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8 posts from August 2008

August 31, 2008

Top 10 Most Fatal Occupations - Link of the Day

Truck_driver_fatalities The List Universe, a site to which I subscribe, e-mails its subscribers daily with top 10 (or 15) lists in a zillion categories.  Since my law practice is mainly built on representing people who have suffered major injuries, or their families in the event of death, I found the The Top 10 Most Fatal Occupations to be of great interest.  Clicking on each one of the occupations below and, where provided the additional links next to them, will take you to a link with more information (these links do not emanate from The List Universe but from other research).

10. Truck Drivers; OSHA (U.S. Dept. of Labor) Trucking Industry Standards

9. Electrical Powerline Workers; Alaska Case Study; OSHA Electric Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission Industry

8. Roofers; Case Study: Fatality Narrative

7. Farmers and Ranchers; The Healthy Farmer: Staying Safe

6. Refuse Collectors; Waste Age News: Refuse Fatalities Decline in 2007

5. Steel and Iron Construction Workers

4. Lumberjacks

3. Pilots and Flight Engineers

2. Commercial Fishermen; Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (Commercial Fishing Fatalities in Washington, 1998-2006)

1. Cell Phone Tower Workers; Tower Climbing: Deadliest Job in America (RCR Wireless) Farm_accident_3 Cell_phone_tower

Powerline_worker_2Lumberjack_fatalities_3  *****************************************************************************************************************************

The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger now at (323) 852-1100        

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


August 19, 2008

More Road Rage: Fender Bender Turns Deadly in Florida

Casey_tillI'm amazed at the lack of restraint that some drivers exhibit.  The latest tale of Road Rage again arises in the great State of Florida.  It just goes to show that driving and crack cocaine don't mix.  The Associated Press reports the following:

LAKE HAMILTON, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man was arrested after allegedly going on a violent rampage after a minor fender-bender, slashing and stabbing the occupants of a car, then running over and killing a woman who had been riding in another nearby vehicle.

Casey Weldon Till, 26, of Haines City, faces murder and carjacking charges after the attacks involving family members traveling in two vehicles.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office tracked Till to his home through a pill bottle left at the scene late Sunday night. Police allege that he killed Odalis Cespedes, 41, by running her over twice. Till told police he was high on crack at the time.Bilde

The violence apparently unfolded after Till's minivan slammed into a stopped car being driven by Cespedes' daughter, 19-year-old Ivon Despaigne, and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Angel Gonzalez, of Kissimmee. When the couple got out to check the damage, Till allegedly slashed Gonzalez's throat and stabbed Despaigne in the neck.

Investigators say Till then got into the couple's car and repeatedly rammed the vehicle ahead, occupied by Cespedes, her husband, 41-year-old Mario Despaigne, and their 6-month-old granddaughter.

The couple got their granddaughter out of the car seat and Cespedes was trying to flee with the baby in her arms when she was killed, Mario Despaigne said in an interview with The Ledger, which was conducted through an interpreter.

Mario Despaigne said Till drove over his wife's leg, then ran over her again after seeing she was still moving. Despaigne said he grabbed the baby. Then Gonzalez got into Till's van and hit him, then tried to back over him, but Till rolled out of the way, according to the arrest report.


The picture to your left: Polk County Sheriff's deputies and crime scene technicians investigate the scene of a fatal stabbing at the intersection of County Road 542/Hatchineha Road and Watkins Road south of Poinciana.

Till then allegedly ran back to his van, ignoring commands to stop from a Lake Hamilton police officer who happened upon the scene. Till sped off, hitting officer David Hurst in the arm and midsection with the van's open door.

Till had locked himself in his bathroom and cut his wrists by the time investigators found him, the report said. He allegedly admitted the attacks to his wife and mother.

The police report listed Gonzalez and Ivon Despaigne in critical condition, but a local hospital would not provide information about their condition Tuesday.

Till was being held Tuesday in the Polk County Jail on charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, carjacking and improper exhibition of a weapon. It was not immediately known if Till had an attorney.

Winterhaven Hospital's site provided the following details about the victims:

  • Ivon Despaigne, 19, of 1436 Swan Court, Kissimmee, who suffered from apparent stab wounds and was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where was in critical condition this afternoon.
  • Angel Gonzalez, 21, of 771 Camel Court, Kissimmee, who suffered from apparent stab wounds and also was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in critical condition.
  • Oxalis Cespedes, 41, of 1436 Swan Court, Kissimmee, who died at the scene. The Polk County Medical Examiner's Office reported this afternoon that she suffered severe burns and died from asphyxiation.
  • Bottom line, folks, don't engage others in a bout of road rage.  You never know who you're dealing with.  Two minutes after you've calmed down from an asphalt altercation, you'll have forgotten about it.  BUT if you take action, or if the other person takes action, your life could be unalterably changed for the worse.


