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Injuries and Liabilities When Your School Lacks an Adequate Emergency Action Plan

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

An emergency action plan is your school’s first line of defense when a crisis hits the school. For example, a fire might break out in the building and a school cannot adequately evacuate because no emergency action plan exists. Or a sports contest will injure a child who cannot receive adequate treatment because of an inadequate or altogether missing emergency action plan. Insufficient emergency action plans (EAPs) might open the school up to liability when students are injured.

A Sample Sports Emergency Action Plan

Emergency action plans are vital for student-athletes. In 2013, 4 percent of those who died in sports-related deaths were younger than 17, and more than 425 catastrophic injuries occurred to student-athletes. To develop an adequate EAP for athletics, school personnel should:

  • Develop their EAP in coordination with the local emergency medical services (EMS) and on-site medical personnel
  • Create an EAP specific to the venue and include maps or directions
  • Identify necessary onsite emergency equipment, such as defibrillators, medical kits, and splint kits
  • Include contact information for EMS
  • Address how to transport injured student-athletes from the sporting venue to medical facilities
  • Spell out how to document injuries
  • Identify the personnel responsible for providing medical care and sketch out their chain of command

School personnel should review the EAP at least once a year and update it if necessary. Furthermore, the coaching staff should hold a CPR refresher each year so that they can help in emergencies.

Serious Injuries

A student could sustain almost any injury when trying to flee from the school in an emergency. For example, it is not unusual for them to suffer:

  • Concussions
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns

Student-athletes also suffer serious injuries on the playing field, including:

  • Heat stroke
  • Head injuries
  • Asthma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Anaphylaxis (acute allergic reaction)
  • Hyponatremia (low sodium level in blood)

Many injuries grow life-threatening without prompt medical attention. But even a victim who survives could face months of recovery time that can cause them to miss work or fall behind with their schooling. Particularly serious injuries can also cause emotional harm, such as depression or anxiety.

Holding the School Responsible

When a school lacks an adequate emergency action plan, you might hold it responsible for the injuries you or your child sustained. In particular, you might sue the school for negligence because it did not run the school with adequate care. Although school districts generally enjoy immunity from lawsuits, California law makes an exception for negligence.

Generally, schools owe students a duty to exercise reasonable care and to discharge that duty the school may need a detailed EAP. Failing to develop an EAP—or having an inadequate one—might constitute a breach of the school’s duty, which could expose the school to a lawsuit.

Contact a Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorney Today

Parents entrust schools to take care of their children, and schools should have to compensate you for your injuries when they betray that trust. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, we have sued school districts for failing to keep everyone safe. Because of the special administrative rules for suing a school district, please call us as soon as possible for a free consultation at (310) 576-1200 or fill out our online contact form.

Can You Sue for Soccer Head Injuries?

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

Soccer is an increasingly popular sport in the United States, particularly with the young. For some people, soccer represents a safe alternative to football, which can cause concussions and other injuries. However, soccer itself presents its own dangers of traumatic brain injuries.

Soccer Head Injuries

Many people perceive soccer as a safer sport for children to play than American football. Nevertheless, soccer can cause head injuries. As the New York Times reported, at least one soccer player suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease more closely associated with NFL players. Soccer players can suffer head injuries in several ways:

  • Hitting the ground after an aggressive tackle
  • Taking an elbow to the head
  • Running into a goalpost
  • Repeated heading of the ball
  • A collision of heads when two or more players attempt to head the ball

Some readers might feel surprised that simply heading the ball can lead to brain injuries. Nevertheless, scientists studying this issue have seen brain abnormalities in soccer players who are constantly heading the ball. These abnormalities can cause serious problems, such as:

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Light-headedness
  • Increased headaches
  • Trouble sleeping

Scientists do not yet know how much force will cause brain damage, but they do recommend that players younger than 14 not head the ball.

Assumption of the Risk

By its nature, soccer is a contact sport, and most participants know that going in. For that reason, it can prove difficult to bring a lawsuit for injuries your child suffered on the playing field.

