Articles Posted in Personal Injury

medical assessmentCalifornia has two different kinds of schemes for personal injury claims, depending on where you were injured. If you are injured at work, you will usually need to bring your claim through the workers’ compensation system. However, if you are injured during your leisure time, and your injuries were caused by the negligence of someone else, you will often be able to hold the wrongdoer accountable through the civil legal system through a tort claim. Typically, plaintiffs prefer to bring their claims under tort law because there is the potential for much greater damages to be awarded. The problem is that plaintiffs cannot bring a tort claim when workers’ compensation has been designated the exclusive remedy for the harm suffered. The California Supreme Court recently heard a case that addressed whether a specific kind of personal injury claim can be brought under a tort claim or whether it has to be funneled through the workers’ compensation system. This may all sound complicated – and it is- but a knowledgeable Southern California personal injury attorney can help you understand the best way to move your injury claim forward.

California Workers’ Compensation System

The court here explained that the workers’ compensation system gives employees relatively certain benefit payments, but they give up many kinds of potentially available damages in exchange. Part of the benefits provided by the workers’ compensation system is payment of necessary medical costs related to the injury. To ensure that the recommended treatments are actually “necessary,” the California workers’ compensation system has set up an independent review process. The process works by an independent reviewer who is tasked with approving or disapproving requests for treatment by program participants.

yogaA motion for summary judgment is granted when the judge believes that there are no issues of material fact between the parties and one of the parties is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In other words, summary judgment motions are granted when even if the facts are looked at in the light most favorable to the other party, it is still clear that one party should prevail. In this case, summary judgment was granted to the yoga studio because the plaintiff did not meet her burden of showing that there was actual a triable issue here. The laws around personal injury can be complicated, which is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable California personal injury attorney if you are injured. They can help you to understand whether you have a case or not.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was at a yoga class at the defendant’s yoga studio. During the class, the instructor used a yoga belt to help position her right leg over her left, pushed down on the plaintiff’s lower back, and twisted her neck. While she claimed that these adjustments caused her pain, she did not inform the yoga instructor of any issues or ask him to stop.

Legal News GavelThere are many chemicals that can cause birth defects in pregnant women who are exposed to them. Generally, the statute of limitations for toxic exposure cases is only two years. That means that if you try to bring a toxic exposure claim after the two years have elapsed, the claims will likely be time barred. However, with cases of in utero toxic exposure, it may take much longer than two years to fully understand the nature and causes of the injuries. Thatis why prenatal injuries have a six year statute of limitations.

Seemingly in conflict with the two- and six-year statute of limitations, the statute of limitations for toxic exposure cases is generally tolled while the injured party is a minor. A case heard by the California Supreme Court centers around whether the six years apply to in utero toxic exposure or whether a potential plaintiff has until they are 19 or 20 (18 plus the two years, give or take a bit due to when the exposure occurs) to bring the claim.

If you suspect that you have been injured by toxic exposure, whether in utero or as an adult, you should contact a knowledgeable Southern California personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence to make sure you get your claim filed within the time limits.

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If you injure someone while engaging in your normal job duties, your employer may be able to be held liable for those injuries. This is called “vicarious liability.” The problem is that if you are sometimes required to use your personal vehicle for work and there is an accident, it may not be clear whether there should be vicarious liability or not. This case clarifies when an employer can be held liable through vicarious liability when an employee injures someone while driving their personal vehicle. If you are injured in an accident, it’s important to contact a skilled Southern California personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to figure out who should be held responsible for your injuries, and make sure that all potentially liable parties are, in fact, held responsible.

Facts of the Case

In this case, the driver and owner of the vehicle was an attorney who worked for the County of Los Angeles. As part of his job he would often need to use his personal vehicle to visit clients in jail, go to different courthouses where clients were being tried, and visit crime scenes or meet witnesses. It would have been impossible for him to do his job without using his car relatively frequently. The attorney was eligible to be paid mileage by his employer when he used his car for these purposes.

A plaintiff was hit by a car as he crossed a street between defendant Grace Family Church and the church’s parking lot. He sued the church for negligence, alleging that the church was negligent in breaching its duty of care to help him safely cross the street. The trial court granted the church’s motion for summary judgment. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision in this California premises liability case, and last month, the California Supreme Court reversed the appeals court’s decision and remanded the case.

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In his initial lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the church owed him a duty of care to help him cross the street. The church responded that it had no control over the public street and thus did not owe a duty to prevent the plaintiff’s injury, contending that landowners have no duty to protect others from dangers on adjacent streets unless the owner created the danger.

Before the state supreme court, the parties stipulated that the church did not control the street and did not create the dangers on the street. But the church, the plaintiff argued, by directing the plaintiff to park there, foreseeably increased the likelihood that the plaintiff would cross the street and become injured. Thus, the circumstances differed from those in which a landowner simply owns property next to a public street.

The sole proprietor of a property management company, independent contractor plaintiff, was assaulted by two young men while on the premises of an apartment building he managed for the owner, defendant Kavian LLC. He sued the defendant and its two co-managing members (Mr. H.) for negligence and breach of contract. This blog post will focus solely on the negligence issue.

