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San Mateo Personal Injury Law Blog

Dog attacks woman walking him

It is typical when you hear about a dog bite case or a dog attack that the breed involved is a pit bull. This is for two reasons. The first is that media coverage is pre-disposed, to a certain degree, to cover these cases. But the other reason is that pit bulls are strong animals that, when involved in an attack, are more likely to cause serious damage or injuries to a person or other animal due to the incredible power of their jaws.

This paints an unfair picture of pit bulls, and it also leaves other breeds out of the picture, making them seem obedient or nice in comparison to the stereotype of a "pit bull attacking someone." And yet, there is plenty of evidence that any dog could suddenly and unexpectedly become violent. Take today's story as an example.

Traffic fatality data in California shows slightly rising numbers

In 2006 and 2007, California had a problem with traffic fatalities. 4,240 people died in traffic accidents in 2006, with 3,995 perishing in these wrecks the following year. It was in 2008 that the state really began to push that number down, and by 2010, the number of traffic fatalities per year fell below 3,000. It remained below that threshold until 2013, when it crept just above that limit to 3,107 fatalities in the year.

Since then, the number has remained stable hovering in the 3,100s while showing a slight tendency to creep up. This is only natural. As traffic fatality numbers rise, officials become more aware of the problem and the need to fix it. A breaking point is reached (like in 2006 and 2007) and efforts are made to reduce the number. Once some goals are achieved, it is simply human nature to get lax and for the effect to fade a little bit.

2 dogs maul 12-year-old boy, who is left in serious condition

While the following story didn't happen in California, the threat posed by dogs knows no state borders. They can happen anywhere.

A 12-year-old boy in Michigan was riding his bike when he was attacked by two dogs. The dogs are St. Bernard mixes that were chained up in the front yard of a home where the boy was riding his bike. The dogs broke free of their chains and attacked the young boy, leaving him with over 250 puncture wounds all over his body. Little is known about the dog owner or any other circumstances tied to the dog attack, but the boy's father did say that his son was "black and blue from head to toe" as a result of the attack.

Three slip and falls in mere minutes caught on camera

Seven years ago, a young girl was walking through the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota when she slipped and fell. This happened in a food court at the facility. The entire incident was caught on camera. She suffered a knee injury that never healed appropriately, ultimately preventing her from participating in sports that she once enjoyed.

A clear liquid on the ground caused the slip and fall, and the now 18-year-old has sued the Mall of America for their negligence. But what is most interesting about this story is that the video doesn't end with just the girl falling down. In fact, two other people slip and fall at the exact location.

Injuries, fatalities on the rise for bikers and pedestrians

Pedestrians and bicyclists are two groups of people that are vulnerable out on the road. When cars collide with them, any pedestrian and/or bicyclist is likely to suffer terrible injuries. These injuries could change their lives forever, or leave them suffering and in immense pain for an extended period of time. And when this happens as a result of negligence on the part of a motor vehicle driver, then the legal consequences must reflect that.

Given all of this, you would rationally think that as we progress as people, things only get better. As such, road safety must be improving, right? Unfortunately, for bicyclists and pedestrians, it does not appear to be that way.

Reports: 90 million dogs in the US, 4.5 million bites per year

According to a survey performed by the American Pet Products Association found that there are roughly 90 million dogs owned in the United States. When you combine that number with a figure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, it is easy to see the potential problems that can occur as a result of dogs and dog owners. The highest rate for dog bites is for kids aged 5-9.

Many of these dog attacks that occur happen with dogs that the victims are familiar with. Here in California, we see the most dog bites in the country. The estimated number for California dog bite claims in 2016 is 1,934, dwarfing the projected 1,325 claims in Florida, the state with the second most dog bite claims.

Sidewalk accident leads to surgery, civil settlement

A woman sued the city of Santa Monica after she tripped and fell on a sidewalk. The incident occurred in March of 2015, and the city just recently approved a settlement to the tune of $48,000. The woman suffered a dislocated shoulder as a result of the fall, and the injury required surgery.

What was discovered over the course of this lawsuit is that the city of Santa Monica has marked some 3,000 sidewalks that need to be repaired, and yet they have yet to be addressed. The sidewalk in question in this case was one of the 3,000 that had been marked. There was a two-inch differential between slabs of concrete on the sidewalk where the woman fell.

Crash between semi truck, car leaves 1 dead

A fatal crash today on Interstate 680 in Fremont, California left one person dead and the police investigating the crash. It appears that the driver of a smaller car crashed into the back of a semi truck, causing the fatal circumstances that left one dead in the sedan. Few details were released about the crash, probably because the police have not concluded their investigation into the matter. Little else is known about the crash.

Fatal accidents like this are always tragic. When someone dies in a motor vehicle accident, the police report that summarizes the incident and assigns blame, if any is involved, is very important. The report can support a civil claim, and it can also be altered after the fact if new evidence comes to light.

For second time, man's dog attacks his mother

The source article for our post this week may not come from the Bay Area, but the dangerous circumstances involved apply to anyone, anywhere in the United States.

The story comes from Michigan, where a dog owner has been arrested after his dog viciously attacked his mother and her boyfriend. The 28-year-old says the incident isn't his fault because he wasn't home when the attack occurred. Nevertheless, his mother went to a crate that contained the dog and released the pit bull. The dog then attacked his mother and her boyfriend, dealing the 51-year-old boyfriend some serious injuries. The police had to use a stun gun to subdue the dog, which was later euthanized.

'Sick buildings,' safety concerns and premises liability

Slip and falls are common premises liability incidents that garner a lot of attention because the property manager or businesses involved in the case usually exhibits some form of negligence or recklessness. Usually that negligence or recklessness is shocking. But we bring this up not because of the often-shocking nature of slip and falls, but to note that despite the common nature of slip and falls, they actually aren't the only area of premises liability.

Another common issue that comes up under premises liability is the phenomenon of "sick buildings" -- structures that, for a variety of possible reasons, cause inhabitants or visitors to suffer respiratory problems, headaches and other detrimental medical conditions.

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