Essential Advice in Dealing With Vicious Dogs

The most recent statistics reveal that in 2014 there were 42 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States. In California, further reports show that the largest number of animal attacks are due to pit bulls. If you happen to find yourself in a situation with a vicious dog, there are certain steps that can be taken to minimizing the potential damages in the event that dog bites do occur.

The following pieces of advice may help you avoid being bitten by a vicious dog. If possible, avoid dogs. If the dog is off leash, act as if the dog views you as a threat even if you are familiar with the dog. If you are approached by a roaming dog, the American Kennel Club recommends that you drape your arms over your chest, stand still, do not make eye contact with the dog, and if possible throw something to distract the dog’s attention. Also, realize that dogs naturally become startled when wakened, so avoid disturbing a sleeping dog and respect the animal’s personal space.

Understand California law. In accordance with California law, anyone who owns a dog is responsible for ensuring that the dog does not bite or cause injury to anyone else. Courts in California do not require plaintiffs to prove that the dog had a previous biting history or that the owner knew about the dog’s propensity to bite. Dog owners, however, do not owe a responsibility to protect trespassers against dog bites. Also, military or police dogs that bite while performing their duties are not subject to liability.

If a dog bite does occur, be sure to take the following steps:

  • Identify the Dog and its Owner. If at all possible, obtain the name and address of the individual who owns the dog. If the dog’s owner cannot be identified, you will likely be forced to go through a series of rabies shots to minimize potential risks.
  • Obtain Medical Care. Contact medical emergency personnel or have someone drive you to a hospital. Medical treatment is necessary if you are attacked or bitten by a dog.
  • File a Dog Bite Report. Once you have receive adequate medical treatment, file a dog bite report with the proper city or county authorities. This document initiates a paper trail for law enforcement.
  • Gather Information. If at all possible, identify the dog’s owner. Obtain the dog’s license information and any recorded information about prior attacks made by the dog.
  • Photograph Your Injuries. Photograph your injuries. Make sure that photographs are made periodically as the wounds continue to improve.
  • Contact an Attorney. Do not hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced attorney who can ensure that your dog bite case is handled in the proper manner and that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

If you are bitten, attacked, or otherwise injured by a vicious dog, it is imperative that you follow the above mentioned steps to minimize the potential damages from the accident. It is also important that you do not hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced California personal injury attorney today.

Your Rights Following a Bicycle Accident in San Diego County

Biking is one of California’s most popular sports and pastimes, due in large part to the state’s beautiful weather, scenic roadways, abundant state parks and bike trails, and active population. Experienced cyclists know how to take precautions to protect themselves on the trail or road, but many cyclists are still involved in accidents due to no fault of their own.

If you have been injured in a biking accident in southern California, your experienced Carlsbad or Palm Desert personal injury attorney can help you determine whether another party should be held liable for the damages you have suffered.

Bike Path and Lane Safety in San Diego County

According to a San Diego county grand jury report on bicycle safety, the bike paths and lanes in the area are substandard, poorly located, badly marked, and poorly maintained. While San Diego County has made strides in becoming more bike-friendly in recent years, there is still room for improvement in many areas affecting bike safety.

The study also found that nearly 14% of all traffic accidents in San Diego County involved a collision with a bicycle that resulted in an incapacitating injury to the cyclist, and the higher the speed limit, the higher the rate of bicycle accidents. Since the year 2000, 49 bicyclists have been hit by vehicles while traveling on Montezuma Road.

Traffic Law Education and Enforcement

Laws are in place to protect bicyclists, but when traffic laws are not enforced, motor vehicle drivers do not learn how to best share the roadways with bicyclists. In California, bicyclists have a right to share the roadway with vehicles and do not necessarily need to be riding in a bike lane.

Pure Comparative Negligence Rule in California

California operates under the rule that victims who are injured due to another party’s negligence may recover damages, even if their own negligent conduct contributed to causing the accident. In other words, even victims who are partially at fault can still be eligible for compensation. While some states cap the fault percentage at 50%, California allows recovery even where a plaintiff might be 99% responsible for the accident.

This is important to understand with respect to bicycle accidents, since many bicyclists are found to be partially at-fault. For instance, a bicyclist might not obey all the traffic laws or might not ride in the designated bicycle lane because it is poorly marked.

