Celebrate the holidays without drinking and driving

December 9, 2014 | 9:28 am


The holidays, traveling and parties go hand in hand. But it’s important not to mix the three, unless you have a sober driver.

If you‘re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, along with Kern County law enforcement, reminds you to drive sober, or get pulled over.

Due to the increase locally in drunken driving-related crashes and fatalities, the Bakersfield Police Department will be out in full force from Dec. 12 to Jan. 5 actively searching for impaired drivers. The DUI task force also plans to place two DUI-driver‘s license checkpoints and eight local roving DUI Saturation Patrols, the department reported.

California Highway Patrol, too, will be out in full force. The Bakersfield-area CHP will deploy officers on enhanced enforcement on State Routes 43, 46, 58, 65, 99, 119, 155, 178, 184, 204 and 223, and jurisdictional unincorporated roadways in Kern County, the agency reported.

During the holiday season in 2012, 40 percent of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During that same holiday period, 37 percent of the 21 to 24-year old drivers in fatal crashes were impaired. Almost one out of six drivers under the age of 21 in those fatal crashes was also drunk, even though they were too young to legally buy or consume alcohol.

Besides causing injury and harm to others on the harm, the consequences of drinking and driving include jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses totaling $10,000 on average, not to mention humiliation drivers face among your family, friends and workplace.

The best way to avoid drinking and driving is to remain sober. But if you will celebrate with a few drinks, here are a few things you can do to stay safe:

  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member.
  • Use public transportation or call a taxi, Uber or Lyft.
  • And if you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1. You could save a life.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County, also reminds motorists that the most dangerous days of the year on our nation’s roadways are between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This season, MADD is asking drivers to Tie One On For Safety.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is deeply involved with the Kern County chapter of MADD, sponsoring and organizing the second “Walk/Run Like MADD” 5K in Bakersfield on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Park at River Walk. The event is aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and to raise funds for victims of DUI crashes. Learn more about the “Walk Like MADD” event by clicking here.

If you are involved in a car accident this holiday season due to the fault of a DUI-driver or another motorist, call the car accident lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000. You can also visit our specialized Car Accident website by clicking here for more information.

Local magazine highlights law firm’s 80-year anniversary

December 3, 2014 | 9:31 am


Eighty years ago, Morris B. Chain set up shop in the Haberfelde building in downtown Bakersfield. He quickly became one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most prolific attorneys, and laid the foundation for one of Kern County’s leading law firms, Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Bakersfield Life Magazine, in its latest December issue, highlighted the Bakersfield-based personal injury law firm’s 80-year anniversary, which is this year.

You can view the article by clicking here.

The article continues:

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“Chain led a successful practice that, through the years, has been filled mostly with attorneys and staff with deep local roots. Like Chain, their mission has been to fight for ‘the little guy.’

Today, the firm that still bears the Chain name is celebrating 80 years in Bakersfield. Though the name has changed through the years, today’s law firm, Chain Cohn Stiles, remains one of the best-known legal firms in Kern County.

This year, Chain Cohn Stiles has finalized the purchase of a historic 30,000-square-foot building at the southwest corner of 18th Street and Chester Avenue. The firm will move in 2015, opening yet another chapter for Kern County’s oldest personal injury law firm, while continuing to serve clients in downtown Bakersfield.

For more on Morris Chain, the firm’s history and anniversary, and other firm news, go to Chainlaw.com.

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The Kern County law firm throughout 2014 has commemorated its 80-year anniversary in various ways, including partnering with the City of Bakersfield in a freeway litter cleanup project.

In the same issue of Bakersfield Life, the magazine featured an advertisement by Chain | Cohn | Stiles that highlighted the testimonial of a real-life client. It read:

“If you’re not sure what to do, come in and talk to them. That’s what we did. I was scared to death after the accident. I’ve never gone through any of this, and I didn’t want to go through by myself. It would have been easy to get taken advantage of by our insurance company. But the law firm took care of us, and took care of everything. Thank God for them. They have high integrity.”

