There has been a spate of well-publicized fatal traffic crashes in Oregon and Northern California recently. Initially, it may be instinctive to want quick answer to the question, “What happened?” Fortunately, accident reconstructionists are available to answer this question using scientific and engineering principles. But it does take patience to let them do their job. For example, in Oregon all traffic crashes resulting in fatality must have a formal reconstruction of the motor vehicle crash performed by a professional. Most experienced accident reconstruction professionals are certified and licensed through various governing bodies. There are both private professional engineering firms as well as a number of law enforcement and other government personnel (e.g., National Transportation Safety Board) qualified to collect the proper data, apply engineering principles, and prepare a formal accident reconstruction report. Oftentimes, the reports reach conclusions as to the proximate cause(s) of a crash. While there can be disagreement among experts as to, “What happened?” in certain crashes, it is still better for the public and media to wait until the professional reconstruction is final before engaging in harmful speculation. We owe as much to the families left behind following a tragic—and all too common–motor vehicle crash that ends in fatality.
Oregon Live has reported a tractor-trailer was speeding 85 m.p.h. the wrong way down the freeway when it crashed into an oncoming vehicle during the early morning commute. The tractor-trailer operator is being detained by Portland Police while the investigation continues. Under Oregon and federal law, tractor-trailer operators and their employers are held to strict safety standards to try to prevent tragedy and punish misconduct. The massive size and weight makes big rigs like “moving bombs” on our roadways. Our concern and sympathy goes out to the victim and his or her family as the driver of the vehicle slammed into by the tractor-trailer is reportedly in the hospital has been hospitalized. Here is a link to the Oregon Live article.
Today I learned of the recent passing of one of my early mentors, a humanitarian, philosopher, and attorney named Kenneth McFarlan. Ken was admitted to the California State Bar in 1973. By the time I met Ken in 1997 he was living on his sailboat on the Sausalito side of the San Francisco Bay, still practicing law in a nearby office, and generously sharing his rich life experience with an idealistic young college graduate preparing for law school (me). I recall Ken carried himself with honor, integrity and humility. Over the years, I think back on his encouragement to live an “integrated life” with family, profession, friendship, and everything else important in life intertwining naturally. Ken’s thoughtful words stay with me and I am grateful to have known him.
Under Oregon law, an injured victim of a drunk driver is entitled to recover “punitive damages” from the drunk driver in addition to appropriate compensation for medical bills, future care costs, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. ORS 31.730 et seq. Over the years, I have helped numerous injured people recover their full damages under law caused by a drunk driver. CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED BY A DRUNK DRIVER (503) 675-4370.
The summer travel season is almost here. Whether traveling by automobile or airplane this summer, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) provides a lot of useful information for parents traveling with young children. Here is where to find the NTSB website. Keep kids safe, avoid injury, and have a great summer!
After BP spilled 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the U.S. government cited BP with multiple violations of the Clean Water Act. At this time, it is being reported that negotiations between U.S. officials and BP may be coming to a close soon. The amount of a potential settlement is unknown, but the government has requested BP pay around $4,300 per barrel in fines, which amounts to more than 17 billion dollars. Here is an article from Bloomberg News.
The heat of summer is in full swing. As our children head into the pool to cool off, keep in mind that modern pool and spa drains generally contain direct suction. Powerful suction can trap swimmers under water causing serious brain injury and death. According to statistics reported in the Los Angeles Times, “Between 1999 and 2008, 12 people were killed in pool and spa entrapments and 72 were injured, according to a CPSC report released Thursday.” Fortunately, at the end of 2008, federal legislation went into effect to prevent powerful suction from trapping swimmers at the bottom of pools and spas. In response, public and private pool owners invested in drain covers intended to mitigate the dangerous effects of direct suction drains. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a massive voluntary recall just as the summer swimming season starts to heat up. As reported by the Los Angeles Times on May 27, 2011, “About 1 million covers made by eight manufacturers, some among the largest, were being voluntarily pulled after a confidential report revealed the products had failed safety tests. Officials with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said public pools and spas with direct suction systems and recalled covers should close until replacement covers could be installed.” http://www.latimes.com/health/fl-cpsc-recall-florida-pools-20110526,0,5231496.story.
Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board held a meeting discussing child safety in motor vehicles and airplanes. Unfortunately, the laws designed to protect our children seem to fall short once again. For example, Oregon law allows parents to discontinue use of car seats before their child’s body is capable of protection from the standard seat belt in most cars. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, placement of the lap belt over the abdomen is a major cause of internal organ and spinal injury in children, while the lap belt over the neck is a major cause of disabling or fatal neck injury in children weighing under 80 pounds or less than 4′ 9″ in height. To read more about the concerns stemming from last month’s meeting, read here.
According to the American Association for Justice: “The AP (10/29, Risling) reported two doctors ‘led a $5 million scam in which mentally ill homeless patients were paid $100 each for unnecessary treatments that were fraudulently billed to Medicare and Medi-Cal,’ Los Angeles prosecutors said Friday. Drs. Rodney Barron and Eleanor Arthur ‘were arrested Friday and along with five others charged with misdemeanor conspiracy, fraud and taking illegal kickbacks. If convicted, they each could face up to seven years in prison.’”