Walking Bike Accidents On the Way

walking bicycle accident attorney image o walking bike

walking bicycle accident attorney image o walking bike

It’s the newest thing sweeping the news and social media. For bike lovers and scooter riders alike, the Lopifit seems to be the best of both worlds. It offers a fun, invigorating way to travel while also using less energy. It’s gotten a lot of publicity as more people find out about the new product.

With New Products Comes New Risks

In the above video, you can see that this “bike” marries a treadmill with a two wheeled balancing platform similar to that found on scooters that children use. And of course, as with all new products there are potential known and unknown risks. Unfortunately, travel along roads for bicyclists and pedestrians is dangerous across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2013 alone, there were 743 bicyclist fatalities. Furthermore, another 48,000 were injured in similar accidents. Altogether, these represent almost 2% of deaths on the road– an astounding figure considering the miles traveled.

Testing Issues

With such risk on the road for all travelers, it is important to remember such factors as new products are introduced. The Lopifit has much less time on the road and considerably less study for safety. Large bicycle companies have taken years to study safety and to test their products. Furthermore, there are millions of Americans that grew up riding bicycles and understand even the smallest nuances of safety and how to properly ride. With a new product, any inexperience could have a severely deleterious effect on safety.

Design Problems?

There are serious potential issues with the Lopifit’s very design. As a walking bike, the device does not have the same relationship to the human body. When riding a standard bike, a person’s body is around the frame, with legs on either side and feet on the pedals. Here there are just hands on the handles, not offering the same control in case of a fall or accident. Furthermore promotional materials do not feature people wearing safety pads or helmets, a must for anyone riding a Lopifit on the road or anywhere.

It’s important to consider all of these factors if you’re thinking about buying a Lopifit this year. There are concerns about how its improper use could lead to severe injury or death.

Tort “Reform” is Not a Conservative Cause

So Called Tort Reform Damages Property Rights

Who decides awards, the jury, or politicians?

The Jury Returns

Our founders designed a relatively weak central government, with specific, enumerated powers, to be “bound by the chains of the Constitution.”  In fact, each public servant is even forced to carry a Fidelity Bond in furtherance of his or her oath of office. But as the years went by, politicians learned that they could appoint judges to interpret words like “shall not be infringed,” and that which was always right became wrong, and what was wrong became right.

Now a days, unconstitutional laws are passed all of the time, and more and more, in liberal/progressive jurisdictions like California, once a law is ruled unconstitutional by say, the U.S. Supreme Court, the legislature will simply pass another unlawful “law,” similar to the last one, and force years of legal action in the courts.

The cycle simply continues on and on, in perpetuity while you and I are denied the rights, and must “wait and see.” Below you will see some examples of how this game is being played in the legislatures, halls of congress and the courts. What is astonishing is that both political parties are guilty of this, one when it comes to gun rights, and the other, when it comes to personal injury plaintiff victims’ rights. In this piece, we will discuss why no side of the political spectrum is well served supporting either gun control, or so called “tort reform,” and why.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Right to a Civil Jury are Both Unalienable Rights?

All rights, even the unpopular ones, must be treated as sacrosanct. No amount of revisionist history by activist courts or politicians can change the fact the main reason we have the right to keep and bear arms is so we can abolish, or at least try and fight off oppressive government that violates its oath of office.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . . (See Unanimous Declaration.)

In fact, one of the first things King George tried to do when usurping his promises under the Magna Charta, was to try and seize the weapons and powder houses. For at least a hundred years, no one in this country had any doubt that the “People”, when it came to firearms, meant everyone, not the National Guard. Coincidentally, the people never lost their character as ordinary militia by birth.

Later, in the 20th century, progressive politicians realized that you cannot easily take away the property rights of an armed citizenry, and moved to enact gun laws after using the press to sensationalize gun violence. If only the National Guard was armed, then ONLY the government would be armed. Fortunately, the NRA and other educated people saw through this non sense. But that did not end the left’s efforts to strip private citizens of the firearms rights.

Death By a Thousand Cuts

Courts and Progressive politicians who appoint the judges to those courts, have opted for the slow approach, instead dictating how many rounds we can have in our weapons, forcing us to register them with the government in order to make it easier for the government to take them, and making ammo so expensive with taxes and fees that no one will be able to afford to keep and bear arms, ALL INFRINGEMENTS. Death by a thousand cuts is the new method.

