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

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Nothing Simple about Petaluma Car accidents

Attorneys at Sette Law in know that proving liability in a car accident is no easy task. Car accident law is more complicated than it might first appear – even though people injured in an accident may be certain of the other driver’s negligence, according to our Petaluma personal injury attorneys. States generally govern accident law which is fairly consistent across the nation, including in Petaluma. Car accident attorneys are required to present evidence relevant to a set of four principles we’ll outline here.

The first is Cause, meaning your Petaluma personal injury lawyer must prove to the court that the car accident was directly responsible for injuries received in Petaluma. An Accident attorney representing the defendant may allege the injury is unrelated to the car crash. The plaintiff’s personal injury attorney can present medical evidence and expert testimony to support the victim’s case. Conversely, the Petaluma injury lawyer for the defendant could do the same. Consequently, it makes good sense for accident victims to engage a Petaluma car accident lawyer, rather than face the opposition’s lawyer in a court of law.

Your Petaluma injury lawyer will also seek to prove a Breach has been committed by the defendant. This means the other driver violated a law or acted irresponsibly - for example a plaintiff’s accident attorney may be able to prove the defendant was texting or talking on a cell phone at the time of the Petaluma car accident. Your attorney will carefully examine police reports and any evidence from you or witnesses to the accident in Petaluma. A personal injury lawyer may find the defendant had been driving under the influence or speeding – any number of negligent behaviors that may have contributed to your car accident.
Your attorney also has the job of proving that harm was done to you in the car accident. The lawyer for the defendant may allege you were not injured or an injury you have is unrelated to the car accident. Your attorney will establish facts for the court to prove that harm was done to you directly because of the Petaluma car accident.

Your lawyer essentially needs to highlight facts that establish the defendant was not in accordance with the last principle of Duty. This principle is fundamental to car accident law and dictates that it’s the responsibility of all motorists to drive safely and heed traffic laws. Your Petaluma injury attorney will highlight behavior such as speeding, distracted driving, intoxication and other behaviors that indicate the defendant violated his or her Duty, leading to the Petaluma car accident. Lawyers will access evidence, witness testimony and law enforcement data to demonstrate the defendant’s lack of performance of Duty.

Our Petaluma accident attorneys point out that victims can be a big help in supporting their case in court. Capturing evidence with photos or video at the scene of the car accident helps lawyers build your case. Cell phones make it easy to do this! And, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys urge people to keep their wits about them after a car accident. Our lawyers say that remaining calm and quiet is the best approach in the aftermath of a crash. Words said in anger or apologies made can come back to haunt victims after a car accident, leaving attorneys with a problem later in court.

Petaluma Personal Injury Attorneys Talk Shop

Legal history in the United States speaks profoundly to the important work done by personal injury lawyers. Yes, our Petaluma injury lawyers are aware the legal specialty is the subject of ‘lawyer’ jokes and some derision, but in reality personal injury attorneys have been responsible for protecting untold thousands of people from harm. Our Petaluma injury lawyers at Sette Law are proud to be part of a practice that’s led to major changes on behalf of the general public, classes of plaintiffs and individuals who have been harmed because of negligence.

When people attempt to stand up to large corporate entities they often face a bank of injury attorneys ready to defend their clients at any cost. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers know this can be a frightening and sometimes futile quest. The nuances of personal injury law are many – and there is no reason why the average person should understand the processes and strategies of lawsuits like our Petaluma personal injury attorneys do, after years of education and professional practice.

In the United States there are a few cases that make national headlines after personal injury attorneys won landmark cases against strong, well-funded opponents. Our Petaluma injury lawyers say that the 1980s launched decades of action against the makers of breast implants. Injury attorneys presented evidence that the materials used by Dow Corning in their silicone implants leaked, causing a range of diseases, including cancer. Launched in 1984, the class action suit produced a multibillion dollar settlement in 1998, protecting women across the nation and in Petaluma.

Personal injury lawyers also drove a lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that was later made into a film starring Julia Roberts. The plaintiff in the real case was Erin Brockovich who won that case on behalf of communities impacted by the company’s practice of dumping chromium into well water. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers report that Brockovich did not stop with PG&E but went on to file other personal injury lawsuits involving companies whose negligence harmed significant numbers of people.   
For each of these high profile cases there are thousands of others that bring compensation and justice to people injured in the U.S. and in Petaluma. As personal injury lawyers at Sette law we take pride in our ability to help people recoup losses suffered because of the negligence of others.

Riders Lose Most in Petaluma Motorcycle Accidents

Attorneys at Sette Law understand the attraction of riding motorcycles – our temperate climate combined with natural beauty and ease of commuting in traffic! However, as Petaluma motorcycle accidents lawyers, we are very aware of the inherent dangers of riding bikes for fun and for transportation in Petaluma.

Our personal injury attorneys collect data compiled by state and national entities that found a 175% increase in fatalities between 1998 and 2008. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that motorcycle riders have a 26% increased chance of death per miles traveled than those riding in cars. Petaluma motorcycle accident lawyers are also aware that there is a perception that the motorcyclist is usually at fault in motorcycle accidents. As with many assumptions, our Petaluma injury attorneys know this perception is unfair and often erroneous. But, based on statistics, it’s clear that motorcyclists must exercise extreme caution when riding on the streets and freeways of Petaluma.

