What is the difference between a tort and a crime?

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2012 at 4:36 pm    

In tort law, it is you, the individual, who have been wronged; you seek damages for your own injuries by filing a lawsuit in your own name in civil court.

In criminal law, by contrast, the community as a whole seeks justice. Crimes like murder, arson, rape and burglary, to name a few, cannot be tolerated by society, and one who community such acts must be dealt with appropriately. A criminal complain is filed in the name of the people (or the state), not the victim’s name. While tort law compensates the victim by awarding a sum of money designed to make him or her “whole,” criminal law punishes the criminal, usually by imprisonment or fine, or both.

The fact that some crimes are also torts in one reason for much of the confusion between a tort and a crime. Battery, for instance, is both a crime and a tort. If someone hits you , you can sue the person in a civil court for the tort of battery to recover your damages. The state also can prosecute that person for the crime of battery. Many crimes do not have a specific tort counterpart, but you can still sue the person in civil court for your injuries. For example, there is no tort called “rape”. But a rape victim can sue her assailant in civil court for the torts of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence of someone else it is important to contact an experienced California injury lawyer at Venardi Zurada LLP. Call for a free consultation

Xaralto litigation

Posted on Friday, September 28th, 2012 at 8:40 am    

Xaralto is a new oral anticoagulant invented and manufactured by Bayer and marketed in the U.S. by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. It is classifed as a direct-factor Xa inhibitor and the first of its kind. Like Pradaxa, it has a long half-life of 7 to 11 hours but factor Xa activity does not return to normal within 24 hours so once-daily dosing is possible. Like Pradaxa there is no antidote, therefore there is no specific way to reverse the anticoagulant effect of a major bleeding event unlike Coumadin (warfarin).

Xaralto is indicated for reduction of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, systemic embolism and deep venous thrombosis (DVT)

We expect to see bleeding problems with this drug like Pradaxa because of the long duration of action and absence of an antidote.

If you have experienced an injury or death due to Xaralto, please call Venardi Zurada LLP for a free consultation.

Fatal Boating Accident-Yuba County

Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2012 at 8:43 am    

Penn Valley lost two of their beloved members of this rural community. On Saturday, September 15th at approximately 6:30pm on Lake Englebright, 53 year-old Jeffrey Sandow of Auburn was boating under the influence (BUI) and struck another boat that had a family of three. Cynthia Peterlin, 42 and her daughter, Sophi Peterlin, 12 were killed when the boat driven by Paul Peterlin, 42 was struck broadside by Sandow’s water craft said Lt. Damon Gil of the Yuba County Sheriff’s department. Paul Peterlin, Cynthia’s husband was life flighted to Sutter Roseville’s trauma unit. He was listed in serious condition according to a hospital spokesperson.

Jeffrey Sandow was arrested for being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal accident. Mr. Sandow posted $100,000 bail on Monday, September 17th. He was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with special circumstances.

12 year-old Sophie Peterlin attend Mt. Saint Mary’s School in Grass Valley. Sophie was a member of the girl’s basketball there and the school has provided grief counseling for students. Sophie and Cynthia Peterlin are survived by Paul Peterlin (father and husband) and two brothers, Alek and Brock. They are an outstanding family of the community according to Penn Vally residents.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident, call Venardi Zurada LLP for a free consult.

Construction Site Injuries, Fatalities: A Surprising Correlation

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2012 at 8:44 am    

Construction workers are accustomed to dangerous environments. They work around heavy machinery surrounded by loud noises and often scale dizzying heights. California, like many states, has made progress in terms of safety protocols and regulations at construction sites, yet to this date the construction industry remains the deadliest in the nation. A recent study, however, found a surprising relationship between the fatality rates and non-fatal injury rates reported at construction sites in different states.

The study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, revealed that states reporting fewer nonfatal injuries and accidents had higher fatality rates among construction workers.

Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky were at the top of the list. Construction workers in these southern states generally earn less, receive less in terms of workers’ compensation benefits and are less likely to be unionized than elsewhere in the country. On the other hand, western states like California, where construction workers’ wages and workers’ compensation benefits are better and union organization stronger, the study found a higher rate of nonfatal injuries and a lower fatality rate.

The researchers noted that better workers’ compensation benefits are naturally an incentive to workers to report more injuries in those states. They compared the situation to medical error reporting at hospitals, where higher numbers can actually indicate a more transparent system, perhaps one more open to safety improvements. They also suggested that states with high rates of construction worker fatalities and low non-fatal injury rates may be underreporting their non-fatal statistics, because those numbers are not monitored as closely as fatality statistics (which are reported and tracked with a high level of accuracy).

