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Law Office of Michael & Michelle Mandel
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How Dangerous Is It To Be Near a MUNI Bus? Earlier this summer, an accident caused by a MUNI bus caused injuries to four people, sending all of them to the hospital. MUNI has maintained a fairly stable accident rate over the last two years but, with 934 people injured between 2006 and 2011, accidents are far from rare. Fatal accidents are most likely to occur to pedestrians. While this summer’s accident was not fatal, it was again a case of innocent bystanders injured by negligence:

A MUNI bus approached a bus stop in San Francisco’s financial district in June with the rope that attaches to the vehicle’s power arms having come loose and dangling.

The rope, swinging wildly as the bus came through the intersection, hit a sign that came loose and struck an adult and child standing at the bus stop.

They were both catapulted into another adult and child nearby. All four were part of a school group waiting together for the bus. They were taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and abrasions.

MUNI did not immediately know how the rope came free. Whether they are liable for the injuries and any loss of work may depend in part on whether the driver should have known that the rope was swinging free, how the rope came to be free and how carefully the bus was maintained, among other factors. Because such information is difficult to obtain, anyone injured in any kind of MUNI accident is best served by speaking with a MUNI bus accident lawyer immediately.

#SanFranciscoBusAccidentLawyers #Liability #MUNIBus
http://www.mjmandel.com/practice-areas/muni-bus-accidents/
MUNI bus accidents are not nearly as common as other types of accidents, but they did harm 934 people between 2006 and 2011.

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How Can You Tell If Your Landlord Has Created a Dangerous Situation? You and your landlord divide responsibilities for your property. Both of you are obligated to keep the property safe, though some safety requirements are your landlord’s obligation and some are yours. In general, as long as you do not cause damage to the property and keep it clean and well cared for, maintaining a safe property is your landlord’s responsibility. How can you tell if your landlord is creating a dangerous situation? Use this short checklist:

Habitability — Your landlord is obligated to maintain your unit’s habitability, which includes complying with state and local building and health codes. This means functioning heat and plumbing, working electrical system, a well-repaired infrastructure (floor, roofs, staircases), trash receptacles and sanitary buildings and grounds, without garbage or pests. The habitability rule does not apply to things you as a tenant destroy. You are responsible for those. But if you are at risk for harm or disease because of your landlord’s refusal to clean up, he or she is liable.

Specific components — In addition to general habitability, your landlord must also provide some particular elements associated with safety and sanitation. These include a working toilet, a kitchen sink, natural lighting in all rooms with windows that open at least partially, cleared fire exits, working door locks (including a deadbolt for the front door), functioning smoke detectors and even a locking mailbox. If you suffer harm from poor ventilation (perhaps including mold) or injury because of faulty fire detectors or door locks, your landlord may be the cause.

Again, any damages you make to the property are your own responsibility — a key reason to carry renters’ insurance, even if your lease does not require it. But if your landlord creates a situation that puts you at physical risk or has caused you physical harm, you are entitled to legal remedies.

#SanFranciscoPremisesLiabilityLawyers #RentersInsurance #Landlord
http://www.mjmandel.com/practice-areas/premises-liability/
While you and your landlord must divide responsibility for the care of your property, maintaining a safe environment is your landlord's responsibility.

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Will a Ballot Initiative Reform Malpractice Claims? California is a tough state for anyone claiming medical malpractice against a physician. The difficulty stems from a state law passed in 1975, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which capped medical malpractice judgments at a very low level. This law has made it difficult for claimants to recoup their full damages in the face of doctors’ negligence. However, MICRA may soon be changed. A consumer group is prepared to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would reform the law, finally bringing fairness to California malpractice law.

MICRA capped malpractice judgments at $250,000, with the exception of medical bills and economic losses. Pain and suffering damages, therefore, have a hard cap.

What was the goal of MICRA?

MICRA was intended to head off the astronomical rise in malpractice insurance prices. For this purpose, the law did work, though the attenuation of malpractice insurance costs may have resulted more from insurance reform than the malpractice cap.

