Liability in swimming pool drowning or swimming pool injury cases will inevitably involve the question of supervision at the time of injury or drowning, especially in cases involving children.

Below are some tips that can reduce the risk of drowning or swimming pool injury.

Much like the ‘designated driver’ the supervising adult at swimming functions needs to limit and/or completely refuse alcoholic beverages.  Inebriation will reduce the reaction time of the adult, may cause sleepiness or excessive talking which can distract the ‘supervising adult.  Inebriation can also lead to poor judgement by the supervising adult.

Additionally, it would be wise to excuse oneself from supervising and/or ask for the aid of another adult, if one uses medication that can impair judgement, cause sleepiness or results in lethargy.

Many pool injuries have occurred due to an electrical appliance (such as TV’s or sound systems)  falling into the pool causing an electrical shock that can result in death.  The natural human inclination it to jump in and help the injured person.  However, multiple electrocutions have occurred when one or more persons jump in the pool while they are attempting to help the first injured victim.  The supervising person will want to keep any electrical appliance away from the pool area to prevent electrical shocks to those swimming.

Accidents occur in just moments. One of the recurring elements in drowning deaths of children, is that the supervising adult left ‘just for a moment’. Since pool parties are often accompanied by bbq’s or a picnic style buffet, the supervising adult should make sure that another qualified person either takes their post while they make a plate and/or have someone bring food to the person supervising the pool.  It is a kindness to bring the supervising adults a cold beverage or water to prevent them from leaving the pool to get it for themselves.  If the adult is alone, plan ahead and bring cold beverages and water outside by the pool so that one does not have to leave.

If the pool has a water slide, the supervising person wants to make sure that other swimmers are out of the way before the next person goes down the slide.

As parents, we must curb the side to multi-task while supervising children in the swimming pool.  While supervising, we may suddenly feel the sudden compulsion to trim a bush, put away the toys or tools that were left out from yesterday, talk on the phone, or read.  While multi-tasking is admirable trait at other times in life, the supervising adult at a pool should not multi-task while children swim.

Pool owners also want to encourage children to immediately yell and inform the adult of any signs of trouble.  Children often don’t want to upset their parents and sometimes have remained quiet or tried to resolve issues themselves to avoid ‘getting in trouble.’  They associate yelling, interrupting or screaming as inappropriate or ‘bad’ behavior.  Make sure children understand that we want them to interrupt, yell and scream if a situation arises in the pool and that there will be no repercussions as this is the ‘correct’ behavior when faced with trouble in the pool.

While the supervising adult wants to avoid taking phone calls while monitoring children, a phone should be located near the pool so that in the case of an emergency, 911 can immediately be called.  Additionally, the 911 operator will be able to help the adult administer medical aid until emergency vehicles arrive to the home.

If an injury or death occurred while in a swimming pool, you may have questions.  Sadly, drownings and swimming pool injuries may occur at the house of a friend or a loved one and often questions may entail how a claim would effect them.  The Law Offices of Edward Smith can help you address those questions and concerns and provide free advice.

I am Ed Smith, founder of and can be reached via phone at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to address your questions.  Please learn more about my practice, the settlements and verdicts obtained by my office from my website, I encourage you to learn what my past clients have said about working with my office.  You can find client reviews on Google, Yelp or Avvo.

Image Attribution: By user “brokenchopstick” [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

SPECT (Single-photon emission tomography) imaging is emerging as a necessary tool in the evaluation and treatment of patients with TBI (traumatic brain injury) based on results of a recent study.  One of the reasons is the imaging provides greater ability to detect lesions than MRI and CT imaging, which remain valuable diagnostic tools to identify acute damage to the structures of the brain.

The difference with SPECT is that it can show dynamic information and show functional deficits…deficits that standard imaging such as MRI and CT do not reveal.  Given the difficulties of obtaining a definitive TBI diagnosis, especially in mild cases, SPECT can offer valuable information in conjunction with neuropsychological testing.

The recent study revealed that 33 patients did not have significant abnormalities on initial SPECT scan, and with 97% of those 33 patients, their symptoms resolved within three months.  However, in the 34 patients who did have initial SPECT abnormalities, 59% continued to suffer significant symptoms.  The study suggested that a negative initial SPECT scan could be a good sign.  One of the physicians involved with the study called it “reassuring” if a patient has a negative SPECT following TBI in that it can be safely predicted that the patient will likely have no permanent neurological injury.

In terms of cost, SPECT is in the range of standard imaging, with a price tag of approximately $1100, as opposed to MRI, which has a price range of $800 to $1200 and CT scan, which costs approximately $500.  CT scan is the least effective in offering diagnostic data for mild TBI.  For comparison purposes, the study used the estimate that a non-contrast head CT’s of  acute patients in the emergency room setting will only be positive approximately 10% of the time.  The study also suggests that the SPECT imaging will be more useful with regard to repetitive concussions than standard imaging.

