After your accident lawyer files a lawsuit in Riverside, you may be presented with the option to settle the case before it goes to trial. A settlement is an agreement in which the plaintiff receives an agreed upon sum of money in exchange for dropping the case. Every case is unique. Talk to your car accident lawyer about the specifics of your case to determine if accepting the settlement offer might be better than taking your chances with a trial.
Watch this video to learn more about settling your accident lawsuit. You’ll hear how liability factors may play a role, as well as how the involvement of an insurance company might affect a settlement offer. If the defendant is alleged to have acted in a particularly egregious manner, then he or she may be more willing to settle for a higher amount.
Accident lawsuits filed in Riverside aren’t always brought by the victim of the accident. If the victim dies, his or her family may file the claim. Wrongful death lawsuits give surviving family members the opportunity to pursue justice on behalf of their lost loved one. Families should take care to choose an accident injury attorney who has experience litigating wrongful death cases, as complex, unique issues can arise. These include the physician-patient relationship, and the right to preserve the confidentiality of medical information.
In any accident lawsuit, the victim’s medical records play a crucial role. They serve to establish the type of injuries, severity of symptoms, and causation of injuries. Medical records can even be a factor in calculating non-economic damages like pain and suffering. This is because the more serious the injury is, the higher the non-economic damages are likely to be. In cases in which the accident victim survives, he or she can simply sign a waiver to release these medical records. Wrongful death cases aren’t this straightforward, however.
Federal and state laws protect the confidentiality of medical information. Physicians cannot legally share a patient’s medical information with anyone unless that person consents. This doesn’t apply to all medical information, only the data that is labeled “protected health information” under HIPAA. This includes individually identifiable data that isn’t readily available from other sources, such as records filed with the person’s employer or educational institution. Even after a person dies, the physician-patient privilege continues—but it isn’t absolute.
Medical Record Waiver
Depending on the laws of the individual state, an accident attorney can still access medical records if an official waiver is authorized. The decedent’s surviving spouse, other next of kin, or personal representative may be authorized to waive the physician-patient privilege.
Health Information Scope
A valid waiver doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the medical records for the decedent’s lifetime can be released. The decedent’s personal representative or next of kin must take care to ensure that the only medical records that are released are the ones that are relevant to the wrongful death lawsuit.
All damages are money paid to a plaintiff to compensate him or her for losses that were caused by the negligent or intentional behavior of the defendant. Your personal injury lawyer in Riverside can clear up any confusion you might have about the different types of damages. Economic damages, for instance, are damages intended to compensate you for the monetary losses that can be objectively verified. These include your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future wages, and property damage expenses. In short, any damages from your trip and fall accident that can easily be added up with a calculator are economic damages.
Some slip and fall injuries cause harm that cannot be objectively calculated. These damages are non-economic. For instance, your personal injury lawyer may request damages for your pain and suffering caused by the injury, as well as your mental anguish. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the lawyer may request compensation for the family’s loss of companionship and support, and a surviving spouse may request damages for the loss of consortium.
Any move is a major effort, and moving to a nursing home is a particularly challenging transition. Packing up and settling in are only a small part of it. You should also take the time to review your legal rights as a nursing home resident. For instance, you have the right to have a lawyer in Riverside review your contract before you sign it. When you move in, the nursing home is required by law to provide verbal and written notice of your legal rights and the services you’re entitled to receive.
Right to Benefits and Healthcare
A nursing home cannot attempt to inhibit your right to apply for Medicare and Medicaid benefits. If you receive these benefits, you cannot be asked to leave the facility. Nursing homes must treat all residents equally, regardless of whether they are private payers or benefit recipients. Furthermore, you have the right to keep your clinical records confidential, to be fully informed about your healthcare, and to choose your own doctor. You are entitled to participate in your medical care and treatment planning for as long as you are legally considered mentally competent. You also have the right to refuse medical treatment if you wish.
Right to Personal Possessions
When you move to the nursing home, you’ll undoubtedly have to downsize. However, you still retain the right to keep and enjoy the use of your own personal possessions and clothing. The only lawful reason a nursing home could interfere with this right is if the possession or use of a certain object would endanger health or safety. For example, a nursing home could lawfully prohibit residents from keeping fireworks in their rooms.
Right to Visitors
No nursing home staff member is lawfully allowed to interfere with your right to see your loved ones. You also have the right to see:
- Resident advocates
- Service providers
- State and federal government representatives
Right to Humane Treatment
It should go without saying that every human being has the right to receive humane treatment. You have the right to be free of physical and mental abuse, and no nursing home worker can isolate you from other residents against your will. If you are neglected or abused, you have the right to raise grievances, contact a personal injury lawyer, and file any claims you wish.
Mesothelioma is a rare, but highly aggressive type of cancer that is difficult to treat. In nearly every case, mesothelioma is linked to asbestos exposure. This means that individuals who worked as auto mechanics, carpenters, manufacturing plant employees, electricians, and HVAC mechanics could be at risk of mesothelioma. If you have developed this cancer, or a loved one has died from it, contact a personal injury lawyer in Riverside to discuss a possible wrongful death claim.
When you watch this featured video, you’ll learn more about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits. Since it can take several decades for cancer to develop after asbestos exposure, it may still be possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the exposure took place years ago.
California is widely regarded as a leader in environmental sustainability, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to toxic hazards that can harm human health. These toxic threats may be the subject of litigation in the form of public nuisance lawsuits, which personal injury lawyers near Riverside may handle. There are a few interesting trends in public nuisance lawsuits in California, including litigation pending against oil companies regarding climate change.
