I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Accident lawyer  since 1982. My Website is a leading informational portal for every kind of vehicular accident.

Recently, our firm handled a serious case where the driver of an RV rear-ended a truck parked  alongside  a dark,  rural road in the early morning hours. The driver of the RV was killed immediately and we represented the passenger of the RV, who was knocked out and had memory of the accident.

The passenger had serious injuries and was hospitalized for over a month.

The RV driver had $250,000 of insurance coverage which was tendered shortly after our demand.

End of case, right? We recovered from decedent’s insurance his entire policy limit, and since the truck driver was stopped, there appeared at first glance to be no liability of the Trucking Company.

The California Highway Patrol had taken photos at the accident scene and after intense review, we noticed something the patrolmen did not. They had cited the decedent as the sole cause of the accident but the photo’s clearly showed the area was very dark and the truck did not appear to be marked well. Further,the truck  was parked very very close to the roadway and we wondered if that was within the standard of care of an experienced truck driver and whether there were Regulations promulgated by The Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (FMCSA)  or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  (Organizations that govern safe operation of trucks) that might apply to the truck markings to make them more visible. This is known as conspicuity.

We discovered that there were many conspicuity regulations the truck was in violation of,  many of which can be previewed here. The reason for these rules is that long experience shows that properly marked and illumed trucks can be seen on the road even in the darkest conditions. Furthermore, consultation with a trucking expert revealed that the truck was indeed parked too closely to the roadway. If the truck had been properly illuminated and marked and parked where it should have been, there’s an excellent chance this accident might have been avoided.

California is a comparative negligence state. That means that everyone involved in an accident is charged proportionately for their degree of negligence in causing the accident.

As a result of our investigation, we believed that the trucking company was comparatively negligent and did not properly train its driver as to the danger of parking adjacent to rural roads. Further, the truck was not correctly marked with the safety tape, marking, lights and other requirements set forth above.

Suit was filed and we ultimately obtained a settlement of $425,000 from the trucking company.

The moral is that every personal injury attorney who handles trucking cases should not immediately assume there’s no liability simply because someone ran into a truck from the rear.

Trucking cases are difficult and costly to prosecute successfully. My firm handles serious truck accident cases throughout California. I’ll be writing about many other ways trucking companies may be responsible for preventable accidents in the near future. Stay tuned.


I’m Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer Ed Smith. I can be reached at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento. Elsewhere in the state call me at 800-404-5400.

My Website is www.AutoAccident.com and you can find out more about my firm on Yelp or AVVO.

Always available for free, friendly advice.



State and local governments have a responsibility to provide safe, relatively well maintained roads for travel. Although these agencies do not act as insurers of a perfect roadway, they do have a duty to exercise reasonable care to make roads reasonably safe.

If the state or local agency is aware or on notice of a problem in the roadway, and they unreasonably fail to take action to fix the problem after a reasonable time period , they may be liable for damages a motorist suffers as a result.

Trees in the Right of Way

 If a motorist strikes a tree and is injured, the government entity may be responsible if the original plans for the road called for removal of trees within a certain distance of the road.

In addition to looking at the original plans, an attorney should find out of there have been frequent crashes in the area with the tree. Most states have databases, that indicate how many crashes occur in any given area or intersection. If research shows that there have been many other collisions with the same tree or strand of trees, the entity may be on have constructive notice that there was a problem there. A failure to act to rectify the problem may allow a jury to come to a verdict against that government entity.

Shrubbery and Fallen Tree branches

In cases where tree branches fall and cause an injury to a pedestrian or motorist, the government maintaining the road can also be responsible if they failed to properly inspect   trees for rot or other disease or if they failed to perform proper maintenance. If the government knows of a problem, but can not fix it immediately, many court decisions impose a duty to at least put up warning signs.

Additionally, if they  can be responsible if they had actual notice that there was a problem  and did not fix it in  a reasonable time period. . An Arborist is an expert who can typically  be very helpful in establishing the time a tree  became dangerous as well as the type of trimming normally required on different varieties of tree.

