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6/2/2014 Bicycle Accident Case Settles for Driver's Policy Limits
The victim in an automobile versus bicycle accident has settled his claim for the $100,000.00 policy limits available.
11/4/2013 Lawsuit Filed in Orange County Trip and Fall
A lawsuit for personal injury has been filed on behalf of the firm's client after a serious fall within a Buena Park store in which the client badly fractured both arms.
2/18/2013 Glass Case Against Orange County Apartment Complex Settled
Last month the lawsuit against an Orange County apartment complex for an allegedly dangerous window was settled for $185,000.00. The firm had filed suit on behalf of a female resident after a window shattered near her bed cutting her leg severely, resulting in surgery and residual scarring.
9/3/2012 Case Resolved In Anaheim Bar Assault
Firm resolves assault victim's third-party case against bar owner in Anaheim. In spite of the fact the attackers were never identified by the police, the claim against the bar owner was a success.
4/18/2012 Firm Files Suit In Death of Lap Band Patient
The firm has filed suit after a 38-year-old woman died last April as a result of a lap band procedure in August of 2010. According to the Orange County Coroner's office, the patient's stomach had been perforated by the band.

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Head-On Collision in Rancho Cucamonga Takes Three Lives

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/21/2014
Early Sunday morning three people were killed and two hospitalized after a head-on auto accident on the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga. According to KTLA News, the collision occurred when an alleged wrong-way driver, identified as 28-year-old Mack Jaramillo, was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of the freeway at about 2:00 a.m.

Construction Site Accident in OC Leaves One Dead, One Hospitalized

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/18/2014
Yesterday afternoon one worker was killed and another badly injured when they were electrocuted at a job site at Mission Viejo High School in Orange County. According to KTLA News, the accident was reported at around 3:15 p.m. after one worker came into contact with an electrical wire and a another co-worker came to assist, also making contact with the live wire.

Truck Driver's U-Turn Causes Serious Accident in Whittier

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/11/2013
A truck driver making a u-turn at the bottom of a freeway exit in Whittier apparently caused an accident early this morning, resulting in serious injuries. According to KTLA News, citing official sources, the big rig driver made an illegal u-turn at about 1:15 a.m., and the driver of a Dodge Challenger was unable to avoid hitting the trailer, ripping the roof off of the car.

Third Party Criminal Assault Claims - What You Should Know

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/26/2013
Two third-party criminal assault claims have made the news recently. In each case, the injured party or their family is seeking compensation in a civil court after a crime was committed against them or their family member by an unknown third party. According to the Press Enterprise, the mother of a 14-year-old boy killed in a drive-by shooting is seeking compensation from the City of Riverside for failing to warn of or prevent the shooting and/or prosecute the criminals.

Four Killed in Collision at Lancaster Intersection

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/22/2013
Saturday night two vehicles collided in Lancaster leaving four people dead and three others critically injured. According to KABC News, the crash happened near the intersection of 10th Street and Avenue G at about at 6:28 p.m.

Elderly Woman Killed and Four Others Injured in Santa Ana Car Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/19/2013
Tuesday morning at about 9:00 a.m., two vehicles collided violently at an intersection in Santa Ana, leaving one passenger dead and four others injured. According to KABC News, the crash happened at the intersection of 1st and Sullivan when a Nissan Altima reportedly ran a red light while traveling southbound on Sullivan, striking an Infiniti coupe.

Orange County Crash on Santiago Canyon Causes Fatality

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/10/2013
Early Monday morning a two-car crash on Santiago Canyon in Orange County left a 16-year-old girl dead and six others injured. According to KTLA News, the crash occurred on East Santiago Canyon Road when the two vehicles were headed toward Silverado Canyon Road at about 1:45 a.m.

Orange Car Crash on 5 Freeway Results in Fatality

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/24/2013
While waiting for a flat tire to be fixed on the 5 freeway in the City of Orange, a 54-year-old man was struck and killed Thursday night. According to a report by KABC News, the victim was sitting on the bumper of a Toyota Sequoia while one of the passengers changed the flat tire when the accident occurred.

Deputy Sheriff Sues 9-1-1 Caller for Injuries

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/16/2013
A Sheriff's Deputy in Harris County, Texas, is suing a 9-1-1 caller because he was seriously injured after responding to a call at the home. According to ABC News, the incident happened in Katy (a suburb outside of Houston) last December when Deputy Brady Pullen was attacked by a man at the home of Camina Figueroa, the Defendant in the lawsuit.

Police Cruiser Involved in Hawthorne Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/24/2013
At approximately 2:45 a.m. today, a Hawthorne Police cruiser was involved in a very serious accident that resulted in critical injuries to a 36-year-old woman. According to KTLA News, the accident happened when a sergeant with the Hawthorne Police Department was traveling eastbound on El Segundo Boulevard in response to a call. The woman, Karina Peza, was apparently pulling out of an alley in her Honda when the impact occurred.

Elderly Passenger Killed in Banning Wreck

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/18/2013
Wednesday morning a traffic collision in Banning left an elderly passenger dead. According to the Press Enterprise, the accident happened about 9:25 a.m. when an SUV broadsided the Honda in which the 71-year-old passenger was riding. Following the accident on San Gorgonio Avenue, near the KOA campground,

Azusa Car Crash Results in Fatality

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/16/2013
A four-vehicle car crash last night in Azusa proved fatal for a 4-year-old girl. As reported by KABC News, this tragic collision involved two passenger vehicles, a truck and a transit bus at the intersection of Citrus Avenue and Gladstone Street at about 8:30 p.m. The little girl was apparently one of three children injured, and all were taken to the hospital after the accident.

California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act - Time for a Change

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/15/2013
Under California law, the most a patient can recover against their doctor or their insurance carrier for pain and suffering (so called "general damages") is $250,000. This limit was first imposed in 1976 pursuant to this State's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). For 37 years the limit has remained the same while every other aspect of our normal, day-to-day existence has increased in cost.

Distracted Driver Killed While Arguing with Passenger in Riverside County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/29/2013
A teenaged driver was killed early on Friday when she crashed her car into a pine tree in Riverside County. According to the Press Enterprise, the collision happened at about 12:15 a.m. when a 19-year-old woman from Rialto was apparently distracted while arguing with a passenger in her car. Citing official sources, the Press Enterprise identified a back seat passenger as 19-year-old George Poma of Grand Terrace.

Suspected Drunk Driver Charged With Murder in Santa Clarita Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/26/2013
The driver of a wrong-way truck has been criminally charged following freeway crash that killed a minister and his passenger and critically injured a second passenger. According to NBC News, the driver of the the pick-up truck, 38-year-old Bradford Pate, has been charged with two counts of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and DUI with a blood-alcohol content over .08 percent.

Ratings Published For Orange County and Statewide Hospitals

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/11/2013
Nearly a third of California’s hospitals had worse in-patient death rates for various procedures and conditions than the statewide average during the two-year period, between 2010 and 2011, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. The report, released on Monday, documents Inpatient Mortality Indicators (IMIs) for California hospitals in an effort to improve the quality of patient care and to help consumers make more informed healthcare decisions...

Women Injured During Dorner Manhunt Settle Lawsuit

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 04/25/2013
The two women mistaken for Christopher Dorner during the manhunt for the former LAPD Officer have tentatively settled their lawsuit with the City of Los Angeles for a total of $4.2 million. According to NBC News, the LA City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, confirmed that the settlement has been reached, subject to approval by the City Council on May 21st.

What To Do When You're Not Given Your Rest/Meal Periods or Overtime Pay

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 04/22/2013
In this economy, employers seem more prone than ever to take advantage of their workers, especially when it comes to compensation and work hours. It is not uncommon for employers to require their employees to work their shifts without the legally required rest and meal periods.

California Medical Board in Hot Water

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 04/16/2013
Last week a letter from California lawmakers to the State's Medical Board implored the agency to do a better job of monitoring doctors and the quality of care they provide. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the Board was even threatened with dissolution unless "significant progress" was demonstrated in terms of protecting patients from dangerous doctors.

Train Crash Sends at Least Nine to the Hospital

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 04/07/2013
Saturday afternoon a Metrolink train crashed into a large dump truck in Pacoima sending at least nine train passengers to local hospitals. According to KTLA news, the accident happened at about 2:30 p.m. near the intersection of San Fernando and Branford. For some reason, the truck stopped on the train tracks and was then struck by the train, flipping and spinning the truck. The train sustained substantial front end damage but remained on the tracks.

Orange County Hospital Settles Fraud Case

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 03/27/2013
An Orange County hospital has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle claims that it violated federal laws by allowing residents to administer anesthesia without supervision by a physician. According to the article in the Orange County Register, UCI Medical Center settled the claims of Dr. Dennis O'Connor, a former UCI professor and anesthesiologist at the hospital, to avoid further litigation prompted by the whistleblower lawsuit.

Fatal Bus Crash in San Bernardino - Brake Failure?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 02/05/2013
As reported initially by CNN, a tour bus crashed on Sunday evening in the San Bernardino Mountains taking the lives of seven people and injuring dozens more. A total of 38 people were onboard the bus at approximately 6:30 p.m. when the brakes reportedly failed, sending the bus careening down a steep mountain road and eventually into several other vehicles, before rolling over. The collision occurred on State Route 38, between Mentone and Forest Falls, according to officials.

Assumption of The Risk and Bumper Car Safety

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/22/2013
In a recent decision by the California Supreme Court (Nalwa vs. Cedar Fair (2012) 55 Cal. 4th 1148), it was held that an amusement park has no duty to ensure a rider's safety when that patron assumes the risk of riding a bumper car, even where the plaintiff sustained a broken wrist from a "head-on" collision. The Court's decision was based on a long line of cases arising from sporting activities and in which it has been held the participant has "assumed the risk" inherent in the activity.

Caltrans Worker Critically Injured in Riverside

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/15/2013
ABC News is reporting that a Caltrans worker was struck Monday night in Riverside by a driver who was later arrested. The worker remains in critical condition after being hit by a westbound driver near 14th Street at about 9:30 p.m. The driver, identified as 32-year-old Enrique Lopez, was behind the wheel of his 1996 Honda Accord when he apparently veered into the right shoulder and struck the victim.

20-Year-Old Killed in Moreno Valley - Driver Arrested for DUI

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/09/2013
According to a report in the Press Enterprise, A 20-year-old pedestrian in Moreno Valley was killed Tuesday night by the driver of an SUV who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The victim, Edward Pattio, Jr., sustained major head trauma and was taken emergently to Riverside County Regional Medical Center, where he died about two hours later. The driver of the SUV was apparently uninjured.

Nursing Home Attack in Orange County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/04/2013
KABC News is reporting that a 69-year old woman living in a nursing home in Yorba Linda was sexually attacked by a male suspect working in maintenance at the facility. The 28-year-old suspect, David Moreno, is alleged to have committed the attack some time between June 1st and July 24th of 2012. The victim was a resident of the Emeritus Senior Living home located on Imperial Highway

Councilman In Orange County Suggests Arming Teachers

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 12/20/2012

According to KTLA news, a city councilman in Orange County is calling for teachers to be armed in response to the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.  The San Juan Capistrano City Councilman, Derek Reeve,  has reportedly said that "efforts must be taken to empower teachers, staff and parents to protect our children.”  The comments, which also included a recommendation for teacher training and to permit parents to carry guns on school campuses, were suggested as options to protect children in situations like the one in Connecticut.

Arming Teachers and Allowing Weapons on School Campuses Could Subject School Districts to Civil Liability

In general, criminal acts committed by third parties are not the responsibility of the property owners or operators where the incident occurs  However, where the property owner and the victim have a "special relationship" (as exists between a teacher and student) there may be a duty of protection, where the danger to the victim is reasonably foreseeable.  In light of tragedies like Sandy Hook, it might seem the obligation of school districts around the country would be to arm teachers and parents in order to better protect the children on campus.  But the analysis cannot end there.

The duty of protection requires "reasonable" efforts be made, not efforts that could clearly cause more harm than good.  One can easily imagine a school teacher, with only limited firearms training, making the wrong decision to fire on someone who appears to pose a threat, injuring or killing someone unnecessarily.  Do we really want to force school teachers to make life-or-death decisions that trained law enforcement officers would have a hard time making?  

Aside from the potential for a teacher to negligently discharge a weapon, liability would almost certainly be imposed on a school district if a teacher carelessly let their weapon fall into the hands of child who was then injured or killed.   So many scenarios could easily give rise to liability, and the public entity operating a school would have to suffer the civil liability.  In fact, guns in and around schools are perceived as such a threat in general that California enacted the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995, criminalizing the possession of a firearm in a school zone.  Do we seriously want more guns around school-aged children?

If all of these potential teacher-related problems were not enough, the councilman's suggestion also included allowing parents onto school campuses with a firearm.  In that scenario, we would then have some untrained, perhaps unstable, person wandering onto a school campus with a loaded gun.  That would carry with it its own set of potential liabilities and problems.  Even if the teachers and the parents were armed, in reality, what chance would any of these teachers or parents have against a homicidal maniac with an assault weapon?  Not much.  

From a purely legal perspective, the liabilities associated with arming teachers and parents on school grounds would far outweigh any probable benefit.  The likelihood of an accidental injury or death would be increased exponentially if we arm so many people on our school campuses.  There has to be better, less risky steps we can take to protect our children.

