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

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Legal Representation in Petaluma Wrongful Death

Attorneys at Sette Law recognize that little in life is more devastating than a wrongful death. Our lawyers know the personal pain, shock and suffering of surviving family. Because California has a two-year window to file a lawsuit in wrongful death, attorneys work with families before the pain has healed. Of course, our Petaluma wrongful death lawyers are aware that financial compensation for losses never makes up for the death of a loved one. However, as injury and accident lawyers, it’s our experience that lifting financial burdens from the shoulders of survivors can facilitate moving forward.
A wrongful death involves careless and/or intentional actions, recklessness or negligence. Our Petaluma wrongful death lawyers point to medical malpractice, vehicle accidents and industrial accidents as major sources of legal actions in wrongful death. Our attorneys work to establish that our client is, and will continue, to experience emotional and financial hardship due to the loss of a loved one in a Petaluma wrongful death.

Our attorneys seek reimbursement for costs of funerals and for related medical expenses in the wrongful death. But lawyers also look ahead – to the loss of future wages once expected within the family. Just as important to our Petaluma wrongful death lawyers are long term emotional impacts such as loss of companionship, love and personal support caused by the wrongful death. Attorneys also consider another key factor – the negligence that led to the death. Punitive damages in a wrongful death give lawyers an opportunity to speak to the justified anger survivors often feel. Our Petaluma wrongful death attorneys say that family often seeks to protect others from a similar loss by publicly showing the defendant’s liability.

Our Petaluma accident attorneys point to cases that today illustrate this example. Wrongful death lawyers are representing families whose loved ones died in car crashes related to faulty Takata airbags. By holding car makers and Takata responsible for wrongful deaths, attorneys and survivors hope to save others from experiencing the same pain and loss. This legal drama is still unfolding as the companies defend themselves from legal actions.

Petaluma wrongful death lawyers also handle difficult cases involving medical malpractice – incidents in which the acts of physicians caused or contributed to a wrongful death.  Basic to this category of wrongful death is the attorney’s ability to show that a clear patient-doctor relationship existed. Further, we must show the doctor’s negligence caused the Petaluma wrongful death. Our attorneys explain that medical malpractice is a challenging and complex arena of law.

Petaluma wrongful death attorneys most often represent close family members who suffer financial and emotional harm related to a wrongful death. But, lawyers explain that unrelated individuals who experience loss of care or support may also file suit for a wrongful death. But, lawyers know that no matter who is left behind by a wrongful death, we must work with compassion and with an awareness that sudden death brings unimaginable pain to those left in its wake. Petaluma wrongful death attorneys set out on an emotional journey along with clients in each case we handle.

Petaluma Injury Lawyers Monitor GM Response to Recalls

Petaluma car accident lawyers watch with great concern as the number of deaths due to auto defects in GM cars continues to increase. As of Sept. 24, the number of attributed deaths reached 21, up from the initial count of 13. Sette’s Petaluma accident attorneys are also aware of 467 injury claims made against GM, including those for brain injuries, amputations, burns, loss of sight and spinal cord injuries. In Petaluma, our car accident lawyers anticipate these numbers will rise as more injured parties step forward.

More Recalls impacting drivers in Petaluma 
Personal injury attorneys express concern about the recent allegation that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may have been less than vigilant in calling attention to certain GM defects. Our Petaluma car accident lawyers, like drivers throughout America, rely on the NHTSA for accurate assessments of automobile models. A recent Congressional report says the watchdog agency knew about a problem with ignition switches in some GM models in 2007 but did not issue a public alert. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say an agency official did write a report to its Office of Defects Investigation but the ODI declined to pursue the matter. It was only when GM announced the defect late in 2013 that NHTSA publically affirmed the defect, alerting car owners in the nation and in Petaluma. Car accident attorneys at Sette Law believe that earlier notification by NTSHA officials could have prevented accidents and saved lives.

Yet another red flag for Petaluma personal injury attorneys is NHTSA’s 5-Star rating of the Chevy Cruze shortly before the model was recalled by GM because of faulty airbags manufactured by the Takata Corp. According to Petaluma car accident lawyers, airbags deployed with such force, they shot metal shrapnel into the car – in at least one case, causing the driver to become blind in one eye. Furthermore, the airbags burst and failed to protect vehicle occupants. Takata is one of the world’s largest makers of automobile airbags and our Petaluma injury lawyers advise Chevy Cruze owners to immediately take their cars to a GM dealer for repair.