Shrubbery obstructing the view of motorists before entering an intersection is often, similarly, a cause of a verdict against the entity who had a responsibility for inspecting the  area and trimming away any dangerous obstructive shrubbery.

Cases involving a public entity’s failure to properly construct or  maintain areas with trees or shrubbery are difficult cases with many traps for the unwary. For an excellent presentation by a firm that defends public entities, but nevertheless has a nice summary of California law in this area, see the slideshow here.

If you have a case of an accident where you believe a failure to maintain trees or shrubbery is an issue, feel free to call me. I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Roadway defect lawyer. My Sacramento phone number is 916-921-6400 or from  elsewhere in the state, 800-404-5400.

My firm’s reviews can be found on Yelp or on Avvo.


The wet and cold weather of winter brings with it slippery walking surfaces and fall hazards.  Thcastere are many types of injuries common to a fall – some are relatively minor but some can be life-threatening or even fatal, especially to an older individual.

For those 65 and older, falls are the most frequent case of nonfatal as well as fatal injuries, and most fractures suffered by older adults are caused by falls.  Falls are also the most common cause of head injuries.  Seniors who have suffered a previous fall may become fearful of activity and lead a more sedentary lifestyle.  The potential for falls as we age carries with it far-ranging consequences.

But even the young and healthy can be sidelined by a fall caused by slippery or uneven conditions.  Some of the more common injuries associated with such a fall include lacerations, abrasions, contusions and ankle fractures.  Perhaps the most common injury associated with a fall is a back strain or sprain.  Often, as the person slips and begins to fall, the body twists in an unnaturally way, either due to the person attempting to catch oneself or being pulled by gravity in an awkward manner.  Such mechanism of injury can lead to inflammation or tears in the spinal tissues, or even more severe injuries, such as a herniated disk.

As any skier or snowboarder can attest to, wrists are also a vulnerable spot, as we naturally put our arms out to catch ourselves when falling.  This can lead to a wrist strain or fracture.  However if you cannot catch yourself in time, or your hands are full or in your pockets, a nasty injury to the face or the head can occur.

So, this winter, be careful on the wet and icy walkways.  If, despite your best caution, you find yourself injured due to a slip-and-fall and are seeking legal counsel, please call experienced Sacramento slip-and-fall lawyer, Edward A. Smith.

Although the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers has now been well-known for many years, the several different diseases that may result may not be. In addition to malignant mesothelioma — a cancer that appears in the mesothelial tissues lining the lungs, peritoneum, pericardium, and chest cavity — other cancers of the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract have also been connected to asbestos. Asbestos fiber inhalation is also the direct cause of asbestosis, a condition in which the lung tissues become increasingly scarred, seriously reducing lung function.

Malignant mesothelioma is a very devastating diagnosis — most people diagnosed with this cancer die within 12 months of receiving their diagnosis. This is not to say victims of this disease should be without hope. For example, famous scientist Stephen Jay Gould lived for more than 20 years after his mesothelioma diagnosis, eventually succumbing to an unrelated condition. While certainly grim, malignant mesothelioma diagnoses are still relatively rare.

Non-mesothelioma cancers resulting from asbestos exposure are much more variable in survival rates. However, these cancers share a common trait with mesotheliomas — a long period of “latency” between exposure and disease diagnosis. These types of cancers have a somewhat shorter latency period than mesothelioma, in the range of 15 to 30 years.

Asbestosis directly affects the lung tissues, rather than the surrounding mesothelial lining of the lungs. In this condition, inhaled asbestos fibers become lodged in the lung tissues and prompt the body’s immune system to activate, resulting in inflammation and pockets of fibrous scar tissue. This scar tissue reduces the elasticity of the normal lung tissue and reduces the lung’s ability to properly exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, leading to severe shortness of breath. Asbestosis sufferers are also — as one would expect — at much higher risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

According to one environmental organization, more than 10,000 people in the United States die each year as the result of asbestos-related diseases, including nearly 1% of the deaths of males over the age of 50.

