New Court of Appeal Case: Horseplay Around Pool an “Accident” Under Homeowners’ Insurance

June 30, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

On Friday, the California Court of Appeals denied State Farm Insurance’s Petition for Writ of Mandate seeking to have the trial court issue judgment in favor of the insurance company. At issue in the case, titled State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Superior Court, was whether the trial court erred in ruling that State Farm owed a duty to defend its’ insured from a lawsuit for personal injuries where its’ insured threw the victim into a pool, landing on an exposed step.

An insurance company’s duty to defend it’s insured is extremely broad. It is broader than the duty to pay a covered loss. The duty to defend applies to any claim that could possibly involve a covered loss.

In this case, the insureds’ 21 year-old son, who lived with the insureds, argued with another young man, Mr. Wright, at a party. When Wright went outside, the son grabbed Wright and picked him up and threw him into the shallow end of the swimming pool. Wright landed on the pool’s concrete step which was above the water line. As a result of this action, Wright fractured his right clavicle and was hospitalized for four days. The son apologized immediately to Wright and claimed that he was just horse-playing.

The son was later arrested for the incident and pled nolo contender to misdemeanor battery.

Wright then sued the son seeking compensation for his injuries. The claim was tendered to the parents’ homeowners’ insurance policy with State Farm. The policy covered “damages because of bodily injury…caused by an occurrence” with an “occurrence” being defined as “an accident…which results in a. bodily injury; or b. property damage.”

State Farm denied a defense to the parents on several grounds, including:

The claim against you does not meet the insuring agreement in the policy, as the actions do not arise out of an accident. Also, the policy specifically excludes damages which are either expected or intended by the insured or the result of willful and malicious conduct.” In short, State Farm treated the son’s actions as a willful assault rather than mere horseplay.

The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling that State Farm acted improperly when they denied the parents with a defense to Wright’s claims. The Court found that under the stipulated facts, an “accident” did occur which would give rise to the duty to defend. The Court held that although the son intentionally picked up Wright and threw him at the pool, the son did not intend or expect the consequence (that Wright would land on a step). Therefore, the duty to defend existed because Wright’s injury was neither expected nor intended by the son, nor was it the result of a malicious act by the insured.

San Diego Motorcyclist Killed in Accident Identified

June 30, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

A Wednesday evening motorcycle crash in San Diego County’s El Cajon last week had left one man dead who had been traveling on his motorcycle. The rider was recently identified by the San Diego Union-Tribune as 37-year-old Lance Michael Hagerty. Hagerty had been killed when his motorcycle rear-ended a pickup truck as it was attempting to turn into a driveway about 5 p.m. in El Cajon on West Bradley Avenue near Wing Avenue, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Officer. Hagerty had lived and worked in El Cajon.

Hagerty was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision and was riding a newer-model sports bike, according to El Cajon police. He was taken to a hospital after the wreck, where he died. The westbound traffic on Bradley Avenue had been diverted for about five hours as investigators examiner the scene, police said. The driver of the pickup truck had not been hurt.

If you or anyone you know has ever been injured or killed in a San Diego motorcycle accident, please contact San Diego motorcycle wreck attorney and the San Diego personal injury lawyers.

Was Pitchman Billy Mays Killed by MTBI; Second Celebrity Head Injury Death After Natasha Richardson?

June 29, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

Did Billy Mays, the 50-year-old celebrity pitchman, die of a Minor Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) following a “hard” landing by a US Airways flight between Philadelphia and Tampa, Florida?

That is the question buzzing around the internet right now.

Mays had been flying home to Tampa after filming an OxiClean commercial in Philadelphia when the front tire of his US Airways flight exploded following the hard landing. Initially, no serious injuries were reported and Mays posted on his Twitter feed about the hard landing saying it was par for the course with US Airways. After the landing, objects fell from the ceiling, although it is unclear what those objects were, and hit Mays in the head.

After landing, Mays told a local news crew about the hit to his head:

“All of a sudden as we hit,” Mays said. “You know it was just the hardest hit. All the top…you know the things from the ceiling started dropping and it hit me on the head, but I got a hard head.”

Mays was found dead at his home the next day by his wife, Deborah. Reportedly, Mays did not feel well when he went to bed later that night. No other major health problems have been disclosed.

