Thousands of injuries each year occur due to defective or dangerous products being released on the market. One of the more recent cases that got a lot of media coverage is the “hover boards” that were catching fire due to a design flaw. These types of injuries fall under the Product Liability Law which sets a different set of rules when it comes to responsibility of defective or dangerous products. These set of laws sometimes make it easier to recover damages.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability refers to a seller or manufacturer being held legally accountable for releasing or selling a defective product to a consumer. The responsibility is held to all sellers of the product from manufacturer, to wholesale, and retail. Any tine a product danger or defect is discovered unexpectedly, the product cannot be said to meet the ordinary expectations of the customer. There is no federal product liability laws, which leaves the law up to the states.

Recovering Against A Manufacturer or Seller

Someone may recover against a manufacturer or seller much easier than for other personal injuries. This is based on a few different theories, Strict Liability, Negligence, and Breach of Warranty.

Strict Liability

Usually to hold someone liable for your personal injuries you must show that they were careless. In other words, their negligence and carelessness led to your injury. Due to it being extremely difficult for an individual to show how and when a manufacturer was careless due to it passing through so many hands before reaching the general public. It’s very expensive to prove.

This is where strict liability comes in. It allows a person injured by a defective or unexpectedly dangerous product to hold the manufacturer or seller of the item liable if that manufacturer or seller is in the regular business of selling those types of products.

The Defense to Strict Liability

The primary defense used by sellers and manufacturers in these cases, particularly if you have owned or used the product for some time. Basically if you were aware of the defect, and continued to use it, you may be at fault for any injuries incurred as you continued to use the dangerous product after knowing it’s state.

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In California, owners of dogs are statutorily strictly liable for any injuries their dog causes. This dog bite statute makes the owner of the dog strictly liable for any dog bite from the moment the ownership begins, provided that the victim was not trespassing, provoking the dog, injured by his employer’s dog while on the job, or performing a paid service involving dog. The victim is not required to prove negligence.

dogbite-attorneyIn California, a victim of a dog bite only needs to show that: the dog was owned by the defendant; the bite took place on public property or while the victim was lawfully on private property; the victim was actually bitten by the dog; and the victim was injured by the dog.

This is what the text of the statute looks like:

California Civil Code section 3342.

(a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.

(b) Nothing in this section shall authorize the bringing of an action pursuant to subdivision (a) against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite or bites occurred while the dog was defending itself from an annoying, harassing, or provoking act, or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:

(1) In the apprehension or holding of a suspect where the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect’s involvement in criminal activity.

(2) In the investigation of a crime or possible crime.

(3) In the execution of a warrant.

(4) In the defense of a peace officer or another person.

(c) Subdivision (b) shall not apply in any case where the victim of the bite or bites was not a party to, nor a participant in, nor suspected to be a party to or a participant in, the act or acts that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work.

(d) Subdivision (b) shall apply only where a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for the police or military work enumerated in subdivision (b).

There are several defenses under the California statute where the dog owner may not be liable. California courts have denied recovery to victims who provoked the dog, negligently caused the attack, or assumed the risk of dog attack.

If you or your loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, please call the attorneys at Adams & Corzine, as we can help you.  Hiring an experienced attorney is important to help you sort out the complexities of a dog bite case.  Please call our office today at 916-93-3900 for a free legal consultation.

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What is a Head Injury?

Every year in America, there are nearly 2 million traumatic brain injury related emergency room departments, hospitalizations, and deaths. Traumatic brain injuries aren’t always cause by high speed impacts. Severe brain injuries can result from car accidents, sports, falls, and work-related accidents. Any kind of injury to the head or neck region can cause the brain to bruise, bleed, tear, or swell.

There are two types of head injuries:

Open Head Injury

An open injury means the skull has been fractured, and this kind of brain injury usually results from falls or other accidents in which the head comes in direct contact with a hard surface or object.