California’s “primary assumption of the risk” doctrine prevents lawsuits when the injury results from commonplace physical contact in sports. In Knight v. Jewett, the California Supreme Court considered whether someone injured in a touch football game could bring a lawsuit for injuries suffered when the defendant stepped on her hand. The court decided that the injured plaintiff could not sue. Specifically, the court held that the defendant only owed a duty not to recklessly or intentionally injure other players, and accidentally stepping on someone’s hand did not qualify.

However, playing in a sport is not a complete bar to a lawsuit. One key question was whether the defendant’s conduct was so reckless that it fell completely outside the range of ordinary conduct involved in the sport. For example, somebody deliberately punching your child will probably fall outside the range of normal conduct. But other actions—even a rough tackle—might constitute normal contact and bar a lawsuit. Another question may be whether anyone took any action to change the risks inherent in the sport or activity.

If you have questions, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Greene Broillet & Wheeler. They can help you assess whether the injury you or your child suffered stems from a reckless disregard for personal safety.

Suing a School

Another consideration is whether you have a valid legal claim against the school or sports league in which your child participates. Primary assumption of the risk will bar many lawsuits—and in some situations, you may not be permitted to sue the school even when a player deliberately attacks your child. However, you might have a valid claim in certain situations, depending on the circumstances, including:

  • A defect on the field contributed to your child’s head injury
  • Coaching staff trained your child improperly, which contributed to a head injury
  • The school did not follow the proper procedures after your child suffered a head injury

If you have a valid legal claim, you can bring a lawsuit against the school. However, the precise process will depend on whether you are suing a public school or a private club.

Generally, California agencies and municipalities are immune from lawsuits, and this includes school districts. Nevertheless, the California Tort Claims Act allows you to bring a lawsuit against a school district for negligence, provided you give the district notice first. You should fill out a claim form within six months of the injury. If you wait too long, then you will not be able to sue.

Suing a private club is different because they are not generally immune from lawsuits. Instead of following administrative procedures, you can proceed directly to court and file your lawsuit.

In either situation, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Greene Broillet & Wheeler right away so they can help you through the situation by properly filing your complaint.

Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

Suing a school is complicated, especially when sports-related injuries are at issue. To ensure you follow all requirements, work with Greene Broillet & Wheeler. We have extensive experience with these cases. Contact us today for your free consultation by calling (310) 576-1200.

Municipal Liability in Pedestrian Accidents

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

Pedestrian Accident Los AngelesIf you have been out walking in Los Angeles recently, you should not be surprised to see crumbling city sidewalks. According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, the city is offering as much as $10,000 in rebates to homeowners to fix the crumbling sidewalks themselves, all part of an effort to make the sidewalks accessible to the disabled. But hazardous sidewalks pose another issue to the city and its pedestrians—it is easy to fall while walking on them.

Injuries Caused by Hazardous Sidewalks

Most pedestrians can easily walk over a few cracks in a sidewalk. However, huge potholes or grossly uneven pieces of pavement can trap your feet or cause you to trip. If you fall, you can suffer any of the following serious injuries:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Other traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries

Even relatively minor cuts might become serious if they get infected because of improper cleaning and dressing. Pedestrians who fall experience significant physical and emotional pain and may have to stay home as they recover, thus missing out on income from work.

Holding the City Responsible for Your Injuries

For more than 70 years, injured pedestrians could sue the city for injuries sustained because of defective sidewalks. In Lorraine v. City of Los Angeles, a woman stepped up onto the sidewalk near the intersection of Vine Street and Hollywood Boulevard. After taking a few steps, her foot caught in a hole in the pavement and she fell violently forward, suffering a fracture and other injuries. After winning her lawsuit, the city appealed.

On appeal, the court upheld the judgment in favor of the pedestrian. The court stated that the hole in the sidewalk had existed for a month to six weeks, yet the city had not fixed it. Because of the hole’s size, and its presence for more than a month, the court held that the city had constructive notice that it existed, even if the plaintiff did not complain to the city before her injury.

