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Many consumers choose aftermarket car seat covers to keep the seats of their car fresh. For people with side airbags, however, this could be a deadly choice.

Add-on seat covers do not hold the attraction to car buyers that they used too. Our car seats are still getting daily wear and tear and the occasional drop of ketchup or drip of coffee but less car owners are opting for seat covers. One reason is the safety issues related to seat-side airbags.

Seat-mounted side airbags are in most modern automobiles. They are most often found under the factory seat-back covers, nearest the doors on both outboard sides of the front seats. They are identified by the labels sewn into the side of the seat panel. An explosive canister is lodged inside geared to inflate airbags in the event of a crash.

Myriad class action suits course through the court systems every day at both the state and federal levels. Many of which wait for years and never reach the vital stage of class court certification, the most decisive step toward obtaining a settlement. The famous class action employee discrimination suit against Walmart by female employees went on for 11 years and was finally defeated by the supreme court in 2011. Many class action lawsuits reach settlements with payout amounts spanning a wide spectrum. Some payouts reach into the billions.

1998 Tobacco Master $206 Billion

This suit was brought by 46 different states attorneys as a consolidation of cases so it is not technically a class action. It was brought on behalf of states against several tobacco manufacturers. It merits inclusion for the similarities to a class action lawsuit and the sheer size it encompasses.  Brown & Williamson, Lorillard, Phillip Morris, and RJ Reynolds settled with the attorney generals for expenditures by the states for the treatment of illnesses caused by smoking in the various state funded medical programs. Doing so kept them from getting sued privately by individuals. The $206 billion is set to be paid to the states over a span of 30 years.

The family of a man who died in the Humboldt County Jail in 2014 was awarded $2.5 million in damages by a federal jury in August 2017. The jury found that three corrections officers were negligent in failing to initiate proper screening of the man before placing him in a sobering cell. The county was also to blame for failure to adequately train the officers. It was noted that the officers were not thought to have acted with malice or a conscious disregard for human life. The trial lasted four and a half days. The six man, two woman jury deliberated for 10 hours before delivering their unanimous verdict.

The man who died, Daren Ethan Borges was a 42-year-old homeless man. He had been diagnosed as schizophrenic. He was arrested on June 13, 2013 for public intoxication in Eureka. Officers first detained him at approximately 2:15 p.m. as he stood at the Seventh and D Street corner. He was booked into jail by 2:40 p.m. He was placed in a sobering cell alone. Officers checked on him at 4:00 p.m. but found him unresponsive. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead approximately 20 minutes later.

The federal civil rights lawsuit was brought by Stephany Borges, the deceased mother. It was filed by Dale Galipo and John Fattahi, two southern California lawyers. The suit originally named the city of Eureka, county of Humboldt, individual officers with both agencies and the California Forensic Medical Group, Inc., which administered medical services at the jail on a contract basis, as defendants. U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, however, dismissed the case against Eureka and its officers. California Forensic Medical Group agreed to settle its portion of the case for $250,000. Humboldt County did not make a settlement offer in the case. Sheriff Mike Downey and four officers were the only defendants left in the suit when it went to court in August.

The death of a California college student by a distracted driver prompts his father to file a claim against Apple for a failure to institute a program to disable texting while driving.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge, Judge Maureen Folan decided against plaintiff Craig Riggs in August, saying he had not adequately proved that  Apple should bear responsibility in the death of his son, David Riggs in 2013. The suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning no option of refiling the claim.

David Riggs died in 2013 while riding a scooter on the way to his Minnesota home. He was hit by a distracted teen driver sending text messages on his iPhone in a Honda Civic. The teen was only convicted of a misdemeanor.

Maria Gaglione, 24, from Pittsburg, died after the car she was a passenger in during a high-speed chase with police in a stolen car. Her parents assert she did not know the car had been stolen 2 days earlier and was not participating in the flight from law.

Jurors at a coroner’s inquest ruled the death was not an accident and was caused by the police in a negligent and dangerous chase. The father of the victim spoke out in agreement with the decision. Two Clayton sheriff’s deputies chased the car at speeds of over 80 MH in an area designated at 25 MPH in Concord. The driver of the stolen car was Amy Fiasconaro, 32, of Antioch. She lost control of the car and hit a wall at 109 MPH. She also hit a tree on Myrtle Drive in front of Myrtle Farm Montessori School. The roof of the car smashed Gaglione in the passenger seat. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Fiasconaro was found a few feet away crawling around on her hands and knees. She first said Gaglione was driving. Fiasconaro was found to have heroin and methamphetamine in her bloodstream.

