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

forkliftt-safety

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.

Involved in a Lawsuit? Think before You Post on Facebook

San Francisco Personal Injury Car Accident Attorneys

Even though privacy experts have warned people to be careful about what they post on Facebook, hard lessons are still being learned regarding the consequences of using social media. While most of us have heard of creditors and collection agencies using information gathered from social media websites to locate and go after debtors, insurers are doing the same regarding personal injury lawsuits.

In fact, in a 2010 personal injury case, a judge ordered a woman to turn over materials she had protected with privacy settings on her Facebook page. The woman was in the process of suing a furniture store for injuries she claimed she sustained after falling off one of their chairs. The furniture company (Steelcase) claimed the publicly accessible areas of her Facebook page indicated the woman led an active robust life inconsistent with her injury claims.

Surprisingly, the judge agreed and ordered the woman to turn over materials she had protected with privacy settings.

Social Media Privacy – A False Sense of Security?

Most people are under the impression that if they have photos of themselves or other documents set aside behind privacy settings, their privacy is protected. While Facebook sided with the woman in the case above, arguing that the Stored Communications Act protected her from having to turn over the information, the judge argued users do not have an absolute expectation of privacy since in creating a Facebook or MySpace account, the woman consented to sharing information with others – regardless of her privacy settings.

While the judge’s Fourth Amendment reasoning seems less than convincing, it does indicate the degree to which nothing posted online is ever absolutely private.

Personal Injury Lawsuits, Facebook and MySpace

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian knockdown, the insurance company responsible for settling or paying your claim might be interested in what you have posted on your Facebook or MySpace page. Pictures of you able-bodied, participating in sports, or hiking along a ridge may be enough to convince a judge the insurer has a right to see what else you have on your Facebook account. While it may not ultimately change the outcome of the case, it could lead to unnecessary delays and the need to spend more time and money on establishing the seriousness of your injuries and prognosis.

Protect Yourself after You’ve been Injured – Contact Weber & Nierenberg

There are a number of things that need to be taken care of after a serious car or bicycle accident. For more information regarding the steps you need to take to protect yourself, contact San Francisco car accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg 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.

PG & E Record Flaws Exposed in San Bruno Explosion Investigation

Months after an explosion in a Pacific Gas & Electric pipeline killed eight people in San Bruno, maintenance documents released by the utility to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show conflicting information about repair work performed along the line for decades, according to a report in the San Francisco Examiner.

The discrepancies concern the details of a 1998 leak a few miles away on the same high – pressure gas line. PG & E workers who repaired that leak reported problems and remedial steps different from those reported by the utility. In the wake of last year’s San Bruno explosion, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered the turnover of thousands of PG & E documents concerning safety, maintenance and repair records.

Comparing the documents to the utility’s previous statements, it appears that PG & E itself is yet to get a handle on the causes of leaks along its pipeline. For example, PG & E has previously stated that the pipeline was seamless, but the records show numerous welds and other repairs along lengthwise seams.

Complex Accident Investigation Depends on Careful Records Analysis

The San Bruno pipeline explosion case illustrates the complexity of investigating accidents involving public utilities. In civil actions for damages by the individuals and families most directly affected, it will be necessary to prove negligence on the part of the utility or its contractors in the design, installation or maintenance of the transmission line.

Because the most reliable and specific evidence of the causes of an accident will generally come from the records maintained by the utility itself, the failure to maintain proper maintenance and repair records can complicate the investigative efforts of plaintiffs’ lawyers as well as those of regulators. In some cases, however, proof of inadequate record – keeping practices by itself can help establish the plaintiff’s case for negligence.

Call Weber & Nierenberg for a Free Consultation: 866-288-6010

At the Bay Area law firm of Weber & Nierenberg, our experience with the investigation and proof of complex personal injury claims against corporate and public agency defendants can make the decisive difference in the outcome of a catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death case.

Contact us for a free consultation in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael if you need advice about your legal options in the aftermath of a public utility accident, a bus or train crash, or an accident on government property. You can also visit our website.