Click here to view the testimonial and advertisement.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has served its community for 80 years, and looks forward to continuing to serve for many more. If you are injured due to the fault of another, or are seeking workers’ compensation assistance, contact the law firm at 661-323-4000 or visit the website Chainlaw.com.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Tips: Make sure you’re safe before you hang your Christmas lights

December 1, 2014 | 9:06 am


The end of Thanksgiving, for many people, means one thing: It’s almost time for Christmas.

With that comes the tradition of hanging beautiful Christmas lights. But stringing lights across your roof and around your home can be a safety hazard if you are not careful.

Each year, more than 15,000 people were injured during November and December, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  And each year, injuries increase. The most common reported incidents include falls, lacerations and back strains. Fires are also common, which can lead to injuries, deaths and property loss.

Personal injury attorney Matt Clark, of the Bakersfield law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, recently spoke with KERO Channel 23 about Christmas light safety, and the liability that comes with hiring someone to hang your lights for you.

Click here to watch the news segment.

But for those who decide to hang Christmas lights on their own, the Kern County attorneys would like you to take a look at a few safety tips, courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Before you string up a single strand of lights, carefully check them for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
  • Newer lights have fused plugs, which prevent sparks in case of a short circuit. Toss any old strands of lights in the trash that don’t have fuses.
  • If bulbs have burned out, replace them right away, but make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs.
  • Make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks.
  • Keep an eye on extension cords, as they can overheat. If the cord is hot, unplug it.
  • Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights. They can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead.
  • When running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to water and debris out of the connections.
  • Tape down any ground-level extensions cords to prevent people from tripping over them.
  • Not all lights are made for outdoor use. Make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.
  • When you put your lights back into storage, make sure to put them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water damage and to block hungry rodents looking to turn the cords into lunch. My final advice? Be careful with ladders.

If you or a loved one is injured during the holiday season, call the Bakersfield personal injury law firm, Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000, or visit the website Chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney David Cohn comments on L.A. Times update of Silva wrongful death case

November 25, 2014 | 10:16 am


“This was a beat down,” Chris Silva told the Los Angeles Times in an article updating readers on his brother’s wrongful death case. “Seven deputies and two CHP officers failed at their jobs.”

The newspaper’s columnist Robin Abcarian provided an update last week on the infamous David Silva case, which is being represented by the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

In the column — which you can read by clicking here — Abcarian outlines what happened on the night of May 7, 2013, when officers approached David Silva as he lay on the grass across the street from Kern County Medical Center in east Bakersfield.

When Silva woke up, officers tried to arrest him and released a police dog on him. Over 20 minutes, six more Kern County Sheriff’s Office deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers arrived. Silva was hit with batons, bitten dozens of times, hobbled with a hog-tie-like restraint and sat on by the officers, Abcarian described.

“He vomited, then stopped breathing,” Abcarian wrote. “He was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. on May 8.”

David Silva left behind four children, and a loving family who is now advocating for an end to police brutality.

Silva had gone to the hospital that night seeking help. After he fell asleep on the grass outside of the hospital, a security guard escorted him away. Officers were called after he fell asleep again across the street.

The Sheriff’s Office stated Silva was on drugs.

“How high could he have been?” Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney David Cohn told The Times, who is representing the Silva family in a federal wrongful-death lawsuit. “He was sleeping. That hardly sounds like someone who is amped up on methamphetamine.”

The case received national media attention, including the aftermath when officers confiscated witness’s videos of the incident.

Nearly a year after Silva died, Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green declined to file charges against the officers. And last month, the U.S. Department of Justice also refused to file criminal charges.

Still, the wrongful death lawsuit continues.

Last week, Bakersfield personal injury lawyer Neil Gehlawat, who is also assisting with the Silva case as part of Chain | Cohn | Stiles, appeared on The Groove 99.3 with Sheri Ortiz to discuss police misconduct cases, as well as the Silva case.

