CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Articles Posted in Premises Safety & Liability

accidental drownings in swimming poolsA backyard swimming pool is a wonderful opportunity for family exercise and recreation, and a spa is a great way for adults and kids to unwind. Unfortunately, they are also sources of potential danger due to the frequency of accidental drownings in swimming pools and spas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1999 and 2013 nearly 10,000 people died in the United States due to accidental drownings in swimming pools. These deaths aren’t evenly spread over different age groups, however — nearly 40% of those fatalities were among children 1 to 4 years of age. Further, the statistics say that for each incident of accidental drownings in swimming pools that is fatal, another ten children end up in hospital emergency rooms with non-fatal problems that can be very serious, including brain injury from oxygen deprivation that can result in permanent brain injury and disability.

There are many good resources available for swimming pool safety such as those from the Centers for Disease Control. Simple and obvious tips such as keeping a close watch on young children in and around swimming pools and avoiding significant intoxication that can lead to drowning in adults who are swimming are included. Studies also show that taking swimming lessons can very significantly reduce young children’s risk of accidental drownings in swimming pools, perhaps by nearly 90%.

By J.smith (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sacramento is known to be a City of Trees.  In fact, Sacramento is a city with the most trees per capita in the world. Most Sacramento dwellers find our beautiful trees, fall foliage and spring blossoms to be aesthetically pleasing.  From time to time however, our beautiful trees can become ‘dangerous’ during times of adverse weather conditions. Trees can also become ‘dangerous’ as a result of neglect in the care of a tree or due to a tree being decayed, rotted or dead.   Death, injury or damage to person or property has occurred due to fallen trees or fallen tree limbs.

To determine who is at fault for the injury or damage due to the fallen tree or fallen tree limb, the location of the tree needs to be taken into consideration.

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?

Proving Liability

An important factor in any personal injury claim is proving “liability” — showing who caused an injury and how that happened. In some types of claims, proving liability is fairly straightforward. For example, if a motorist is stopped at a red light and is injured when hit from behind by another driver, it’s relatively obvious who caused the injury and how they did it. In other situations, however, this can be much more challenging. Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injury claims are often much more difficult situations in which to prove liability and show how a “defective condition” of some sort caused the incident. One difficulty is in understanding how and why the injured person ended up in a situation where the defect caused him or her to slip or trip. This is where the element of human factors in personal injury claims becomes very important.Short_Leg_Walking_Cast

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A common news event that occurs more and more frequently is the occurrence of injury and maiming at sporting events and music concerts. Trampling deaths are also more frequent than before. We are not talking about injury from the occasional baseball that may randomly strikes someone but rather those injuries and deaths that occur as a result of negligence.

In 2014, this was bought to the forefront as the media covered multiple deaths, injuries and overdoses that occurred at the Miami, Florida Ultra Fest Concert. Un-ticketed concert goers stormed the flimsy portable fencing that had been put up around the venue for crowd control. The fence fell on a security guard resulting in severe brain hemorrhaging. The security guard was in critical condition for several days. The security guard also sustained severe maiming to one of her legs.

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.

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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.

Children’s Accidental Injuries

Children’s accidental injuries are one of the major causes of death to children all over the world. In fact, millions of children die each year from unintentional injuries. Such injuries can be as common as cuts and burns to those severe injuries sustained by a pedestrian vs. auto collision. Progress in many countries has been made due to manufacturer’s recall of products, including toys, that are deemed unsafe. Additionally, many governments have mandated the use of things safety items such as car seats, safety belts in vehicles, and bicycle helmets for children.

Approximately 300,000 injuries involving doors need treatment at an emergency room each year in the U.S. Most of the victims are children of preschool age and under, and most injuries from doors result in some kind of amputation. These door-related injuries are completely preventable and there are some inexpensive devices that could be put on doors to prevent these amputation injuries. There are door closing devices that prevent a door from slamming and prevent injuries from the open side of the door. Most serious injuries, however, result from the door’s the hinge side, where the closing pressure from the door can exceed 80,000 pounds per square inch.

Some companies have created hinge protectors that eliminate the possibility of hinge accidents. A casing made of plastic is placed around the sides of the door that blocks contact with the hinge face. There are door stoppers that can also help prevent unexpected door closures. You can also paint or tape near the hinge and door knob side of the door to remind kids to stay away from that part of the wall.

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