Escondido Woman Suffers Critical Injuries in Dangerous Roadway Accident

June 29, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

A 23-year-old Escondido woman was critically injured recently when the car in which she was riding careened off the road on Calavo Drive and into a swimming pool, according to a recent news report from NBC San Diego. The road, known to the locals as “Rollercoaster Road,” has been a source of concern for many years due to the dangers it poses to drivers.

The car involved in the Escondido Rollercoaster Road crash was traveling down Calavo Drive near Nordahl Road when it left the roadway, crashed through a fence, and wound up inside a neighbor’s swimming pool. The pool’s owners and their neighbors rushed out to the scene when they heard the crash and pulled the injured woman out of the vehicle. The driver, a 33-year-old man, managed to climb free of the vehicle and swim to safety. He is expected to recover fully from his injuries.

According to locals, the stretch of road where the accident occurred consists of sharp turns and drops that make local teens compare it to a roller coaster. At sufficient speeds, the wheels of a car or truck will actually leave the road at some points. Other serious accidents have occurred during the road’s layout, including one in 2008 that left a local resident in a wheelchair after a car lost control and hit him.

Car accidents aren’t always the fault of a negligent or careless driver. Roadways that feature sharp turns, bad pavement, or insufficient warnings or guardrails can turn a normal day’s drive into a tragedy. That’s why our skilled dangerous roadway accident lawyers are dedicated to helping injured people and their families get the compensation they need when road engineers have failed. For a free consultation, call us today.

Elder Pedestrian Killed In Victorville Hit-And-Run Crash

June 28, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

64-year-old Manuel Cadena was killed in a Victorville hit-and-run car accident that occurred on June 26, 2011, around 8:40 p.m. at Palmdale Road west of Borrego Road. According to San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office Officials, Cadena was crossing Highway 18 (SR-18), when a dark-colored SUV, possibly a green or black Toyota, fatally struck him.

The SUV driver turned right onto Borrego Road after hitting Cadena and left the scene. Officers responding to the accident immediately transported Cadena to Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville where he was pronounced dead a few hours later.

From the available information, it is evident that the negligent driving and irresponsible actions of the SUV driver lead to Cadena’s wrongful death. Leaving the accident scene is a serious violation under California law. California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) states:

“The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” Motorists are not only required to stop but also remain at the scene of the crash and wait until authorities get to the scene. In addition, if the driver stayed and aided the victim, Cadena may still be alive today.

There is a clear violation of traffic rules. Cadena’s family members should immediately seek counsel from a San Bernardino County pedestrian accident lawyer to know about their legal rights and options. An experienced lawyer would assure that the at-fault party is held liable and that the victim’s family members obtain timely and fair compensation to cover funeral and burial costs, loss of love and companionship, and other accident-related expenses.

Our law office offers sincere condolences to all those who knew and loved Cadena for such a tragic loss.

Kolcraft Recalls Strollers Due to Fingertip Amputation Risks

June 27, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc. and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have issued a recall of several models of the Kolcraft Contours Options stroller.

When the hinge mechanism on the stroller is being locked or unlocked, it creates a gap in which a child’s or parent’s finger can become wedged, increasing the risk for amputation or other serious injuries when the mechanism is closed. The CPSC has received five reports of product defect injury from the strollers, including two adults who had fingers smashed in the hinge and three children who required amputations after their fingers were caught in the hinge.

The recall affects three- and four-wheeled strollers with model numbers ZL002, ZL005, ZL008, ZL015, and ZL018. The model number and date the stroller was manufactured are on a sticker placed above the left wheel on the ZL002 and on a tag sewn into the back of the seat on the other models.

The strollers were sold between January 2006 and November 2009 at various retailers across the U.S., including Toys “R” Us, Target, and online at Parents and caregivers should stop using the strollers and call Kolcraft at (800) 453-7673 for a free repair kit.

Defective products can cause serious injuries, especially when the defect is not obvious or expected. If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective stroller or other items, contact the knowledgeable San Diego defective child product injury attorneys today. We’ll help you find out what happened and protect your legal rights.