Click here to listen to that show.

* Editor’s Note: Neil Gehlawat is no longer an attorney with Chain | Cohn | Stiles *

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To read all about the Silva case represented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles, read the media coverage below:

Turkey time: Get to know the dangers of using fryers for the holidays

November 20, 2014 | 10:06 am


Around the holidays in 2002, Richard Hernandez was heating the oil in his Brinkmann turkey fryer he bought from Walmart when it combusted, shooting bright red flames three feet into the air.

“The best way I can explain it is, it was an eruption like out of a volcano,” Hernandez told The Bakersfield Californian in 2004. “It just shot straight up in the air.”

Hernandez then sprayed the fire with an extinguisher, but it only fed the flames. He decided to carry the flaming pot away from the house, but the pot started to implode. The flaming hot oil burned Hernandez’s arms, legs and face.

A year after Hernandez’ incident, Steven Pendergrass, a Kern County Fire Department engineer and former paramedic was frying a turkey using a Brinkmann fryer on Christmas Day. When moisture in the turkey caused oil to boil out of the pot and catch fire, Pendergrass tried to push the pot away from his house, it tipped, spilling oil onto the ground. Pendergrass slipped and fell onto the oil, burning his arms, ankles, back and face.

Both men, represented by Bakersfield personal injury and burn injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles faced several surgeries to repair damaged skin, and dealt with unbearable pain and suffering. Attorney David Cohn helped settle Hernandez’ case against Brinkmann Corp. and Walmart for $2.15 million, while Cohn settled Pendergrass’ case for more than $2 million.

The lawsuits led companies to make changes in the design of the turkey fryers, including adding more legs to make them steadier and prevent tipping, adding automatic turn-off valves if the oil becomes too hot, and other safety fixes.

Still, burn injuries continue all too often with propane-fueled turkey fryers. In fact, more than 4,000 fires occur annually around Thanksgiving alone as people deep fry turkeys, bake pies and cook other foods, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

With the holidays around the corner, the Bakersfield personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, are reminding people about the dangers of turkey fryers, with tips provided by the Bakersfield and Kern County Fire Departments.

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance from structures.
  • Never use fryers under patio covers, on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Use fryers on flat surfaces to reduce the possibility of accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  • Do not overfill the fryer. This may result in a “spill-over” of hot oil.
  • Safety goggles and potholders or oven mitts should be used when utilizing the fryer.
  • Turkey must be completely thawed to avoid oil splattering and “boil-over.”
  • Turkey should be free of loose ice and water to avoid oil splattering and “boil-over.”
  • Choose a smaller turkey (10 to 12 pounds) to fry to reduce the potential for accidents.
  • Never use water to extinguish a grease fire; use an all-purpose fire extinguisher.

And if you are injured or burned throughout the holidays, call Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000, or visit the website Chainlaw.com for more information on the following:

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce

November 18, 2014 | 9:08 am


In 1945, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles first became a member of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.

After a short two-year break from membership, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to be a partner once again with one of the top chambers of commerce in the nation after joining this year.

“Like the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, our law firm has been connected closely with the Bakersfield community since we were founded by Morris Chain in 1934,” said David K. Cohn, managing partner of CCS. “We’re proud to partner once again with longtime local group that, like us, is dedicated to making Bakersfield a better place.”

The 1,300-member Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce is ranked in the top 10 of California chambers and in the top 100 chambers nationwide, according to the chamber. The nonprofit chamber works together with businesses to build a strong local economy, provides business-education opportunities, promotes community and business interests with government, and provides dynamic programs.

“The Chamber’s strength lies in its membership,” the chamber states on its website. “Members have varied interests and concerns, and underlying all is the common desire to improve the local business environment and enhance the socio-economic and cultural well-being of our community.”

