Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
Personal Injury Attorney
Serving The Petaluma California Region

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Delights and Dangers of Summer in Petaluma

Attorneys at Sette Law fully appreciate how our niche of Northern California beckons to tourists. But along with the increased traffic comes heightened risk of Petaluma automobile accidents. Our injury lawyers want to provide some information that’s intended to help our local families remain safe from a traffic death or injury.

Our attorneys are (sometimes painfully) aware of the sudden and costly shock that often accompanies a serious car accident. Our lawyers also know that the summer season calls an increased number of visitors to our beautiful region, drivers unfamiliar with the winding, rural roads that surround Petaluma. An accident, our attorneys observe, can happen anywhere, including on our peaceful city streets and country byways. And, whether it’s a slow speed crash or high speed on the 101, most people involved never anticipated a car accident.

Lawyers focused personal injury and accident cases know that many car crashes are preventable. A prime example, our injury lawyers say, is drinking and driving in Petaluma. Accident attorneys report that, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), DUI fatalities rose this year over last year and represent 28.9 percent of the state’s traffic deaths. This news is particularly concerning to our Petaluma accident lawyers because California is already the second ranked state (just behind Texas) for alcohol related deaths due to a car accident. Attorneys say that Alcoholalert.com attributes 34 percent of the state’s traffic related deaths to DUI drivers. This high number puts our personal injury attorneys on high alert, particularly since wine tasting attracts so many visitors to the Wine County and Petaluma.

Accident lawyers, however, know that local drivers add to the grim DUI statistics. In June of 2014 a drunk driver from our city killed a young mother and seriously injured her 8-year-old daughter. Our Petaluma injury lawyers say the driver was found guilty and sentenced to a five year prison term. And this June, another Petaluma man was arrested for an alleged DUI, sending the driver he hit to Queen of the Valley hospital with injuries due to the accident. Our attorneys know that drunk driving is a preventable. Accident lawyers say that options are available to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Of course, car crashes also happen because of distracted driving, yet another source of preventable accidents, according to our Petaluma personal injury attorneys. Who has not seen a motorist driving fast and chatting on his or her hand-held cell phone in Petaluma? Lawyers, of course, know this practice is illegal. Nonetheless, it’s all too common. Yet another growing and dangerous distraction is texting. Just a split second of looking at a phone screen can cause a potentially deadly car accident. Injury attorneys are frustrated by the lack of adherence to traffic laws that are simple to follow, yet so widely ignored. We know that, in retrospect, someone who caused a car crash due to distracted driving quickly realizes that no text or phone call is worth a car accident.

Injury lawyers deal with the painful aftermath of car crashes, whether from a preventable cause or sheer accident. Attorneys represent people who seek compensation for losses because of physical injury and attendant financial losses suffered because of a car accident. Our lawyers must establish four conditions to show a court that a driver’s “Negligence” caused our plaintiff’s accident injury. Lawyers explain that the principles of harm, breach, duty and causation are necessary elements in Negligence.

Let’s briefly look at each item that contributes to negligence in a car accident. Our attorneys define “harm” as injury that happened directly because of the accident; lawyers define “breach” as a failure of the potential defendant to act on the legal obligation of a driver; our injury attorneys say that duty includes the mandate that drivers follow traffic regulations and laws, and, finally, our Petaluma accident lawyers add that causation means a direct link between the accident and the injury. For a personal injury attorney to represent a car crash victim in court and fight for compensation for losses incurred due to the accident, all of these conditions must be verified.

Of course, once in a court of law, the defendant’s accident lawyer will work to protect his or her client. That means our plaintiff’s accident attorney must be confident about the details of the incident and often be able to call on expert witnesses to testify. For example, the personal injury attorney for the defense may claim that our plaintiff’s injury was pre-existing and caused by the car accident. Our injury lawyer may call, say, a physician to testify to the court why our client’s injury is due to the ‘negligence’ of the defendant – a ‘harm’ directly inflicted by the accident. Our attorney may be able to demonstrate there was a ‘breach’ because, for example, the defendant’s blood alcohol level was .08 at the scene of the accident. The attorney for our plaintiff might also counter that the defendant didn’t fulfill his ‘duty’ as a motorist because he was, say, speeding at the time of the Petaluma accident. Finally, our lawyer will then demonstrate the clear link of accident to injury and establish ‘causation.’

After an Accident in Petaluma
Personal injury lawyers at Sette Law counsel all car crash victims to follow some simple rules that can protect them after a Petaluma car accident. Attorneys urge all involved to get medical examination and treatment. Not only does this practice safeguard health, it also can protect people should their incident come to trial. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers know that a defendant’s lawyer can allege an injury was pre-existing or happened after the accident. Our injury lawyers for the plaintiff trying to recover losses, is better supported if a medical report is available.

In addition, Petaluma accident attorneys suggest that accident victims keep verbal communication to a minimum, sharing only basic information such as contact information for insurance companies. Engaging in conversation or argument, according to our injury lawyers, can lead to problems later in court as we seek compensation for losses from the car accident.

Our attorneys in Petaluma are hoping for safe motoring for members of our community through increased awareness of the dangers of the road as summer is upon us.