Construction workers commonly suffer from injuries related to faulty equipment and tools, accidents on scaffolds and cranes, falls from ladders or into uncovered manholes, exposure to chemicals or electricity and any number of other conditions. Such injuries can leave a worker with significant medical expenses and debt from lost wages.

Tragic accidents where construction workers lose their lives at a job site leave families struggling to cope. Increased attention to fatality rate statistics, as highlighted by this study, should help focus efforts to improve workplace safety at construction sites in the future.

Source: EHS Today, “States With Low Nonfatal Injury Rates in the Construction Industry Have High Fatality Rates,” Sandy Smith, May 9, 2012

Employers Must Protect Construction Workers from Electrocution Hazards

Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at 8:47 am    

Construction sites contain all sorts of hazards that bring outsized sources of power into contact with workers. Forklifts, cranes and trucks and the loads they handle dwarf the people who work on or near them, and high voltage lines and new wiring threaten fatal shocks and burns.

Electrocution remains a major threat to construction laborers and electricians as well as carpenters, roofers and job site supervisors, leading to thousands of injuries and an average of more than 140 deaths each year in the U.S. The cause of harm is most often contact with electrical wiring and overhead power lines, but workers can also receive severe shocks from power tools and machinery – about one in seven construction electrocution fatalities involves household voltage levels.

Employers have a serious responsibility to foster a safe working environment by maintaining lockout/tagout practices and other safety policies to ensure that equipment is de-energized when someone is working on it and machinery does not come into contact with power lines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a clear set of rules that define employer’s obligations to worker safety.

OSHA generates a range of training resources to provide basic electrical safety knowledge and prevent worksite electrocutions. One good example is using ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) technology to halt the flow of current when a worker or crane makes contact with a high-voltage wire.

Electricity does not have to stop a beating heart or cause burn injuries to result in harm. Workers on ladders or scaffolding who receive shocks can fall or drop equipment on those below them. When that results from an employer’s negligence or reckless indifference to worker safety, a burn injury and wrongful death lawyer can explain a client’s options for recovery of damages.

Teen Drivers With Teen Passengers: A Recipe for Distraction

Posted on Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 8:52 am    

A recent study by the AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that the presence of other teenagers in a novice driver’s car can be a factor in causing traffic accidents. This study confirms what many parents commonly understand: that the presence of teenage passengers is a distraction to teenage drivers and potentially causes more car accidents than driving alone or with a parent.

The study is the first conducted since the adoption in some states of “graduated licensing” laws, some of which stipulate that teen drivers may not have anyone else in the vehicle with them under 21 years of age, or in other cases limit them to one other teen in the car. The study found that the risk of death for a driver between the ages of 16 and 17 increased as the number of teenage passengers rose. The study revealed that:

  • The risk goes up by 44 percent with one passenger under the age of 21
  • It doubles with two passengers under age 21
  • With three or more young passengers in the car, the risk quadruples

On the other hand, when someone 35 or older rides along with the teenage driver, the risk drops by 62 percent.

There is cause for some optimism regarding teen drivers from the study: over the past decade,fatal car accidents involving 16 and 17-year-old drivers dropped by 50 percent. However, there is reason for caution as well, as 40 percent of the younger teen drivers who died in accidents during this same period had at least one passenger under 21, and teen driving deaths appear to have risen slightly in the first six months of 2011.

A spokesman for the AAA stated that just because a state has a graduated licensing law doesn’t mean the laws are being followed. It is difficult for police to pull over teen drivers with passengers just because they look young, although police can cite drivers for having too many young passengers if they are pulled over on an unrelated violation. Parents, therefore, must be the ones enforcing these laws.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Teen Drivers Distracted By The Presence Of Other Passengers: Study,” Joan Lowy, May 8, 2012

Federal agency wants to mandate accelerator override systems

Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 8:55 am    

If the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has its way, brake-throttle override systems, already standard on many new vehicles, will become mandatory in the somewhat near future. NHTSA recently proposed regulations that would require auto manufacturers to install override systems on most new cars as well as trucks and buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds, The Washington Post reported.

The proposal comes on the heels of a NHTSA investigation into accelerator defects in Toyota models starting in 2009. In one example from California in 2009, a Lexus driven by a veteran highway patrolman suddenly reached high speeds when the accelerator pedal got trapped against the floor mat. The driver applied the brakes but was unable to stop the car. Four people died as a result of the auto accident.