The Peruta Example

Take the recent Peruta case, where originally, a three judge panel found that the San Diego Sheriff forcing people to prove that they are in danger (show “good cause”), before law enforcement will issue a conceal carry permit to an otherwise law abiding citizen who had taken classes and safety courses on firearms, was unconstitutional. This was even more especially true since there is no longer a legal right to “open carry” a firearm in the Golden State.

In other words, the right of the people to “keep and bear arms” that are readily accessible outside of your home, and perhaps at a designated gun range is virtually non existent. What are the exceptions? Well, perhaps unless you are in the enumerated “government class.” (Read more.) Other than that, forget about it.

The lone dissenting judge Peruta was promoted to Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit. That same dissenting judge who was against the right of Peruta to be granted a conceal carry permit, is now in charge of the en banc full panel of the 9th Circuit, a Court traditionally hostile to private property and firearms rights.

The Slippery Slope of Letting Judges and Politicians “Interpret” Your Jury Rights

As you can see above, the reason why it is so important to enforce, rather than interpret the plain language of the Bill of Rights and its foundational documents (Magna Charta, Articles of Confederation, etc.), is so that political types of judges, or politicians don’t get their mittens on our unalienable rights. Watch out for politicians on the campaign trail. Listen to them, and you will hear just about every empty and vapid promise imaginable.

The call to change the tort system of the states is a major political football, especially when the electorate is not clear about the true implications of such an action. Instead of protecting businesses and individuals from undue lawsuits, these radical changes instead strip away basic property and individual rights of the victims of civil actions that often arise out of crimes like assault, battery, and even professional malpractice.

Modern “Tort Reform” is Code for Taking Away the Power of the Jury

We keep hearing stories about runaway verdicts and we hear the misrepresented stories about the McDonald’s hot coffee case, as a justification to reduce how much money a jury can award YOU. The reality is, the justice system and the courts already have procedures in place to either reduce or add to a jury award, called additur and remittitur. There is even a procedure that allows the courts to summarily adjudicate a case, and dismiss it, if it is not likely to succeed.

What is really going on here, is that business lobbying groups are trying to control how much their clients will have to pay, when or if they violate the rights of their fellow man and cause him or her injury. This will make it easier to put a hard cost on hurting others, placing profits over people.

It’s a shame that one of my heroes when it comes to the Constitution, former Texas Governor Rick Perry had made his state’s so called ‘tort reform,’ a major piece of his nascent campaign. Newsmax reported on Perry talking about his state’s changes made under the auspices of reducing spurious lawsuits. Instead, many Texans are now left without vital legal protections they have counted on for centuries.

Stripping Away the Seventh Amendment Right of the Civil Jury To Decide The Damages Portion of Your Case Leaves You a Victim

Life, liberty, and property are meant to be unalienable rights. No person should be parted from their belongings and earnings unless by their own choice. The recklessness of allowing serious injury to befall an innocent person is a clear choice. Our founders knew that eventually the mob, jealousy and underhanded dealings could infect our system. That is why many of your most important legal rights were enshrined in a Bill of Rights, designed to send a message to the future guardians. But like anything else, judges are appointed primarily due to party line considerations.

It is difficult to believe that they don’t find a way to bed the law to the will of the electorate, or party to which they lean or support. If we look at the votes of the liberal appointed judges on gun control, we will see every type of nonsensical argument under the sun in favor of taking away the right of gun owners. It is not simply a theory.

Selective Rights?

Courts and politicians have created a volley of tautologies and exceptions that effectively annul many of our rights that vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They have done it often, as discussed at the introduction. It is no different here, it is just that so called Republicans move to take away jury rights and Progressives move to strip you of your right of self defense. Pick your poison.

Just remember, by stripping away protections from accident victims in tort cases, and giving them to those that allowed such incidents to happen in the first place, you set a precedent that could increase the number of accidents in the future. If one has nothing to lose, why even worry?

But when it is your mom, dad, or child who is killed or wounded, you will sue, and you will want the jury and not a political decision, to decide what your damages award should or should not be. Assuming your case has merit, you will win or lose based upon the facts and the jury will decide how much you get, not a statutory rule that blocks jury rights.

Is the Seventh Amendment Really an Unalienable Right?

Although the Seventh Amendment’s provision for civil jury trials is not officially and universally recognized by the courts like the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments are, it is obvious that our founders considered this to be an “unalienable” right. In fact, pretty much every state respects the right of a civil jury to decide case.

The issue with tort reform, is that a wrongdoer is now given a floor and ceiling as to what he or she or it, will ultimately have to pay, no matter how bad the negligence was. Do you see the potential license for havoc that this creates for a pernicious tortfeasor who may now weigh risks based upon the maximum civil penalty? Are you understanding this huge problem?

