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Personal Injury | Northern California Personal Injury Blog

Bicycling Accidents in the Bay Area

By Kelly Balamuth on November 30, 2019

Traffic crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles are a growing problem in California. Bicycle injury rates increased by 21% over a recent seven-year period while overall traffic injury rates decreased, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Bicycle accident injuries are increasing in both absolute terms and relative to total vehicle crashes. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

New State Bill Could Prevent More Bay Area Truck Accidents

By Kelly Balamuth on September 10, 2015

Last summer, a truck accident on Highway 17 took the life of a twenty-six year old while he was sitting in stopped traffic near Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos. A truck hauling dirt was driving downhill and couldn’t stop; causing a 10-vehicle collision that killed the young man and injured seven more.

The driver of the truck had been driving a big rig for less than three months. He was driving with too much weight, too fast, on too steep of a grade. He jammed on his brakes but they couldn’t take all of the pressure. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

By Kelly Balamuth on January 4, 2013

Northern California Catastrophic Injury AccidentAny type of injury has the potential to have a devastating effect on a person’s life and well-being, but a catastrophic injury in particular can permanently impact the life of the injury victim. A catastrophic injury is any injury that has serious, long-term effects on the victim and can result in permanent disabilities. As the injury is often life-altering, the financial, emotional, and physical strains of the injury can be significant, and the victim as well as the family and friends supporting the person through recovery will be negatively impacted.

The effects of a catastrophic injury can be felt for months or even years, and the following are some of the more common catastrophic injuries that accident victims may suffer:

  • Traumatic brain injury;
  • Paralysis, quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs), or paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower body);
  • Back injuries, such as a spinal cord injury;
  • Neck injuries; and
  • Severe burn injuries.

As a catastrophic injury can result in permanent disabilities and leave a person to cope with new physical limitations, he or she may be unable to return to work and to the activities enjoyed prior to the injury. Depending on the exact injury and the severity, a person may have to relearn everyday activities and have continued medical care and assistance to recuperate to and live daily life.

The Walnut Creek catastrophic injury attorneys of Balamuth Law know that medical treatment and rehabilitation are essential in order for a person to recover to the best of their abilities. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury caused by the negligent actions of another party, you are legally able to pursue compensation from the at-fault person and hold them accountable through a personal injury claim.

Our legal team has the knowledge and experience needed to get you favorable results in your case and will work tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Call (888) 254-1234 to discuss your situation with us.

Tips to Celebrate Halloween Safely in Northern California

By Kelly Balamuth on October 22, 2012

The fall season, which marks the transition from winter to summer, means falling temperatures, vibrant colored leaves, and the beginning of the holiday season. With the beginning of this cooler season in October also comes one of the most celebrated holidays of the year: Halloween. The Halloween holiday is observed with trick and treats for children and adults, decorative costumes, and ghoulish festivities, and this holiday may inspire you to watch a scary movie or decorate your home with frightening décor such as skeletons, ghosts, or cobwebs.

The personal injury law firm of Balamuth Law encourages families across California to celebrate safely on October 31 and follow these Halloween safety tips to ensure everyone will have a fun and happy Halloween.


To increase visibility at night, fasten reflective tape to bags and costumes to help motorists see you. Also, wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid a dangerous slip or trip and fall, and avoid a potential fire hazard by wearing flame resistant costumes. Accessories such as knives or swords should be soft and flexible, and lower your risk of an eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.


Practice pedestrian safety with your family by looking both ways before crossing a street and using established crosswalks, if available. Also, use sidewalks when possible, and avoid trick-or-treating alone; walk in groups or with a trusted adult. If your child is going out with friends, tell him or her to only visit well-lit houses, and do not enter a home unless there is an adult present.

Candy and Treats

Examine your child’s Halloween goodies for signs of tampering or choking hazards, and encourage your child to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Homemade treats made by strangers should not be eaten.

Dedication to the Rights of Injured Victims

The personal injury lawyers in Moraga of Balamuth Law hope these simple safety tips will help adults and children celebrate safely this year, but also know that the careless actions of another person may cause a dangerous accident. If you have been involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, call (888) 254-1234 for a consultation on your case. Balamuth Law would like to wish everyone a very safe and happy Halloween!