With at least 39 million GM models recalled, our Petaluma car accident lawyers believe the NHTSA must step up and perform its public service. The agency has enjoyed the trust of the car buying public for 44 years and it’s often the first place families look for information about purchasing a car in Petaluma. But car accident lawyers and the public must now demand increased accountability, given these recent events. Our personal injury attorneys note that, in its defense, NHTSA officials said GM embarked on a campaign to minimize problems – going so far as ordering the word “defect” to be stricken from some reports to the NHTSA. Clearly, these allegations must be cleared up in the interest of safety and trust for drivers in Petaluma.

Car Accident Lawyers watch Settlement Decision
GM has created a settlement program estimated at $600 million or more. Petaluma injury attorneys at Sette Law say this compensation program is meant to address injuries and fatalities related to the recall of models having defective switches that can shut down a vehicle’s engine, preventing power steering from working and airbags from deploying. But, personal injury lawyers at Sette Law note that GM mounts strong defense against claims in cases across the U.S. and in Petaluma.

Car accident lawyers are following a 2010 case in which a young woman was killed in a Chevy Cobalt. The family settled with the company prior to the model’s defective airbag being disclosed. Just months later the still-grieving parents learned of the recall and asked a judge to set aside the court’s settlement. They felt it was important to make GM publicly responsible for the death of their daughter. The judge agreed and the family will be able to sue GM in court – affecting future cases, including those in Petaluma.

Car accident lawyers also point to a case in a 2006 collision that claimed two lives. Again, the crash was related to an airbag defect. Lawyers for GM accepted liability for the driver of the vehicle but said GM was not responsible for the death of the passenger in the back seat – where there was no airbag. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys find this approach is grossly unfair the family of these and other victims – and falls far short of inspiring public trust in the car maker’s motives.


Recalls may Play Role in Petaluma Car Accidents

Lawyers with Sette Law in Petaluma are closely monitoring the upsurge in recalls of automobiles over the past year.  The spotlight has been on GM’s recalls involving a variety of defects, according to our Petaluma personal injury attorneys. However, many of the problems have been traced to faulty airbags and that issue can be complicated by other mechanical and design problems. In Petaluma, our injury lawyers are also concerned about the recall of the Routan made by Volkswagen as well as Range Rover’s recall of five models spanning 2013-2014. Yet another recall by GM is the Chevy Cruze, with serious defects in airbag deployment.

In some cases, our Petaluma car accident lawyers point out, the issues involve other mechanisms that can cause airbags to malfunction. For example, Volkswagen’s Routan is plagued by ignition switch problems that are identified as the source of problems with brakes, airbags and power steering. In Petaluma our personal injury attorneys also point to GM’s recall of 1.8 million SUVs due to airbags that could fail to deploy if car owners don’t pay attention to an airbag warning light on the dashboard. SUVs are a very popular choice for families in Petaluma and injury attorneys are urge owners to get the repairs made immediately. If you purchased a GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Chevy Traverse or Buick Enclave in Petaluma, our car accident lawyers advise you to check GMs website for the years included in the recall.

 

Petaluma Injury Lawyers Note Reluctant Recall

In this particular recall, that began making headlines early this year, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys are particularly concerned about GMs reticence to launch a full recall earlier. The air bag problem had been known for many years but as late as March 13 of this year, the company launched a customer satisfaction campaign aimed at drivers in the U.S. and Petaluma. Our injury lawyers note this non-urgent campaign did not acknowledge the seriousness of the problem for car owners in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys know that such campaigns are more economical than recalls and are not done under the eye of watch dog government agencies.

According to data from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA), GM escalated the problem to full recall status the next day, March 14 – right after notifying the NHTSA of its “satisfaction campaign.” Our Petaluma injury attorneys suspect GMs reluctance to deal with serious, life threatening issues for so many years (since at least 2008), indicates that drivers involved in related accidents may not make the link between the car make and their experience. This, according to our Petaluma injury lawyers, in an unfortunate result of corporate inaction and a lack of accountability.

For years, GM had been handling the air bag issue with service bulletins, despite a significant rise in calls to the company’s Technical Assistance Center and increased buy-backs of the affected models in cities like Petaluma. Car accident lawyers are concerned that crash victims in these years may be unaware their accident was caused by a defect.

At Sette Law in Petaluma, injury attorneys believe in public accountability and responsibility. That it took an influx of new leadership at GM, plus congressional hearings and a national spotlight to spur the company to action is not encouraging to car owners in Petaluma. Our personal injury attorneys continue to follow the progression of cases involving victims of GM airbag crashes. We are confident that, had the company stepped forward with recalls of these serious defects years ago, countless accidents could have been prevented throughout the nation and in Petaluma. Our car accident lawyers hope this public scandal will serve as a lesson to car makers – life threatening conditions demand a swift and substantial response.