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.


Petaluma DUI Lawyers Urge Driver Awareness of Risks

In Petaluma, DUI attorneys at Sette Law want drivers in our community to be aware of the physical effects of alcohol that too often lead to a serious accident. As injury lawyers, we see first-hand the terrible results of the decision to drink and drive. Concrete, scientific information, our accident attorneys hope, may educate people and help prevent Petaluma accidents.

Our DUI lawyers, like you, have heard individuals say “I drive better drunk than sober!” Of course, nothing is further from the truth. As Petaluma injury attorneys we know that even small amounts of alcohol can, and do, cause changes in the brain. With current medical technology, researchers are able to identify exactly what happens when people drink alcohol – our Petaluma DUI lawyers may not be medical experts but we too can observe the results from PET and MRI studies now available.

Elements of alcohol can penetrate the brain from the body’s blood circulatory system. DUI accident lawyers know that it isn’t the ‘kind’ of alcohol imbibed but, rather, how much over time. Generally, more than one drink per hour can affect neurons in the brain and impair judgment that may lead to a Petaluma DUI accident. Our attorneys point to an accident in April on West Hammer lane in which a young male pedestrian was killed by a driver who was booked at the scene for a DUI. Our lawyers note that the motorist was driving on a license that had been suspended for a previous Petaluma DUI.

Accident attorneys know that tragic events like this are preventable. Just being aware of the physical effects of alcohol on the brain should discourage irresponsible drinking that distorts judgment, vision, perception, reaction time and other alterations that can, and do, lead to Petaluma DUI accidents. Lawyers will, most likely, be looking at this recent case as a potential wrongful death accident.

Attorneys Cite Disturbing Statistics
Petaluma accident lawyers draw upon many sources for data including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among others tracking DUI’s. Our attorneys believe these statistics ought to add to the case for greater attention to prevention. The numbers of people injured and killed in DUI accidents, our attorneys say, is proof that greater education on the topic is needed.

Our Petaluma accident attorneys say that almost one-third of the nation’s traffic deaths involved DUI drivers. According to the CDC, 10,322 individuals died in 2012 due to DUI drivers. Sadly, our injury lawyers note that 239 of those victims were under the age of 14 and half of that number were passengers of a driver impaired by alcohol, headed for an accident.

Injury attorneys report that about 30 people lose their lives every day due to a drunk driving accident. Our lawyers know that untold pain and hardship accompany each of these accidents that happen once every 51 minutes, according to the CDC. And, although Petaluma injury attorneys focus on the loss to victims, the cost to the entire country for DUI crashes tops $59 billion. Although California statistics are generally lower than national DUI accident numbers, our Petaluma injury lawyers believe there’s lots of room for improvement.

Education is Essential for Youth in Petaluma
Accident attorneys are aware that teens are particularly tempted to experiment with alcohol. In Michigan, a study found that almost 50% of kids in 10th grade say they drink, and 30% of youngsters in the eighth grade admit to the same. Nationwide, our Petaluma DUI lawyers say that about 4,700 teenagers are killed each year due to alcohol use that led to accidents. Our lawyers further report that the National Academies Press published a finding about the prevalence of binge drinking among teens. While one in six teens reported they indulged in binge drinking, just one out of 100 parents thought it possible of their son or daughter.

As parents, our Petaluma DUI attorneys know that kids are under lots of peer pressure. That’s why our injury lawyers support heightened education about the dangers posed by alcohol. From scientific facts to the gruesome details of DUI accidents, our attorneys believe information is essential to preventing teenage alcohol use that can lead to a tragic DUI accident.

Attorneys say the focus should start in the teenage years so that when youngster get to the “drinking age” they are aware of alcohol’s effect on brain and body. This is when young people face the greatest threat of a DUI accident, our attorneys explain. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that, in 2011, drivers from the age of 21 to 25 logged the most DUI accidents. Attorneys also reference a NHTSA study for the same age group showing that 32 percent drove while drunk.

