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Are Boats Required to Have Insurance in California?

  California law does not require boaters to insure their boats. Despite California’s policy on boater’s insurance, it is wise to get coverage to minimize risks to your personal assets. Boating insurance is like car or home insurance; it covers

Recovering Damages If I am Partially at Fault in an Auto Accident


Numerous automobile accidents happen every day, and it is possible for multiple people to be at fault.  Fortunately, if you were partially at fault in a car accident, you can potentially recover damages—depending on your state’s negligence laws.

Pure Comparative Fault

In states that recognize the “pure comparative fault” rule, injured parties to an auto accident may recover damages even if they were 99% at fault. Under this rule, drivers’ recoverable damages are proportionally reduced by the percentage they are at fault. So, if you were 70% at fault in a crash and suffered $100 thousand in damages, you could still recover $30 thousand from the other driver. Approximately 1/3 of states have adopted pure comparative fault—including California.

Modified Comparative Fault

Most states that follow “modified comparative fault” allow drivers to recover only if they are 50% or less at fault in the accident. Other states following this rule set the threshold at 49%, rather than 50%. “Modified” comparative fault works the same way as its “pure” counterpart—damages are proportionally reduced by the driver’s negligence. The key difference is, under modified comparative fault, drivers that are 51% (or 50%) at fault for the accident are prohibited from recovering entirely. Most states follow this approach.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is the least forgiving of the negligence rules. Under this standard, if a driver is even 1% at fault in an accident, they are prevented from recovering entirely. Although comparative fault is the modern trend, 5 states still follow contributory negligence.

If you were in an auto accident and you aren’t sure what you can recover—we can help. Call Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case evaluation today at 888-997-5170.

Click here for more information on negligence systems in US jurisdictions.

13 Killed and 31 Injured in Tour Bus Crash in Palm Springs


According to CNN, a tour bus smashed into the back of a tractor-trailer on October 23, killing the driver and 12 passengers and injuring dozens more. The crash occurred at 5:17 a.m., a bit over an hour after the bus left to take its passengers back to Los Angeles from the Red Earth Casino in Palm Springs.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) Border Division Chief Jim Abele reported that the bus left no skid marks before colliding with the tractor-trailer, indicating that the driver did not apply the brakes before the crash. The only marks on the road from vehicles were those left by the truck as the bus pushed it forward.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently conducting an investigation regarding what caused the crash, and is looking into the driving records of both drivers, their accident histories, and their respective levels of training.

In recent years, this crash ranks among the deadliest in California.

Bus Accident Statistics

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported 3,649 fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2014 alone, with a total of 4,161 total fatalities resulting in that year. While that number is unacceptable, it has been steadily declining since 1979. That year, 6,007 crashes involving large trucks or buses occurred with 7,054 fatalities resulting.

Legal Rights of Those Injured

Drivers owe a heightened duty of care due to the inherent danger in driving motor vehicles. If a driver breaches this duty, and the breach of duty causes harm, those injured can recover from the driver. Here, the fact that there were no skid marks produced by the bus indicates that the driver may have failed to pay attention and thereby may have failed to act with the level of care required by law. If this is the case, those harmed can recover from the deceased driver’s estate.

In addition, employers can be held liable for harm caused by employees who are acting within the scope of their job duties at the time of harm. Since the driver was driving for USA Holiday, an Alhambra-based driving company, those injured can likely recover from USA Holiday should a court find that the driver was acting within the scope of his job duties when he crashed into the tractor-trailer.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver’s negligence, please contact our office so we may assist in your recovery.

Sacramento County Car Accident Claims Two Lives 


Photo Courtesy of The Sacramento Bee

CARMICHAEL, Calif., Oct. 13, 2016– Two people were killed and one person injured after a car accident in Carmichael the evening of October 13. According to The Sacramento Bee, the collision occurred at Garfield Avenue and Kiva Drive. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) spokesperson said a Lexus traveling at a high speed broadsided a Honda. The passenger of the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver died afterward at a local hospital. The driver of the Lexus was also transported to a local hospital with injuries. 

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) 2013 rankings, there were 3,786 victims killed or injured due to car accidents in Sacramento County. 779 were speed related collisions.

Sacramento County Car Accident, Speed-Related Crash

Based on the officers’ initial investigation, alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the collision. However, the driver of the Lexus was speeding. Under California Vehicle Code Section 22350, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

Driver Negligence and Liability 

A person can be held liable for negligence where 1) there is a duty to act as a reasonable person would, 2) that person breaches his or her duty, 3) harm results, and 4) that person’s breach of duty causes the harm. Drivers owe a heightened duty to act reasonably due to the inherent danger of driving. Speeding can be a breach of this duty.