Safeguard Pedestrian Safety in Petaluma

Personal injury attorneys at Sette Law appreciate nature’s call to enjoy the charming streets and byways of Petaluma. Our accident lawyers, however, are also aware of the grave and sometimes deadly results of a Petaluma pedestrian accident. Our attorneys deal directly with injured people and, sadly, with family members who have lost a loved one in a tragic pedestrian accident. Lawyers, like others close to profound personal loss, seek to keep our neighbors and visitors safe while enjoying the natural beauty that abounds in Petaluma.

Our accident attorneys say one of the allures of our region in Northern California is the near-year around temperate climate that makes Petaluma a walkers dream. However, a pedestrian accident forces injury attorneys to deal with a nightmare. Fortunately, our local area has a relatively low incidence of vehicle and pedestrian accidents our attorneys point out. All the more reason for people to remain vigilant and strive to maintain that good record!

National Figures Show Dangers of Pedestrian Accident

Attorneys look at data from the CDC for national numbers. Shockingly, in 2012, the Center reports that every two hours of the day, one pedestrian is killed and every seven minutes someone is injured in a pedestrian accident. Our attorneys say this risk is 1.5 higher to pedestrians than it is to people in cars. Fortunately, the statistics are quite different for people in Petaluma. Our personal injury lawyers speculate that this disparity may be due, in part, to street and roadway configuration in Petaluma. Local attorneys know that our streets and many rural roads are relatively narrow and not conducive to speeding traffic, unlike those in many big cities where roadways are very wide and constructed for automobile traffic rather than for pedestrians.

Accident attorneys point out that a survey done by the CDC  shows that that 20% of deaths and accidents involved pedestrians age 65 and over. Petaluma personal injury lawyers say streets in urban and suburban areas are often significantly wider, sometimes making it difficult for older people and individuals with disabilities to safely cross streets. Petaluma injury lawyers say that National Safety Council data indicates 85 percent of pedestrian injury accidents take place in urban, verses rural, environments.

Children are also vulnerable to pedestrian accidents. Our attorneys say that accidents involving children are the most trying and emotional of cases they must handle. We are thankful that safety conditions appear to be better in Petaluma. Accident lawyers know that children between five and 15 years of age represent 20 percent of deaths due to a pedestrian accident. Our attorneys recommend that, despite our area’s comparatively strong safety record, drivers remain vigilant about children in the city of Petaluma.

Personal injury lawyers add that our city’s walkable nature does not alter the third highest risk  - drinking and driving. Our injury attorneys are aware of the significant record of accidents caused by persons driving – or walking  -  under the influence of alcohol. Again, we draw upon studies done by the CDC that show 48 percent of accidents resulting in deaths were related to alcohol consumption. Our Petaluma accident lawyers say 34 percent of pedestrians died and 14 percent of DUI motorists were fatalities. Realistically, our personal injury attorneys believe similar figures would apply to the community of Petaluma.

Injury lawyers know Pedestrians are vulnerable in any Petaluma accident. Attorneys say that pedestrians routinely receive the worst injuries in an accident. No matter what speed a car is traveling its weight and thrust (even at 10 mph) can be a deadly weapon against a pedestrian. Our personal injury lawyers know of low speed accidents that have disabled pedestrian victims for life. While proud of our community’s pedestrian safety record, Petaluma accident attorneys urge drivers to be consciously aware of walkers and children playing in neighborhoods.

Pedestrians May Share Responsibility for a Petaluma Accident
Attorneys in California must work within state statutes that specify “negligence” will be related to fault in court.  For example, if a pedestrian darted out into the road from a line of parked cars and was hit by a driver, the pedestrian might bear some responsibility for the accident. Our injury lawyers explain this is related to the concept of “reasonable standard of care.” A pedestrian demonstrating reasonable care would not dash out into moving traffic and, in doing so, may be assessed some responsibility for the accident. Attorneys say this declaration can affect the amount of compensation the injured pedestrian might receive from the driver’s insurance carrier. Our Petaluma accident lawyers explain that a court will determine the percentage of liability for both driver and pedestrian.

Of course, our injury attorneys advise motorists to be hyper-aware of pedestrians in their immediate environment. And the definition of ‘pedestrian’ should be pretty wide, our accident lawyers add. Think kids on skate boards or roller blades, disabled people in motorized chairs, children playing ball. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys know that sometimes the actions of pedestrians can lead to an accident, but the sheer power of a vehicle to cause harm puts extra onus on drivers.
Finally, our Petaluma accident lawyers share some basic advice for people involved in an accident. Always call for medical help, even if you think injuries are not severe. Injury lawyers know that, in court, the failure of a plaintiff to seek immediate medical attention can be used by a defendant’s accident attorney in court. He or she might claim that no injury happened due to the pedestrian accident. The Lawyer for the plaintiff will have to explain why the injured party didn’t call for medical support, making a case even more challenging for a Petaluma accident lawyer.

Indeed, adjudicating the law can be very complicated, even for seasoned personal injury attorneys. That’s why our Petaluma accident lawyers want to educate our community about public safety and also about issues they may face in court of law. While pleased and proud that our community has a good record of safety regarding Petaluma pedestrian accidents, attorneys at Sette Law believe that we all benefit from working together.