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

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Concussion Story on Big Screen in Petaluma

Attorneys at our personal injury Law firm take a special interest in a recent film about the impacts of head trauma. Our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys, of course, were already aware of the lifetime trauma caused by brain injuries. We’ve represented many clients as their personal injury lawyer in brain injury cases. However, our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys are gratified that the film “Concussion” is bringing this serious issue to public consciousness.

Making the popular film even more personal, our Petaluma personal injury lawyers believe, is that the pathologist behind the story is part of the Northern California community. Our personal injury attorneys say Dr. Bennet Omalu is currently teaching at UC Davis and pioneered the research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The film is sure to impact youth sports in Petaluma. Personal injury law attorneys know that young and developing brains are vulnerable, and we welcome this cinematic wake-up call for youth sports in Petaluma.

Personal injury attorneys believe one of the most valuable aspects of Dr. Omalu’s work is the finding that even minor concussions can lead to permanent brain injury. His work (with others) was done on the brains of football players who had died, according to Petaluma personal injury attorneys who add that, thus far, evidence can only be acquired from deceased players. This, our personal injury lawyers say, prevents early detection of CTE. The essence of the findings, personal injury attorneys explain, is that repeated concussions of any severity can cause cumulative damage. In fact, our Petaluma personal injury lawyers say studies show that up to 90 percent of concussions do not lead to loss of consciousness in players. But, personal injury attorneys add, even without being ‘knocked out’ repeated concussion can result in memory loss, contribute to Alzheimer’s and even Lou Gherig’s Disease. At least one additional study, our personal injury lawyers report, showed that brain scans of living players retired from football, showed clear damage. Unfortunately, our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys say, more studies and research must be done to prove these links, but initial findings have certainly gotten the attention of professional sports teams and also youth sports in Petaluma.

Personal injury law attorneys say that Dr. Omalu’s efforts to create awareness was very challenging. NFL officials paid little attention and, our personal injury lawyers add, attempted to discredit the work. Our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys say it took high-profile suicides of former players to finally jolt the NFL and sports world. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys hope that parents will also take the message seriously to protect youngsters engaged in youth sports in Petaluma.

Personal injury attorneys know the pathology of brain injury is complex. However, neuroscientists offer a basic explanation to parents: Any concussion may damage white matter in the brain. This white matter, our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys explain, is what helps to carry information throughout parts of the brain. Repeated jolts, especial at a young age when the brain is still developing, can cause permanent damage the brains of young athletes in Petaluma. Our personal injury lawyers say the experts report that this damage is not reversible. Of course, this explanation is highly simplified but, according to our personal injury attorneys, should put the families of young athletes on alert in Petaluma.

Personal injury law attorneys say that volunteer parent organizations across the U.S. are also monitoring findings about CTE.  One report covered 10 years and documented more than 3 million concussions, our Petaluma personal injury lawyers say. Particularly concerning, our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys add, is that 5 million happened to athletes in middle school. Furthermore, the study found that 33 percent of these injuries took place during practice – an alert for parents in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys know that figures like these demand action on behalf of sports leagues and concerned parents.

It’s also important to recognize that football is not the only sport in which concussion is an issue, according to our personal injury law attorneys. Head injury is significant in hockey as well as in soccer, and other sports in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys admit that, however, football is the most-high profile field that’s characterized by repeated blows to the head. Since research already indicates damage is cumulative, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys are very concerned about youth sports. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers know that most youth football coaches are protective about their athletes and work to prevent head trauma. But, our personal injury lawyers believe that across-the-board changes to youth leagues will help coaches and parents create a safer, active environment.

Many of our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys are also parents. We understand the numerous benefits of youth sports in Petaluma. Our personal injury lawyers trust that youth sports leagues will step up to the challenge of creating greater safety for young athletes in Petaluma. Our personal injury lawyers say that some leagues are making modifications to the rules of football and other contact sports. Yet another positive development, our personal injury lawyers say, is that makers of sports gear are improving helmet design.

