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4 posts from January 2009

January 29, 2009

3 Boys Killed in Car Crash After Fleeing From Police

Fontana crash Twitter Address


Folks, today tragedy struck when a 14 year old boy went joyriding along with two passengers aged 11 and 6.  According to a Fox News Report, the event happened in Fontana, California as follows:

A CHP officer pulled over the Nissan Maxima for running a red light on a Fontana street just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, but the driver sped off as the officer walked toward the car, the statement said.

In a chase that lasted less than a minute, the driver ran several red lights and reached 90 mph on city streets before losing control and hitting the wall, the statement said.

All 3 boys were killed.  The question becomes whether or not the police were in hot pursuit and were justified in the chase that ultimately cost the lives of 3 young boys.

If it turns out that the chase was not justified, then the families of the boys will have a wrongful death claim against the Fontana Police Department for their tragic loss. 

The answer(s) to this question will be determined by the internal police investigation, a court of law or both.

Click here to watch the Associated Press news video

Fontana crash 002 When have the police gone too far and did they go too far this time?  Only time and a thorough investigation will tell.  Meanwhile, the families of the children have a limited time within which to pursue a claim against the governmental entity that may be partially responsible for the tragic loss of their children.  Could the police be trained to react differently in a situation such as this?  Did they have probable cause to believe that the driver and his 6 and 11 year old occupants were a danger on the streets?  Or was the 14 year old driver just a scared child that would have reacted differently if he were not being chased?  What is the Fontana Police Department's protocol in this type of situation and did they follow it?

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

January 25, 2009

Paper Shredders Putting Kids and Pets at Risk of Major Injury

Paper shredder NO Yesterday I received an e-mail from a parent whose young child lost 3 fingers in a home paper shredder.  It happened in a flash.  The poor mother did everything she could to save the child's  little fingers but, alas, to no avail.  Fingers are no match for the blades of a paper shredder.  The fault of the parent?  I think not.  Can she sue someone for the injuries sustained by her child?  Yes.  Should she sue someone for the injuries sustained by her child?  Yes.  Read on.

Manufacturers of paper shredders, whether for home or business use, are aware of the potential dangers of their products.  It's not rocket science that a child's fingers, or a dog's tongue, are small enough to find there way into the paper entry chute.  Very few manufacturers have addressed this issue.  Later in this article you will find information on two manufacturers that provide paper shredders with built in safety features designed to prevent injuries to kids and pets.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission published an article on this very subject.  Paper Shredder Safety Alert says "From January 2000 through September 2005, CPSC received 50 reports of incidents involving finger amputations, lacerations, and other finger injuries from paper shredders. The majority of injuries were to young children under age 5."  The incidents happen so quickly that they can occur even in the presence of adult supervision!  They offer the following safety tips:
  • Never allow children to operate paper shredders, even under adult supervision. Paper shredders can pull children’s fingers into the shredder mechanism.
  • Place the paper shredder in an area less accessible to children.
  • Unplug the paper shredder power cord when the shredder is not in use.
  • Do not place hands or fingers in the shredder opening.
  • Do not operate a paper shredder while wearing loose fitting clothing that may enter the shredder opening.
  • Keep hair and items, such as a tie or a long necklace, away from the shredder opening.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission wrote an extensive article on the evaluation of paper shredder related finger injuries.  Read CPSC Evaluation of Finger Injuries.  This article is in .pdf format.  If you can't open it, click here to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Child Loses Fingers in Shredder (CBS News Video)

Fingers amputated child CBS News aired a video about the tragic story of Lisa Broadfoot's little boy Talan who "screamed, and then was begging me to get his hands out of this machine, saying, 'Please, Mommy, please, Mommy, get my hand out.' He was just screaming and crying and begging."  She rushed him to the hospital with the shredder still attached. He lost 3 fingers and, to this day, keeps asking his mommy when they're going to grow back.  Watch the video here.

Dog Shreds Tongue in Shredder (ABC News Video)

Tongue shredded dog 002
Kids aren't the only beings vulnerable to the possible horrors of the home paper shredder.  I found several instances of dogs shredding their tongues when trying to lick the paper shredder.  Shred the tongue to much and the doggie is a candidate for euthanasia because dogs use their tongues to drink water.  A doggie horror story was aired on ABC News.  Click here to watch the video.

Paper Shredder Horror Stories

Snopes.com has an article devoted to paper shredder horror stories too gruesome to discuss here.  You can go directly to their article on the web by clicking here  or to the .pdf version of the article by clicking here.

Child and Pet Safe Paper Shredders

Paper shredder fellowes safe sb-97cs A little research revealed that horrifyingly few manufacturers provide child or pet safe shredders.  I found two (2) such manufacturers: Fellowes and Royal.  Fellowes DS-1 and DS-2 both have the same SafeSense feature that turns off the blades if the paper entry slot is touched, thereby preventing fingers, tongues and tails from finding their way into the grasp of the life-changing blades.  Fellowes manufactures several other safe paper shredders including the Powershred P-57cs and SB-97cs models.

