Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
Personal Injury Attorney
Serving the Stockton and Petaluma California Regions
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Petaluma Premises Liability Lawyers Look at Slip and Fall Details

At Sette Law, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys know that most people are at least vaguely aware of slip and fall litigation. For instance, someone falls in a retail store, breaks a leg and subsequently sues the store owner to recover financial losses due to the serious injury. Lawyers, however, are quick to point out that this kind of law is under the umbrella of premises liability and is often anything but simple. In this July blog our Petaluma injury and accident attorneys will discuss a few of the complexities and details included in this arena of law.

Personal injury attorneys say that slip and fall incidents are very common civil court actions nationally and in Petaluma. Accident lawyers say that slip and fall liability allows the average person to recoup often significant costs incurred due to the negligence of another party. Certainly, our injury personal lawyers agree that this legal option creates greater vigilance on the part of property owners, provides financial redress for losses suffered by slip and fall victims and helps to protect people from injury. Attorneys believe that premises law serves the cause of justice, but has also been abused by litigants in the past. Consequently, laws have been refined and increasingly included protections for property owners from people who claim harm when there has been no verifiable injury accident. Lawyers must be aware of provisions that protect both the public from harm and the property owner from frivolous claims of losses due to injury. 

Attorneys Outline Slip and Fall Liability
Petaluma personal injury lawyers will first verify that the condition or item that caused a slip and fall accident can be linked to the premises owner or to his or her employee. Secondly, our liability lawyers will seek to establish these parties knew about the danger and still did nothing to remedy the condition that led to the injury. Attorneys know that current law indicates that owners exert the most control over their property and therefore bear significant responsibility to protect users of their property from harm and injury.

Our personal injury lawyers use the following example – If the owner of a boutique hotel in Petaluma knows an air conditioning unit is leaking water onto the entry stairs below and does nothing to remedy that condition, a patron or visitor who slips and falls would likely have a valid claim for personal injury. Attorneys would point to the building owner (or an employee) as responsible for the Petaluma injury. 

But lawyers say that other circumstances could change potential liability. Consider a guest on the second floor of hotel property who decides to have a smoke and chooses to do so sitting atop the window air conditioning unit. It breaks free and crashes to the ground, leaving the guest with a debilitating back injury. Here, attorneys for the property owner would have a strong case against liability for the injury accident. Lawyers would rightly point out that air conditioners were never intended for use as chairs and the responsibility lies with the guest. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say that uses outside the “normal” and commonly understood can imply a lack of liability on the part of the property owner.

Slip and fall injury accidents send lawyers into investigations that can involve several layers of potential liability. Often a building will have an owner, a manager, a lessee or tenant and employees. Petaluma personal injury attorneys are tasked with making certain an injury plaintiff identifies the proper responsible party. When this is not initially clear, an accident and injury lawyer can issue a notice of claim for more than one party – for example, an owner and a manager. If the responsible person is not noticed in the initial claim, the plaintiff may lose the ability to file at a later time. Slip and fall injury attorneys often leave the determination of responsibility up to insurance companies for the respective parties.

Liability Statutes Protect the Public from Injury
Attorneys explain that property owners have a specific responsibility that’s defined as a Duty of Care. This comes with the privilege of owning real property. The law says that a property owner must take reasonable care to provide a safe environment that protects visitors and others from injury.  But attorneys say this concept really can’t be exactly defined and universally applied to specific conditions that contribute to a Petaluma slip and fall accident. Lawyers for the injured party will have to carefully scrutinize the details of each case.

Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers offer the following example: A young child spills a bottle of water on the floor of a neighborhood grocery store and mom and toddler run off to find a store employee. Within seconds another shopper comes along and slips and falls, sustaining a serious knee injury. Lawyers say it’s not likely the store would be held responsible because the owner or employees had no notice or knowledge of the spill. However, if store management knew about the spill, left the water in the floor for thirty minutes and then a shopper slipped and fell, the store would likely shoulder liability. Attorneys further explain that property owners can take precautions to protect themselves. If store employees had surrounded the spill area with barriers and “caution” signs and someone breeched those barriers and fell, the property owner may not be held liable for the accident. Attorneys point out that ideas such as reasonable judgment pay a role in slip and fall injury claims.