Override systems are intended to prevent unintended acceleration caused by accelerator pedals sticking or getting caught in floor mats. They also protect drivers when they mistakenly step on both the gas and brake pedals at the same time; the override system would cause the car to break rather than speed up. NHTSA’s proposed regulations also seek to minimize drivers’ risk of losing control of their vehicle through accidental disconnections of cars’ accelerator-control systems.

The subsequent NHTSA investigation concluded that similar problems with floor mat interference with gas pedals was a common cause of unintended acceleration. In response, Toyota recalled 2.17 million vehicles with possible accelerator defects in February 2011. Toyota was also forced to pay a $50 million fine for failing to implement the recall in a timely manner, according to the Post.

Semi-truck driver causes fatal California car accident

Posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 8:57 am    

A semi-truck driver went unharmed in a tragic California accident that resulted in the death of the driver of a classic car Sunday morning on Highway 101. The accident occurred south of Chualar. The truck collided with the 1962 Buick Electra as it approached from behind in the southbound lane. The impact caused the car to swerve out of control and roll over as it crossed over the center median, according to KSBW.com. The driver was ejected from the car and died.

In fatal truck accident cases, victims’ family members might have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their lost loved one. On the other hand, if the accident resulted in injuries, whether minor or severe, the injured motorist might be able to pursue a personal injury claim.
Either way, if another driver negligently caused the crash, victims and their families can seek to recover compensation for such damages as:

  • Medical costs
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Although the big-rig accident remains under investigation, neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a contributing factor, according to the California Highway Patrol. The CHP also reported that the truck driver failed to see the car, which was traveling in a line of classic cars, even though a motor home sped up and passed the car shortly before the accident. It was unclear why the truck driver failed to see the Buick or the motor home.

Source: KSBW.com, “1 killed after accident on Highway 101 near Chualar,” April 22, 2012.

Physicist Develops App That Can Stop Texting While Driving

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 9:01 am    

All it took was two words from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood – “deadly epidemic” – to inspire physicist Mike Watkins to find a way to fight texting while driving.

Watkins correctly theorized that when people are texting and driving, their texting looks as distracted as their driving. Based on this, Watkins, along with fellow scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, developed a mathematical equation that is 99 percent accurate in detecting the chaotic texting pattern created while driving.

The scientists believe their equation can be developed into a cellphone application that can prevent car accidents. The application would let the driver know he or she is driving dangerously or could shut the phone off when the pattern is detected.

While the technology is not likely to be mandated by government agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Watkins believes this application would improve driving safety, benefiting all drivers and passengers. Parents, employers and insurance companies may also see a benefit to the app.

According to the NHTSA, nearly 5,500 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 more were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers in the U.S. in just one year. Statistics show that, in 2009, 16 percent of all fatal and 20 percent of injury accidents involved a distracted driver. And, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers that text while behind the wheel are at a 23 times greater risk of crashing than if they were not texting.

People injured in distracted-driving accidents are able to hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions through personal injury lawsuits. These lawsuits allow injured people to recover compensation for medical bills, future rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Fatal Crash Kills Father and Daughter

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012 at 9:11 am    

Concord, CA. 17-year old David Rosen of Concord, CA lost control of his 2002 Cadillac Escalade Saturday, April 7 on Treat Blvd in Concord. Witnesses reported that the SUV was allegedly speeding beyond the posted 45 MPH speed limit.

41-year old Solaiman Nuri and his 9-year old daughter, Hadessa, died Saturday morning around 9:30am as they bicycled home from Jamba Juice. Nuri’s 12-year old daughter, Hannah survived the crash with minimum injuries. All three were wearing bicycle helmets. Hannah who survived was crying and pointed back towards her dead father where he lay with his bicycle.

The teen apparently lost control of his vehicle and sheared off a fire hydrant, struck the cyclists then slammed into a brick medical services building. He was treated for minor wounds then arrested for vehicular manslaughter and brought to Juvenile Hall in Martinez police reported.

It is unclear at this point whether drugs or alcohol were involved. Investigators drew a blood sample from the teen. Police are also investigating phone records to see if Rosen may have been on his cell phone when the wreck occurred.
Mr. Nuri was an immigrant from Afghanistan who came to America so that his family could have a better life. He was an incredibly hard worker who also coached his daughter’s soccer teams. His wife, Stoorai Nuri survives Solaiman. She is a nurse at John Muir Hospital and decided to skip the bicycle ride, opting to have breakfast ready for her husband and daughters when they returned.

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a auto accident, call Venardi Zurada LLP for a free consult. Our firm will give you the same aggressive, competent representation provided to high paying corporations. We are dedicated to helping those that have experienced serious and catastrophic personal injuries and wrongful deaths.