    The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

    If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

    Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger now at (323) 852-1100        

    or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

    "Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


    August 10, 2008

    Road Rage Can Be Deadly: Graphic Photos, Videos

    Road_rage_female I started thinking about road rage this morning when I read an article about an incident that recently happened in Florida.  The woman, whose picture you see to your left, got a little upset when her boyfriend got into a road rage altercation with another driver and stabbed him to death! WPTV.com reports that “Sheriff’s detectives arrested Anusha Bissoon (DOB 2/22/80) at 1:30 this morning, which was half an hour after incident, which began as a fight over tailgating.”  Read the entire police report by clicking here.

    Wikipedia provides a pretty thorough discussion of road rage.  Of interest to you will probably be some of the things that cause a road rage incident to accelerate:

  • Generally aggressive driving, including sudden acceleration, braking, and close tailgating.
  • Cutting others off in a lane, or deliberately preventing someone from merging.
  • Sounding the vehicle's horn or flashing lights excessively.
  • Rude gestures (such as the finger).
  • Shouting verbal abuse or threats.
  • Intentionally causing a collision between vehicles.
  • Exiting the car to attempt to start a confrontation, including striking someone else's vehicle with an object.
  • Threatening to use or using a firearm or other deadly weapon.
  • Throwing projectiles from a moving vehicle with the intent of damaging other vehicles. 

    Obviously, I don't need to tell you that road rage is illegal.  Road ragers can, and will, be held legally responsible for the consequences of their actions.  Since road rage can lead to assault, battery, mayhem and even murder, road ragers should beware!  A mild-mannered accountant could wind up n Sing-Sing auditing the prison's books because of one night of rage.

    You will be fascinated by the videos, graphic photos and literature (click on the links below) about the road rage phenomenon. I must warn you that many of the videos have graphic language

    Interesting Links and More Videos

    Road Rage Graphic Photo Album (Lowell Steiger's Los Angeles Law Blog)

    Three Driving Studies: How to Avoid Succumbing to Road Rage (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)

    San Diego Man Beaten in Road Rage Incident: Two road ragers beat up the victim who was hospitalized with severe head injuries (SignonSanDiego.com)

    Florida Councilman John Lepley Found Guilty of Road Rage (TheLedger.com) Here's the story:

    John_lepley_road_rageA jury found a Davenport city councilman guilty Thursday of reaching into a Jeep and grabbing a 19-year-old man by the throat during a road rage incident last year.  Jurors spent about 40 minutes deliberating before finding John Lepley guilty of battery and assault, both misdemeanors.Polk County Judge Timothy Coon sentenced Lepley to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service. He must also write a letter of apology to the motorist, Brent Burns, and complete an anger management class.  Read full story here

    Is Road Rage a Mental Disorder? (About.com)

    10 Tips to Prevent Road Rage (Edmunds.com): Here are the 10 tips in bullet point format. Click here for the full description.

    • Get your zzz's
    • Plan ahead
    • Your car is not a therapist
    • Turn down the bass
    • Loosen up, then breathe
    • It's not about
    • Hostility is toxic, and risky
    • Use restaurant etiquette
    • Take the self-test
    • Practice kindness

    Judge Judy


    The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

    If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

    Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger now at (323) 852-1100       

    or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

    "Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


  • August 08, 2008

    Uh Oh, Car Accident With No Liability Insurance: "But I'm Not At Fault"

    No_car_insuranceSo what happens when you're in a car accident in California, you're injured badly, it's the other driver's fault and you have no liability insurance?  Back in 1996, Californians passed Proposition 213 which then became California Civil Code Section 3333.4 which states "in any action to recover damages arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle, a person shall not recover non-economic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages if any."  What does this actually mean?  Well, to give an extreme example, let's say that you're driving along and someone makes an illegal left turn in front of your car.  You can't avoid the collision and the collision is clearly not your fault.  You break 7 ribs.

    Pain Under normal circumstances, there is nothing that a doctor can do to help speed the healing of broken ribs. It just takes time.  As a result, your medical bills for this nasty, excruciating, debilitantingly painful injury are minimal -- maybe $2,000-3,000.  Yes, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your medical bills.  If you have liability insurance, you'll also be entitled to be compensated for the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of the broken ribs -- several thousand dollars in excess of the $2,000-3,000 in medical bills.