While there is no complete ban on the use of asbestos in the United States, it was among the first air pollutants recognized as a hazard in the Clean Air Act of 1970, and many specific applications have since been banned. Since 1988, all asbestos content in products in the United States must be reported as required by Environmental Protection Agency regulations.  The primary danger to workers in present times is to workers in construction and building maintenance, who may become exposed to asbestos used in decades-old buildings.

The very first lawsuit against an asbestos manufacturer in the United States was actually all the way back in 1929, but the large wave of asbestos litigation didn’t begin until the 1970s and especially in the 1980s, when these devastating conditions began to appear in large numbers after their long latency periods of sometimes 40 years and more.  Presently, asbestos litigation cases come in many different shapes and sizes, some as individual claimants against individual employers, others as thousands of claimants against dozens of employers and manufacturers in class-action lawsuits.

If you or a family member has contracted one of these diseases, there is a high likelihood that it is related to an occupational exposure for which you may be entitled to receive compensation.  Seeking legal advice, such as a free consultation with Sacramento mesothelioma and asbestosis attorney Edward A. Smith, would be a wise option.

Most dog bite attack victims suffer from lifelong psychological injury, including emotional trauma, Post Traumatic Stress and a fear of dogs. Even after a dog bite victim’s physical injuries have healed, emotional scarring can last a very long time. Each time a victim takes a walk through a park, walks down a sidewalk, strolls the beach or visits a dog owner’s home, the trauma from a dog bite can return.

Depression, shock and anxiety often plague a dog bite victim’s normal life effecting their well being, relationships, school and work. Children are particularly prone to developing post traumatic stress after a dog bite. Some of the symptoms of post traumatic stress include distressing memories of the event including flashbacks and dreams, avoidance, changes in mood such as feeling hopeless, and changes in their emotional reactions such as feeling irritable, angry or easily startled. Difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping also tend to be problematic for a victim of a dog bite. More information about post traumatic stress can be found at the Mayo Clinic.

Additionally, a fear of dogs poses a major challenge to a dog bite victim. Even if a victim was a dog lover before the attack, he or she no longer feels comfortable around dogs. Typically, after an attack, a dog bite victim will feel anxious and have difficulty enjoying dogs companionship as usual. More information about dog phobia can be found here.

If you were bitten by a dog, the owner may be liable for your medical bills and psychological treatment. The dog bite Attorneys in Sacramento at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can help you pursue a claim for your expenses and suffering caused by the attack. Please contact our office at 916-921-6400 for a free evaluation. We can also be found on Yelp.

hazmatAnyone who watched an older building being torn down or remodeled in recent years will have become familiar with the sight of workers performing asbestos testing and remediation. Buildings constructed in the middle part of the 20th century very commonly used asbestos in a variety of building materials because of its fireproofing performance. It was also used as fireproofing material in a number of other industries, such as shipbuilding, beginning early in the 20th Century, but becoming increasingly prevalent from the 1940s forward.

Malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer that appears most commonly in the pleural lining between the lungs and the chest wall. Only in recent decades has the strong connection between most pleural mesotheliomas and workplace exposure to asbestos become well-established and recognized.  Although cancer in the pleural lining had occasionally been observed and described by doctors for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that doctors began to recognize these as “primary” cancers — that is, cancers originating actually in the lungs, rather than spreading as “secondary” tumors from cancers beginning in other locations.

Early studies linking mesothelioma to lung cancers occurred in Germany in the 1940s, in Ireland and Canada in the 1950s (observing respiratory cancer in asbestos miners), and in Australia in the 1960s. Although there were earlier suggestions of linkage between asbestos and mesothelioma, strong scientific evidence of this wasn’t presented until about 1960.

One reason that asbestos wasn’t linked to mesothelioma cancers at an earlier date was the factor of “latency” — the time lag between exposure and symptomatic disease. With asbestos-related mesotheliomas, the latency period is almost never less than 15 years from exposure to diagnosis, and the disease often takes more than 40 years to appear. The average latency period is about 30 years. As a result, the “explosion” in mesothelioma cases didn’t occur until decades after asbestos became a commonly-used product. For example, in the United States, lung mesotheliomas in white males roughly tripled in number from the early 1970s to the early 1980s — a period almost exactly 30 years after the rapid expansion of asbestos use in manufacturing and construction.

