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Heat Illness Farm Injuries in the Central Valley

Heat Illness, Farm Injuries

California sunshine is a thing most people consider desirable. It usually signifies beaches, fun and a carefree lifestyle. For tens of thousands of farmworkers, California sunshine with its blazing heat signifies heat related illness and, in some cases, death.  This is a serious problem regularly faced by those working in the fields.

The Importance of Farmworkers

The agriculture business is a highly valued enterprise in California, over $50 billion annually. The Central Valley area is responsible for $6 billion each year. More than two-thirds of the fruits and nuts Americans consume come from California and one-third of the vegetables.  Manual labor is a key part of the production of these crops.

Preventing Heat Illness and Related Farm Injuries

In 2005, California implemented regulations to help ensure that farmworkers are protected against heat illness. By law, employers must provide their farm workers with water, shade and rest. Too many farm workers were compelled to work without relief on hot days.

Employers must provide workers and their supervisors with training on preventing heat illness. They must also provide fresh drinking water for employees. Workers are taught that they should consume enough water to keep themselves sufficiently hydrated – at least one quart of water every hour. They are also encouraged to drink water whether or not they feel thirsty.

Shade must also be provided for employees. Five-minute cool-down rest periods are encouraged and workers are urged to take advantage of these breaks before they feel sick.  Since many workers earn by the amount of produce they pick, a piece-rate wage, taking a rest can mean lower pay. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office now enforces a law to make sure that laborers receive their piece-rate wage during the time the take cool-down breaks.

An Escalating Problem

According to scientists who study weather trends, the heat experienced by farmworkers will not be diminishing in the years to come. In fact, they are predicting an average increase of 5 degrees by 2060. Weather fluctuations will continue to affect crops and workers in the coming years. Unexpected freezing kills crops and drought causes lower yields. Meanwhile, farmworkers work hard harvesting whatever the crop provides.

Regulations protecting workers need to be followed. No one should get sick or die while trying to make a living and put food on the table for their family. Michael Gasparian and the attorneys at Maison Law are here to help if you or a loved one has experienced personal injury due to heat-related illness. Contact us at our Visalia, CA, office for an initial consultation. We proudly serve clients in the Central Valley area.

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The Emotional Cost of an Elderly Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death

The suddenness of a wrongful death of a loved one can be difficult to cope with no matter the age of the person. Our society has a tendency to devalue our elderly citizens; however, when an elderly loved one is the victim of a wrongful death, the emotional cost can be high.

The Shock of Loss with Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death of a loved one is often a traumatic experience. The death is usually the cause of an accident, an act of aggression, negligence or malpractice. Regardless of the cause, the shock of the loss is real. Even though the person was elderly, the fact that the death was unexpected means that there was no opportunity to prepare for it.

Even in situations where death is imminent, a person can only do so much emotionally in anticipation of the impending loss of a loved one. When the day of death finally arrives, there may still be a sense of loss, even though it may also be accompanied with feelings of relief, particularly if the deceased was suffering through a prolonged illness.

In the case where there is a wrongful death, the loss is intensified. There is no time to anticipate getting used to the idea of life without the person. There are no discussions before the death about getting things in order. There is no preparation, no opportunity to say goodbye.

The Elderly and Wrongful Death

Wrongful death in the elderly population is often the result of injuries due to an accident, professional malpractice, negligence or abuse in a facility. When a parent, grandparent or elderly spouse dies due to an act of another person, sometimes survivors may feel guilty.

In the case of neglect or abuse in a facility, loved ones may feel they should have been aware of what was happening. They may feel that had they been more involved, the outcome would have been different. This is not necessarily true. Nursing home surveys show a substantial amount of neglect and abuse. The American Medical Association discovered that even modest abuse greatly increases an elderly person’s chances of dying prematurely compared to those who experience no abuse.

The emotional costs of wrongful death are always challenging, advanced years notwithstanding. If you feel your elderly loved one died unnecessarily due to another person, you can contact Maison Law for a consultation. We have experience in personal injury law and we proudly serve the Central Valley area. Our main office is located in Visalia, CA. For compassionate excellence in legal representation, call on Michael Gasparian and the lawyers at Maison Law.

