How Are Schools Responsible for Keeping Their Students Safe?entry-title

Photo of a Swimming Pool Rail

While participating in a school swimming lesson, a 15-year-old student slipped beneath the water and drowned. No one in the class noticed at first. It wasn’t until after the class had been released that the boy was found. Could the school be responsible for this accident? What makes schools responsible for the injuries and deaths of children under their care? Today, we will take a look at the California laws meant to hold our state’s educational institutions responsible for student safety.

Are Schools Responsible for Student Safety?

When it comes to accidents that happen at government agencies such as schools, these institutions are protected from liability. This protection is often provided by sovereign immunity, but there are certain exceptions to this law. The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) says that in cases of gross negligence and appropriate insurance coverage, schools can be held responsible for accidents. It even exposes schools to liability for failing to carry out a duty imposed by the law. This means that the circumstances of an accident play a big part in whether a school will be held responsible.

In the incident above, a teacher was supervising the swimming lesson from a diving board when the boy lost his life. Video surveillance revealed that the teacher may have been distracted by his cellphone when the boy became distressed. The teacher later neglected taking roll, and he missed the boy’s clothes still sitting beside the pool. If a court finds that these actions were negligent, then the school could be held liable for the boy’s passing.

How Do I Determine if a School’s Actions Were Negligent?

When it comes to the injury or death of any member of your family, consulting an attorney is a sound strategy. An attorney’s experience and knowledge of the law may help families determine if they have a claim against a school or another institution. Our attorney, Steve Gnau, offers free consultations to families who need help after an accident. Call today at (951) 370-1111 for the help your family deserves.

3 Common Reasons for Thanksgiving Traffic Accidentsentry-title

Photo Of Rear End Car Accident

If you plan to travel by car to visit family or friends for Thanksgiving this year, stay safe and be aware that it is a peak holiday for traffic accidents. Here are three common reasons why traffic accidents occur during this time:

Reason #1: An Increase in Traffic

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 45 million people traveled by car to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in 2017. Throughout the holiday, there will be a higher volume of cars and in turn, less road space to share. People will be driving with determination to get to their destinations. Many drivers will be driving on unfamiliar roads. Mixed with other dangerous driving behaviors, such as talking on the phone or fidgeting with a navigation system, there is a greater likelihood for traffic crashes.

Reason #2: An Increase in Drowsy Driving

Many families will drive at least 50 miles during the holiday. Drivers may try to avoid heavy traffic delays by traveling early in the morning or late at night. Driving at times when the driver is usually sleeping could increase the driver’s risk of falling asleep at the wheel. In addition, if driving long distances, a driver should take proper rest breaks or switch places with a passenger to avoid a drowsy driving accident.

Reason #3: An Increase in Drunk Driving

When people do not plan a safe way home before going out and drinking, there is a greater chance that they will drive drunk. According to information published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 800 people were killed in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes in the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving Day between 2012 and 2016. Binge drinking at local bars has become the standard on Thanksgiving Eve. However, many people will drink with family on Thanksgiving and during the following days, too. Unfortunately, many people will drive back to their hotel or back home while intoxicated.

Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?

If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, you should contact a California car accident attorney as soon as possible. At Gnau & Tamez Law Group, LLP, we handle every aspect of our clients’ car accident cases so they can focus on recovery.

We recommend that you keep our Glove Box Download in your car in case of an accident. It will guide you through what to do after an accident and will help you remember which information to gather before leaving the scene. Remember: If you need help now, call Steve Gnau! Call (951) 370-1111 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.

Parents Beware: Injuries to Children Increase on Halloweenentry-title

Kids trick-or-treating on Halloween

Halloween is a perfect holiday for families and children to dress up, eat candy and have fun in their neighborhoods while trick-or-treating. All of this excitement in one night can unfortunately lead to injuries to your children, and injuries can definitely dampen the Halloween spirit. Here’s what you should look out for on Halloween night to ensure the risk of injuries and accidents is minimal.

How Could My Child Suffer From a Serious Injury on Halloween Night?

  • Don’t let your young children trick-or-treat alone. This is an obvious safety tip, but many families are still unaware of the dangers of letting their small children walk in their neighborhood alone on Halloween. As a parent you should always accompany your young children. Older children should always travel in groups and be back home before extremely late hours.

  • Be prepared for night-walking. The combination of walking at sundown or nighttime in unfamiliar areas with a mask or heavy costume could result in falls that could leave broken bones, brain injuries, sprains and bruises. Make sure you and your child have a flashlight just in case you’re on a poorly lit street.