Even if you believe you may largely be at fault for your bicycling injuries, your bicycle accident attorney with Leslie Legal Group will likely still be able to pursue compensation on your behalf. Though there are some limits to whether a government entity, as opposed to a private insurer or individual motorist, may be held responsible, your personal injury lawyer can investigate the circumstances and determine how to proceed.

Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in San Diego County

Personal injury attorney Sean Leslie is an experienced bicyclist who understands what you may be going through following an accident. He can help you seek the compensation you may need to pay medical bills and obtain necessary rehabilitation, services so that you can return to road if you desire.

Bringing a Personal Injury Suit Against a Driver on Prescription Drugs

Have you or a loved one been injured as the result of the negligent or reckless conduct of a person driving while experiencing side effects related to a medical prescription? Did you know that the law holds these drivers accountable just the same as drivers who caused personal injuries or property damage as a result of other types of careless, reckless, or intentionally wrongful driving? Neither the legality of a prescription nor ignorance of its side effects are valid bases for avoiding liability for the damages caused by a breach of the duty of safe driving. So, if you have been injured by driver under the influence of even a legal prescription medication, it is within your right to seek compensation from them for your injuries, medical bills, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and other losses. To hold the at-fault driver responsible for these damages, contact a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney.

Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs is Dangerous

Properly prescribed and responsibly consumed, most medications pose little danger to driving safety. However, some medications come with serious side effects including drowsiness, audio-visual distortions, irritability, and even seizures. These side effects, which can result from either the presence or absence (e.g. withdrawal) of a prescription medication, pose serious – even lethal – risks when coupled with driving. Just imagine if a driver, traveling at 65mph on the highway, unexpectedly falls asleep or experiences convulsions or a seizure. Terrifying, isn’t it?  

Of course you may know firsthand of the terrible consequences if you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a driver who lost control of a vehicle while experiencing medication-related side effects. While you may not harbor the same bad feelings for this type of driver as you would a drunk driver, you may still hold him or her responsible for the tragic toll taken on your person and property. Ignorance of the existence of side effects or the possibility of their occurrence while driving is no excuse. It is the responsibility of a driver to know the effects of the prescription medications they are on, just as it is the responsibility of the driver’s prescribing physician and pharmacist to inform the driver, in writing, of any possible side effects.  

When lack of awareness or forgetfulness leads to an accident, legal liability may still be rightly imposed.  This is the basis for you seeking compensation for your personal injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income due to missed work, and other losses – even from a driver who was unaware of the potential side effects that played a role in the accident that caused your injuries. To seek the compensation you need and deserve for your losses, contact a dedicated and skilled San Diego personal injury attorney. Time is of the essence in filing a personal injury lawsuit, so do not delay in contacting an experienced attorney.

Recovering Compensation for Personal Injuries From a Drunk Driver

Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of another person’s decision to get behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol? May, for all its beauty, is also a time of danger. With millions of young people celebrating graduation, whether from secondary school, college, or beyond, alcohol will inevitably be consumed. All too often, when alcohol is consumed in the context of celebration, it is consumed to the point of excess. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to drunkenness, and when this state of impaired mental faculties is combined with the poor and dangerous decision to get behind the wheel of a car, truck, or other vehicle, tragedy can ensue. This grave possibility lingers around every graduation celebration in which alcohol is involved – and especially those in more remote areas in which there is no access to public transportation, taxis, Uber, or Lyft.

If this dark possibility has become a reality and resulted in an accident in which you or a loved one were injured by a drunk driver, contact a skilled and experienced California personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney will hold the at-fault driver responsible for his or her dangerously selfish decision-making, and seek the full compensation you are entitled to for your injuries, medical and auto repair bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Damages Awarded in a Personal Injury Suit Against a Drunk Driver

When a person chooses to get behind the wheel of an automobile while under the influence of alcohol, he or she has acted negligently. Negligence is a legal doctrine. Specifically, negligence is a breach of a duty of care owed to another person that results in damages. Driving under the influence (DUI) is a breach of the duty of safe driving. Alcohol impairs the mental faculties, slows reaction times, and can lead to speeding, swerving, and even passing out at the wheel.  This brings us to damages, the final aspect of establishing negligence. It is the element of causation – of linking the breach of the duty of safe driving – to the personal injuries you have suffered that completes the tort of negligence. This linking is what justifies imposing legal and financial liability on the at-fault driver.  It is about justice – about holding the at-fault party responsible for the harm suffered by the innocent party.  

