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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.
4/4/2012 Victim Retains Firm in Third Party Assault Case Against OC Bar Owner
A violent assault on February 25, 2012, at an Anaheim bar resulted in severe eye and facial injuries to a 38-year-old victim who has now retained the firm to represent him.

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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.

Halloween Hit-And-Run Accident Causes Major Injury

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/02/2012

According to KTLA news, a hit-and-run driver in Florence struck a 10-year-old boy and a 46-year-old woman who were out trick-or-treating Wednesday night.  The accident happened at approximately 9:00 p.m. at the intersection of  92nd Street and Beach Street.  The suspect reportedly made a right turn onto northbound Beach from 92nd, but failed to yield to the pedestrians, who were crossing the street legally.  The woman suffered a major head injury and was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and the boy was taken to the same hospital as a precautionary measure.  The suspect vehicle was abandoned by three black males near the scene of the accident, and it is registered out of Kent Washington.  

Why This Accident Occurred

It would appear from witness statements reported in the media that this accident was likely the result of driver inattention.  The hit-and-run driver apparently struck two pedestrians who, although it was dark, could have been scene.  From a street view on Google Maps, it can be seen that this accident occurred near a corner on which there is a business and a number of streetlights.  The general area is a blend of residential and commercial buildings.  It is hard to imagine anyone driving through this area without anticipating pedestrians crossing the road, particularly on Halloween.  According to government statistics covering a 21-year period, children are four times more likely to be killed in a vehicle versus pedestrian accident on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

Liability Analysis

While liability would appear to be fairly clear, there is nearly always some argument the defense can raise in a vehicle versus pedestrian accident.  Typically, the driver will argue that the pedestrian who is hit crossing the street simply "darted out" so quickly there was no time to react.  Additionally, with a nighttime accident like the one above, the driver will often contend the pedestrian could not be seen because of dark clothing or a lack of artificial lighting in the area.  These defenses have some superficial appeal, but they are often overwhelmed by a careful accident reconstruction.

What To Do

When a driver in a pedestrian accident attempts to blame the victim, it is important for the pedestrian to seek legal counsel in order to protect their rights.  This is particularly true when the injured party has never been exposed to the claims process or been involved in civil litigation.  An Orange County injury attorney can provide the experience and insight necessary to fairly evaluate these cases and obtain compensation for the victim and their family.

SOURCE:  KTLA  News, Trick-or-Treaters Struck by Hit-and-Run Driver in Florence, November 1, 2012

Five-Car Accident in Orange Leaves One Dead

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/23/2012

A five-car collision yesterday morning in the City of Orange has left one woman dead and several others injured.  The accident happened at about 11:00 a.m. at the intersection of Tustin Street and Taft avenue, not too far from The Village mall.  According to news reports, a female driver who ran a red light and triggered the accident died at the scene.  That motorist, 30-year-old Xuan Tran, was apparently traveling eastbound on Taft toward its dead end at Tustin, and for some unknown reason drove through the red light at a high rate of speed without even turning her vehicle.  Tran's car, a small Toyota, then struck a red pickup truck heading south on Tustin which in turn hit another vehicle heading the opposite direction.  Anyone who witnessed the collision is urged to contact the Orange police at 714-744-7444.

See the Orange County Register article and photograph HERE.

It would be easy to assign responsibility for the accident to Tran and simply leave it at that.  However, this accident calls for a detailed investigation into Tran's actions and activities in the hours and minutes that led up to the accident. There are a host of possibilities as to why this young woman would have driven straight into cross-traffic at a dead end street: medical issues caused her to lose consciousness, a mechanical failure caused a steering/braking failure, driver inattention, texting while driving, etc.  In all likelihood, the Orange Police Department will perform a detailed mechanical inspection on the Tran vehicle to determine whether some sort of problem with the car contributed to the happening of this tragic collision.  In addition to that, the police will likely attempt to piece together the last days and/or hours of Tran's life to see if something might explain what could be considered suicidal or reckless actions. Among other things, this will entail some forensic toxicology to determine whether alcohol, medication or drugs played a role.

Compensation for the victims of auto accidents involving reckless or even careless  drivers should be an important concern for everyone.  When a driver like the one above runs a red light , for whatever reason, they or some other responsible party should be held accountable.  An Orange County traffic accident attorney with experience at handling intersection accident cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 21 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including auto accidents caused by mechanical failures and reckless 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 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.
 

Bicyclist Killed On PCH In Orange County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/30/2012
A yet to be identified man riding his bicycle along the Pacific Coast Highway was struck and killed by a driver on Saturday afternoon. According to KTLA news, the crash was reported at 4:19 p.m. at PCH and 8th Street in Sunset Beach. The victim was initially found by emergency responders in the middle of the road with serious injuries and unconscious.

Santa Ana Collision Proves Fatal For 19-Year-Old

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 07/16/2012

An automobile accident in Santa Ana on Sunday afternoon took the life of a 19-year-old passenger.  According to the Orange County Register, the accident happened at about 2:25 p.m. at the intersection of Pacific and McFadden Avenue.  The decedent, identified as 19-year-old Daniel Iglesias, was the sole passenger in a Pontiac Grand Am that was traveling westbound on McFadden when the car apparently swerved to avoid a white minivan.  The minivan reportedly entered McFadden from Pacific, which dead ends with a stop sign at McFadden.  The Pontiac swerved into oncoming traffic and was struck by a large SUV.  Police are seeking help in identifying the driver of the white minivan, and anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-245-8665.

See the Orange County Register article and photographs HERE.

This tragic accident will require a great deal of investigation to determine responsibility.  It would appear from the Register article that conceivably the white minivan driver caused or at least contributed to the happening of this accident.  Assuming the minivan driver did not allow the Pontiac driver his right of way, since the van had a stop sign, then the driver may have caused this accident.  The driver of the Pontiac appears to have taken significant, evasive action which may have been necessitated by the minivan's sudden and perhaps unlawful presence on McFadden.  The law requires that a stopped driver proceed only when it is reasonably safe to do so, especially when there is no signal or stop sign for cross-traffic.  One other issue that frequently comes up in situations like this is "line of sight" and whether the stopped driver has a sufficient opportunity to see cross-traffic as it approaches.

Compensation for the victims of serious or fatal automobile accidents caused by a careless driver and/or a dangerous roadway should be an important concern for all Californians.   When negligence and roadway conditions combine so as to cause a tragic accident like the one above, all of the responsible parties should be held accountable.   An Orange County auto accident lawyer with experience at handling traffic collision cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has more than 21 years of experience handling Orange County personal injury cases, including those involving dangerous roadways.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been the victim of a careless driver or dangerous roadway?

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.

Tragic DUI Accident In Orange County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/27/2012

 On Saturday morning a tragic accident allegedly caused by an intoxicated driver took the life of a 5-year-old girl and badly injured other members of her family.  A Frazier Park woman, Jessica Louise Cowan, has been charged with murder in the hit and run accident that occurred near the intersection of 17th Street and Spurgeon in Santa Ana.  The little girl, Osmara Madrigal, 5, was walking to Norms Restaurant for pancakes with her family when Cowan reportedly blew through a red light and struck the family.  Osmara died at the scene, her sister Grace, 6, suffered critical head trauma and the girls' mother, Eloisa Madrigal, 45, also suffered head trauma and was in "extremely critical" condition.

The Santa Ana Police Department has set up a fund to help the Meza family.  If you would  like to help the family, please go to: http://www.sapdf.org/tragedy/

Nothing can be more devastating than losing a child...especially in such a senseless, tragic accident.  Because of this driver's alleged intoxication, the Mesa family will never be the same, and it will take every ounce of their strength to move on with their lives.  The duration of the injuries to Grace and Eloisa are likely to be life-long, and only the best medical care will help.  To say the least, if convicted, Cowan will deserve every bit of punishment the criminal and civil justice systems will allow.  Perfect justice will never be achieved as we simply cannot turn back time and undo this enormous tragedy, but we have an obligation to the family to do all we can.

Compensation for the victims of serious or fatal automobile accidents caused by an intoxicated driver should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle recklessly or while impaired so as to cause a tragic accident like the one above, they should be held accountable.   An Orange County DUI accident attorney with experience at handling wrongful death cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has more than 21 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 family member been the victim of 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.

