Safety Tips to Prevent Gas Explosions

gas-line-safety

Gas explosions frequently occur on construction or other industrial sites due to the proximity of chemicals and other combustible materials. However, gas explosions can also happen at home. Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is commonly used for home barbecues, RV appliances, and heating and cooking appliances. And while LPG has proven to be exceedingly useful for domestic purposes, it is also a frequent cause of gas explosions at home.

Depending on the nature and location of the explosion, the consequences can be devastating including:

  • Property damages—to vehicles, appliances and homes
  • Burn injuries—from minor to severe
  • Traumatic/emotional distress—such as PTSD or other psychological reactions
  • Death—from smoke inhalation and severe burns

To help avoid the risk of a gas explosion you should:

  • Keep LPG tanks or any other type of combustible away from flammable materials such as matches, lighters, lit candles, campfires, etc.
  • Turn off gas tanks when not in use.
  • Check tanks or other combustible material containers regularly for cracks, leaks or other potential hazards.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended, including barbecue grills.
  • If you detect the smell of gas, do not turn on any type of electrical appliance because any kind of spark can ignite an explosion.

Gas explosions whether domestic or industrial can cause severe damage and injuries and give way to numerous San Francisco personal injury claims. By practicing preventative safety measures, the life you protect may be your own.

Contact a San Francisco personal injury law firm

All too often negligence and/or product malfunction cause gas explosions resulting in serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a gas explosion, contact us online or call 866-288-6010 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Light Rail Safety Tips

muni-metro

Muni Metro is San Francisco’s light rail system and serves over 150,000 passengers daily. In fact, it is the third busiest light rail system in the United States. The line consists of over 70 miles of track, seven lines and transports passengers throughout San Francisco and surrounding areas. With so much activity, it is not surprising that serious accidents can sometimes happen. If you become involved in a light rail accident, an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney can help you determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Observing the following safety tips can help you avoid the risk of a light rail accident:

  • Stand behind the caution strip as your train approaches. Refrain from touching the sides of the train while it is moving and wait until the train has stopped completely before pushing the button to open the doors.
  • After leaving the train, always wait until your train has pulled out to cross the tracks—watch for approaching trains coming from the opposite direction.
  • Never walk along the light trails or trespass on the bridges or underpasses.
  • When boarding or exiting with children, always hold their hand so that you are not separated.
  • Always obey blank-out signs because they signal an approaching train.
  • Refrain from listening to personal music players and texting or talking on a cell phone when near the tracks.
  • Motorists and trains share the road and trains always have the right of way, remain alert and look for approaching trains.
  • Never drive around lowered crossing gates.

When accidents happen contact a San Francisco personal injury law firm

Even the most conscientious person can have a light rail accident and often through no fault of their own. If you or a loved one has been injured in a light rail accident, contact us online or call 866-288-6010 to discuss your light rail accident case.

Public Transportation Safety Tips for Seniors

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Unfortunately, as we age we begin to notice a loss of balance, agility and strength making us more vulnerable to injuries. Seniors may also take advantage of public transportation more than younger individuals may and so employing the following safety tips can help ensure they stay healthy and uninjured.

  1. When boarding or leaving a public vehicle look for uneven or slippery pavement or other hazards that could cause a fall.
  2. Before boarding a bus, have your fare ready to avoid losing your balance while looking for change.
  3. When boarding or leaving a subway car pay attention to the gap between the edge of the platform and the door and step cautiously.
  4. Before boarding a bus or subway car, stand to the side and let others get off first—this is not only polite but helps prevent being pushed and thrown off balance.
  5. Remain alert to your surroundings and steady yourself when the vehicle is slowing or turning.
  6. Never board a bus or subway car with too many packages, leave one hand free to hold onto railings or straps.
  7. In bad weather and at night, allow for extra time to cross intersections to ensure you are seen by motorists and do not slip and injure yourself.
  8. Wear light colored or reflective clothing at night or carry a flashlight to make yourself visible to motorists and other pedestrians.
  9. When you riding in a taxi, fasten your seat belt to ensure your safety—just because it is a cab doesn’t mean you should neglect vital safety measures.

Talk to a San Francisco public transportation accident lawyer today

Unfortunately, too many seniors are injured because of negligence and the failure of others to employ basic safety precautions. If you have been injured in a public transportation accident, an experienced San Francisco public transportation accident lawyer can help. Contact us online or call 866-288-6010 to discuss your public transportation accident case.

Forklift Safety | Tips for Keeping Workers Safe

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Forklift accidents kill hundreds of people and seriously injure thousands more every year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces strict requirements on forklift operation as well as other industrial machinery and equipment. These requirements are meant to protect the operator, other workers and the public. Unfortunately, when safety practices are not observed or equipment is faulty individuals can become injured and need the help of a San Francisco personal injury attorney.