Petaluma DUI Lawyers Urge Awareness

The numbers are pretty staggering, according to our Petaluma accident attorneys. Although masses of people admit to driving drunk (21.9 million drivers) far fewer are ever arrested. A 2013 study by the FBI indicated that each day 300,000 people drive while drunk – however, a mere 4,000 arrests were made for DUIs. Attorneys and law enforcement officials are also aware that about one-third of drivers nabbed are repeat offenders.

Sette’s Petaluma DUI lawyers are also aware of recent accidents in nearby Sacramento in which alcohol likely played a deadly role. This spring, xx people were killed by wrong-way drivers on Sacramento freeways. Our injury attorneys hope Petaluma drivers take a lesson from these tragedies. Also, it’s useful to know that 36 percent of DUI accidents happen after dark, and just 8% during daylight hours, according to a 2011 survey by the National Highway Transportation Association.

Our work as Petaluma DUI accident lawyers forces us to be hyper aware of the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving. As wrongful death attorneys we’ve seen the lifetime loss and pain caused by a driver losing his or her judgment after too many drinks. The results are irreversible – our wrongful death lawyers can fight for financial compensation but nothing will restore a life lost in a Petaluma DUI.

Our attorneys urge people to be cognizant of the dangers and risks taken when people choose to drink and drive.


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.

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. 


A Critical Look at Stockton Bicycle Accidents

Lawyers know there are at least 2 sides to every story. This holds true as we look at car vs Bicycle accidents in Stockton. Injury attorneys also know that in such accidents, it’s usually the bicycle rider who sustains the most serious injuries. Nonetheless, as in car accidents, liability has to be established in cases brought to court in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys at Sette Law look at all the facts and evidence in a bicycle accident, knowing that bike riders, like car drivers, can make bad decisions and disobey traffic laws in Stockton.


Bicycle accident lawyers know that legal issues surrounding a bicycle accident are similar to those arising from automobile accident. In addition, our Stockton personal injury lawyers, also agree that safety laws and precepts governing both modes of transportation are analogous. The concept of “duty of reasonable care” applies to all drivers, meaning they must exercise care for all who share the road with them – other cars, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycles on the streets of Stockton. Our Bicycle accident lawyers say a similar concept applies to bike riders.  Traffic laws must be obeyed and care for the safety of others is a responsibility for bicyclists in Stockton. Injury attorneys remind riders and motorists that common courtesy and good judgment are essential to personal and community safety.


Asking the right Questions about Bicycle Accidents in Stockton
Personal injury lawyers in Stockton help to establish liability when working on behalf of a bicycle injury client. We investigate the circumstances of the accident, with our Stockton injury lawyer looking at the behavior of the driver of the car, as well as the actions of the bike rider who is also bound by traffic rules in Stockton. Bicycle accident lawyers must have information about both (or all) parties to an accident in Stockton. Injury lawyers can help establish liability or responsibility for an accident by knowing, for example, the bike rider was following traffic laws and not behaving in a reckless manner. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys explain that actions like riding the wrong way on a one-way street, ignoring stop signs or darting out into car traffic lanes are acts that put bicyclists at risk and can contribute to serious accidents.


Stockton injury lawyers say that motorist liability is also scrutinized. If witnesses report a driver was speeding or ignoring traffic signals, there may be an indication that driver negligence caused the accident in Stockton. Sette injury lawyers also check police logs for any citations issued around the time of the accident. If the driver had been ticketed for reckless driving or speeding, this could be used as evidence of liability for the bicycle vs. car accident in Stockton.


Injury Lawyers back Bicycle Safety
At Sette Law, our Stockton personal injury lawyers know that regardless of liability, it’s most often the bicycle rider most injured in a collision with a car. In researching bike accidents, our Stockton injury attorneys learned that at least fifteen percent of bike vs. car accidents result in traumatic brain injury. We also accessed research that concluded up to 88% of those brain injuries could be prevented if riders simply wore bicycle helmets in Stockton. Our injury attorneys strongly urge bike riders to protect themselves with approved bicycle helmets on the roadways of Stockton.


Bicycle accident lawyers emphasize that bike riders are vulnerable – speed plus a lack of protection for the body (and head) can have life changing, sometimes deadly, consequences.