Suspected Drunk Driver Causes Two Fatalities

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/18/2012

Late Saturday night a suspected drunk driver plowed his vehicle into a crowd near a taco truck in Boyle Heights, killing two people.  According to news reports, the female driver, now facing felony charges, was being followed by CHP officers because of her erratic driving, speeding and weaving in and out of lanes on the northbound 5 freeway.  The suspect, 38-year-old Elba Jimenez of Upland, ignored officers' attempts to pull her over as she exited the freeway at Cesar Chavez Avenue, ran a red light and crashed into the parking lot.  Marlene Alatorre, 19, and Claudia Fernandez, 38, were killed in the accident.  Two victims inside the taco truck, a man and a pregnant woman, were taken to L.A. County Medical Center for their injuries. Alatorre's family is accepting donations for funeral services.

See the KTLA news story and video HERE.

This shocking and tragic story is becoming all too familiar.  An alleged drunk driver causes a fatal collision and his changed so many lives in the process.  According to the news reports, Alatorre leaves behind a 1-year-old baby, who will never know their mother.  Few things in this world could be more tragic than the loss of a young mother who leaves behind a small child.  Because of Jimenez' selfish acts, both the Fernandez and Alatorre families can never be the same.  While monetary compensation is far from perfect justice, this is the only thing that can be given to these two families to perhaps make their lives at least a little more comfortable than they would be without it.  Nothing can fairly compensate a family for the loss of their loved one's society, care, comfort, affection, love and support.

Compensation for the victims of fatal automobile accidents caused by a drunk driver should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle recklessly or while impaired so as to cause a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County auto accident attorney with experience at handling wrongful death 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 an DUI 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 Victim In Orange County Hospitalized

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

On Sunday afternoon, a pedestrian was run over by car in Buena Park in what appears to have been an intentional hit-and-run.  The incident was caught on video, and the Buena Park Police Department is actively investigating the collision.   According to news reports, the hit-and-run was reported just after 1:00 p.m. and officers responded to the scene at Orangethorpe Avenue and Campus Drive to find a 20-year-old victim in the street.  Police described the car as a gold, four-door compact sedan -- possibly a Mitsubishi or Infiniti -- with tinted windows.  The car sustained moderate damage to the front passenger-side windshield during the crash.  The victim was taken to UCI Medical Center and is expected to survive.  

Anyone with information on the car is asked to contact police at 714-562-3970.

See the KTLA news report and video footage HERE.

It is rare that an accident like the one above occurs without there being some motivation and/or intoxication on the part of the driver.  In this instance, from a review of the video, it appears the driver actually took aim and struck the pedestrian on purpose, before speeding away.  That driver, who will likely be identified, is facing very serious criminal charges for felony hit-and-run.  In addition to that, there is the civil liability of the driver for the injuries and damages the victim sustained.   One issue that inevitably arises in situations like this is one of insurance coverage.  Under California law, a driver cannot be insured for "willful acts".  Under California Insurance Code, § 533, an insurance company is not liable for a loss caused by a willful act of the insured.  In this case, the hit-and-run victim could be left with little or no compensation because of the statutory prohibition against such insurance coverage.  The victim's remedies will likely be against only the driver of the car and his personal assets, if any.

Compensation for the victims of hit-and-run accidents should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle in a reckless or intentional manner causing a serious or fatal accident and then flees the scene, they should be accountable for all of the injuries and damages they cause.   An attorney with experience at handling hit-and-run accidents can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years years of experience handling auto and personal injury cases.  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 caused by a hit-and-run 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.

 

 

 

Fatal Big Rig Accident On 210 Freeway

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 05/24/2012

Early this morning one person was killed in a fiery crash on the 210 Freeway in Sylmar.  According to KTLA news, the accident involved a big rig and a driver traveling the wrong direction on the freeway.   The crash reportedly happened at about 2:15 a.m. on the westbound 210 at Roxford Street.  A UPS truck hauling two trailers was heading westbound when it encountered a compact sedan traveling the wrong way. The truck driver's evasive action was unfortunately unsuccessful, and the two vehicles collided.  Both drivers had to be extricated from their vehicles by emergency personnel, but the sedan driver was pronounced dead at the scene.  The truck driver was said to be OK.

See the KTLA story and photographs HERE.

This tragic accident is difficult to understand at this point.  There does not appear to be a logical explanation for the "wrong way" driver's actions.  When auto accidents occur because of a driver crossing into oncoming traffic or driving intentionally into opposing traffic, one of the first things that comes to mind is whether the driver was intoxicated.  From the news story above, we don't have any information a to what the driver was doing before apparently entering the freeway traveling the wrong direction.  This could have been an accident caused by something as simple as a momentary lapse of judgment.  However, collisions such as the one above are more frequently the result of intoxicated driving or attempted suicide.  It is now up to the CHP to do a complete accident investigation that will almost certainly include a medical/emotional profile on the sedan driver.

Compensation for the victims of serious or fatal traffic freeway accidents should be an important concern for all Californians.   When a driver negligently or intentionally causes a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable for the injuries and damages to the victims and those family members left behind.   An Orange County attorney with experience at handling auto accidents can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years years of experience handling freeway and other traffic accident cases.  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 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.

Pit Bull Attack In Long Beach Sends Woman To Surgery

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 05/14/2012

Saturday evening at about 6:00 p.m. a woman and her dog walking down a street in Long Beach were attacked by two pit bulls, causing injuries to both.  According to KTLA news, the unidentified woman required emergency surgery, and two Good Samaritans who tried to help were also bitten and required medical treatment.  Once police arrived at the scene on East Barclay Street they were quickly able to locate one of the dogs, and the animal had to be shot dead after attempts to bring it under control with a Taser were unsuccessful.   The second dog was later found and is now in the custody of Animal Control.  

See the KTLA news story and photograph HERE.

Once again, two aggressive dogs were apparently allowed to wander free and attack an innocent victim and her dog.  While many dog breeds are known for their aggression, pit bulls also have the distinction of latching on to their victims with powerful jaws and not letting go.  As a result, their bites tend to be worse than other dogs of equal size and weight.  While it is unknown precisely what injuries the victim in the story above sustained, it is probably fair to conclude she will suffer significant scarring and may need plastic surgery in the future because of the attack.   After bites from a large breed of dog, it is not uncommon for the victim to require plastic surgery to revise scars, particularly where the bites are to the face, hands or arms.  As with any dog bite occurring in California, the owner of the pit bulls in the story above is strictly liable for the injuries and damages these victims sustained.  Once a dog bites a victim (as opposed to scratching or knocking them down), the owner is automatically liable for the damages.  Where the injuries do not result from a bite, it must be shown the owner was negligent in the handling or control of their dog.  

Compensation for the victims of dog bites should be an important concern for all Californians.   When an innocent victim is bitten and seriously injured, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for all of the injuries and damages suffered by the victim and their family.  An Orange County dog bite 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 cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been the victim of a serious dog bite?

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 in Long Beach Proves Fatal

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 03/24/2012

A hit-and-run accident in Long Beach early this morning has left a 27-year-old victim dead.  According to KTLA news, the hit-and-run driver first smashed his vehicle into a parked car, setting in motion the fatal chain of events.  The unidentified driver of a green Dodge pick-up ran into and dragged the victim, Yon Chreng, who had been trying to flag him down.  The incident reportedly happened at about 1:00 a.m. in the 1100 block of Stanley Avenue.   The driver drug Chreng for a short distance before colliding with three more vehicles, dumping his truck and fleeing the scene.  Sadly, Chreng,, who lived in Long Beach, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The case is being investigated by the Long Beach Police Department as a murder, and anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police at (562) 570-7244.  Additionally, anonymous tips may be submitted via text or web by visiting www.tipsoft.com.

See the KTLA news story HERE.  

The senseless tragedy described above is likely the product of a reckless driver not wanting to be identified for hitting a parked car.  The area of the accident is generally residential with a number of homes and apartment buildings.  It goes without saying that any driver causing an accident in that area could reasonably expect to be identified.  The streets are narrow, and it seems likely (even at this hour of the morning) someone would see and/or hear a motor vehicle accident.  As for civil liability, the driver of the green Dodge pick-up is now not only facing all of the property damage claims he would otherwise have faced, he is likely to be found liable in a wrongful death suit.  Under California law, Cheung's heirs are entitled to be compensated for the loss of the society, care comfort, affection, love and support taken from them by the actions of this hit-and-run driver.  