How Long Do Californians Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

By Kelly Balamuth on October 12, 2012

On a daily basis, being involved in an accident that causes injury is likely the last thing most Northern California residents are thinking of, but an injury accident is an unfortunate possibility whether one is at work, at play, or on the road. A California personal injury accident can include a number of different types of accidents, such as traffic accidents, slip and fall accidents, or accidents involving defective products. When the negligence of another party causes injury or harm in any type of accident, the injured victim has the legal right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. But how long does a person have to file a claim?

Bay Area Statute LimitationsCalifornia law does dictate how long a person has to file a personal injury claim, which is called a statute of limitations. Essentially, a statute of limitations is a law which places a time limit on pursuing legal action and remedy, and unless a legal exception applies, the injured person may lose the right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation after the “statutory period” expires. It could be months or it could be years. Depending on the cause for legal action and the circumstances of the incident, the statute of limitations may vary, so it is important to discuss your legal rights and options with a qualified personal injury lawyer.

The personal injury lawyers of Balamuth Law have extensive experience aiding injury accident victims and have the knowledge needed to be successful in a personal injury claim and obtain winning results. Being involved in any kind of accident can be traumatic, and our legal team is dedicated to helping you while you recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. For a complimentary consultation on your personal injury case, please call (888) 254-1234.

NBC Bay Area Investigates Safety of Hot Air Balloons

By Kelly Balamuth on August 31, 2012

There are a number of ways to enjoy the beautiful scenes and sights of Northern California, and one popular way is taking a hot air balloon ride. Summer is peak season for this fun means of travel, and Napa and Sonoma Counties in Wine Country have the highest concentrations of commercial hot air balloon operators in the United States because of the excellent year-round weather. With the popularity of this summer-sky activity, the NBC Bay Area investigative unit examined the safety of the hot air balloon industry.

Data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows that 1,350 people have been hurt while on a hot air balloon since 1964, with 73 people nationally and seven people in California losing their lives in this type of accident. Four of these fatal accidents happened in the greater Bay Area, including Morgan Hill, Davis, and Yountville. However, pilots say that the number of accidents is low relative to the number of passengers taken up in the air, noting that in the past 30 years, there has been more than seven times the amount of skydiving accidents than hot air balloon accidents.

As far as the causes of hot air balloon accidents, NBC Bay Area discovered that wind was to blame, either being the main cause or a contributing factor, in more than half of all accidents investigated by the NTSB in California. The NTSB investigations also revealed that pilot error or bad judgment was the most common reason for California hot air balloon accidents.

Though commercial pilots must pass strict federal standards and equipment must be inspected every 100 hours of flight time, accidents can still occur, so it is essential riders inspect a hot air balloon company before being airborne. A member of the Balloon Federation of America suggests checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) about the company, asking for pilot references, asking about the age of the equipment and when it was last inspected, and inquiring about insurance.

The Walnut Creek personal injury attorneys of Balamuth Law know that there are a number of ways an accident can occur, whether on the road, in the air, or at work, and have been committed to protecting the rights of injury accident victims for many years. If you have been injured in any type of accident that was caused by the negligence of another party, please contact our legal team for help obtaining the compensation you need to recover. Schedule your free consultation by calling (888) 254-1234.

Following California Bicycle Law May Reduce Risks of Serious Injuries

By Kelly Balamuth on June 15, 2012

Northern California Bicyclist RegulationsCalifornia, like many states, has specific laws that bicyclists must follow when riding on public roads. These laws are in place to help improve the safety of bicyclists by reducing the types of situations most likely to cause injury. While you can’t always predict or prevent a motorist’s negligent or intentional bad behavior, you can use these rules to improve your own safety and help reduce the risks of a serious bicycle accident.

California bicycle rules come from two main statutes, the California Vehicle Code (CVC) and the Streets and Highways Code (SHC). Some key points of these laws for bicyclists include:

  • Bicyclists have the same right to share and use public streets as motor vehicles, as long as they follow the same laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic, as close to the right shoulder as possible, unless you need to make a left turn or pass another bicyclist or vehicle, or unless you cannot ride on the shoulder because the road is narrow or obstacles or defects prevent you from riding safely on the shoulder.
  • Bicycles should not use crosswalks unless the crosswalk is part of a multi-use trail that allows bicycles. In these situations, the bicyclist should use the crosswalk the same way a pedestrian would: by following any signals and watching carefully for traffic.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, the dedicated northern California car accident lawyers at Balamuth Law can help you protect your legal rights and take the steps you need to secure necessary compensation for you or your family. For a free, confidential telephone consultation, call our office today at (888) 254-1234.