Petaluma personal injury lawyers don’t expect average consumers to know all the nuances of slip and fall cases. Our most experienced liability attorneys continue to encounter new circumstances that call for additional research. But, one practice we can advise for people who experience a slip and fall accident is to pay attention to the details of the accident. Our attorneys say that noting the substance on the floor that caused the fall is very important for injury attorneys presenting evidence to the court. Our Petaluma liability attorneys know that memory can change and fade with the passage of time, and slip and fall victims must be very clear and consistent about their experience.


Product Liability Info for Petaluma

Attorneys at Sette Law in Petaluma feel it’s important for the community to be better informed about many aspects of law, such as what happens when a product causes an injury. Our lawyers are well aware that the prospect of facing off in court against a corporation is daunting for any individual who has suffered a personal injury. Attorneys in our firm understand this is intimidating for anyone who is not a legal professional in Petaluma. Liability lawyers have extensive experience in the courtroom environment and help guide clients through the complex process of product liability. Our attorneys, however, want to equip the public with some basic information about product liability and this blog will cover items that just might clarify what it takes to file a lawsuit in Petaluma.

Injury attorneys outline requirements
Petaluma personal injury lawyers work within California statutes that define product liability, which may differ from state to state. In general, there are some key conditions that must be met to show a manufacturer’s product is responsible for personal injury. Attorneys will first establish the fundamental fact that verifiable harm was done and that a plaintiff experienced financial losses because of the personal injury. A lawyer would not agree to accept a case in which someone was ‘nearly’ hurt because of a manufacturer’s defect. Indeed, the condition of “real harm” would not be satisfied. Petaluma liability attorneys offer a hypothetical case: A family buys a glass table top. The manufacturer’s sticker says the glass is tempered and therefore should not break into sharp shards that could cause very serious injury.

Lawyers would agree the sticker serves as evidence of the quality and type of the glass. Upon installing the glass on the table base, the purchaser drops it. The glass beaks into large, sharp chunks and one severs his little finger, causing medical urgency and verifiable injury. Attorneys have medical bills for emergency treatment, a sticker claiming the glass was tempered and a client who lost two weeks of work due to the personal injury. Lawyers know this scenario would likely rise to the level needed to satisfy the first criteria for liability and injury.

Attorneys then will investigate to determine how the glass was defective. Our Petaluma liability lawyers say this may not be as simple as it appears. A defect in a product can be traced to more than one source. Perhaps it happened in the design or the manufacturing process or even in the marketing of the product that caused the injury. Attorneys look carefully to identify the source that caused the Petaluma injury. Adept lawyers might consider the engineering of the glass or even the marketing company that assigned that ‘tempered glass’ sticker to the table top assuring consumers it would not break into life-threatening shards and lead to serious personal injury. Attorneys consider the entire chain of manufacture when assessing a claim for product liability.

Attorneys even look closely at product warnings and directions. These features are intended to further protect consumers from injury. Our Petaluma product liability lawyers know this as possible defective marketing that often plays a role in defective product law. In the former example of the table top, a marketing error could have led to the glass being mislabeled. Instead, installation directions and warnings should have indicated the danger of using un-tempered glass because mishandling can cause grievous injury.

Product Liability Law for Petaluma
Attorneys, however, also explain that manufacturers are protected from frivolous claims of personal injury. Our lawyers say that when a person uses an item for a task it wasn’t intended for, claim of a defect may not be credible. Consider this: A woman comes to our Petaluma personal injury attorney and explains she has damaged her appearance after using hair color to color her eyebrows. She says she now looks like Groucho Marx and the hair dye burned her eyes so badly she had to see a doctor. The hair color instructions, however, specifically warn against using the product anywhere except on hair located on the head, her Petaluma injury lawyer tells her. She argues that hair is hair – no matter the location and the product was defective and caused her harm and financial injury. Her lawyer further learns she stopped going to work because she was embarrassed. She wants her Petaluma liability attorney to argue for medical reimbursement and lost wages. Sorry, our injury attorney says. The consumer was warned and paid no attention. Her case would not meet the criteria necessary to qualify as a defect injury.