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer | California Personal Injury Lawyer

Speed is a critical factor in many car and motorcycle accidents. Traveling faster than the posted speed limit, or than would be reasonable under the conditions, can give rise to a negligence claim. If an accident results because of a driver’s speed, they are potentially at fault. Speed-related incidents should be investigated by a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Call Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case evaluation at 916-779-7000.

Fatal Car Accident in Wheatland, CA

This morning, a serious collision occurred on Highway 65 near Wheatland in Placer County. According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), the three car, head-on accident occurred after a woman driving southbound on Highway 65 crossed over the double yellow lines into incoming traffic. After the motorist crossed the double-yellow center line she struck an SUV head-on, which then spun out of control and was hit by a nearby pickup truck. The woman died at the scene, while the man in the SUV was airlifted to a nearby hospital with life threatening injuries. The driver and passenger of the pickup truck were not injured. Both Directions of Highway 65 were closed as a result of the accident, reopening about two hours later.

Although it has not yet been determined what caused the driver to veer of course, California Highway Patrol has determined common causes of collisions. Alcohol, for example, was involved in about 90 fatal collisions in 2013. Placer County specifically, had 105 injuries and 4 fatalities involving alcohol and motor vehicles in 2013. Fatal collisions are also often caused by collisions with trucks. In 2013, 256 such fatalities occurred.

In California, drivers owe others on the road, including pedestrians and other vehicles, a duty to drive reasonably. The failure to drive reasonably, such as by failing to look out for obstacles or control the speed of the vehicle, may result in negligent driving. Contact a California personal injury attorney if you have recently been involved in a collision for a consultation regarding your legal rights.

Illegal Fireworks Cause Multiple Injuries on Independence Day


Photo Courtesy of the Portland Tribune

Independence Day festivities involving fireworks escalated too far this weekend according to the NY Daily News, as police officers and civilians suffered hospitalizations and serious injuries from coast to coast. Both a 31-year old Nebraska man and a 9-year old girl in Los Angeles lost a hand due to illegal activities involving explosives, and a small girl in Compton suffered severe blast injuries to the face. Plenty of other people across the nation suffered injuries from explosions this weekend, including a man in Auburn, Washington who lost a hand while holding fireworks that exploded and two officers in Chicago who were at the receiving end of “half a stick of dynamite” tossed from a red Toyota Camry.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), during the month around July 4th, 230 people on average go to the emergency room every day with injuries caused by recreational explosives. In addition, an estimated 10,500 fireworks-related injuries were treated in US hospital emergency departments during 2014. 67% (roughly 7,000) of those injuries in 2014 took place between June 20 and July 20, illustrating the danger of overzealous Independence Day celebrations. In light of these statistics, it is important to exercise a bit of caution while enjoying Independence Day festivities.

In California, people are held liable for “ultrahazardous” activities regardless of the degree of care they exercise. However, courts have found fireworks not to be these types of “ultrahazardous” activities, and therefore liability for injuries caused by them is decided by traditional negligence principles. If one wielding fireworks breaches his or her duty of ordinary care in handling them, and such breach causes harm, the wielder is liable for the resulting injuries. Liability will be diminished in proportion to the percentage of fault attributable to the one injured. Consult an experienced California personal injury attorney if you or someone you know has been injured by the negligent handling of fireworks.

David Crosby Settles California Car Crash Jogger Lawsuit


David Crosby of the former folk-rock super group Crosby, Stills and Nash agreed to a $3 million dollar settlement yesterday, for his crash into a jogger on Baseline Avenue in Santa Ynez, California. Crosby claims that he had not been drinking and was “blinded by the sun” when he crashed his 2015 Tesla vehicle into Jose Luquin, who was on an evening run with his 14-year-old son. However, according to the plaintiff’s suit, Luquin was “informed and believed” that Crosby had been drinking prior to the accident. Crosby is known for his lively history of abusing alcohol and other drugs.

The officer present “determined alcohol was not a factor” and also noted that Luquin contributed to the accident by jogging with traffic on the side of the road.

Those at the scene took Luquin to a hospital in the area to attend to his broken leg, broken shoulder, broken ribs, and damaged kidney.  The settlement allots $2,950,000 to Luquin and $50,000 to his son.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2014 alone. This accounts for 31% of all traffic-related deaths in the US. Drugs other than alcohol were involved in about 16% of motor crashes.