Fortunately, mesothelioma remains a relatively rare form of cancer. Unfortunately, the prognosis for its victims is very poor. For patients diagnosed at age 45 or older (and most victims fall into this category due to the long latency period) the survival rate at 3 years post-diagnosis is only about 20%. This is a devastating disease.

Typically, mesotheliomas are diagnosed through a combination of imaging studies (x-ray, CT scan, MRI) that detect the lesions and tissue biopsies that confirm the diagnosis. To date, chemotherapy has been the only treatment option proven to improve survival rates, although surgery and radiation therapy may also be used in different treatment combinations. Immunotherapy using substances such as interleukin-2 and interferon alpha appears to offer some promise, however this research is in relative early stages.

Occasionally, asbestos-related mesothelioma may be due to environmental exposures. Asbestos is a naturally occuring mineral, and in a few places in the world asbestos and related minerals may be present in sufficient quantity to expose residents through the local soils and water. Almost all asbestos-related mesotheliomas, however, are related to occupational environments such as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and construction work, or to secondary exposure to the families of workers who consistently brought home contaminated work clothing. These are not “naturally” occuring cancers — they are a disease for which someone, usually employers, are responsible due to worker exposure to asbestos while in the workplace.

If you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma that may be asbestos-related, you should seriously consider contacting a qualified attorney as soon as possible. There are firm deadlines for pursuing claims that vary from state to state, and these cases are complicated and challenging to pursue. At the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, we understand not only how to get you the legal help you need, we also understand the devastating impact mesothelioma can have upon its victims and their families.


The days are getting shorter and cooler, and we here in Sacramento are hoping for lots of rain this winter to help our drought.  In addition to thinking about warmer clothing, hearty soups and umbrellas, it is a good time to be aware of winter safety tips as well.  One of the dangers of wet, and especially icy, weather that is often not discussed in our generally mild climate, is the risk of falling.

Wet surfaces often mean slippery surfaces.  One of the danger zones during wet weather can be the entrance to an office building or store, where the water, dirt and oil from visitors’ wet shoes is deposited, creating a slick and hazardous walking area.  It can be difficult to maintain one’s footing in such an area.  Often, but certainly not always, businesses will put up signs to create awareness of the hazard.  It is important to be aware and careful of the walking surface on wet days, but often we are rushing around and do not always remember to step cautiously.  Certain types of flooring are more prone to cause slipping.  Marble, ceramic and other smooth tiles are key offenders.

There are steps one can take to reduce the likelihood of winter falls.  Wearing footwear without high heels and with proper traction is the best place to start.  A slippery surface and a teetering heel is a dangerous combination!  If there are handrails available, by all means use them.  Sometimes an area may be so slick that grabbing onto the wall or other stable structure is necessary.  Carrying a heavy load, such as an overstuffed backpack or too many grocery bags, affects one’s balance and can contribute to a slip-and-fall incident, so keep your load lighter on inclement weather days.  Also, just be aware on a wet day that the potential to slip and fall is greater, so keep alert and keep your hands free to balance and/or catch yourself if you feel your feet slipping out from under you.

Parking lots are another area where greater caution is required, due to uneven curbs, potholes and especially areas of oil from parked vehicles.  Oil mixed with rain water is a trap ready to take down the most sure-footed among us.

In your home and businesses, clean up spills and accumulated water as soon as possible and consider having a “wet floor” sign handy to use when needed.

Despite all precautions, accidents do happen and those accidents can lead to injury.  If you or someone you know has suffered a slip-and-fall injury and have questions, do not hesitate to contact experienced Sacramento slip-and-fall lawyer, Edward A. Smith.

Before consulting a Sacramento personal injury attorney, always check reviews on sites such as Yelp.


As reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who are bitten by a dog require medical attention. Whether you were bitten at a park, in your neighborhood or while at someone’s home, it is critical that you know your rights.  Under California law, the owner of the dog is responsible for the damages to the victim who was bitten by a dog. Unfortunately, most dog bite victims are a family member, friend or a neighbor. Dog bite victims often worry about how they will be compensated because they don’t want their friend or family member to have to pay out of their pocket. There is no reason to worry. In California, if you were attacked or bitten by a dog, there are several possibilities of who will pay for your damages:

Homeowners Insurance:
In most cases, the dog’s owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover the damages resulting from a dog bite attack. If there is homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, there also might be “medical payments” coverage that will pay for your medical bills.

Automobile Insurance:
If the bite occurred while in someone’s car or in the back of an open truck, the damages may be covered under homeowner’s insurance or by auto insurance.

Landlord’s Liability Insurance:
Covers the owner, occupier of the home, or manager of the property. In some circumstances, a landlord may be held responsible if a tenant bites someone. For example, if the landlord knew that a dog on the premises was dangerous and failed to have it removed or the landlord was taking care of a tenants dog or failed to repair a fence.

How do you know if someone has insurance to cover your dog bite injury?

You can ask the owner of the dog if they have insurance, but do not rely solely on what they tell you. The dog’s owner may be reluctant to give you that information or may even deny that he or she has insurance in order to keep you from making a claim. It is critical that you contact an experienced dog bite attorney to find out if the dog owner has insurance to compensate you for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and any future medical expenses. The Attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can help you find out if there is insurance coverage.

If you were bitten by a dog, you might have a lot of questions that only an experienced dog bite lawyer can answer. The Sacramento Dog Bite Attorneys at The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can answer your questions and provide a free evaluation of your dog bite claim. Our office works on a contingency basis so we only get paid when you receive your compensation for your injuries. Contact our office at 916-921-6400, www.autoaccident.com.

As a Sacramento TBI (traumatic brain injury) lawyer since 1982, I’ve handled hundreds of Traumatic Brain Injury cases resulting, for the most part,  from auto or motorcycle accidents.
Occasionally, it appears that my  client was unconscious at the scene or had an altered state of consciousness such as dizziness or confusion.  Medically, whether the client was unconscious or simply in a daze, he or she is considered to have a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
If it appears that the client appears to have  made a recovery within 6 to 9 months, insurance adjusters invariably argue that while the person may have suffered a concussion at the scene, they have made a “good” recovery and are back to normal and hence their case has little monetary  value.
Unfortunately, what can appear to outsiders as a “good”  recovery often has hidden long-term effects  to  on a  brain injured client and on the family that loves him.
People who survive a traumatic brain injury are three times more likely to die prematurely compared with the general population, a recent  study has shown.  Nearly half of all  TBI patients  died prematurely died from suicide, violence, or injuries (JAMA Psychiatry , February 2014.) The study drew from more than 4 decades of Swedish national patient registries and death records.

 In addition to a much higher risk of violent death, clients who suffer a brain injury have a much higher incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease in their future.   A study by Alzheimer’s.Org, found that individuals with a traumatic  brain injury had a rate of development of Alzheimer’s that may be two to four times the average. It is thought that individuals with a certain gene have a propensity for even a single traumatic accident to substantially increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The high rates of future violent death or development of Alzheimer’s should be taken into account by Plaintiff’s attorney before settling any TBI injury where the insurer suggests the client has made a complete recovery.
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney  since 1982. Feel free to call me anytime for free, compassionate advice. In Sacramento my number is 916-921-6400. Elsewhere it is 800-404-5400.  You can also reach me at my website at www.AutoAccident.com or find more about our office at Nolo.com  or on Yelp.


As a Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney since 1982, I have handled hundreds of cases for people who suffered from concussions, fractured skulls and other injuries impacting the brain resulting from auto, trucking, bicycle, motorcycle or pedestrian accidents .

Often, the nature of the brain injury is not immediately apparent. Other serious injuries can take the limelight immediately after the accident. Only later, do the serious cognitive, emotional and behavioral deficits and problems of a brain injury become apparent.

Every year, over 550,000 people are hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury  and 15% of those, more or less, suffer a long term disability.