Northern California Boating Accidents: When and Where Do They Happen?

By Kelly Balamuth on June 4, 2012

Boating accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in northern California summers, whether on the coast or on inland bodies of water. Life preservers and boating safety courses can help you reduce the risks of an accident. It can also help to know when and where boat accidents are most likely to occur.

In 2010, July saw the most boating accidents, according to the California Department of Boating and Waterways. Of the 570 total accidents in 2010, 121 happened in July – nearly twice as many as either June or August, the next two busiest months for accidents. By contrast, only 23 of 2010’s boat accidents occurred in February.

Bay Area Boating Crash FatalityMost accidents occur on weekends, when more boaters have the free time to get out and enjoy California’s waters. Saturday and Sunday each saw about 120 accidents in 2010. Afternoons on these days are the busiest times for accidents, but crashes could and did occur at any time of day in 2010 – including between midnight and 2 a.m., the least likely time for a boat crash.

Boating accidents can cause serious injuries and change the course of a family’s life. If you or someone in your family has been injured on the water, the well-prepared Walnut Creek personal injury attorneys at Balamuth Law can help. We have vast knowledge and experience in boating and even have our Emeryville office located in a yacht harbor. Our legal team has the resources and experience to thoroughly investigate your accident and help you secure the compensation you need. Call us today at (888) 254-1234 for a free, confidential consultation.

For Swimming Pool Safety, Barriers Should Stop Entry Over, Under, and Through

By Kelly Balamuth on May 30, 2012

Oakland Pool Fence Safety TipsIn California, unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death and serious injury to children under the age of five, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Many of these accidents are preventable. To help keep children away from potentially dangerous pool and hot tub areas, the CPSC recommends installing barriers that children cannot get over, under, or through.

In order to prevent children getting over a pool barrier, the barrier should be at least four feet (48 inches) high, measured from the side of the barrier facing away from the pool. In order to prevent climbing, the barrier should not have hand-holds or foot-holds of any kind on the side facing away from the pool.

Likewise, barriers should be solid to prevent children from climbing through. If the barrier has openings or slats, they should be smaller than two inches in any direction. Barriers should also have locked gates or doors that children cannot open.

Finally, barriers should be no more than four inches above grade on any side. If the barrier is installed on the edge of an aboveground pool, there should be no more than four inches of space between the bottom of the barrier and the top of the pool.

Water-related deaths and injuries can be prevented, but only if those who care for children watch them properly and secure pools and other waterfronts. If you or a child you care about has been injured in a drowning accident, a skilled Northern California personal injury accident lawyer at Balamuth Law can help. Call us today at (888) 254-1234 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Celebrate National Bicycle Safety Month With Safety Tips

By Kelly Balamuth on May 18, 2012

Northern California Bicycle Crash InjuryMay is National Bicycle Safety Month. For many, being aware of bicycle safety – whether you’re in a vehicle or on a bike – can help avoid serious injury or death. Bicycle accidents are the single largest cause of death among children under 14, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Many of these bicyclists don’t know the safest ways to ride a bicycle, especially in traffic.

The number of bicycle crash-related deaths in California has stayed steady over the past few years, according to OTS statistics. However, the number of injuries has increased slightly, along with the number of bicyclists on the road at any given time. Some tips to help you and your family avoid injury include:

  • Choose helmets that fit properly and are approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If a helmet has been involved in a serious accident, discard it and get a new one. It may not be fully able to protect you in a crash, even if it looks fine.
  • Before riding, make sure your bike is in good condition, with properly inflated tires, working brakes and gears, and all reflectors secured in their proper places.
  • Follow the rules of the road. Don’t cut between vehicles or lanes, especially at stoplights or intersections. Wear brightly-colored or reflective clothing to increase the chances that motorists will see you.

Bicyclists can be seriously injured in a crash with a car or other vehicle. They can also be hurt if a defective bicycle part gives way during a ride. If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, call the experienced Walnut Creek personal injury attorneys at Balamuth Law today at (888) 254-1234 for a free, confidential consultation.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

1001 Country Club Dr., #F
Moraga, California 94556
Phone: (925) 254-1234
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