Compensation for the victims of hit-and-run accidents should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a reckless manner causing a serious or fatal accident and then flees the scene, every effort should be made to identify them and hold them accountable for all of the injuries and damages they cause.  An attorney with experience at handling hit-and-run accidents can make a fair assessment of these claims.   Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years years of experience handling auto and hit-and-run accident cases.  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 caused by a hit-and-run 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 Killed While Crossing The Street in The Inland Empire

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 02/11/2012

Last night at about 6:30 p.m. a 50-year-old woman was fatally struck while crossing a street in the Inland Empire.  The fatal accident happened near the intersection of D Street and Sixth Street in Victorville.  According to CBS news, the victim was identified by authorities as Donna Clark.  The driver of the vehicle striking Clark, who was reportedly outside of the crosswalk, was a 28-year-old male who was not otherwise identified in the news report.  Following the accident, Clark was taken to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

See the CBS article HERE.

The accident above reportedly happened near the intersection of Sixth and D Streets in Victorville, which appears to be an intersection controlled only by stop signs on Sixth Street.  According to the Google Maps images, there are no traffic lights, and the crosswalk lines appear almost completely obliterated.  It is therefore possible Clark was actually walking within what used to be a clearly marked crosswalk or the driver striking Clark did not realize there was a pedestrian crossing at the intersection, contributing to the happening of the accident.  Since this accident happened after dark, it is important to know whether the driver had on his headlights, whether they were functioning and what speed the vehicle was traveling.  Since this area of roadway, in all directions, appears relatively flat and straight there may issues of driver attention that may play a role in the happening of the accident.

Compensation for the victims of intersection accidents caused by a careless or reckless driver should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a pedestrian is struck at or near an intersection and/or a crosswalk, the at-fault driver should be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause.  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 pedestrian 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 a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent or inattentive 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.

6-Year-Old Boy Loses Part of His Ear in Dog Attack

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/24/2012

This morning a Moreno Valley boy lost part of his ear after a large dog attacked him and his mother as they walked through their neighborhood.  According to the KTLA news story, the 6-year-old was walking alongside his mother who was pushing a stroller carrying her younger child at the time of the attack.  The tragic incident reportedly occurred at approximately 11:40 a.m. near the intersection of Indian Avenue and Myers Avenue.  The 120-pound dog apparently escaped from its yard and attacked the family.  The 6-year-old lost part of his ear and suffered a bite to the back of his head.  Paramedics rushed the boy to a nearby hospital for emergency medical treatment.  Following the attack, Moreno Valley Animal Control Services arrived and seized the dog, which is now subject to euthanasia.

See the KTLA story and photograph HERE.

Dog attacks like the one above happen with alarming frequency, in spite of the fact that nearly every municipality has laws in place to deter dog owners from allowing their animals out of their yards, even unintentionally.  In fact, the Moreno Valley Municipal Code (Section 10.02.080, entitled "At Large or Stray Animals") makes it unlawful  "... for the owner of any animal, other than a cat, to allow such animal to run at large within the city."  The Municipal Code also makes it a misdemeanor if the animal "inflicts injury to any human or animal, or threatens public health or safety".  In the case above, the owner of the dog may well have criminal culpability because of the injury to the little boy.  Beyond that, the boy's family has the right to bring a civil action against the owner on behalf of the 6-year-old.  Under California law, the court may allow a "guardian ad litem" to bring an action for the benefit of a minor child.  This would allow the guardian, usually a parent, to seek damages for their child, and money would be made available for medical needs, including any plastic surgery that may be required in the future.  In any case in which a settlement is reached between the parties (assuming the settlement is above $5,000.00), the court is called upon to determine whether the settlement is in the best interests of the child.  In making such a decision, the court takes into account a number of factors including the injury sustained, the medical expenses incurred, future medical needs and the pain and suffering the child has and/or will endure.

Compensation for the victims of vicious dog attacks should be an important concern for all Californians.   When an innocent child is attacked and seriously injured, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for all of the injuries and damages suffered.  An Orange County dog bite 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 the victim of a dog bite or 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.

 

2-Year-Old Boy Attacked By Pit Bull in Orange County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 12/27/2011

Last night, a 2-year-old boy was attacked by a pit bull at a home in Fullerton.  According to a story in the Orange County Register, the attack left the little boy with a 7-inch cut on his head.  The unidentified boy was treated by paramedics before being transported  to a nearby hospital.  Apparently, when animal control officers arrived to look for the dog they also found marijuana being grown, and the Fullerton Police Department processed the house.   According to the Register article, the boy's mother told police she was house sitting for a friend and did not live at the location. 

See the Register article and photographs HERE.

Once again, an innocent child has fallen victim to a vicious pit bull attack.  It is nothing short of infuriating that an animal with such a reputation for aggression is allowed, unrestrained and unsupervised, in the company of a small child.  While it remains to be seen where on this boy's face the wound was inflicted, a 7-inch cut or bite wound could be disfiguring and noticeable for a lifetime.  Only a number of months, if not years, of healing and perhaps scar revision can potentially erase the physical scars, but the emotional toll may last a lifetime.  Assuming the homeowner/dog owner was covered by a policy of insurance (that did not specifically exclude coverage for pit bulls, which some policies do), this little boy would appear to be entitled to a substantial recovery, providing at least some form of compensation. 

Compensation for the victims of vicious dog attacks should be an important concern for all Californians.  When an innocent victim is attacked and seriously injured (physically and emotionally), the dog’s owner should be held accountable for all of the injuries and damages suffered.  An Orange County 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 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 a dog bite or 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.

Walmart Pepper Spray Incident Could Have Been Avoided

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

KTLA news is reporting that the woman suspected of perpetrating the pepper spray incident during a Walmart Black Friday sale may have acted out of necessity.  According to the story, a Los Angeles Police official is quoted as having said, "There was no control. People were getting stampeded and trampled. There were people screaming, yelling that they were being trampled or crushed. This woman may have fired her pepper spray in self-defense."  Initially, media reports and public sentiment seemed to suggest 32 year-old Elizabeth Macias had acted out of malice or a reckless desire to secure an X-Box console during a buying frenzy.  This may not have been the case.

See the KTLA news story HERE.

When a business owner creates or at least allows a potentially volatile situation to exist on their property, ultimately causing injury to someone, they may be held liable.  Under California law, in general a business owner has a duty to use reasonable care to protect patrons from another person's harmful conduct on the owner's property if the business can reasonably anticipate such conduct.  In the case above, it seems a reasonable inference that Walmart could foresee a Black Friday sale of X-Box consoles, if not well controlled, could get out of hand and lead to customer injuries.  Beyond this, assuming that store employees actually witnessed the shoppers were getting unruly and acting aggressively toward one another before the release of the pepper spray, then Walmart could be liable for failing to intervene in time to avoid the injuries that followed.

Compensation for the victims of criminal assaults, occurring on business property, should be an important concern for all Californians. When a business patron is injured because protective measures were not taken by a business owner, the owner should be held accountable and compensation paid to the victim.  An Orange County injury 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 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 an assault that could have been prevented?

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 Vehicle Crash In La Habra Leaves One Dead

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/20/2011

According to media reports, a four-vehicle crash on Saturday night in La Habra has left one person dead and two suspects under arrest for felony hit-and-run.  The collision reportedly occurred at about 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Cypress Street and Lambert Road.  The victim has been identified as 20-year-old, Joseph Quezada, who was transported from the scene to UCI Medical Center where he died from his injuries.   The accident involved a white Toyota 4-Runner, a black Nissan Xterra, a U-Haul truck and a blue Hyundai Accent that Quezada was driving.  The Orange County Register has reported that the driver and passenger of the U-Haul truck ran from the scene and were later caught by police officers.
Richard Ambriz, 18, of Santa Fe Springs and Dustin Lish, 19 of La Habra, were arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.  The La Habra Police Department is still investigating the cause of the crash, and anyone who may have witnessed the accident is encouraged to call 562-905-9760.