SOURCE:  O.C. Councilman Wants Teachers To Be Armed, KTLA News, December 20, 2012

 

Shocking Hit-and-Run In Santa Ana Seriously Injures 7-Year-Old

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 12/06/2012

Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck a 7-year-old girl in Santa Ana on Tuesday evening, according to KTLA news.  This horrific, Orange County accident was captured on security cameras near the scene, and police are currently looking for the driver of what they believe is a black Toyota 4Runner.  The little girl was with her mother and was running across the street to get to her home, an apartment complex on the opposite side of the street.  She is still in the hospital following surgery to relieve the swelling on her brain and is expected to survive.

Anyone with information about this tragedy should call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-245-8665

DUTIES OF DRIVERS AND PEDESTRIANS

In general, a driver no right of way superior to that of a pedestrian, and each has equal and reciprocal rights, although driver, being in control of dangerous instrumentality capable of inflicting fatal injuries, is charged with a greater amount of care than pedestrian in order to be bound to same standards of ordinary care.  Pedestrians who cross in the middle of a block do not have an equal right to be in path of oncoming motorist, but they are not fair game for a driver who operates his vehicle without regard for what may unexpectedly appear in street.  

ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION AND LIABILITY

Here, from the videotape, it appears the driver is traveling faster than 25 miles per hour but is using the headlights on the vehicle.   Given the apparent speed, the driver was likely in violation of the California Vehicle Code since the accident scene was within a residential area, with a speed limit of 25 mph.  In addition to the speed, the distance at which the victim could be seen and the time the driver had to react play a role in assessing liability.  If it can be shown the driver should have seen the little girl for more than 1 1/2 to 2 seconds prior to the impact and failed to take sufficient, evasive action, the bulk of the liability would likely rest with the driver.

Any personal injury case brought on behalf of the little girl in the accident above will require careful, detailed consideration of the facts and circumstances that will ultimately be necessary to reconstruct this serious accident.  An experienced Orange County car accident attorney can be of help in assessing this type of injury case.  If you or a family member is an accident victim, you should make an informed decision about your rights and whether compensation is available for injuries and damages sustained.

SOURCE:  7-year-old Girl Hospitalized in Santa Ana Hit-and-Run, KTLA News, December 6, 2012

More Drivers Drugged Than Drunk in Recent Survey

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/27/2012
A recent roadside survey conducted in Anaheim and other California cities measured the presence, but not the concentration, of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs in drivers’ bodies. The surprising results: marijuana and prescription drugs were present more often than alcohol.

Four Injured in I5 Car Accident in Orange County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/26/2012
Southbound Interstate 5 near Dana Point was closed for almost eight hours after a car crash resulting from a police chase. At least four people were injured in the auto accident, which began when police tried to stop a man in a white Ford F-250 that had been reported stolen in Westminster.

Dana Point Crash Involves Three Vehicles

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/24/2012
The GMC Silverado had been stolen from San Juan Capistrano earlier that afternoon while the truck’s owner was working, and the driver proceeded to travel up the wrong side of the road between Camino del Avion to Del Obispo Street and the Pacific Coast Highway. There he collided with two vehicles, a carpet-cleaning truck and another car. The drivers of all three vehicles were taken to an area hospital, but none is said to be in danger from serious personal injuries.

Hit-and-Run Driver Surrenders in Westminster

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/22/2012
Kuong Pham, 44, turned himself in to Westminster police on Wednesday, stating he was the driver they were looking for in the death of Brennan Solt, 24. Solt was hit near Beach Boulevard and 19th Street late Monday evening and killed instantly. Solt was a Stockton resident and had three children.

Anaheim I-5 Crash Sends Woman To Hospital

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/20/2012
The six-month’s pregnant driver was traveling near Manchester Avenue when she encountered a slow-moving vehicle and attempted to veer right. The defensive maneuver caused her SUV to overturn, but she managed to escape the car safely. California Highway Patrol officers felt that the wet, slick roads may also have contributed to the accident.

Three Killed in Long Beach Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/19/2012

According to KTLA news and the Belmont Shore-Naples Dispatch, two men were instantly killed and a third died in the hospital as a result of a traffic collision in Long Beach Saturday night.  The first two victims, Mark Martineau, 36, and Richard McAleavey, 54, were declared at the scene of the accident in the 2900 block of Redondo Avenue.  Reportedly, Martineau lost control of his  Dodge Ram when trying to change lanes, causing the vehicle to careen over a sidewalk and into a pylon beneath the 405 Freeway.  Another passenger, 36-year-old Terrence Harris, was badly injured and succumbed to his injuries on Sunday afternoon.  The crash is under investigation, but the driver may have been speeding and lost control in wet weather.  The Long Beach Police Department would like witnesses to call them at (562) 570-7355.

LONG BEACH TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the City of Long Beach ranks 10th/9th out of the 13 cities in Los Angeles County with a population of more than 250,000 residents, in terms of injury and fatal accidents.  In 2010, there were 1,874 injury or fatal accidents in Long Beach.  Of those accidents, 254 were reportedly speed related, as may have been the case in the accident above.  From a quick review of the scene via Google Maps, there does not appear to be anything unusual or dangerous about this particular area of Redondo Avenue.  To the contrary, the roadway appears flat and straight with virtually no obstacles of any kind.  Absent other information to the contrary, this tragic, triple-fatality accident would appear to be the result of driver negligence.

WRONGFUL DEATH RECOVERY

The families of McAleavey and Harris would appear to have the right to pursue claims for wrongful death against the insurance carrier for Martineau and/or his estate.  Under California law, surviving family members (typically the spouse and children) have the right to pursue claims for the loss of the society, care, comfort, affection, love and support their loved one would otherwise have provided.  Claims such as this are generally unlimited in terms of the amount the family can recover, except in the context of a medical malpractice case.  What does impact the recoverable compensation are factors such as the amount the deceased provided in the way of financial support and the closeness of the relationship with the family left behind.

An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney is perhaps in the best position to assess the above factors and the best approach to a wrongful death claim.  

Three Santa Ana Teens Hit By Car

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/17/2012
Three Santa Ana teenagers were injured seriously when a car hit them and fled the scene, according to The Orange County Register. The three boys were crossing Susan Street and Fifth Street at an unmarked crosswalk as they left a park. A driver attempted to pass a car that was stopped on Susan Street and hit the three, according to Santa Ana police.

Mission Viejo Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Personal Injury Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/15/2012
A Mission Viejo motorcycle collision may be deemed a hit-and-run and left a motorcyclist with serious injuries, according to witnesses and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The crash occurred around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday when a 50-year-old unidentified motorcyclist was traveling on Alicia Parkway at Coronel Drive and possibly hit a parked car. The motorcycle then crashed, seriously injuring the rider who was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Buena Park Cyclist Killed in Car Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/13/2012
Jeremy Kidder was struck by an SUV while in a crosswalk at the intersection. The driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Kidder was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Authorities have received conflicting witness reports on which vehicle had the right of way. The driver has cooperated with police and authorities do not believe that alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident. Buena Park Police Department is asking anyone with information to come forward and c

Anaheim Motorcyclist Dies of Injuries

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/09/2012
Dennis Zafran, a 61-year-old motorcyclist from Anaheim, was pronounced dead Wednesday after languishing in an area hospital for several days following a motorcycle accident, according to the Orange County Register.

Buena Park Motorcyclist Killed in Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/30/2012
A 28-year-old man was killed Wednesday in a motorcycle accident in Buena Park, according to the Orange County Register. Steven Bach of Buena Park was riding his motorcycle through a residential area around 7:00 p.m. when he collided with an SUV at the intersection of Western Avenue and Fillmore Drive. Police have not released any information on who was at fault in the crash or what led up to the accident. Bach was immediately taken to the hospital but died within an hour from traumatic injuri

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/29/2012
Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous behaviors taking place on our highways. According to the U.S. Government's Distracted Driving website, sponsored by the Department of Transportation, 3092 people died and 416,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2010. This represents about ten percent of all fatal car accidents and nearly 14 percent of all injury accidents in the United States for a given year.

Elderly Driver Runs Car Into Store

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/29/2012

According to KTLA news, a 72-year-old woman crashed her car through the service doors at a Target Store in Canoga Park.  The accident happened Friday evening at the store located at the Westfield Topanga Mall.  Two people inside the store were injured, one of them critically.  

The driver apparently failed to negotiate a turn down a driveway and never applied her brakes before crashing through the store and traveling more than 50 feet.  According to news reports, a 29-year-old woman suffered serious head trauma and was listed in critical condition.  A 56-year-old male victim sustained a hip injury and he too was taken to the hospital along with the elderly driver.

Elderly Drivers and Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of being injured or killed behind the wheel increases as we age.  For example, in 2008, more than 5,500 older adults were killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 183,000 were injured.  This amounts to 15 older adults killed and 500 injured in crashes on average every day.  According to studies cited by the CDC, per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80.  This is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes.

Safety Measures Can Be Taken

For elderly drivers, age 65 and older, there are steps that can be taken to better ensure safe travel behind the wheel.  Some of the accident prevention measures include: asking your doctor about current medications and their impact on driving, having your eyesight checked, planning your route well in advance, avoiding distractions in the vehicle and leaving a large distance between you and the car ahead.  Beyond this, if there are concerns about one's ability to drive, alternative modes of transportation should likely be considered.  As the accident above demonstrates, it is always better to take preventative steps before there is a tragedy that will affect the victims and their families for a very long time, if not forever.

When An Elderly Driver Accident Does Occur

Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents involving elderly drivers are not uncommon and injuries resulting from those collisions can be devastating.  Because compensation for injuries and damages are contingent upon and often limited by legal issues, it is always best to seek the advice of an experienced Orange County auto accident attorney after a collision.  It is most important to determine what rights you may have to compensation in order to protect your future and that of your family.

SOURCE:  KTLA NEWS, "Elderly Driver Slams into Canoga Park Target Store", October 28, 2012 

Motorcyclist Injured in Anaheim

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/25/2012
The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. in the proximity of Ball Road on the southbound side of Highway 57, according to the California Highway Patrol. A silver Honda without license plates made an illegal lane change and struck a motorcycle rider who was splitting the lanes nearby. The motorcyclist was taken to an area hospital with moderate injuries. The car did not stop after the collision. Five other drivers stopped to render aid and give a description of the motorist to the police. The Cal

Mission Viejo Victim Killed in Bridge Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/23/2012
An unidentified victim died in an automobile accident when a car went off a bridge and landed on railroad tracks below, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department authorities. A Lexus was traveling east on Alicia Parkway when the driver lost control of the vehicle, went over the median, and plunged off the bridge to land on the train tracks below. The car fell about 40 feet and landed upside down on the railroad tracks. There was no train in the area at the time.

Driver Collides with 8 Vehicles in Mass Collision Event

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/20/2012
A driver who fled the scene of an accident racked up a total of eight collisions on Friday evening, one of which was a police car, according to Santa Ana police. The series of collisions, which included a car chase by police, began on Bristol Street when a man who was traveling south about 6:00 p.m. collided with another vehicle at the 17th Street intersection. The vehicle’s driver fled with the other car in pursuit.

Cal-OSHA Investigates Death at Bumblebee Plant

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/18/2012
A man’s family is struggling to cope with the reality of one of the most horrible industrial accidents to happen in southern California in years, while Cal-OSHA begins an investigation into what led to the man’s demise.

Motorcyclist in San Juan Capistrano Killed in Traffic Backup

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/10/2012
Travis Tucker, 29, died in a motorcycle accident on the Ortega Highway during a traffic backup around noon on Saturday, according to the Orange County Register. Mr. Tucker was driving a 2004 Suzuki motorcycle and swerved to avoid a Honda that made a sudden turn into the left lane to avoid rear-ending backed-up traffic.

Man Sentenced in Garden Grove Police Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/09/2012
A man received a six-year prison sentence this week for running over a Garden Grove police officer during a routine traffic stop in 2011. Marcos Gonzalez, 28, of Fullerton, pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault on a police officer and received six years. Part of the sentence was enhanced for fleeing the scene of a car accident with injuries and for prior drug convictions. The charges stemmed from a November, 2011, incident in which a Garden Grove motorcycle police officer pulled the

OC Sheriff's Department Searching for Hit-and-Run Suspect

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/05/2012
ABC News reports that the Orange County Sheriff’s department has released information on a wanted suspect who allegedly struck and killed a skateboarder on September 7 in Laguna Niguel. Urbano Carrasco Martinez, a/k/a Mario, is the owner of a 1998 black Nissan Maxima that was abandoned near the scene of the hit-and-run. He fits the physical description given by a witness to the hit-and-run accident and has not been seen or heard from since the car was abandoned.

Pedestrian Seriously Injured in Laguna Niguel Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/02/2012
A woman crossing Moulton Parkway and Aliso Niguel was struck by the driver of a Honda Civic and seriously injured on Monday afternoon, according to the Orange County Register and Orange County sheriff’s officials. The accident occurred about 2:45 p.m. when a southbound driver struck the woman as she walked in the crosswalk between the two streets. The pedestrian was described as a 43-year-old woman. She was taken to an area hospital with head and leg trauma. The driver was also taken to a

Woman Dies in Five-Car Pileup

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/26/2012
According to the Orange County Register, the woman who may have been responsible for a five-car pileup died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the Orange auto accident. Several other motorists were also injured in the crash. Xuan Tran, 30, allegedly ran a red light at East Taft Avenue and Tustin Street, according to Orange police. The car accident occurred around 11:00 a.m., and involved five vehicles by the time the collisions were over. According to Orange police, Tran was the

Sheriff's Deputy Involved In Fatal Rearend Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/11/2012

According to news reports, a San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff was involved in a rearend, three-vehicle collision that killed a 38-year-old woman this weekend in Victorville.  The victim, Vanessa Rosales, reportedly died at a hospital approximately 45 minutes after the the crash at 8 p.m. on Sunday.  The collision happened on Air Expressway about a quarter-mile west of Village Drive.  The deputy's patrol car rearended a Honda, and that collision caused the Honda to veer into oncoming traffic where it struck a Mercedes.  Rosales was a passenger in the Honda, and the other two occupants sustained mild to moderate injuries.  The driver of the Mercedes, the sheriff's deputy and a juvenile prisoner all sustained minor injuries.  The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

See the Press Enterprise story HERE.