But lawyers point out that cases are not always so black an,d white. As an example our Petaluma injury attorneys offer this scenario: A man uses a barbeque fork, designed for turning meat, to pierce a potato, and stabs his hand in the process. He punctures a vein and must get medical attention for his personal injury. Our attorney would initially suspect that no product defect caused the accident but, rather, the cook’s poor judgment was responsible for the injury.

Lawyers delve closely into the details of product liability law. Our Petaluma personal injury attorneys understand that most people don’t encounter defective product law until after suffering a personal injury. A lawyer’s education, practice and interests can help people prepare to seek just compensation for losses suffered due to a product defect that’s cause injury.

Our attorneys, for example, are closely monitoring the nation’s current (and largest) product defect news involving automobile manufacturers and Takata, the maker of defective airbags that have allegedly cost deaths and injury. Our lawyers know the legal process may be lengthy and, almost certainly, very complicated. Petaluma personal injury attorneys are interested to see how many links in the manufacturing chain may be involved in upcoming legal actions and how the courts will treat individuals and families of those who suffered death or injury.

Our Petaluma injury lawyers believe that people suffering losses because of a manufacturing defect – physical, mental and/or financial losses – should be compensated by those responsible for their injury. Attorneys who specialize in defective product law facilitate and fight for justice within the often complex structure of the judicial and legal system.



Stockton Accident Attorneys review State Laws

 Stockton personal injury attorneys at Sette Law want drivers to be aware of state laws that may impact legal actions following car accidents. Attorneys say many people are not aware that all drivers of vehicles must have insurance, throughout California and in Stockton. Injury attorneys know that drivers, whether they are licensed, unlicensed or driving with an expired license are required to have insurance at least at minimum levels. Uninsured drivers involved in an accident risk losing their driver’s licenses for 12 months, according to Stockton accident attorneys.

Policies must cover the owner as well as people who may be driving their car. Our Stockton injury lawyers say state law requires $15,000 minimum coverage for death or injury and $5000 for property damaged in a Stockton car accident.  Our attorneys explain that it’s the insurer who pays damages awarded in a lawsuit related to a car accident.

Further, our injury lawyers explain that many accident lawsuits are not open and shut actions. Personal injury attorneys assist people harmed due to an accident – that harm may be medical costs, vehicle damage, income loss and, even, legal costs. In the case of a tragic death, Stockton injury lawyers can help families through a wrongful death lawsuit – gaining compensation for losses of love, financial support and future companionship. But, to provide this service to accident victims, our Stockton injury lawyers must meet a very high bar of proof that the accident directly caused the losses claimed.

Accident attorneys work to establish that a defendant failed to demonstrate reasonable duty of care that resulted in the Stockton car accident. Our lawyers say that plaintiffs often feel the cause of their accident is perfectly clear, but our Stockton injury attorneys remind clients that the defendant will also be represented by an injury lawyer who may argue that injuries were pre-existing or happened post-accident. If the debate is intense and can’t be resolved, it’s possible Stockton personal injury lawyers may end up pleading the case in front of a jury.

In addition, accident attorneys often face harsh questioning about the injury client from the defense. For example, a defense lawyer may allege the plaintiff did not get prompt medical care after the Stockton accident. Our attorneys must establish details such as this well before a case goes to trial. Or, the defense may claim the plaintiff apologized after the car accident. Injury lawyers know this is a tactic to create shared responsibility for the plaintiff’s injury. The attorney may even seek to shift blame entirely. Our Stockton personal injury lawyers must anticipate all these approaches and more to effectively represent our personal injury clients.

Our accident attorneys say personal injury actions are anything but “slam-dunk” and require deep legal expertise. Our Stockton accident attorneys know that most drivers are not naturally aware of the complexities of legal actions as the outcome of a car accident. Attorneys like ours have invested decades of education and experience to understand and navigate the legal system that manages California’s personal injury process. Lawyers at Sette Law stand ready to help accident victims recover financially and move forward.