See the Orange County Register story HERE

While the precise cause of this tragic crash is a mystery, those running from the scene have demonstrated what is generally regarded as "consciousness of guilt".  The flight of a person immediately after the commission of a crime, or after he is accused of a crime, is not sufficient in itself to establish his guilt, but is a fact which, if proved, may be considered by the jury in the light of all other proved facts in deciding whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty.  The weight to which this circumstance is entitled is a matter for the jury to decide.  In short, when a driver flees the scene of an accident an inference may be drawn that they were responsible for causing the accident and the injuries or death that resulted.  In the case above, the police will have to reconstruct the accident based on witness statements, skid marks, post-accident debris, points of rest of the vehicles and metal deformation of the vehicles.  This will enable them to determine speed, direction of travel, evasive action (if any) and whether a particular driver may have violated another driver's right of way.  On top of this reconstruction evidence, there will be the inferential evidence of flight, which should allow the police to assign responsibility for the accident and Quezada's death.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by hit-and-run drivers should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner so as to cause a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County auto accident 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 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 a negligent, hit-and-run 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.

Pregnant Mom and Husband Arrested For Shoplifting Sandwiches

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/01/2011

Last Wednesday, a 28 year-old, pregnant mother, Nicole Leszczynski, and her husband, Marcin, were arrested at a Safeway store in Honolulu for shoplifting when they forgot to pay for two sandwiches they ate while shopping.  To make matters even worse, because their 2 year-old daughter was with the couple when the incident occurred, she was taken away from her family and into state custody.  The Leszcynski family had only recently moved to Hawaii from California when the now nationally publicized incident occurred.  Nicole and Marcin were handcuffed, taken to the police station and released only after paying their bail and being held for several hours.

See the AP/Yahoo News story HERE.

In California, and in Hawaii, the crime of theft or shoplifting requires that the actor intend to permanently deprive the owner of their property.  In the case above, assuming that the Leszczynskis intended to pay for the sandwiches but simply forgot the wrappers in the cart at the check-out line, there was no crime.  In that scenario, their intent was not to deprive Safeway of their property.  Their actions in eating the sandwiches openly while shopping would seem to suggest they were not intending to conceal a crime.  Instead, their condcut would be consistent with an honest mistake, a lapse of memory.  Under the law, generally there must be a nexus between the act required to commit a crime and the intent to do so.

While it would appear there may not have been a crime committed, the store security involved in the Leszczynskis' apprehension was likely entitled under the law to detain the couple.  However, under the law in Hawaii, just like California, the store owner or their agent is only permitted to detain someone for a reasonable length of time to conduct an investigation, the so-called "merchant's privilege.".  Once it is determined no crime has been committed, however, the person or persons detained should not be formally arrested and charged with a crime.  In California, if the store agent goes beyond the limits of the merchant's privilege and prosecutes a patron unlawfully, the store can be held liable for false arrest and perhaps a host of other civil wrongs.

Compensation for the victims of store security misconduct should be an important concern for all Californians.  When an innocent patron is apprehended and then arrested by security, without adequate cause, the retailer should be held accountable and compensation paid to the victim.  An Orange County false arrest 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 been a victim of an unlawful arrrest or detention by store security?

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. 

 

Five Hurt in Orange County Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/11/2011

Five people were injured in an apparent DUI-related crash early this morning.  According to a report by the Orange County Register, Huntington Beach police were summoned at about 1:30 a.m. because of a traffic collision with injuries on Beach Boulevard near Newman Avenue.  According to the news report, citing the preliminary investigation, the driver of a Toyota Camry, identified as Forrest Leland Kelly, 22, was traveling north on Beach Boulevard when he broadsided a Dodge Durango going the opposite direction.  The driver of the Dodge, identified as 28-year-old Thomas William Barrett, of Costa Mesa, had three passengers inside and was preparing to make a U-turn at Newman Avenue when the collision occurred. The impact was severe and caused the Dodge to overturn in the roadway.  Paramedics transported the five people with injuries, including Kelly, to local hospitals, where they were all listed in stable condition.

Kelly, from Huntington Beach, later was arrested on suspicion of DUI, police said.  According to a check of the Orange County Superior Court website, Kelly has a history of traffic and alcohol related priors, including a pending public intoxication charge.  Anyone with information regarding the accident is urged to call the H.B. Police Department's traffic bureau at 714-536-5666.

See the Orange County Register article HERE.

It remains to be seen how badly those in the Dodge were injured and exactly what charges may be brought against Kelly.  Assuming the preliminary report is correct and he was driving while intoxicated, Kelly could be charged with a felony.  Aside from his criminal reponsibility, Kelly may be liable for the injuries sustained by the occupants of the Dodge that overturned in the accident.  If it is proven Kelly was driving while intoxicated, and that accounted for the collision, he could be responsible for not only compensatory damages (pain, suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.), but punitive damages as well.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a drunk driver should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle while under the influence 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 more than 20 years years of experience handling Orange County automobile accident cases, including those involving intoxicated 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 Orange County motor vehicle 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.

Business Owners Have a Duty To Protect Their Patrons

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/19/2011

In general, a business owner who holds their property open to the public for entry is subject to liability to members of the public while they are upon the property.  Such a business proprietor may be responsible for physical harm caused by the accidental, negligent, or intentionally harmful acts of third persons.  What the law in California requires is that the business owner exercise reasonable care to discover that such acts are being done or are likely to be done and then take measures to prevent injury or give patrons a warning adequate to enable the visitors to avoid the harm, or otherwise to protect themselves against it.   Absent doing these things, a business can be held liable in civil court.

In the context of a criminal assault taking place on business property, the victim often has no meaningful recourse against the actual perpetrator since that person will likely have little to no assets with which to satisfy a civil judgment for damages.  If a business has "set the stage" for an assault to take place or does nothing meaningful to prevent it, the law allows recovery against the business owner.  Perhaps the most common example is where a bar or restaurant allows an unruly and potentially violent customer to remain on their premises, even after a fight has begun or is inevitable.  In those circumstances, the restaurant or bar owner may be liable for the injuries sustained by an innocent victim.  One major obstacle presented by these cases is the need to prove the criminal activity would not have occurred or successful intervention could have been accomplished.  An experienced trial attorney is often able to establish this by garnering important witness testimony and perhaps securing the assistance of a security expert.

Have you or a loved one been seriously injured during an assault taking place on business property?

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 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 personal injury cases, including just this type.  Mr. Ralph can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

 

Alleged Sexual Misconduct By Orange County Pastor

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/13/2011

A pastor of an Orange County church has been accused of molesting two boys, both of whom are just 11 years old.  According to a story in the Orange County Register, the pastor of the Laguna Hills church, Oscar Perez, was arrested last weekend, and bail has now been set at 1 million dollars.  Perez is facing four felony counts (two as to each boy) and, if convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

Perez is accused of assaulting the boys at Perez' Lake Forest home, and apparently one of the alleged victims claims to have been abused during a sleepover.  According to court records cited by the Register, prosecutors accuse Perez of abusing one of the boys in July, and the other sometime between 2008 and September 2011.  Perez, identified as a bishop of the Old Catholic Church, rented space at an Episcopal church in Laguna Hills and celebrated Mass once a week, officials said. Spokesmen for the Episcopal and Roman Catholic dioceses said his church was not affiliated with them.  Authorities are asking anyone who believes they were a victim, or who has additional information on the case, to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at 714-347-8794.

See the Orange County Register story HERE.

It is not clear from the story above how Perez managed to arrange time alone with the boys and whether his church affiliation had anything to do with that.  In general, the possibility exists that pedophiles will use any position of authority to gain legitimate access to young boys in order to seduce the more susceptible ones into sexual activity.  Unfortunately sex abuse in this context is more common than accidental deaths and serious injuries combined.   It is well recognized that children engaged in organized group overnight activities are at risk of foreseeable sexual abuse.  It is certain that there exists in our society the constant possibility that persons suffering from a lack of proper mental balance or normal decency might subject young people to sexual molestation.  This fact is often illustrated by mass media accounts of crimes against children.  The general feeling of the public that this problem does exist in a threatening way has led to the conclusion by many courts of this State that those charged with the care of children are obligated to guard against sexual abuse.  Liability generally follows where the abuse is foreseeable.

Compensation for victims of sexual abuse and harassment committed by people in a position of authority should be an important concern for all Californians.  When an adult engages in sexual abuse of a child they should be held accountable, and their victims should be compensated.  An Orange County injury attorney with experience at handling sexual abuse cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury and sexual misconduct 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 sexual 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.