While court imposed liability cannot, unfortunately, “unbreak” your bones, it can provide financial restitution. Specifically, in a personal injury lawsuit against a drunk driver, you may seek compensation for your injuries, medical bills, car repair bills, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and other losses. Finally, if you were not injured, but instead tragically lost a loved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. To discuss the specifics of your situation, contact a skilled and experienced California personal injury attorney. A dedicated attorney will fight to obtain the full compensation to which you are entitled.  

When Reckless Driving Causes Personal Injuries in California

This week, a star NBA player posted an image on Snapchat of his speedometer reading 118 miles per hour while driving his BMW on one of California’s highways. The question has since been asked “why would someone post evidence of themselves breaking the law?” After all, 118 mph is well over the speed limit on any California street or highway – a flagrant violation of state law.  Secondly, while driving at such a dangerous and unlawful speed, why would someone take his or her eyes off the road – even for a moment – to document the unlawful activity? Finally, why would that person then brag about breaking the law and potentially endangering other drivers or pedestrians?

The answer to all three questions likely involves a combination of youth, stupidity, and daft “brand building” in the age of social media. What if the driver’s decision to speed and take his eyes of the road had caused an accident in which personal injuries resulted? For the speeding driver, potentially career-ending injuries, criminal prosecution by the state, loss or restriction of driving privileges by the state’s department of motor vehicles, and potential financial liability stemming from a civil suit by any injured parties. If you have been injured by the reckless and unlawful driving of another person, you may be entitled to recover financial damages in a personal injury lawsuit. To defend your legal rights and hold the other driver responsible for your losses, contact a skilled and experienced California personal injury attorney.

Driver’s Owe Other Drivers and Pedestrians a Duty of Safe Driving

There is a social contract between drivers and other drivers and pedestrians encountered on the state’s roads, streets, highways, and freeways. This contract imposes a duty of safe driving in accordance with the rules and regulations of the state of California. As a part of this duty, we are required to abide by the speed limit, possess car insurance to protect others and ourselves in the event of an accident, drive free from distraction, and refrain entirely from driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications. When a driver violates this duty of safe driving and causes an accident resulting in property damage, personal injuries, or fatalities, that driver may be held both criminally and financially responsible for their breach of the duty to drive safely.

The criminal side of the equation punishes the driver for his or her decision to drive reckless, carelessly, or in an intentionally wrongful manner. But what about the property damage or personal injuries inflicted on others? Liability for causation of these losses is the province of the civil justice system. So, if you have been injured by a reckless, careless, or intentionally malicious driver, you may file a personal injury lawsuit in the civil justice system to recover the damages you have suffered, including repair costs, medical bills, lost income due to missed work, and much more. To discuss the specifics of your losses, contact an experienced California personal injury attorney.

Wrong-Way Car Crashes Often Prove Deadly

Fatal wrong-way car crashes are some of the worst occurrences on our nation’s roads. This is because a wrong-way car crash can do so much devastation, and involve persons, property, and both state and private businesses and institutions. Take, for example, a recent wrong-way car crash that killed five people in Ohio. There, it is suspected that the driver had been drinking and driving in the wrong direction before causing an interstate crash. The driver died in the collision, as did four people in the SUV that the driver’s vehicle slammed into.

There are multiple twists to this story.  First, the driver had been arrested the day before for the drinking and driving offense of “operating a vehicle without reasonable control” after his car collided with a parked car. This fact raises questions as to why the authorities allowed the man to even be in a position to drive again so soon after the arrest. Second, there is the wrong-way aspect of the crash. Were directional signs on Ohio’s freeways not sufficiently large and visible? The fact that 10 other fatal wrong-way crashes occurred in Ohio in 2014 may suggest that off-ramp/on-ramp signs are ineffective or defective in some way.