  • Ensure costumes fit properly. In order to avoid tripping and falling while trick-or-treating, make sure that your child’s costume doesn’t drag on the ground or isn’t too heavy and awkward. Also, ensure that any masks or headwear/eyewear doesn’t obstruct your child’s eyesight completely.

  • Be cautious while carving pumpkins. Don’t let your young children carve any pumpkins with a sharp knife because they could easily cut their hands or other part of their body. A safer approach could be using paint or non-carving decoration kits for younger children, or you can cut the Jack-o-Lantern for them.

If you or your child suffers a serious injury on Halloween night due to negligence on someone else’s property, speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you need help now, call Steve Gnau at (951) 370-1111 for a free case evaluation.

What Catastrophic Injuries Could I Sustain from a Slip and Fall Accident?entry-title

Photo Of Head Injury

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common accidents that can happen at any place, any time, and to anyone. This is because there are many different ways you could slip, fall and become seriously injured. Whether you’re inside of your own home, at work, at a swimming pool or hotel, or just walking down the street, you can slip and fall if you’re not paying attention or if someone was negligent. Sometimes, these injuries can be minor, but they can also be catastrophic injuries that you or a loved one has to live with for a long time.

What Types of Catastrophic Injuries Result from a Slip and Fall?

Traumatic brain injury. One common catastrophic injury that can occur after a slip and fall accident is a TBI, or traumatic brain injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slip and falls account for over 35 percent of all TBIs, especially if someone falls backward. TBI’s can include multiple type of head injuries, including concussions, brain contusions, and internal bleedings (hemorrhages).
Spinal cord injury. Many people can also experience severe whiplash while they are slipping and falling, which can result in spinal cord injuries. Falls result in about 25 percent of spinal cord injuries, and many of these injuries are permanent.
Bone fracture. Depending on how someone falls and in what direction, he or she can sustain a bone fracture from the slip and fall they experience. Fracturing a wrist or arm is common if the person grabs for a railing or another object while falling, and many people also land on their hips which can result in hip fractures.
Knee injury. Cartilage or ligament damage to the knees can occur while twisting into a fall. Our knees bear a lot of our body weight, so if we experience an injury, the recovery process can be particularly long and painful. Over time, knee injuries usually require expensive surgery to repair serious muscle and nerve damage.
Shoulder injury. Slip and falls can easily result in a shoulder injury because many people will try to fall forward and to the side in order to avoid falling on their head. Strains, sprains and tears to the shoulder structure of your upper arm can be painful and hard to heal.

If you have experienced any of these catastrophic injuries after a slip and fall accident due to someone’s negligence, you could potentially file an injury lawsuit. You should first contact Steve Gnau, who is a serious personal injury attorney for the Murrieta, California area. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation.

What Are Common Spinal Cord Injuries Resulting from a Serious Car Crash?entry-title

Photo of a Chiropractor adjusting neck muscles on female patient

Car accidents can result in a variety of different injuries, depending on the circumstances of the crash. For example, a rear-end collision from a car accident will result in injuries that are different from a roll over car accident. One of the most common catastrophic injuries that drivers can sustain from a serious car accident is a spinal cord injury. Airbags and seat belts are designed to keep your body from absorbing a full impact, but sometimes this force will shift to your spine and cause spinal cord injuries.

What Are the Different Spinal Cord Injuries That I Could Sustain From a Car Accident?

  • Whiplash. This is a very common injury that results from rear-end collisions, which send the driver’s head snapping backwards. Whiplash usually affects the upper section of your spine near the neck, and symptoms can include stiffness, headaches, dizziness, soreness and blurred vision. Physical therapy and rest are two ways to manage whiplash symptoms.
  • Spinal fracture. This injury can occur during a car accident because the seat belt doesn’t always properly keep your body in one place. Your chest and head can move a lot more than the lower half of your body. This extreme force can leave a compression fracture on the spine, which can result in pain, numbness and muscle weakness. Some fractures might have to be treated with surgery, and others with physical therapy and rest over time.
  • Disc herniation. Your spinal discs between your spine vertebrae absorb a lot of force during a car accident. One or more of these discs can shift, and when this shift happens it can compress surrounding nerves, which causes extreme pain or numbness. Surgery can fix a herniated disc or any nearby damaged structures.
  • Vertebrae shifts. Also known as “spondylolisthesis,” this happens when a vertebra shifts due to a stress fracture in the backbone. This injury is similar to a herniated disc, and the displaced bone can also compress surrounding nerves or the spinal canal. This may cause weakness, numbness and radiating pain.

If you have suffered a spinal injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could possibly receive compensation for your injuries. Contact Steve Gnau today for a free case evaluation.