 

Two Children Injured Near School in Fullerton Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/08/2011

This morning a two-vehicle crash in the City of Fullerton injured two students walking to Fullerton Union High School.  According to an article in the Orange County Register, the collision was called in to the  Fullerton police at 7:10 a.m., and it occurred near Pomona and Chapman avenues.  Citing official sources, the Register reported the two vehicles crashed and then one or both of the cars hit the two students, who were crossing the street.  The injuries to the children were described as minor to moderate.  One of the students impacted the windshield of a Kia Spectra involved in the accident.  From the photographs of the accident scene, it appears the collision between the two vehicles was severe.

See the Orange County Register story HERE.

From Google images of the accident site, it is apparent the vehicle collision happened just adjacent to Fullerton Union High School.  The subject intersection is controlled by traffic signals on all corners.  The speed limit for Chapman traffic is 30 mph and for Pomona it is presumably 25 mph, given it runs through a residential area very near the accident scene.  In light of the damage to the vehicles, this would appear to have been an accident involving a left-turning driver and a straight traveling vehicle.  Under California law, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety. (California Vehicle Code § 21801)  It remains to be seen how and why this tragic accident occurred, and it is surely still under investigation by the Fullerton Police Department.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a driver's negligence should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a careless manner and causes a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable.  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 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including those involving 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 Orange County motor vehicle 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.

 

Alleged Privacy Violations Result In $865,500 Settlement Paid By UCLA

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

Pursuant to a settlement agreement reported earlier this week, UCLA Health Systems will pay $865,500 because of hospital employees accused of snooping in the medical records of two of celebrities.  According to a news story by KTLA, the complaints cover a period from 2005 to 2009, during which hospital employees were fired for improperly accessing the medical records of dozens of celebrities.  Citing the Los Angeles Times as their source of information, KTLA reported that those celebrities included Britney Spears, Farrah Fawcett and former California First Lady Maria Shriver.

See the KTLA news story HERE.

Under California law, in order to state a cause of action for invasion of privacy, a party must establish (1) a legally protected privacy interest, (2) a reasonable expectation of privacy in the records, (3) a serious invasion of the privacy interest, and (4) damages caused by the invasion of the privacy interest.  In general, medical records are considered highly sensitive materials that fall within the scope of the right to privacy.  However, the constitutional right to privacy is not absolute, and it may be outweighed by supervening concerns.  For example, when the state of California has enough of an interest in discovering the truth in legal proceedings, it may compel disclosure of confidential material.   This sometimes comes up in the context of criminal and child custody proceedings in which a litigant’s medical history or condition is regarded as important to the outcome.  However, as in the case above, when the motivation is “snooping” and is committed by a private individual or entity, there is rarely a defense to the intrusion and the issue becomes one of damages.  With regard to disclosure of medical records, under certain Civil Code Sections (referred to as the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act) nominal damages are recoverable regardless of whether there was actual harm to the patient.

Compensation for the victims of  privacy violations should be an important concern for all Californians.  When an individual or entity discloses private medical information in violation of the law, they should be held 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 privacy cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you been the victim of an invasion of privacy?

  • 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.

Sexual Harassment - Retaliation Claims

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

In a recent appellate decision from the California First District Court of Appeals, the court held that an employer could be held liable for retaliatory action taken by co-workers and not the company itself.   In deciding the issue in favor of the alleged victim, the appellate court agreed that an employer may be found to have engaged in an adverse employment action, and thus liable for retaliation, by permitting fellow employees to punish him or her for invoking their rights.  In other words, the court held that an employer may be held liable for coworker retaliatory conduct if the employer knew or should have known of coworker retaliatory conduct and either participated and encouraged the conduct, or failed to take reasonable actions to end the retaliatory conduct. (Kelley v. The Conco Cos. ( 2011) Cal. App. LEXIS 690)

In general, under the law in California, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under the sexual harassment statute, Government Code Section 12940.  Typically, in order to establish a case of retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), a plaintiff must show (1) he or she engaged in a protected activity, (2) the employer subjected the employee to an adverse employment action, and (3) a causal link existed between the protected activity and the employer’s action.  Once an employee establishes this, the employer is required to offer a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason for the adverse employment action.  If the employer produces evidence of a legitimate reason for the adverse employment action, the presumption of retaliation ‘“‘drops out of the picture,’”’ and the burden shifts back to the employee to prove intentional retaliation.  The ruling above focuses on the second prong, the adverse employment action, and it allows the plaintiff to establish the case if the employer was or should have been aware of retaliatory conduct and participated, encouraged or failed failed to stop it.

Compensation for victims of sexual harassment and discrimination should be an important concern for all Californians.  When someone complains of sexual harassment and other employees retaliate, the employer should be held liable if they knew or should have known this was occurring and failed to take remedial action.  An Orange County trial 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 sexual harassment 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 sexual harassment or discrimination?

  • 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.

Elderly San Diego Woman Badly Mauled By Neighbor’s Pit Bulls

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

A 75 year-old woman, Emako Mendoza, was reportedly attacked by her neighbor’s pit bulls on Saturday while outside getting her morning newspaper.   According to an ABC news report, Mendoza was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital in serious condition following the attack.  She apparently suffered injuries to her body, arms and legs.  According to the report, the pit bulls, which belonged to a neighbor, got into the victim’s yard through a hole in the fence.   Mendoza’s husband, James Mendoza, said his wife may lose her leg and may lose an arm.  The dogs have been euthanized.

See the ABC story and photo HERE.

Once again, a pit bull attack takes center stage in the news.  Unfortunately, when such a dog bites someone the injuries are often devastating, especially when compared to other dog attacks.  This breed of dog is known for latching on to its victim and not letting go until flesh and underlying tissue are badly torn.  In the case above, that is apparently what happened, and it remains to be seen whether Mendoza’s limbs can be saved.   Presumably, every effort will be made to save her from an amputation, and doctors may have to perform multiple procedures in order to maintain the viability of the victim’s arm and leg.  No one, especially not an elderly woman simply picking up her morning paper, should have to suffer such a life-altering tragedy through no fault of her own.  The owners of these pit bulls, absent extraordinary circumstances, will likely be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by their animals.

Compensation for the victims of vicious dog attacks should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a victim is attacked and seriously injured, 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.

Update: Suspect Arrested In Connection With High School Coach’s Death

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

An arrest has been made after one man was killed in a dispute outside the Albatros Mexican restaurant in Lake Forest on June 11th.  The victim,  26-year-old Elvis Kechechian of Mission Viejo, was fatally stabbed outside the restaurant after an altercation began inside.  A second victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition.  KTLA news reported the suspect, Justin Tombleson, has been taken into custody and charged with the murder.  Tombleson appears to have a history of violent crime, going back to 2003, at least according to a search of the Orange County Superior Court website.

See the KTLA story HERE.

Aside from Tombleson’s potential liability for the stabbings, the Albatros restaurant may also have exposure to a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, and for the injuries sustained by the critically injured victim.  Depending on what went on inside the restaurant before the violent altercation outside, the owner of the Albatros could be liable for having been negligent in failing to protect to the two victims.  This liability, if any, will depend on the nature of the altercation inside, the length of time over which it took place and the steps taken, if any, by employees of the Albatros to prevent the death and serious injuries that eventually did occur.

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.

Pedestrian Killed In Hollywood Collision

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

A pedestrian was struck and killed this morning in Hollywood, near the busy Hollywood and Highland intersection.  A taxi traveling north on Highland Avenue at about 4:45 a.m. struck a man who was crossing the street north of Hollywood Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Times and CBS News.  The victim, a man approximately in his 30s to 40s, died at the scene, according to official sources.

See the LA Times story HERE and the CBS news report (with video) HERE.

The news stories above reported that it was dark outside at the time of the accident, and it is unknown what role, if any, lighting played in the happening of this tragic collision.  The intersection of Highland and Hollywood Boulevard was also described as “busy”, and it is not yet known if traffic conditions contributed to the occurrence of the accident.  In all likelihood, the investigation into the tragedy will include a sight-distance analysis as well as a human factors evaluation.  If the pedestrian could be seen in the road for longer than two seconds prior to the impact, then the driver’s attention will be called into question, particularly if his speed was relatively slow.  For example, the amount of time it takes the average driver to perceive and react to a danger is about 1.5 seconds.  Consequently, if a pedestrian is visible in the roadway ahead of a driver for 2 seconds or more then the driver should have time to take evasive action and avoid a collision.

Compensation for pedestrian victims of automobile accidents, caused by a driver’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver’s inattention causes him to strike a pedestrian, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling auto accident 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 injured or killed in a pedestrian versus motor vehicle 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.