Here, in California, there has been a spate of fatal wrong-way car crashes, as well. The fact that Caltrans – the state agency in charge of highway, bridge, and rail transportation, planning, construction, and maintenance – has been making recent efforts to improve on-ramp/off-ramp signs suggests a relationship between the quality of the signs and the occurrence of wrong-way crashes. Still, in the Ohio case, it is hard to know whether the accident was purely the result of drinking and driving or of a number of factors, including inadequate signage. For both survivors and for loved ones of those killed in the accident, many questions – some factual, and some legal – remain. If you have been involved in a wrong-way crash, or lost a loved one to a wrong-way car crash here in California, contact an experienced California personal injury and wrongful death attorney.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits Seek Damages in the Form of Financial Compensation

If you have been injured in a wrong-way car crash as a result of the carelessness, recklessness, or intentionally harmful driving of another, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party for damages. Damages include the cost of past, present, and future medical treatment, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and more. If you have lost a loved one in a wrong-way car crash as the result of another’s careless, reckless, or intentionally bad driving, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible. In a wrongful death lawsuit, as an eligible survivor, you essentially step into the shoes of the deceased – seeking the damages they would have been entitled to seek had the survived the crash. In either case, contact a skilled and experienced California personal injury and wrongful death attorney today.

Bringing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Following a Hit and Run Accident

Unexpected personal injuries suffered in an automobile accident are a nightmare. In the midst of living your life, pursuing your goals, and enjoying the good times, you are sidelined or worse through no fault of your own. Besides the injuries, there is partial or total damage to your vehicle, leaving you to deal with repairs or a replacement, as well as the hassle of filing an insurance claim. As bad as this scenario sounds, it is far worse when the driver responsible for your personal injuries flees the scene of the accident. When you are injured by a hit and run driver, you have to track down the driver in addition to recovering from your injuries and dealing with vehicle repairs – all while missing work and income while recovering from your injuries.  

When this catastrophe happens because of someone else’s negligence, reckless, or intentionally wrongful conduct, it is time to rely on a dedicated and experienced California personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney will work to track down the hit and run driver and explore all avenues in both the criminal and civil justice systems to punish the hit and run driver for cowardly and criminal conduct, and seek the full compensation you are entitled to for your injuries and other losses.

Separating the Accident from the Leaving the Scene of the Accident

A hit and run automobile accident that causes personal injuries represents an interesting set of facts in the eyes of the law. To understand the legal recourse available to you, it is helpful to separate the accident from the at-fault driver’s leaving the scene of the accident. The accident itself is commonly the result of negligence. Negligence is a legal term for when a duty owed by one person to another is breached, thereby causing the non-at-fault party to suffer damages. In the hit and run car accident context, the duty is that of safe driving. All drivers owe a duty to all other drivers to drive safely in accordance with the rules and regulations of the road. This duty can be breached by driving drunk, driving too fast or too slow, swerving, texting while driving, failing to obey stop lights and turn signals, and much more. When a breach causes an accident to happen, the negligent driver may be held legally responsible for the non-at-fault driver’s personal injuries, property damage, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and other losses.

In a hit and run accident, the at-fault, fleeing driver may be held criminally responsible. Leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injuries without identifying oneself to the other party or parties involved is a felony in the state of California and is subject to harsh punishments. If you have been injured in a hit and run car accident, contact a skilled and experienced California persona injury attorney today.

Bringing an Animal or Dog Bite Attack Lawsuit in California

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack in the state of California, you have legal options. Dog bites and animal attacks occur all too often in the U.S., harming millions of citizens annually. Worst of all, animal incidents can hurt children. The cost suffered includes medical bills, physical injuries, emotional trauma, and even permanent disabilities in some cases. Of course, it is not possible to hold the dog or animal legally responsible for a bite or attack. It is the owner that must be held responsible for failing in his or her duty to control the dog or animal and keep the public safe from harm. To hold an owner responsible for a dog bite or animal attack and recover compensation for your losses, reach out to an experienced California personal injury attorney.

In California, the law addresses dog bites and animal attacks in section 3342 of the state’s civil code. Under the law, the owner of any dog is legally responsible for damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while either in a public place or lawfully in a private place.  Public places include public streets, parks, and other areas. Private places include homes, businesses, and other locations. Private places also include the property of the owner of the dog, and irrespective of knowledge of the dog’s past or present reputation for viciousness, so long as you are on the owner’s property with an express or implied invitation. As you might imagine, this caveat covers postal workers and other delivery-related persons.

California imposes its dog bite and animal attack law aggressively. In fact, it is what is known as a “strict liability” state with regard to dog bites and animal attacks. This law prevents the owner of a dog or animal from defending against criminal or civil charges by arguing that he or she was unaware of any dangerous propensities or the dog or animal. Regardless of knowledge, the owner will be held legally responsible for the attack and injuries suffered as long as the incident occurred in a public place or in a private place where the victim was legally present. This strict liability approach greatly helps victims of dog bite and animal attacks within the state of California.

