We do not get to pick the moment of our misfortune. Suddenly, without warning, our daily activities can go from routine to immensely disruptive and life-altering. We understand how frustrating and aggravating it can be to suddenly be injured through no fault of your own. We have been there. Blameless people who have suffered injuries caused by the negligence of another often realize devastating effects on their financial, legal, and emotional health. The injured person may face the loss a lifetime of wages and benefits as well as the sense of purpose and wholeness that come with meaningful work. They often face enormous medical bills and may need to undertake expensive retraining to learn new employment skills that fit within their new limitations, if they are lucky enough to not have severe physical or cognitive impairments that prevent them from maintaining any employment at all. Injured people often face anxiety and depression as a result of coping with their new situation.
Transportation Accidents (Car/Truck/Bus/Motorcycle/Bicycle)
There is no bigger “David vs. Goliath” than an injured driver fighting a large, well-funded insurance company. We understand what you are likely going through when you have recently been involved in a collision while travelling. Common immediate concerns range from “how did this happen?” to “what do I do with my car?”. Eventually there will be phone calls from insurance companies and you need an experienced friend on your side to help during this difficult time.
A catastrophic injury is one where the consequences of the injury permanently prevents an individual from performing any gainful work. Catastrophic injuries are any injuries that have serious, long-term effects on the victim. After suffering a catastrophic injury, the victim can no longer maintain a job that allows them to support themselves or their family. A catastrophic injury or illness usually occurs suddenly and without warning and can leave a person suffering from permanent disabilities for the rest of his/her life. Catastrophic injuries can often put serious stress on the victim's family because they may need constant supervision or assistance for the rest of their lives, as well as a lifetime of rehabilitation and medical bills. A catastrophically injured person often has limitations on travel, exercise, participation in favorite hobbies or activities, and inability to even care for themselves on a day-to-day basis in the way that a typical healthy person would. They may also suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that create emotional anguish in addition to the physical pain and suffering that inevitably come with a devastating and disabling injury.
Brain Injury / TBI
Brain injuries range in severity and typically result in devastating, long-term effects for the innocent victim. A brain injury can include anything from a minor concussion to a catastrophic open skull fracture. Common symptoms following a brain injury can be vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, blurred vision, memory loss, fear, anxiety, depression, confusion and loss of consciousness.
Burn injuries can be caused by fire, electrical wires or outlets, or by unsafe handling of chemicals. Burn injuries can range in severity. Some burn injuries can be as mild as a first degree, which is skin discoloration or blistering, or be as serious as a fourth degree, which indicates injury to deeper tissues, such as muscle, tendons, or bone. An inappropriately treated burn can result in injuries worse than the burn itself and introduce more complications for the injured victim.
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. A “medical error” is defined as a death, injury or exacerbation of underlying condition caused by inadequately skilled staff, error in judgment or care, a system defect or a preventable adverse effect. A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000. Adding to the misleading of the public is that physicians, funeral directors, coroners and medical examiners rarely note on death certificates the human errors and system failures involved. Doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and other healthcare workers are dedicated, caring people, but they are human. And human beings make mistakes. Patients need to be vigilant, ask questions, seek second opinions, do their own research and consider bringing along an advocate to help process the information. And when a healthcare provider makes a mistake, seek legal assistance.
The household pet may be our best friends, but dogs are still animals and animals can bite. Dog bites account for more than 90% of all animal bites. The majority of dog bites are received from a dog the recipient was familiar with, often a family pet or a friend’s dog. It is estimated that dogs bite nearly 5 million Americans every year, half of them children between ages 5 and 9. Injuries may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Dog bites can go much further than broken bones or scarring. The emotional trauma of a dog bite can last a lifetime. Often the initial “bite” is not as bad as the subsequent infection that comes as a result of the bite. Infections, including tetanus and rabies, need to be considered. Information should immediately be obtained from the dog's owner about the dog's rabies immunization status. If information from the owner is not possible, seek the information from hospital, animal control centers, or law enforcement personnel. Rabies therapy, if necessary, must begin as soon as possible. The victim's tetanus status also needs to be current.