While this tragic accident is still under investigation, under California law there is a presumption of negligence on the part of the deputy sheriff.   Generally speaking, there is a permissible inference of negligence from the fact of a rear-end collision requiring some explanation or excuse from the driver of the rear car.   Ordinarily, in a collision in which a following motorist collides with the rear end of a vehicle ahead the happening of the accident s some evidence of negligence on the part of the following motorist.  In cases in which the rear car has collided with a stopped or stationary vehicle, the courts have applied the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and have held that an inference arises that the collision was caused by some negligent conduct on the part of the driver of the rear car, which can be rebutted.  It is not clear from the description of the accident above whether the Honda was stopped when hit by the police cruiser, but there is at least an inference of negligence on the part of the deputy at this point.  The Rosales family and the other victims in this crash are entitled to a fair and complete investigation of the cause so the responsible party can compensate them as well as the law allows.

Compensation for the victims of preventable, rearend automobile accidents should be an important concern for everyone.  When a careless driver causes a crash and a death results,  he or she should be held accountable.   An Orange County wrongful death lawyer with experience at handling auto accident cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 21 years of experience handling auto accident cases, including those involving rearending drivers.   He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been the victim of a serious or fatal rearend automobile accident?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

100-Year-Old Driver Crashes Car Into 11 On Sidewalk

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/29/2012

This afternoon a 100-year-old man in Los Angeles backed his car on to a sidewalk and struck eleven people, including nine children.  The incident happened across from an elementary school shortly after classes had ended.  While reports vary, it would appear four of the children were initially in critical condition, with only one remaining so tonight.  Some of the victims were briefly trapped under the vehicle that had been driven by Preston Carter, who was described as cooperative.  While at the scene and shortly afterward, Carter told investigators that his brakes failed.

See the Fox News story and photographs HERE.

An accident like the one above will undoubtedly stir the debate regarding elderly drivers.  Under California law, drivers over the age of 70 must renew their driver's license in person, rather than via the Internet or by mail.  Elderly drivers may also be required to take a supplemental driving test if they fail a vision exam, or if a police officer, a physician, or a family member raises questions about their ability to operate a vehicle.  While we do not yet know the result of the police investigation, and whether a brake failure actually did contribute to the accident, the scenario above is strikingly familiar to others involving elderly drivers.  It is not uncommon for an older driver to mistake the gas for the brake pedal and then conclude the brakes "failed" because their vehicle did not stop.  A tragic accident like this, especially one involving children, is all the more heart wrenching if it could have been avoided.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents involving impaired drivers should be an important concern for everyone.  When a careless or compromised driver strikes a pedestrian, causing a tragic accident like the one above, he or she should be held accountable.  An Orange County lawyer with experience at handling pedestrian accident cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 21 years of experience handling traffic accident cases, including those caused by elderly drivers.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been the victim of a traffic accident caused by an elderly or otherwise impaired driver?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Baby Seats Recalled Because of Product Danger

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/17/2012

According to news reports, Bumbo International Trust is recalling about four million of its popular baby seats after at least 50 children reported fell from the seats on elevated surfaces.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall on Wednesday and disclosed that nineteen of the infants apparently suffered skull fractures, prompting the company and government agency to urge parents to stop using the product until they obtain a repair kit.  The seats have been sold in the United Stated at Sears, Target, Toys R Us (including Babies R Us), USA Babies, Walmart, and various other online sellers and toy and children's stores nationwide.  The recalled products were sold between August of 2003 and August of 2012, for between $30 and $50.

According to the news report, consumers should not take the seats back to the stores at which they were purchased since they cannot provide the repair kit.  Instead, the buyers can order the free kit from Bumbo's website or can call the company at 866-898-4999 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (CT) on Friday.

See the CBS news report and video HERE.

Under California law, in order to prove a product was dangerously designed and that the manufacturer is therefore strictly (automatically) liable for injuries, it must be shown that the product  did not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to perform.  This is called the consumer expectation test, and it consists of the following elements: (1)  The product did not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to perform when used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way; (2)  The plaintiff in the case was harmed; and (3)  The product's failure to perform safely was a substantial factor in causing the harm.  This test is applied whenever a product does not meet reasonable minimum safety expectations of the ordinary consumer.  No expert testimony need be offered.  It seems obvious in the case above that the ordinary consumer would expect their child to be safe in a seat designed for infants.  Although no restraint was included in the initial design, given the seat's configuration which seems to wrap around the child's legs, most parents would likely think their child was safe from falls.  

Compensation for the victims of dangerously defective products, especially those that injure children, should be an important concern for everyone. When an unsafe product, such as dangerous child seat, causes severe injuries or death, the seller should be held accountable for the injuries and damages they have caused.   An Orange County product liability attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 21 years of experience handling personal injury and product liability cases, including just this type.   He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been injured by an unreasonably dangerous product?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

 

California's Medical Malpractice System

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/05/2012

If you believe you or a family member have been a victim of medical malpractice you should be aware of some of the most important provisions of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA).  This enactment more than 35 years ago imposes certain restrictions and limitations on civil actions that most malpractice victims would likely consider unfair, or at least outdated.  If you believe a doctor or other health care professional has committed malpractice, below are some of the California rules you should keep in mind before filing such a case.

First, unlike other types of personal injury lawsuits (in which the statute of limitations is two years), an action against a health care provider must generally be filed within one year from the date of the alleged malpractice.  The timing for cases involving small children is, however, considerably longer.  Additionally unlike other defendants in injury cases, a health care provider is entitled to a 90-day warning that a lawsuit is going to be filed.  In theory, the Notice of Intent was intended to allow the health care provider the opportunity to resolve meritorious claims before a lawsuit is filed and the reputation of the doctor further tarnished.  In practice, this almost never works as medical negligence cases are rarely settled before a lawsuit is filed with the court.

Perhaps the next most important difference between medical malpractice lawsuits and those involving other types of personal injury claims is what is commonly referred to as the "MICRA cap".  Under the rules enacted more than 3 decades ago, the limitation on recovery for pain and suffering (so-called "non-economic" damages) is $250,000.00.  There is generally no limitation whatsoever in other types of personal injury cases.  The absurdity of this rule is perhaps best demonstrated by the following: If a physician were to carelessly run you over in his car on his way to the hospital one day (causing injuries requiring amputation of both legs), you would be able to recover the full amount of your injuries and damages against the doctor, in the millions of dollars.  However, if that same physician on the same day committed medical malpractice during your care, causing you to lose both legs, your compensation for exactly the same injuries would be only $250,000.00.  Maybe this limit was fair and justified back in 1975.  However, more than 35 years later (with not so much as a penny increase for the inflation/cost of living rate) it often works a substantial injustice in today's world.

Finally, in California courtrooms and particularly those in Orange County, juries very often favor the physician and his or her side of any malpractice case.  Generally speaking, physicians prevail in roughly 90% of the medical malpractice cases going to a verdict in Orange County courtrooms.  That juror bias is often difficult to offset, even in the strongest of cases.  This, and the MICRA cap referenced above, generally translate to lower settlement values, even for very strong cases.

Fair compensation for victims of medical malpractice should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician carelessly harms a patient, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has over 21 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of medical malpractice?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

 

 

Weight Loss Surgery - Is It Worth The Risk?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/21/2012

A new study at Stanford University has revealed that "minimally-invasive" weight loss surgery is "safer" than an open procedure.  The minimally invasive surgery is performed via a scope with only small incisions being made in the abdomen, the laparoscopic technique.  The open procedure involves a more traditional, larger abdominal incision.  According to the study, fewer patients undergoing the minimally-invasive weight loss surgery suffer complications, and they tend to leave the hospital sooner.  

See the Fox News report and article summary HERE.  

While there are a number of different approaches to weight loss surgery, all of the techniques generally involve reducing the size of the stomach to lessen food intake and calorie absorption.  No matter how performed, these surgeries carry with them substantial complication rates.  For example, the researchers in this new study found about 1 in 5 patients undergoing open surgery had at least one complication -- such as developing pneumonia or needing a blood transfusion -- compared to just over 1 in 8 patients who had less-invasive surgery.  There is also a death rate among open procedure patients of 1 in 500 and a rate of about 1 in 1,000 among those who had laparoscopic surgery.  If all of this were not enough, the failure rate among all weight loss surgeries is reportedly as high as 30%.  This is apparently to say nothing of the rate of malpractice committed by weight loss surgeons, which does not appear to have been the subject of any study.  With all of this to be taken into account, is weight loss surgery really safe?

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice committed by weight loss surgeons should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician carelessly harms a patient, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has over 21 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a botched weight loss procedure?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

 

Poor Nursing Care Leads to Death and Hospital Fine

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/02/2012

On Friday, it was announced that Southwest Healthcare System has been fined $100,000 by the California Department of Public Health for failures in procedures that led to the death of a baby during delivery.  According to an article in the Press Enterprise, this latest fine was imposed as a result of substandard nursing care that occurred at Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta.  A delivery nurse failed to timely alert a physician when the nurse could not find a steady fetal heartbeat.  The baby was thereafter delivered by cesarean section but had no heartbeat and was not breathing.  After 30 minutes of resuscitation efforts, the baby was pronounced dead.

Read the full Press Enterprise article HERE.

Unfortunately, the scenario described above is not an unfamiliar one.  In a busy hospital setting, nursing neglect occurs, and it often happens during labor and delivery.  The failure to closely monitor a baby's heart rate (especially decelerations) sometimes occurs and leads to tragic results.  When a baby is in distress, and conservative measures have failed (such as repositioning the mother, etc.), then an emergent c-section becomes necessary to ensure the baby does not sustain significant oxygen deprivation (anoxia) and related brain or other injury. Oxygen deprivation during delivery can lead to brain injury, blindness, cognitive and learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and even death.  As in the case above, when the emergent delivery is necessary to prevent prolonged oxygen deprivation, and that delivery is delayed because of malpractice, the injured child and their family may be entitled to compensation for the resulting injuries and damages.

Compensation for victims of medical and nursing malpractice should be an important concern for all Californians. When a physician or nurse carelessly harms or kills a patient, they should be held accountable. An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of nursing or medical error during labor and delivery?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.


 

Your Plastic Surgeon - What You Should Know

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 05/16/2012

 In spite of the media attention given to plastic surgery nightmares, many patients are still not doing their homework before selecting a cosmetic surgeon.  Unfortunately, because performing cosmetic procedures is a lucrative area of practice, many unqualified and poorly trained physicians are attracting patients who want to improve their appearance.  The results produced by these surgeons are often unappealing and occasionally even life-threatening.  To lessen the risk of a bad outcome a patient seeking plastic surgery should do at least some research into the practice history and qualifications of their surgeon.

When selecting a surgeon you should first ensure they are licensed to practice medicine in California and have at least a few years in practice under their belt.  You can do this by simply researching the doctor's name on the California Medical Board website.   This will also let you know if the doctor has a history of discipline by the Board and whether they have any reportable verdicts/settlements.  Since not every lawsuit or settlement is disclosed on the Medical Board's website, you should also look to the Orange County Superior Court's website to see if the doctor has a substantial history of lawsuits filed against them for malpractice.   One or two lawsuits filed in the course of a long career may not be a concern.  However, wouldn't you want to know if your doctor had ten lawsuits filed against them in the last five years?  Of course you would.  Finally, it is almost always a good idea to go to a plastic surgeon who has completed at least the minimum requirements to be board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery.   While board certification is no guarantee the doctor will comply with the standard of care in any particular case, it may bring some level of assurance to the patient that the doctor is competent.

The list above is certainly not an exhaustive one in terms of best ensuring you select a good plastic surgeon.  You can also speak to the surgeon directly about their level of experience with a particular procedure.  Also, a good number of surgeons, if not the majority, will have photo galleries of their work for you to review either in their office or online.  With all of the resources available, finding a competent doctor is much easier now than it was 15 years ago.  Despite this, victims of medical malpractice often learn for the first time their doctor was unqualified only after their lives have been turned upside down.

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice committed by plastic and cosmetic surgeons should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician negligently harms a patient, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical negligence cases, including just this type.   He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of plastic surgery malpractice?

This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

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Good News - Traffic Deaths Are Down In California

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 04/10/2012

Finally there is good news about the accidents on California and Orange County roadways.  The number of fatal automobile collisions is actually declining.  According to statistics just released, fewer people died from traffic crashes statewide and in Orange County in 2010 when compared to the year before.  The Orange County Register has reported the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which shows that California had a total of 2,715 traffic accident fatalities in 2010, a drop of 375 from 2009.  In Orange County, 105 traffic deaths were reported in 2010, a fall of 49 when compared to the year before.  

See the Orange County Register article HERE.  

