FREE CONSULTATION916.921.6400

Articles Posted in Sports Injuries

Negligence Contributing Factor in Football Player Death

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton personal injury attorney. Contact sports, especially football, have been in the public eye, due to the serious risks of injury and even death. After the death of their son during practice at a California university, one couple filed a lawsuit against the school.

On Jan. 25, 2016, the University of California admitted that the school was negligent, which contributed to the death of a former football player. The walk-on player died during a drill using a rope pull up and down a hill near the stadium. The parents claimed that the school did not report their son’s medical history to the Alameda County coroner’s office. The student had the sickle cell trait, and individuals with this condition are often misdiagnosed with heart conditions.

boating accidentsBoating accidents are numerically much less common than car crashes, but the “typical” boating accident can result in much more significant injuries than the “typical” car crash. Obviously, most people involved in car crashes will be using seat belts and/or shoulder harness, and in most cars will have the benefit of air bags and other modern safety equipment. In a boating accident, about the most that can be hoped for in terms of safety equipment is that victims will be wearing life jackets that may save them from drowning if they’re ejected from the boat.

A recent example was a boating accident on the Sacramento River near Red Bluff that resulted in injuries to seven people, three of whom had to be taken to a hospital, one of those with significant head injuries who was transported first by ambulance and then by helicopter to a trauma center. Other injuries included a broken arm and hip for the man who was driving the boat. The accident apparently happened when the boat crossed the large wake of another boat, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a bridge piling where Interstate-5 crosses the river.

boating accidentsOther factors leading to boating accidents include inexperienced operators — many boat owners will allow people to operate their boats whom they would never allow to operate their cars. And even experienced boat owners will have far less time at the tiller than experienced car owners have behind the wheel. Alcohol is also a significant factor in many major boating accidents due to its common presence during recreational boating. While operating a boat when intoxicated is certainly illegal in California — with potentially very significant penalties — there just isn’t the same level of law enforcement screening and observation on the waterways as there is on the roadways.

Are You Using A Tree Harness?

Snap-hook and V-rings are parts used in tree harnesses commonly purchased by hunters to obtain optimal hunting shots from way up high in a tree.  Product liability issues may arise when these parts are defective and dangerous.  Some falls may be minor, moderate or may even result in a wrongful death.

Recently we learned of a case between a tree harness manufacturer and a component manufacturer of the tree harness and a settlement approaching close to $2,000,000. The hunter received major and permanent traumatic injuries when he climbed about 25 feet up a tree in Missouri and hooked himself in a tree harness manufactured by an unnamed tree harness manufacturer and tree harness part maker. The harness was advertised as giving hunters the maximum flexibility needed to maneuver in trees so that they can receive the widest variety of great shooting angles. To do this, hunters were told to twist around the trees to get their shots. Unfortunately, this snap-hook and v-ring combo did not have a locking mechanism, but rather could be “unhooked” in one quick twisting type movement. Unfortunately, the rest of the story is easy to figure out. The twisting movement of the hunter in the tree caused a roll-out situation from the twisting/torsional movement being applied to the snap-hook and V-ring combo.

Traumatic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Traumatic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Many people are familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) as a condition caused by repetitive stress injuries such as working with vibrating tools, heavy manual labor, and even less impactful but repeated movements such as typing. Within these categories, carpal tunnel syndrome is often a workplace injury. What is less well known, however, is traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome that can be triggered by a single injury to the hand or wrist from an event such as a motor vehicle collision, a sports injury, or a slip-and-fall injury.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a relatively recent name for related conditions that have been known by other names in the past, such as “reflex sympathetic dystrophy” (RSD) and “causalgia.” What was often referred to as RSD in the past is now more commonly known as “CRPS-I,” and what was called causalgia is now more typically referred to as “CRPS-II.” Other names have included reflex neurovascular dystrophy, algoneurodystrohpy, sympathetically maintained pain, and Sudek’s syndrome. As might be guessed from the many names for these associated conditions, they are complicated and often not well-understood. They generally involve trauma to the peripheral nerves and have symptoms involving the sympathetic nervous system.

complex regional pain syndrome
Both versions of complex regional pain syndrome can result from trauma such as from motor vehicle collisions, sports injuries, and workplace injuries.

CRPS-I or RSD, can result from even very minor injuries, with no apparent nerve damage — in many cases people may not even recall a specific traumatic event when the complex regional pain syndrome symptoms show up weeks or months later. Fractured limbs, contusions, and even minor surgical procedures can result in the onset of CRPS-I symptoms, which often include a severe burning pain in the limb that is made worse with movement or by touching the limb. Other symptoms can include increased sweating and skin temperature in the affected area, and sometimes swelling. Long term symptoms can include skin constriction and reduced temperature in the limb. The skin, soft tissues and bone can atrophy, and the bone may develop osteoporosis.

By the late 1980s, states in the U.S. began adopting a variety of bicycle helmet laws to improve safety and reduce serious injuries. Studies have found that helmets can reduce reduce the occurrence of head injuries by about half and the frequency of neck or facial injuries by about one third. These studies are not without controversy, however, as other studies and anecdotal data indicate there may be much less protection from helmets. Currently, more than 20 states have some form of a statewide bicycle helmet law and hundreds of cities have individually adopted similar requirements. Only about a dozen states have neither statewide nor local bicycle helmet laws.bicycle helmet laws

Since 1999, standards for helmets in the United States have been mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The primary protection offered by this type of helmet is a reduction in impact acceleration to the head from an inner liner of polystyrene that absorbs energy as it crushes, similar to how a car’s structure is designed to absorb energy by crushing so as to protect its occupants. In order to offer this crush protection, however, it is crucial that bicycle helmets be in good condition (no prior impacts) and properly fitted to each individual rider’s head. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t happen — one study published in 2003 found that although nearly three-quarters of the studied children reported wearing helmets when bicycling, more than 90% of children had helmets with either condition and/or fit problems. When the fit of the helmet had been selected by the parent alone without any expert input, none were found by the study to fit properly. Expert assistance is key.

bicycle helmet lawsIn California, anyone under age 18 using a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or inline skates is required to wear a helmet. (And a few cities have additional requirements.) From time to time, more stringent bicycle helmet laws have been proposed, such as Senate Bill 192 put forward in 2015 that would have required helmets for all adult bicyclists in California — what would have been a first for a state in the U.S. That bill produced considerable backlash, and was subsequently changed from requiring helmets to merely calling for further study of helmet use.

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

What is Zip Lining?

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.

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.

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.

Client Reviews

  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
    Sincerely,
    ★★★★★
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation.
    ★★★★★
  • Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything.
    ★★★★★
  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime.
    ★★★★★
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone.
    ★★★★★
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury.
    ★★★★★