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San Francisco Personal Injury Law Blog

Victim of Hwy. 17 crash says driver, trucking co. were negligent p2

We are discussing the details of a traffic accident earlier this month. Traveling on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz County, a tractor-trailer crashed into 10 other vehicles. One man was killed and several others were injured. One of the injured, a 37-year-old woman, has filed a negligence lawsuit against the truck driver and his employer.

In our last post, we left off with a description of the accident. The trucker, fairly new to the business, told reporters he was traveling too fast down a hill when he saw slow and stopped traffic ahead. His brakes failed, though. Unable to slow down, he turned his rig toward the guardrail, hoping to avoid as many cars as possible.

Victim of Hwy. 17 crash says driver, trucking co. were negligent

California Highway Patrol officers said the scene of a recent accident on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz County looked like "a war zone." The road was closed to traffic for 10 hours; crews were able to clear the wreckage by the time the evening rush hour started.

According to the CHP, a semi hauling two trailers of dirt jackknifed and slammed into 10 passenger vehicles. The driver claims the brakes failed, but the exact cause of the accident remains under investigation. One person was killed when he was thrown from his car, others were trapped in their cars while firefighters worked to free them. Seven people were injured; one woman was listed in critical condition at the time of the crash.

Debate continues over suspension of hours-of-service restart rule

We are finishing up our discussion of hours-of-service regulations for truckers. The Senate Appropriations Committee introduced a bill early in June that would suspend the "restart" requirement that imposes a 34-hour, two-night mandatory rest period on truckers.

We talked about some of the complaints about the rule in our June 24 post. The restrictions put more trucks on the road during peak travel hours for commuters and travelers, opponents argue. They claim, too, that there has been no measurable decrease in fatal truck accidents since the rule went into effect in July 2013.

Employment Law: Silicon Valley's Startling Statistics Raise Red Flags

If you haven't heard the latest employment law news yet, Google recently released its workforce diversity data. We'll save you the click: it wasn't that great. As one of the leading technology companies in the entire world, only 30% of its employees are women. Furthermore, 61% of its employees identify as white, 30% identify as Asian, and only 2% identify as black. Following Google's lead, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Facebook, have all reported their workplace diversity numbers as well and the figures are equally bad.

Tracy Morgan crash illustrates dangers of truck driver fatigue p2

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan continues his recovery from injuries received in a motor vehicle accident almost a month ago. Morgan has left the hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation facility, entertainment news outlets report. How long he will be there is not yet known.

Nor is it known how long the reaction to Morgan's accident will last. The limo van he and his friends were riding in was struck by a tractor-trailer. Local and federal investigators have focused on the driver's hours of service and whether his fatigue caused or contributed to the crash.

Tracy Morgan crash illustrates dangers of truck driver fatigue

For James McNair's family and friends, there may be little comfort in knowing that the accident that killed him and injured three others has once again opened the national debate about hours of service for truckers. Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured in the June 7 crash, as were two of his companions, when a tractor-trailer smashed into the back of their limo van.

Because the accident involved a celebrity, it made headlines from New Jersey, where Morgan and the others were hospitalized, to California. The crash, however, is just one of many: Of the 300,000 fatalities every year on America's highways, one in seven involve large trucks. According to the California Highway Patrol, 245 of the 2,628 fatal accidents in 2011 (the most recent data available) involved big rigs.

A drunk driver may not be entirely to blame in a fatal crash p2

It's frustrating. Drunk driving accidents are so easy to prevent, but they continue to happen. In California alone, accidents linked to alcohol or drugs claimed 1,768 lives in 2010, according to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs' most recent data. Also in 2010, the state reported 24,343 injuries in crashes involving alcohol. Our state saw nearly one-fifth of all drunk or drugged driving accidents in the U.S. that year.

Convincing people not to drink and drive is one way to prevent these accidents. Another way is to convince restaurants and bars not to serve more alcohol to patrons who are obviously intoxicated. Not every state has embraced the idea, but California has.

A drunk driver may not be entirely to blame in a fatal crash

Anyone who is injured or who loses a loved one in a drunk driving accident should know about California's dram shop laws. Dram shop laws and "social host" laws allow a court to find a third party liable in an alcohol-related accident. Dram shop laws apply to restaurants, bars and other commercial establishments, while social host laws apply to private residents. More than half of the states have adopted some kind of dram shop liability statute, but the particulars differ from state to state.

We bring this up after coming across a decision from a Pennsylvania court of appeals. In that case, the driver had been playing golf at a club and had consumed a few beers over the course of the day. Shortly after leaving the club, he reached for his cellphone to read a text message; his vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a motorcycle, killing both people on the motorcycle.

Marino, others pile on for NFL concussion lawsuit

Dan Marino has joined the ranks of retired professional football players signing on to concussion lawsuits against the NFL. The Hall of Fame quarterback and 14 other former players filed their complaint in federal court just after Memorial Day. To date, more than 4,500 players have accused the NFL of covering up or misrepresenting the long-term risks associated with concussions.

Marino played 17 seasons of pro ball, but his record does not show repeated concussions or head injuries. Now 52, he has been off the field for 15 years, working as a sports analyst for much of the time. Neither Marino nor his agent were available following the announcement of the lawsuit; as a result, reporters have no information about any health issues Marino is facing. 

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