Beyond the drop in traffic fatalities in 2010, the statistics being compiled by NHTSA show a decline in the numbers for the first nine months of 2011.   The number of traffic accident deaths in California has actually been steadily dropping since 2005.  This is also true for Orange County.  While the numbers are clear, the reasons behind them are at least a little murky.  Some ascribe the drop in traffic deaths to the slow economy and less driving.  However, the death rate per million vehicle miles of travel has also dropped steadily for the last six years.  Another factor which may be at work is that the vehicles on the road now are on average newer and safer than they were years ago.  Beyond that, according to the Orange County Register, the California Highway Patrol has indicated more enforcement is also a reason for the drop as all 103 CHP field offices are staffed around the clock.  Of course, the potential for civil and criminal accountability may both play some role in prompting greater care behind the wheel.  Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, the good news remains...fewer lives are being lost because of traffic accidents.

Compensation for the victims of fatal traffic accidents should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner causing a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable for all of the injuries and damages they cause.  An attorney with experience at handling wrongful death and auto accident cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.    Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling automobile accident cases.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you lost a loved one because of a fatal traffic collision?

This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Car Collides With Metro Train Injuring Six

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 03/19/2012

 On Saturday afternoon, six people were injured when a car and a Metro train collided.  According to KTLA news, the accident happened at about 4:20 p.m. at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Flower Street in Los Angeles.  Reportedly, witnesses to the accident have said a black sedan drove through a red light and was then struck by the train.  The driver of the sedan had to removed from the vehicle by emergency rescue personnel before being transported to the hospital.  Five passengers in the car were also taken to the hospital for treatment of what has been described as minor injuries.  The Metro train operator suffered only minor abrasions.  

See the KTLA news story and photographs HERE.

While train versus vehicle accident are, thankfully, rare, they do happen with some frequency in the Los Angeles area.  In fact, a Metro train and a truck collided at the same intersection back on September 5, 2011.   While this could be little more than a coincidence, the intersection where these two accidents happened appears somewhat troubling.  The view of drivers and train operators may be somewhat obscured by the buildings, fences, and trees in the area.  Beyond that, there are a number of freeway onramps and a one-way street near the accident sites, perhaps adding to the confusion of drivers.  While a full blown investigation has yet to be completed, it is possible the roadway configuration somehow contributed to the happening of this accident, along with driver error.

Compensation for the victims of automobile versus train accidents caused by a careless driver and/or a dangerous roadway should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle in violation of the law, they should be held accountable.  A personal injury lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years years of experience handling automobile accident cases caused by unsafe roads and negligent drivers.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in an accident involving a train and an automobile?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

 

Local Doctor Is Charged With Second Degree Murder

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 03/02/2012

A Rowland Heights doctor has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in connection with the prescription drug overdose deaths of three patients.  According to a report by KTLA news, Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, D.O., was arrested Thursday pursuant to a felony complaint filed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.  The alleged victims include Vu Nguyen, 29, of Lake Forest, on March 2, 2009; Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, on April 9, 2009; and Joseph Rovero III, 21, a University of Arizona student from San Ramon.  Citing official sources, KTLA reported that OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Valium were all unlawfully distributed by Tseng out of  her Advanced Care AAA Medical Clinic.

See the KTLA news report and video HERE.

A review of the Osteopathic Board website reveals Tseng stipulated on February 29th to surrender her license to practice medicine in California, which will take effect on March 14th.  Unfortunately, deaths caused by prescription drug overdoses appear to be on the rise, and high profile cases like that involving Tseng and Dr. Conrad Murray (found guilty of  involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Michael Jackson) are becoming more and more common.  It would appear these "feel good" doctors simply lose site of their ethical obligations to their patients and perhaps place their own economic interests ahead of their patients' needs.  Such misconduct may not only give rise to criminal culpability, but to civil liability for wrongful death as well.  The victims and/or their families, under California law, are entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages caused by doctors who breach the applicable standard of care and commit medical malpractice.  When a physician prescribes powerful pain or anesthetic medication without a legitimate medical reason, the doctor commits a blatant case of malpractice that is often a crime as well.

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice committed by unethical, "feel good" doctors should be an important concern for all Californians. When a physician recklessly harms or kills a patient with prescription medication, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a "feel good" doctor?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Two Orange County Accidents Leave Pedestrian and Passenger Injured

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 02/08/2012

A traffic collision this morning on the westbound 91 freeway overturned a Hyundai Sonata and injured a female passenger in the car.  According to a story in the Orange County Register, the accident was reported at 7:40 a.m., just west of North State College Boulevard.  Citing official sources, the Register story indicated that witnesses said a Toyota 4Runner made an unsafe lane change into the carpool lane and sideswiped the Sonata, causing it to overturn and come to rest near the retaining wall.  The other three vehicles damaged at about the same were possibly involved in a chain-reaction collision arising from the rollover.  

See the Orange County Register story and photographs HERE.

Last night, at about 7:30 p.m., a female pedestrian was critically injured when she was struck during a hit-and-run accident in Orange County.  According to the KTLA news story, the incident occurred on Bolsa Avenue, just west of Beach Boulevard, in the City of Westminster.  Police are still looking for two men who fled the scene after crashing the stolen SUV, a white Lexis.  The woman was struck on the sidewalk near a bus stop, and apparently the men in the Lexis fled on foot. The paramedics rushed the woman to UC Irvine Medical Center where she was listed in critical but stable condition.

See the KTLA story and photos HERE.

Automobile accidents like the ones above are unfortunately all too common.  Aside from issues of fault and recovery from the injuries sustained, nearly all cases of this type are impacted dramatically by the insurance policies, or lack thereof, of the parties involved.  For example, when the owner of a vehicle is injured in an accident, but he or she had no insurance on their car at the time, they are not entitled under California law to recover compensation for their pain and suffering.  Generally, the only valid claim they possess against the at-fault party is one for the economic losses sustained, medical expenses and lost wages.  Another scenario that is often present when an automobile accident occurs is a case in which the only applicable policy limits are inadequate to fully compensate the injured party for all of the injuries and damages sustained.  For example, in a recent accident in Orange County, a young driver turned left into the path of an oncoming vehicle occupied by three women, one of whom was very badly injured.  The worst injured passenger sustained an open (compound) fracture of the right arm for which surgery had to be performed.  The medical expenses related to the surgery totaled more than $60,000.00, but the young driver's policy had a $25,000.00 limit.  In the absence of other applicable insurance or the young driver having substantial personal assets (which was not the case), the badly injured passenger will unfortunately go without full compensation.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a careless or reckless driver should be an important concern for all Californians. When a party without fault is badly injured, the at-fault driver should each be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause. An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling automobile accident cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in an automobile accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Plastic Surgeon Sued For Large Implants

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/19/2012

An Orange County plastic surgeon, Mark Anthony Knight, is being sued by a woman who claims he gave her enormous breast implants, even though she had consulted with him about a breast lift surgery.  Knight, who surrendered his medical license amid allegations of sexual misconduct, reportedly performed the breast augmentation surgery just days before losing his license.  The patient, Elisa Geraci, alleges she wanted a breast lift after losing a large amount of weight, but Knight recommended a $3,500.00 augmentation procedure instead.  After the surgery two weeks later, Geraci claims she awoke to find enormous implants and a body that made her feel like a "monster."   She eventually went to another plastic surgeon who removed the implants and performed a breast lift.

See the KTLA story and photograph HERE.

Patients looking for plastic surgery should keep in mind that cosmetic surgeons are not always looking out for their best interests.  Unscrupulous doctors will sometimes make promises that cannot be kept and will lead a patient to believe unrealistic results or changes in their appearance can actually be achieved.  They sometimes do this in order to keep the patient happy and ensure the doctor will make money from the surgery performed.  When confronted with unrealistic patient expectations, the standard of care requires a plastic surgeon to so inform the patient and make clear what can be done via a particular surgery, even though the patient may then opt to see another surgeon.   In the case above, while it is possible to give the appearance of "lifted" breasts by way of an augmentation, the implants themselves can contribute to drooping because of their weight.  The augmentation procedure itself is simpler than a breast lift and perhaps Knight recommended a procedure he found easier.  It is also interesting to note the cost of the augmentation appears to be well below the community norm for such a surgery, perhaps an indicator of the quality of service.

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice committed by plastic and cosmetic surgeons should be an important concern for all Californians.   When a physician carelessly harms a patient, they should be held accountable. An Orange County medical malpractice lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a botched cosmetic procedure?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Orange County Doctor Finally Loses License to Practice

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/04/2012

On December 30th, an Orange County doctor, Dariush Javanshir, M.D., finally lost his license to practice medicine in California after the Medical Board found the doctor had overprescribed pain and anxiety medication to a depressed patient who died of an overdose.  Javanshir, who has a long history of Board discipline and malpractice lawsuits, was last practicing medicine in Irvine.   According to an article in the Orange County Register, the doctor did not contest the Medical Board's revocation of his license, and his office number is disconnected.  Javanshir's history of discipline by the Board goes all the way back to 1995, when he had been in practice here in California for 10 years.   In that first case, Javanshir was accused of prescribing controlled substances and dangerous drugs in such a manner so as to cause the patient to become addicted.  That alleged misconduct actually began just one year after the doctor received his license to practice in this State.  After roughly 25 years of practice from the date of his first breach of community standards, Javanshir has just now lost his license to treat patients.

See the Orange County Register article HERE.  Also, see the Orange County Superior Court index of civil lawsuits HERE.

What this case demonstrates is that even with multiple actions filed by the Attorney General's Office and discipline by the Medical Board, as well as a number of civil lawsuits having been filed, a doctor's license and his ability to harm patients is not significantly compromised.  From his track record, it looks as though Javanshir was either not competent to practice medicine within community standards or consciously disregarded those standards for his own personal reasons or gain.  In spite of this, he apparently continued to operate a lucrative medical practice in Orange County, and it appears he has only been stopped now because of his connection to a patient's death.  With the information now available online to potential patients, it is always a good idea to review the background of any doctor with whom you are considering treatment.  A search of the court records and Medical Board website will often, but certainly not always, provide information useful in determining whether a particular doctor possesses the level of skill, knowledge, and care that other reasonably careful doctors in the same area of practice possess.

Compensation for the victims of medical malpractice committed by unqualified, careless or even reckless doctors should be an important concern for all Californians.   When a physician without the necessary training and experience harms a patient, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a negligent physician?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Fire Captain Gets Jail Time For Hitting Bicyclist

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 12/07/2011

Doctor at Urgent Care Accused of Molesting Female Patients

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 12/05/2011

According to a recent KTLA news story, an urgent care doctor at Loma Linda University Faculty Medical Group has been arrested and now stands accused of sexually molesting a number of his female patients.  The doctor, Ramon Fawzi Fakhoury, 35, has only been in practice in California since 2003.  The alleged assaults reportedly took place in June and July of this year.   One of the alleged victims is a 32-year-old woman who was treated by Fakhoury for chest pain in July. Two days after she was seen, the alleged victim reported to police that Fakhoury sexually assaulted her during the exam.  Fakhoury is now facing eight felony charges, and the Attorney General's office has filed a formal Accusation against him with the California Medical Board, claiming professional misconduct involving at least four patients.  Authorities say there may be additional victims.

See the KTLA news story HERE.   You can also review the documents filed with the Medical Board HERE.

The information on the Medical Board's website indicates Fakhoury is a graduate of a Caribbean medical school who has only been licensed as a physician for eight years.  It does not appear he had any history of discipline as of the time he reportedly molested at least four patients while working at the Loma Linda urgent care facility.  However, it is unknown what history of similar incidents may have been reported to other employers or medical groups with whom Fakhoury worked in the past.  According to the Medical Board's investigation, Fakhoury only worked at the Loma Linda urgent care for two months, between June and July of this year.  The Medical Board's website lists Fakhoury as practicing in family medicine, with no apparent board certification.  Assuming the truth of the allegations against him, Fakhoury could be facing considerable civil and criminal responsibility for the sexual assaults.  It remains to be seen whether Loma Linda University was negligent in hiring, training and/or supervising Fakhoury so as to cause or contribute to the happening of these incidents.

Compensation for victims of sexual assault perpetrated by a physician should be an important concern for all Californians. When a doctor molests a patient and causes them physical and/or emotion harm, they should be held accountable. An Orange County medical malpractice lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a doctor?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Plastic Surgery Malpractice - Have You Been a Victim?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/17/2011

The number of people having plastic surgery each year has grown steadily since statistics for these procedures were first compiled.  For example, almost 9.5 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2010.  The most frequently performed surgical procedure was breast augmentation and the most popular nonsurgical procedure was injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A (including Botox and Dysport).  The top five surgical procedures were:

  • Breast Augmentation (318,123)
  • Liposuction (289,016)
  • Eyelid surgery (152,123)
  • Abdominoplasty (144,929)
  • Breast Reduction (138,152)

See the full list of surgical and non-surgical procedures at cosmeticsurgerystatistics.com

Not too surprisingly, many physicians performing cosmetic procedures are not especially qualified and often perform surgery outside their area of expertise.  In the simplest of terms, the demand for these procedures is high and a great deal of money can be made by a single physician.  Consequently, it is not uncommon for a physician to perform cosmetic surgical procedures even though the doctor is not a board certified plastic surgeon with the requisite training and experience.  Doctors who don't possess the necessary training and experience (and even some who do) can leave their patients with unacceptable and sometimes horrific results.  So, how do you know when you have been a victim of plastic surgery malpractice?