Gather Documentation

After an injury, the best thing you can do for your case is to quickly document the surrounding circumstances. Hang on to all medical records and bills, since these will show the extent of your injuries. Also, write down how much pain you are feeling and where.

If possible, ask someone to return to the scene of the accident as soon as possible and take pictures of the broken pavement. Photos with a smartphone are acceptable. You do not want to delay since the city might quickly try to fill in the hole or rip up the broken sidewalk and resurface it. Your personal injury lawyer will find these pictures helpful when establishing the defective nature of the sidewalk.

Speak With a Los Angeles, California Personal Injury Lawyer

If you tripped and fell on an L.A. sidewalk, the law might entitle you to financial compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Greene Broillet & Wheeler are aggressive advocates on behalf of our clients, and we look forward to obtaining full and fair compensation on your behalf. Suing a municipality has special administrative rules and tight deadlines, so don’t delay contacting us. Call for your free consultation at (310) 576-1200 or fill out our online contact form.

The Serious Car and Motorcycle Accidents that Negligent Road Repair Can Cause

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

Personal Injury Lawyer Los AngelesNegligent or reckless drivers cause many accidents. But sometimes poor road repair can cause accidents, so accident victims will need to consider whether to sue the party responsible for maintaining the road. Because this is a complicated area of law, victims should schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Greene Broillet & Wheeler as soon as possible.

Negligent Road Repair

Road repair can create many hazards that lead directly to accidents. For example, you might crash because:

  • Debris is left behind from construction cleanups
  • Poor maintenance of grates or drainage systems leads to flooding, which increases the risk of hydroplaning and losing control of the vehicle
  • Proper signs are missing or poorly positioned
  • No notice or signs are given about road construction, or improperly placed signs block a driver’s view, causing a collision

Motorcycles, which are lighter and smaller than passenger cars, are more vulnerable to problems with the road. For example, motorcycles might crash due to:

  • Broken pavement
  • Potholes
  • Gravel
  • Grooves in the pavement

Each accident is different, and whether you can sue will depend on all of the surrounding circumstances. A California car accident attorney can review the surrounding circumstances to identify whether you have a valid lawsuit.

Onerous Red Tape

A substantial amount of roadwork is conducted by the state. Unfortunately, the state of California’s sovereign immunity often protects it from lawsuits brought against it by one of its citizens. Although sovereign immunity is not unlimited, you will need to clear some procedural hurdles before you get your day in court.

For example, before you can sue a state agency, you must file a claim with the Government Claim Program in the Department of General Services. You can download the forms from the government’s website and submit them along with the $25 fee. You must move quickly and file your claim within six months of the injury—otherwise, you may lose your right to sue. Although the state makes exceptions for missing the deadline in some situations, you shouldn’t rely on them.

After making your claim, the state will decide whether to accept it within 45 days. If it does, it will settle the lawsuit with you. If the state denies your claim, you can file a lawsuit in the appropriate court.

The lawyers at Greene Broillet & Wheeler know how to fill out and file that paperwork for you and maximize your chances of a successful result. If necessary, they know the best ways to take your case to court.

Suing Private Individuals

In some situations, a private party will face liability for the negligent road repair. For example, you might suffer an injury on a private road owned and maintained by a private party. Some construction companies or independent contractors also work on road construction or repair projects, and they might also face responsibility for the accident.

When suing a private party, your lawsuit will proceed much as any other lawsuit would. You do not need to file a claim with a government agency. However, you might need to investigate and identify who is responsible for the road hazards that injured you.

Speak with a Los Angeles, California, Personal Injury Lawyer

Government agencies and private parties that injure drivers should pay victims compensation for their injuries. The personal injury lawyers at Greene Broillet & Wheeler have years of experience helping accident victims bring suits against government agencies and private construction companies. Call us today for a free consultation at (310) 576-1200, or submit an email through our online contact form.

