The statute of limitations is an important “deadline” of sorts that personal injury victims and their family members must keep in mind when determining how to protect and assert their legal rights. If an injury victim or the surviving family members of a person killed by another’s negligence fails to file a claim for damages before the statute of limitations expires, then the claim can easily be dismissed and the claimant be barred from attempting to obtain compensation for those expenses and losses through a lawsuit.
Issues with California’s Wrongful Death Statute
California law gives the surviving family members two years from the date of an injury or death to file their claims for damages. While this may seem like a straightforward limitation, there are situations that may arise in a wrongful death case that make applying this statute of limitation more difficult:
Reach Out to Your Riverside Wrongful Death Law Firm
Heiting & Irwin, APLC has four decades of experience helping injury victims and the surviving family members of those killed as a result of another’s careless actions recover compensation for their expenses, losses, and injuries. Contacting us as quickly as possible following your loved one’s injury or death can help ensure that your legal right to pursue compensation is protected. Call us at (951) 682-6400 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.
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Tackling Elder Abuse in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties
When you entrust a family member to the care of a facility, there’s an expectation of compassion and empathy to be given. Often times family members don’t have the time or resources to properly help care for their loved one full time, and you have to trust that the facility you choose can implement a care plan and take responsibility for your loved one. Many reputable nursing & care facilities seek to hire the best caretakers and have strict operating procedures in place to make sure your family member is getting the best care available and the attention that they need. However, ABC recently reported that nearly 30% of elderly residents at care facilities endure some sort of physical, emotional or financial abuse.
This news prompted us to seek comment from one of the Inland Empire’s premier injury litigators, Cory Weck of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP in Ontario, who’s recently litigated two elder abuse cases involving care facilities.
InlandEmpireLawyers.com: How long have you worked as a personal injury lawyer?
Mr. Weck: I’ve been a lawyer for over 20 years, but I’ve practiced nothing but personal injury law on behalf of individuals for the past 15 years
InlandEmpireLawyers.com: What are the most common ways cases of caretaker abuse discovered?
Mr. Weck: Usually abuse is discovered when it’s too late and the consequences are irreversible. Since the family often doesn't live in close proximity to the home where their loved one is located, it’s usually a call from the ER when they first become aware that something bad had occurred.
InlandEmpireLawyers.com: What are the alert signals that family members should look for, or be aware of that would indicate elder abuse?
Mr. Weck: Do you notice a significant change in your loved one’s demeanor? Do you notice bruising? Do you notice that they don’t seem to want to eat anymore? Is there a lot of turnover in the staff?
InlandEmpireLawyers.com: Are there any reporting agencies or resources people can use to research complaints against a facility or care taker?
Mr. Weck: Yes there are agencies both at the local level and the state level one can report complaints to against the facility like Adult Protective Services in San Bernardino or Riverside Counties.
InlandEmpireLawyers.com: What should someone do if they suspect that a loved one is being abused by someone at a care facility?
Mr. Weck: It really depends on the severity of the abuse. For more minor type of complaints I would start with the facility management and then work up through the chain of command if your concerns are not addressed. For more serious events immediately file a complaint with your county agency and the state. If serious or deadly harm occurred I would advise seeking local counsel who has experience in these types of claims.
Elder Abuse & Negligence Resources
National Center on Elder Abuse: https://ncea.acl.gov/resources/state.html
National Center for State Courts: http://www.ncsc.org/Topics/Children-Families-and-Elders/Elder-Abuse/Resource-Guide.aspx
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/
If you've been bitten or attacked by a pit bull in San Bernardino County, you need a local personal injury attorney who has successfully resolved similar dog bite attack incidents. The Paris Firm led by Attorney, Eric D. Paris has been fighting for injured clients in the Inland Empire since 1994, and his reputation for achieving outstanding results speaks volumes about his ability to achieve outstanding results for the firm’s clients.
Dog Bite Attorney in the Inland Empire
Dogsbite.org reports that there were 34 dog bite related fatalities that occurred in 2015, of which pit bulls contributed to 82% of those deaths. Over the years, San Bernardino County officials have been cracking down on pit bull owners due to the highly dangerous statistics regarding their temperament. However, the popularity of pit bulls is overwhelming, and many people are drawn to them even though they're often the #1 "blacklisted" breed by insurance companies in addition to:
Recently in Riverside, California a pit bull was killed by a neighbor after it had attacked and killed his Poodle. The defendant and 2 other neighbors were over-powered by the pit bull and could not get it to release the smaller dog from it's jaws once it had locked down - a characteristic personality trait of the breed.