I’m Ed Smith, Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web,  If you or someone you love has been in an automobile accident and has suffered traumatic brain injury, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.  You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.


The short answer to the title question is yes, they can be.  There are several reasons for this, the first of which is obvious: that you are entering an intersection against oncoming traffic.  May left-hand turn lanes in California – especially within urban areas – are not controlled by a left turn traffic signal, which leaves the driver responsible to wait for appropriate clearing in oncoming traffic in order to safely execute his or her left turn.  It can be easy to misjudge speed and the distance at which an oncoming vehicle is approaching, especially at night or in other low visibility conditions.

Additionally, collisions that take place during execution of a left turn within an intersection often involve side impact.  Because the doors are not usually reinforced, they are one of the weakest areas of the vehicle’s structure which can result in passenger compartment intrusion during a side impact collision, and greater injuries.

Also, the position of the driver and passenger upon execution of the left turn can make them more prone to injury during a violent impact.

By some accounts, left hand turns account for approximately 13% of accident fatalities per year.left turn

Of course, as will any discussion of traffic safety, there are tips to avoid accidents when navigating the dangerous left-hand turn:

* Always drive defensively.

* Use extra caution to assure that a safe distance is available to make the turn.

* Assume that oncoming traffic is driving faster than the speed limit.

* Do not insist on the right of way – it is always better to be safe than sorry.

* Always wear a seat belt in its proper position.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web,

If you or someone you love has been in an automobile or trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.


Diffusion Tensor imaging (dti) is a form of advanced MRI that can be utilized with more traditional methods that document traumatic brain injury such as SPECT scans, PET scans and FMri studies.

Originally designed to evaluate stroke and dementia damage, it is now being utilized by knowledgeable brain injury lawyers as it documents in 3D, damage caused by mild or moderate traumatic brain injuries (tbi’s) that until recently were difficult to document.

Traditional MRI’s or CT scans does not reveal tract damage to white brain matter tracts.

If there’s a traumatic brain injury, the speed od conduction of these white matter tracts is reduced.

Someone could be in a coma and a regular MRI ot CT scan could be negative. Those studies don’t reveal fiber tract damage.

DTI provides quantitative information which is converted to a digital image which graphically can show disruption of neural pathways.

DTI was utilized frequently in Iraq and Afghanistan to show the location of axial damage to military personnel due to blast damage.

DTI assessments can be useful in diagnosis and proposed treatment of brain injury survivors.

It can also be used to assess brain injuries which have a poor prognosis.

DTI is and FDA long approved procedure, and the vast majority of courts considering it , have found it admissible in evidence.

DTI is a cutting edge procedure which is underutilized at present. Many times it will document a real brain injury where the patient has been undertreated or ignored. It’s extremely frustrating for medical personnel to imply that there is some mental defect causing symptomology rather than an easily documented organic cause.

With this advanced procedure, many brain injury patients finally recieve the medications, counselling and treatment they deserve.

There are DTI facilities in California and in most other states.  In California, the cost of the procedure is between $3500 and $4500. Feel free to call me for locations.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento brain injury lawyer since 1982. You can find out more about traumatic brain injuries at my website www. You can find out more about my firm by looking at reviews on Yelp or Avvo

Call me anytime at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400 elsewhere for free, friendly advice.


Image attribution: Wenples via wikimedia


Think your cat’s love nips are harmless? Think again. According to Mercury News, cat bites can be more serious than you might have expected.

Feline bites can become more prone to infections from the bacteria found in cats know as Pasteurella multocida. This bacteria can mix with the bacteria found in human skin named Staphylococcus and streptococcus and sometimes can even become deadly. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital reported that close to 50 percent of all feline bites become infected

If you or someone you know is bitten by a cat you should not underestimate the dangers. Most people do not realize that you have a 1-in-2 chance of the bite becoming infected. These injuries can lead to bone infections, septic shock and surgery to clean out the wound.

It is recommended to always go to the hospital if you are bitten by a cat and the wound punctures the skin deep enough. It is likely that you will need prophylactic antibiotics that is not available through self-treatment methods.

Surprisingly enough cat bites are often more serious than dog bites. This is because the bite from a cat penetrates further into the skin causing more bacteria to be spread from their long teeth. Whereas a dog bite tends to be more of a crushing bite closer to the surface of the skin.

There are several reported cases seen each year in emergency rooms for treatments of these type of attacks. Doctors urge people to always seek professional medical attention to help prevent possible infections from occurring from puncture wounds.