When Car Safety Features Fail

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

Personal Injury Lawyer Los AngelesThe modern automobile is a technological marvel. Anti-lock brakes allow drivers to brake on slick surfaces while retaining control of the car. Airbags keep passengers from slamming their heads into dashboards during a crash. And automatic emergency braking systems sense potential collisions and initiate braking.

But what happens if these car safety features fail? Fortunately, drivers and passengers may receive financial compensation for their injuries by suing the manufacturer.

How to Prove a Defect

Car safety features should work as advertised. When they don’t, they can cause injuries—to you and to others. However, to receive compensation, you need to do more than point to your injury. Instead, you will probably need to show that the car was defective because the safety feature did not work as designed or manufactured. If you bring a strict products liability lawsuit, you will need to pinpoint some defect, such as:

  • Defective design. The car or safety feature was manufactured and assembled according to its design, but something about the design made the feature malfunction.
  • Defective manufacture. Maybe nothing is wrong with the design, but the part or car was assembled in a defective manner.

In your lawsuit, you can sue the manufacturer of the part as well as the manufacturer of the car. For example, an automobile manufacturer might install anti-lock brakes made by a different company. In this situation, you might hold both the manufacturer of the part and the car manufacturer liable.

As part of a strict products liability lawsuit, you can sue anyone who moved the vehicle along the stream of commerce, including:

  • Distributors
  • Wholesalers
  • Retailers

In California, you might also hold someone responsible for the safety failure for negligence or breach of warranty. These will require that you show a different set of facts.

Compensation for Your Injuries

If you can convince a jury that someone bears responsibility for the defective product, then you can receive compensation for your injuries, including economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future wages if you can’t return to your old job

You might also qualify for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, which covers:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Inconvenience
  • Disfigurement
  • Lost enjoyment of life

The key is gathering enough evidence to prove both economic and non-economic damages. For example, hold onto all medical bills and receipts to prove how much medical care you have paid for, as well as information regarding medical expenses paid by insurance or any other party. To prove pain and suffering, you can use testimony from your therapist or friends and family to establish how the injury has damaged your life.

Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles, California

Many manufacturers highlight their cars’ safety features when marketing to the public. As a result, consumers rely on these cars to work as expected while on the road. If your vehicle’s safety features fail, the law may entitle you to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Greene Broillet & Wheeler today online, or call (310) 576-1200 for a free consultation.

How the state of California deals with nursing home neglect

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

We send our elderly loved ones to nursing homes expecting that they will be taken good care of. While this most often is the case, several current studies have shown that this may be wishful thinking. Recently, there have been several cases in California and across the United States that indicate a high level of nursing home neglect.

If you have a friend or family member residing in a nursing home in California, in order to make sure he or she is receiving the proper medical care and attention that they deserve – it is important to understand the law as it applies to nursing home care in California.

California has very specific laws regulating nursing home care which are in place so as to avoid nursing home abuse and neglect. If you have a loved one in a nursing home it is smart to stay informed and up- to-date on what those laws are.

In California, all nursing home facilities are regulated by the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division. The purpose of the CDPH and other related agencies is to ensure that health care facilities are complying with state laws and regulations regarding health care and to avoid any neglect or abuse.

There are several basic requirements to keep in mind that California law requires of its nursing homes.

Those are:

· The nursing home must meet Title 22 licensing requirements;

· The patient must receive the appropriate amount of care to maintain physical and mental well-being;

· The patient must maintain his or health or improve while in treatment; and

· The patient must feel it is his or her choice in terms of what treatments they receive.

California does currently have an Act in place that provides for someone who has been abused in a nursing home to be awarded punitive damages. Due to this and the other requirements set out by California law, when you start to explore the law as it pertains to nursing home care in California – it can be quite useful to consult an attorney to assist you in the process in making sure your loved one is being properly cared for.

