There are thousands of children and adults hurt using trampolines each year.  While adults may well have assumed the risk of injury, it is a different situation where children are involved.

In a recent Sonoma County case, a 10 year old was playing at a friends house and they started playing a game called “Popcorn” on the trampoline.  One person sits on the edge of the trampoline and the other jumps hard into the middle, propelling the person sitting on the side into the air.  The 10 year old was propelled into the air and outside the trampoline where she fractured her ankle badly.  The 10 year old’s family sued the father who was at home with the children for failure to supervise and the case was settled out of court for some $700,000.00.

Generally speaking there are several things that can wrong on a trampoline or in a bounce house.

– There can be a collision with someone else.

–  The person may injure themselves on landing.

– They may jump off or fall off the trampoline


There may be responsibility on the homeowner or business owner if the trampoline is placed too close to trees or other objects, if more than one person is on the trampoline at the same time or if the landing surfaces surrounding the trampoline are too hard.

If small children are using the trampoline, there should always be an adult present to make sure no somersaults or other dangerous activities are engaged in.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer and I’ve written more about this subject on my website.

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

See our frim reviews on Yelp or Avvo.






ankle fracture

A fracture of the ankle may occur to a person involved in a motor vehicle collision.  A fracture involving the talus, a bone that makes up the lowest part of the ankle joint, is usually apparent in people involved in a motor vehicle collision.  Notwithstanding, this injury can also be seen in victims of falls or snowboarders.

The talus is plays a large role in connecting the foot, leg and body. This particular part of the ankle also helps us transfer weight and pressure evenly across the ankle.

How do I know if I have a fracture of the talus? Generally, a person will experience severe pain and will find that their ankle is unable to bear weight.  There may be visible swelling and the area may be tender to touch. Usually, the diagnosis of a fracture will be made at the first visit.

However, there have been times when the injury may be diagnosed as an ankle sprain due to the tenderness and especially if there is bruising at the site.  The severe pain usually prompts the person to return quickly to their doctor or local emergency room where radiological imaging or tests will be performed next to determine if there is a fracture.

If a person is seen in the ER shortly after this injury occurs, the attending physician will most likely order an x-ray or CT scan which may help the doctor diagnose a fracture. At times a second visit may be required as not all x-rays clearly demonstrate fracture.  A CT scan will be ordered which evidences fractures clearer than x-rays.

The doctor will use the films to determine the next course of action.  The doctor will also be interested in knowing if the bones are aligned (a nondisplaced fracture) or if the bones have shifted (a displaced fracture).

Depending on the severity of the fracture, the physician will determine if it can be treated surgically or non-surgically.

If the physician determines it can be treated non-surgically, he will put the ankle in a cast and order that no weight be placed on the ankle for 6 to 8 weeks.  If a non-surgical approach is chosen, this means that the bones remain aligned.  Afterwards the physician may provide exercises to help the ankle become mobile again or a referral may be made for physical therapy.  In addition to the ankle losing some mobility, the foot will have also lost mobility due to non-use while in a cast.

However in many cases an individual who sustained a talar fracture will find that their doctor orders surgery. If this occurs, it is because the bones are not aligned.  During the surgery, the bones will be realigned using metal screws.  Sometimes, there is bone debris which will need to be removed.  A graft may also be done to help restore integrity to the area.

If the ankle undergoes surgery, the foot will be placed in a cast for 6 to 8 weeks.  Doctors will advise you to refrain from putting weight on the foot. MRI’s may be taken to ensure the area receives sufficient blood supply to prevent further injury.

Unfortunately, talar fractures often cause the person to have persistent pain and stiffness due to the damage the cartilage sustained.  (The talus is covered cartilage which is why it frequently gets damaged with this injury.)  Additionally, the injured area may experience arthritis later.