Our motorcycle accident lawyers know that even minor lapses of attention put riders in danger. There is small margin for error when the rider is so vulnerable. And, according to our motorcycle accident attorneys, the OTS (California Office of Traffic safety) has pinpointed the riskiest behavior of riders. Speeding tops the list of causes in accidents along with a motorcyclist making improper turns or driving under the influence. Naturally, the same behaviors lead to car accidents as well in Petaluma. But, motorcycle accident lawyers remind riders that they are at far greater risk of death than are occupants of cars. The NHTSA has numbers to back up this statement for riders in Petaluma. Motorcycle accidents in 2006 resulted in 72.34% deaths out of 100,000 accidents nationwide. Compare that to 13.10% fatalities in car crashes over the same period.  In 2012, the NHTSA reported that motorcycle riders were 26 times more apt to die in a crash than were the occupants of a car, per vehicle miles traveled.

Education is Key to Safety in Petaluma

Our motorcycle accident lawyers find statistics like the aforementioned, shocking. However, we know that simple changes to riding habits can save lives in Petaluma. Motorcycle accidents can be avoided through education and enhanced safety practices. The California Highway Patrol sponsors a very effective program that teaches riding skills to lower the danger of Petaluma motorcycle accidents. Attorneys at Sette Law explain that the California Motorcyclist Safety Program also results in a certificate that waives the requirement for riders to pass a driving exam at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Petaluma.

Personal injury attorneys at Sette feel it’s particularly important for older motorcyclists to practice consistent safety habits. The NHTSA reports that 56% of fatalities in the U.S. were suffered by riders over the age of 40. The stats likely apply to as well to riders in Petaluma. Motorcycle accident lawyers point out that this age group also experienced more severe injuries. Brown University searched for the factors behind older riders facing higher threat of injury and death nationwide and in Petaluma motorcycle accidents. Our lawyers believe the Brown findings should be taken seriously by motorcyclists over the age of forty who favor large motorcycles (think Harleys). Big machines like these are harder to control and prone to roll-over in a motorcycle accident.

But personal injury lawyers say that young riders have their own set of challenges. Inexperienced riders often favor the light, fast and powerful motorcycles in Petaluma. Motorcycle accidents, attorneys say, are more severe at high speeds that can be quickly reached on sports-model bikes. The data supports this statement and applies to Petaluma motorcycle accidents. Our lawyers say that risk of a crash is four times greater on a sports bike than it is on conventional motorcycles in Petaluma.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers support Safety Measures in Petaluma

Motorcycle riders can enhance their safety by adhering to proven safe-riding practices. Our Petaluma injury attorneys believe these safety tips are highly effective and easy for riders to adopt in Petaluma.

Motorcycle accident lawyers say first, always be aware that one of the most common motorcycle accidents is caused by cars making unplanned turns in front of motorcycle riders in Petaluma. Motorcycle accident lawyers say this reality should be ever-present in the minds of motorcyclists. The same is true of cars changing lanes on roadways in Petaluma. Injury attorneys explain that most automobile drivers are looking at other cars, not anticipating the smaller bikes as part of the traffic flow. A survival skill for motorcyclists is awareness – awareness of blind spots for motorists. According to Petaluma motorcycle accident lawyers, riders should get out of blind spots as soon as feasible. When a rider can see the eyes of a motorist in the car’s mirror, the motorist can also see the rider.

As elsewhere across the U.S., wearing a quality motorcycle helmet can protect the rider from brain injury in a motorcycle accident. Our lawyers know that a rider without a helmet has a 40% greater risk of dying from a brain injury in a Petaluma motorcycle accident. Our lawyers, of course, are aware that California law requires helmets – but the quality of the protective helmet can vary. Nationwide, it’s estimated that riders wearing proper helmets have 37% less chance of dying in a motorcycle accident in Petaluma. And, the temptation to ride sans helmet outside of the Golden State should be resisted – helmets save lives whether in Reno, Nevada or Petaluma.

Motorcycle accident lawyers support safety through education and good riding practices. But when Petaluma motorcycle accidents happen, lawyers at Sette Law help injured riders get compensation for injuries they’ve suffered due to no fault of their own. Consequently, it’s important to establish the details of any Petaluma motorcycle accident. Our attorneys tap police reports, witnesses and recall of the individual involved in a motorcycle accident. Our lawyers determine liability and then support the victim through a legal process that is often complex and requires legal expertise.

Petaluma Injury Attorneys Advocate for Duty of Care

An accident can sideline life for any individual in Petaluma. Personal injury lawyers can help people recover financially from an accident due to negligence. At Settle Law in Petaluma our injury attorneys are specialists in this niche of law that calls for us to follow relevant cases across the nation to help our clients in Petaluma.

Personal injury lawyers must be prepared to handle a wide range of cases with one important aspect in common: clients must have suffered an injury that was caused by negligence. As we practice this area of litigation, our Petaluma injury lawyers expect each case to be unique yet fall within the legal framework of tort law.

Our clients come to us having suffered financial losses due to the neglect of others – an individual, a company or institution – that’s caused harm to our client in Petaluma. Personal injury lawyers consider many aspects of harm, from financial to medical and emotional. There is public responsibility that requires all parties to adhere to Duty of Care – a legal principle in tort law that calls for attention to safety for all people in Petaluma. Injury attorneys explain the Duty of Care traces its history back to the early 20th century Industrial Revolution when end-users were no longer in personal touch with the makers of products.

According to our Petaluma personal injury lawyers, the principle evolved and, since then, has been tested in courts internationally, and in Petaluma. Injury attorneys study case precedent and monitor the outcome of personal injury lawsuits to best represent clients in Petaluma. Our injury lawyers are prepared for the broad spectrum of cases – from dog bites to injuries related to the recent recall of millions of cars for defects impacting drivers in Petaluma. Personal injury lawyers at Sette Law work to guide clients through the complicated process of winning fair restitution.

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.