Stockton Accident Lawyers explain Liability

Liability is generally defined as an act or as an omission that resulted in harm to a person, according to Sette’s Stockton personal injury attorneys. But, liability is not a simple concept and accident lawyers representing an injured plaintiff must prove the defendant was indeed responsible for causing the accident in Stockton. A personal injury attorney is focused on winning fair compensation for the plaintiff who has experienced physical and financial losses as the result of an accident.

Our Stockton injury lawyers deal with a wide range of liability, from contractual to industrial accidents and car accidents. Injury attorneys specialize in this niche of law that is often challenging and complicated. For example, liability in a car accident might initially appear simple to establish. But, our Stockton personal injury lawyers know that many factors can affect the outcome of a lawsuit.

Let’s present a scenario: Our Stockton injury attorney gets a call from a woman, June, who was riding her bicycle through a marked cross walk when she was hit by a young man driving a truck. She tells Catherine, her Stockton personal injury lawyer, she thinks the driver was texting and didn’t see her. She received injuries to her neck and back in the accident. Her personal injury lawyer examines the medical report to verify this claim. June also gives her Stockton accident lawyer invoices for her mounting medical bills. She is clearly injured and financially harmed by the accident. It seems pretty straight forward, right?

But Catherine, her Stockton personal injury attorney is not so confident this is a simple case. Catherine asks June why she waited for two days before seeing a doctor. An experienced injury lawyer knows that the attorney for the driver will also question this hesitation. In our practice at Sette Law we emphasize how important it is that accident victims seek immediate medical attention. We know that some muscle injuries may not manifest for 24 hours or more, but our Stockton accident lawyers also anticipate the defendant’s personal injury attorney can allege the injuries were not caused by his client but perhaps happened earlier or after the accident. June’s accident attorney will have to firmly establish the direct link between the accident and the injuries in light of the fact that June didn’t ask for prompt medical attention.

And, there’s another challenge for June’s injury lawyer to tackle. The defendant says that June pulled out in front of him and that, after the accident, she apologized, saying she was distracted by a call on her cell phone. Her Stockton injury attorney now has to counter June’s statement – that could been regarded as admission of fault in the accident. Our personal injury lawyers know that the best response to an accident is silence! Anything beyond the exchange of basic information is discouraged. Based on experience with many clients, our Stockton accident attorneys know that emotionally charged situations like car accidents can lead to people saying things they will later regret. In June’s case, that polite apology adds to the other burden she’s put on her Stockton injury attorney. Now Catherine has to explain both the comment as well as June’s failure to get immediate medical attention.

Our Stockton personal injury lawyers know that no one can totally prepare for an accident. But, with a little presence of mind, victims can protect themselves after a Stockton car accident. Attorneys advise crash victims to document the scene with cell phone pictures or videos, to get badge and report numbers from law enforcement and to immediately call a Stockton accident lawyer. Keep emotions under control and conversation down to a minimum. Save the details for your personal injury lawyer.

Principle of Shared Liability
Stockton personal injury attorneys may also find that responsibility for injuries does not rest solely with the driver in a car accident. June’s lawyer, for example, may discover that the driver was delivering items for his employer in Stockton. Injury attorneys are well versed in Vicarious Liability in which an employer, under many circumstances, will share responsibility for an accident caused by an employee. When June’s Stockton injury lawyer has overcome the previous objections regarding her statements and medical condition, the injury lawyer may establish the Statutory Liability of the business owner who hired the delivery driver in Stockton.
Personal injury lawyers say that business owners assume a great deal of responsibility in such cases. But, if June’s injury attorney is successful in establishing shared liability, she will not be fully compensated for her injuries from each source. Instead, her Stockton injury attorney will seek to establish a reasonable shared percentage for each party.