Many forklift accidents are the result of a tip – over which is caused by excess loads. When a forklift operator takes on too large a load, he can risk tipping over the forklift. Tip-overs are a common cause of accidents.

Another common cause of forklift accidents is related to visibility, when an operator’s line of vision is blocked by the load, other equipment or even the vehicle itself.

Further, because forklifts do not operate like automobiles and has rear steering, when entering a turn the vehicle swings wide which can result in collisions.

To avoid accidents and injuries operators and employers of forklift operators should observe the following safety practices:

• All operators should be thoroughly trained, evaluated and tested before operating a forklift.
• Do a safety inspection of forklifts before each shift.
• Forklift operators should always wear safety belts to avoid being thrown from the vehicle.
• Never take on a load beyond the forklift’s rated capacity.
• Always secure the load before operating the forklift.
• Always slow down and sound your horn at intersections or areas where vision is obstructed.
• Never drive toward anyone even in an unloaded forklift, the machine cannot stop quickly and could tip or drop debris from the load and injure the person.
• Always place loads as far back as possible to ensure stability.
• Always drive, turn, and stop slowly and smoothly when operating a forklift.
• When operating a forklift on grades, ramps or inclines, slow down to avoid tipping or casting off debris.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

Contact us online or call 866-288-6010 to schedule a free consultation. We handle all heavy equipment accident injury claims on a contingency basis, which means that we only charge legal fees if we recover compensation for your losses.

Hydroplaning and Car Accidents

hydroplaning-car

San Francisco California Car Accident Attorneys

There’s a perception on the part of some drivers that rain simply means wet roads. As a result, drivers don’t always reduce their speed even though more water on the road means an increased risk of hydroplaning. What is hydroplaning? Put simply, hydroplaning occurs when the water in front of your car builds up faster than the weight of the car can push it out of the way. As a result, when a car hydroplanes, its tires lose all or most contact with the surface of the road and essentially float on a thin layer of water. When this happens, a car can fishtail, skid, or spin out of control.

Causes of Hydroplaning and Car Accidents

Hydroplaning is caused by different factors. In some cases, worn-out tires and a lack of proper treading increase the likelihood of hydroplaning under wet or rainy conditions. In other cases, under-inflated tires can make it difficult for the treads to properly remove water in front of the car as it moves forward. If it hasn’t rained for some time, oil may rise to the surface after a rainstorm, leaving the road surface slick and wet. Driver error can also cause hydroplaning, especially when a driver turns too quickly when driving in the rain. In the case of trucks, the wrong tires on an eighteen-wheeler can increase the likelihood of hydroplaning.

Car Accidents, Hydroplaning, Driver Negligence

Maybe you’ve recently been in an accident during or shortly after a rainstorm or foggy night. The other driver may try and deny responsibility, alleging road conditions are to blame for the accident. Of course, this begs the question as to whether or not their tires were properly inflated, were too worn, or whether they were driving in a manner appropriate for the conditions. Here, it’s important to investigate the circumstances surrounding a car, motorcycle, or bicycle accident involving hydroplaning to determine if there were other acts of negligence involved as well.

Contact San Francisco Bay Area Car Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another driver hydroplaning into you or into an intersection contact San Francisco car accident attorneys Weber & Nierenberg today. We have the resources needed to investigate car accidents that happen in the rain or fog and know what to look for when exposing driver error and negligence. Protect your rights and learn how we can help you – call today.

Pedestrian Knockdowns Still Plague San Francisco

San Francisco named Second Most Walkable City

According to a July 2011 report issued by Walk Score – a group that promotes “walkable neighborhoods – San Francisco ranks second in the nation among the “most walkable cities.” In general, a “Walk Score” is determined by a number of factors that include proximity to restaurants, retail shopping, public transportation, and other amenities. In fact, out of a possible 100 points, San Francisco scored an 84.9, second only to New York. Across the Bay, Oakland came in tenth place with a score of 68.2.

While this is good news for San Francisco residents – especially since each Walk Score point has been shown to equal roughly $3,000 in home value – it also means accidents involving pedestrians is unlikely to decline.

Pedestrian Knockdowns are still a Problem in San Francisco

According to a May 2011 San Francisco Examiner article, roughly 52% of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco involve pedestrians. According to a March 2011 San Francisco Examiner article, a lack of coordination between officials and various departments in the city has delayed or prevented “traffic-calming” measures from being implemented across the city. After three pedestrian deaths spanning a six-day period in March, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority held a safety hearing.