The first thing to keep in mind as a patient who has undergone a cosmetic procedure is that a sub-optimal result is not always a product of malpractice.  Sometimes the poor results obtained, even though unexpected, would have occurred even in the best of surgical hands.  What generally determines whether the result was the product of medical malpractice is the opinion of a second, neutral physician.  If you have had a cosmetic procedure, and the result is unacceptable to you, seek consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.  While it is true that physicians do not relish the idea of criticizing another doctor's work, sometimes a consulting physician will offer to repair or revise the earlier work, which is generally a sign something may have occurred that reflects poor medical practice.  If you then suspect you have been a victim of plastic surgery malpractice, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your options and the potential for compensation.

When a physician without the necessary credentials and training commits plastic surgery malpractice, they should be held accountable.   An Orange County medical malpractice lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of plastic surgery malpractice?

This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.
 

 

Hit and Run Driver Identified

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/29/2011

According to a story aired by KTLA news, police in Santa Monica have identified the driver in a fatal hit-and-run accident as a 76-year-old man.  The accident reportedly happened October 28th just before 6 a.m. on Lincoln Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard.  The driver was identified via a call to authorities from someone who believed one of their family members was involved in the accident.  After responding to the location of the suspected driver and inspecting damage to the subject vehicle, the investigators identified the car as the one involved in the accident.  The driver has apparently been cooperative with investigators and has yet to be identified.  The victim killed in this tragic accident was a 73 year-old homeless man.  Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Santa Monica Police Department (24 hours) at (310) 458-8495.

See the full KTLA story HERE.

The area of this accident is a busy intersection and pedestrian traffic is quite common.  From a look via Google maps, it appears the intersection is flat and driver views are unobstructed.  It remains to be seen just how this accident happened, but it is possible given the age of the driver that age played a role in the happening of the accident.  It has been shown in studies that drivers over the age of 70 years have a greater incidence of fatal and injury accidents than younger drivers, with the exception of those in their teens.  Additionally, elderly men are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents than elderly women.  However, the difference in between the sexes is present even in younger age groups.  Obviously, some of the accident rate disparity can be explained by physical limitations of the elderly such as depth perception and reflex speed.  See the California Department of Motor Vehicles website for a comparison of teen and elderly drivers.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by elderly or careless drivers should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in such a manner to cause a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County auto accident attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling Orange County automobile accident cases, including those involving wrongful death.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by an elderly driver?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Kelly Thomas Homicide - Why Involuntary Manslaughter?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/21/2011

Yesterday, the Orange County District Attorney's office announced that two of the Fullerton police officers involved in the Kelly Thomas beating were being charged with, among other crimes, involuntary manslaughter.  Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with second degree murder and with involuntary manslaughter and Officer Jay Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery by a police officer. 

See the Los Angeles Times story HERE.

As for the crime of involuntary manslughter, it seems somewhat puzzling at first blush why that charge would be leveled against the officers.  However, under California law involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of a person without malice "in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection." (California Penal Code, § 192, subd. (b).).  According to case law, the definition of the crime can be otherwise stated this way:  if a misdemeanor such as simple assault, battery or unlawful discharge of a firearm results in death, the homicide may be involuntary  manslaughter.  Similarly, if someone lawfully acts in self-defense but uses excessive force, the homicide may be involuntary manslaughter. By definition, involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing.

To support a theory that someone used excessive force while acting in self-defense, there must be evidence from which a jury could find the nature of the attack did not justify the resort to deadly force in self-defense or that the force used in self-defense exceeded that which was reasonably necessary to repel the attack.  Deadly force is justified only to repel an attack which is itself deadly or likely to result in great injury. .

In the Thomas case, there appears to have been reason for the Fullerton Police to contact Thomas in order to investigate a report that he or someone looking like him was burglarizing cars.  Assuming that Thomas resisted the efforts of the police to investigate (and there is at least some indication he ran from them), then they were entitled to use a reasonable amount of non-deadly force to detain and/or arrest him.  However, the conduct of Ramos and Cicinelli as described by the District Attorney's office would seem to go well beyond what was reasonable or justified in these circumstances, perhaps fitting the definition of involuntary manslaughter. 

The reasoning behind the other two charges of second degree murder and battery by a police officer in the performance of his duty seem obvious.  If this was a murder, it is unlikely it was committed with premeditation and deliberation, the requirements of first degree murder.  Under California, law any murder not meeting the technical definition of first degree murder is considered murder in the second.  Assuming that Cicinelli went beyond the force reasonably necessary to effect the detention/arrest of Thomas, then the force he used would be unlawful and considered a battery. 

Compensation for the victims of excessive force by the police should be an important concern for all Californians. When a member of the public is subjected to police brutality, the police department should be held accountable and compensation paid to the victim or the victim's family. An Orange County civil rights attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been a victim of police brutality?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Lancaster Accident Leaves Two Bicyclists Injured

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/28/2011

A married couple was injured last night when a minivan crashed into a group of bicyclists in Lancaster last night.  According to a story in the KTLA news, the accident happened around 8 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Avenue L and 4th Street West.  The group of about 20 cyclists were crossing the intersection when the van, which had been stopped, was propelled into the intersection after apparently being hit from behind by a PT Cruiser.  According to the KTLA story, the husband was taken to a local hospital with severe head trauma and is listed in critical condition.  His wife apparently suffered moderate injuries and is in stable condition.  All of the riders present were wearing their helmets.  The accident is still under investigation, and anyone who may have been a witness to the collision is asked to call 661-948-8466 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

See the KTLA news story HERE.

At first blush, it appeared as though this was one of those many stories in which a driver failed to keep an adequate lookout for a bicyclist.  That apparently was not the case.  While the accident is still under investigation, if the story above is accurate in terms of the PT Cruiser hitting the minivan first, then the driver of the Cruiser (absent extraordinary circumstances) would be liable for the injuries to the two bicyclists and any injuries sustained by the minivan occupants.  In general, one who causes an accident like this would probably be found to have violated California Vehicle Code Section 22350.  That statute reads as follows: "No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."  In the case above, the driver of the Cruiser presumably drove at such a rate of speed that he or she could not stop in time for the minivan and bicyclists ahead.  Only a thorough investigation based on witness statements, vehicle damage and accident reconstruction principles will allow for such a determination.

Compensation for victims of serious injury of automobile versus bicycle collisions, caused by a negligent driver, should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle in an unlawful or reckless manner and causes a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable. An Orange County auto accident attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has over 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in an automobile versus bicycle collision caused by another’s unlawful or negligent driving?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Auto Accident in San Juan Capistrano Leaves One Dead

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/21/2011

One person was killed after a Jeep reportedly ran a red light at a high rate of speed and later crashed, landing on top of a building at Marco Forster Middle School in San Juan Capistrano. According to a report in the Orange County Register, the accident happened at about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday. By the time emergency personnel arrived, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. The driver was able to get out of the car in time, but the passenger, despite the efforts of bystanders and emergency personnel, could not be freed immediately and was pronounced dead at the scene.


According to witnesses, after running the red light, the Jeep sideswiped another vehicle, went up a curb and then through a chain-linked fence before landing on top of the equipment shed at the school. The names of the driver and passenger, both reportedly 21 years old, have not been released. The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation.


See the Orange County Register article HERE.


The cause of this accident is still undetermined, and it remains to be seen why the Jeep was traveling at a high rate of speed and then through a red light. Witnesses, including the driver, will have to be interviewed and a reconstruction of the accident will allow a final determination of the cause. As with any serious or fatal accident, the investigating law enforcement agency is expected to do a thorough analysis, including an inquiry into whether or not drugs or alcohol played a role.


Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a driver’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver negligently or recklessly causes a traffic accident and death results, the driver should be held accountable. An Orange County auto accident attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including those for wrongful death. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been seriously injured or killed in an automobile accident involving an impaired or reckless driver?

  • Auto Accident in San Juan Capistrano Leaves One DeadNothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case. 

 

Pregnant Woman Attacked and Killed By Pit Bull

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/12/2011

A young pregnant woman was found dead in her Pacifica home Thursday afternoon from an apparent attack by a pit bull.  According to a report by KTLA news, the victim, 32 year-old Darla Norpa, was found unresponsive by her husband who arrived home from work at around noon.  One of the family's two pit bulls was near Norpa's body, covered in blood.  The second dog was discovered cowering in a corner of the home.  When emergency personnel arrived on scene the bloodied dog, Gunner, approached them in the front yard and was then shot three times by officers.   According to a spokesperson for the Peninsula Human Society, he had not seen anything like this in his 13 years with the society.

See the full KTLA story and photograph HERE.

The above story is a stark reminder of the danger posed by vicious dogs, especially when they possess the power and the bite of a pit bull.  This particular breed is notorious for causing serious injuries and death because of its aggression and propensity for locking on to its victims during an attack.  In fact, pit bulls have been involved in more fatal human attacks than any other breed of dog.  

As for dog bites in general, according to the Centers for Disease Control,  aggressive dogs pose a significant health and safety issue:

  • About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
  • Almost one in five of those who are bitten :a total of 885,000: require medical attention for dog bite-related injuries.
  • In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.

See the official CDC website.

Compensation for the victims of vicious dog attacks should be an important concern for all Californians. When a victim is attacked and seriously injured or killed, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for all of the injuries and damages sustained. An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling such dog bite cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling injury cases, including just this type. Mr. Ralph can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been a victim of a dog attack?

Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

Hit-And-Run Driver Badly Injures Orange County Family

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/11/2011

An accident that occurred on June 20th in Orange County has left a family devastated and trying desperately to identify the responsible hit-and-run driver.  According to KTLA news, the accident happened while three members of the Argo family were heading northbound on the 405 freeway near Laguna Canyon Road.  At about 12:30 p.m., a black GMC Suburban reportedly ran into the vehicle being driven by 40 year-old Annette Argo, with two of her children on board, causing the Argo vehicle to crash into a ditch.  The SUV driver apparently fled the scene without rendering aid or calling for assistance.  Ava Argo, just 4 years old, suffered severe injuries and was admitted to the intensive care unit  of a local hospital.  Last week, doctors spent nine hours operating on her to fix her jaw, upper palette, eye sockets and nose.  She also underwent a tracheotomy, but it will be another week before doctors can un-wire her jaw.  Ava’s 9 year-old brother, Gaven, suffered a broken clavicle but has been released from the hospital.  Annette sustained very serious injuries to her right leg, and she remains hospitalized.

Ava’s father, Robert O’Connor, and his wife, Erica, are now offering a $10,000.00 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the hit-and-run driver.

See the KTLA news story and photographs HERE.

While the precise circumstances of how the accident occurred were not released in this news story, the actions of the hit-and-run driver would seem to reflect consciousness of guilt.  Why would anyone flee the scene after being involved in such a horrific accident unless they were trying to avoid criminal and civil responsibility?  Simply stated, under California law the flight of a person immediately after the commission of a crime is not sufficient in itself to establish guilt, but it is a fact which, if proved, the jury may consider in deciding a defendant’s guilt or innocence.   Here, evidence of the SUV driver’s flight would seem particularly compelling evidence since he would have had at least two reasons not to leave the scene: (1) to comply with the law requiring he stay, and (2) to render aid to those in the Argo vehicle who could easily have been, and actually were, badly injured.  In the context of a civil case, the hit-and-run driver’s responsibility would not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but only established by a preponderance of the evidence, that featherweight of evidence tending to prove negligence.

Compensation for the victims of  hit and run accidents should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver negligently or intentionally causes a serious injury accident and then flees the scene, they should be held criminally and civilly responsible.  An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  The first step in recovering compensation for the victim is to seek appropriate representation.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury and automobile accident cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a hit-and-run automobile accident?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Orange County High School Coach Killed Outside Restaurant

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/10/2011

At about 2:00 a.m. yesterday, a dispute broke out inside the Albatros Mexican Restaurant located on Rockfield in Lake Forest, resulting in the fatal stabbing of a patron.  According to a report by KTLA news, Elvis Kechechian, 26, of Mission Viejo tragically died from his wounds inflicted after the argument got physical outside the restaurant. Another victim was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition.   Kechechian had been coaching ice hockey at Santa Margarita Catholic High School since 2010, according to school officials.  He was described and will be remembered as “compassionate, dedicated, sweet and soft-spoken, Elvis was proud to be part of Santa Margarita’s ice hockey program and enjoyed celebrating the successes of the players and team,” the school’s statement said.

See the KTLA story HERE.

It is currently unknown what exactly transpired inside the Albatros restaurant, but apparently the argument must have been intense as it ultimately resulted an extremely violent altercation just outside.  The attacker, or attackers, would obviously be liable both civilly and criminally for the death and critical injuries inflicted, and at least potentially the restaurant owner/operator could be exposed to civil liability for the damages resulting from this violent altercation.  Under California law, a business proprietor owes a duty to their patrons to take reasonable steps to secure common areas against foreseeable criminal acts of third parties that are likely to occur in the absence of such precautionary measures.  If the place or character of the business, or the proprietor’s past experience, is such that they should reasonably anticipate criminal conduct on the part of third persons, either generally or at some particular time, the business operator may be under a duty to take precautions against it, and to provide a reasonably sufficient number of  employees to afford reasonable protection.  In other words, if a business operator is aware a criminal assault is likely to occur or is occurring on their property they must take reasonable steps to prevent harm to their patrons.  This duty may obligate the business to provide security officers or, at a minimum, notify the police when necessary.  A failure to fulfill this duty is negligence for which the business owner may be held liable.