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Pedestrian Accidents: Why Most Are Avoidable

Pedestrian accidents

There is a lot in the media these days about distracted driving and how using mobile devices is often the cause of accidents. Unfortunately, the same can be said about pedestrians. More people are on their cellphone texting, talking and using apps than ever before. Some reports are citing this as a reason pedestrian accidents have gone up.

Distracted Walking

Accidents are more likely to happen when a pedestrian is absorbed in his or her cellphone instead of being aware of their surroundings. Distracted walking causes injuries in various places, including the home and away from traffic areas. However, fatalities can occur when distractions occur in or around traffic.

The Governors Highway Safety Association report of 2017 states that the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles was almost 6,000, similar to the number of pedestrian fatalities of 2016. While not all of these deaths could be attributed to distracted walking, some were. Accidents occur in intersections, parking lots, non-intersection areas and at night.

Preventing Pedestrian Accidents

Many pedestrian accidents can be avoided. Alcohol consumption is involved in nearly half the accidents between cars and pedestrians. Blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 has been determined to be a factor in at least a third of the fatal pedestrian accidents. Needless to say, sobriety is one factor in pedestrian safety.

Another factor is paying attention to where you are walking and not allowing yourself to be distracted by your cellphone. If you do use it, don’t use it when approaching traffic areas, such as intersections or parking lots. When your head is down and your attention is focused on your phone, you are vulnerable to being struck by a vehicle.

Drivers are sometimes distracted themselves. Electric vehicles may move so silently that you may not hear one coming toward you. You may be in a driver’s blind spot. Ultimately, for the most part, the pedestrian must be alert to be in control of his or her own safety.

Be Alert

Whether you are a pedestrian or a motorist, the bottom line is that you need to be alert at all times. For pedestrians, distracted walking can cause you to bump into people, trip over obstacles on the sidewalk and be a victim of a collision with a moving vehicle. Likewise, motorists also run the risk of hitting both cars and people when they are not paying attention.

Pedestrian accidents can be avoided when people take the necessary precautions to ensure their own safety and, in the case of motorists, the safety of others as well. Stay sober and stay alert. Your life may depend on it.

Michael Gasparian and the attorneys at Maison Law encourage you to practice safety in your driving and walking. We see the tragedy inflicted on families when accidents happen. As experienced lawyers in personal injury law, we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident. We proudly service the Central Valley area near Visalia, California.

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The Fatal Car Accident: When Speed Is a Factor

Fatal Car Accident

It is not surprising that speed has a lot to do with the severity of accidents and is a great contributor to fatal car accidents. The higher the speed of a vehicle, the more serious the accident. This formula applies to all types of accidents involving vehicles, whether it is a single-vehicle accident, or one that involves a pedestrian, biker or other vehicles.

Vehicle Speed and the Pedestrian

It is pretty obvious when a pedestrian is involved that the speed of the vehicle has a lot to do with determining the severity of the pedestrian’s injuries. The odds of a pedestrian being killed by a motorist traveling at 20 mph or slower are very low. In fact, there is a 5% chance that a fatal accident could be caused at this speed.

The chances for fatality greatly increase with only a 10mph increase in speed. At 35 mph, a pedestrian has a 45% chance of being killed. At 60 mph, it is pretty certain that a pedestrian will not survive.

Increased Speed Leads to Fatal Car Accidents

Collisions between cars also have dire consequences as the speed increases. When a car is going slowly, the risk of serious injury is about 1%. At 50 mph, the risk increases to 69% for injury and the risk for serious injury increases to 52%. A fatal car accident is practically inevitable at speeds of 70 mph or more.

Speeding makes it more difficult for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle. At faster speeds it becomes more challenging to maneuver around corners or avoid objects in the road. The vehicle also requires more distance to stop at higher speeds. The reaction time is also reduced when a driver is faced with a dangerous situation.

Take It Easy

Speeding may cause a fatal car accident if the driver should lose control or not be able to stop in time if an emergency arises. It is equally important not to drive too slowly on freeways as this can set up circumstances for an accident due to uneven traffic flow.