    No_money However, if you have no liability insurance covering you for the operation of the vehicle that you were driving at the time of this accident, you get no money, zero compensation for your pain and suffering.  Not a penny more than your reasonable medical bills.  Period.  End of story. (The only exception to this hard and fast rule is if the at-fault driver was convicted of driving under the influence pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 or 23153).

    Towtruck To add insult to injury, driving without insurance will subject you to having your car impounded, temporarily losing your driver's license and paying a hefty fine.  See California Vehicle Code Section 16029 for further details.

    Bottom line: If you're going to drive in California, get auto insurance.


    The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

    If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

    Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger now at (323) 852-1100       

    or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

    "Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


    August 06, 2008

    Personal Injury Lawyer Los Angeles: How Is A Case Handled?

    Personal_injury Despite conventional wisdom, every personal injury case is different. The facts of the accident are unique, the injuries are likewise unique and the manner in which the matter is handled must be carefully tailored to each particular case and client.

    There is, however, a certain framework within which personal injury lawyers handle their clients’ cases. It is important to remember that just as each case is unique, so is the client and that client’s needs must be tended to as though he or she is our only client.

    The following is the general framework within which we work – subject to all of the modifications that are unique to each particular matter.

    Personal injury cases take anywhere from six months to two to three years to resolve, whether that be by settlement, arbitration or trial. I always advise my clients that they must be patient and that the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly. There are periods throughout a case when things get amped up and then quiet down again.

    In order to even begin settlement negotiations, we must collect reports and bills from your doctors, the hospitals, information from your employer regarding your loss of earnings and, of course, information gathered regarding the facts of the case through witnesses, police reports and a plethora of other possible sources. Once all of this information is gathered, I am able to begin to analyze your case in terms of its reasonable value and begin negotiations with the insurance company representing the alleged at-fault party or parties.

    But before we even get to that point, here’s what needs to happen:

    Stethoscope Medical Treatment

    It is very important that your doctors, and your lawyer, know about all injuries or medical problems that existed before your accident and those that came about after the accident. I’ve had great cases that literally disintegrated when these conditions were not disclosed early on. Sometimes this happens because we’re human and just forget BUT it is very important to try and recall all such problems. You need to know that the insurance companies keep a database of all claims made by individuals and they will likely know more about your medical and claims history than you do!

    Be sure to tell your doctors about all of your complaints. I always tell my clients to take an imaginary trip from the top of their head to the tip of their toes and describe each ache, pain and symptom to the doctor so that it can be noted and analyzed. Diary Keep a diary or journal of your experiences after the accident. What hurts? What kind of treatment are you getting? Are you improving? How is your life changing? What could you do before the accident that you can’t do now? Keep a record of all of your out-of-pocket expenses.

    Telephone_shhh Do Not Discuss Your Case

    If the insurance company calls you for any reason whatsoever, I always tell my clients that the answer to any question is "Lowell Steiger." As sophomoric as it may sound, if they say "How’s the weather?" you say "Lowell Steiger,          (323) 852-1100        ." Do not talk to anyone other than your attorney, your doctor and, if you must talk to someone else, a trusted immediate family member.

    Do not sign any documents without your lawyer’s approval.

    In some cases, the other side will put you under surveillance. I always tell my clients that you have nothing to fear when your case is legitimate. As an attorney, I go to great pains to be sure that the cases in my caseload are always legitimate. This begins with the new-client interview process. Do not answer questions about your case to anyone other than your doctor or lawyer. You should be suspicious of anyone unfamiliar to you approaching you with questions about your case. Simply tell them that you have been instructed by your attorney to not discuss your case

    Lawsuit The Lawsuit (Suing the "Bad Guys") If we can’t come to a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, then I must file a complaint against the at-fault party or parties on your behalf. In other words, we sue them. The party or parties that are sued then give the complaint to their insurance company who turns it over to their attorneys. Within approximately four weeks, the attorneys "answer" the complaint.

    At that time, they will serve us with written questions called "interrogatories" and a demand for production of relevant documents (i.e., medical records, loss of earnings verification, police report, photographs, etc.). They will also ask to take your deposition which is really just an oral version of the questions asked during the written interrogatory phase. All responses, whether written or oral, are done under oath. You will be fully prepared for your deposition – I always spend many hours reviewing the facts of the case with my clients way in advance of the deposition. The procedure is explained to you in detail. Naturally, you will be accompanied by an attorney who is there to represent your interests and vigorously protect your rights.

    And remember: Everything that they ask of you, we ask of them – we’ll take their depositions and serve interrogatory questions.