If you have experienced a talar fracture after a fall, motor vehicle accident or other traumatic event, please call my office for a free consultation.  My office, the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, has successfully resolved severe injury claims since 1989.  Please learn about our successful cases and verdicts which I have posted on our website. You can get acquainted with my team through my website, or by calling us at (916) 921-6400.  Look at AVVO, Google, Facebook or Yelp to see past client reviews.

Photo Attribution: By James Heilman, MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons


ziplineA clear blue sky, a beautiful mountain or body of water – as Spring Break 2015 descends upon us, thoughts turn to outdoor fun – such as zip lining – which is a fun outdoor activity that while mostly safe, has inherent dangers as well.

A zip-line is a pulley attached to a cable that is often constructed of stainless steel.  The line is mounted on an incline and designed to have gravity move a participant from the top of the cable to the bottom by attaching to the free-moving pulley.  While zip lines have been used historically for mountain transportation, most often they are now installed as a sort of thrill entertainment.

Zip lining companies often take root in tourist destinations such as Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe.  Many operate out of the country, in areas that cater to American tourists, such as Cancun, Mexico.  Many injuries have occurred out of the country, however a fair number of American zip lining outfits have resulted in user injuries as well.

Some of the more common zip line injuries occur when either the harness or the line itself fails, causing the user to plummet to the ground resulting in broken bones, head injuries, even death.  Other injuries have occurred due to weather conditions – such as strong wind blowing a user into a nearby tree or other obstacle.  Clearly the zip line operator should be well trained in conditions and placement of the zip line to avoid such occurrences but that is not always the case.

Here’s a well-operated zip line out of Nepal – looks fun, but you can see the potential for mishaps!

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 a zip line accident, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call us at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

To learn more about our office, check out our reviews on Yelp or Avvo.


California residents leads the nation in hot tub ownership.  Knowing that, it is therefore no surprise that statistically Californian’s are also three times more likely to drown in a hot tub than residents of any other state.

Despite California being the leading owners of hot tubs a study prepared by Scripps Howard News service reviewed the mortality records from the years of 1999 to 2003 and found that states such as Wyoming and New Mexico had an unusually high reporting of death due to drownings.  In most of these hot tub fatalities, alcohol was involved.

While swimming pool drownings most often involve youths, hot tub drownings deaths are almost always among adult people between the ages of 5 and 64. Why are fatalities in hot tubs almost always associated with able-bodied adults?

Many believe that the reason for drownings in hot tubs is due to the consumption of alcohol.

Other believe that the heat accompanied by the use of alcohol leads to a drop in blood pressure causing some to pass out in the water (basically faint) resulting in death.

In some cases, the alcohol and heat combined lead to drowsiness which may be accountable for some of the deaths.

Additionally, both heat and alcohol cause the dilation of blood vessels.  This can result in severe health issues such as a stroke or a heart attack.

The combination of hot tubs and alcohol can lead to sweating.  Of course, sweating leads to dehydration.  Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, light headedness and nausea.  A person suffering these symptoms may pass out and drown.

To learn more about California law relating to swimming pools and spas, one should consult the Virgina Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

To avoid potential drownings it would be wise to use the hot tub with someone else.  Besides adding a safety element, it would make the experience much more enjoyable. Children should never be allowed to use a hot tub alone.

If a loved one has drowned while a guest in someone’s hot tub, please call us to discuss this wrongful death claim.  As a Sacramento Swimming Pool Lawyer, I have experience in handling these matters. I understand this matter may be difficult to talk about so I encourage you to contact us in the way that works best for you – in telephone, via my website or you can email me directly at  I would be happy to provide a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

Since you will be working with a personal injury lawyer for several months, maybe even years, I encourage you to learn more about the lawyer and the legal team he employs.  You can learn more about my office through Yelp or Avvo.