$36M verdict for young pedestrian shows need for back-to-school safety

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

This month we’ve been covering pedestrian safety in light of a statewide campaign to reduce pedestrian deaths. California Pedestrian Safety Month coincides with back-to-school season, which makes it a perfect time to brush up on safe walking habits for kids.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one fifth of children between the ages of five and nine who are killed in traffic are pedestrians. As a recent case out of San Bernadino demonstrates, children walking to and from school are highly vulnerable and need to be protected. Read on to learn more.

Recent case: $36 million for an injured child

Our firm recently represented a six-year-old girl who was struck by a car while crossing the street at her school bus stop. She was in a coma for three months, sustained a traumatic brain injury and had fractures to her neck, arm, leg and pelvis.

Our firm secured $36 million for the girl and her family when a jury found that the school bus company had failed to report that the bus stop was dangerous due to parents and children crossing a busy street in the middle of the block on a daily basis. However, no amount of money can undo what happened or take away their pain. In addition to holding negligent parties accountable in court, it is critical to educate the community about safe driving and walking practices to help prevent accidents like this whenever possible.

How kids can stay safe on the way to school

The National Transportation Safety Board provides some helpful guidelines to make sure your child gets to and from school safely:

  • Children should not walk alone until they are at least ten years old.
  • Map out a safe route – get more information here – and practice it with your child several times.
  • Try to select a route with sidewalks and clearly-marked crossings, and make sure your child can identify them.
  • Avoid busy, high-traffic roads whenever possible.
  • Remind children to look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT before and during crossing.

Metro Blue Line Train Crashes in Downtown LA

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

A Metro Blue Line train was hit by a minivan outside of downtown Los Angeles today.

The Bay City News Service reports that at least a dozen people are injured, included two seriously.

The crash happened shortly before 10 a.m. on the 300 block of Washington Boulevard. The Los Angeles Fire Department says that the driver of the van may have blown through a red light before being hit by the train.

NBC Los Angeles reports that there is extensive damage to the driver’s side of the van. At least 10 people were reported injured on the train.

This accident comes shortly after transportation officials announced a new device designed to keep deadly train accidents from happening. The device is called Positive Train Control (PTC) and uses GPS signals and wayside devices that monitor for unusual train movement or speed.

PTC also allows Metrolink officials to remotely stop a train to prevent accidents from happening.

This technology was developed in response to a deadly Chatsworth train accident that killed 25 people and left 135 people injured.

Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP handles train accident cases across Southern California. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, call us at 310-576-1200 or contact us online.

Asiana fined $500,000 for actions after California crash

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

The US Department of Transportation recently issued a fine against Asiana Airlines for failing to help families after the crash of one of its planes in July.

This is the first time that an airline has been fined under a 1997 law requiring “family assistance plans” for major accidents.

CNN reports that the airline took two full days to contact the families of most of the people on the plane and took up to five days after the crash to contact some of the passengers’ families.

Asiana attempted to shift blame for its inept response to San Francisco authorities. The airline said that its ability to respond to families was hampered by its lack of staffing at the SF airport and the fact that injured passengers were ferried to at least a dozen area hospitals. Asiana also noted that hospitals were reluctant to update the airline on passenger conditions due to privacy concerns.

“The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP handles air plane crashes across California. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, call us at 310-576-1200 or contact us online.

Investigators Continue Orland Bus Accident Investigation in L.A.

Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles California

The investigation into a Northern California bus accident has shifted to the L.A. area.

The Los Angeles Times reports that investigators are still looking into what caused a deadly crash between a FedEx freight truck and a Silverado Stages charter bus.

Students from the Los Angeles area made up the bulk of the 48 bus passengers. The L.A. Times reports that 44 of the passengers were Southern California high school students. Among the dead are five students, three chaperons, and the drivers of the two vehicles.

Investigators are examining the scene of the accident, which is on Interstate 5 in Orland. They are also interviewing surviving students, mainly in Southern California. The students were going to Humboldt State University for orientation programming when their bus was hit by a FedEx truck that veered into its path.

Authorities say that it is still too early to determine what caused the driver to reer off of the road.

Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP handles traffic accident caswes across Southern California. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, call us at 310-576-1200 or contact us online.

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