Our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys are professionals who have personal contact with people who have suffered serious brain trauma in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys know the toll that brain injury takes on individuals and families. Most often the impacts last a lifetime, our personal injury lawyers explain. With the impact of the film “Concussion” our personal injury lawyers say there is a new sense of urgency. With the future of at stake for the children of Petaluma, our personal injury attorneys support communitywide action. The “minor” blows to the head during youth football practice in Petaluma, our personal injury lawyers say, must be treated as a major concern.

It’s not often that a Hollywood film can truly inspire change. Our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys are hopeful that the popularity of “Concussion” will, in fact, implement changes to America’s most popular sport and safeguard the future for young athletes in Petaluma. Our injury lawyers recommend this movie to any parent with kids on the football field.

Sound Safety Practices for Petaluma

Accident attorneys regularly represent people who have experienced severe accidents due to the negligence of others. Our Petaluma personal injury law attorneys are particularly concerned that car crash injuries appear to be on the rise. Safety officials, car accident attorneys report, say that a decline in car crash injuries after 2008 was likely due to the Recession. With the improved economy around the Bay Area and Petaluma, personal injury attorneys note that accident rates are up. Unfortunately, our accident attorneys say that drivers are repeating their bad habits on the roadways of Petaluma.

Our personal injury attorneys think the upcoming holiday season is a good time remind drivers of motoring practices that can save lives in Petaluma. Accident attorneys consult State Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) data for 2012 information about accidents in Petaluma. Our personal injury law attorneys report there were 242 fatal or injury car accidents. Our lawyers say the biggest cause was drunk drivers. Also at risk of death were bicyclists in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys looked at the ‘type of arrests’ listed by OTS in Petaluma. Car accident attorneys say that 261 DUI arrests were logged. This puts our community in a dubious place. Petaluma, personal injury law attorneys report, ranks 88th out of 102 similar cities for DUI arrests. Clearly, personal injury attorneys see a need to reinforce the dangers of driving and drinking in Petaluma. Car accident lawyers believe that drinking and driving is one of the most preventable accidents in Petaluma. 

Personal injury law attorneys at Sette Law say that many people are unaware that a free mobile app is available to support designated drivers in California and Petaluma. Car accident attorneys say the app was developed by OTS and features special offers to designated drivers. Restaurants and bars offer ‘deals’ on nonalcoholic drinks, according to our Petaluma car crash lawyers plus many other benefits; and the app has links to Uber, Lyft and Curb for drivers in Petaluma. Personal injury law attorneys say the app is called DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP), available for iOS and Android devices.

At Sette law, our personal injury law attorneys are also paying close attention to another escalating driving-under-the-influence problem - prescription drugs and marijuana use. And, our car accident attorneys worry that with the moves for legalization of marijuana, DUI dangers may increase in Petaluma. 

Personal injury attorneys point to distracted driving as another burgeoning threat to safety in Petaluma. Our accident attorneys believe that the state’s ban on texting and hand-held calls needs greater attention. A significant percentage of drivers admit they’ve been distracted due to smart phone use, despite tickets and fines. Personal injury law attorneys know that technology continues to offer more smart phone conveniences that will tempt drivers in Petaluma. Car accidents, attorneys say, will only increase so long as drivers continue to defy the law and common sense.

Our personal injury law attorneys say that some automobile technology innovations might contribute to distracted driving by making drivers less attentive in Petaluma. Our accident attorneys point to the self-braking systems already in some cars. Will drivers assume the technology makes driver-attention less necessary on roadways of Petaluma? Personal injury law attorneys know that such rapid innovation defies the ability of state traffic laws to keep pace. According to our Petaluma accident attorneys the real solution is for drivers to take their responsibilities seriously.

A Call for Attention to Accident Increase
Other Petaluma accidents, lawyers report, are also on the rise. Motorcycle accidents are up, as are bicycle and pedestrian accidents. This increase, say personal injury law attorneys, comes after a significant drop in car crash injuries from 2006 to 2009. Safety officials attribute that 36 percent decline, report car accident attorneys, to the mandatory use of seat belts, adoption of air bags and other measures in Petaluma.

