Gun Laws In California-The Facts

Gun Laws/Weapon Charges

GUN LAWS (PENAL CODE SECTIONS 23500-34370)

As most people know, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution preserves the individual’s right to possess firearms:

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”.

While this language is simple enough, there exists a network of laws in each state regulating the use and possession of firearms, from the size, type and power, to the ammunition, location and access to that firearm. The gun laws in California are among the toughest regulations in the nation.

Many Californians do not understand their legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to gun ownership. Gun ownership and possession is very tightly regulated by the State of California and, as is often the case with the tax code, it is often difficult to know if one is correctly following the law.

The gun laws in California are complex, encompassing hundreds of distinct code sections, some of which carry the potential for severe penalties. It is impossible to review all of the laws regulating the sale, possession, and use of firearms here.

If you find yourself charged with violating any of these statutes, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney right away. Attorney Michael A. Fiumara is an experienced criminal defense attorney and I will defend your rights under the law. Our firm has seen many cases to a successful conclusion, including those in which a person is charged with violating one of the many gun law statutes in the State of California.

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GUN OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION

Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement that a California resident who buys a gun in California must register that gun with the state. In effect, a gun legally purchased in California is already registered in the state’s database since a resident of California can buy a gun only from a licensed dealer (in most cases) and the information about the new gun owner and the gun are added to the state’s database. A new gun purchaser must also pass a written handgun safety test.

There is a ten-day waiting period before possession of a purchased gun may be taken. During this waiting period, the background of the gun purchaser is checked through the state database in order to make sure that person is legally entitled to possess a gun under the laws of California. If a gun is brought in from another state, the new resident must submit a New Resident Ownership Report to the California Department of Justice. As of January 1, 2014, this requirement applies to both long guns and hand guns.

There are many categories of persons who are not allowed to possess a gun in the State of California, including but not limited to:

Anyone who has been convicted of a felony or any violent offense;

Anyone who is ordered to not possess firearms as a condition of probation;

Anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor listed under Penal Code section 29805;

Most persons subject to a temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction;

Anyone who is found by a court to be a danger to himself, herself, or others because of a mental illness;

Anyone who is adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex offender;

Anyone who is placed on a conservatorship because of a mental disorder or impairment due to chronic alcoholism;

Anyone who is taken into custody as a danger to self or others under Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150, assessed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 5151, and admitted to a mental health facility under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5151, 5152, or certified under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5250, 5260, and 5270.15;

Anyone who is addicted to the use of narcotics;

Anyone who receives a dishonorable discharge from the military; and

Anyone who is not legally residing in the United States.

Although there are some exceptions, in most cases it is illegal to possess automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns and rifles (barrel length of less than 16″), assault weapons, .50 Browning machine gun caliber rifles, and large capacity magazines in California. All other firearms are, generally speaking, legal.

California utilizes a database known as the Armed Prohibited Persons System, which continually updates with those persons no longer eligible to possess firearms. For example, someone who has been committed on a “5150” may find the police knocking on the door because he or she legally bought a gun in the state at some time prior to his or her commitment.

The State is allowed to confiscate guns legally purchased by someone who subsequently becomes a person not allowed to possess a gun in the state. It is not unheard of for the police to confiscate guns, due to errors in the database, from persons who are actually allowed possession.

CARRYING OR TRANSPORTING A FIREARM

A person who legally possesses a concealable firearm in California may transport the firearm in a motor vehicle as long as the firearm is unloaded and stored in a fully enclosed, secure, and locked container. A trunk is considered such a container, but a glove compartment is not. A concealable firearm is any firearm capable of being concealed such as a pistol or revolver.

A non-concealable, legally owned firearm, such as a rifle, may be transported in a vehicle without the need to secure the firearm in an enclosed container. The firearm must be unloaded when being transported.

These are just the basics. There is a labyrinth of laws in California regulating where the guns may be stored, how the guns may be transported, concealed weapon regulations, and so on. Violation of any of these laws can result in criminal charges, from simply neglecting to file a “New Resident Ownership Report” (a misdemeanor with a potential penalty of up to six months in county jail and/or fines) to the sale or transfer of an assault weapon (which is a felony with a potential sentence of up to eight years imprisonment).

Anyone charged under the complicated gun statutes in California should consult with an experience criminal defense attorney immediately.