Further Liability Risks for Car Owners in Stockton
Our accident lawyers say that owners who loan their cars to friends and family may face serious consequences if the driver is involved in an accident. Attorneys say this is true if the driver is just an acquaintance or a son or daughter. In the case of children, a parent may face a charge of Negligent Entrustment due to awareness the child was an inexperienced driver in Stockton. Our injury attorneys explain that parents are likely in a position to also know their child may be reckless and at risk of a car accident. Lawyers for an injured person may seek damages from a parent by showing relevant evidence and testimony.

There are a few classes of drivers that laws consider unfit to drive, including people suffering severe illness, those using drugs or alcohol and drivers lacking a license in Stockton. But personal injury attorneys say that many other factors contribute to liability for Stockton car accidents. Our injury attorneys face the complexities of liability law on a daily basis, even with an accident that on the surface appears to be open-and-shut for a victim of a Stockton car accident. Personal injury lawyers understand  the many requirements of proving liability, as well as the defense that will be offered by a defendant’s accident attorney. 

As Stockton personal injury attorneys we seek to represent the best interest of our clients through a thorough understanding of liability law and our highly effective legal practice.



Car Accidents – Stockton Injury Lawyers share their Insights

In Stockton, car accident lawyers experience first-hand, some of the crucial mistakes made by injured parties at the scene of an accident. The minutes after an accident are often charged with emotion that, our personal injury attorneys say, can either help or harm subsequent claims for compensation by injured victims in Stockton.

Car accident lawyers at Sette Law advise victims to remain calm, quiet and observant. We are familiar with the natural urge to be angry or even apologetic after a Stockton car accident. But lawyers explain that a simple apology might, in a court of law, be perceived as an admission of responsibility for the car accident. Injury lawyers, consequently, say it is wisest to say very little beyond the essential exchange of information after a Stockton car accident.

Conversely, lawyers advise accident victims to listen, observe and record the aftermath of the car accident. Our personal injury attorneys, like most people today, depend on their Smart Phones. Individuals involved in car accidents can also use the technology to capture details that a personal injury lawyer may later use to help them recoup medical costs and damages from the driver at-fault in the Stockton car accident. Our attorneys can reference photos and videos taken at the accident scene – cell phone pictures of damages, road conditions and other factors that may have played a role in the Stockton car accident. Lawyers (and law enforcement) know that human recall is often imprecise, particularly at after a car accident. Injury attorneys at Sette Law suggest people use the recording device on their phones to capture information, comments and observations at the scene. In addition, it’s helpful to record the names of law enforcement officers and report numbers to facilitate the work of our Stockton personal injury lawyers on your behalf.

No one wants a lengthy drama after a car accident. But, car accident lawyers say it’s important to be examined for injuries, either at the scene of immediately after. Personal injury attorneys know that if a plaintiff refuses medical care or fails to seek it, a defendant’s accident attorney may suggest to a court that you were not harmed in the car accident. Further, our Stockton car accident lawyers know that some injuries are often not immediately apparent. Whip lash (common in car crashes) may not bother a victim until days after the car accident. Our lawyers therefore advise victims to take the simple precaution of being checked out immediately after a Stockton car accident so lawyers have evidence of your medical concern.

When car accident victims can stay reasonable and focused in the highly charged environment of an accident, our personal injury attorneys can work faster and more efficiently toward a resolution that compensates victims for financial losses from a Stockton car accident.

Lawyers have High Bar to prove Driver Liability in Stockton
Accident attorneys must satisfy four principles to establish liability in a car accident. Courts, based on state law, want Stockton personal injury lawyers to present evidence of causation, harm, duty and breach – four core principles. Causation means that your accident injury attorney can directly link your injuries to the actions of the defendant. To support this claim, your personal injury lawyer may ask a medical expert to testify about the cause of your injuries. If that testimony supports your claim, your Stockton injury attorney will have satisfied this category for the court.

The defendant’s personal injury lawyer may allege that your injury is unrelated to the car accident – perhaps received before or after the Stockton car accident. Your attorney will seek to prove the harm was, in fact, directly related to the accident. The ability to present this kind of evidence is just one reason why  representation by a Stockton personal injury attorney is so important.