The primary issue arises from the fact that the damage cap was not tied to inflation and, thus, has not risen over time. That $250,000 from 1975 would equate to only around $58,000 today — not what the law originally intended and nowhere near enough to compensate malpractice victims for their suffering, loss of physical ability and reduced quality of life. Juries routinely award larger sums for pain and suffering, only to have those amounts knocked down to get them under the cap.

MICRA’s biggest defenders are the medical associations that represent physicians. But should today’s pain and suffering be measured in 1975 dollars? Whether there is a ballot measure or not, medical malpractice in California may be facing reform.

#SanFranciscoMedicalMalpracticeLawyers #MICRA #MalpracticeClaims
http://www.mjmandel.com/practice-areas/medical-malpractice/
MICRA capped malpractice judgments at $250K, with the exception of medical bills and economic losses. As such, pain and suffering damages have a hard cap.

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How Can You Assess Liability in a Motorcycle Accident? Motorcycles can make for dangerous driving ― but not always because of the motorcyclists themselves. Frequently, other drivers pose a major risk to a motorcyclist. Since motorcycle accidents often result in injury or even death, it is important to assess liability. Whether an injured motorcyclist can recover damages for pain, suffering, loss of work or other damages may depend on whether the other driver was to blame. So, how can liability be assessed in a motorcycle crash?

First, a few facts about motorcycles. In 2007, California had the nation’s second-highest fatality rate from motorcycle crashes, with 495 riders killed. In that same year, fully half of those crashes were collisions with some other motor vehicle, with most of the motorcycles being struck from the front. Clearly, motorcyclists are getting into crashes with a lot of other people — crashes that could often be prevented and often ones for which someone is liable.

One category of liability has to do with the other driver’s negligence. If the other driver did not behave in the manner expected of someone using reasonable care, then he or she may be negligent. Examples of lack of reasonable care include:

- The driver was texting or checking the phone when the accident occurred.
- The driver was driving too fast for existing road conditions — for example, during bad weather or in a construction zone.
- The driver of the car was intoxicated.
- The driver of the car did not follow standard safety practices, like signaling for a turn, obeying road signs or posted limits and checking mirrors.

The other category of liability involves a faulty or dangerous machine, which would lead to a product liability claim rather than a personal injury claim. In a product liability case, you must demonstrate that either your own bike was defective (a part that broke or failed to perform) or that the design itself is dangerous (especially unstable, missing standard safety features).

In either a product claim or a personal liability suit, you will need representation from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.

#SanFranciscoMotorcycleAccidentAttorney #Liability #Accidents
www.mjmandel.com/practice-areas/motorcycle-accidents/
Since motorcycle crashes can result in injury or death, it's important to assess liability. Your ability to collect damages may depend on it.

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Five Ways to Cycle Safer: In 2011, fully 48,000 cyclists were injured in collisions with motor vehicles in the United States. That substantial number does not include the nearly 700 fatalities. Bikes and cars sharing the road have an inherently dangerous relationship. What can cyclists do to protect themselves?

Do not drink and bike. More than one-fourth of the cyclists who died in accidents in 2011 had consumed a testable level of alcohol. People often think that cycling drunk is the safer alternative to driving while intoxicated. It is not. If you have been drinking, lock up your bike along with your car keys.

Obey the rules of the road. You can easily cut corners on a bike (literally), especially when in a hurry and particularly approaching things like stop signs. Failing to obey the rules of the road is dangerous, though, and puts you at incredible risk.

Make yourself visible to cars. Stay out of cars’ blind spots, avoid riding on the sidewalk and use hand signals to let drivers know where you are going before you turn.

Do not rush. Most bike accidents occur in the evening, during rush hour when the most cars are on the road — but also when cyclists are hurrying to get home. Slow down and enjoy your ride. You started cycling in the first place for enjoyment, right?

Always, always wear a helmet. Even for short trips and rides where you are staying in your neighborhood, you need a helmet that fits and is up to current safety standards. Bear in mind that helmets are designed for a single impact. If you have fallen in yours before, you may need to replace it.