Spinal Disc Injuries – Causes and Treatment

San Francisco Bay Area Back Injury Attorney

Back pain is a common problem, afflicting millions of Americans. Back pain is typically caused by personal injury, age, conditions such as osteoarthritis or Paget’s disease, and weight. As a result, the cause of back pain generally involves injuries to ligaments and muscles, fractures, and torn or ruptured discs. In cases involving pulls or strains, back pain usually goes away by itself in about four weeks. In cases involving herniated discs or fractures link to herniated discs or fractures, matters can be complicated by nerve pressure and inflammation. If flare ups continue with some regularity, eventually chronic pain and decreased mobility may require back surgery.

Herniated Discs and Back Pain

A disc sits above the spinal canal containing nerves that run from the brain to the rest of the body. A disc contains gelatinous matter that helps confer flexibility on the spine. In a back injury where excessive weight or pressure is transferred to the spine, the outer membrane of a disc may tear, allowing its gelatinous core to create a bulge that compresses nerve roots along the spinal canal. This can result in pinched nerves, leading to loss of sensation or tingling in the extremities. If the disc does not heal or is prone to herniation, the result may be chronic pain that is difficult to treat. In these kinds of cases, spinal fusion surgery may be necessary.

Spinal Fusion Surgery and Herniated Discs

When rest or physical therapy is not enough to heal a herniated disc, spinal fusion surgery may be required. Spinal fusion surgery involves taking a bone graft and using it to fuse two bones together to create a stable encasement for a bulging disc. This involves fusing the vertebra above and below the herniated disc to prevent movement between them. Screws and plates are then affixed to make sure the vertebrae are secure until the bulging disc heals. While expensive, spinal fusion surgery may be the only option people have when a herniated disc will not heal properly.

Contact Bay Area San Francisco Back Injury Attorneys

Any award or settlement in a personal injury case involving back injuries should take into consideration the considerable costs of spinal fusion surgery. If a car, truck, motorcycle, or construction accident has left you with a herniated disc, it’s important to consult an experienced back doctor to determine whether you need spinal fusion or surgery or may need it in the future.

For more information regarding back pain and personal injuries, contact San Francisco personal injury attorneys Weber & Nierenberg today.

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

SUV collides with Muni Bus 5-4-10

An SUV struck a #6 Parnassus Muni bus at the intersection of Market and Montgomery in San Francisco. Reports state that the SUV struck an island divider and then the left side of the bus. The SUV driver was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for observation and treatment.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident — especially a serious injury such as a complex bone fracture, amputation, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury — you should seek experienced counsel.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with the personal injury attorneys at the Weber & Nierenberg law firm by calling us toll free at1-866-288-6010.

Why do you need a personal injury attorney?

Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible in claims. They may claim that you were not hurt or that your injuries came from another accident or condition. They may downplay the seriousness of your injuries.

If you talk to the insurance company, do not allow yourself to be recorded. We recommend not making any statements to the insurance company without counsel from an experienced lawyer. It is best to leave all communications to an attorney who has extensive experience handling car accident injury claims. Insurance companies, even your own, will use anything you say against you. They are in the business of paying out as little as possible for car accident claims.

If you have been injured in a auto accident, retain the services of a personal injury attorney with extensive experience handling insurance companies and auto accident claims. Call the personal injury attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation toll free at 1-866-288-6010 or fill out our intake form and we will contact you.

How can we help you?

Once you hire us, we will try to preserve all evidence that remains at the accident scene. We will inspect and photograph your motor vehicle. We will obtain and review all police, fire and ambulance reports. Interviewing witnesses before the insurance company or public entity does is crucial.

We work with a renowned motor vehicle accident reconstruction expert to reconstruct the accident so that the insurance company or public entity can fully understand what happened.

To discuss your SUV or Muni Bus accident claim or wrongful death claim with an experienced San Francisco Bay Area personal injury lawyer, please call attorney Joe Nierenberg toll free at 1-866-288-6010
for a free, confidential consultation.

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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