Lewis, Marenstein,
Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, Llp

Woodland Hills California Legal Blog

Technology addiction and car crashes

Addiction to technology can increase the probability of a car crash in many different ways. Not only can these addictions cause someone to become distracted while behind the wheel, such as those who try to drive while using a tablet or sending messages on their phone, but it can also cause drivers to become mentally distracted, agitated and even fatigued. There are many ways in which people are addicted to technology, whether they spend a significant amount of time playing games on their computer, are addicted to social media or struggle with some other form of technological addiction. Sadly, this has played a role in many fatal auto accidents.

Using an electronic device behind the wheel can be incredibly dangerous. A driver may take their hands off the wheel to manipulate a device, or they may also lose their focus because they are thinking about something on their phone or tablet. In some cases, people may be in a rush to get home because they are addicted to technology, which could cause them to speed or pay less attention to the road. Moreover, these addictions can cause people to lose a significant amount of sleep, which can result in drowsy driving.

Revisit the facts on distracted driving

Since distracted driving is an increasingly prevalent issue across the country, it is important to periodically recap the risks. Thousands of people across the country, including in California, are injured and killed every year in accidents attributed to distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, according to the National Safety Council. This month, drivers and others can educate themselves on the dangers and prevention methods for distracted driving, as well as the different types of distractions.

Are hands-free cellphones a safe alternative for drivers?

California is just one state in the nation that prohibits motorists from using hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel. Many states have created legislation banning this act due to the many people who are injured and killed in distracted driving car accidents every year. As a California motorist, you may have switched to using a hands-free cellular device while driving in an attempt to stay in compliance with the law. However, studies show that hands-free devices may not be a safe alternative to hand-held cellphones.

The study, released by AAA, involved participants who were asked to operate a simulator vehicle, as well as a vehicle set up with monitoring equipment. As they were driving, researchers asked the participants to complete certain distractive tasks, including the following:

  •          Listen to a book on tape
  •          Listen to the radio
  •          Hold a conversation using a hand-held cellphone
  •          Speak with a passenger in the car
  •          Maintain a conversation using a hands-free cellphone
  •          Use a voice-activated device to compose an email

Law enforcement rights could expand with new California law

Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day in California, but there are more than violent injuries and confrontations that they often worry about. In the past, certain injuries were overlooked by workers’ compensation claims, but according to KUSI News, a Democratic representative from San Diego recently announced a bill to extend officer’s workers’ compensation availability.

The representative believes that some officers are in danger of losing employment or healthcare when they are forced to use personal leave in agencies where certain illnesses and injuries must be classified by whether they are workplace injuries. If they are not, officers are required to use their own time as they recover from injuries. Because of this, some officers avoid work with agencies that require them to use their own time to recover from a workplace injury.

Illegal stimulants and motor vehicle wrecks

From drinking too much with friends at a party to taking prescription opioid medication that results in drowsiness, there are many different ways in which people become intoxicated, which can endanger lives if they decide to operate a vehicle. Intoxicated driving takes many forms, but in this post, we will examine some of the risks associated with driving while under the influence of illegal stimulants. Unfortunately, this behavior has led to the loss of many lives and an overwhelming number of car crash victims have been injured also.

There are a number of different illegal stimulants that people take, such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Some people may take these stimulants on a one-off occasion, whether they make a poor decision or take drugs at a party. Other people may use these drugs on a regular basis because they are struggling with an addiction. Either way, getting behind the wheel while under the influence of illegal stimulants can be very dangerous.

What people should know about disability pensions

When you first speak to your California employer about disability pensions, you may have many questions. At Lewis, Marenstein, Wicke, Sherwin and Lee, LLP, we know that disability pensions can sometimes be complex and we want to make sure you have the information you need.

When you first think about disability pensions, you may wonder if you are even eligible. Most of the time, you are eligible for this pension if you incurred an injury while performing a work-related task. Additionally, this wound typically needs to keep you from performing your job. If you cannot work because of your injury, you may simply want to fill out the paperwork to apply for this pension. However, you usually need to see your physician first. Your application generally needs a statement from your doctor explaining that you cannot work in order for your application to be valid.

Know the facts about short term disability

When California workers get hurt on the job, they may be unable to work for a few weeks while they recover. Sometimes people may be able to receive short term disability insurance to help take care of their family while they are out of work.

According to FindLaw, workers can typically receive short term disability if they cannot work for several weeks because of an injury. People usually receive these benefits soon after they sustain their injury. Most workers collect short term disability payments for a few months until they are fully recovered; however, some people may be eligible to have this insurance for two years.

How are disability benefits different from workers' compensation?

Disability benefits in California are similar to workers' compensation in that each makes up for lost income in the event that you suffer an injury that renders you unable to work. According to FindLaw, the main differences between the two are who purchases the policy and the circumstances under which the law requires payment. Essentially, disability benefits apply to injuries that you sustain outside of work but are severe enough to prevent you from performing your job. Workers' compensation, on the other hand, is for injuries directly related to your employment.

If you become injured outside of work and meet the qualifications, you may apply to receive federal assistance from Social Security Disability Insurance, which receives funding from payroll taxes. You may also purchase disability insurance privately, or your employer may offer it as a job perk. As an employee, you do not purchase workers' compensation coverage directly, however. Rather, your employer purchases a workers' compensation policy to cover all employees in the event of on-the-job injury. 

California jury rules in energy drink company's favor

Some people may think of caffeine as a "harmless" drug, but the perception is dubious at best. Though unusual, it is entirely possible to overdose on caffeine, and the number of emergency room visit precipitated by consumption of energy drinks more than doubled between 2007 and 2011, from 10,068 to 20,783. Nevertheless, a jury in California decided in favor of an energy drink manufacturer in a product liability suit alleging that consumption of caffeinated energy drinks caused a heart attack in a teenager that led to debilitating brain damage.

The plaintiff suffered a heart attack in 2013 when he was 18 years old. He filed a lawsuit the following year alleging that the caffeine in the energy drinks he consumed caused the heart attack that led to high medical bills as well as limiting his ability to work due to brain damage. His attorney claims that the judge in the case excluded several scientific studies suggesting that energy drinks can cause irregular heart rhythms and stated that he and his client plan to appeal the decision. 

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Lewis, Marenstein,
Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, Llp

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Woodland Hills, CA 91364

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