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Labor Day Weekend to be Biggest Travel Weekend in the United States in 5 Years!

August 27, 2013,

This Labor Day weekend is predicted to be the biggest travel holiday weekend than any of the September breaks since the 2008 recession hit. Many people travel to visit relatives or take their family on a trip out-of-town or camping or to the beach. AAA is forecasting a heavy increase in travel due to the "increasingly positive economic outlook." This means you need to be aware of increased traffic and crowded highways as Orange County residents take advantage of a three-day holiday weekend.

empty-campground-642342-m.jpgAcross America, AAA expects that 29.2 million people will be traveling by car, rising from 28 million last year. Of those, 34.1 million will be traveling at least 50, which is a 4.2% increase from the holiday a year ago. The average traveler is predicted to journey on long weekend round trips of about 594 miles.

According to NBC News, gasoline prices are lower than on average from a year ago and may attribute to increased traveling this holiday by car. AAA did warn however that gas prices could rise should hurricanes and tropical storms slow down production.

Orange County residents, be safe when traveling this Labor Day Weekend. Take heavy traffic times into consideration and consider planning leaving for your road tip as early in the morning to avoid the most congested driving times in the day. Slow-moving highway traffic can lead drivers to become frustrated or cause road rage. Some drivers when waiting long periods of time in the car may tune out by focusing on the CD player or radio or talking to other passengers and end up driving distracted.

Anything that causes a driver to lose focus on driving could lead to vehicle accidents. If you are a passenger on a long road trip, please be aware of this and help to keep the driver alert, and be on the lookout for a sleepy driver. Switch places with the driver if necessary and be sure to take breaks and get out and stretch your legs or get a snack or drink to perk up. Also, if you rent a car for your road trip, be sure your car insurance covers the rental car or purchase the rental car insurance to be insured in the case of an accident. You may be a safe driver but other drivers on the road could hit you, causing personal injury and damage to the vehicle. If you plan to travel this holiday weekend, have a safe and accident free trip!

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Drowning: A Silent Killer

July 6, 2011,

With Summer in full swing, chances are you and your family will be going on vacation, heading to the local pool or even hitting an ocean. Orange County is known for its beaches and beautiful residential pools But remember, water and young children, even if the child has had water safety training, can be dangerous and even deadly. I cannot tell you how many times I get calls from parents whose child has drown. Sadly, drowning is the number one cause of death among children under the age of five. 1208672_diving_goggles.jpg

Even a near drowning can cause long term disabilities affecting families forever. Near drowning can cause lack of oxygen to the brain. The effects include central nervous system damage contributing to varying levels of brain damage, resulting in loss of memory, seizures, learning disabilities, paralysis, and sometimes coma. The surviving victims may also experience a lifetime of multiple medical problems including respiratory, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular disorders. The statistics are shocking.

  • Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are in the care of one of both parents at the time of the drowning.
  • Of all preschoolers who drown, 75% are missing from sight only five minutes or less.
  • In 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) in the United States, averaging ten deaths per day. An additional 496 people died from drowning in boating-related incidents.
  • More than one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.1 For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
  • More than 55% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for higher levels of care (compared to a hospitalization rate of 3-5% for all unintentional injuries). These injuries can be severe
  • Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).

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Crosswalks-Are You Really Safe?

June 9, 2011,

Orange County's cities are filled with cars and pedestrians. I was recently stopped at a red light, and I was the first car before the crosswalk line. I was stopped on a two lane road, with a sidewalk to my right. There was a family and their dog standing at the light to my right, waiting for the signal to turn to WALK so pedestrians could cross in the crosswalk. As the light changed to WALK, the family started to step off of the curb. At that moment, a truck coming my direction tried to squeeze by me on the right side to make a right turn. He entered a portion of the crosswalk, and almost hits the father and family dog. The next minute or so gets ugly as the pedestrian exchanges words with the driver who is clearly shaken once he realized that he could have hurt or killed these people.281260_crosswalk.jpg

This scenario is far too common and often has dire outcomes. Pedestrian accidents are far too common. This same situation almost cost my youngest daughter while we were on our way to dinner. My family and I were waiting to cross in a crosswalk, the light turned to WALK for us and as we stepped off of the curb. A female driver and her son plowed through a tight right side and into the crosswalk crossing over the bike lane. My little one was skipping across the street and the car came within a foot of hitting her. I don't need to share my reaction, but the look on her face said it all-she ALMOST hit a pedestrian, let alone a small child. For the rest of the night and even the next day, my stomach hurt and I couldn't stop thinking about the "What-If's". Everyday I work with families who are not as lucky as we are, as they have had to deal with major injuries, permanent injuries or even death as a result of a car hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