Property and Legal Rights

Property and legal rights go hand in hand. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution clearly delineates state measures from federal, not allowing for the nationalization of efforts in changing tort law. State after state has found that limits on the amount that accident victims can recover are often overturned in the courts.

Missouri’s efforts were overturned by the state supreme court as reported by National Review in 2012, and then forced through the state legislature again just this year. Another several years long battle will loom, just like with the Peruta case above. In the end, the victims, we the People, are the ones who are left without our sacred rights while the government, the same one we are supposed to be free from, decides what our founders had already decided, and Natural Law universally dictates.

Artificial Caps Hurt Everyone in the Free Market

Ultimately, in a free market, the effects of the event calibrates the money that can be recovered. Artificial caps cause shortages, just as price controls do. Just as such actions create artificial scarcity, the attempts to strip the market and its effects out of the courtroom instead hurts those that need such recovery to continue their lives. The ability of an attorney to argue in favor of their client in an open courtroom setting is part of American jurisprudence.

The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God were also incorporated by reference into our founding documents. It is unnatural to allow a man to be denied his recompense, and will definitely lead to the days of self justice and a “pound of flesh,” revenge actions if something is not done to educate my fellow conservatives and libertarians. No set caps or restrictions should be placed between a person and their full medical and emotional recovery.

The Fallacy of “Tort Reform” Being a Conservative Ideal

How much longer must the charade of tort reform being a conservative idea endure? There have been many Republicans and conservatives that understand the complexities of accidents and their effects that have fought for responsibility in the courts. Some cherry picked examples are not indicative of the wider scope of injury cases across the country.

For victims facing severe injury, lost work, and even disability after a severe accident, having their ability to lead their life again artificially capped is reprehensible and not parallel to basic American ideals. It is no different that liberals trying to infringe upon and harry our rights to keep and bear arms. At the end of the day, there are three boxes we can check, the: “ballot box, the jury box, the cartridge box.” (Source of quote.) When the government moves to take away these rights, you need to be scared. We just discussed why no side of the political spectrum is well served supporting either gun control, or so called “tort reform,” and why. Think about it.

Fighting lawyer, Michael Ehline

Personal Injury Attorney, Michael Ehline seated in front of law books

Michael Ehline is a Libertarian leaning car accident and personal injury specialist. He heads Ehline Law Firm PC, a statewide injury and Second Amendment rights advocacy organization.

GM, Honda and Audi Teaming Up with Google in Android Cars

Los Angeles attorney Mike Ehline

Beware, says Los Angeles personal injury attorney Michael Ehline. Google has announced the Open Automotive Alliance, which is a group of automotive and technology companies. These groups include General Motors, Audi, Honda, Hyundai, and Nvida (NVDA) chipmaker. They have come together and want to customize Google’s mobile operating system for vehicles. This will mean that automakers will have the opportunity to modernize vehicles, while technology companies will have their software in millions of motor vehicles.  In the past few weeks, we have already seen politicians and cops chomping at the bit to tax and fine drivers who wear Google Glass. Looks like it is only going to get worse, says attorney Ehline.

Although this seems like a win-win situation for everyone, could it actually benefit driver safety, or will it add to collisions caused by distracted drivers? These type of motor vehicle crashes often result in vehicle occupants being seriously hurt.  The announcement was made prior to the opening of the International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. At the show Audi, GM and Volkswagen were promoting the growth of car related exhibits.

In the past carmakers have not taken advantage of the latest technology and remained with using proven technology that was stable for safety and reliability concerns. This traditional outlook by automakers has come under pressure with the rapid advances of smartphones and tablets. The free mapping services that are free with smartphones compelled automakers to find an alternative, which was the expensive built-in navigation systems that come with some models. The other thing that was done is to add DVD backseat screens, but now parents can give children preloaded tablets or phones that have movies, games and apps.  Many states have established laws to ensure that driver’s can be penalized if they have these types of screens in their view, since it results in distracted driving that lead to collisions.

Ford is one of the automakers, who have begun taking advantage of the latest technology when they collaborated with Microsoft on the MyFordTouch, which ties cars to mobile devices and allows voice commands.  There are other carmakers who are using ONX software for BlackBerry, other software or variants of the Linux operating system to compete with rivals. This is both time consuming and expensive for automakers, since it requires software companies to write different applications for each of the carmakers.