Therefore, personal injury law attorneys believe the increase in accidents since 2010 deserves to be examined. As we previously mentioned, our Petaluma car accident attorneys are particularly concerned about the increase in DUI car crash injuries and deaths. With the growing threat of driving with a marijuana high and increased use of prescription drugs, our Petaluma personal injury lawyers worry this trend may continue, potentially becoming a crisis for California and Petaluma. Car accident attorneys at Sette Law urge policy makers to work with law enforcement to better enforce existing laws. In addition, our personal injury law attorneys wonder if new laws are needed to address the potential legalization of marijuana. Clearly, the increase in DUI accidents indicates a troubling trend, according to our car accident attorneys in Petaluma.

Our personal injury attorneys suggest the same is true of laws that govern distracted driving. As new technologies replace driver controls in Petaluma, car accident attorneys believe motorists may become even more distracted. Until the full implementation of driverless cars, our personal injury lawyers say that motorists need to have their full attention on the task of driving in Petaluma. Accident attorneys say driverless vehicles remain in the future, but other innovations are already available in Petaluma. Accident car attorneys say self-parking and automatic braking are just the beginning. Will drivers assume they can turn their attention to other tasks, our car accident attorneys wonder. When technology assumes what was once driver responsibility, will distracted driving become more prevalent in Petaluma? Personal injury law attorneys suspect there will be a period of adjustment before traffic safety policy catches up.

At Sette law in Petaluma, our personal injury attorneys know that, ultimately, drivers must take individual responsibility for safety on our roads. Defensive driving, say car accident lawyers, is always a good tactic on the streets and freeways of Petaluma. Our personal injury law attorneys work with many people who have been car accident victims. Attorneys help them get compensation when they’ve been injured due to the negligence of another driver in Petaluma.  Our car accident attorneys know, however, that our clients would much rather the accident never happened. And, in many cases, our personal injury attorneys note, the Petaluma car crash injuries would not have happened, had one or both drivers been completely focused on the job of driving safely.

Dealing with the Aftermath of a Serious Petaluma Dog Bite

Attorneys at Sette Law in Petaluma believe that dogs can bring endless joy to their human companions. Many of our Petaluma personal injury lawyers include their dogs as family members. But because of our legal profession, our injury attorneys also witness the harmful results of irresponsible dog owners when we represent someone who has suffered a serious Petaluma dog bite. Our attorneys decided to write this blog about the complexities of dog bite law because it’s a little understood aspect of Petaluma personal injury law.

Sette attorneys remember a few tragic cases that brought national attention to this issue. In fact, one incident took place not far from Petaluma when dog bites left a woman from San Francisco dead.  Across the nation, about 1000 people per day receive dog bites that require medical treatment. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers say that, although dog owners are usually responsible for the animal’s behavior, pet owners are also protected under the law. Petaluma dog bite attorneys explain that where and why a dog bite was inflicted become important elements in legal actions.

Shared Responsibilities for a Petaluma Dog Bite
When dog bites occur on private property, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say the owner of the animal may or may not be held liable for the injury. Lawyers may establish that the injured individual was, in fact, trespassing on the property of the dog owner in Petaluma. The personal injury attorney representing the dog owner can argue that in the act of trespassing, the injured plaintiff assumed responsibility for the associated risk. The Petaluma dog bite victim’s lawyer will have to counter the claim that the plaintiff was, at least in part, responsible for the dog bite. Personal injury attorneys say the same principle can hold true for a delivery person who knows that an aggressive canine is present but still chooses to enter the private property. He or she, our Petaluma dog bite lawyers say, could be deemed partly responsible for the attack.

However, Petaluma personal injury lawyers remind dog owners that they bear significant responsibility for public safety. In public venues, it’s the dog owner who is most often liable for the animal’s behavior, according to our dog bite lawyers. Particularly when an owner knows that a dog is capable of aggression, Petaluma dog bite attorneys say that the dog owner has an obligation to protect people from the potential harm of a dog bite. Lawyers suggest that owners of aggressive dogs employ measures such as posting notices or muzzling the animal. Still, a Petaluma dog bite attorney will have to adhere to common law statutes that include the need for the victim’s dog bite attorney to prove the dog’s owner failed to provide adequate public protection.