The Paris Firm Fights & Wins Dog Attack Case
Mr. Paris recently settled a lawsuit by obtaining the entire homeowners insurance policy in the amount of $100,000 for a client who was performing her job when she was attacked by a dog. The dog bit her arm so hard that it crushed clear through to the bone. The client's insurance company was delaying as much as possible which is a common tactic used by insurance adjusters. The Paris Firm filed a lawsuit, conducted an extensive investigation into the matter and after destroying the defendant in deposition the very next day the case settled for the entire homeowners insurance policy.
If you or a family member were attacked by a Pit Bull or any other breed of dog, you should discuss your case with a dog bite injury lawyer who has over 20 years of experience and has handled cases similar to yours. Call Eric Paris to schedule a free consultation today @ (909) 469-5127.
At Heiting & Irwin, we advise Californians involved in a car crash caused by another person to take photographs at the scene of the crash so long as they are able to do so without causing another person’s physical safety or their own safety to be jeopardized. Some may wonder, however, just how important these photographs actually are to the resolution of their Riverside car crash. The answer depends on the quality and quantity of the photographs themselves.
Taking Good Photographs After a California Car Crash
Photographs in a car crash case preserve a crucial moment in time for your attorney and any experts who may be needed to evaluate your crash. The old adage is true: While your words and statements can paint a picture of the accident’s aftermath, a picture truly is worth a thousand words (see, for example, this case).
However, the usefulness of the photographs you take will depend on both the quantity and quality. In general, it is always advisable to take photographs of the car crash scene. However, these photographs may not be of much help to your attorney if they are not of sufficient quality. Quality photographs that are most helpful include those that:
You should also take care to ensure these photographs are properly archived so that you always have a copy available to you in the event other copies become lost, damaged, or destroyed.
Do Not Take Photographs if Doing So Jeopardizes Your Safety
While photographs can be extremely helpful in increasing your chances of recovering compensation in your case, you must not jeopardize your own safety or cause further injury to yourself or anyone else just to take photographs. Not only will this exacerbate your losses, but it can negatively impact your ability to recover full compensation.
As soon as possible, contact Heiting & Irwin for further assistance and representation. Heiting & Irwin is a Riverside car crash law firm committed to helping those injured in collisions caused by the negligent actions of others. We use any photographs our clients are able to take along with our knowledge and investigative resources to build a powerful and persuasive case for compensation for our clients. Let us help you or your loved one obtain monetary damages for your injuries by calling (951) 682-6440. Alternatively, you can complete our online form for assistance.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben124/
Even though it has been six years since the Affordable Care Act became law, politicians continue to debate ways to curb what appear to be ever-increasing costs of healthcare services. The battle against rising healthcare costs began long before the Affordable Care Act’s passage, however, and saw a number of states enacting medical malpractice caps that limit the amount of damages a medical malpractice claimant can recover in a lawsuit. Lawmakers believed such caps could be useful in lowering healthcare costs in that the amount of compensation a doctor or medical provider would be liable for would be restricted, thereby making the costs of medical malpractice liability insurance more affordable (and, hence, reducing the amount of the medical malpractice insurance premium that the doctor needed to “pass on” to his or her patients in the form of higher costs for services.
California's Medical Malpractice Cap Limits
California is one of many states that have passed a “cap” on the amount of noneconomic damages that a medical malpractice plaintiff can receive. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) was passed in 1975 and limits medical malpractice plaintiffs to a maximum of $250,000 in noneconomic damages.
In any civil lawsuit, a plaintiff may allege that he or she has suffered “economic” harm as well as “noneconomic” harm. Economic harm consists of financial expenses and losses that a person experiences as the result of another person’s negligence: in the case of a medical malpractice case, this can include additional medical expenses, prescription drug costs, and time missed from work. “Noneconomic” harm refers to those losses that are not financial in nature – things like a person’s mental pain and suffering or the loss of enjoyment of life the person experiences as the result of his or her injury.