Sacramento Jury Awards Fired Employee $116,000 After Being Fired

June 27, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

A federal court jury in Sacramento awarded Erma J. Alaniz, a fired office manager, $116,031 from her former employer, Dr. Rober Peppercorn, finding that Dr. Peppercorn unlawfully retaliated against Ms. Alaniz. The jury found that Dr. Peppercorn’s actions violated the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

During the course of the trial, the jury heard evidence that Dr. Peppercorn blamed Ms. Alaniz for a tense workplace environment arising from his attraction to Tiffany Raspberry, a young assistant working in Dr. Peppercorn’s medical office. The evidence further showed that Dr. Peppercorn’s relationship with Ms. Raspberry caused his marital problems and that Ms. Alaniz sympathized with his wife and provided her with financial records demonstrating that Dr. Peppercorn gave Ms. Raspberry financial assistance through his business.

When Dr. Peppercorn found out that Ms. Alaniz was looking for another job, he terminated her. The exchange ended in a loud exchange where Dr. Peppercorn blamed Ms. Alaniz for creating rumors and gossip about him and Ms. Raspberry.

The jury did decide not to award punitive damages, rejecting a finding that Dr. Peppercorn acted with “malice, oppression or fraud.”

Escondido Police Shoot and Kill Pit Bull

June 26, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

Earlier today, Escondido police shot and killed one of two pit bulls that had attacked a woman’s dog.

The attack happened near the intersection of West 10th Avenue and South Maple Street in Escondido. Neighbors report seeing the dog being attacked and came to fend off the pit bulls with shovels.

Animal control officers tried to catch the pit bulls, but the animals confronted the officers very aggressively. Police officers arrived later only to find the pit bulls circling the officers. Pepper spray was ineffective and when one of the dogs rushed the police officers, one of the dogs was shot twice and later died.

The second pit bull was taken into custody by animal control and the dog’s owners could be facing criminal charges for the attack.

We hope that these dog owners face the maximum criminal penalty for allowing their obviously dangerous dogs to run around the neighborhood unescorted. Luckily the dog that was attacked is expected to survive. But it could have easily been a person or a child that was attacked. It is unconscionable that these dogs were left unattended on the streets.

If you or a loved one has ever been injured by a dog bite or attack, please contact us so that your rights are immediately protected.

Hot Coffee the Movie Shows the Ill Effect of Tort Reform

June 26, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

Remember the McDonald’s coffee case? A woman orders a cup of hot coffee. She puts the cup in between her legs as she drives. Then, the coffee spills, and she gets third-degree burns on very private areas on her body. Cha-ching!

Though, that is not exactly the whole story. Susan Saladoff, director of the documentary film Hot Coffee, which premieres on HBO tonight at 6 p.m. PST, shows viewers what really happened in the infamous “McDonald’s hot coffee” lawsuit. The movie looks at what actually happened to Stella Liebeck, why the case got so much media attention, who funded the effort, and who really profited from spilling hot coffee.

Hot Coffee is a “call to action.” It asks the question, What happens when access to court is so lopsided that the average person cannot gain access? And who really pays the price, the negligent party or taxpayers?

In the four cases the film documents, Saladoff shows how Americans are surrendering their Constitutional rights in all sorts of ways without even knowing it and how they are being screwed by the system –not taking advantage of it.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of a defective product or negligent person, you are entitled to damages. The California personal injury attorneys will protect your Constitutional rights and get the money you deserve.

Imperial Valley Woman Accuses Employer, 2 Others of Assault

June 25, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

On the evening of June 7, Yessenia “Jesse” Moreno of Westmorland, a town outside El Centro in the Imperial Valley, reported that she was assaulted by her employer and two others while she was working at The Town Pump, a local restaurant.

“All I know is (her co-worker, Estella Jimenez) ran toward the bar area, I get halfway to the bar, and before I know it the owner Andrew (Salazar) comes at me in a hostile way and her sister comes at me yelling at me,” Moreno said. “We then started fighting.

“I recall Andrew threw a drink at me, and (Estella’s brother, Zobeck Aguire) threw all kinds of beer on me,” she said. “I remember I was on (Estella’s sister, Esther Aguirre), Andrew was on me and I realized he was choking me.

“Then all of a sudden I feel a big something hit my face, and it was a big glass salt shaker that was full of salt,” Moreno said. “Estrella had thrown it at me.”

Westmorland Police arrested Andrew Salazar, 37, Zobeck Aguirre, 33, and Estrella Jimenez, 24, were arrested and booked into Imperial County jail.