Photo Attribution: Mallin via













Many of us engage in recreational activities and sports that expose us to the slight but not inconsequential risk of getting hurt while involved in the activity. We may join an adult softball league or enroll our kids in school sports. The adrenaline junkies among us may choose skydiving or mountain climbing. And every year, a certain number of people get injured — sometimes seriously — as a result. When this happens, is someone legally liable for those injuries?

assumption of risk
Answering this question will often involve a legal concept called “assumption of risk,” which can be broken down into two categories: primary assumption of risk and secondary assumption of risk. The question in primary assumption of the risk is whether there was any duty at all owed to the injured person to protect that person from risks inherent in the activity. If there was a duty owed, then secondary assumption of the risk addresses whether the injured person voluntarily chose to ignore the additional risk posed to them by a breach of this duty.

The manner in which the injured party “assumed” the risk can be further classified as “express,” where for example a waiver has been signed that includes specific acknowledgement of the activity’s risks and agreement not to pursue claims for injuries, or as “implied,” as in the case of a skydiver jumping out of a perfectly good airplane — an activity with some obvious risk involved, whether that was described in detail to participants in detail or not.

A key element in the idea of assumption of the risk is whether or not the cause of the injury was an “inherent” risk in the activity, specifically a risk associated with an integral part of the activity. Suffering a broken wrist in a high school basketball game is certainly an imaginable consequence of a fundamental part of the sport, and therefore is likely an inherent risk of the activity, while suffering a concussion during a high school basketball game because a defectively built gymnasium collapsed on the participants is not. Breaking an ankle due to an awkward landing after parachuting is probably an inherent risk in that activity, while getting food poisoning from the skydiving company’s pre-flight snack is not. These are overly obvious examples, of course, and in real life the question of what is or is not an inherent risk from an activity is typically a legal question that will be decided by a judge before a case ever gets close to a trial.

assumption of riskAlso, even in instances where a person is injured by something that is an inherent risk in an activity, there may have been actions taken or missed by activity organizers and property owners that unreasonably increased the risk. For example, participating in a youth soccer game in hot weather presents some inherent risks of illness or injury from overheating and dehydration. If this type of injury occurs because event organizers failed to provide water or because coaches pushed their athletes beyond normal limits, then liability may exist. The argument here is that the responsible persons could have taken reasonable steps to minimize the risk with removing an integral part of the sport – running around and getting hot.

Showing that the injury was caused by a risk which is not inherent to the activity and/or showing that the responsible parties did not take reasonable actions that could have reduced the risk without impacting an integral part of the activity can eliminate primary assumption of the risk and allow an injury claim to move forward.assumption of risk

When it comes to the question of express assumption of risk, the first thing that comes to mind is the waiver – the ubiquitous documents we typically have to sign for ourselves or our kids whenever participating in sports and recreational activities. The laws regarding waivers of this type vary from state to state. In California they are valid, but only to a degree – they must be clear and unambiguous, the risk that results in injury must be reasonably related to the purpose of the activity, and the waiver only applies to ordinary negligence. Waivers will not apply to instances of gross negligence, defined in California as “a want of even scant care or an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.” These waivers often have two purposes – first, to actually create express assumption of those risks inherent in the activity under ordinary circumstances, but second, to create in the mind of the person who signed the waiver a belief that having done so eliminates any possibility for them to recover for subsequent injuries. Whether or not the waiver is legally applicable in a specific instance for a specific injury may actually be a very complicated and technical question. Often the questions of whether or not a particular risk is inherent to an activity and whether or not a potentially liable person’s actions were ordinarily or grossly negligent are technical ones requiring input from experts, which are then typically presented to a judge in the form of a motion for summary judgment. That motion asks the judge to determine whether or not the legal requirements for assumption of the risk have been met and whether or not the injury claim may proceed forward.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney with the primary accident information site on the web,

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a sports or recreational activity — especially one where a signed waiver is claimed to be putting liability in question — 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 for us either on Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

If you are struck and injured by a vehicle that jumped a curb while walking or standing on a sidewalk you certainly have an injury case against the driver and owner of the vehicle.

What if you are hit and hurt while using an ATM machine along a sidewalk, or standing at an outdoor takeout window, or in line waiting to enter a restaurant?

