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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

Common causes of car accidents

When a car accident occurs in California, one of the most important steps taken after appropriate medical care is provided is to determine what likely caused it. There are several reasons why this is necessary. Law enforcement officials need to know who to charge if laws were broken. Also, insurance companies and victims or their families need to know who to hold accountable financially and legally.

One of the most common reasons for car accidents is simple human error. The potential for careless action is even greater if device use or another form of distraction, such as applying makeup, dealing with kids or multitasking while behind the wheel, is involved. Driving under the influence of any type of substance, whether it's alcohol, drugs or prescription medication, also greatly increases the risk of accidents while driving.

The costs of slip and falls

Small business owners in California must take care to protect all legal entrants, including patrons and employees, from known hazards. Entrants have the right to a safe environment since they are the ones who are being invited on to the property. This legal theory is known as duty of care.

Owners are thus responsible for all maintenance and its cost. They must address issues like cracks in the sidewalk and parking lot, torn carpeting, loose handrails and burnt-out lights in stairwells as soon as possible. Entrants should also be warned about some hazards, such as icy pavements or floor that have just been mopped, through signage.

Speed involved in almost one-third of all fatal U.S. crashes

Excessive speed is killing motorists in California and across the U.S., according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Making matters worse, federal, state and local governments aren't doing enough to address the issue.

The report, entitled "Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge," found that speeding plays a role in almost a third of all fatal traffic accidents on American roads. This is because speeding increases both the risk of getting in a crash and the likelihood of serious injuries or fatalities when an accident happens. The report also found that pedestrians and bicyclists were especially vulnerable to speeding vehicles and rural roadways were the most common location for deadly speed-related accidents. In fact, over 5,000 people were killed in rural speeding accidents in 2016.

Orangutan injures thumb of zoo volunteer

A zoo volunteer was injured on Jan. 19 in an incident with an orangutan. The story could be of interest to zoo workers in California because it shows the risks that they run in their jobs. The zoo volunteer, together with two paid staff members, entered the area where orangutans were being fed. There, a 14-year-old male orangutan reached out and bit the volunteer's hand, detaching her thumb in a matter of seconds.

The incident, which occurred at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio, did not last longer than those few seconds. No threat was posed to the public because the feeding area is inaccessible to visitors. The volunteer was taken to a hospital for treatment with non-life-threatening injuries. Zoo officials will be completing an internal review.

Drivers using phones in ways that increase accident risks

These days, drivers in California and other parts of the United States are doing many things on their phones other than talking. Even though drivers aren't having verbal conversations on their devices as much, they're actually fiddling with them more. This is the main takeaway from an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study that compares survey data from 2014 and 2018.

IIHS researchers didn't find an increase in overall instances of distracting driving. However, the shift to an increasing manipulation of phones while driving is linked to a greater crash risk. In fact, researchers estimate that nearly 1,000 crash-related deaths that occurred in the United States in 2017 were related to instances of drivers using their phones for non-verbal tasks.

Watch out for these hazards when bicycling in Palm Springs

The beautiful winter weather in Palm Springs draws people outside. Some ride in their cars with the top down, some walk and some ride bikes. Bicycling has increased in popularity as a stylish form of transportation, especially in Southern California.

If you are joining the ranks of people cruising down the street on two wheels instead of four, be aware of these hazards you may face to prevent getting into an accident with a motor vehicle.

Why being lost in thought can be dangerous while driving

Drivers in California should make it a point to not get lost in thought while on the road. This is because daydreaming can be one of the most dangerous activities for a driver. However, it can be difficult to avoid boredom while behind the wheel because it's such a monotonous task. While self-driving cars may make it easier to avoid distraction in the long run, it could make distracted driving worse in the short-term.

Research has shown that those who use Tesla's semi-autonomous autopilot feature may be more likely to become complacent while driving. Based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were 172,000 traffic deaths over the past five years. Of those deaths, about 10 percent were caused by distracted driving. Of those deaths, 61 percent were caused by those who were simply thinking about something other than the road when the collision took place. Only 14 percent of such deaths were caused by smartphones.

19-car crash in San Bernardino County ends in numerous injuries

Shortly after 9 am on January 16, 2019, a 19-car crash took place on the southbound 15 Freeway in San Bernardino County, just south of Oak Hills, causing that side of the freeway to be shut down. Residents of Riverside County may have heard of the event or experienced the traffic jam that it led to. There were no fatalities, but according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, 35 people suffered minor to moderate injuries.

The victims were triaged at the scene. Most declined to be transported to a hospital, but officials do not know how many exactly were sent to hospitals for treatment. A preliminary report has been completed so far, and an investigation is forthcoming.

Drowsy driving a major challenge in ridesharing industry

Ridesharing drivers in California often face a major challenge in sleep deprivation. Compelled by low fares and salary incentives, many drivers push themselves past their safety limits. This wreaks havoc on the circadian rhythms of their bodies and endangers both themselves and other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Back in April 2018, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine released a position statement on this issue, calling it a public safety risk. The AASM called on ridesharing industries, law enforcement, government officials and medical professionals to collaborate on reducing fatigue-related accidents.

Zoo worker dies during lion attack

California residents may have heard that a 22-year-old North Carolina zoo worker was killed by a lion that had escaped its enclosure. The attack took place at the Conservators Center in Burlington, a short distance from Greensboro. The worker was cleaning the lion's enclosure early in the morning, a routine event that takes place each day. The lion somehow managed to escape from the area where it was being held and attacked the worker.

The worker had recently graduated from Indiana University before working at the zoo. She was with other members of the cleaning team when the lion knocked her down and started attacking her. Unfortunately, the attack was fatal. Deputies from the local sheriff's department decided to shoot the lion, killing the animal.