While MICRA restricts the amount of monetary damages that a plaintiff may receive for his or her noneconomic damages, no such cap is placed on the amount of economic damages that the plaintiff can receive. In other words, the plaintiff’s economic losses (at least the ones he or she can satisfactorily prove to the court) can be fully compensated, regardless of the actual amount of damages incurred. Conversely, no matter how severe the plaintiff’s pain and suffering or how limited his or her life now is because of the medical mistake, it is unlikely that he or she will recover more than $250,000 for those losses.
Helping Injured Patients in California for 40 Years
When you have been injured by a doctor’s or surgeon’s medical mistake, you may find yourself and your family facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic and noneconomic losses. Heiting & Irwin is your Riverside medical malpractice law firm. We want to help you recover from your tragic injury and obtain the compensation you need to pull your life back together. Contact our firm at (951) 682-6400 or by using our firm’s online contact form.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/presidenciamx/
While people experience many types of serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions, falls, and other accidents, the brain is one of the most vulnerable of vital organs in the human body. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have debilitating consequences that last a lifetime, including diminished cognitive functioning, impaired mobility, and inability to communicate, just to name a few examples. Traumatic brain injuries often have a profound effect on both a victim and his or her family. Our experienced listed Rancho Cucamonga injury lawyers have answered common questions we frequently receive from people who have suffered head injuries because of the misconduct of an individual, business, or public entity.
What should I do if I suffer a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident caused by another party?
The most important step to take in the wake of a serious accident during which you incur a brain injury is to seek immediate medical care. Some head injuries do not exhibit significant symptoms until some time has elapsed after an accident. This delay in symptoms frequently is related to bleeding and swelling inside the skull, which imposes increased pressure on the brain. When injury victims take a “wait and see” attitude after experiencing a TBI in a car accident, they risk a less favorable prognosis because unrelieved pressure on the brain might cause severe brain damage and even death. Prompt treatment also enables medical providers to conduct a thorough diagnostic examination. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), or electroencephalography (EEG) scan often provides vital evidence regarding the nature and severity of an accident victim’s injuries.
Brain injury victims also should seek prompt legal advice if they are injured in a collision caused by the conduct of another. The potential magnitude of damages in a lawsuit involving a serious TBI means that insurance companies will devote extensive resources to shift blame to the injury victim or to otherwise avoid liability. Medical evidence regarding the nature of the brain injury and the way the crash caused the injury also will involve complex medical information that must be explained to a jury with experts. Our Inland Empire personal injury lawyers work with well-regarded experts to build a compelling case for our clients.
How much is a traumatic brain injury claim worth?
While the precise value of a brain injury will depend on a range of factors, the damages in a case involving a traumatic brain injury typically exceeds $100,000, and awards in the millions are fairly common. The amount recovered in a judgment or settlement does not equal the actual compensation an injury victim receives. Our law firm handles auto accident claims on a contingency fee basis, which means that any attorney fees are a percentage of the client’s recovery. The litigation costs associated with pursuing a brain injury case also typically will be deducted from the recovery, including expert fees, trial exhibits, day-in-the-life videos, deposition costs (e.g. court reporter fees), and other costs associated with pursuing the lawsuit. The expenses associated with litigating a traumatic brain injury case can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars, but our Southern California law firm has the financial resources to advance these costs of litigation. Our law firm executes a written fee agreement with every client, so they know what to expect regarding their net recovery after paying attorney fees and litigation expenses.
Can I pursue a personal injury lawsuit if I suffered a brain injury several years ago?
While the best practice is to seek legal advice as soon as practical after suffering a brain injury, the statute of limitations can bar the claim if a lawsuit is not filed before the deadline expires. A law firm will need time to investigate your injury claim and prepare a complaint to initiate the lawsuit, so time is of the essence in retaining legal representation. Further, shorter deadlines might apply, such as lawsuits against public entities for unsafe roads.
If you have suffered serious injury or lost a loved one in an auto collision, tractor-trailer accident, or motorcycle crash caused by a distracted or unreasonably careless driver in Southern California, contact an experienced Rancho Cucamonga personal injury lawyer today!
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What you Should Know About Mass Tort Litigation
Those afflicted with insomnia have undoubtedly seen them: Late night television ads from so-and-so law firm advising viewers to call “immediately” if they have taken a certain prescription drug or used a particular medical device. The advertisement will usually list serious-sounding side effects and entice you to call the particular law firm by promising significant cash compensation for physical injuries and mental pain. Are these promises too good to be true?