If you want to take steps to avoid a possible animal attack by a feline there are several tips that you can implement. You should never corner a cat as this might invoke them to be defensive. Also you should never try and pick up, kiss, or hug a cat that seems frightened. If a feline is hissing, growling or arching their backs they are probably scared or angry and it is best to steer clear of the animal. Felines also will become angered by rough handling. So it is very important to keep watch over children handling cats as they may not be fully aware of the dangers they can pose.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury  Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web,

If you or someone you love has been involved in an animal attack, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney raring site.


As a Sacramento Products liability lawyer  since 1982 , I’ve seen lots of serious injuries caused by or associated with consumer products over the years. As part of my continuing series, Just the stats, here are some of the more serious  and injuries, courtesy of the Consumer Products Safety Commission for 2012.

Defective Flooring material 1,500,000 injuries

Defects in stairs or steps 1,300,000

Defects in beds 709,000

Bicycles 566,000

Knives 402,000

Chairs 390,000

Ceilings and Walls 378,000

Doors 328,000

Tables 324,000

Bathtubs and showers 324,000

Bottles, Jars and other containers 320,000

Porches and Balconies 153,000

Fences or Fence Posts 124,000

Windows 118,000

Skateboards 114,000

Swimming Pools 98,000

Trampolines 94,000

Saws 84,000

Lawn Mowers 83,000

Pruning, trimming and Edging equipment 49,000

Hot water 45.000

Chain Saws 30,000

Elevators and escalators 22.000


This is just a sample of the number of injuries every year associated with household products. Every injury, of course, is not Caused by every product. If you have a severe injury, however, and have used one of the above categories of product or any other household product, please give me a call.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Products Liability Lawyer since 1982. You can find out more about my firm on Yelp, Avvo or Nolo or by looking at my website


Feel free to call me anytime at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 elsewhere for free, friendly, advice on any products liability question.





One of the joys of living in California is hot weather. The California heat encourages us to get in a bathing suit and take a dip at least four of the twelve months of the year.  It’s no wonder that with temperatures soaring to over 100 degrees, California is one of the leading states of the installation of residential swimming pools.

Often, when the heat hits, all we can think of is cooling off. Safety and preventing injuries can be the farthest thing in mind when we jump in the pool.  However, the Centers for Disease and Protection (CDC) states that the leading cause for injury death in children (ages 1-4) is drowning. The grim statistics reveal that every day approximately three children will die from an accidental drowning.

Therefore, a quick review of the California Swimming Pool Safety Act may be useful. Some of the requirements for pool safety in California are summarized below:

a) The pool should have installed a ‘removable mesh pool fencing that…is self-closing and self-latching’ and that includes a key lockable device.

b) The pool should  be equipped with a safety pool cover.

c) The residence should be equipped with exit alarms on all doors accessing the pool area.

d) The pool should be equipped with a swimming pool alarm.

Pool owners who have had their pools installed prior to January 2007 should review the above checklist.  Pool (and or spas) built or remodeled after January 2007 will need to be inspected by a local building code official before final approval of the project is given.  California pool owners looking to remodel their pool should keep reference this checklist and/or the California Safety Act itself to purchase the necessary items prior to their final inspection date and will want to factor this cost in to their remodeling budget.

It should be noted that many of the required items are relatively inexpensive to purchase.  A pool alarm can be purchased for less than $100.  The exit alarms can be purchased for less than $30 a door.

Other helpful tips for pool owners who have small children include enrolling their children swimming lessons at an early age.  Even if the children have taken swimming lessons it would be wise to require the use of life jackets by small children.  Homeowners who do not have children should nonetheless purchase life jackets for the children of their guests who come over.  It is also essential to ‘stand watch’ when children are in the pool.  It is also useful for parents to have the basics of swimming down in order for them to be able to help their kids in the case of an emergency.  Learning CPR can also be useful.

Life is unpredictable and at times deaths due to drowning occur. The drowning likely occurred due to failure to supervise,  defective construction of the pool or because of inadequate pool maintenance.   The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can provide free legal advice on pool and drowning issues and can represent you in such claims.

Ed Smith is a Sacramento Attorney.  Our primary website is but we specialize in handling all forms of personal injury claims including wrongful death resulting from drowning. If you or someone you love has been in a drowning or near drowning incident, call me, Ed Smith,  now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.  Please learn more about me and my staff by looking at our listings on Yelp or on Avvo.

Image Attribution: By user “brokenchopstick” [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

With rising dog bite fatalities and injuries the dangerous dog problem requires attention.