Of course you still have a personal injury case against the vehicle, but also keep in mind you may have a case against the business who put the ATM machine too close to the road, or the restaurant that placed a takeout window unsafely close to passing cars or forced a line of patrons outside too close to traffic.

A 1971 California case titled Barker v. Wah Law involved a customer standing at a drive-in restaurant’s walk-up window awaiting service when he was hit by a car that jumped a wooden bumper stop.  The Court of Appeals stated that several factors should be considered when determining whether or not the business should be liable for injuries to the pedestrian, including: Had the restaurant invited customers to stand awaiting service at a location near where vehicles pass, or parked, without providing adequate safeguards.

A 1994 California case, Jefferson v. Quik Korner Market, ruled in favor of the market in a lawsuit brought by a pedestrian-customer hit by a vehicle on an adjacent sidewalk, but the court determined several important factors to consider in future, similar cases, including:

– Had the business provided any barriers to protect customers from traffic?

– Did the business know of prior incidents, barriers or no barriers, of vehicles unsafely close to pedestrian customers?

– Did the business require customers to stand in a place awaiting service, on a sidewalk adjacent to traffic, that might foreseeably be risky?

A more recent case, Robison v. Six Flags Theme Parks, determined that although no prior incidents had occurred, the danger was apparent in view of the close proximity between a parking lot and picnic area.  The court in that case determined that Magic Mountain had a duty to take reasonable measures to protect patrons even though there had been no prior incidents.  So although no history of prior similar incidents existed, the court stated that businesses still had a responsibility to protect its customers from foreseeable harm.

If you would like to discuss your injuries with a personal injury lawyer, please contact my office.  You can do so via my website or simply call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.  You can also learn more about by firm, the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, by reading reviews on Google, Yelp and AVVO.


What does a multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain mean?  This is when health care professionals from multiple fields address the needs of the patient rather than only one medical provider treating a patient.

In the US, many people only treat pain by seeing their primary care physician and/or a visit to the emergency room.  This often does little to alleviate chronic pain. These visits may contribute to the chronic pain sufferer feeling marginalized or without hope for their symptoms.

A multidisciplinary approach can be viewed as a more holistic way to treat a person.

In the US, the primary care physician is the first medical care provider that a patient will see. Primary care physicians are limited in options  to aid in treatment of pain.  The patient will usually be prescribed pain medication by their primary care physician and sent to obtain studies or labs. Labs and medical imaging may aid in diagnosing but will not help the patient in achieving pain reduction or improving quality of life.

Many patients claim that medication poorly controls their pain.  This poorly controlled pain will inevitably lead to a return visit to the primary care physician or a visit to the emergency room which can take a toll on the health care system.

At some point, if the primary care physician cannot resolve the patient’s pain the patient may be referred to others to help either reduce the pain, treat the cause of the pain or other medical practitioners that will help the patient deal with the chronic pain. However, a patient may need to be their own advocate obtain the help they need.

A multidisciplinary team will be unique to each patient.  Why? Each patient will need a different strategy depending on the cause of the patient’s pain.  Other factors that need to be considered is the patient’s support system at home.  Studies indicate that patient’s who are isolated will often experience greater pain.  Interestingly,  a patient’s belief system, has been noted to decrease pain.  Some patients have a high social or secular expectation in the community which makes it difficult for them to focus on their recovery as much of their life may be devoted to the care of others.  Patients in this situation may need emotional support from those outside of their social group.   Some chronic pain patients are also caregivers of another relative suffering severe illness or death and may also need emotional support.  This is why most chronic pain suffers have found that the help of a team of professionals best addresses their needs.

A multidisciplinary team may include physical therapists, physicians who are specialists, psychologists and if necessary occupational therapists.  Many chronic pain suffers include chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists as part of their team.

The primary care physician will still be a member of the team and may aid the chronic pain sufferer with pharmacological intervention.  Medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication, and anti-depressants will be prescribed through him.