Compensation for the victims of violent crimes that occur on a business owner’s property should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a proprietor invites guests onto their property they should be held accountable if they fail to provide a reasonably safe environment, especially when they can prevent or effectively intervene in a criminal assault.  An Orange County injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, including just this type.  Mr. Ralph can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been a victim of a violent crime that occurred at a business establishment?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Another Patient Dies After Lap Band Surgery

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/10/2011

A 33 year-old woman from Chula Vista,  Cheronna Marie Williams,  who underwent a stomach-banding surgery in Tijuana died during the procedure on May 26th.  The San Diego Union Tribune reported that Williams’s family has filed a complaint with the Baja California Attorney General’s Office against Dr. Pedro Kuri, a Tijuana physician with years of experience in Lap-Band surgery who operates at a reputable private hospital.  The Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into the matter.

See the Tribune story HERE.

The lap band procedure involves the placement of an inflatable device around the top portion of the stomach, via a laparoscope.  Small holes are placed in the patient’s abdomen and through those holes a camera and instruments are passed in order to place the band.  This type of bariatric procedure is used to treat patients with obesity and other, related conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.   This surgery is generally utilized only after less invasive methods of weight loss, such as diet and exercise, have failed.  Unfortunately, some physicians performing the lap band do not always provide the best surgical care, either during the procedure or following its completion.  For example, patients can die from intra-operative complications related to anesthesia, blood loss or post-operative infection.  Before undergoing this procedure, patients should ensure their doctor is well-qualified and the facility at which the surgery is done is well-equipped to handle most medical emergencies.

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice, resulting in serious personal injury or death, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician fails to comply with the standard of care required during or after an invasive procedure, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling medical negligence and other personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical malpractice occurring during bariatric surgery?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Orange County Hospital Fined For Mistakenly Performed Surgery

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/10/2011

Anaheim Regional Medical Center has been fined $50,000 for performing kidney surgery on the wrong side of a patient in July 2009.  The Orange County Register reported the fine resulted from a patient undergoing a kidney stenting procedure (to treat a kidney stone) on the left side when the procedure should have been done on the right.  Reportedly, the patient’s doctor inadvertently identified the left side as problematic when in fact a prior CT scan showed the stone was actually on the right.  Three days after the first surgery, the error was discovered, and the stenting was performed on the correct kidney.

See the full Register story HERE.

In spite of checks and balances in place, hospital errors still occur with alarming frequency.  In the case above, apparently all it took was one error by the attending physician, and the patient ended up undergoing one entirely unnecessary surgical procedure.  Because the nursing staff failed to perform all of the necessary pre-operative work, the mistake was not discovered prior to the wrong surgery being done.  As a consequence, the patient suffered from the effects of an unnecessary, invasive procedure, prolonged pain and additional scarring.

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice, resulting in serious personal injury or death, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician or nurse fails to comply with the standard of care required, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling medical negligence and other personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical malpractice?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Passenger Killed in Broadside Collision in Ontario

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/10/2011

The Press Enterprise has reported that an SUV crashed broadside into a car last night at an Ontario intersection, killing a backseat passenger.  Citing official sources, the Enterprise identified the victim as 60 year-old Jose Cortez of Ontario.  The collision reportedly occurred at the intersection of Euclid and Philadelphia Streets at approximately 9:00 p.m.

Citing coroner’s deputies, the Enterprise article described witnesses as having said the driver of a black 1999 Dodge Durango was traveling southbound on Euclid Street to eastbound Philadelphia Street at a high rate of speed and lost control.  The driver of a silver 1996 Honda sedan was westbound on Philadelphia Street when it was struck broadside by the Durango.  According to the article, Ontario police are investigating the case.

See the Enterprise article HERE.

From Google maps, the configuration of the intersection of Euclid and Philadelphia in Ontario is fairly unusual.  There are a large number of travel lanes and completely separated turning lanes on Euclid for north and south traffic.  Those turning lanes appear to be somewhat obscured by bushes and trees, and the configuration as a whole could lead to driver confusion, although it is not known what caused the driver of the Durango to veer out of control.  Assuming the witness statements are correct and the Durango was traveling at a high rate of speed, this could have contributed to a loss of control, especially if the driver was also confused by the intersection itself.

Compensation for the victims of tragic automobile accidents like the one above should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver causes an injury or fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  While no amount of money can fairly compensate the family for this devastating loss, monetary compensation is what the civil justice system can offer.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you lost a loved one in an automobile accident?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Toning Shoes - Skecher's Going Too Far?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/10/2011

Toning shoe manufacturers are currently under fire because of safety concerns.  For example, claims and lawsuits have been filed around the country alleging the Skechers Shape-ups are dangerous and are not the product claimed.  Shape-Ups are marketed to consumers as being able to promote weight loss, tone muscles and improve posture, but a hefty number of consumers are claiming they were actually injured (some very badly) by these shoes. 

In spite of the firestorm of criticism, Skechers began marketing their Shape-Ups to girls as young as 7 years old.   A Skechers television advertising campaign targets pre-teen girls (not boys) in an apparent effort to convince these children they need to get in shape by wearing the Skechers shoes.  But some experts have come forward to criticize this marketing strategy as going way too far.  Earlier this week, the Today Show ran a segment on the controversy. 

See the NBC Today coverage HERE.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the marketing strategy of Skechers and the safety of their Shape-up shoes are the subject of a lawsuit filed last month in Orange County by the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph.  That case, apparently the first of its kind in Orange County, is essentially one for products liability and unfair business practices.  That case arises from a fall that occurred when a consumer was wearing Skechers Shape-ups while descending a flight of stairs.  The fall resulted in a very serious ankle fracture for which surgical repair was required.

Compensation for the victims of dangerously defective products, including toning shoes, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a product is touted as promoting good health, when it is in fact dangerous, the manufacturer and seller should be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause.  An Orange County injury lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and product liability cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been injured by toning shoes?

  • This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Mia Amber Davis Passes Away After Knee Surgery

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/09/2011

A number of media outlets are reporting that actress Mia Amber Davis passed away Wednesday, after apparently having had knee surgery on Monday.  According to at least one report quoting surviving family members, Davis died because of a blood clot following that procedure, an arthroscopy.  An arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that generally carries fewer risks than an open surgery.  However, a clot may form (typically in the leg) and then travel to the lungs, resulting in a fatal blockage known as an embolism.

See the tragic story HERE.

In general, an arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure in which the joint is viewed via a small camera. The arthroscopy gives doctors a clear view of the inside of the knee, which allows them to make diagnoses and treat certain problems in the knee joint.   The time for recovery after an arthroscopy is generally shorter when compared to the time required to recover following a traditional, open procedure.  While blood clot formation is a known risk of the arthroscopy, there are certain patients who are generally at a heightened risk of clot formation.  Those at such an increased risk include patients who are older, obese, have a history of clot formation or are taking contraceptive pills.

Read more about arthroscopy at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ website.

While it remains to be seen what, if anything, caused or contributed to the clot formation in Davis, doctors do have the option of prescribing drugs (including aspirin) to reduce the risk of clot formation after surgery.  Additionally, it is unknown whether Davis reported any signs or symptoms of clot formation to her doctor prior to the fatal event.

Post-surgical complications occur even in the absence of medical negligence.  However, when a doctor practices below the standard of care and causes harm or even death, they should be held accountable, and their victims should be compensated.  An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling malpractice cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical negligence cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of  malpractice by a doctor?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Couple Killed in Head-On Crash Near Temecula

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

The Press Enterprise has reported a couple was killed late Friday night near Temecula when the car they were driving was reportedly struck head-on by a hit-and-run driver.  Citing official sources, the Enterprise reported the victims in the crash, Carlos and Laurie Castro (both in their 50s), were driving a 2004 Honda Civic east on Glenoaks Road west of Bella Vista Road, just a few miles from their home when the crash occurred.  A westbound 1997 Chrysler Sebring apparently crossed into their lane, striking the Castros' car head-on.   The driver of the Sebring was described by witnesses as getting out of his car and running from the accident.  According to police, an open container of alcohol was found in the vehicle.  Both Castros died at the scene.  Citing the CHP's incident information website, the Enterprise story describes the suspect as a Hispanic male, about 30 years old, 5-foot-10, 190 to 200 pounds, with dark, wavy hair, wearing an orange and white striped shirt and white tennis shoes.  Police are asking for the public's assistance in apprehending the suspect.

See the Enterprise story HERE.

While the accident is still under investigation, it would appear the unidentified driver of the Sebring caused this accident by perhaps committing two unlawful acts:  driving while under the influence and violating the Castros' right of way by crossing into their lane.  Assuming that the suspect was under the influence (which may difficult to prove at this point), then he could be charged with a number of felonies relative to this accident.  Unfortunately, a conviction will not actually compensate the Castros' family for their loss.  A civil action for wrongful death would have to be pursued in order to recover monetary compensation for the family.  Under California law, the surviving family members are entitled to seek damages for the loss of society, care, comfort, affection, love and support lost as a result of the fatal accident.  While juries are not called upon to assess the value of human life in such cases, they are assigned the difficult task placing a monetary value on the lost relationship, which is all the law allows.

Compensation for the families of fatal hit and run accident victims should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a carelessly causes an automobile accident and then flees the scene, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you lost a loved one to a fatal automobile accident?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

   

Hit and Run Driver Apprehended Because of Damage To Vehicle

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

KTLA news reported today that a man accused in a fatal hit-and-run Friday night was caught after he drove his damaged car through a DUI checkpoint.  The suspect, Isidro Peralta, 25, was stopped at a checkpoint near Avenue J and Genoa in Lancaster around 11:30 p.m.   Deputies spotted blood, a shattered window and other front end damage to his 1996 Ford Mustang.  After retracing Peralta's route, deputies found the body of a 50-year-old man at the intersection of 10th Street West and Avenue J-8.  Peralta was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and felony driving under the influence.

See the KTLA news story HERE.

While the accident is still under investigation, it appears there is strong evidence to believe Peralta was responsible for causing this victim's death while under the influence and behind the wheel of a car.  California Vehicle Code Section 23153 provides in part:

(a) It is unlawful for any person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.

As for vehicular manslaughter charge, California Penal Code Section 192 provides that a death caused while the defendant is in the commission of an unlawful act while behind the wheel, resulting in death, may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.  In the case referenced above, Peralta's blood alcohol level will be an important fact in establishing any criminal case brought against him for vehicular manslaughter.  Likewise, in a civil case, these same facts will be important in determining whether Peralta was at least negligent in the operation of his vehicle.  Since the KTLA story makes no mention of witnesses to the accident, the driver could defend himself by arguing, while he may have been intoxicated, the accident was not actually caused by his neglect.  Without witnesses, this could prove to be a difficult civil case for the victim's family and they would likely need the expert testimony of an accident reconstruction expert and an expert in toxicology/human factors.

Compensation for victims of fatal automobile accidents, caused by reckless or intoxicated drivers, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle while under the influence and causes a fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County wrongful death attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including those arising from fatal automobile accidents.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Has a loved one been the victim of a  fatal motor vehicle accident caused by an intoxicated driver?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

Woman Dies After Undergoing Lap Band Procedure

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

According to a KTLA news story, the autopsy of a woman who died after undergoing lap band surgery revealed that she died as a result of "suboptimal care".  Citing official sources, KTLA reported that the victim, Tamara Walter, 52, underwent the lap band surgery on December 22, 2010, at the Wilshire Beverly Hills Surgery Center.   During the procedure, Walters coded and was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was eventually removed from life support the day after Christmas.  The coroner's report placed the blame on the anesthesiologist, identified by the Walter's family as Marina Del Rey physician Dr. Daniel Shin.  According to state medical records, Shin's medical license was under review at the time of the surgery for assaulting a process server with a meat cleaver.

See the full KTLA story HERE.

In general, during surgery it is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist to ensure the patient's vital signs remain stable and to make the surgeon aware of any significant downturn in the patient's condition.  What breach of the standard of care Dr. Shin committed, if any, will have to proven in court, assuming a civil lawsuit for wrongful death is filed.  In a civil case, the plaintiff (in this case Walter's family) must prove the defendant breached the standard of care for a specialist under the same or similar circumstances and that such negligence was the cause of Walter's death.  In order to prove that negligence was the legal cause of a patient's death in a medical malpractice action, it must be shown by competent expert testimony that the neglect was the cause of death to a reasonable medical probability.  Essentially, this standard is met if the expert testifies the malpractice was more likely than not the cause of death.

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice, resulting in serious personal injury or death, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician fails to comply with the standard of care required, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling wrongful death and other personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical malpractice?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

     

Two Fatal Auto Accidents in Riverside County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

The Press Enterprise has reported that two drivers have been killed in separate accidents in the Inland Empire.  In one collision, a 29-year-old Moreno Valley man died Friday afternoon following a crash on Agua Mansa Road near Market Street in Riverside.  The victim, Jose Castaneda Soberanes, was driving a sedan that struck a truck head-on about 2:20 p.m., according to the Riverside County Coroner's office.  He died a short time later.  The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

See the Enterprise story HERE.

In the second accident, a 28-year-old Perris man died early this morning after he was ejected from his vehicle during a crash on Interstate 215 in Riverside.  The driver in the Saturday morning accident, Jeramiah Baldwin, was traveling northbound on I-215 about a mile north of Eucalyptus Avenue just before 2 a.m. when he apparently lost control of his vehicle.  He struck a curb, the vehicle rolled multiple times and he was ejected, according to a news release from the Riverside County Coroner's office.  That collision is also being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

See the Enterprise story HERE.