While various calls were made for increasing pedestrian safety, the reality is millions of dollars are needed to implement intersection bulb-outs, countdown signals, and reduced speed limits. Additionally, at the present time no single agency is responsible for pedestrian safety; instead, about a dozen local agencies share in partial responsibility for pedestrian safety throughout the city.

Pedestrian Knockdowns – Holding Negligent Drivers Accountable

It’s not uncommon for car, bus, and commercial truck drivers to claim they didn’t see a pedestrian. In fact, if you listen to most drivers it’s the pedestrian’s fault for “coming out of no where” or “standing in the street.” These comments and others like them often betray distraction on the part of drivers who don’t always stop properly at intersections or ignore crosswalks. In other situations, talking on a cell phone, texting, or being otherwise distracted also factors into a failure to see pedestrians.

That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands how to investigate pedestrian knockdowns, recreate what happened, on hold negligent drivers accountable. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian knockdown, contact San Francisco pedestrian accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

BART Pays $1.3 Million to Settle Fruitvale Station Shooting Claim

The mother of Oscar Grant III, the young man fatally shot in Oakland by a BART police officer on New Year’s Day 2009, has settled her wrongful death lawsuit against BART for $1.3 million, as reported by the San Francisco Examiner.

The settlement resolves the second of two civil lawsuits filed in connection with the shooting death. BART previously paid $1.5 million to settle a wrongful death action brought on behalf of the victim’s daughter, who was five years old at the time of the shooting.

Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who shot Grant while the victim lay face down on the Fruitvale Station platform, was released after serving 11 months of a two-year involuntary manslaughter sentence. He maintained that he thought he was firing a Taser instead of a gun.

Liability and Damages Claims against California Transit Agencies

Proof of personal injury or wrongful death claims against a public transportation agency require an aggressive approach to the investigation of the facts and careful attention to detail in the development of the damages side of the case. The advice and advocacy of experienced attorneys can help protect the value of the plaintiff’s claims whether based on negligence, intentional torts or a combination of liability theories.

With four offices around the Bay Area, the lawyers of Weber & Nierenberg are familiar with the demands of civil litigation against the various local and regional transit authorities operating throughout the region. In one case against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MUNI), our law firm recovered $855,000 for a bus passenger who was forcibly removed from the bus by a driver with a history of violent confrontations with passengers.

Call 866-288-6010 for a Free Consultation in the Bay Area

To find out more about the ways our attorneys can protect your rights in cases involving injuries resulting from negligent or intentional misconduct on the part of public transportation agencies and their employees, contact Weber & Nierenberg in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael. To learn more about the range of our law firm’s practice, see our website.

After Your Case is Settled – Structured Settlement or Special Needs Trust

What can I do to Provide Future Care for My Loved One?

When a serious accident leaves a spouse or child debilitated with a need for lifelong medical care, a number of legal and financial issues must be addressed in order to provide future care for them. While a large settlement or personal injury award is important for providing financial support for in-home nursing care, medical equipment, hospitalizations, future surgery, and physical therapy, planning for how your family member’s care will be paid for after you’re gone is essential. In general, there are two options – a structured settlement or establishing a special needs trust (also referred to as “supplemental needs trust”). In both cases, there are certain tax advantages that should be considered, as well as how each could affect Medicaid eligibility calculations.

Structured Settlements

If the settlement or award won in a personal injury case involves a large sum of money, you can choose to have the money paid in installments over a specified period of time. Payment schedules can be on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annual basis. Structured settlements can last for the lifetime of a recipient with a beneficiary named for any remaining amount should the recipient pass away before all of the funds are distributed. Alternatively, a lump sum option can be included or a date named after which the amount disbursed can be increased. Regardless of which option you choose, structured settlements are not taxable.

Here, structured settlements can be customized to meet the unique needs of an injured person and his or her family. For instance, if a debilitating head injury or spinal cord injury has left you or your spouse unable to work, a structured settlement can provide you with monthly funds to pay your mortgage, rent, utilities, medical bills, and needs for your children. The amount paid can be increased once your children are of college age and need to attend school.

Special Needs Trust and Medicaid Eligibility

A special needs trust allows you to set up a trust using money from a personal injury settlement or award in order to provide for the upkeep and care of the person injured. Not only are the funds in a special needs trust exempt from federal income tax, they are also exempt from Medicaid eligibility calculations. This is especially important since, in order to qualify for Medicaid, you must first spend down your asset or be impoverished. Consequently, a catastrophically injured person with a special needs trust doesn’t have be impoverished to received long-term care benefits from Medicaid that can help defray the costs of institutional or in-home care.

San Francisco Bay Area Car Accident Injury Attorneys Weber & Nierenberg

If you or a family member has been seriously injured due to a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, or slip and fall, email San Francisco, California personal injury attorneys Weber & Nierenberg today. We’re experienced personal injury attorneys who can discuss whether a structured settlement or special needs trust makes sense for you and your family.