In many cases these commercials are paid for by law firms looking to file a significant number of cases (sometimes thousands) against one or a few defendants. This is known as mass tort litigation. This is not the same as a class action suit (in which many similarly-situated plaintiffs join in one singular suit against a defendant or defendants).
While these advertisements may make it seem as if your prescription medication or medical device can be your ticket to a huge compensation award, there are some principles to keep in mind before agreeing to participate in such litigation:
You should not stop taking medication without speaking with your doctor: Some of these advertisements leave you with the impression that your health is in immediate danger if you are taking a specified medication or are using a particular device. However, immediately stopping a medication – even a potentially dangerous one – without first talking to your own doctor can be extremely harmful to your health. If you believe you are suffering negative side effects from a drug or medical device, you should speak with your doctor immediately.
Contact a Product Liability Attorney Right Away
If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product or dangerous drug, the Riverside product liability law firm of Heiting & Irwin wants to speak with you. We will give your situation and circumstances personalized attention and will fight for a just and equitable resolution in your case. Call us at (951) 682-6400, or contact us through our website’s online contact form.
Thermostats are starting to rise throughout the Inland Empire as summer quickly approaches. Many homeowners are getting their swimming pools ready to fend off triple digit temperatures. While pools and spas can provide recreation and exercise, they also can constitute a significant safety hazard. In the United States, the CDC reports that more than 3,300 fatal drownings occur in swimming pools in a typical year. One in four of these deaths involves a child under the age of 14. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children 5 and under, trailing only auto accidents. There are almost twice as many children who suffer serious injury in near-drowning incidents each year, which often results in permanent disability and brain damage.
Courts often consider swimming pools attractive nuisances to children because pools tend to attract children who are too immature to appreciate the potential risk of harm. Homeowners or those who operate commercial pools have an affirmative duty to implement safeguards designed to prevent children from drowning or suffering an injury in other pool-related accidents. When the failure of pool owners to take adequate safety precautions causes drowning or other injuries, our experienced Inland Empire personal injury attorneys represent swimming pool accident victims.
In investigating a swimming pool accident, there are several questions that arise:
Pool areas are usually equated with fun whether located at a resort, friend's houses, or health clubs. Unfortunately, pools can be extremely dangerous hazards when certain conditions exist.
Diving injuries can happen when depth markings are faded, not visible, or non-existent.
The lack of fencing around a pool can spell danger for children who are wandering around unsupervised. When there is no safety equipment at the pool, this can result in drownings when a swimmer gets in trouble. If a public pool is open, adequately trained and attentive lifeguards should be present. Entrapment accidents can occur without proper maintenance of pool drains, filters, and pumps. Underwater obstructions like a shelf or rock grotto structure can cause catastrophic brain injuries.
While property owners often can be liable for injuries caused by an unsafe swimming pool, some other parties also might share financial responsibility. Defective pool pumps and heaters or poorly constructed life-saving equipment can also cause serious injuries. When pool equipment causes an injury or fatality, the company that designed, manufactured, or sold the defective product might be liable for injuries caused by the defective equipment or part. The company that built the pool also might be liable for defective work that causes injuries or a drowning.
If you or someone you love suffers an injury in a swimming pool accident at a residence, community, or resort swimming pool, our experienced Inland Empire accident attorneys carefully investigate the circumstances of such incidents and diligently pursue the best result for our client. Schwartzberg & Luther, APC offers tenacious advocacy designed to obtain the best possible results for our clients.
Self driving vehicles are on the way, you can’t fight the future. The Huffington Post reported that autonomous cars will be the norm by 2026, and that we’ll all be passengers in our own cars by 2046. If you run a personal injury law practice you may not be sounding the alarm in the office hallway just yet, but you need to start thinking about how this will shape your practice. Some food for thought, MADD reported in 2015 that DUI cases in California “fell 6.5% among drivers under 30 in the markets where Uber operates” equating to about 60 less drunk driving crashes each month… still not concerned? Neither were DUI defense lawyers when Uber launched just 5 years prior, but this was solely the result of new technology disrupting traditional business.
