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.

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 Types of Serious Injuries Can I Sustain from a Bicycle Accident?entry-title

Photo of a Bicycle Accident

Riding a bicycle is an easy and fun way to travel to and from any local destinations. California’s metro areas have many bicyclists who use this form of transportation to get to work and other places. However, riding a bicycle in California can be dangerous. There were over 800 bicycle-related fatalities in 2015 alone. Not all bicycle accidents end in death, but many do result in serious injuries that could affect the bicyclist’s life forever.

What Are the Serious Injuries that Bicyclists Face?

Bicycle injuries can be attributed to rider error, motorist error, environmental hazards, or bicycle mechanical failures. Faster riding speed usually always contributes to serious injuries and fatalities on the road, so the number one rule to protect yourself is to follow a safe riding speed at all times. Common serious injuries that can result from these bicycle accidents are:

  • Head trauma: Head injuries occur in up to 48 percent of serious bicycle accidents, often as a result of a crash with a motor vehicle. They are also responsible for over 60 percent of bicycle-related fatalities and long-term disabilities. Head trauma can include skull fractures, concussions, brain contusions, and hemorrhages.
  • Bone/skeletal injuries: These can include any fractures, dislocations or strains of the arms or legs from a serious bicycle accident.
  • Chest injuries: Rib fractures and lung injuries may result from a bicycle accident.
  • Skin and soft tissue injuries: “Road rash” abrasions, lacerations, contusions, bruises and scrapes are included in these types of injuries.

Serious bicycle injuries can be minimized if the bicyclist is wearing the appropriate head gear and outfit. Also, following all traffic and road rules is very important if you want to reduce your chance of a bicycle accident. Our Murrieta bicycle accident attorneys know what your rights are a cyclist, and we can help you pursue a compensation claim for your injuries caused due to someone’s negligence. Contact Steve Gnau today for more information.

What Damages Are Available for Me from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?entry-title

Overcoming Relentless Emotional Turmoil After A Loved One's Death

When a loved one dies, emotional trauma can arrive and affect an entire family and each of its members. A death in the family can also cause extreme financial hardship, and it can leave family members at a loss for what to do next. California laws have been enacted in order to decrease these struggles for families, especially when a person or other party is found legally responsible for your loved one’s death. It’s crucial that you and your family know the different types of compensation (also known as damages) that are available in wrongful death lawsuits.

What Are the Different Categories of Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit?

There are two general categories of damages in a wrongful death case.  The two categories are called economic damages and non-economic damages.

The first category involves the loss of financial support, household services and loss of benefits or gifts that the deceased would have provided.  This category also involves burial expenses paid by the family.

The second category of damages involves the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, moral support and affection that the family member suffered.  This category also involves the loss of training and guidance that the deceased would have provided to the family.

These categories of damages are designed to compensate the family for any financial losses, and they are intended to replace the value of money the deceased would have earned were it not for his or her death (lost wages). Loss of consortium can also be included in this damages category, which is where a spouse or immediate family member is deprived of the deceased’s love and companionship.

Most of the time, wrongful death damages are rewarded to spouses, children or parents of the deceased. If you are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit and would like to recover damages, we can help. Steve Gnau has extensive wrongful death case experience, and he will help represent you in court. Just contact our office today for a free consultation.