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WEAPONS CHARGES

SALE, POSSESSION AND USE OF ASSAULT WEAPONS

The most common weapons charges fall under the category of the sale or possession of an illegal assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle. The sale and possession of these weapons is made illegal under Penal Code sections 30600-30675. There are some limited exceptions to the sale and possession of these weapons, which will not be discussed here.

SENTENCING

Someone charged with the illegal sale or transfer of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle faces a felony charge punishable by imprisonment for four, six, or eight years. A person charged with simple possession of an assault weapon may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances.

A misdemeanor assault weapons charge carries a potential sentence of imprisonment for up to one year and/or probation plus fines. If charged as a felony, the sentence is 16 months, two, or three years imprisonment plus a fine. Simple possession of a .50 BMG weapon is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year imprisonment and/or probation plus fines.

SENTENCING ENHANCEMENTS

California law provides for sentencing enhancements for the possession or use of a gun during the commission of a felony. Possession of a simple handgun during the commission of any felony will trigger the sentencing enhancement statute with the minimum of an additional and consecutive term of one year imprisonment.

Consecutive means that the sentence will be added to, not served with, the sentence for the underlying crime. The enhancement penalties can be much more severe depending on the type of weapon used and the circumstances of the crime and can carry up to a life term under certain conditions.

Under Penal Code section 12022, a person who is armed with an assault weapon, a machine gun, or a .50 BMG weapon during the commission of a felony or an attempted felony faces an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment for three years.

Under certain circumstances, the enhancement is even greater. For example, someone charged with the sale or transport of drugs while personally armed with any of these weapons faces a sentencing enhancement of three, four, or five years imprisonment.

OTHER GUN CRIMES

There are many other laws in the State of California that make it criminal to use or possess a gun in certain areas or in certain ways.

Examples of gun crimes in California include, but are not limited to:

Bringing a gun on public or private school property, or even within 1000 feet of the school grounds, is an offense punishable by up to seven years imprisonment;

Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is a misdemeanor with a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or fines;

Assault with a firearm carries stiffer penalties than simple assault. It is almost always charged as a felony (although assault with a simple revolver can be charged as a misdemeanor) and carries a sentence of up to twelve years imprisonment.

These examples are but a few of the many charges under California’s gun laws. The State of California often punishes gun crimes severely and if you find yourself charged under any of these statutes, you should consult immediately with Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

 

                                           CONVEAT/ WARNING:
 
This is information is ONLY provided to you as a general explanation of the enormity and complexity of the firearms and weapons related offenses, enhancements and possible priors that each gun related case can present to the potential criminal defendant.  Superimposed upon the complex and interlocking and overlapping laws, regulations and case law pertaining to this subject, each criminal case MUST be first evaluated by an experienced criminal defense  attorney before rendering an opinion as to your specific case.  It is imperative for the Attorney to first  KNOW all of the facts and criminal history from the defendant before the attorney can be expected to provide a legal opinion as to how much jail or prison exposure is possible under California’s very strict gun laws. Each case needs to be carefully evaluated on its own merits.  We don’t practice cookie cutter law and not one shoe fits all!  Therefore, you are encouraged to make an appointment with any one of the experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC for a free and confidential consultation.    

Wrongful Death Claims In California

After the sudden death of a loved one, families face serious hardship.

An already emotionally difficult time can be made even worse as medical bills and funerary expenses render making ends meet nearly impossible, particularly when the deceased was the family’s primary breadwinner.

No matter what the cause of death – be it a motor vehicle accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, or construction site accident – debt concerns impact families of lost loved ones when they are least able to afford it.

At one time, the common law did not allow the families of those who died from the negligence of another person to pursue a legal remedy. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.

Today, California law allows the families of a deceased person to bring what is known as a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. Thus families may bring suit for medical bills up to the time of death (survival action), funerary expenses, loss of financial support and more, providing them with the help they need to cover quickly mounting bills.

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Wrongful death damages that are allowed are split into two main categories; economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages or financial losses are split into further categories as well, the main categories as follows:

1. The financial support, if any, that the decedent would have contributed to the family during either the life expectancy that the decedent had before [his/her] death or the life expectancy of the surviving plaintiffs, whichever is shorter;

2. The loss of gifts or benefits that the surviving plaintiffs would have expected to receive from the decedent;

3. Funeral and burial expenses; and

4. The reasonable value of household services that the decedent would have provided.

Any amount a judge or jury allows for future economic damages must be reduced to present cash value.