Technology giveth, and technology taketh away.
So if cars will drive themselves, the result will be far less car accidents and in turn far fewer new clients for a personal injury attorney. Many injury lawyers report that vehicle accidents represent 50% or more of their practice. With driver error out of the picture, and after driverless technology nearly perfects itself who will be getting into car accidents to support the injury law practice? At the moment Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and most other manufacturers have some sort of vehicle that can drive itself temporarily or at the very least adaptive cruise control. Regarding driverless cars, it’s really not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.
What to Expect in the Next 10 Years
As this new technology unfolds, consumers adopt, and the limits are pushed there will undoubtedly be accidents caused by this burgeoning technology. Car and commercial vehicle manufacturers will be under investor pressure to put out driverless vehicles and some may not be road ready - there will be lawsuits to follow. The savvy personal injury lawyer will want to brush up on GPS technology, motion sensors, accelerometers, Artificial Intelligence microprocessors Etc. as these will be the verbal building blocks and concepts for motor vehicle accident cases in the near future. However, this will be a flash in the pan and eventually these cases will be settled, manufacturing will improve and technology will inevitably drive itself forward.
So the question becomes this - If autonomous cars are on the way, how will the injury lawyer adapt or seize the opportunity that is forthcoming? Post your thoughts and comments below.
Most drivers have been in the position of feeling their eyelids start to droop as they struggle to stay awake while driving on the I-215, I-15 or other roadways in the Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario area. Although it is extremely dangerous to drive after not sleeping or ingesting prescription medication that makes you tired, drowsy driving has become a significant traffic safety problem. Motorists throughout the Inland Empire are working longer hours to make ends meet and/or fighting tough commutes to Orange County and Los Angeles, which limits the amount of sleep a driver gets each night.
This means that exhausted drivers frequently must fight to stay awake and concentrate on the roadway. Many drivers have had the experience of briefly dozing off only to wake up in a state of panic as their vehicle glides roughly over reflectors that separate lanes or drifts off onto the soft shoulder of the roadway. At freeway speeds, this brief “micro-nap” often requires a driver to desperately over-steer their vehicles back into the proper lane. Even the shortest period of loss of consciousness or lack of concentration can lead to fatal road departure and rollover accidents. Even if you are on a surface street on your way to the Ontario Airport, Victoria Gardens, or Ontario Mills, closing your eyes for even a couple of seconds can result in rear-ending another vehicle, driving into an adjacent lane, or plunging over the edge of an embankment.
The growing frequency of car accidents in Rancho Cucamonga and the surrounding areas caused by sleep-deprived drivers is a product of a number of factors that contribute to the general trend of Americans getting less sleep. The lifestyle of most people in the Inland Empire and throughout Southern California involves working long hours followed by lengthy commutes. When family and parenting obligations are fulfilled after getting home from work, these long hours devoted to employment leave little time for sleep. There also has been an increase in the number of people diagnosed with sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea which is linked to higher rates of obesity and our aging population.
The AAA Foundation reports some disturbing data regarding the growing danger posed by sleepy drivers. One in three drivers admitted to driving while extremely sleepy within the thirty day period prior to the study. While motorists might recognize the potential risk of driving without adequate sleep, a substantial number of motorists concede that they routinely ignore the danger.
These results were consistent with a prior study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The NSF study found that sixty percent of all drivers admitted driving while extremely sleepy at some time during the prior year. This amounts to 168 million drowsy drivers putting other drivers at-risk on America's roadways. California residents should find it even more disconcerting that almost forty percent of drivers admit to actually falling asleep behind the wheel. Conservative estimates by the federal government indicate that more than 100,000 car accidents are caused annually by tired and fatigued drivers.
A significant reason that lawmakers and law enforcement officers have not been particularly effective in deterring this dangerous practice is that drowsy driving is not viewed with the same sense of moral outrage as drunk driving. Many motorists who would never consider driving when intoxicated routinely operate their vehicle on less than an adequate amount of rest. In fact, approximately eleven million drivers admit involvement in a collision or a near-accident because of lack of sleep according to the NSF. Ironically, a study found that a driver who has gone 20 hours without sleep displays the same level of impairment as a driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% (i.e. the legal limit for DUI in California).
Sleep-deprived drivers typically experience a number of forms of impairment of their driving skills including:
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