As a private pilot with nearly 600 hours of flying experience as pilot in command, I have a deep rooted interest in maintaining the safety of passengers travelling on airplanes. Aviation accidents can range from an in-flight injury on a commercial airline to injuries caused by a crash in a private single engine airplane or helicopter. Airlines and air carriers are held to a high standard of care for their passengers. Mistakes and mechanical breakdowns can lead to large-scale disasters and multiple deaths. Injuries can occur as a result of many dangerous conditions, from items falling onto passengers from overhead storage, to beverage carts causing injuries. Injured pilots or passengers often have to bring a case against commercial airlines, aircraft manufacturers, Air Traffic Controllers, flight schools, and engine manufacturers. Airlines are held to higher safety standards towards passengers on international flights as compared to domestic flights. The Montreal Convention makes airlines liable for any accident to passengers on board or while embarking or disembarking. The passenger can sue up to a predetermined limit without having to prove negligence by the airline or its employees.
Companies who place defective goods or services in the hands of consumers create an environment for injury and can be sued under state laws for manufacturing and design defects. Typical defective products claims are those involving defective design or defective manufacturing. In some cases the design of the product was expected to be safe but turned out to be unsafe, causing injury or death. In other cases, the design is safe, but a failure during the manufacturing process introduced a dangerous condition. Marketing defects also applies to product liability lawsuits as well as lawsuits due to a manufacturer’s failure to warn the public of a known defective product. Liability for a dangerous product can range from the designing engineer, the assembler, manufacturer or retail store owner. Defective product liability lawsuits are typically based on strict liability and negligence.
Tens of thousands of pedestrians suffer injuries each year when they are hit by a car or truck. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at the greatest risk of being hit by a vehicle. Children are smaller and less visible and they can be unpredictable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that each year nearly 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle related accidents, Accidents involving pedestrians often occur when the pedestrian attempts to cross highways, streets, backroads or parking lots. Not all pedestrian accidents involve an impact by an automobile. Thousands of non-vehicular pedestrian accidents also occur as a result of poor maintenance on a street, bike path, sidewalk or parking lot as well as injuries caused by construction or other debris on walkways. Often with these types of injuries there are multiple people or parties responsible for the injuries.
Dangerous Properties or Premises (Slip/Trip and Fall)
Premises liability refers to the responsibility of property owners to provide reasonably safe conditions for visitors, workers and residents. California property owners can be held financially accountable for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises. Anyone who has suffered an injury on someone else's property must consider their legal rights and options as financial compensation may be available for their injuries.
The true case is not representing the decedent, but helping rebuild the lives devastated by the loss of their loved one. No amount of money can ever replace a lost family member. We take your hand to help you through the difficult experience of obtaining justice for your loss and financial compensation for the loss of the support previously provided by the lost loved one.
Qui Tam Whistleblower
Private Citizens can bring private lawsuits against a person or company who is believed to have defrauded the government. Qui tam suits are initially filed under seal on behalf of the government. If effect, the private citizen is suing on behalf of the government for a fraud against the government, often because the government is unaware of being defrauded. Qui Tam suits most often involve fraud in the exercise of military defense contracts or fraudulent healthcare (Medicare or VA) billing or supplies. In a Qui Tam action the plaintiff will be entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government. Sometimes the federal or state government will intervene and become a party to the suit after learning of the fraud, in order to actively participate in protecting its interest and in case negotiations and litigation.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (“RICO”, 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 1961 et seq.) created a civil law cause of action (§ 1964) for violations of its provisions. Federal District Courts are empowered to award triple monetary awards, attorney fees, and to issue equitable orders preventing and restraining violations, including divestiture of an interest in any enterprise, restrictions on future activities or investments of any person, and the dissolution or reorganization of the enterprise. To state a claim, a plaintiff must allege (1) that the defendant received money from a pattern of racketeering activity, (2) invested that money in an enterprise, (3) the enterprise affected interstate commerce, and (4) an injury resulting from the investment of racketeering income distinct from an injury caused by the predicate acts themselves.
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