Petaluma personal injury lawyers add that yet another class of people may be immune from legal action in the event of a dog bite. Attorneys say that individuals employed by a kennel or dog-related service who is aware of the inherent risks of his or her job may not have cause to sue for a Petaluma dog bite injury.

Some Breeds More Closely Linked to Petaluma Dog Bites
Attorneys at Sette Law know that not all dogs of traditionally aggressive breeds will display dangerous behavior. However, national statistics dictate that people exercise caution around a handful of breeds we readily find in Petaluma. Dog bite attorneys quote one study that shows Rottweilers and Pit Bull breeds inflicted 74 percent of all dog bites that caused fatalities in the United States. In addition to these breeds, researchers listed mastiffs, Shar Peis and Boxers as among those most commonly associated with dog bites. Attorneys add that children are most often the victims of Petaluma dog bites (81 percent nationwide) and 76 percent of these attacks ended in death. However, Petaluma personal injury attorneys add that no one is immune, with one of fifty individuals vulnerable to a dog bite. Lawyers report that slightly more than nine percent of the country’s dogs are identified with bite injury or deaths. One nonprofit that tracks dog bite incidents reports that Rottweilers and Pit Bulls inflicted 74 percent of death-related injuries – a troubling statistic that should alarm families in Petaluma.

Dog Bite Attorneys Appeal to Pet Owners
Petaluma personal injury lawyers believe that all pet owners assume a serious responsibility to protect others in our community. Clearly, certain breeds of dogs demand enhanced attention to aggressive behavior that, through training and safety measures, may be mitigated. Our Petaluma dog bite attorneys say that owners who do not provide proper training and attention should know the legal risks they face are serious. At Sette Law, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys have worked with the victims of dog bites. We know the pain and trauma caused by a Petaluma dog bite can last for a lifetime. And, our personal injury lawyers know that irresponsible pet owners contribute greatly to an avoidable incident. Indeed, ownership of a dog requires caring for the animal’s physical needs as well as its behavioral inclinations.

Many of our Petaluma personal injury attorneys are dog owners. And, due to our exposure to dog bite injuries, are well aware of the role we play in molding the behavior of our canine friends. Dog bite lawyers also are aware that some people are thoughtless in their approach to dogs and contribute to the potential for a Petaluma dog bite. Attorneys say that public safety is a shared responsibility, but dog owners bear very significant liability when it comes to a Petaluma dog bite. Our lawyers know that dog bite cases can often be complex and lengthy. They can also be expensive and painful. All the more reason, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say, for both pet owners and the public to be aware of the risks and responsibilities of dog ownership.

Of course, our personal injury lawyers understand the significant benefits of having a dog in the family. We are aware of the many acts of bravery and loyalty exhibited by our canine companions in Petaluma. Dog bites thankfully are the exception and not the rule when it comes to dog behavior. Nonetheless, being educated about our responsibilities as pet owners only serves to honor the nobility of our “best friends.”

Sports and Petaluma Head Injury Threat

At Sette Law in Petaluma, our personal injury attorneys greatly appreciate the gentle climate that permits school-age children to enjoy spots throughout the year. However, along with access to youth sports comes an increase in the potential for head injury which our accident and injury attorneys say is now a national problem.  Over the last few years it’s become clear that concussions and head injuries in young athletes is an issue that demands immediate attention throughout the nation and in Petaluma.

As personal injury attorneys we must fully understand the physiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) so that we can support and help our clients in their recover. Consequently, we urge parents and coaches to learn about the prevention of head injury as youngsters participate in team sports in Petaluma. Our injury lawyers know that, unlike some injuries, head injuries are not always apparent and observable. If a young soccer player, for example, butts heads with another, there may be no apparent injury. Attorneys explain that the real damage could be internal, inside the skull. Jolting the soft brain tissue can cause bleeding inside the brain case and damage or swelling in neural pathways. Petaluma injury lawyers say that adults may not notice symptoms and players might be determined to ‘get back in the game.’ However, medical experts agree that any potential head injury must be taken seriously, particularly in children. Sette personal injury attorneys further say that repeated head injuries are now known to present a threat. The effect of concussions can be cumulative for young athletes in Petaluma.