A medical report entitled, Management of low back pain in computer users: A multidisciplinary approach, was published in 2012. Of 44 patients with low back pain, 22 were treated treated with one medical provider and the other 22 with a team of medical providers.  The study indicated that those patients treated by a team of professionals were able to work more and use less sick leave for medical issues.  Those treated by a multidisciplinary team also described better quality of life than those only treated by one medical provider.

Sadly, health care coverage and insurance issues may play a large role in the availability and support a chronic pain patient will be able to obtain.

Some of my clients who are injured in a life altering event have become chronic pain suffers. Others have been diagnosed with RSD. I also have clients who were already experiencing chronic pain due to disease, age or a pre-existing trauma that worsens after an accident or slip and fall.

If you are without health care coverage that does not mean that you cannot obtain medical treatment from a multidisciplinary team after a collision.  Many medical providers are willing to work with accident victims on a lien basis.

If you would like to discuss your injuries with a personal injury lawyer, please contact my office.  You can do so via my website or simply call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.  You can also learn more about by firm, the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, by reading reviews on Google, Yelp and AVVO.


Cruise Ship

Cruise ships have  been plagued with numerous safety issues.  In December 2014, Oceania cruises had 656 guests aboard a luxury cruise liner and was docked at the St. Lucia port when a fire broke out ultimately resulting in the death of three people.  Fortunately, the fire was contained in the engine room but sadly it claimed the lives of two contractors and one crew member before it was extinguished.  The investigation into the cause of this fire revealed that three bolts holding the fuel line supply flange that connects to the engine had loosened completely.  The remaining fourth bolt on the fuel line was fractured.  Ultimately, when the bolts failed the fuel oil sprayed out and ignited when it came into contact with the turbocharger components and/or the engine’s exhaust piping.

This is not the only recent instance of a fire on a cruise ship. Fires on cruise ships have become increasingly common.

In May 2013, a Royal Carribean cruise liner experienced a severe fire that took nearly four decks of the boat.  The boat had was headed to Bahamas, CocoCay when the blaze occurred. The fire occurred while in transit and workers were able to contain the blaze while the ship continued to cruise to port in Bahamas requiring the 2,224 passengers sleep on the deck.


A Carnival Cruise ship also experienced a fire in February 2013 when the ship’s engine room lit up with flames. For safety sake, the power was cut  and the boat ran on generator power. However, without power, the toilets were out of order causing sewage to leak from the passenger rooms into the hallways and floors.  The ship had experienced mechanical problems in the past prior to this fire.

The amount of lives on a booked cruise liner easily can be upwards of 1,000 people.  In the case of the Oceania cruise ship besides the 656 guests the boat also included approximately 400 workers.   The Royal Carribean cruise ship that caught fire had 796 crew members caring for 2,224 guests.  The Carnival cruise ship had 1,086 crew members and 3,100 passengers.  These cruise ships become ‘floating cities.’

Due to the increase of fires on cruise ships, the US Coast Guard in March 2015, issued a marine safety alert.  The alert issued  by the US Coast Guard included a reminder to conduct engineering watches and thoroughly maintain machinery to hopefully reduce the number of fires aboard ships in 2015.

These ‘floating cities’ holding thousands of lives should be held to a high standard of safety to protect the lives of both crew members and passengers.

If you  have been injured on a cruise due to negligence or intentional conduct, please call me anytime for free, friendly advice. I work with experienced Maritime lawyers in every port city.  We will ensure that every step is take to aid your recovery for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.  My telephone number is 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 elsewhere in California. Or you can contact me here.

I encourage people to learn more about my firm by reading of the experiences other have had with my office on Yelp, AVVO or Google.


trampolineBackyard trampolines are very common here in Sacramento due to our year-round mild weather; and bouncing has been a great way for kids to burn off their excess energy for generations, however trampolines can be quite dangerous.  Dangers include falling from the trampoline, or landing incorrectly within it, which can result in significant head, neck or back injuries.  Every year, almost 100,000 emergency room visits are attributed to injuries sustained while using trampolines.  Most of those injuries – upwards of 80% – occur in children under 15 years of age.