There are many reasons why people feel the need to speed. Being late for an engagement, not paying attention to the speed limit, and aggressive behavior are a few of the reasons. The speeding driver may not feel that he or she is vulnerable to the consequences of speeding. Unfortunately, such a person is putting the lives of others and their own life on the line.

Michael Gasparian and the attorneys at Maison Law are experienced personal injury lawyers proudly serving the Central Valley area. Our main office is located in Visalia, CA, and we invite you to contact us for a consultation to discuss your personal injury case.

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How the Dutch Reach Can Prevent a “Dooring” Bicycle Accident

Bicycle Accident

There are several reasons why bicycling is becoming more popular as a mode of primary transportation for people. As more people take to two wheels, more bicycle accidents occur and one of the top accidents in urban areas is the “dooring.” This is a preventable accident which often leads to serious injury and sometimes death.

The “Dooring” Bicycle Accident

Imagine riding down the street on your bicycle when, without any warning, a car door opens in front of you. You have limited options. Brake as hard as you can and pray that your bike stops before hitting the door, swerve to get out of the way, or prepare to slam into the door head-on.

If you are very fortunate, you may be able to brake in time and save yourself and your bicycle from harm. Many people in dooring bicycle accidents are not so lucky. People have flipped off their bikes as they smashed into the car door, while others have been severely injured or killed as they swerved into traffic to avoid hitting the door. One simple maneuver by motorists can prevent this type of bicycle accident.

The Dutch Reach

This simple maneuver can eliminate dooring bicycle accidents completely if taught as part of driver’s education and adopted as a regular part of safe driving habits. Instead of automatically opening your door with your left hand, with the Dutch Reach, you use your right hand. When you reach across your body with your right hand, you naturally swivel to see your side mirror and you look out and back as you open the door slowly.

The Dutch people have used this maneuver for so long that it is a natural reflex when opening the car door. As of yet, the Dutch Reach is not that well known in the United States, however, Dr. Michael Charney, a retired physician, launched the Dutch Reach Project with the intention of making the practice known here.

What Cyclists Can Do

It takes drivers and cyclists working together to prevent bicycle accidents. Not all motorists will practice or even know about the Dutch Reach, so cyclists will need to be proactive with their own safety measures. You must ride defensively and as much as possible stay out of the zone where you are likely to get doored. This is usually the far left side of a bicycle lane when those are available.

Always be ready to apply the brakes. Expect the unexpected when driving near parked or stopped vehicles. You may be riding in the bike zone, but do not develop a feeling of false security. Even in bike zones, you may be vulnerable.

A bicycle accident can cause serious if not fatal injuries. At Maison Law, we provide excellent representation for those involved in personal injury cases. You can contact us for a complimentary consultation about your injury or that of a loved one. We also offer transportation for those who need it.

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The Fatal Car Accident: When Speed Is a Factor

car accident

It is not surprising that speed has a lot to do with the severity of accidents and is a great contributor to fatal car accidents. The higher the speed of a vehicle, the more serious the accident. This formula applies to all types of accidents involving vehicles, whether it is a single-vehicle accident, or one that involves a pedestrian, biker or other vehicles.

Vehicle Speed and the Pedestrian

It is pretty obvious when a pedestrian is involved that the speed of the vehicle has a lot to do with determining the severity of the pedestrian’s injuries. The odds of a pedestrian being killed by a motorist traveling at 20 mph or slower are very low. In fact, there is a 5% chance that a fatal accident could be caused at this speed.

The chances for fatality greatly increase with only a 10mph increase in speed. At 35 mph, a pedestrian has a 45% chance of being killed. At 60 mph, it is pretty certain that a pedestrian will not survive.

Increased Speed Leads to Fatal Car Accidents

Collisions between cars also have dire consequences as the speed increases. When a car is going slowly, the risk of serious injury is about 1%. At 50 mph, the risk increases to 69% for injury and the risk for serious injury increases to 52%. A fatal car accident is practically inevitable at speeds of 70 mph or more.

Speeding makes it more difficult for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle. At faster speeds it becomes more challenging to maneuver around corners or avoid objects in the road. The vehicle also requires more distance to stop at higher speeds. The reaction time is also reduced when a driver is faced with a dangerous situation.