Accident lawyers point out that head injuries can be different than some other physical injuries. Broken bones, lacerations and muscle tears can heal. Our injury and accident attorneys have seen accident victims heal and return to their jobs – or at least be able to earn a living. But traumatic brain injury can inflict debilitating effects on a person’s life – physical, emotional and mental changes. Brain research, carefully followed by our Petaluma personal injury attorneys, now reveals the extent to which TBI can alter a victim’s personality and physical abilities. And, our injury lawyers are aware that post-accident therapy is often long and minimally effective. We outline these unpleasant results as a warning to parents throughout Petaluma.

Our personal injury attorneys say that, when it comes to children and teenagers, the adults in their lives can’t be too careful. Sports such as baseball and soccer (and in other environments, hockey), hold abundant potential for players to be victims of head injury. Attorneys cite the Centers for Disease Control data that indicates reported brain concussions doubled between 2002 and 2012. Petaluma personal injury lawyers see this as “writing on the wall.” Measures must be taken to keep young athletes safer – particularly in high school football where 47 percent of concussions occur. Local parents must play a role in prevention because similar data likely applies to your players in Petaluma.

Injury attorneys report that increased awareness of head trauma in sports is inspiring a call for changes to the game itself and to the design of protective equipment. For example, some parents groups want a ban of helmet-to-helmet contact. Our sports accident lawyers point out that this kind of contact happens on the vulnerable top of the head. Helmets, our Petaluma injury lawyers agree, are a key component in youth football safety.

But not just any helmet. A 2012 study showed properly fitted helmets diminished the chances of loss of consciousness from concussion by 82 percent. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say that some of the spotlight has been on the popular Air Bladder Helmets that have been linked to an actual increase in brain injury. Our accident and injury lawyers say this may be due to the air bladders leaking and a lack of maintenance.

There is even more evidence that more vigilance is needed from coaches and parents in Petaluma: Our Injury attorneys reference a 2012 article that found players letting the air out of the bladders to make them more comfortable. Consequently, add our accident lawyers, the helmets may be too loose to provide adequate protection. Further, safety advocates say parents should check these helmets on a weekly basis.

Of course, helmets must be carefully sized and fitted. There are several references on the Internet outlining exact steps to make young football players safer in Petaluma. Personal injury attorneys at Sette Law also believe that greater attention should be paid to the dangers of repeated injury to the head. As stated before, mild concussions can have a cumulative effect that adds up to very serious injury. Lawyers emphasize that multiple jolts to the head are not uncommon. Nationally, almost one-third of young players said they experience two or more concussions within a season of play.

National statistics show that the biggest hike in brain injury is happening to kids in their middle school years. Petaluma injury attorneys suspect the same may be true for kids in local schools. With up to five million head injuries reported nationwide within a year, there is good reason for parents to be concerned about their child athletes in Petaluma.

Our injury attorneys deal with accidents on an almost daily basis. Many accidents, our injury lawyers know, are unavoidable. Some, however, can be prevented. Youth sports – and particularly football for kids, is an important arena for prevention of injuries to youngsters in Petaluma. Our accident and injury lawyers recommend that parents become actively involved in managing the safety of their children on the sports field. Coaches and school officials must align with parents to prevent sports-related head injury.

Attorneys at Sette Law have expertise in the arena of TBI and personal injury law. That’s because we have dealt with the devastating aftermath of brain injuries and, when the victim is child, our seasoned injury attorneys understand the pain felt by entire families. We would, in fact, be very pleased if our Petaluma accident attorneys (or any local lawyer) never had to represent another young client who faces a grim and challenging future because of a traumatic brain injury.

Cautionary Alert about Petaluma Car Accidents

Attorneys at Sette Law in Petaluma know that summer months bring an increase of traffic to our picturesque and interesting region. Unfortunately, more cars and visitors also means Petaluma car accidents increase, and our injury Lawyers want to help keep our community safe. In this blog we talk about some of the most common driving dangers and how you can be aware of behaviors that threaten car accidents.