Non-Economic damages are also called the human loss.

Also, often the greatest loss is the human loss of the care comfort and society of the deceased person. What does this long phrase mean? Essentially these are words meant to describe the relationship that the surviving heir would have likely had with the deceased person.

This means the loss of the love affection support In California, wrongful death plaintiffs are not allowed compensation for grief however they are allowed compensation for the loss of the relationship they were likely to have with the person who was killed.

This distinction makes the hiring of a personal injury attorney like Attorney Michael A. Fiumara, who is experienced with wrongful death cases all the more important.

California wrongful death law allows recovery for several categories of non economic damages, and specifically excludes others:

1. The loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support; [and]

2. The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations(if the plaintiff is the surviving legal spouse of the decedent);

3. The loss of the decedent’s training and guidance.

The court will say that no fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of non-economic damages. It is up to the judge or jury to set the reasonable amount of non economic damages in each case. An award for non-economic damages should not be reduced to present cash value.

In determining a surviving plaintiff’s loss, we are not supposed to consider the following:

1. Plaintiff’s grief, sorrow, or mental anguish;

2. The decedent’s pain and suffering; or

3. The poverty or wealth of the plaintiffs.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

Not just anyone may bring a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies.

The California wrongful death statute limits the people who may bring a claim to certain classes of possible plaintiffs.

Generally, only the following may bring wrongful death claims:

The surviving spouse of the deceased party

The surviving children of the deceased

If the deceased left no surviving children, those who would be entitled to the deceased’s property if he died without a will such as parents, brothers and sisters, grandchildren, or nieces nephews, as well as any family member who was receiving financial support from the decedent.

Determining whether someone may bring a wrongful death claim can sometimes be difficult and the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney is recommended.

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What Must a Successful Plaintiff Prove?

Although each case is unique, a plaintiff must prove the following to be successful in a California wrongful death claim:

The defendant owed a legal duty to the deceased

The defendant unreasonably breached that duty

The defendant’s breach caused or contributed to causing the death of the deceased

Of course, exactly what the plaintiff must prove – the exact duty owed to the deceased by the defendant, whether the defendant breached this duty, etc. – depends on the specific facts of each case and it is up to an experienced personal injury attorney to ethically and skillfully present the claim or lawsuit.

Contact Attorney Michael A. Fiumara Today 

If someone’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, contact experienced North Bay personal injury attorney Michael A. Fiumara now. Mr. Fiumara can evaluate your potential case and explain to you your options.

Our law firm will be able to help make the negligent party accountable for all of your losses both economic and non-economic.

For more information, contact an our experienced wrongful death law firm today for a compassionate and confidential consultation at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507. 

Nursing Home Abuse On The Rise In California

Leaders of two nursing homes in Watsonville, California, have agreed to pay $3.8 million in settlement funds after a federal lawsuit was filed against them alleging they provided substandard care and over-medicated their patients.

According to a report, the settlement comes eight months after the lawsuit was initially filed alleging the gross misconduct.

Among the practices used in the facilities were the use of narcotics and anti-psychotic drugs to treat residents who were showing symptoms of dementia, pain and depression.

According to the lawsuit, due to over-medication, the nursing home’s residents became victims of chemical restraints, just to make it more convenient for management.

The suit also alleged that the nursing homes did not keep proper medication records and monitor medication side effects.

Officials said it was outrageous that these nursing homes would accept Medicare and Medicaid money to care for vulnerable nursing home residents and in return provide “care so lacking in quality and compassion it shocks the senses.”

Money from the settlement will go the U.S. and the state of California.
Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.

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Authorities are advising families and victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation in a nursing home to contact California Long Term Care Ombudsman at 800-231-4024 or www.aging.ca.gov/Programs/LTCOP.

It is always a good idea to report any instance of nursing home abuse or neglect to an ombudsman. If someone has been the victim of a crime in a nursing home, the incident should be reported immediately to local law enforcement.

When nursing homes pay settlements, they neither admit fault nor do the payments benefit victims and their families.

The only way for victims or families to get justice and fair compensation for nursing home abuse and neglect is to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

It would be in the best interests of victims of nursing home abuse and their families to seek the counsel of an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases and will fight for their legal rights.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC we always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to affected victims and their families.

If you suspect abuse or neglect in a nursing home against your loved one, Don’t Wait! Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

We will fight for you!