Anytime someone suffers a concussion or tbi ( Traumatic brain injury), if the injury arises from an accident, it’s important to document the client’s baseline condition. I’ll talk more about that a few paragraphs  down.  All too often, however, people are treated in the Emergency Room, given minimal examination to rule out broken bones or deficits( those  which can be seen on MRI or CTI scan) , and then sent home without any recommendation for followup.

At best, they may be seen by a neurologist,  who can, if competent, diagnose injuries apparent on Ct scan or MRI. But many brain injuries DO NOT show up on MRI or Ct-Scan and a Neurologist is generally not the best qualified person to diagnose or document most brain injuries.
The person who is most highly trained in the deficits caused by brain injuries is a neuropsychologist.  A neropsychologist is typically a PhD, who has long postgraduate training in neuroanatomy and in psychology.  The neuropsychologist will review the clients school records, (even high school and elementary school records) look at past academic testing that was done, interview friends and family, and then do an extensive battery of tests known as a Neuropsych Exam.

Only after that exam is finished, and the nature of the brain deficit established, can a good rehabilitation plan be formulated.
A neuropsychologist can really be helped analyzing the injury if he understands the course and progression of the symptoms.
A personal injury lawyer can help the client document the nature and extent of his or her symptoms by having a checklist filled out by the client soon after his or her initial appointment with the lawyer, in which the client is asked about the presence or absence of those symptoms typically associated with a head injury. The client’s spouse or significant other should also fill out a checklist at that time, since the spouse or other close family member, often will see signs or  symptoms  that  the brain injured person may not be aware of.

For example, one question may ask whether the injured party feels emotionally labile (all over the map) since the accident. He or she may check “no”, but if you ask the spouse or other family member, they may check a resounding “Yes”.
It’s very common for a person with a traumatic brain injury to be unaware or not fully aware of cognitive or behavioral issues which appear clear to close family members.

If these checklists are filled out at the initial interview or shortly thereafter, they can be helpful to a neuropsychologist who sees the client perhaps many months or even years later. The checklists help document the baseline condition shortly after the accident so that its easier to diagnose improvement or deterioration.  Generally speaking, the impairments normally present after a brain injury can be classifed as cognitive, physical or behavioral.  Cognitive impairments include memory, attention and concentration and also include communication difficulties. There is often difficulty in taking in new information.

Physical problems can include difficulty with speech and muscular issues with arms,legs or the trunk area. There may also be intense headaches and loss of taste or smell or difficulties in swallowing. Behavior issues may include impulsiveness, distractibility, aggression, agitation and inability to relax.  There is no magic pill that will immediately cure a brain injury. Every injury is different and affects a person in a unique way. Some injuries get better with time and a lot of help but some can linger, especially if no plan of action or rehabilitation is undertaken.  Rehabilitation of brain injuries is typically costly, and this medical cost often frustrates people who want their pre-accident condition quickly  restored.  Rehabilitation often requires a multidisiplinary approach. Some of the experts involved can include psychiatrists,  physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, nurses, psychiatrists, physical therapists, speech therapists, social workers and case managers.
Sometimes the rehabilitation can be on an outpatient basis, but often a stay in full-time rehabilitation facility is necessary.
The rehab team is focused on healing and prognosis and reviews the neuropsychological testing, the medical records and MRI and CT scans and behavioral observations to chart the best path to recovery.  The rehab team works very closely with the family of the injured person as well, as its critical that family members know what to expect and how they can most help the brain injured person in his recovery. One thing that helps most everyone with a brain injury is diminished stress. Active participation in activities that are known to lower stress, such as Yoga, Meditation, Guided Imagery or  Hikes in Nature,  have helped many of my clients in the past. A new modality called HeartMath , a type of biofeedback is also useful.
Feel free to contact me at anytime for referral to a good Yoga therapist or for Information on Guided Imagery or Heartmath.
The journey back from a traumatic brain injury is difficult, but like any other journey can be completed if a good guide and trusted advisers are there for you.  I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer since 1982. Feel free to call me anytime for free, friendly advice. In Sacramento my number is 916-921-6400. Elsewhere it is 800-404-5400.  You can also reach me at my website at www.AutoAccident.com or find more about our office at Nolo.com  or on Yelp.


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