Public Nuisance Lawsuits
The legal definition of a nuisance is quite broad, which makes it a catch-all of sorts for difficult-to-classify litigation. Any physical condition or human activity can be a nuisance if it:
- Causes harm to another person
- Reduces a person’s enjoyment and reasonable use of property
- Is offensive or indecent to the senses
A personal injury lawyer can file a private nuisance lawsuit on behalf of one neighbor and against another neighbor. In contrast, a public nuisance lawsuit is filed over a problem that affects an entire community or a large number of people.
Climate Change Lawsuits
According to the Carbon Majors Database , 7.4% of all global greenhouse emissions released between 1988 and 2015 were caused by five oil companies: Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP. And on September 19, 2017, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland filed separate public nuisance lawsuits against these five companies. They allege that the defendants knew the greenhouse emissions they caused to be released would worsen climate change. They further allege that the defendants knew worsening climate change directly contributed to rising sea levels in coastal cities. Damages are demanded to fund adaptations of these cities to the rising sea level.
Chemical Contamination Lawsuits
While climate change lawsuits are a relatively new trend, plaintiffs have been filing toxic tort lawsuits against pesticide manufacturers for years. Usually, these lawsuits are individual or class action lawsuits. Recently, personal injury lawyers have used public nuisance lawsuits that allow California cities to sue for chemical contamination. A few cities, including San Diego, have sued Monsanto to demand that the former PCB manufacturer pay for the cleanup of waterways polluted by PCBs.
Commercial trucking is a highly regulated industry, with good reason. Big rig accidents comprise a significant portion of wrongful death cases and accident lawsuits filed near Riverside and throughout California. When an accident attorney takes on a big rig crash case, he or she carefully reviews all the evidence to determine if the trucker failed to abide by any requirements , such as California’s truck lane requirements.
In this state, truck drivers must use the lane designated by any posted signage. If road signs do not indicate a designated truck lane, then big rigs must keep to the right-hand lane. Trucks passing other vehicles must use the lane adjacent to the far right-hand lane, or a designated lane. These lane requirements are intended to cut down on the number of lane change accidents between big rigs and passenger vehicles. These crashes can be particularly dangerous, and often result in accident lawsuits. The penalty for a first violation of a lane requirement results in a $100 fine. Subsequent violations within the same year result in higher fines.
Most patients go into a hospital expecting to feel better when they leave. And while the majority of healthcare providers are dedicated, conscientious individuals who try to do their best for their patients, mistakes do happen. Sometimes, those mistakes can be fatal. If your loved one was hospitalized, discharged, and then became fatally ill, you may wish to meet with a personal injury lawyer serving Riverside. Many families find that pursuing justice in court helps them to find a sense of closure after a tragic loss .
Exploring Post-Hospitalization Complications
Patients are typically discharged before they are 100% recovered, with the understanding that they will continue to convalesce at home or in a long-term care facility. This is standard practice, but unfortunately, it means that patients can develop complications outside of the hospital that might not be diagnosed right away. One serious problem closely tied to hospitalizations is hospital-acquired infections.
Understanding the Risks of Hospital-Acquired Infections
A hospital-acquired infection is any bacterial, viral, or fungal infection that was contracted while the patient was in the hospital. The symptoms may not be apparent until after discharge. Patients are at a higher risk of becoming sick in healthcare facilities because their immune systems are more likely to be compromised, and they’re exposed to the germs from other patients and staff members. Some of the most common hospital-acquired infections include:
- Kidney infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Bloodstream infections
- Surgical site infections
- Respiratory infections, including pneumonia
Establishing Hospital or Healthcare Provider Liability
Hospital-acquired infections are a well-known and prevalent problem in the medical field, and hospitals actively work to establish more effective protocols to prevent them. However, not all hospitals have strict protocols in place, and not all healthcare providers adhere to adequate infection control practices. A hospital or doctor isn’t automatically liable for a loved one’s death if he or she passed away after being hospitalized. To establish liability, a personal injury lawyer will need access to the individual’s medical records and all other evidence. He or she will consider whether the hospital’s procedures deviated from standard practice, or whether a healthcare provider was negligent. If so, a wrongful death lawsuit may be feasible.
California tort law recognizes the right of a family to file an accident lawsuit if their loved one dies as a result of someone else’s intentional act or act of negligence. This is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. The situation can become more complicated if the defendant also dies. As soon as you learn of this person’s death, contact your accident attorney in Riverside to discuss the next steps in the case.
If you haven’t already filed the accident lawsuit, you can still do so after the defendant dies. The claim will be filed against the negligent individual’s estate. One of the first steps your accident lawyer will take is to determine whether the decedent’s will has already been filed in a probate court. If so, your attorney can file your claim in the presiding court. The estate will be notified of your claim against the assets. Sometimes, simply identifying the correct court can be trickier when the defendant has died. If the individual died while in jail, the probate case may be located either in the court nearest to the jail or near the decedent’s former residency.
Children are at a particularly high risk of dog bites, simply because they tend to speak loudly and yell, run around, and wave their arms around. This energetic behavior can be misinterpreted by an otherwise well-behaved pup. Personal injury lawyers near Riverside can help parents in the aftermath of an attack by someone else’s dog , but parents are also encouraged to teach their kids about dog safety early in life.
Watch this featured video to hear from a dog behavioral expert. She and her young daughter demonstrate how kids should behave when a strange, unleashed dog approaches them, and when a friendly, leashed dog approaches. You’ll also get some tips on reading a dog’s body language, which can tell you if an attack is more likely. If an attack does occur, getting your child medical attention is your top priority. When he or she has been treated, it’s time to call a personal injury lawyer.
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