Driver Arrested for Drunk Driving in Tragic Irvine Crash

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

The Orange County Register has reported a very serious automobile accident happened at 1:15 a.m. Sunday when a Mercedes and a Toyota pickup collided at an Irvine intersection.  Reportedly, a 14 year-old passenger in the Mercedes, Ashton Sweet, was one of five injured after the Mercedes-Benz in which she was riding was struck in the early-morning collision.  Three others, including the car’s driver, identified as Mike Ghaemi, were treated at the hospital and released.  Krista Merassa, 15, remains in critical condition according to friends, and Sweet has been described as being brain dead, but on life support until her organs can be donated.  The four girls were apparently on their way home from celebrating the birthday of one of the girls.  The driver of the Toyota, Austin Farley, 26, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and was taken to the Orange County Jail.  He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, and neither Farley nor his passenger was injured in the collision.

See the Register story and photographs HERE.

While the precise cause of the accident has yet to be determined, a finding that Farley was at fault could result in criminal charges against him for vehicular manslaughter or perhaps even murder. California law provides that aggravated drunk driving can increase a defendant’s liability for a vehicular homicide to a second-degree murder.  In general, California has followed the rule in vehicular homicide cases that when the conduct in question can be characterized as a wanton disregard for life, and the facts demonstrate a subjective awareness of the risk created, malice may be implied.  In those circumstances, a murder charge may be brought.  This so-called implied malice second degree murder is committed  when a person does an act, the natural consequences of which are dangerous to life, which act was deliberately performed by a person who knows that his conduct endangers the life of another and who acts with conscious disregard for life.  Assuming that Farley ran a red light and/or was speeding, he could very well face a second degree murder charge,  Orange County Superior Court records show he has a history of arrests related to his operation of a motor vehicle.

Beyond the criminal charges, Farley could also face a number of lawsuits for personal injury and perhaps wrongful death.  If he was indeed negligent or reckless in causing this horrific accident, Farley would be civilly liable for the injuries and damages that resulted from his conduct.  In the context of a civil case, the plaintiff’s burden is reduced, and the standard to be met is the preponderance of the evidence, as opposed to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Compensation for the victims of drunk driving accidents, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When an intoxicated driver negligently or recklessly causes a traffic accident and serious injuries or death result, 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 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 injured in an automobile accident involving a drunk 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.

Are Skechers' Shape-ups What They Claim?

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

Like most of us, you have probably seen a number of ads for Skechers' Shape-ups.  The company touts these toning shoes as being able to improve the wearer's health in a wide range of ways.  From improving posture to reducing fat, the Skechers' Shape-ups are advertised as seemingly one of the best investments a consumer could make in their health.

However, studies which suggest the shoes provide little to no benefit are pouring in.  Critics, including licensed health care professionals, have linked the shoes to an increased risk of injury and falls. One such study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) was released in July of last year.  According to ACE, all three toning shoes tested (including Skechers' Shape-ups) showed no statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during treadmill trials, when compared to the normal athletic shoes tested.  The researchers found there was simply no evidence to indicate that the toning shoes offer any enhanced fitness benefits over traditional sneakers, despite studies cited by manufacturers seemingly “proving” the toning shoes’ effectiveness.  See the study summary at the ACE website.

As indicated in an earlier post, the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph has filed what appears to be Orange County's  first product liability lawsuit against Skechers, as a result of injuries sustained by a Shape-ups wearer.  Since that time, Mr. Ralph has received consumer reports from as far away as Chicago that they have experienced injuries/pain as a result of wearing Shape-ups.  The product liability action here in Orange County will be moving forward in discovery shortly and informative blog posts should follow.

Compensation for the victims of dangerously defective products, including toning shoes, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a product, such as toning shoes, causes severe injuries or chronic medical conditions, the manufacturer 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.

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.

   

Sheriff's Deputy in San Bernardino Accused of Molesting Explorer

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

The Press Enterprise has reported a San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy arrested on suspicion of having sex with an underage girl supervised the alleged victim in the department's Explorer program.   The Sheriff's Department's announcement came nearly a week after the arrest of Nathan James Gastineau, a traffic deputy who supervised the department's Explorer program at the Highland station.  Arrested on Monday for investigation of having sex with the same 16-year-old Redlands girl was 27-year-old Jason Henry Anguiano, of Rialto.

See the Enterprise story HERE.

The case above has marked similiarities to a lawsuit handled by attorney Paul W. Ralph in 2002.  In that case, Doe vs. City of Murrieta  (2002) 102 Cal. App. 4th 899 , two female Explorer Scouts were sexually victimized by a police officer, while on and off duty.  In the Doe case, the City of Murrieta successfully brought before the court a motion for summary judgment, disposing of the case in the City's favor.  However, Mr. Ralph's arguments on appeal carried the day, and the trial court's decision was reversed.  That appellate decision became the law in California, and the County of San Bernardino now must prove they were in no way negligent in the supervision of the Explorer Program in order to avoid civil liability to the 16 year-old victim in the case above.

Compensation for the minor victims of sexual abuse and harassment should be an important concern for all Californians.  When someone in a position of authority, such as a police officer, takes advantage of a child in their charge, those responsible for allowing this to occur 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 sexual abuse 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 sexual abuse?

  • 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.

Dogs Maul Three Victims in Wilmington

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

According to a KTLA news report, a pit bull mix and a boxer mix are in the custody of animal control officials after severely mauling a 71-year-old woman and two men at a park in Wilmington yesterday.  The attacks happened near Wilmington Park Elementary School on the 1100 block on Coli Avenue shortly after students were dismissed for the day.  Alfredo Ramos, 35, and his 71-year-old mother-in-law, Rita Torres, said they were attacked by the two dogs as they were returning home from picking up his son and another child from the school.  The two dogs, a male pit bull terrier and Akita mix and a boxer and American bulldog mix, were reportedly roaming free on the sidewalk at the time of the attack.  The dogs then ran to a nearby park where they apparently attacked another man sitting on a park bench.

See the full KTLA story and photos HERE.

Under California law, a dog owner is strictly liable when their animal attacks someone, whether the attack occurs on or off the owner's property.  In other words, dog owners are liable for attacks even if they were not negligent.  In this regard, California Civil Code Section 3342, provides in part:

The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner ...when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner...

In spite of this statute, a dog owner may defend a dog bite claim on the grounds that the victim assumed the risk of injury by provoking the attack or was somehow comparatively negligent in their conduct.  In the story above, there is no suggestion any of the victims provoked these vicious attacks or in some way assumed the risk of their injuries.

Compensation for the victims of serious or fatal dog bites is an important concern for all Californians.  When a victim is attacked and badly injured or even killed, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for any 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 20 years of experience handling personal 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 bite?

  • 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.

 

Rollover Accident on Main Street in Santa Ana

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

The Orange County Register has reported this morning that a serious, rollover accident occurred on Main Street in Santa Ana.  A woman had to be cut from her car after it rolled onto its side in the crash.  The collision involved a gray Honda Element and a red sedan.  It happened just after 11 a.m. and closed the northbound lanes of Main Street, just north of the I-5 freeway, for 45 minutes, Battalion Chief Jim Henery said.  The sedan sustained "minimal damage", but the Element may have flipped at least once before landing on its side.  Rescue crews had to pry open the car with the "jaws of life" to free the woman in the Honda.  Neither driver was with any passengers.  The driver of the Element (described only as a woman in her 30s) was taken to UCI Medical Center with what were described as "significant" injuries.

See the Register story and photos HERE.

While the cause of the accident is likely still under investigation, it seems this collision may have to be reconstructed in order to determine who was at fault.  Photographs, measurements and witness statements were likely collected at the scene and will have to be evaluated carefully in order to determine just how the accident occurred.  Additionally, a mechanical inspection of both vehicles (if performed by law enforcement on scene) will better enable the police department to decide the issue of responsibility.  It is not all that uncommon, however, for a privately retained accident reconstruction expert to differ with a law enforcement generated reconstruction, do the limits of time and money in the public sector.  Traffic Collision reports often contain conclusions of fault regarding accidents that ultimately are discounted by a civil jury.  That is why it is important in most cases to consider retaining a private accident reconstruction expert to assess the accuracy of the conclusions drawn by law enforcement traffic officers.

Compensation for victims of serious injury automobile collisions, caused by a negligent driver, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a careless or reckless manner and causes a serious accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County accident 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 those involving serious automobile accidents.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a serious motor vehicle collision 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.