One last tip: If you do get into an accident with an automobile while cycling, be prepared. Call the police to make a report. Get the driver’s information (driver’s license, license plate, registration). And call an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you in a claim. As a careful cyclist, you have every right to demand that drivers exercise equal responsibility in sharing the road.

#SanFranciscoBicycleAccidentLawyers www.mjmandel.com/practice-areas/bicycle-accidents/
Want to cycle safer? Don't drink and bike, obey the rules of the road, make yourself visible to cars, wear a helmet, and don't rush.

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What Makes Trucks More Dangerous Than Cars? Large truck crashes used to be a constant feature of American highways. Those numbers have generally declined over the last 30 years, though not uniformly.

In 2010, for instance, fatalities in large truck crashes increased by almost nine percent over the year before, an increase seen not only in the occupants of the trucks themselves but also in the occupants of other vehicles and even people not in any vehicle.

Most of the people killed in truck accidents are not occupants of the truck itself. They are riding in other vehicles or are bystanders. Many factors can contribute to a truck accident, including:

Bad weather — Trucks are much more susceptible to difficult weather conditions because of their weight and load distribution. They simply cannot maneuver as easily as cars.

Driver error — Truck drivers often drive very long shifts and, while they are required to take breaks at regulated intervals, they sometimes fail to do so. Fatigue can lead to diminished judgment and slow response times, not to mention falling asleep at the wheel. Finally, inexperienced drivers more often make mistakes.

Unsafe trucks — Trucks are supposed to be subject to regular inspection and drivers are obligated to immediately address any potentially dangerous mechanical or structural issues. But the reality is that such repairs are often put off, leading to dangerous equipment failures.

Load weight — A loaded truck weighs many thousands of pounds and hurtles down the road at high speed. That load is necessarily top-heavy so that it is not too long and wide to be on the road. But if it is not loaded correctly or the driver tries to turn too quickly, it can tip over, creating tragedy in its wake.

With regular inspections and regulations for drivers, large trucks are much safer today than they were in the 1980s. Yet dangerous accidents persist for reasons that are inherent in trucks themselves.

- See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/08/12/what-makes-trucks-more-dangerous-than-cars/#sthash.JGf6oM26.dpuf
What Makes Trucks More Dangerous Than Cars? Large truck crashes used to be a constant feature of American highways. Those numbers have generally declined over the last 30 years, though not uniformly.

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1. Keep calm.  If you get out of the car and blurt out, “I’m sorry, I just didn’t see you,” you have sealed your fate and you will be found at fault in the accident — even if the other driver may not have seen you either.  Be polite, but do not speak more than is necessary.
2. Call 911 if anyone was injured.
3. If you see anyone who may have witnessed the accident, ask them to stay at the scene for a few minutes until you can get their contact information.
4. Move your car to the side of the road if you can.  If your car cannot be moved, you should call a towing service or the police. 
5. If you hit another car, you must show your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance card.  Get the same information from the other driver and write down all the details.
6. If the police come to the scene, do not volunteer information, but answer their questions honestly and as briefly as possible.
7. In many cases, injuries from an accident do not become apparent until hours or days later.  Get medical help and make sure to follow the doctor’s advice.
8. Make sure to fill out the DMV accident report form within 10 days if the accident caused more than $750 in property damage or if anyone was injured, even slightly.  If in doubt as to the amount of damages, file the form anyway. 
9. In many cases, the insurance company may try to settle with you very quickly, before you know the true extent of your injuries. Do not sign anything without getting legal advice first.
10. Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than your law firm and its representatives.  Remarks you make to other people can end up hurting your case.

- See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/08/05/the-top-ten-things-to-do-after-a-car-accident/#sthash.gJzh1UlP.dpuf
If you have just been in a car accident, you will definitely be shaken up. Nevertheless, there are certain steps you must take to protect the evidence and collect the maximum amount possible for your damages. - See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/08/05/the-top-ten-things-to-do-after-a-car-accident/#sthash.gJzh1UlP.dpuf

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Defendant Steven Spriggs argued that he should not have received a ticket for texting while driving because he was only using his phone as a GPS. The judge determined that using a phone app that allows it to function as a navigation system fits within the definition of SB1613, which prohibits using a phone “unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” However, many disagree with the decision, since touching a navigation system that is built into the car does not violate the law.