Your North Bay Accident Claim & Medical Care

Your medical treatment after a car accident in the North Bay will play a huge factor in the value of your accident claim. Therefore, you should always seek medical treatment after a serious accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. Some injuries will take days or even a week to flare up, and if you delay treatment, you may cast doubt on your injuries.

After you seek medical treatment, you should meet with a North Bay accident lawyer. A lawyer will help you level the playing field with insurance companies in an effort to obtain all compensation you need and deserve. You should also do the following to preserve your accident claim:

follow all of your doctor’s orders;
keep all of your medical appointments;
keep a daily journal of how your condition is progressing or declining; and
hold onto all receipts for medical expenses.

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You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings and an altered quality of life after your car accident in the North Bay. Your lawyer will review the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and fight for your rights while you focus on your recovery.

Take Control of Your California Injury Claim by Contacting Attorney Michael A. Fiumara today!

North Bay Injury Attorney Michael A. Fiumara and his legal team aren’t like some of the other lawyers you may have met with or seen ads for around town. Our goal is to educate our clients – even those whose cases we don’t take – so that you not only understand the legal process ahead of you but the basics of California injury law and your legal rights.

Please call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for your free case evaluation.

Safe Summer Camps for those children who don’t “fit in” for one reason or another or who may have been bullied in school due to their LBGT status or perceived status

It is no secret that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and questioning youth are many more times likely to be bullied and threatened with violence in and out of the school setting.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that this same segment of our youth go on to use illegal drugs to self-medicate at a higher rate than other youth.
But what is most troubling is that the suicide rate is 7 if not 10 times higher for LGBT  youth than it is for the general youth population.   Many schools and communities have instituted “zero tolerance” and or “hate stops here” campaigns bringing light to a once dark subject. But that is not enough.
Our law firm’s experience is that many of our LGBT youth are being bullied because of their sexual identity and orientation and they feel like they have to endure the abuse in silence for fear of being “outed” to their parents and teachers.  It is like a double-sided sword. For parents and adults who want to teach their children some great coping skills and provide a supportive environment, these alternative summer camps have been listed for me by a former Santa Rosa City School Counselor.
Our law firm is not recommending any one in particular, but just urging you to use this list as a guide or starting point.  It is imperative that you do your own research and investigation as to which Summer Camp might be the best suited for your child or another child whomyou know would benefit from such a summer camp setting.
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Our Law Firm has been representing pupils in California Schools for almost a quarter of a century and has seen firsthand the devastating  effects that bullying has on our youth whether that child belongs to a minority group, is LBGT or simply does not “fit in.”
The end result for many of these youth has been suspension and or expulsion from school – something our law firm has fought against.  Throwing pupils out of school is not the best solution when that child may be suffering from outright discrimination and bullying which may have manifested into “bad behavior” or bad decision-making.  Blaming the victim is not the solution.
Toward that end, we respectfully provide other alternatives and resources for LBGT youth for summer camp:
Camp Aranu’tiqFounded in 2009 by Nick Teich, who dreamed of a safe & fun place for youth who felt like they might not fit in at other camps because of their gender, they have flagship summer camps in New Hampshire and California, as well as leadership programs for older teens and weekend family camps, serving 400 campers over the course of one year.
Camp HighlightCamp Highlight is a week-long camp for children ages 8 to 15 who have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parent or parents. We focus on recreational activities, nature education, and team building. Each camper is given individual attention by our experienced counselors and staff and has the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities. Our goal is to have each camper develop self-confidence, social skills, and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment.
Camp LightbulbOur mission is to provide a magical, overnight summer camp experience for LGBT youth, aged 14 to 17, filled with fun, pride, community, friends, support, self-discovery and memories to last a lifetime. Our campers come from across the US and identify along the full LGBT spectrum. Our staff reflects our LGBT community and allies. All staff are subject to references and background checks.
Camp OdysseyCamp Odyssey is an innovative diversity training and leadership development program for Oregon youth between 14 and 18 years of age. Its aim is to help foster appreciation, understanding, and respect for cultural differences while building leadership skills. We empower young people to gain the life skills needed to become social investors, transforming not only themselves, but also their collective communities.
Camp OutrightCamp Outright is a week-long residential summer camp program for queer and allied youth held at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro, Vermont. Camp Outright is a traditional summer camp program with topical workshops and activities to address the needs stated by queer and questioning youth. Campers participate in a wide variety of daily activities based upon their interests, including swimming, sports and games, visual and performing arts, wilderness skills, social justice, identity caucuses, and more.
Camp Ten TreesCamp Ten Trees is a nonprofit organization located in Washington State. Central to the organization’s purpose are our yearly summer camp sessions—one week for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their allies and another week for children/youth of LGBTQ or non-traditional families. Camp Ten Trees is a place for diverse youth who share common experiences to come together and form a community that is truly their own.
One HeartlandAt the core of One Heartland’s mission are our camp programs, which include: Camp Heartland, Camp Northstar, Camp 5210, and One Futures in Willow River, MN; Camp True Colors with locations in Minnesota, Connecticut and Texas; and Camp Hollywood HEART in Malibu, CA.
The Naming ProjectThe first camp for Christian LGBTQ youth. The mission of The Naming Project is to provide a safe and sacred space where youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities are named and claimed by a loving God; can explore and share faith; experience healthy and life-giving community; reach out to others; and advocate for systemic change in church and society.
Again, we highly recommend that the parents and or other responsible adults who are considering the selection of a summer camp (as to those mentioned above, or any other) for their child or relative complete their own independent research to make certain that all of the counselors have gone through extensive background checks to avoid any future abuse from occurring.
Safety checks with various State agencies is also recommended along with your own site visit with your child before you decide to enroll her or him into the summer camp.
Our Law Firm believes in empowering parents with the tools and knowledge  necessary to ensure that their child gets the full benefit of a free, and fair educational opportunity in the California Public School system.
If you have any future school related questions or issues please feel free to call us at any one of our convenient locations in Marin and Sonoma Counties at (415) 492-4507 or (707) 571-8600.