My firm is currently representing a 17 year old boy, who, on New Years Day 2011, was walking with his mother in a cross walk, when he saw a car drive through the crosswalk towards his mother. He called out her name, but by the time she turned around to see what he wanted, he had pushed her out of the way of the car saving her life. Unfortunately, he, and was stuck by the car and dragged a short distance under her car. When the driver finally stopped, his head was pinned under her tire. Our client was taken to CHOC Hospital, where he still is today. This boy has had several surgeries on his head and brain, the first being necessary to save his life. He has massive brain injuries, as well as other injuries as a result of this collision.

A National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration 2008 study show the rampant rise of pedestrian safety issues in the US:

  • 4,378 pedestrians, and 716 pedal cyclists were killed in traffic crashes
  • 69,000 pedestrians and 52,000 pedal cyclists were injured in traffic crashes
  • On average, a pedestrian is killed almost every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes
  • 12 percent of all pedal cyclists killed were between 5 and 15 years old.

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Bounce House Dangers Are Not Amusing

June 8, 2011,

Many of us in Orange County rent bounce houses for birthday parties. Kids love them. They are used at parks and fairs all the time. Unfortunately, recent reports have surfaces about the very real dangers these bounce houses pose to all users and by-standards near by from flying away. These scary instances illustrate just how dangerous amusement rides can be and how many injuries are caused each year by amusement rides. These products are often found to defectively manufactured or improperly maintained. Bopunce House.jpg

As a personal injury attorney, I was surprised to find out how dangerous benign looking rides and attractions can be, whether at amusement parks or in your backyard. Children suffer broken bones and even concussions on bounce houses every day. Recently, a two-story red, white and blue inflatable slide went soaring into the air at a youth soccer tournament in New York. Thirteen people were hospitalized with injuries, one person suffered serious injuries. The problem is that inflatable amusement rides suffer from a lack of industry-wide standards which can endanger lives when not properly installed or operated.

No one would expect to see a bounce house or inflatable slide fly into the air but it happens all too often. "I wish this was a rarity, but it's not. It happens all the time," said Jim Barber, a spokesman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials, based in Brandon, Fla. "These are probably the most dangerous amusement devices they have." A review of the NAARSO website reveals just how dangerous these products can be.

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Whiplash: A Real Injury Requiring Real Medical Help

June 7, 2011,

As a personal injury attorney in Orange County, many individuals come in to my office with "soft-tissue" injuries of the neck or what many term whiplash. Most people have heard of the term "Whiplash" and almost immediately associate it with a neck injury as a result of an automobile accident. This makes sense as whiplash-type injuries often occur when a car or truck is rear ended. This sudden impact, or "jolt", causes victims necks to extend and flex back quickly in an unnatural whipping motion. This whipping motion can cause damage to muscles and other soft tissues in the cervical area.

But what most people don't know is that whiplash is often caused by much less extreme impacts. Some of these impacts can include:

  • Winter-related accidents, such as slipping on ice or falling while skiing or snowboarding.
  • Injuries in contact sports such as basketball, football or hockey. Soccer is another sport that can have the same kind of whiplash injury, by either contact or falling hard and fast.
  • Any assault that involves head trauma or a slip and fall where someone strikes their head.
  • Child abuse, including shaken baby syndrome.
  • Repetitive stress injuries resulting from a poorly designed non-ergonomic work area.
  • Accidents in stores or restaurants that result from unattended spills on the floor or other unsafe conditions which cause someone to slip and fall

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Planning a Summer Getaway? Don't Get Scammed

June 6, 2011,

As beautiful as Orange County is, we all still want to vacation elsewhere during the year. With 2.24 million people expected to travel via the friendly skies everyday this summer, it is more important now than ever before to protect yourself and loved ones from getting scammed. We all love a good deal. With a troubled economy, we all try to get the best deal on vacations. The best way to keep yourself protected is to be aware of some of the common tactics and"special offers" that crooks use to take advantage of unassuming and well intentioned travelers. 1003965_passenger__aeroplane__1.jpg

A recent news report provided tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

* You make plans to travel to Europe and track down a travel website that offers an unbelievable rate on a hotel room. For payment though, the site wants a bank or wire transfer and won't let you pay with a credit card-definite signs of a scam.

* An e-mail arrives that is supposedly from a friend who is traveling in Europe and had his wallet stolen and can't pay his hotel bill. What do you think happens next? You are asked to wire money-Don't do it!

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