Our accident attorneys know that, although a handful of major accidents make news headlines, most do not. But any our accident lawyers say that any accident can cause painful and costly injury. Attorneys at Sette Law in Petaluma interact with accident victims on an almost daily basis. And, although we are committed to helping our clients receive just compensation for accident injuries, our lawyers prefer prevention to post-crash, legal remedies. We believe that, with increased awareness by the good drivers of Petaluma, car accidents can be avoided. In that spirit, our accident and injury lawyers offer the following information about the state’s most prevalent causes of car accidents.

Attorneys agree that one of the most preventable accident threats is drunk driving. Since the summer months seem to encourage excessive partying, increased numbers of impaired drivers may be on the roads of Petaluma headed for accidents. Our lawyers report that in June a 22-year-old, alcohol impaired driver from Petaluma caused an accident, sending another driver to the hospital with major injury. Attorneys, however, say that Petaluma has additional risks to drunk driving at any time of day due to our association with the attractions of the Wine Country. Consequently, Sette’s Petaluma accident lawyers advise heightened awareness at any time of day. Observe erratic drivers and steer clear to avoid an accident.

Attorneys say that statewide, in 2013, law enforcement made 214,828 arrests for driving under the influence. Even with this astounding record of arrests, thousands of people are killed every year in California in DUI accidents. Of course, our Petaluma injury attorneys know the best way to prevent drunk driving deaths and injuries is for people to show restraint and moderation if they drink and drive. Unfortunately, the record shows that impaired judgment often rules and at the end of the road there’s a serious DUI accident. Attorneys at Sette Law urge Petaluma residents to be hyper aware of the enhanced allure of our region for people who drive here to enjoy wine tasting.

Our Petaluma accident attorneys also caution residents about the risks of distracted driving. Even though we live in a community with a “laid-back” reputation, we are not immune from the nationwide trend of being distracted by cell phones with calls, texts and alerts. Distracted driving causes tragic accidents and lawyers increasingly encounter victims of this relatively new accident threat. Our attorneys learned that in April of this year, there were 57,000 violations written for distracted driving in California. Each one of those events could have led to a serious accident. Our lawyers also know that research by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that more than 50 percent of motorists admitted they had made a driving mistake while paying attention to their cell phone. Any one of those incidents could have led to a serious injury accident.

Lawyers reference an accident in the Central Valley in which a young man, allegedly checking a text on his cell phone, swerved into a bicycle lane. He hit a father and son. The dad, a recent immigrant to the U.S. was killed and his 8-year old son suffered critical injury. Our lawyers know that, as tragic and sad as this story is, it won’t stop the allure of cell phones – anytime, anywhere. Our Petaluma accident and injury attorneys suggest that drivers observe other drivers and note behavior that might suggest distracted driving that threatens an accident. Attorneys point out that a distracted driving accident can happen at any time of day.

Unfortunately, national statistics show that youth is associated with many car accidents. Attorneys tap data from insurance industry studies that show many drivers who run red lights are young. They tend to drive faster and, consequently, their heightened stop light violation can lead to more severe car accidents, attorneys add. The industry study additionally noted that 22 percent of all traffic accidents happen at intersections – a significant risk that should serve as a cautionary warning to motorists. Our injury lawyers also know that young drivers are statistically more likely, in general, to be involved in a car accident.

Petaluma injury attorneys say that driver fatigue is another leading cause of car accidents. Lawyers were alarmed to learn that a national study found that more than 35 percent of drivers said they had “drifted off” while driving a vehicle. The highest risk of encountering a fatigued driver is between 4 p.m. and dawn. In Petaluma, our injury lawyers say, this risk could be greatest on our freeways and rural highways that may encourage high speed driving that, couple with driver fatigue, could cause a very serious accident.

Injury attorneys in Petaluma observe that the summer of 2015 has already seen many car accidents. Our Lawyers report that young man was killed on Old Adobe Road, two more were killed in a head-on crash on Hwy 121 and many were injured in these and other Petaluma accidents. Recently, attorneys filed lawsuits over an earlier accident in which a mobile pizza oven broke away from its hitch, killing one and injuring others.

