2013. 359,223 children between the ages of 1 to 14 were bitten by dogs between 2010 and 2012, and 66 percent of injuries to children 4 years and younger were to the head and neck. Additionally, children between 5 and 9 years old are at the highest risk for dog bites.

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Keeping our children safe is our highest priority. For years, we’ve known that safety belts save lives. In the event of a crash, they can reduce the risk of critical injuries and death by about 50 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We make sure our kids wear seatbelts when they’re in our cars, and California lawmakers have required them to wear them on their way to school. However, the law only applies to buses built after July 1, 2005, and safety belts are absent from many Orange County school buses, reported the Orange County Register.

imgres.jpgCalifornia Law Requires Safety Belts on School Buses

Fifteen years ago, a law was enacted in California requiring that school buses be equipped with shoulder-to-lap belts. California is one of only six states to have such a law and the only one requiring the arguably safer shoulder-style belts. School buses in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Texas must have lap belts. While 8 states introduced bills in 2009 that would mandate safety belts on school buses, none of them were passed.

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Orange County residents had more to fear last Halloween weekend than scary costumes and haunted houses after five pedestrians and bicyclists were struck and killed in less than forty-eight hours. One accident in Santa Ana left locals especially horrified: on Halloween night a speeding driver struck three teenage trick-or-treaters and fled the scene, leaving them to die in the street. Once authorities apprehended the driver they discovered that he had been driving on a suspended license from an August conviction for hit-and-run and DUI and that he had an extensive criminal record.



How Common Is Hit-and-Run in Orange County?

Although we hear about hit-and-run accidents in the news somewhat frequently, Orange County ranks just below average for its incidence of such collisions, placing 22nd in a comparison of 58 counties in a California Office of Traffic Safety ranking system in which 1st place is considered the worst. Hit-and-run was a factor in 935 of the crashes that resulted in injury or death in the county that year. Compare this to Los Angeles County, which ranked the 2nd worst for hit-and-run and where it was a factor in 5,893 crashes.

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Wearing a costume and walking the streets in the dark can be dangerous for anyone but especially for young trick-or-treaters. On Halloween, kids are four times more likely to be hit by a car than on any other day of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Transportation data indicate that 133 children were struck and killed while walking on Halloween from 1990 to 2012. Ensure your kids have a fun and safe time on the holiday with these Halloween safety tips from the CDC.

CDC%20Halloween%20Safety%20Tips.pngAdditional Halloween Safety Tips

• If trick-or-treaters are under the age of 12, an adult should supervise them.

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We’ve been writing a lot about Uber lately-and not good things. First we told you about drivers attacking and attempting to sexually assault passengers in San Francisco and Los Angeles; and then we shared that authorities in both of these cities were targeting Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies for misleading customers about how thoroughly they were conducting criminal background and driving record checks on their drivers. Now there are two more reasons not to use Uber: its drivers are still sketchy and so is its surge-pricing strategy.


Uber Driver Reportedly Kidnapped Passenger

SFGate reported today that a woman requested an Uber car to drive her home from a party but was instead taken almost 20 miles out of her way to a dark, empty parking lot. It was the middle of the night, and, when she tried to exit the vehicle, the driver locked the doors. He finally relented and took her home after she began screaming and causing a commotion. When the woman reported the terrifying incident to Uber, the ride-sharing company sent her an email apologizing for the ‘inefficient route.’ Uber responded that its “driver called 911 to ask for assistance with an intoxicated rider who requested an extended trip,” that night. Despite this contradictory information, the company has refunded the woman for the ride.

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English: A car with a parking ticket in Tel Aviv

English: A car with a parking ticket in Tel Aviv (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever spent a seeming eternity circling city blocks looking for parking and then, once you’ve finally found a free spot, been baffled by signage giving you conflicting information as to whether or not you can even park there? We’ve all been there, right? Well, thanks to the efforts of some City Council members, Los Angeles parking conditions could improve soon.

Yesterday, City Council members asked transportation officials to approve two programs that could ease Los Angeles parking conditions by providing drivers with less confusing signs and prohibiting the use of mobile apps to auction off metered parking spots for profit, reported the Los Angeles Times. A local graphic artist has created a grid-like format for the new signs that divides parking restrictions by day and hour and uses green and red time blocks to indicate when it’s permissible to park. The Department of Transportation will test the new design out over the next 45 days prior to issuing its approval. The Times did not indicate when a decision on the ban on selling public parking places would be made.

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A ride at Disneyland stalled yesterday afternoon, stranding passengers for about two hours in sweltering heat, reported the Los Angeles Times. Passengers endured 90-degree weather on Mickey’s Fun Wheel at California Adventure until cast members helped them off, just months after technical problems forced passengers to be escorted off of the California Screamin’ roller coaster. By 6 p.m. about 30 riders had been evacuated from the 150-foot-high wheel-and they were not pleased, with one rider tweeting, ‘Stuck on @Disneyland CA ferris wheel solid 25 mins.. Anxiety not good at 100+ feet.’


How Frequently Do Rides Malfunction at Disneyland?

For a large amusement park that operates year-round, we don’t hear about rides at Disneyland malfunctioning too often. Historically, however, one case is unforgettable: In 2003, two bolts on the left guide wheel assembly of a locomotive on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride fell off, causing an axle to jam into the railroad’s ties. The locomotive then nose-dived, its rear hitting the top of the tunnel, the force snapping a tow bar connecting the locomotive to the lead passenger car, causing it to slam into the locomotive’s undercarriage. Twenty-two-year-old graphic artist Marcelo Torres was killed and 10 others were seriously injured.

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Los Angeles Times Building, downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times Building, downtown Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Catching a cab can be challenging, costly, and sometimes an all-around bad experience if the driver is rude. For years, that was our only option. Getting a lift in a stranger’s car was, understandably, considered dangerous and out of the question-if we recall correctly, it even had a name: hitchhiking. Technology has brought us a long way, though, and now ride sharing services are so pervasive we’re often finding ourselves accidently hopping into the first Prius we see thinking it’s our Lyft driver. Unfortunately, despite assurances of thorough criminal background checks from these companies, their drivers’ records may not be as clean as they’ve led us to believe.

Ride Sharing Companies Under Fire for Misleading Customers

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At about 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014, two female passengers were killed in a car crash involving an unlicensed teen driver in Ontario, reported the Los Angeles Times. While traveling at a high rate of speed near South Grove Avenue and East Airport Drive, the 16-year-old male driver lost control, causing the car to jump the center median, slam into a wall, and flip before crashing into a traffic pole. Emergency responders transported the driver and a male passenger to an area hospital to receive treatment for non-life-threatening trauma. Authorities are investigating the accident.


Car Crash-The Leading Cause of Teen Driver & Passenger Death

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the Unites States, claiming the lives of seven teens aged 16 to 19 every day in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That year, car crashes killed 2,700 teens and injured another 282,000. In Ontario, 15 of the 808 crashes that resulted in injury or death involved drivers under the age of 21. Compared to 54 other cities with similarly sized populations, Ontario ranked the 9th worst.

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