The precise circumstances surrounding these two tragic automobile accidents are still under investigation.  Both accidents, because of their severity will likely be the subject of a thorough investigation to include accident reconstruction.  Those reconstructions will include speed calculations, skid mark analysis, deformation of metal analysis and the accumulation of a detailed history on both drivers.  In accidents such as this, it is common for the investigating agency to look into the background and recent history of the driver or drivers involved.  For example, speaking to witnesses and family members to determine the activities of the drivers in the hours prior to the fatal collisions would probably shed some light on the cause or causes of these accidents.  If lack of rest, drug or alcohol use, or emotional instability played a role a careful forensic investigation will reveal this fact.  Additionally, simple carelessness may be found to have been a contributing factor.

Compensation for victims of fatal automobile accidents, caused by unlawful misconduct or negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a careless manner and causes a fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County wrongful death attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including those involving wrongful death.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a serious or fatal motor vehicle accident caused by another's negligence?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

   

Trial of Michael Jackson's Doctor Begins

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

According to KTLA news, jury selection began this morning in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.  Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened in Los Angeles Superior Court. Each will be given an extended questionnaire about their knowledge in the case.  Dr. Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of Jackson.  According to the article, the prosecution is contending Dr. Murray was on the phone and distracted after administering a powerful anesthetic to Jackson.  Additionally, Dr. Murray is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of Propofol mixed with other sedatives.

See the full story HERE.

What is perhaps most interesting about this case is the fact that in addition to Medical Board action being taken against Dr. Murray, there is a very serious criminal case pending as well.  Adminstrative actions have already been taken by the Medical Boards in California, Texas and Nevada, primarily having to do with placing limitations on the doctor's adminstration of anesthetic agents typically administered by anesthesiologists.  Dr. Murray's primary area of practice is in cardiology. 

Aside from his criminal culpability, Dr. Murray faces the very real prospect of civil responsibility in the death of Michaeal Jackson.  Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, has brought such an action, and it is currently pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  In that case, it must be proven Dr. Murray failed to use the level of skill, knowledge, and care in diagnosis and treatment that other reasonably careful physcians would use in similar circumstances.  In this case, since the critical issue surrounds the adminstration of a powerful anesthetic, Dr. Murray's conduct will likely be measured against that required of a board certified anesthesiologist. This is known as the "standard of care."

Compensation for victims of medical malpractice, resulting in serious personal injury or death, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician fails to comply with the standard of care required, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical malpractice?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Hemet Physician Loses License For Molesting Patients

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011
 
 
Effective today, the Medical Board of California revoked the license of Hemet physician David Joseph Mata, who is awaiting trial on charges he molested his massage therapy patients.  Since his arrest nearly three years ago, Mata, 54, has worked under restrictions that included a chaperone imposed by the medical review board.   The Medical Board has now revoked his license completely, effectively closing his practice.  The Board concluded that Mata committed gross negligence and acted inappropriately.  Mata, a family practice doctor, was charged in May of 2008 with 141 counts that he inappropriately touched and kissed 12 women and girls.  A judge found insufficient evidence for 93 of those charges, but he awaits trial set for June on 48 felony counts, including sexual battery involving restraints and three counts of lewd acts with a child under 14.
 
 
See the full story HERE.
 
 
Aside from the criminal violations Mata may have committed, it is unethical for any physician in California to sexually exploit a patient.  California Business & Professions Code § 726 (Commission of act of sexual abuse or misconduct with patient or client) provides in relevant part:
The commission of any act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient, client, or customer constitutes unprofessional conduct and grounds for disciplinary action for any person licensed under this division...
Cases interpreting the statute above have held that where there is substantial evidence to support a finding a physician or other licensed health care professional has used their status and authority to win their patient's trust, take advantage of their insecurities, and induce them to participate in a sexual relationship, the law has been violated.  If a physician misuses treatment to create an emotional environment to foster dependency and an illusion of trust in order to have sex with a patient, the doctor is subject to discipline and may even be liable to the patient harmed.  In the case above, Mata's misconduct (if proven in court) would likely expose him not only to criminal convictions but also substantial civil liability to the victims.
 
 
Compensation for victims of physician misconduct, particularly that involving sexual exploitation of a patient, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician uses their position of trust to develop a sexual relationship with a patient, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been the victim of physician misconduct?
  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Buttock Augmentation Procedure Results in Death

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

The Orange County Register recently reported another fatality related to buttocks-boosting shots, which have become one of the most conspicuously dangerous of cosmetic procedures.  The most recent fatality was a British woman who traveled from London to get buttocks-enhancement injections of silicone in a hotel room at a Hampton Inn near the Philadelphia airport.  Police said Claudia Aderotimi, 20, apparently arranged for the procedure over the Internet.   Autopsy results have apparently not yet been released, but if the incident followed the pattern of similar butt-injection deaths, the silicone entered her bloodstream and caused a fatal pulmonary embolism, a blockage in the main artery in the lungs.

See the full story HERE.

Unfortunately, cosmetic procedures are often performed by poorly trained and unqualified health care professionals.  It is not uncommon to find physicians performing cosmetic procedures, either by open surgery or injection, who are not board certified in plastic surgery.  Instead, these doctors (who undergo little to no relevant training) are board certified in unrelated specialties such as internal medicine or obstetrics/gynecology, if they are board certified at all.  While not all physicians lacking a plastic surgery certification practice medicine in that field below the applicable standard of care, it is not uncommon to find such doctors committing some of the most egregious errors in medicine.  In a recent case, a doctor who claims board certification by the International Board of Cosmetic Surgery (not the American Board of Plastic Surgery) performed a buttock augmentation on a young, female patient that lead to an infection, multiple follow up procedures and finally removal of the implants.  Once contacted by the patient's attorney, the doctor claimed the patient's chart had been stolen.  This same physician has a history of substantial discipline by the California Medical Board for, among other reasons, allowing unqualified personnel to perform cosmetic procedures. Compensation for victims of medical neglect committed by unqualified cosmetic surgeons, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician without the necessary credentials and training commits malpractice, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County medical malpractice attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a cosmetic surgery nightmare?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

Four People Injured In Orange County Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

According to an article in the Orange County Register, four people were injured Wednesday night after a multi-vehicle crash on the eastbound 91 near Gypsum Canyon in Anaheim.  Citing CHP sources, the Register listed the following as injured in the crash: 

  • Jessica Vasquez, 36, from Burbank, was a passenger in a vehicle and suffered major injuries.
  • Edgar Aragon, 36, from Belmont, was the driver of a 2005 Hyundai, who suffered moderate injuries.
  • Anghy Aragon, 21, from Fontana, was a passenger and suffered minor injuries.
  • German Mora, 22, from Fullerton, was a passenger and suffered moderate injuries.

Details of the crash are still being sorted out, and the Register article with photographs can be found HERE.

The cause of the crash has yet to be determined, but from the photographs it appears the roadway may have been wet at the time.  This condition could have contributed to the happening of the accident.  If one or more of the vehicles was traveling at a speed unsafe for the conditions (rain), they may have lost control and then started the multi-vehicle accident.  In California, it is a violation of the law to operate a vehicle "at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."  (California Vehicle Code Section 22350)

Compensation for victims of chain reaction traffic accidents, like the one above, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle carelessly and causes an accident with a number of other vehicles, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a chain reaction automobile accident?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Plastic Surgery - Do Your Homework Before You Go Under the Knife

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

It is not at all uncomon for someone seeking plastic surgery to rely on advertisements and word of mouth in deciding which plastic surgeon to select.  In today's world of internet access to almost everything, it makes little sense not to do more.  With just a basic understanding of the resources available to the average consumer, anyone planning to go under the knife for plastic surgery should do their homework.

First, the Medical Board of California decided some time ago to make certain information regarding licensed physicians available online.  For example, the Board's website allows consumers to see information regarding a physician's education, board certification (if any) and primary area of practice.  In addition to this, consumers may find out whether a doctor has been disciplined by the Board or if they have had a civil judgment or arbitration award rendered against them, with certain limitations relative to the monetary amount and the number of awards/verdicts.  The Board's website sets out additional limitations on the information and documentation available online.

Beyond the Medical Board's website, there is the superior court website for the county in which the doctor practices.  For example, in Orange County anyone may inspect online court information related to lawsuits against a physician.  This is particularly easy to find if the doctor or his practice ha an unusual name.  While there is rarely a detailed description of the case against the doctor, the number of malpractice suits and the timing of their filing might help to assess whether the physician has a recent history of practicing medicine in a negligent manner.  The Orange County Superior Court website can be found by following this link.

If your or a loved one is considering plastic surgery, there are easily available resources to best ensure the physician selected is qualified.  While even the best of doctors sometimes make mistakes, it is important to do the best job you can of investigating the doctor before allowing them to perform surgery.  When a plastic/cosmetic surgeon practices below the standard of care and injury or death occurs, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical neglect?

  • This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

Doctor Found Guilty in Death of Gallbladder Patient

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

On June 4, 2008, a 30-year-old man died on the operating table at an Inglewood home turned into a makeshift neighborhood clinic.  Earlier today, nearly three years later, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury Friday convicted the surgeon of involuntary manslaughter.  Dr. Roberto Bonilla, 64, was found guilty in a Torrance courthouse in the death of Osvaldo Hernandez, a restaurant dishwasher from Mexico who had paid the surgeon several thousand dollars in cash to relieve a sharp pain in his belly.  On the day of the gallbladder, surgery Bonilla used lidocaine, a local anesthetic, to perform the open surgery.  According to the California Medical Board's allegations, filed well before commencement of the criminal trial, the amount of Lidocaine used exceeded the safe limit to be administered at one time, and Hernandez died of Lidocaine intoxication.

Read the story of the criminal trial HERE and the Medical Board Accusation HERE.

What the Hernandez case demonstrates is that there are licensed physicians in this State who are willing to risk their patients' lives by performing surgery under inherently dangerous circumstances.  In general, an open gallbladder procedure is a major surgery requiring administration of general anesthesia, and the full resources of an operating room, not an ill-equipped home.  Dr. Bonilla knew, or should have known, he was taking a poorly calculated risk that care beyond his immediately available resources would be needed.  When Hernandez began to seize (apparently because of the Lidocaine), Dr. Bonilla and his staff failed to react meaningfully, and when the patient required advanced cardiac life support, it was not available.  Instead, Dr. Bonilla and his staff reportedly performed CPR on Hernandez for two and a half hours, and no one called 9-1-1.

Compensation for victims of medical neglect, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician takes an unjustifiable risk with their patient's life and death results, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical neglect?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

USC Kidney Transplant Mistake

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

According to a news report, the kidney transplant program at USC University Hospital was voluntarily shut down last month after it was discovered a patient had received the wrong kidney.  Fortunately, the donor kidney was from a patient who was at least a suitable match for the recipient, and there does not appear to have been any adverse consequences to the patient.   The hospital described the mistake as the result of a processing error.  The mix-up apparently occurred after two kidneys, from separate donors, arrived at the transplant center around the same time on January 29th.  The hospital has been conducting a review of clinical procedures and safeguards since shutting down, and the review is expected to be complete shortly. The hospital will consider resuming transplants at that time.

Read more HERE.

What the case above demonstrates is the type of problem commonly scene in hospitals throughout Southern California.  Here in Orange County for example, there have been reported incidents of patients having the wrong procedure and others who have had surgical implements left inside them.  For example, in one instance, a kidney transplant patient in Orange County was scheduled to have a 19 cm plastic stent removed from his abdomen during a post-operative visit to his surgeon's office.  However, in spite of documentation that the stent was indeed removed, it was found in the patient roughly 6 years later when it had become encrusted, causing a serious infection and related cardiac event. In yet another recent case, a young girl was scheduled to have a surgical procedure performed on her top lip (gum line), but the surgeon inadvertently performed the surgery on her tongue.  The young girl thereafter underwent the correct procedure approximately one month later.

Compensation for victims of medical neglect, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician is not qualified to perform a procedure or for some owther reason performs surgery negligently, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of medical neglect?

  • This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Recent Appellate Decision Allows Broken Stool Case to Move Forward

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

In an appellate decision rendered just recently, the Second District Court of Appeals allowed a lawsuit against a restaurant to move forward to trial, even though the injured party could not provide any evidence as to how or why a bar stool in which he was seated collapsed.  According to the Court's decision, the customer was injured when he sat down on a counter stool, leaned against the back, and the chair fell off the base, causing him to fall to the ground.  No other physical condition of the premises contributed to the fall.

Of the three screws attached to the seat, the subject of the case, two broke approximately one-half inch from the head, and one broke about one-fourth inch below the head.  The plaintiff had no knowledge or information as to what caused the screws to break.  In fact, when the customer turned the stool in order to sit down, he did not notice anything wrong with the stool and felt no looseness.  The plaintiff did not know whether the screws failed before he placed his body on the seat, and he observed nothing about the screws which indicated long-term failure.  In spite of the defendant's evidence of regular inspections and the absence of any prior, similar accident, the Appellate Court ruled the case should be allowed to proceed to trial under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.  That doctrine essentially requires that the injured party prove: (1) the accident would not normally occur absent someone's negligence, (2) that the defendant had exclusive control over the injury causing instrument (in this case the stool) and (3) the accident was not the result of the plaintiff's voluntary action or contribution.