   

Chain Reaction Crash in Anaheim

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

The Orange County Register has reported that an 85-year-old man leaving a Jaguar dealership in Anaheim on Monday afternoon hit two cars on the street and then crashed into two more cars at a Mercedes-Benz dealership.   Citing police sources, the Register reported the crash occurred about 1 p.m. when the man was leaving the Jaguar dealership on East La Palma Avenue.  The man, driving a Buick Regal, drove out of the driveway and the struck a Honda Accord.  The elderly driver's car and the Accord collided into a Toyota Highlander.  The Buick reportedly continued at a high rate of speed into Mercedes Benz of Anaheim where it struck two expensive vehicles.  The driver of the Toyota Highlander injured her knee in the crash, but her grandson, in the back seat, was uninjured.  

See the full story HERE.

This accident is still under investigation, but it would seem to have signs of driver confusion.  The fact this elderly driver struck so many vehicles and continued on his way would seem to suggest he may have had "pedal confusion", in which the driver mistakes the gas for the brake pedal.  This is the same issue raised in 2003 when an 87-year-old man ran over and killed 10 people and injured 63 others at a marketplace near Los Angeles.  That high profile case reignited debate in California over whether drivers should be required to take road tests when they reach a certain age.  The law in California prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles from testing on the basis of age alone.  In spite of the media attention and debate over the abilities of elderly drivers, statistics show that the most dangerous drivers are teenagers, who are about two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers 65 and older.  Regardless of which side of this debate you are on, driver carelessness at any age can be lethal.

Compensation for victims of injury or fatal automobile accidents, caused by reckless drivers of any age, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle in a careless or reckless manner and causes a serious accident, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County injury 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 automobile accidents.  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.

   

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.

   

Security Adequate at Dodger Stadium?

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

The Associated Press and Fox News are reporting  the San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten at Dodger Stadium after last week's opening game shows signs of brain damage and remains in critical condition.  While the victim, Bryan Stow, remains hospitalized police detectives are looking into unconfirmed reports that the same suspects struck other Giants fans minutes before the attack that left Stow in a coma.  Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic and father of two from Santa Cruz, remains in critical but guarded condition at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.  As a result of the attack, he suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his brain's frontal lobes, said Dr. Gabriel Zada, a neurosurgeon.  According to Zada, "there is evidence of brain injury and dysfunction."

See the Fox News story HERE.

Among the issues coming to light in this case is whether the Dodgers' security staff took reasonable steps to prevent this assault from occurring on their premises.   There are now unconfirmed reports that these same assailants attacked other Giants fans prior to the vicious attack on Stow.   Assuming this to be true, then the question becomes whether, under California law, the Dodgers' duty to take reasonable steps to secure common areas against foreseeable criminal acts of third parties was fulfilled.  Under California premises liability law, a business proprietor has a duty to take affirmative action to control the wrongful acts of third persons which threaten invitees where the proprietor has reasonable cause to anticipate such acts and the probability of resulting injury.  Here, if the Dodgers' security staff failed to intervene and protect Stow from the assault that should have been foreseen, the Dodgers would be liable.

Compensation for the victims of violent crimes that occur on a business owner's property is an important concern for all Californians.  When a business proprietor invites guests onto their property they should be held accountable if they fail to provide a reasonably safe environment.  An Orange County personal 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 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 place of 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.

Assistant Principal Arrested for Sexual Abuse Of Student

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

According to a story reported by KTLA news, an assistant school principal in New Rochelle, New York, who recently resigned from his post was arrested and charged last Friday with sexually abusing a 14-year-old student.  According to authorities, Jose Martinez is accused of having "ongoing courses of manual and oral sex" with the male student between March 2010 and June 2010, inside his middle school office.

See the full story HERE.

In California, except where sexual misconduct by on-duty police officers against members of the public is involved, an employer is not automatically liable to the third party for such misconduct.  For example, the courts have held a church is not liable for repeated acts of sexual assault on a minor by the child's Sunday school teacher.  In another California case, a school district was found not liable for their janitor's rape of a student.  However, where it can be shown the employer/public entity was negligent in the hiring, retention and/or supervision of the offender, then liability can be found.  If the employer knew or reasonably should have known of the potential for sexual abuse, but failed to prevent that from occurring, they may be found liable.

Compensation for child victims of sexual abuse and harassment should be an important concern for all Californians.  When an employer is negligent and that carelessness allows a minor to be victimized, the business 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 sexual assault 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 sexual abuse?

  • 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.

Pedestrian Killed Crossing Street in Indio

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

According to a story in the Press Enterprise, last Wednesday a 57-year-old woman was killed while crossing a street to pick up her mail.  Citing police sources, the Enterprise reported the victim, Jacqueline Cramer,  was struck by a Ford Explorer at 4:41 p.m., along the 45200 block of Coeur d'Alene Drive inside Indian Springs Country Club.  In spite of being airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center, Cramer died about three hours after the accident.  The truck was driven by a 68-year-old Indio man whose name has not been released.

See the full story HERE.

This fatal Indio automobile accident tragically demonstrates the danger all pedestrians face when crossing the street.  While the precise circumstances of this pedestrian accident have yet to be released, it is likely the responsibility will be determined only after a careful evaluation and reconstruction of the accident.  It remains to be seen whether the motorist was traveling at a safe speed and if there was sufficient time for him to have observed Cramer in the roadway, allowing for evasive action.  The Explorer's speed, the roadway configuration and the pedestrian's location in the street will all be important factors in assessing what caused this pedestrian accident.  In addition, the recount of the accident by any witnesses and their ability to observe how this accident unfolded will likely aid in determining whether negligence caused or contributed to the happening of this tragic, fatal accident.

Compensation for pedestrian victims of automobile 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 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 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 pedestrian versus motor vehicle 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.

   

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.

Swim Instructor Accused of Raping Student

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

According to a news report by KTLA, a well known Orange County swim instructor, Todd Sousa, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of child molestation and rape.  Citing Orange County Sheriff Department sources, KTLA went on to report the 15-year-old female victim and her mother walked into Irvine Police Department Wednesday to report that she had sex on four occasions with her swim coach.  Sousa, 36, was arrested Thursday at J. Serra Catholic High School, where he was coaching.  Sousa's company, which he has been operating with his wife since 1994, leases pool space from campuses for swim lessons and is not employed by any schools.  Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities at 714-647-4005.

See the full story HERE.

Generally, the courts have not imposed vicarious liability on private or public entities for sexual assaults or misconduct of their employees.  However, where an employer fails to take protective measures to deter sexual exploitation of minors in their care, such as adequately supervising and enforcing applicable rules and regulations, liability may be imposed.  For example, where it is apparent a minor has become infatuated with an adult and the two are spending unusual amounts of time alone together, the adult's employer may be liable if the minor is victimized.  Under California law, liability may be imposed on a private employer or public entity where the defendant knew or should have known the exploitation was likely to occur, but did not intervene to deter such misconduct.

Compensation for victims of sexual abuse and harassment, especially where the victim is a minor, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a private or public employer allows such victimization to occur, when they knew or should have known it could happen, 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.

 

Woman Killed in Orange While Walking Dog

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

According to a story in the Orange County Register, a woman was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street in the City of Orange, late last night.  The 28 year-old woman, Amelia Shields, was reportedly walking with a male companion and her dog and was crossing the street in the crosswalk when she was struck by a car on Chapman Avenue between Main and Batavia streets.  Citing the City News Service, the Register reported the woman was attended to by paramedics and pronounced dead at the scene at 11:04 p.m. The driver reportedly stopped and was being questioned by police.

Read the full story HERE.

While the precise circumstances of this tragic accident have yet to be reported, it is a fair statement that the driver of the vehicle likely has considerable responsibility for the accident.  It appears the victim was lawfully where pedestrians are expected to be found at intersections.  Normally, a pedestrian is entitled to believe their right of way will be respected, and it is not negligent for a pedestrian to act on the basis of that belief.  From the little known about the accident thus far, there does not appear to be any reason to believe this victim had any warning of the impending danger until it was too late or that something occurred to place her on notice that the driver was about to violate the law designed for her protection.  Once more details are known, then additional factors such as the lighting, clothing worn and relative safety of the intersection and crosswalk may be taken into account.