Be Safe This Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is here and many of you will be setting out to enjoy our state’s recreational possibilities. As a matter of fact, experts are predicting that close to 34 million people will be hitting the road over the long holiday weekend and traveling at least 50 miles from home. Whether you will be visiting family or enjoying other travel destinations, the California Highway Patrol urges everyone to think about safety when making plans for the upcoming holiday weekend.
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All of us here at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC want you to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, but we want you to do so responsibly.

We’re asking you to keep an eye on roadside construction work that may be going on along your planned trip, pay attention whenever you’re behind the wheel and make sure everyone is your vehicle is buckled in. If you’re going to be drinking during the weekend, make sure you’ve got yourself a designated driver.

There are things that you can do to help keep yourself safe during this busy travel weekend. Review the following and make sure you’re good to go before hitting the road for that much-needed vacation.

-Keep your vehicle properly maintained. You want to make sure that the fluids under the hood are full, the gas tank is topped off and your tires are ready for the haul. Make sure the air pressure is adequate and that the tread isn’t too worn.

-Make sure you get plenty of sleep before heading out. Avoid drowsy driving all the time, but especially when taking longer road trips. It’s also important to make sure your belly is full. You never want to drive on an empty stomach.

-Make sure you allow yourself with plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid rushing.

During the 2014 holiday weekend, there were close to 10 people and nearly 400 who were injured in 950 motor vehicle accidents. During this same time, there were close to 200 people arrested for driving under the influence. Don’t become a statistic. Drive safely and drive cautiously during this long weekend. Accidents are oftentimes the result of careless mistakes. Don’t let it happen to you.

Motorcycle Safety Month

May is Motorcycle Safety month in the North Bay and across California.

The California Highway Patrol and the state Office of Traffic Safety have begun their own awareness campaign, too, with the motto, “Survive the Ride.”

California has more motorcycles on the roads — well, more registered motorcycles, at least — than any other state. The 830,000 bikes are operated by an estimated 1.4 million riders.

OTS reported in November 2014 that the number of deaths related to motorcycle accidents increased from 415 in 2011 to 435 in 2012 — a 4.6 percent rise. The percentage of motorcycle operators killed while legally drunk — a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater — increased slightly from 2011 to 2012: 22 percent versus 23 percent. The OTS added that the number of accidents involving improperly licensed operators also declined. The 36 percent in 2011 fell to 29 percent in 2012.

The national numbers are actually worse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that from 2011 to 2012 the number of fatalities in motorcycle accidents increased from 4,630 to 4,986, or more than 7 percent. The following year, however, the NHTSA reported a decline of 6 percent.