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At trial, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent in urging plaintiff to return to the property after an earlier disturbance and failing to provide a safe working environment. The trial court sustained demurrers by Mr. H., and granted defendant Kavian LLC’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed the latter ruling, and the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed.

On appeal, the plaintiff’s first argument was that he was never the employee of an independent contractor, and therefore was not barred from relief under Privette v. Superior Court (1993). The appeals court held that he was incorrect.

The plaintiff sued defendant Target for injuries due to the defendant’s negligence. The plaintiff claimed she was cut by a plastic price tag holder that was sticking out into the aisle. The jury returned a verdict in the defendant’s favor, finding there was no dangerous condition. Finding that the appellate record and the plaintiff’s briefs were inadequate for appellate review, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed in this California premises liability case.

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At trial, the plaintiff’s husband testified that he and his wife were shopping at the Burbank Target in September 2010. As the plaintiff was pushing her cart through the shoe department, she cut her pinky finger on a price tag sign that was extending horizontally into the aisle. The plaintiff attempted to complete an incident report but was told by the defendant’s staff that there were no blank forms for her to complete. Her husband later called the store to report the incident and left a message, but his call was never returned.

The defendant’s employees testified that a guest would not be denied a guest incident report and that a report would have been completed by the defendant’s staff if an incident was reported and the guest did not wish to complete a form. There was no report completed by anyone for the alleged incident. They also testified to their procedures of sweeping for hazards in the store and stated that it was impossible for a price tag sign to extend horizontally into an aisle.

On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas strip. The gunman fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. The shooting left 58 people dead and 546 injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. A California college student who was injured at the shooting recently filed suit against the concert promoter, the Mandalay Bay hotel owners, and the bump stock manufacturers. The case may have some relevance to certain California premises liability cases that may arise in these tragic situations.

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The lawsuit claims that MGM Resorts International, which owns both the hotel and the concert venue, failed to respond in a timely manner to the shooting of a hotel security officer who had gone to the 32nd floor to check on an alert from another guest room and who was shot six minutes before the massacre began. The lawsuit also questions why hotel staff failed to notice the gunman’s behavior prior to the mass shooting.

Specifically, the plaintiff claims that MGM Resorts and concert promoter Live Nation breached their duty of reasonable care and knew or should have known that it was reasonably foreseeable that a breach of their duty to keep the concert venue safe could result in serious or fatal injuries to concert attendees. Specifically, the gunman brought in 10 suitcases of weapons and over 500 rounds, and he barricaded himself in his room without any staff noticing.

A plaintiff brought a lawsuit against Valencia-Penales Care Services, Inc. and two individuals in connection with injuries she incurred from a fall. The matter proceeded to a jury trial. The plaintiff appealed from a judgment and order denying her motion for a new trial, contending that the non-economic damages she was awarded by the jury were inadequate. The California Court of Appeal for the First District disagreed and affirmed the judgment.

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In January 2015, the plaintiff was living alone in an apartment at Redwood Retirement, an adult living facility. She was 91 years old, suffered from macular degeneration, and at times used a cane or walker. She fell while getting back into her car after visiting the store with her caretaker. One of the issues at trial was her mental and physical condition before and after her fall.

The jury found no negligence on the part of the individual defendants, but it rendered a verdict for the plaintiff on her negligence claim against Valencia-Penales. The jury apportioned 45% of the responsibility for her harm to Valencia-Penales. It awarded the plaintiff her requested past economic damages totaling $44,506.65, future economic damages in the amount of $126,000 for caregiving services, and $5,000 for non-economic damages.

A woman and her daughter were in two automobile accidents. One defendant rear-ended them in the first. In the second, another defendant broadsided them while they were driving together two months later. The plaintiffs sued both defendants, and by the time of trial, both defendants had admitted the accidents were their fault; the defendants, however, disputed the accidents caused the full range of injuries the plaintiffs claimed to have suffered.

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The trial court barred the plaintiffs’ neuropsychologist expert witness from opining the traumatic brain injury allegedly suffered by the mother was caused by the accidents because the plaintiffs did not give adequate notice the expert would offer such an opinion and because the expert was in any event incompetent to offer such an opinion. Concluding there was no other substantial evidence that either accident was the cause of her asserted traumatic brain injury and lower back injury, the court later granted the defendants’ motions seeking nonsuit as to those injuries. The appeals court was asked to decide whether the trial court abused its discretion in excluding the plaintiffs’ expert testimony, and whether the trial court properly granted the defendants’ nonsuit motions. For the following reasons, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

The appeals court first held that the plaintiffs’ failure to designate the expert to testify on causation was a sufficient ground to exclude his testimony on that topic. The plaintiffs contended the “plain language” of their expert witness declaration gave sufficient notice that he would testify as to the cause of the victim’s alleged traumatic brain injury. Specifically, the plaintiffs quoted language from their expert witness declaration stating that the expert “will express opinions concerning the nature and extent of [the victim’s] injuries sustained in the subject accidents.” That language, the appeals court held, did not suffice to comply with the requirements of the Code of Civil Procedure’s expert disclosure statutes. The terms “nature” and “extent” refer to the type of an injury or its characteristics, as well as perhaps its severity. That, the court explained, is distinct from the concept of causation.

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