Reach out to a skilled and experienced California personal injury attorney today if you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack in the state of California. There is a limited time in which you may file suit, so it is important that you act in a timely fashion. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to obtain the compensation you need and deserve for your personal injuries, medical bills, emotional trauma, and other losses. California is tough on dog bites and animal attacks, and a skilled attorney will put the law on your side.

Dog Bite Liability in California

Dog bite liability laws vary from state to state. Many states have a “one free bite” policy, which does not hold the owner strictly liable if the dog has never bitten anyone and has never shown tendencies toward aggressive behavior. California has eliminated the “one free bite” policy. This means that a dog owner can be held strictly liable if their dog bites someone, even if it was the dog’s first bite or the dog never showed a tendency to bite. California’s dog bite liability is governed by California Civil Code Section 3342.

California’s Dog Bite Law

The law states that a dog owner will be subject to liability for damages caused by their dog if the damages were caused by a dog bite, and the person injured by the bite was in a public place or lawfully in a private residence. An exception exists for those bit by a dog involved in police and military work. This statute only applies to dog bites – no other injury that may have been caused by the dog. In situations where an injury is caused by a dog but was not a bite, California negligence rules would apply.

The statute of limitations (deadline to file a lawsuit) to file a personal injury claim, including a dog bite claim, is two years. This means that the injured plaintiff has two years after the bite occurred to file the lawsuit. The court will not hear a lawsuit filed after the two-year deadline has passed.

Strict Liability

For dog bite injuries, California is a strict liability state. Strict liability means that a dog owner is liable for the actions of her dog, even if she claims that she did not know that the dog had tendencies to act aggressively. Dog owners are therefore responsible for all damages resulting from a dog bite, so long as the person injured was in a public place or on private property without trespassing.

Defenses

A dog owner can raise the defense that the injured party was trespassing when the dog bite occurred. An injured party who was trespassing on private property at the time of the bite injury may not be able to collect damages for their injuries. If the dog was carrying out duties for the government or military at the time of the bite, the government or military may raise the defense that the dog was working at the time, or that the injured party provoked the dog. The defenses available to the government or military officials only apply if the dog was carrying out their duties in that capacity at the time of the bite.

Contact the Leslie Legal Group

Dog bites are serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite, contact the Leslie Legal Group. Our experienced attorneys can assist you with your claim against the dog owner. We can help you receive compensation for the expenses related to the attack, including medical bills and emotional distress that has resulted. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Back to the Basics – The Prevalence of Elder Abuse in California

This week in San Diego, a 20-year old man was accused of mugging a 74 year old College-area resident. Lucas Churchill Homes pleaded not guilty to charges of elder abuse, robbery, burglary, and identity theft. Holmes contacted the victim through a Craigslist dating page. He then showed up at his home on El Cerrito Drive at approximately 1:15am Wednesday morning. Holmes is accused of using an electric stun gun on the man before tying him up, robbing him, and putting him in a bathtub. Allegedly, he stole the elderly man’s credit and debit cards, and manipulated him into revealing his PIN numbers. Holmes was arrested that afternoon, and faces over 10 years in prison should he be convicted. This story highlights the fact that elder abuse is prevalent in this country, including in California.

The National Center on Elder Abuse conducted a study which interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents. Forty-four percent of those residents revealed that either they had been subject to abuse or neglect, had seen a peer abused or neglected. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse is defined as “intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder. This includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or protect the elder from harm.” Elder abuse often goes unreported, so it is impossible to know for certain how many seniors are affected by abuse or neglect. The senior may be afraid to report the abuse themselves due to potential retaliation, cognitive impairments or dementia, or because they do not want to report the abuser, a majority of whom are family members.

California Elder Abuse Law

The applicable law punishing elder abuse in California is California Penal Code Section 368(c). Under this statute, a person is guilty of elder abuse if they cause an elderly person to suffer unjustified physical or mental pain, or allows it to occur. Caregivers must follow normal standards of care, and those who fail to adhere to the standard of care, or are negligent when caring for the elderly may be charge with elder abuse.

The punishment for violating this law depends on whether you are charged with felony or misdemeanor elder abuse. The misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $6,000 fine. The felony offense is punishable by two to four years in prison.

If you or someone you know is facing charges of elder abuse, it is vital to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to ensure your rights are protected. Contact Sean F. Leslie, Attorney at Law to discuss your case today.

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