This resulted in GM, BMW, Intel and others attempting a partnership named Genivi Alliance in 2009 in collaboration involving the Linux operating system and supporting software. The android variant of Linux has an advantage over other types of software, since it is dominant in the mobile device industry. BMW, Audi, Kia and Toyota already are using Google technology for maps, search and other functions. But as a daily driver in LA, Ehline sees any types of distraction as a potential chain collision. “Under ordinary negligence principles, paying attention to devices and phones instead of watching the road is a violation of your duty to act with ordinary care”, says Ehline.

The car makers seem to be less concerned about it however. Tesla Motors is one of the cutting edge automakers who has made the idea of a computer in vehicles a reality with their all electric Model S sedan that is loaded with a 17 inch touch screen that is able to access things like Google Maps and streaming radio with a few touches of the screen with a split screen is possible. There are other companies that are new in Silicon Valley, such as CloudCar that are attempting to combine technology with automobiles. This is a company that has developed a small computing device that is able to be plugged into a car to provide a modern infotainment system. Then with the use of this an upgrade by automakers as a small unit could provide new features in their autos like control software to have a customized speedometer.

The Downside of Auto Technology

The downside that new technology can be distracted driving, whether it is the use of a cell phone system or a split 17 inch screen that gives drivers other things to do while behind the wheel than to pay attention to the road. The rate of distracted driving accidents have been on the rise and the more accessories vehicles have  the easier it will be for any driver to become distracted and even though these technology advances may seem impressive or helpful, at the same time they can be responsible for collisions with serious injury.

The only thing that advanced technology will do, is stop drivers from using handheld cell phones, which has lead to many collisions, but it gives the driver not only the option of talking on a cell phone, but in some cases it will give them a screen to look at instead of looking at the roadway. So, the debate will continue with the advancement of technology in vehicles, will it be an advantage or will it cause the rate of distracted driving accidents in crowded cities like Los Angeles, to increase rapidly?

Resources:

LA Auto Show 2013: Are ‘smart’ cars driving us to distraction? http://www.scpr.org/blogs/economy/2013/11/22/15254/la-auto-show-2013-are-smart-cars-driving-us-to-dis/

Google Teams Up With Car Makers: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-06/google-teams-with-gm-honda-and-audi-to-bring-android-to-cars

Are smarter cars driving us to distraction?: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131210-cars-driving-us-to-distraction

Eleven Children and Adults Struck by 100 Year-Old Driver in South L.A.

Michael P. Ehline, Esq.
(213) 291-9080

By: Michael P. Ehline, Esq. I was watching the news yesterday, and have been listening to the reports all day today. Another case of a senior citizen driver completely out of it. In my opinion, seniors are causing more and more accidents, and doing strange, absent minded things behind the wheel; and this is at an epidemic level. According to fire officials eleven people were injured when a 100 year-old driver jumped a curb in the vicinity of an elementary school.

The Los Angeles Wreck Happened Right By a School!

Fire officials said most of the injured were children in the accident that occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. outside of the Main Street Elementary School. The school is located at the intersection of 53rd Street and main in South Los Angeles. And this is why senior citizen drivers need to be tested more, or something. This is an ongoing problem.

Boys Were Taken to USC With Injuries

The scene of the crash was a silver sedan that hopped the curb and came to rest on the sidewalk after injuring four boys between the ages of 4 years old and 11, who were seriously injured. The boys were transported to County USC with suffering serious injuries. All of the injured are stable and expected to make a full recovery, officials said, they added that none of the children became trapped under the vehicle or had to be extricated. No word on whether an attorney for the injuries has been retained yet. But based upon these facts, it seems certain to follow.

The 100 year-old driver, Preston Carter, did not appear to have been injured, fire officials said. Carter said he was backing out of a Food 4 Less supermarket parking lot, when his brakes allegedly failed. According to some witnesses, Carter was honking his horn at children that were running behind his vehicle as he was attempting to back up. The witnesses said he appeared to become frustrated and then lost control of the car. So here we have conflicting statements, and probably this old guy was negligent, or reckless in continuing to operate the vehicle if the jury believes some, but not others, of the non biased witnesses.

The Old Man Even Had a Valid License

Carter’s family members said that while he has a valid driver’s license, his days of driving are over. No duh. According to authorities the cause of the crash remains under investigation. But in other reports, other witnesses say the old guy was out of it, and he said he didn’t even know he ran anyone over. This is just crazy! What do you think? Under California law, although he is innocent until proven guilty, typically older drives have already gained a history of bad driving. If this is so, a negligence attorney could easily argue this is a case of recklessness and possibly criminal negligence, and get court ordered restitution payments, in addition to negligence money damages. An editorial by Michael P. Ehline, Esq.