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While the goal is to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries, the CHP and OTS would rather have riders and other drivers focus on ways to stay safe, on how to survive the ride. The recommendations include completing a motorcycle safety course, dressing appropriately and wearing a regulation helmet.

Other motorists may not need helmets to share the road with motorcyclists, but they, too, should stay alert to the presence of motorcycles. This is especially true here in California, where lane-splitting — riding between lines of traffic — is permitted.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, it is imperative that you contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC as soon as possible at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507. We can help guide you through this serious stage of your life and get you back on track. We will also go after the parties responsible for causing your injuries. Call us today for your free consultation.

Steps To Take If You Slip and Fall in a Grocery Store In The North Bay

It can happen to even the most graceful of people. You are picking up a few last minute groceries to put together dinner after work, you are looking at the shelves to try to find just the right item, and then it happens. You slip and fall and find yourself on the floor embarrassed and in pain.

Occasionally it might be your own fault due to an untied shoelace or heels a little higher than you are used to wearing, but sometimes it is not your fault. Sometimes it is the grocery store’s fault for allowing a dangerous condition to go unremedied and not warning you about it. In these cases, you may be entitled to compensation.

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Grocery stores are especially common hosts of slip and fall accidents. They are open to the public, they often have slippery floors, and spills happen all the time. Often there are employees re-stocking the shelves during business hours, which can also create tripping hazards.

Additionally, while weather may not be a common cause for dangerous conditions in our sunny climate, on the occasions where the weather does create slippery conditions this can make parking lots and entryways dangerous as well. It may seem like these falls are no big deal, and some of them are not. Sometimes you just suffer a bruised knee and a bruised ego. But other times the injuries can be serious.

Who Is Responsible for Your California Slip-and-Fall Accident?

When there is a potentially dangerous walking surface, the California property owner (or tenant) and the person who is walking on the surface each bear some responsibility for preventing the slip and fall and avoiding injuries. The California property owner must keep the property safe. Anyone who encounters a slippery or otherwise dangerous walking surface in California must also exercise reasonable care to avoid hurting themselves.

In a slip-and-fall lawsuit, each party has some degree of responsibility. The injured party has to show that he or she exercised reasonable care when walking on the dangerous surface, and the property owner has to show that he or she took reasonable care to keep the property safe.

California courts will look at the comparative liability of each party (in other words, how much responsibility the injured party bears and how much responsibility the property owner bears for the injury). This percentage of liability is then used to calculate how much the property owner must pay in damages or compensation to the injured party and how much of the cost the injured party will have to bear.

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Compensation for a California Slip-and-Fall Injury

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in California, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • All of your medical bills for treatment related to your slip-and-fall injuries
  • Any future earning ability lost due to your injury
  • The cost of hiring someone to do household chores that you’re unable to do because of your injury
  • The repair or replacement of any property (such as eyeglasses) that was damaged or destroyed when you fell
  • Lost wages for time off from work (including time spent going to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy)
  • Permanent disability and disfigurement stemming from the California slip-and-fall accident
  • Emotional distress stemming from the accident
  • Any other costs you’ve incurred because of the accident

Call Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC Today! 

If you have been injured in a slip and fall in the North Bay area, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn about your rights you should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC.

Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 and we will schedule a case consultation at no cost to you. We look forward to speaking with you and fighting for YOU!

How Do We Sensitively Approach the Driver Safety Issues of Our Older Friends and Relatives?

With an aging population, it is becoming more commonplace for drivers to reach their late 70’s and 80’s and still continue to drive. This is not a problem if the person’s driving is skillful and they are alert enough to avoid violating any of the multitude of vehicle code rules and regulations and stay free of any accidents.

These are some of the things to look for when you assess your loved one’s driving skills.

1. Braking and accelerating smoothly.
2. Abrupt lane changes with or without signals.
3. Reactions to changes in their driving environment.
4. Drifting into other lanes.
5. Does the driver tire easily is a big question.
6. Difficulty reading traffic signals or signage.
7. Uses and/or cancels their turn signals without any reason.
8. Driving too slowly or too fast.
9. Not checking before lane changes and pulling out from the curb and running into the curb or over the curb.
10. Difficulty turning to look over his/her shoulder due to injury or just old age.
11. Not paying attention to traffic signs, traffic signals, pedestrians or bicycles.
12. Not paying attention to reactions of other drivers.

fl-older-drivers-b, west of Boynton Beach, 1/26/2011 -- Portrait of Morry Wasserman, who at 93-years-old, still drives every day and says he has never had an accident, drives away from his home west of Boynton Beach.  Sun Sentinel, Mark Randall

You should evaluate all of your observations and concerns and make a list of them so that this checklist that is provided above can be discussed with other family members. It is best to try to get all of your family members to support your effort to either reduce or prevent the elder driver from continuing to endanger him or herself and members of the public. If medications are a factor, then it is a good idea to check with the pharmacist or a geriatric specialist to see if any of these medications may have an adverse effect on your loved one’s driving ability.