Legal Rights of those Injured

In situations like these in California, those injured by a driver can recover damages for negligence if the driver breaches his or her duty to act with ordinary care, resulting in harm. Drinking and driving can certainly serve as such a breach of duty. However, if the injured party somehow contributed to the damages by acting negligently, recovery will be diminished in proportion to the percentage of fault attributable to the plaintiff. If Luquin took his case to court, a jury would likely determine what percentage of the accident was his fault for jogging on an less-than-strategic part of the road.

If a negligent driver has caused you or a loved one harm, contact a California personal injury attorney in your area to assist in remedying the situation.

Texting While Driving & Employer Liability


Texting While Driving Statistics

As technology advances and the popularity of mobile devices increases, so do the number of fatalities and injuries associated with texting while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 18% of all fatal crashes in 2012 were caused by driver distraction. In one year alone, 3,328 people died and 421,000 people were wounded.[1] In 2010, one of every eleven traffic fatalities was caused by driver cell phone use.[2] Overall, studies have estimated that twenty-eight percent of traffic accidents occur when people talk on cellphones or text while driving.[3]


Congress has not enacted legislation implementing a national ban on texting or using a wireless phone while driving, but a number of states have passed laws banning texting or phones usage or requiring hands-free use of wireless phones while driving.[4] In June 2012, the National Safety Transportation Board (NSTB) issued a recommendation to ban the use of all cell phones while driving, including hands-free devices. California has legislation addressing each. Subject to a few exceptions, California Vehicle Code § 23123 forbids driving while using a wireless phone unless the phone is specifically designed to allow hands-free operation and is used in that way. And California Vehicle Code § 23123.5 outlaws texting while driving unless the device is designed to allow voice-operated, hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text and is used in that way.

Employer Liability

Evolving legislation may create questions for employers who require employees to communicate via telephone while operating a vehicle. Generally, the doctrine of respondeat superior (vicarious liability) allows employers to be held liable for their employee’s negligence in the operation of an automobile if the employee’s conduct was within the scope of his or her employment. The often critical question is determining, in an accident caused by texting or phone use, whether the cellular communication was within the scope of the employees employment. Employers who encourage their employees to use hands-free devices as a safe alternative while driving may reduce their liability in an accident. However, determining the full scope of liability is dependent on multiple factors, and parties with questions should consult a California personal injury attorney.


[2] Isaac A. Hof, Wake-Up Call: Eliminating the Major Roadblock That Cell Phone Driving Creates for Employer Liability, 84 Temp. L. Rev. 701 (2012).

[3] Danielle Lenth, Chapter 570: Paving the Way for Autonomous Vehicles, 44 McGeorge L. Rev. 787, 795 (2013)


Defective & Dangerous Products

Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

The attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley successfully represent consumers in lawsuits against manufacturers and companies involving defective products and product recalls. Our experienced trial attorneys recover thousands of dollars on behalf of injured individuals in cases involving defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, car defects and more.

Referring Attorneys

Best Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

At times, attorneys require further expertise and resources, legally and financially, to resolve a legal matter. We have the team, capability and dedication to handle challenging cases. If you have a case exceeding your resources with respect to workforce or experience, consider contacting our firm. We welcome referrals from firms in Sacramento and throughout the United States.

Our Services

Medical Malpractice Lawyers, Kershaw, Cook & Talley

We provide free case consultations. If you, or a loved one, suffered an injury due to another’s negligence or wrongful conduct, call our firm. We will examine your individual situation and explain your legal rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing injured individuals, in both jury trials and settlement negotiations.

Personal Injury Attorneys, Personal Legal Service.

Kershaw, Cook & Talley is a Sacramento law firm founded on the principle of helping our clients through personalized legal services. With this philosophy, Kershaw, Cook & Talley has garnered a statewide and national reputation for providing outstanding legal representation and obtaining significant compensation for our clients.

Nationally Recognized Personal Injury Law Firm.

We understand personal injury cases are often emotionally and financially straining. Our team of top personal injury attorneys in Sacramento is committed to seeking justice for individuals injured as a result of another's negligence or intentional misconduct. At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, our experienced personal injury attorneys will hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.


“Bill and Stu worked expeditiously to get my hip claim resolved.
I couldn’t believe how personable they were and easy to contact.”

-S. Thomas

“Stuart helped me with a case involving a defective hip replacement. He was incredibly responsive to my calls and concerns and really kept me updated on what was going on in the litigation. Even though his office was not in my hometown, he actually flew out to meet with me. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the case and really helped me through a very difficult time.”

-Personal Injury Client, as seen on AVVO

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