The renewed partnership comes at a time when the Chain | Cohn | Stiles is celebrating its 80-year anniversary. Eight years ago, Morris Chain set up his law practice in the Haberfelde Building in the heart of downtown Bakersfield. Since then, the law firm has provided legal assistance in the areas of personal injuries, car accidents, wrongful death and workers’ compensation*, among many other practices.

The CCS-GBCC partnership also comes at a time when the law firm is planning a move in 2015 to another building in the heart of historic downtown Bakersfield. Soon, Chain | Cohn | Stiles will occupy a 30,000-square foot building on the southwest corner of 18th Street and Chester Avenue, a site that has been occupied by local businesses since the late 1800s.

To view our listing on the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s directory, click here. For questions on the law firm and injury-related cases, call 661-323-4000 or visit the website Chainlaw.com.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Safety recalls and liability: What to do if you’ve been injured by a defective product

November 14, 2014 | 7:42 am


Across the globe, between 12 million and 17 million vehicles have been affected by the recent Takata airbag recalls. They include 10 automakers, including the giant Toyota Motor and General Motors companies. About 8 million of the recalls are in the United States.

Worst of all: A fifth death reported Nov. 13, 2014, is thought to be linked to Honda’s defective Takata airbags, USA Today reported.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent letters dated to the automakers, urging them to take “aggressive and proactive action to expedite” replacement airbags. The automakers are now facing class-action lawsuits. To view a list of affected vehicles, click here, and for questions and answers on the airbag recall, go here.

The Bakersfield personal injury and products liability law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has vast experience in product defect cases. Manufacturers and retailers have an obligation to provide customers with products that are safe, but too often, companies place profits ahead of safety, and the end result is a seriously injured victim.

For years, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has provided a webpage dedicated to keeping up to date on the latest safety recalls. You can view this page here.

It’s important for consumers to know what makes a products liability lawsuit, and what to do if you suspect you or a loved one has been injured because of a defective product. Here are some tips and information related to products liability. For more information, visit this specialized website focused on products liability cases.  

There are three types of defects that create liability for defective products:

  • 1) Manufacturing defects
  • 2) Design defects
  • 3) Marketing defects.

If you are injured by a product that has any one of these defects, you may be entitled to recovery for the damages you have suffered. The most common claim made against a manufacturer is typically referred to as a “strict liability” claim. Under this theory, a manufacturer will be liable if you can establish that

  • 1) The product was defective
  • 2) The defect existed prior to the manufacturer releasing the product
  • 3) The defect caused your damages.

The products liability lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have provided several frequently asked questions and answers related to safety recall and products cases. To view all of the questions and answers, visit the Frequently Asked Questions webpage by Chain | Cohn | Stiles here.

If I am injured, or a loved one is killed by a defective product, who can I sue?

You can sue the manufacturer of the product. Besides the manufacturer, you can sue every company that was in the marketing chain of the product, i.e., wholesalers, distributors and retailers. Any repairer of the product may also be liable.

What constitutes a defective product under California law?

A product may be found to be defective because of a manufacturing defect, a design defect, or a warning defect. If plaintiff can prove any one of these defects, he or she can win the case against the manufacturer.

What damages can I recover in a defective product case?

The injured person is entitled to recover damages for past and future medical treatment, past and future wage loss, damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress, and, if the injured person can establish bad enough conduct on the part of the manufacturer, punitive damages (i.e. damages intended to punish the business). If the injured person dies, his or her survivors are entitled to recover full compensation for their economic losses that result from the injured person’s death, as well as monetary damages which stem from the loss of society, care, and comfort of the decedent.

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If you have been injured due to a defective product, the Bakersfield products liability attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles recommend taking the following steps:

  • Keep the product and anything related to it, such as packaging, instructions, receipts, etc.
  • Take photographs of the product and the scene of the accident.
  • Verify that you were using the product in accordance with the manufacturer’s written instructions.
  • Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention immediately

Once you’ve taken these steps, contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles immediately — by calling 661-323-4000, or visit the website Chainlaw.com — so that the law firm can assist you in filing a products liability lawsuit.