For more information regarding our practice or to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation, call Weber & Nierenberg at 415-788-3900.

PG&E Releases List of Pipelines at Risk

Public Outcry and Pressure from Officials Results in List

Due to pressure from state regulators and public outcry, PG&E released its list of top 100 priority projects in Northern and Central California on Monday, September 20, 2010. Interestingly enough, the segment of 30-inch pipe that exploded in the San Bruno gas explosion was not on the list. Additionally, the list did not include a segment of the same pipeline to the North in South San Francisco that PG&E identified as a top priority in 2009. Although state regulators approved $4.87 million in 2008 for repairs to the line in question, PG&E spent the money on other projects only to ask the state for an additional $5 million in 2009 to complete the project. To date, however, work has not started on the project.

Corrosion Problems in the San Bruno Gas Explosion?

While state and federal officials have yet to identify a definitive cause for the San Bruno gas explosion that killed 4 people and destroyed as many as 37 homes, pipe corrosion as a likely culprit is a growing concern. If the pipe that exploded was weakened by corrosion, several questions arise: How many other neighborhoods are at risk from corroded pipes? Why didn’t PG&E act sooner if they knew they had a potential problem? Why weren’t funds allocated for repairs spent on intended projects and upgrades?

Direct Assessment – A Failed Method for Maintaining Gas Pipelines?

Part of the problem may be due to the method used by PG&E to assess the safety of its gas pipelines. PG&E uses a “direct assessment” technique to create an electronic mapping of a pipeline. When testing for problems, an electric current is sent through a pipeline while utility workers walk along the segment in question inserting in the ground above it sensors that look like ski poles. Theoretically, if the pipeline is in good shape, the sensors will register an electric signal. If a weakened signal is registered, corrosion is likely the cause, indicating the need to investigate further the integrity of the pipe being tested.

Safety experts and consultants have raised a number of concerns regarding the “direct assessment” method used by PG&E to test its pipelines. For instance, direct assessment and electronic mapping can only test for corrosion in those areas where poles can reach. Secondly, other things like stress and pressure can weaken pipes. In fact, Jim Hall, a former NTSB chairman, has said the method is too unreliable for identifying stress and pressure fractures and should not be used in high-density, urban areas.

Negligence on PG&E’s Part? What should have been done Differently?

As more light is shed on what PG&E did – and failed to do – questions are beginning to emerge as to whether or not they could have prevented the San Bruno gas explosion. Failure to implement best practices, allocate money for needed repairs and upgrades, or prioritize issues when people complained of smelling gas suggests PG&E may have acted negligently. As evidenced by their initial unwillingness to release their list of top priorities, PG&E and their attorneys may not be willing to share information with you or your insurer. Working with an experienced utility and personal injury attorney can ensure your rights and interests are protected.

Contact San Bruno Gas Explosion Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have represented numerous clients in cases involving burn injuries and carbon monoxide poisoning. We understand the issues involved when dealing with negligence on the part of a public utility – especially involving natural gas. For more information regarding our practice or to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation, call San Bruno gas explosion attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg at 415-788-3900 or toll free at1-866-288-6010 today. If you prefer, you can email us and a we will contact you

Freak Trucking Accident Kills Woman: Why You Need a Good Lawyer

In 2008, a woman was hospitalized and later killed when some debris struck her windshield and caused a severe head injury. The debris was a 34 pound metal plate. No one knew where the debris came from and no one claimed responsibility.

Eventually, the family retained an attorney, who utilized a team of specialists and investigators to track down the debris and the companies responsible for the accident. There were three companies involved and all three either settled or were found liable in court.

This illustration demonstrates why an experienced personal injury attorney should be retained. First, a less experienced attorney or a person trying to resolve this case on their own may not have discovered all the parties responsible for the accident, and therefore may only have had a partial recovery for less compensation. Second, because multiple parties were involved, a skilled lawyer understands how to examine the various insurance policies and help you maximize the compensation from each party who contributed to the accident. And finally, an experienced attorney has the network of professionals and experts to perform the proper investigation and assist with medical testimony and other trial issues that can make or break a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Therefore, if you have been injured or lost a family member in an accident, such as the freak trucking accident outlined above, you should consult an experienced attorney ASAP. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner an investigation can take place. The closer the proximity in time to the accident, the better it will be for you because witnesses and evidence will be more readily available.

With more than 25 years of experience, Weber & Nierenberg will gives every case personal attention from the day of your first consultation until the day your case is resolved by way of settlement or trial.
For more information contact the San Francisco Personal Injury Law Firm of Weber & Nierenberg at 1-866-288-6010
for a free consultation.
 
 
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