Closed Head Injury

A closed head injury doesn’t involve a fracture, but can be more serious than an open injury due to the possibility of brain swelling and the formation of dangerous blood clots inside the skull.  A closed head injury is a trauma in which the brain is injured as a result of a blow to the head, or a sudden, violent motion that causes the brain to knock against the skull.  A closed head injury is different from an open head injury, in that no object actually penetrates the brain.

Whether a brain injury is open or closed, the most serious of either type can cause paralysis, loss of consciousness, and even death.

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident, and you believe that someone else may be at fault for what happened, you may be entitled to a legal remedy for the harm. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your legal rights.


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Have I suffered a traumatic brain injury?

Accidents can have a wide range of consequences, some of them quite severe and to the brain. Among the most severe and debilitating injuries an accident can cause are traumatic brain injuries.

A traumatic brain injury, can be broadly defined as any trauma or blow to the head that causes a disruption in the normal functioning of your brain.  It can occur in the form of a concussion, mild trauma, or a more severe injury.

We have learned a great deal of information about brain injuries in the past 20 years including how they are caused.  Most importantly, we have learned that the brain is much more vulnerable to injury than we had previously thought.  It is important to watch out for symptoms that may mean you have sustained a traumatic brain injury, disrupting the function of the brain, without ever having lost consciousness.

A traumatic brain injury can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked.  Even though this type of traumatic brain injury is called “mild”, the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating.

Common symptoms of mild brain injury can include any of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Ringing in ears
  • Memory loss
  • Poor attention/concentration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness/loss of balance
  • Irritability-emotional disturbances
  • Feelings of depression
  • Seizures
  • Nausea

These symptoms may not be present or noticed at the time of injury.  They may be delayed days or weeks before they appear.  The symptoms are often subtle and are often missed by the injured person, family and sometimes even doctors.  The person may look and feel normal, may move normally, in spite of not feeling normal.  This is what makes a brain injuries so difficult to diagnose.

If your severe brain injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you have a right to pursue compensation. Not only do severe brain injuries immediately cause significant pain and discomfort, it can cause long term emotional injuries, and treating it is very expensive.  You should not have to pay that price when you were a victim and your injury was caused by someone else’s wrongdoing.

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident and need an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney, please call Adams & Corzine today at 916-983-3900 for a free consultation.

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Recently the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a hospital over a whether non-medical negligence occurring in a hospital is “professional negligence” or “ordinary negligence.”  This case shows that these details can be the difference between dismissal on statute of limitations or not.

In Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, there were bedrails raised on the patient’s bed at the doctors orders. This is common if the patient is at an increased risk of falling out of bed. Despite the bedrails being raised, when the patient attempted to get out of bed, the latch failed causing the rail to collapse. Without any support the patient fell to the floor and was injured.

Just before reaching two years since the incident the patient sued the hospital on premises liability and general negligence theories. The hospital demurred on the ground that the complaint was untimely, because when suing a healthcare provider for professional negligence, the complaint must be filed within 3 years, or within one year of discovery, whichever is sooner (CCP §340.5.)

Since plaintiff was on notice of potential negligence as soon as she fell, the hospital argued she was required to file suit within one year.  Plaintiff argued that her claim arose from something less than professional negligence, because once the doctor ordered the bedrails in a raised position, there was no further medical decision-making required. Therefore, she argued, her causes of action for premises liability and ordinary negligence would be governed by the 2-year statute of limitations set out in CCP §335.1. The hospital countered that because the injury occurred while the patient was in a bed on the hospital, any negligence would be professional in nature, rather than ordinary.


Over the years there has been quite a bit of judicial debate as to whether this would be “ordinary” negligence or “healthcare professional” negligence.  The Supreme Court clarified this, holding that maintenance of hospital equipment sounded in professional negligence, rather than ordinary negligence, applied the shorter statute of limitations, and dismissed the case.  Had the plaintiff slipped and fell coming up the steps or ramp to the entry of the hospital, it is probable that the Court would have ruled differently after determining it was a ordinary negligence case.  There is at least one other case pending before the Court involving a fall on a wet floor shortly after being mopped, but we still wait for the Court’s ruling and analysis for further clarification.

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