Take It Easy

Speeding may cause a fatal car accident if the driver should lose control or not be able to stop in time if an emergency arises. It is equally important not to drive too slowly on freeways as this can set up circumstances for an accident due to uneven traffic flow.

There are many reasons why people feel the need to speed. Being late for an engagement, not paying attention to the speed limit, and aggressive behavior are a few of the reasons. The speeding driver may not feel that he or she is vulnerable to the consequences of speeding. Unfortunately, such a person is putting the lives of others and their own life on the line.

Michael Gasparian and the attorneys at Maison Law are experienced personal injury lawyers proudly serving the Central Valley area. Our main office is located in Visalia, CA, and we invite you to contact us for a consultation to discuss your personal injury case.

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Planning Summer Camp for the Kids? Read This First

Summer Camp

It may seem premature to start thinking about summer camp for the kids, but good camps fill up early. The closer it gets to summer, the more likely you’ll be on the waiting list for your first choice. However, before you make any final decisions, for your child’s safety, you should do a little homework.

Sexual Abuse at Summer Camp

A report by CBS in 2018 revealed that many kids have allegedly been subjected to sexual abuse while attending summer camp. According to their investigation, within the last 55 years, over 500 cases of child sexual abuse have been reported. It is suspected that the number is much higher because cases like this are not always brought to light. In 2018, according to the CBS investigation, 21 cases had been reported.

Millions of children attend summer camp each year and parents expect their children will be properly cared for and safe during that time. For the most part, this is the case, but kids are away from home and parents, which may give them a false sense of security because they feel independent. This factor may prepare the way for some kids to become victims of sexual abuse.

What’s Lacking in Summer Camp

Regulations for camps is on a state-by-state basis. Currently there are no national regulations for summer camps. Some states, like California, require background checks for camp staff. Eight states do not have any requirements for overnight camps to be licensed. Eighteen states do not require background checks for camp employees. Additionally, there are thousands of foreign camp counselors whose background check may not pick up misconduct from their home country.

A Parent’s Due Diligence

Summer camp can be an important part of a child’s life. The experience provides a chance for children to widen their horizons, explore the world, get close to nature, and more. Most children have fond memories of camp, but for those who are sexually abused, the experience is a nightmare. Parents can take preventive action.

A highly-recommended camp is not immune to less-than-desirable camp staff. Talk to camp owners to find out how extensive background checks are – especially if your child is going to go to a camp located outside of the state. Also, teach your kids about being safe. Make sure they know the difference between what is appropriate and what is not.

Know the signs of child sexual abuse. If your child seems changed in a negative way when he or she returns from camp, you need to find out why. No child should be subjected to abuse of any kind and it is up to parents to do what they can to keep kids safe.

Sexual abuse can leave emotional and/or physical scars for life. Martin Gasparian and Maison Law work to help victims of personal injury secure compensation for their loss. Located in Visalia, California, we also work with clients in Bakersfield and Fresno. Call on us when you have a personal injury case. We represent people, not corporations.

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Traumatic Head Injuries Caused by a Car Accident

Traumatic Head Injuries, car accident

Some of the most devastating outcomes of motor vehicle accidents are traumatic head injuries. A blow to the head during a car accident can have severe and long-term consequences if a brain injury occurs. Victims of vehicle accidents that have sustained head trauma need to understand the serious nature of these injuries and the impact they could have on their life.

Any trauma to the head needs to be taken seriously. When a person is in a car accident, traumatic head injuries can occur. These can vary from visible injuries to the head or face to internal injuries that can be difficult to detect. It is vital that all victims of car accidents are examined to ensure they have not suffered brain or other injuries to the head.

Common Car Accident Traumatic Head Injuries

The scope of traumatic head injuries caused by a car accident can extend from contusions to brain injuries. The impact to the head could be as minor as a black eye that will heal in a few days or as major as a life-altering brain injury. Some of the common traumatic head injuries caused by a car accident include:

  • Facial fractures
  • Skull fractures
  • Ear, eye or nose injuries
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Contusions and lacerations

Even if there are no signs of physical damage to the head, there can be serious damage to the brain. While impact to the head can be the most damaging to the brain, even whiplash can cause a TBI. The head does not need to be directly impacted to cause a brain injury that can have long-term cognitive effects.