The Royal PX 110 MX paper shredder, with its patented throat safety guard, is also designed to protect children and pets from injury.

Please note that I have not personally used these shredders and am only reporting what I've been reading on the Internet.  In other words, I can't vouch for the viability of the safety claims made by these manufacturers.  You'll need to do your own research before purchasing any of these shredders.

Can You Sue For Paper Shredder Related Injuries?

Product liability Yes.  Injuries related to bad design or manufacture of a product fall into the product liability category.  If an injury is sustained as a result of bad design or manufacture, then everyone in the chain of commerce (i.e., manufacturer, distributor, retailer) can be held liable for that injury or injuries.  When you buy  or use a product, it is reasonable to assume that the product will be safe when used for its intended purpose.  It is also reasonable to assume that the product will warn you of any potential dangers.  If the product is then unsafe for use or if you have not been warned of its potential dangers, and if an injury occurs, then you have the legal right to take everyone in the chain of commerce to task.  Will they put up a defense?  Yes.  Are you guaranteed to prevail?  No.  However, an attorney experienced in the area of product liability will analyze the facts as they apply to the law and determine whether you have a viable case and proceed from there. 

What type of compensation are you entitled to?  The injured person is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of earnings, future medical expenses and loss of earnings, and pain and suffering. 

Read more about product liability in the Case of the Exploding Wine Bottle.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

January 24, 2009

Lawyer Talk with Super Pat on Thai Television Network NAT TV

Lowell, Super Pat (1) comp I have had the distinct pleasure of twice being the invited guest on Lawyer Talk with Super Pat on the Thai Television Network, NAT TV.  Super Pat, whose full name is Pashree Sripipat, is a Thai celebrity whose vivacious and probing interview style provides her viewers with education and knowledge in a very entertaining fashion.

Super Pat, the lovely lady on the right, is a renowned journalist, talk show and variety show host within the Thai community.  She first asked me to appear on her show in December 2008 to discuss personal injury matters.  What an incredible experience.  Her focus and energy drove the show and kept us on topic.  In particular, we talked about what to do if you're involved in an automobile accident and various aspects of automobile insurance.  Lawyer Talk is broadcast to local and international viewers who have the opportunity to call in with questions.  And they did. 

Super Pat asked me to make a return visit last Thursday, January 22.  Wow, what a great experience.  We discussed supermarket slip & falls, sidewalk trip & falls and automobile insurance. Calls came in from all over California as well as other parts of the country. 

I have been invited to become a regular guest to discuss personal injury matters on the last Thursday of every month. The show airs every Thursday night from 7:00-8:00 pm Pacific Standard Time on NAT TV

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

January 04, 2009

Jett Travolta: The Tragic Death of John Travolta's Boy

John and jett travolta 003

  It was with great sadness that I read the news of the tragic and untimely passing of 16 year old Jett Travolta, son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston.  Apparently, the boy suffered from Kawasaki Disease which is a childhood ailment.  

    How did he die?  No one really knows yet but the current conventional wisdom is that young Jett suffered regularly from seizures and that, on this occasion, he fell and hit his head during one of those seizures.  Various news reports state that he was attended to by nannies but was left unattended this one time.  Again, we do not know the details yet and all of the conventional wisdom is actually only conventional conjecture.

    The family is suffering enough without having to look for blame.  Was negligent supervision or training of the nanny involved?  Did someone breach their duty to the boy and to the family?  These are painful questions that will undoubtedly be investigated in the coming months and, quite possibly, years.  Will we ever know the answer?  Maybe not but here's what we do know: An innocent boy has died and, with that death, is the excruciating pain that John and Kelly, his loving parents, will suffer for the remainder of their lives.

    What is negligent supervision?  It is a legal concept that forms the basis of many of the cases that I handle.  It usually appears in situations wherein someone is injured or killed as a result of someone failing to supervise the activities of those in their charge (i.e., employer/employee, teacher/student, doctor/nurse, lawyer/paralegal).  We plead negligent supervision in lawsuits when, but for the actor being improperly supervised, the injured person would not have been injured.  This can occur in a plethora of situations such as automobile accidents, assault & battery by a security guard against a customer, slip & fall incidents and medical malpractice matters.  

    Likewise, negligent training occurs when a person carries out an activity for which he/she has been improperly trained by the employer and, but for that poor training, someone is injured as a result.  A gruesome example would be a paramedic who was improperly trained in the art of CPR and, as a result, a heart attack victim succumbs to the coronary.

    Again, my heart goes out to the Travolta family.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


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