Often, when an accident like the one above occurs it will be difficult if not impossible for the plaintiff to establish exactly what caused the accident to happen.  Instead the law allows, as this case demonstrates, the plaintiff to proceed under the theory that someone else's negligence had to have caused the accident, because the accident would not have happened otherwise.  To proceed in this fashion with a lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the defendant being sued had exclusive control over the instrument (chair) causing the fall.  A jury may then (in spite of the defendant's claim of regular inspections and even absent a prior accident) be called upon to decide the case.

Compensation for victims of business premises accidents, like the one above, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a business patron is injured through no fault of his own because of a defect within a business (such as the stool described above), they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident involving the failure of chair or stool within a business?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Medical Malpractice Cases - Plastic Surgery

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

Medical malpractice cases are typically among the most difficult to prove at the time of the trial.  Physicians are nearly always put on a pedestal by the jury panel who tend to see the doctor as an altruist, who saves lives for a living.  Even the most sympathetic of victims up against the least compelling of physicians will have a hard time overcoming this inherent juror bias.

In general, the law demands that a physician or surgeon have the degree of learning and skill ordinarily possessed by practitioners of the medical profession in the same locality and that he or she exercise ordinary care in applying such learning and skill to the treatment of the patient.    To prevail in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove the defendant physician was negligent in his care and treatment and that such neglect was, to a reasonable medical probability, a substantial factor in causing the harm alleged.  Sometimes, this is proven when a plaintiff produces sufficient evidence to allow the jury to infer that in the absence of the defendant's negligence, there was a reasonable medical probability the plaintiff would have obtained a better result.  Most often, educating the jury to the law and the medicine necessary to understand the case is an uphill battle, resulting in a large number of confused jurors whose predisposition for the doctor carries the day.

While most medical malpractice cases are difficult to pursue from the patient's perspective becasue of the existing juror bias and the complexity of the medicine at issue, these factors are not as prevalent in cases involving cosmetic, plastic surgery.  It is not uncommon to find physicians praticing in this lucrative field who are not as well qualified as in other medical specialties.  For example, in one case handled by Mr. Ralph, the "plastic surgeon" was actually a board certified OB/GYN with little to no formal training in plastic surgery.  In spite of this, the doctor held herself out as being a specialist in "scarless breast surgery."   The end result was a bad outcome for the patient and a substantial judgment against the doctor.

In yet another case, a fairly well-qualified physician performed a breast augmentation in such a fashion that he caused the patient's lung to partially collapse.  Instead of transferring the patient immediately to an appropriate hospital, the doctor kept the victim in his office overnight, under the watch of a member of his staff.  The next day the patient had to be transferred to an Orange County hospital for more treatment and monitoring.

It is important for patients considering cosmetic, plastic surgery to investigate the qualifications of their doctor.  Not all "cosmetic" surgeons are board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery, the certification actually recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.  Would you want a physician with inadequate training and experience operating on your body or face?

Compensation for victims of medical neglect, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a physician is not qualified to perform a procedure or for some owther reason performs surgery negligently, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been a victim of a cosmetic surgeon's neglect?

  • This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Defective Products - Have You Been a Victim?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

The law in California, and that generally around the country, protects consumers injured when a defective product causes harm.  From pressure cookers to tennis shoes, if the manufacturer produces a dangerously defective product then the victim may have a legal remedy.  The liability for dangerously defective products falls not only on the manufacturer,  but also on others who are responsible for the sale and distribution of the item.  The logic behind this is simple:  the manufacturer is in the best position to assess the safety of their products before introducing them to the marketplace.  If the risk of injury is too high, in theory, the manufacturer and others in the stream of commerce will not produce or sell the product because of the related costs associated with injury claims and lawsuits.

 

To prove such a case, the injured party must usually establish: the product  had potential risks that were known or should have been known at the time it was made, the potential risks presented a substantial danger to users, ordinary consumers would not have recognized the potential risks, the manufacturer failed to warn of the danger, the injured party was harmed while using the product in a reasonably foreseeable way and the lack of warning was a cause of harm to the user.  In addition to this theory of liability, known in the law as "strict liability", a consumer may also bring claims for breach of warranty and negligence.

For example, in one case a pressure cooker was advertised as one that "CAN'T EXPLODE".   In spite of this advertisement (actually on the box), a cooker sold by the manufacturer did explode, causing very serious 2nd and 3rd degree burns on the torso and face of the victim.  With such a bold representation about the safety of the cooker, that proved to be untrue, liability was not difficult to establish.  The compensation paid to that victim, injured while her small children were present, was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The attempt by the manufacturer to set its product apart from the rest with such a bold safety claim proved to be costly, for both the victim and the company.

Compensation for victims of dangerously defective products should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a manufacturer or seller of such a product causes harm to a consumer, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Does the California law imposing liability on manufacturers and others who sell or distribute defective products make sense?

  • This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

 

Two Pedestrians Killed in the Inland Empire

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

Earlier this week an Apple Valley man, Paul G. Robinson, passed away from injuries sustained about 8 weeks ago when he was struck by a pick up truck in Apple Valley.  The accident happened on August 27th at about 6:30 a.m. while the victim was apparently walking in the roadway.   The accident remains under investigation.

www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_webdeath.49a4728.html

According to news reports, a 50-year-old Desert Hot Springs man will be prosecuted for gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run driving stemming from last week's death of a pedestrian in that city.  That accident happened at approximately 6:30 p.m. on October 20th, and the victim was 49-year-old Roger Pace of Cornelius, Oregon.  He died two days later at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.  The detectives investigating the case have found that the driver was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, is nearly 100% blind in one eye and may have been traveling at an excessive speed.

http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_webfatal.1.e221d4.html

In general, both drivers and pedestrians must use reasonable care to avoid accidents.  However, that duty to use reasonable care does not require the same amount of caution from drivers and pedestrians.  While both drivers and pedestrians must be aware that motor vehicles can cause serious injuries, drivers must use more care than pedestrians.  A greater amount of care is required of the vehicle operator because of the fact that the driver is behind the wheel of an automobile, which is an instrumentality capable of inflicting serious and often fatal injuries upon others using the highway.

 

In accidents such as those described above, the driver of the automobile has an obligation to keep his eyes on the roadway to ensure collisions are avoided, if they can be.  Pedestrians are likewise obligated to keep a reaonable lookout for vehicles coming into their path.  Since it is the vehicle operator who is in the best position to avoid the collision and the one in control of the dangerous instrumentality, the duty of care is heightened for the driver.  Accordingly, when a driver approaches an area known for high pedestrian traffic (a downtown shopping area or near a school for example), caution must be used when traveling down that roadway.  If a driver can see a pedestrian in time to slow and avoid an accident, he may be held liable if he fails to do so.

Compensation for pedestrian victims of traffic accidents, caused by a driver’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle carelessly and strikes a pedestrian, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Does the California law imposing a heightened duty on drivers, when compared to pedestrians, seem fair?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Bus Crash Injures Schoolchildren

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

Once again, a motor vehicle accident involving a bus has injured most of the passengers on the bus, some of them seriously.  According to authorities, yesterday three teenagers were driving through a Boyle Heights neighborhood when they ran a red light, striking and killing a pedestrian instantly.  After that impact, their vehicle continued through the intersection and into a school bus, reportedly injuring the driver and 20 Roosevelt High School students.   The impact was so severe the bus was thrown onto its side.  The bus driver was seriously injured and the twenty students were taken to area hospitals where some remained overnight.  www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bus-crash-20101026,0,6555750.story?track=rss

Not too surprisingly, some of the parents of the injured children were surprised to learn from their children that there were no seat belts on the bus.  While some federal studies have shown that seat belts on buses provide little added safety and can in some cases cause unintended harm, the logical need for restraints is obvious.  If they are required in passenger cars and their use has reduced fatalities, then why not on a school bus?

 

Aside from the seat belt/restraint issue, there is the issue of driver inattention if not recklessness in this case.  It is hard to imagine how a driver could be so inattentive as to ignore a pedestrian walking through an intersection, perhaps in a marked cross-walk.  Beyond that, there is likely to be an excessive speed component in this case as the teenage driver was traveling so fast the pedestrian was killed instantly and the car still had sufficient speed to knock a school bus on its side.  The liability of this driver seems obvious, and, assuming he is a minor and a licensed driver, his parents would also be liable for the damages caused.  Under California law, when a minor applies for a driver's license, generally a parent must sign the application and therefore assume liability for the negligence of their child.  (California Vehicle Code § 17707 )  The exposure in to the parent(s) in an accident like the one above could be enormous and potentially well beyond their applicable automobile insurance policy limits.

Compensation for the victims of traffic accidents, caused by another's negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a minor driver operates their vehicle in a careless or reckless manner, they and their parents should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Does the California law imposing liability on the parents of a negligent minor who causes a traffic accident seem fair?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Medical Malpractice - Have You Been A Victim?

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

In January of this year, a young girl in Orange County was scheduled to undergo an oral (labial) frenuloplasty, a procedure in which a small fold of tissue between the gum and the lip is separated.  Instead of performing the procedure as planned on the child's top lip, the pediatric ENT surgeon mistakenly separated the tissue under the tongue in a procedure known as a lingual frenuloplasty.  While the mistakenly performed procedure did not cause any substantial, permanent harm, this young patient had to undergo a second, otherwise unnecessary surgical procedure, after she healed from the first surgery. The physician attempted to justify his error by claiming the tongue surgery was needed anyway.  Mr. Ralph currently represents the malpractice victim.

 www.ocregister.com/articles/hospital-230423-choc-wrong.html

n yet another case, a female patient of a plastic surgeon here in Orange County was scheduled to undergo a combination breast augmentation and lift procedure in March of this year.  The breast lift planned and consented to by the patient is known as a vertical mastopexy, which generally requires a vertical incision from the areola to the crease under the breasts.  This is usually the procedure of choice when the patient has more significant drooping.  Instead of the vertical mastopexy (identified in this case on the patient's consent form in capitalized letters), the surgeon elected to perform (without the patient's prior written or verbal consent) a donut mastopexy, which involves removal of skin from just around the areola in the hopes of slightly lifting the breasts.  This decision was made solely by the surgeon at the time of the procedure and after the patient had been anesthetized.  As a result, the patient's breasts were not adequately lifted, are asymmetrical and cause her pain and discomfort.  To remedy the error caused by her surgeon, the patient must undergo a revision surgery in the future, and she will have to live with the outcome of the surgery she had never agreed to until that time.  Mr. Ralph currently represents this malpractice victim as well.

Malpractice cases such as these are unfortunately commonplace.  The law in California as it relates to medical negligence cases is complex, and victims are not often the focus.  Instead, the law in this area favors the health care providers who have been well-protected since the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1976.  For example, no matter how much suffering a patient and/or their surviving family members endure, the maximum allowable recovery for the pain, suffering, and emotional upset sustained is just $250,000.00.  In spite of dramatic changes in our economy and the ever-increasing cost of living, that figure has remained unchanged since the enactment of the MICRA legislation more than 34 years ago.

The handling of medical malpractice cases requires the experience of a seasoned trial attorney who has handled many such matters on behalf of the victims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a negligent doctor or nurse?

  • This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.

Bus Accidents - Frequent and Deadly

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

Bus accidents occur with shocking frequency in California and around the nation.  What often make these accidents newsworthy is the devastating, and sometimes fatal, injuries suffered by the typically unrestrained passengers.  A brief look at recent news stories makes this clear:

  • May 17, 2008:

A charter bus traveling on a Mojave Desert freeway flipped on its side, killing a woman and injuring 22 other people.   The bus was the only vehicle involved in the wreck on Interstate 40 in San Bernardino County.

  • January 30, 2009:

A bus carrying Chinese tourists overturned on U.S. 93 near the Hoover Dam, killing seven people and injuring 10 others, several critically.  A number of the passengers were reportedly ejected and six were pronounced dead at the scene.

  • May 2, 2009:

A tour bus returning from San Diego crashed, injuring 25 people and closing part of Interstate 215 in Perris, CA, for hours.  Everyone on the bus (most of them elderly) suffered some type of injury, according to the California Highway Patrol.  Three helicopters and 10 ambulances transported the eight people who suffered critical injuries.

  • March 5, 2010:

Six people were ejected and killed when a bus struck by a pickup rolled over on the interstate south of Phoenix, AZ.  The six were thrown about 10 yards in the accident.  The roof of the bus was crushed and all the windows were knocked out, with one thrown as far as 25 yards.

  • October 4, 2010:

Eight students were taken to area hospitals after a crash in Carlisle Township, OH, involving a school bus.  The crash happened when the school bus was hit by a pick-up truck, sending the bus off the road.  The school bus went into a ditch and ended up on its side. These accidents were likely avoidable and the severity of the injuries could possibly have been lessened had adequate safety precautions been taken.   Mr. Ralph, representing the most severely injured passenger in the Perris crash, is dedicated to bringing his clients the justice they deserve.  For those injured, we cannot turn back the clock and undo the harm, but victims of bus accidents can receive monetary compensation for their injuries and economic losses.

Do you feel safe on a bus?  Should seatbelts or other restraints be required?

Welcome to the OC Injury Attorney Blog Site!

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

Get valuable information from a professional personal injury attorney regarding auto & bus accident injury, medical malpractice, dog bite injury and from many other topics discussed here. You are welcome to leave a comment on any of our blog posts.

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