    Although there is much more to the process, I hope that this gives you somewhat of an idea as to what to expect.

    If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail me at lowell@steigerlaw.com or call me at          (323) 852-1100        .

    August 05, 2008

    Link of the Day - The Irreverent L.A. Car Couture Blog

    Folks, you will be greatly entertained and definitely enlightened by the irreverent musings of blogmaster "Your Pap" of L.A. Car Couture, the premiere Los Angeles Car Blog. 

    Your Pap describes his unique look at the Los Angeles car scene thusly:

    In Los Angeles, a city of rampant narcissism, cars are the greatest fashion to get noticed. I am your automotive papparazzi - I see; I report; I put an L.A.-spin on the car scene. It's all about what you're driving, how you look in it and what you're getting out of. It's your flashiest accessory - more than your Manolo, LV and Rolex combined! In this image-obsessed city, cars are THE greatest obsession. And it should be. For god's sake, that's a $100k+ accessory parked out on the damn street!

    L.A. Car Couture bravely goes where no L.A. Car Blog has gone before.  Cars are almost like a religion in L.A. and Your Pap wittily highlights the highs and lows of the L.A. Car scene with photos, videos and a perspective that may border on sacrilege.  No Bentley (or famed Bentley Driver) is safe from his observations.  For example, he writes:

    You’re not gonna not buy the Continental GT because of the unresolved pedigree. After all, it’s a beautiful automobile, with lines of an instant-classic. From rap star to CEO, to famous-for-being-famous, everyone wants or has one of these. So while exclusivity can’t be guaranteed (especially in L.A.) pleasurable, effortless, 12-cylinder motoring is a sure thing. And you’ll look damn good in it, believe your Pap. And if anyone snickers and hisses, tell them…Sharon Stone can’t be wrong. Paris Hilton can’t be wrong. Posh Spice can’t be wrong. After all, doesn’t this whole town follow along with what a dozen or so celebrities are doing anyway?

    No car, or star, is safe from Your Pap's musings.  You'll read about Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Aston Martins, Porsches, Mercedes, Priuses and Camaros and the Paris Hiltons, Beckhams, Hasselhoffs, Sharon Stones, Liz Hurleys and Schwartzeneggers that drive them.  And what you read will not be as sugar coated as much of the eye candy that you read about!!!  Your Pap even goes so far as to compare L.A.'s beloved Prius to an Ardvark!

    I urge you to click on L.A. Car Couture for your daily dose of the guilty pleasure that is the L.A. Car Scene.

    Keywords: "L.A. Car Blog" "Los Angeles Car Blog"

    August 03, 2008

    Poll: Shia LaBeouf, Injured While Driving Drunk - Does He Have a Right to Sue?

    Indiana_jones_starAccording to Sandy Cohen of the Associated Press, "Shia LaBeouf could have a long road before him as he recovers from the accident that crushed his hand, his lawyer says.

    "LaBeouf, 22, was injured in a late-night crash last Sunday in West Hollywood that flipped his truck. The "Indiana Jones" star was cited for drunken driving, but authorities have since said he was not at fault, and that the other driver apparently ran a red light.

    "Michael Norris, LaBeouf's attorney, said in a statement Friday LaBeouf underwent four hours of surgery. His left arm remains immobilized from the elbow down.

    "He will need regular medical supervision until his doctors clear him to return to work," Norris said in the statement. "His doctors remain hopeful that he will fully recover, but due to extensive surgery and the nature of the injuries, there remains a substantial risk of both infection and other complications."

    Edmunds.com: Gas Guzzler Trade-In Calculator (sometimes spelled Edmonds.com)

    Gas_guzzlerOne of my favorite websites, www.edmonds.com, has added a Gas Guzzler Trade-In Calculator to its already rich car value related website!   Here's the Edmonds blurb:  "You would like to save money on gas so you're considering trading in your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient car. This calculator shows how long will it take before you pay off the balance of a vehicle purchase and really begin saving money."  Here's how it works: "Select the new or used fuel-efficient vehicle you would like to purchase. Edmond's will provide the True Market Value® price and MPG for the vehicle you select. Manufacturer incentives are not included."

    Incidentally, Edmonds is the site that I use when advising clients as to whether they are getting a fair offer (is "fair offer" an oxymoron?) from the insurance company on their total loss as they provide you with the fair market value of your vehicle based on condition, options, mileage and location.  They call this great feature the Used Car Appraiser and to use it, click here.


    The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

    If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

    Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger now at          (323) 852-1100       

    or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

    "Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


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