CCS on The Groove: Is there a time limit to obtain attorney help following an accident?

November 12, 2014 | 8:50 am


“If I’m injured in an auto accident, and maybe at that time I don’t think I’m hurt, how long do I have to obtain some legal advice or an attorney like yourself?”

That’s the questioned posed by DJ Sheri Ortiz recently on The Groove 99.3 to accident attorney Marshall Frasher, associate with the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Frasher appeared on the Buckley Radio station show to give advice to listeners on what they should do if they’re ever involved in a car accident.

“What we generally recommend is for people to contact our office as soon as they can after an accident,” Frasher said. “It’s pretty important.”

You can listen to the full segment here:

The reason for contacting an attorney quickly, Frasher shared with listeners, is to make sure the person who is injured knows what their rights are with regards to contacting the an insurance company and making sure they know what to do or what to say in those situations.

Many times, accident victims go to the hospital for treatment, and once they are released they have to handle potential property damage claims. This involved speaking with insurance companies and adjusters — conversations that can be vital to potential cases, Frasher said. Sometimes, accident victims can hurt their cases depending on what they say to adjusters.

“It’s very important that people understand what their rights are before they start talking to a claims adjuster,” Frasher said. “It’s always good to know what your options are, and to know that there is help available to you at an early junction in the case so that you can get a good recovery.”

As stated in the Chain | Cohn | Stiles website dedicated to assisting victims, automobile accident victims may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company and/or by your own insurance company if the negligent driver was uninsured or underinsured. It’s important to take the following three steps if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident:

  • Obtain the name, address, insurance information, vehicle identification number and driver’s license number of any and all people involved in the accident, as well as all witnesses.
  • Make sure that a report is filed with the law enforcement officers, but do not talk to anyone else (especially insurance adjusters) about the accident or sign anything without first consulting an attorney.
  • Seek medical attention immediately and explain to your physician or surgeon all of the symptoms and complaints you have been feeling since the accident occurred.

If you are involved in an accident, contact the accident attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000, or visit the website Chainlaw.com. For help related to car accidents specifically, go here.

To listen to more tips and advice by lawyers on The Groove, go here.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week reminds motorist to never drive while tired

November 5, 2014 | 9:23 am


On Tuesday, July 29, 26-year-old Jesse Rios was taking a morning jog near his home in southwest Bakersfield. At the same time, 29-year-old Eliseo Soto was driving home after reportedly working a 12-hour shift, police said.

Soto allegedly fell asleep behind the wheel, jumped a curb in his truck and fatally struck Rios. Rios, the sole provider for his family, left behind his wife and 4-year-old daughter.

The Bakersfield-based wrongful death law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, which is representing the Rios family in their personal injury case, is reminding drivers this week — Drowsy Driving Prevention Week — to think twice before getting behind the wheel while tired.

The week-long campaign — promoted annually by the National Sleep Foundation, from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8 this year — hopes to lower the number of motor vehicle accidents due to fatigue, and ultimately make the roads a safer place overall. The campaign also provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.

Don’t think it’s an important issue? Consider these stats and facts:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 reported crashes are the result of driver fatigue each year.
  • These crashes result in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
  • 60 percent of adult drivers say they’ve driven while tired in the past year, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And 13 percent say they have nodded off while driving at least once a month.
  • There is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication.
  • Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crashes. In other words, the less people sleep, the greater the risk.

Here are some tips courtesy of car accident attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles and the National Sleep Foundation. Before you drive, consider if you are:

  • Sleep-deprived or fatigued. Six hours of sleep or less triples your risk.
  • Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia) or poor quality sleep.
  • Driving long distances without proper rest breaks.
  • Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep.
  • Taking sedating medications such as antidepressants, cold tablets or antihistamines.
  • Working more than 60 hours a week. This increases your risk of crashing by 40 percent.
  • Working more than one job and your main job involves shift work.
  • Drinking even small amounts of alcohol.
  • Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road.