Compensation for Car Accident Victims with Head Injuries

It is vital that victims of car accidents receive a comprehensive exam to determine if they have any traumatic head injuries. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, the victim can seek compensation if they sustained head injuries. Due to the serious nature of TBI and other traumatic head injuries, it is critical for victims to have legal representation to fight for compensation.

If you or a loved one sustained traumatic head injuries from a car accident in Tulare County, contact us at Maison Law. We offer no-obligation, free consultations to discuss personal injury cases. Call our office in Visalia to schedule your appointment – we offer free transportation, concierge service, or we can come to you to discuss your case.

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Recovering Loss of Wages After a Truck Accident

Recovering Loss of Wages, Truck Accident

If you are seriously injured in a truck accident, you can face a long road to recovery. Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can inflict devastating injuries to those who are in their path during an accident. Not only are there medical bills and ongoing treatments you may need, you could be unable to work for long periods of time after a serious truck accident. Recovering loss of wages is a vital component in your claim that needs to be carefully calculated.

Any motor vehicle accident can cause serious injuries. With truck accidents, the chance of disabling injuries is higher. Returning to work may not be possible for weeks, months or years – in some cases, returning to the same type of work may be impossible. As part of a truck accident claim, calculating the lost income caused by the injury will be a major component of the award in a personal injury lawsuit.

Recovering Loss of Wages in a Truck Accident Claim

If a victim of a negligent truck accident is unable to work due to their injury, loss of income may be part of their claim. Insurance companies for the truck driver and trucking company will fight to pay out as little as possible for losses. Recovering loss of wages for time lost from work immediately after the truck accident can be simple; however, calculating future loss of wages can be more difficult.

When a truck accident injury will result in ongoing time lost from work, this monetary award needs to consider many factors. A forensic economist may be required to complete a thorough and accurate estimation on how much income will be lost based on the scope of the injury. Factors that need to be considered include the level of disability, age of the victim, employment history, education level and lost earning capacity. It is vital to have legal representation to ensure the victim has experts to help fight for his rights to recovering loss of wages in the past, present and future.

Are you a victim of a serious injury truck accident in Fresno, Bakersfield or Tulare County? Contact our team at Maison Law in Visalia to discuss your case. We offer free initial consultations and you never need to pay upfront legal fees if we take your case. Let us help you fight for your right to compensation, including recovering loss of wages, medical bills and other losses. Call us today.

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Can a Price Really Be Put On an Eye Injury?

Eye Injury

It is easy to take healthy eyesight for granted. If you have never experienced vision loss or an eye injury, count yourself lucky. When an accident causes disfiguring damage to an eye or loss of vison, the victim’s life can be altered forever. Even with medical treatments, some eye damage cannot be undone. When severe eye injuries occur, there is no amount of money that can pay for the damage.

Common Eye Injury Accidents

For as valuable as our eyes are to our vision, function and appearance, they are exceedingly vulnerable. Exposure to chemicals, impact or puncture can cause irreversible damage to vision or the function of the eye. Even if the eye is not damaged, vision can be affected from head trauma or damage to the optical nerve. Some of the common accidents that can cause eye injury include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Workplace chemical-exposure accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Slip and fall accidents

Even with the many medical advancements, eye injuries can be difficult to treat.  Physical damage to the eye can cause both sensory loss and aesthetic concerns. When a preventable accident causes an eye injury, it can be difficult to put a price on the loss for the victim.

Compensation for Eye Injury Accidents

When an eye injury is caused by negligence, a personal injury lawsuit can seek compensation for damages. While no amount of money can make up for loss of vision or the pain of disfigurement, it can help victims avoid financial distress from their injury. To determine a “price” for an eye injury, many factors are considered. Some include:

  • Medical costs for treatment
  • Ongoing medical equipment or therapy needs
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Impact on quality of life

Because your eyes and vision are priceless, those who caused the eye injury should be held accountable for the damages and losses. If you or a loved one have sustained a serious eye injury caused by someone else’s negligence, contact our team at Maison Law. We can help you seek compensation for your loss and we will fight to get the highest award possible in your case. We serve clients from Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and the surrounding communities.