We recommend that you start early with this process. Preferably, have conversations about safe driving long before the driving becomes a problem. The establishment of open dialogue allows time for the elder adult driver to consider his/her driving skills and make the appropriate modifications on their own without the added pressure of being told “what to do.” Nobody likes to be told what to do especially respected elders who may have held very responsible positions in industry law or medicine.

It is a good idea to choose which family spokesperson should do the talking since some members of the family may garner more respect. Hearing sensitive and personal information from the “right person” can make a very big difference to the elderly adult driver. To increase the chance of success with the limitation of driving or the cessation of driving, please carefully select the person who is going to initiate the discussion. It is important that the person chosen is someone who the elder adult driver really trusts and respects.

How to start the conversation? One way would be to begin with letting the elder driver know that you have genuine concerns about his/her safety and that you love them so much that you want them to be safe at all times and you want others to be safe too. Always offer help and support. Always suggest that you will answer any questions they may have an be there for their ultimate decision.

Here are some helpful tips that you can give to help the elder driver:

1. Suggest traffic routes that are less demanding and torturous. We all know there are bad roads and horrible interchanges that make driving a nightmare so start off with a joke or some sort of light conversation without getting heavy and serious.

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Here are some other suggestions since I have had to do through this with a loved one too:

1. Suggest limiting driving or not driving at all during the nighttime.
2. Suggest driving during the day when the traffic is light, especially at certain intervals after and before rush hour.
3. Suggest avoiding certain difficult intersections and segments of the highway that are prone to accidents. This will appear to be a loving gesture.
4. Suggest driving for shorter distances or limiting driving to just the essential places.

These are just a few of the tips that can really make a bit difference in the quality of life for the elder driver that you love and cherish and which will ultimately yield results.

Our law firm has represented many senior and elder drivers at all types of DMV Hearings, so please feel free to give us a call at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 today!

North Bay Bicycle Safety Month

May is Bicycle Safety Month

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting ready to focus on bicycle safety. Since May is Bicycle Safety Month, they’re encouraging riders and drivers to be “Roll Models.” Anybody can be a “Roll Model,” and all it means is that you’re focused on being a safe rider or driver and you’re setting an example for others.

Officials with the NHTSA are hoping that the “Roll Model” program will help to decrease the risks of traffic crashes and preventable injuries and deaths associated with bicycles each year, and although May is Bicycle Safety Month, cyclists and drivers are encouraged to practice bicycle safety every day of the year.

Bicycle Injury and Death Facts

• In 2012, 726 people were killed in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles.
• An estimated 49,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents in 2012.
• Between 2001 and 2011, there was an 8.9 percent increase in bicyclist injuries across the nation.
• The total cost of bicyclist injury and death is over $4 billion each year.

Bicycle Safety in The North Bay 

Bicycle safety in Sonoma County and along the North Bay needs to be a top priority for motorists. Bicycle riders don’t have the same level of safety as passenger vehicle occupants. If you get into a minor fender bender with a car, everybody might be okay, but even striking a cyclist at relatively low speeds could send him or her to the hospital, or worse. Be a “Roll Model,” and show others how to respectfully look out for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable roadway user groups.

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Be a “Roll Model”

• Ride and drive focused- never distracted.
• Ride and drive prepared- expect the unexpected.
• Safety first- always buckle up in the car and wear your helmet when riding a bicycle.
• Rules of the road- a bicycle is considered a vehicle, with all of the rights and responsibilities of other vehicles.
• Sharing the road- drivers and cyclists need to look out for one another and show mutual respect.

After a Bicycle Accident In The North Bay 

Bicycle accidents can leave victims in the hospital and out of work. You could be facing extensive medical bills and who knows how long without employment.

Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident relating to a bicycle anywhere in the North Bay of California.