And to make sure you avoid sleep-related accidents and crashes, make sure you follow this advice:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the highway.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to arrive to your destination.
  • Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to help get refreshed.
  • Use the buddy system to keep you awake and share driving duties.
  • Avoid alcohol and medication that may cause drowsiness or have side effects.
  • Don’t drive when you would normally be sleeping.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident and you suspect the persona at fault fell asleep, it’s important to contact an attorney. The car accident lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are experienced in such cases. Call the law firm at 661-323-4000 or visit the website Chainlaw.com.

Trick or Treat? No matter the choice, practice safety this Halloween

October 30, 2014 | 6:55 am


Trick or treat?!

No matter which one you and your family chooses this Halloween, make sure you take proper safety precautions. Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office reminds children and adults to keep the Halloween tradition fun by remembering to be safe.

“There is no real trick to making Halloween a treat for the whole family, but following safety tips and using common sense can help you make the most of your Halloween season,” the Kern County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The most common dangers on Halloween are falls and vehicle-pedestrian collisions and crashes. Another major concern is identifying candy that has been tampered with, which children are given.

Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for young pedestrians, with twice as many deaths as on a typical day, USA Today reported, according to State Farm. Most at risk are kids ages 12 to 18.

Drunken drivers, too, are another hazard for everyone walking the streets. The share of fatal crashes involving drunken drivers rises from the usual 30 percent to nearly 50 on Halloween, USA Today highlighted. About 20 percent of pedestrian deaths on Halloween involve a drunken driver.

Here are several tips provided by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and Chain | Cohn | Stiles to help make Halloween safe and fun:

Parents

  • Know the route your children will be taking if you aren’t going with them.
  • Make sure you set a time for them to be home. Have your children eat a good dinner before going out.
  • Make sure your children are properly supervised while out.
  • Make sure they trick or treat in a group if you are not with them.
  • Children 12 years and younger should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Tell your children to never go into a stranger’s house.
  • Tell your children to stay out of the street while walking.
  • Choose a costume that is brightly colored and easy to see in the dark.
  • Carefully inspect all food and candy before letting your child eat it (when in doubt, throw it out).

 Trick or Treaters

  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Stay on sidewalks.
  • Cross the street at intersections, never run out from behind a parked car.
  • Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
  • Make sure your costume fits you well.
  • Only approach houses that are well lit.
  • Walk from house to house, don’t run.
  • Never take shortcuts, such as alleyways or empty fields.
  • Don’t eat anything until your parents have had a chance to inspect it.

Children should also know the basics, such as their phone number and address in case of an emergency, and how to react if a stranger tries to approach them. If your child is late returning home or you cannot locate your child, immediately call 9-1-1 and report it to local law enforcement.

Pets 

Calls to animal poison control centers go up at Halloween, according to USA Today. Chocolate contains a compound that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures and death in dogs. Raisins and the artificial sweeteners can also sicken dogs.

  • It’s best to keep all sorts of human treats stashed away.
  • Don’t feel the need to dress up pets in costumes. Pet costumes can cause stress in some pets, and some dogs might try to chew the unwanted costumes off their backs.

Adults

If you are planning on attending a Halloween party, consider the following:

  • In 2012, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involved a drunk driver.
  • In 2012, 48 percent of all traffic fatalities on Halloween resulted from a DUI-related accident.
  • Children are two times as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle while walking on Halloween.
  • Drinking violations for criminal offenders increase by about 25 percent when Halloween is on a Friday.

And if you or a loved one are involved in an accident during Halloween, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are experts in pedestrian and car accident cases. Reach them 24 hours a day at 661-323-4000, or visit the website Chainlaw.com.