It’s clear to our Petaluma accident attorneys that drivers must be defensive on roadways because accidents can happen at any time, and from many causes. Although we, like other responsible motorists, would like reckless drivers to mend their ways, our accident and injury lawyers know that each of us is best served by increased vigilance and caution while behind the wheel. Car accidents, our attorneys know, can bring devastating financial and medical harm to good drivers. We represent the innocent victims as personal injury attorneys as they attempt to piece together their broken lives. As Petaluma accident attorneys and members of the Petaluma community we urge all drivers to be aware, responsible and consistently cautious.

Petaluma Attorneys Delve into Premises Liability and Balcony Collapse

Petaluma personal injury attorneys at Sette Law know that negligence on the part of some property owners can inflict severe hardship when an oversight causes a painful and costly injury. Lawyers, unfortunately, also encounter negligence cases in which there is a wrongful death.

Our attorneys want to outline some key elements of premises liability to help readers understand this complicated arena of law which was recently highlighted by a tragic accident in Berkeley where six young people died and seven other sustained injuries after a 4th floor balcony collapsed. Our Petaluma personal injury and wrongful death attorneys anticipate premises liability actions will be lodged given the initial findings by building inspectors. In mid-June, our accident lawyers also learned that criminal negligence may lead to manslaughter charges.

As an illustration of how complex this kind of liability is, our personal injury lawyers point out that Alameda County prosecutors may have many potential targets since building inspectors quickly discovered structural flaws that almost certainly contributed to the tragic accident. Attorneys in Petaluma explain that architectural and building problems could potentially be traced to a number of sources such as building owners, management, contractors and/or subcontractors. In fact, our personal injury lawyers say Alameda County's top prosecutor declined to be specific about the targets of her investigation, such as whether it includes the people and businesses who built, owned, managed or maintained the apartment complex. Our injury and wrongful death lawyers say that responsibility may be shared in the event of legal actions.

The Berkeley accident, attorneys say, is one example of premises liability and, as an extreme, it played out across the national (and international) press. In Petaluma, our personal injury attorneys ordinarily deal with liability cases that never rise to this level of public awareness. But, our accident lawyers are well aware of the pain, suffering and costs that individuals suffer when irresponsible property owners allow conditions that lead to death or injury. Our attorneys add that tragic accidents such as the balcony collapse highlight the subject of premises liability and may serve to prevent future wrongful death and personal injury. Experience lawyers know that high profile news stories can, indeed, impact behavior while the liability cases we regularly work will seldom have such widespread influence. Our Petaluma personal injury and wrongful death attorneys will monitor the developments with the hope that the balcony collapse will serve as a lesson that will prevent future accidents, save lives and prevent injury.

Accident attorneys know that most accident victims know little or nothing about premises liability. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers understand this is entirely natural. However, when it comes to property owners, our accident attorneys have higher expectations. The repercussions of negligence and liability are often severe and individuals should be educated about their legal responsibilities as property owners in Petaluma.

Personal injury lawyers at Sette law advise property owners to be well acquainted with the concept of ‘duty of care.’ Our accident attorneys know this is the underlying concept that will apply to any claim of premises liability that leads to a personal injury. Attorneys explain this is a legal requirement that creates the expectation that individuals exhibit a standard of reasonable care when creating conditions that could potentially lead to harm. For example, our Petaluma injury attorneys refer to a well-known 2001 decision in Florida in which property owners failed to provide adequate security at an apartment complex. The court awarded the victim of a brutal kidnapping and shooting $15.7 million. In this case, the court showed that owners did not demonstrate a duty of care, allowing a dangerous environment that led to a life-threatening injury. Our attorneys hasten to add that proof of such a breech is not simple to reach but the financial consequences can be ruinous to property owners.