Pit Bulls have been found to be responsible for more fatalities than any other breed in the United States. A national dog bite victim’s group that tracks fatal dog attacks across the states reported from 2005 to 2013, there were over  30 fatal dog bite attacks in California. 75 percent of those attacks were caused by Pit Bills.  Most states, including California, have anti-breed specific ban laws.  A summary of the state laws can be found here reported by the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

California state law prohibits cities and counties from banning specific breeds of dogs. However, some cities and counties have enacted it’s own program for the control of dangerous dogs since the amendment of Food and Agriculture Code Section 31683 in 2005 with Health and Safety Code 122331. The law allows “breed specific ordinances pertaining to mandatory spay or neuter programs only, provided that no specific dog breed, or mixed dog breed, shall be declared potentially dangerous or vicious under those ordinances.”

California cities that have a breed specific program in place under these laws can be found here.  Most of the ordinances involve mandatory sterilization of Pitt Bulls. The city of Gonzales, CA has a confinement requirement of Pit Bulls and La Verne, CA restricts Pit Bills in public places.

Being attacked or bitten by a dog, regardless of the breed, is a traumatic experience. In California, dog owners are held 100% liable when their dog bites a person. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog in Sacramento, or anywhere in California, it is important to hire an experienced dog bite attorney who understands California dog bite law.

Edward Smith has been helping dog bite victims in Sacramento and throughout California for over three decades. Please contact my office for free friendly dog bite advice or a free case evaluation at 916-921-6400 or toll free at 1-800-404-5400,  We can also be found on Yelp.

drugsTruck drivers traversing the country to deliver goods are important to the economy. This is especially true in countries with poor rail systems. Truck drivers often have long work hours, short deadlines and tight goals that make their job difficult.

There are a number of factors that go into truck drivers taking psychoactive drugs. Most are used to increase willingness to work, reduce sleepiness and increase socialization. There are some side effects that play into taking these drugs. Amphetamines, for example, can cause tachycardia, agitation, hallucinations and vertigo. These symptoms can increase the risk of getting into traffic accidents.

A search was done of 367 separate studies on psychoactive drug use among truckers. Of these, 34 studies were included in the review. Studies were carried out in areas such as the USA, Brazil and Australia, which were large land areas. A total of 70 percent of studies looked only at male drivers. Of the 36 investigations, about 32 looked at self-reporting as a method of getting data and thirteen looked only at blood drawing to define who was involved in illicit drugs. Some used only forensic samples. The drugs consumed in these studies were alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine.   In the fifteen studies that involved biological sampling, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine presented the greatest risk.

Analyses for identifying amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine were the most common. The average frequency of alcohol self-report was 54.3 percent. There were very few admitting alcohol consumption in Pakistan (9.9 percent) and a high number admitting to alcohol consumption in Brazil (91 percent). Among those showing a high alcohol percentage on forensic samples, the US was the highest at 12.5 percent.

Amphetamine use was low in Italy at 0.9 percent and highest in Brazil at 70.0 percent. Forensic samples of amphetamine use were identified as low in Norway (0.2 percent) and high in Thailand at 82.7 percent.   Less commonly, marijuana use averaged 4.7 percent and cocaine use averaged 1.8 percent. Other substances were more rare, such as opioids, phentermine, codeine, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, energy drinks, coffee and others.

Alcohol use was affiliated with truckers of younger age, being Catholic, having sleep disordered breathing, smoking, having high blood pressure and being involved in more accidents. The usage of amphetamines was related to drivers driving the night shift and being a trucker for a longer period of time. Amphetamine users tended to be younger, drive for longer periods of time, had a higher income and also consumed alcohol.

Some truckers used a caffeinated substance and drove more hours throughout the day. In Australia, stimulants were used when the driver had less experience, worked in small and medium-sized companies, low incomes, fatigue and productivity-based earnings.

Factors involved in using psychoactive drugs overall included having less resting time and working more night shifts. The drivers need to resort to other strategies to stay awake on the job. If the job was productivity-based or there were lower incomes, the use of psychoactive drugs increased.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Injury  Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web,

If you or someone you love has been in a trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney raring site.


As a California  personal injury attorney, I often read publications and texts nationwide regarding different varieties of injury as well as different ways of dying.

I was struck today reading a brief from the National Safety Council, which broke down causes of fatalities by cause and by state.

Although California’s population is almost 50% larger than that of Texas, Texas’ fatality rate is much higher.

Texas has more fatalities in motor vehicle accidents ,  more deaths by choking, more deaths by drowning, more deaths by fire and more deaths by suffocation than any other state in the union.

Texas also has the most unintentional deaths by firearms, machinery and electrocution (not deliberate electrocution).

So again, why are the stats in Texas so extreme? Anyone?

I’m Ed Smith, a California personal injury lawyer whose web site, is the leading source of motor vehicle accident information. Read more about our office on

Yelp, Nolo or Avvo (The lawyer rating site). If I can help you or your family in any personal injury or unintentional death case, please call me anytime. In Sacramento, 916-921-6400. Elsewhere