There is no question that distracted driving is serious problem on California’s roads, and that anything that distracts you from your main focus is a potential danger. If you want to use your smartphone as a GPS, get a cradle to hold the device and program it before you start your trip.

- See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/07/29/california-judge-rules-smartphone-map-use-while-driving-is-illegal/#sthash.sYEz9Jym.dpuf
According to the Huffington Post, the best way to get out of a ticket for using your smartphone while driving is to tell the officer that you needed its map program to get directions. But that excuse will no longer work in California. An appeals court has held that any hands-on use of a phone violates California’s texting-while-driving statute — including using your phone as a GPS. - See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/07/29/california-judge-rules-smartphone-map-use-while-driving-is-illegal/#sthash.sYEz9Jym.dpuf

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Suspecting that Lindsay had a concussion, a friend suggested that she make an appointment with a doctor. Lindsay had thought that a concussion was not possible because she did not lose consciousness after the accident. Many “minor” concussions like Lindsay’s do not cause loss of consciousness or show up on MRIs, but they can still change a person’s life.

Most concussions heal within weeks or months of the accident, but Lindsay’s did not. She could not follow conversations, and would blurt out something that was not relevant. A journalist and graduate student, she could not read a sentence. Her eyes tried to read the letters on the page top to bottom, rather than left to right. Her balance and coordination were shaky. She needed help to do almost anything.

A year later, thanks to intensive therapies and medical procedures, her doctors say that she is 85 percent better. However, Lindsay does not know if she will ever have the same abilities as she did before the accident.

Many brain injury patients do not have access to the kind of care that Lindsay received. Indeed, even with the best medical care available, patients can be left with severe problems.

- See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/07/22/invisible-brain-injuries-can-have-lifelong-consequences/#sthash.32mAsSmi.dpuf
Lindsay Corley lost control of her car in a freak snowstorm in February 2012 and crashed into a median. She walked away from the accident, thinking she was fine. But a week later, her real condition became apparent. She was nauseous and could not sleep or concentrate. - See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/07/22/invisible-brain-injuries-can-have-lifelong-consequences/#sthash.32mAsSmi.dpuf

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CDC director Tom Frieden had hoped that educational campaigns and enforcement programs against patients and doctors who misuse prescription drugs would turn the tide, but it has not helped. The U.S. government is now looking for other ways to make these drugs harder to get and limit the quantities available to patients.

One such plan comes from the Food and Drug Administration, which is considering a proposal to limit doses of painkillers that can be legally prescribed and cap their use to 90 days or less for people who do not have cancer. However, the fact that the proposal contains an exception for people who suffer from “severe” pain may take the teeth out of that law.

California has a prescription drug monitoring program, called CURES, but it is not used proactively to find problematic physicians. State legislators are considering increasing funding for CURES and having investigators look for patterns of excessive prescriptions. For example, an analysis carried out by the Los Angeles Times of coroners’ records showed that among a group of 71 doctors, several had lost a dozen patients or more.

If you or a loved one takes Oxycodone and Vicodin, you should be aware of the dangers. These drugs make some people’s lives bearable, but at the same time have ended many others. Like any drug, you should take the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible.

- See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/07/15/deaths-from-overdoses-of-prescription-opiates-continue-to-rise/#sthash.lAc7EDdc.dpuf
Despite efforts to reduce the number of deaths from overdoses of prescription drugs, the rate continues to rise. In 2009 and 2010, more people died from overdoses than from auto accidents, and preliminary data from 2011 indicates that prescription drug overdose remains a serious problem in the United States. A study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that drugs like Oxycodone and Vicodin alone caused 16,651 fatal overdoses in 2010 — 43 percent of all fatal overdoses. - See more at: http://www.mjmandel.com/2013/07/15/deaths-from-overdoses-of-prescription-opiates-continue-to-rise/#sthash.lAc7EDdc.dpuf
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