The risk of backyard trampolines has been deemed great enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised that trampolines should be used only within supervised programs with trained personnel – for example, within a gymnastics class – and not in private homes or unsupervised play areas.  Despite the warning, sales of backyard trampolines have risen to approximately million sold per year.

Insurance companies have begun treating backyard trampolines like swimming pools, which are known as “attractive nuisances” because they can draw young people and have inherent dangers.  Many insurers requires that your yard be fenced if you own a trampoline, and otherwise will not cover any losses that occur with its use.  In fact, some homeowners’ policies may exclude the use of trampolines altogether or ownership of one could result in higher premiums.

To illustrate just how easy it is to get hurt on a trampoline, we found the following video (don’t worry – nothing too serious!):

The following are several safety tips for trampoline use:

  • Always use a safety net to prevent falls off the trampoline
  • Cover hooks and springs with soft pads
  • Ensure that the trampoline is secured on a level surface
  • Keep the trampoline away from tree branches and other objects
  • Insist on adult supervision with use of trampoline by children
  • Do not allow more than one person at a time on the trampoline.

Similar to trampolines, inflatable “bounce houses”, which are very popular and available for rent for birthday parties, fairs and festivals, also have been in the media due to an increase in injuries related to their use.  A study in the December 2012 issue of Pediatrics states that upwards of 30 children a day were treated for injuries related to bounce house usage in 2010.  Many bounce house injuries occur because there are several children inside the structure bouncing at one time, and they invariably collide with each other.  Another common mechanism of injury is when the bounce house structure is blown over by wind or collapses due to the weight of the occupants.
As will trampolines, the most common form of injuries were sprain/strains, fractures and head/neck injuries.

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 injured on a trampoline or bounce house, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call us at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

Find out more about our office by checking out our reviews on Yelp and Avvo.

Support groups have flourished over the years including for limb loss injury victims. Support groups provide many benefits for individuals and have become an integral part of rehabilitation for many people coping with an injury including amputees. Support groups provide vital information about how to cope with a particular illness or injury and provides invaluable emotional support.

Limb loss presents a myriad of physical and emotional challenges for the amputee as well as his or her family and friends.  A support group provides a compassionate setting for members to share what he or she is going through with others in a similar situation. Finding a support group in the area you live is the first step in getting the support you need.  According to the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) there are approximately 260 support groups for amputees across the United States. Information and a member directory can be found here.

Most members of support groups for amputees are women and medical professionals such as physicians, physical therapists and prosthetists also attend.

Amputee support groups throughout the California region can be found here.

Stumps ‘R Us, is a social support group founded by Dan Sorkin. in Walnut Creek, Calif.  This group helps amputees learn to accept their amputations and move on with their lives. The group encompasses lectures and social activities such as going out to lunch. Other activities include bowling or swimming. A list of additional resources provided by Stumps R Us can be found here.

In Redlands, CA, The Amputee Connection of Redlands, helps people with limb loss enhance their overall well being.

Some of the Sacramento, California area support groups include:

Sacramento Amputee Support Group

Taking The First Step – a support group provided by AOP (Anchor Orthotics & Prosthetics) calendar of events can be found here.

If you like to golf, Western Amputee Golf Association can be found here.

Losing a limb is a devastating life changing event, both physically and emotionally. Limb loss injury victims require a lifetime of rehabilitation and life care planning assistance. I’m Edward A. Smith, an amputation injury attorney with over three decades of experience helping victims who have suffered the loss of a limb as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one has lost a limb caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith to protect your rights. Call us at our Sacramento office location at (916) 921-6400 for a free consultation. If your out of the area call 1 (800) 404-5400. For more information about our office visit Reviews of can be found on Yelp and Avvo.