Much of the responsibility drivers share on the road is linked to the principle of ‘duty.’ Our Stockton injury lawyers say we all have an obligation to obey the rules of the road and operate vehicles safely. In fact, we often make the assumption that other drivers on the road will do so. But, as our accident injury lawyers well know, it’s not always the case. People do drive recklessly and with little regard for others on the road. Your Stockton personal injury attorney will work to affirm you, as the injured plaintiff, were driving in accordance to duty and that the defendant failed to do so.

This leads to proving breach – your injury attorney can establish facts about the plaintiff’s driving behavior that led to your accident. Lawyers may look at evidence from the scene of the crash – perhaps identifying skid marks that indicate high speeds, or submitting evidence the plaintiff tested positive for alcohol consumption after the Stockton car accident. Attorneys have access to reports and other evidence from police reports, as well as from witnesses.

A person injured in a car accident may feel their case is “open and shut” and opt to represent himself in court. But, our Stockton injury lawyers know that people without legal training and experience may find themselves overwhelmed by the legal system. Knowledge of court room dynamics and rules, the ability to satisfy the four court principles just outlined, and practice in examining witnesses and defendants in court, are attributes of qualified Stockton injury attorneys after many years of education and practice. Being able to step back from the emotion of an injury suffered in a car accident, a car accident lawyer can objectively look at the strengths and weaknesses of court room testimony and assess strategies to benefit the victim of a Stockton car accident. Injury lawyers have extensive experience in court, with juries and judges, and thus are able to work efficiently toward a resolution.

In addition, a personal injury attorney can protect car accident victims from potential abuse. Sometimes, without a Stockton injury lawyer, a defendant’s insurance company might offer a settlement that is less than fair to the victim of a car accident. A personal injury lawyer for the plaintiff can evaluate settlement offers to make certain the client is receiving just compensation.

In summary, our Stockton injury attorneys advise the victims of a car accident to apply the “listen-don’t-talk” strategy after an accident and make that all important call to a personal injury attorney.



How a Stockton Personal Injury Attorney Helps People Heal

Accidents happen. At Sette Law in Stockton our personal injury lawyers know this is a simple fact of life. But, when harm is done to a person through the negligence or intent of another person, the injured party should not have to bear the financial burden caused by an accident in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys are focused on “tort law.” It is our job to fully understand the many nuances and legal aspects of personal injury law to advocate for clients in Stockton. Personal injury law covers an almost endless array of circumstances.

Most people think of headline-grabbing cases such as the lawsuit against McDonald’s in 1994 for its dangerously hot coffee. But our Stockton personal injury lawyers know most cases never make headlines. Injuries suffered in everyday life such as car accidents, slip and fall, malpractice, wrongful death and dog bites are more common in Stockton. But, injury attorneys know the circumstances of each event will be unique. Consequently, our Stockton personal injury lawyers closely follow new cases across the nation to best represent clients in Stockton.

Injury attorneys are currently watching the development of emerging cases of lawsuits involving death and injury in vehicles with defects. The number of cases has been rising each passing week and being educated about those actions helps us to represent clients in Stockton. Our personal injury lawyers also pay attention to cases of libel and slander with new, emerging issues related to the use of the Internet to cause personal injury.

Attorneys point out that personal injury often involves harm that was accidental. It’s only when the accident was caused by negligence – or the creation of a dangerous environment – that litigation offers relief to victims in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers explain that people and entities (like businesses and corporations) have a Duty of Care. This is a legal obligation embedded in tort law and applies to all our Stockton personal injury cases. Lawyers must determine that harm was done due to a failure to exercise a “standard of reasonable care” in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers help establish the facts of such cases.
This principle applies to big corporations – like General Motors – and to individuals, such as dog owners in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers frequently deal with dog bite lawsuits. Dog owners have an obligation to the safety of the public. Dogs that are out of control and off-leash can caused serious injury and even death to dog bite victims in Stockton.

Our Personal injury lawyers reference cases nationwide to support clients in Stockton. Injury attorneys help clients to heal from physical, emotional and financial harm done to them due to personal injuries caused by negligence.