There are many kinds of negligence issues associated with premises liability, according Petaluma wrongful death and property lawyers. Among the most commonly recognized is the ‘slip and fall,’ when, say, a patron in a supermarket steps on spilled water, falls and receives a serious injury. But attorneys say that many other environments present similar dangers to the public and responsibilities for property owners. Petaluma accident lawyers deal with diverse liability cases from backyard trampolines to concert venues where conditions may put patrons at risk of injury. Lawyers know that none of these examples is necessarily ‘simple’ in nature. For example, the user of a trampoline might be solely responsible for an accident that led to injury. Or, lawyers explain, it might be the trampoline maker, the owner or even another jumper on the recreational device. Petaluma personal injury attorneys know that determining the responsible party is key to recovering financial damages for the injury. Lawyers for a plaintiff will not be able to win damages if the incorrect responsible party is named.

Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers further explain that determining who is at fault impacts the type of lawsuit filed over the trampoline injury. Lawyers may file a product liability claim against a manufacturer, a negligence claim against a fellow user of the trampoline, or a premises liability action if the owner is found to be responsible for the injury.

Our attorneys offer this deceptively simple example to illustrate the many decision points and avenues a legal case can travel. And, since premises liability includes countless environments and events, our Petaluma accident lawyers must have, not only broad-based knowledge of existing cases, but also specific tactics to steer a case to the most successful path recovery of financial damages due to costly injury.

Attorneys at Sette Law encourage all property owners to become better educated about the responsibilities they bear. We suggest that homeowners delve deeply into their home insurance policies to know their liability for wrongful death or injury, and lawyers trust that all business owners want to know the full extent of potential liability for accidents.  As attorneys we have daily contact with the nuances of premises liability and still, we encounter new situations that require us to dive into research and develop unique solutions to help our Petaluma personal injury clients. Attorneys at Sette Law support safe environments and informed clients.

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 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.

Car Owners risk Liability in Petaluma Accidents

Personal injury lawyers must specialize in liability law while also having broad general knowledge of law for clients in Petaluma. Our accident attorneys at Sette Law know that liability can apply over a wide spectrum of circumstances but that specific liability principles will apply in most cases. And, that liability can extend beyond the actual driver in the car accident.

Essentially, Petaluma personal injury attorneys are tasked with showing that a defendant bears responsibility for acting – or not acting – in a manner that resulted in harm to the defendant. If this principle is valid, Petaluma injury lawyers can justifiably ask for compensation on behalf of the defendant. Although this legal tenet may sound simple, our personal injury attorneys know that proving liability is often a high bar to reach and requires keen knowledge of the legal process and applicable precedents for our clients in Petaluma.

Personal injury lawyers will seek to establish certain facts within liability and accident law. Fundamental to the argument is a principle known as “The duty to Act.” Accident and injury lawyers seek to show that a plaintiff’s injuries directly resulted from the defendant’s failure to fulfill his or her duty in the Petaluma case. Personal injury attorneys, for example, may demonstrate that a defendant was driving at a very high rate of speed that resulted in a crash causing serious injury to our client in Petaluma. Injury lawyers for the defendant, conversely, will look for evidence the driver was not speeding – or that the plaintiff, in fact, failed to exercise duty of care.

While Petaluma accident attorneys compile evidence of a defendant’s liability, we may also look beyond the individual behind the wheel. For instance, we may discover the defendant was working – driving on behalf of an employer at the time of the accident in Petaluma. An injury lawyer then may choose to pursue ‘vicarious liability’ and include the employer in the lawsuit to recover losses. Often, personal injury lawyers ask a jury to consider shared responsibility for duty of care and to make a determination about the percentage of liability shared by both employer and driver in the Petaluma accident. Our attorneys explain that defendants can’t recover total damages from both parties but that percentages of liability will be determined.

Shared liability, however, is not assured according to our personal injury attorneys. If the driver caused the accident outside of working hours and was driving without permission of the employer, the employer would likely not be held liable for the accident in Petaluma.

Personal injury attorneys say that other individuals may also share liability for drivers who cause accidents in Petaluma. Lawyers explain that parents who allow reckless, inexperienced or unlicensed children to drive their vehicles can be held liable for an accident – just as can vehicle owners who loan cars to friends who subsequently have an accident. Injury attorneys can employ the principle of Negligent Entrustment in such cases.

Petaluma personal injury attorneys advise the car owners to be aware of these potential liability risks when letting others drive their vehicles. There’s a lot to lose!

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.