Coroner’s inquests are held in all officer-involved or in-custody deaths in Contra Costa County.  They are publicly held to determine the cause of death. Findings cannot be appealed. They have no criminal or civil implications. Gaglione’s death was said to have been caused by someone’s negligence and not an accident. Her father feels the police were at fault and should be fired and imprisoned.

Trees falling onto motorists traveling along the highway can be deadly. This has proved to be a consistent problem in the Tahoe Basin area year after year, season after season. In September, California Public Service workers will begin cutting down trees that are drought-weakened or dead. This major statewide effort attempts to protect motorists from falling trees.

Earlier this year, during heavy winter snowstorm weather on Highway 89, a tree fell into the roadway and killed a Tahoe City woman as she drove in her car in Squaw Valley. Other mountain highways near the lake have also experienced tragic crashes caused by falling limbs and trees. Highway 89 will be where crews begin their work. A $115 million California safety campaign has made it possible for crews to have already cut more than 100,00 dead trees all over the state on state property next to highways.

The next step in the process begins after Labor Day when crews will begin cutting trees on private property that sits adjacent to highways. According to the State Department of Transportation, crews are instructed to approach private dwellings and ask for permission to cut the trees at the expense of the state. The trees must be dead and in danger of obstructing the roadway to be cut down. Once trees are marked to be cut, property owners will receive a Permission to Enter form in the mail within one to six months. It is illegal for the state to cut down trees on private property without the owner’s permission. Some dead trees on private property have already been marked along highways around Tahoe including 28, 50, 89, and 267, which are all used heavily by skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.

If you are in a car accident you have to prove any damages you have claimed in order to get the compensation owed to you for any damages in the accident. It is a common concern accident victims have as it can be tricky to accomplish. There are several things to keep in mind to successfully prove your damages.

California is Not a No-Fault Car Accident Insurance State

In California, you must prove fault in order to prove your damages in a car accident. California is not a no-fault state and so tort law is used to determine responsibility for a car accident. Car accidents are most often the result of a driver’s negligence. Negligence is when someone does not act with due care and common sense. They violate their duty to be safe to other drivers on the road. Violation of that duty resulted in the injury of another person on the road. The injury could be personal or that of property.

The latest edition of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria has a new section instructing how to report on the newly emerging autonomous automobiles.

Administrators from all sectors of the automotive and technology fields, as well as government officials, are actively preparing for the very-near future of self-driving cars. The Governors Highway Safety Association, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have just released the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria, which is the criteria by which law enforcement and other agencies report car accident data. The fifth edition is the first to include instructions on reporting crashes involving autonomous vehicles. It is updated every five years.

Many American drivers are not aware of how soon we will be seeing self-driving cars on our roads with regularity. More companies are announcing their intent to develop these cars every year. It is estimated the United States will have several thousand self-driving vehicles on the streets by 2020. The number goes up to 4.5 million by 2035.

Have you recently been involved in a car accident? It doesn’t matter if it was your fault or someone else’s, there are probably a lot of questions popping into your head. The first few questions are usually centered on injuries, insurance and attorneys.  These three things will affect you the most immediately after an accident as well as later, just when you think it’s all over. While nothing will completely ease your stress and anxiety after an accident, having all your ducks in a row can make things a lot easier. It also eases the confusion when you make your first contact with a car accident attorney.

The Scene of the Accident

Although it is hard to, victims of a car accident should stay extremely aware the first few moments after it occurs. The more details you can recall and document from these initial moments could prove highly important to your case. Take notes of your immediate thoughts. What happened. What did you see? Write down witness statements and take down their phone numbers. Don’t forget to take down the license plate number of all vehicles involved. Everyone has a camera on their phone these days and now is the time they really come in handy. Take photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles involved and any injuries obtained. Do not remove your car from where it was hit unless there are no damages or injuries. Leave it where the accident happened until police arrive.

A new study shows Sacramento drivers are the worst out of all 75 of the most populated urban areas in the country. Drivers in Detroit and Orlando, Florida are the best. Salt Lake City, Utah has the second worst drivers in the country behind Sacramento. Two million nationwide data points were studied throughout 2016 to find these results. Incident counts for all 75 inner city areas were weighted against the occurrence percentages. Traffic citations, DUI’s, speeding tickets and number of accidents were all calculated to find the final rankings.

Sacramento earned its distinguished title of worst drivers in the country because it also has the highest rate of traffic citations in the nation. QuoteWizard Insurance, the agency reporting the study results suggested Sacramentans consider traveling the cities many waterways to work as an option to its dangerous streets. Besides Sacramento, Fresno, Riverside, San Diego and Los Angeles were also among the nation’s worst drivers.

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