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 personal injury 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 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 pedestrian versus motor vehicle 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.

Woman Seriously Hurt in Huntington Beach Hit and Run

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

On Thursday, January 13th, a 39-year-old woman suffered serious injuries after she was struck by an unidentified vehicle that fled the scene, according to the Orange County Register citing police sources.  The incident occurred at approximately 12:10 a.m. on Warner Avenue west of Nichols Lane, according to the Huntington Beach Police Department.  Officers found the woman injured and unconscious on the roadway, police said.

According to police, the vehicle that struck the victim left the scene of the crash. The driver has not yet been identified.  The victim was treated at the scene by Huntington Beach Fire Department paramedics and was taken to UCI Medical Center where she was treated for serious injuries.  Police said there were conflicting vehicle descriptions given at the time of the crash. Witnesses are urged to call the Huntington Beach Police Department Traffic Bureau at 714-536-5670.

See the complete story and photos at http://www.ocregister.com/news/-283951--.html

Under California law, a driver who leaves the scene of an injury accident is guilty of violating Vehicle Code Section 20001, which provides in part:  "The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004" (having to do with sharing insurance and identifying information).  In the case above, the driver of the vehicle that struck the victim undoubtedly violated this section, and the only apparent question is whether the injuries justify the most sever sanction permitted.  Section 20001 provides for a prison sentence of up to four years when "death, or permanent injury, serious" results from the accident.   As used in that section, "permanent, serious injury" means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.

Compensation for the victims of hit and run accidents is an important concern for all Californians.  When a victim is seriously injured or killed and the driver flees the scene, that driver should be held accountable for any injuries and damages suffered as a result.  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.  Mr. Ralph can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been a victim of a hit and run 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.

Fiery Crash in Orange County Results in Driver's Death

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

At approximately 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday night, a fiery crash along the westbound Artesia (91) Freeway in Buena Park took the life of a driver.  According to news reports citing sources from the California Highway Patrol, a van was reported on fire at 11:18 p.m. on the 91 east of Knott Avenue.  A tree also was reported on fire, and responding engine crews had several lanes of the freeway blocked at one point.  According to official sources, the man was driving in the number 3 lane at about 65 to 70 mph when his 2003 Chevrolet van caught fire.  The driver reportedly swerved to the right off the roadway, hit the shoulder wall, and crashed into a tree.  In spite of the fire department's quick response and dowsing of the flames, the victim, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.  The accident remains under investigation, and witnesses are urged to call 714-892-4426 to assist.

See the full story and video at http://www.ocregister.com/news/chp-283767-right-fire.html

While the precise cause of the fire remains to be determined, it is possible the fire (since it apparently began while the driver was simply traveling down the freeway) was caused by a defect in the 2003 Chevrolet van.  Fire within a vehicle's engine compartment does not ordinarily start spontaneously unless there is an unreasonably dangerous defect with the motor vehicle.  A careful mechanical inspection by an expert, perhaps a member of the CHP, may reveal the precise cause. Ordinarily, a vehicle fire of this magnitude erupts from an impact causing the gas tank to explode.  For example, one of the most noteworthy products liability cases in Orange County history involved a 1972 Ford Pinto hatchback automobile which unexpectedly stalled on a freeway, erupting into flames when it was rear ended by a car proceeding in the same direction. Mrs. Lilly Gray, the driver of the Pinto, suffered fatal burns, and 13-year-old Richard Grimshaw, a passenger in the Pinto, suffered severe and permanently disfiguring burns on his face and entire body. Grimshaw and the heirs of Mrs. Gray (Grays) sued Ford Motor Company and others.  Following a very lengthy jury trial, verdicts were returned in favor of plaintiffs against Ford Motor Company.   Grimshaw was awarded $ 2,516,000 compensatory damages and $125 million punitive damages; the Grays were awarded $559,680 in compensatory damages.  The trial court effectively reduced the punitive damage award to $3 1/2 million.  (Grimshaw vs. Ford Motor Company (1981) 119 Cal. App. 3d 757)

Compensation for the victims of dangerously defective products should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a motor vehicle, or other product, causes severe injuries or death, the manufacturer should be held accountable for the injuries, damages and devastation they leave behind.  An Orange County injury lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has nearly 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 been injured or killed by a defective 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.

Dog Attack Claims Life of Murrieta Man

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

According to news reports, a 67 year old man died Sunday from injuries he suffered when the family dog mauled him October 14th, at his nephew's home in Murrieta. Edward Mitchell reportedly dropped something in the backyard and then struggled over the object with the dog, which became aggressive.  The dog apparently lunged for Mr. Mitchell's neck and also attacked his arm and groin.  According to a family member, she had to tranquilize the dog twice as it charged at police officers.  There may have been a history of someone playing roughly with the dog, she said.  Paramedics treated Mr. Mitchell at the home for severe bleeding and a bite to the neck, Murrieta police Lt. Dennis Vrooman told reporters.  Mr. Mitchell was admitted to a convalescent home for follow-up care, and later returned to the home, where he died Sunday.  The dog was euthanized just after the attack.

http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/pit_bull_attack.13c45023.html

While this particular dog may have had a history of showing a vicious propensity, the law does not require such evidence before imposing liability on the dog owner.  In California, a dog owner is liable the first time it bites someone, and no evidence of negligence need be presented. This is known as "strict liability".  Defenses can be raised on behalf of the dog owner, however, such as the negligence of the dog bite victim.  Any comparative negligence on the part of the victim can be used to offset the liability of the dog owner, but such defenses are rarely utilized or successful.  In the case above, the owner of the dog (presumably the victim's nephew) would be liable for the attack and the death of Mr. Mitchell.  While the precise circumstances still need to be determined, it would appear the victim was simply in the back yard trying to recover something he inadvertently dropped.  It would not seem likely Mr. Mitchell could be faulted much, if at all, for what occurred.  His surviving family members likely possess a valid claim for wrongful death, assuming the victim was not the dog's owner.

Compensation for the victims of serious or fatal dog bites is an important concern for all Californians.  When a victim is attacked and badly injured or even killed, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for any injuries and damages suffered.  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.  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 bite?

  • 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.

How To Prosecute Your Slip and Fall Claim

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

Everyday in California someone slips or trips and falls in a retail or commercial environment.  Often times the cause is the neglect of the property or business owner in not maintaining a reasonably safe environment for patrons.   Those who suffer injuries as a result of a slip or trip and fall accident have certain rights that need protecting.  Preparing for the eventual possibility, if not probability, that you may have to prove your case in court, an accident victim should take certain steps to ensure their claim is perfected as well as it can be.

The first and most important step is to document the circumstances surrounding the fall.  While it may not immediately occur to you to do this, you, a friend or family member should take the following steps as close in time to the happening of the accident as possible:

  • Photograph the area of the fall and any slip/trip hazard present (i.e., water or liquid on a salesfloor, etc.)
  • Gather names of witnesses to the fall
  • Report the accident to management while at the scene, or as soon thereafter as possible
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained
  • Document as soon as possible what happened in notes intended to be shared in the future with an attorney

Every slip/trip and fall accident is different, and the victim's ability to accomplish everything on the list above will vary from case to case.  However, it is important to as many of these things as soon as possible since the loss of evidence is often what compromises the merit of such a case.  If the cause of the accident is not readily apparent, the scene should still be documented since some cases will depend on the eye and opinion of an expert.  For example, while there may not appear to be anything dangerous on a floor when a victim falls, the co-efficient of friction (slipperiness) of the floor may have been the invisible cause.  It would be important in such a case just to establish the cleanliness and general condition of the flooring so that later expert testing can simulate the same condition.

An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to evlauate the evidence collected, and perhaps collect additional evidence, in order to ensure the victim's case is fairly evlauated and thereafter presented, should the claim be meritorious.  In some cases, only the  investigation permitted after the filing of a lawsuit (civil discovery) will permit the attorney a fair opportunity to determine whether the case is truly valid.

Compensation for the victims of fall accidents, caused by another’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a trip and fall occurs on someone else’s property because of the owner’s negligence, the owner  should be held accountable.  An Orange County injury 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 injured in a slip or trip and fall accident?

  • 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.

Multiple Fatalities in 210 Freeway Collision

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

According to news reports, at least two people were killed and several others injured in a traffic collision that shut down the 210 Freeway on Thursday night.  Emergency personnel responded to the scene at about 6 p.m., and the incident reportedly occurred in the eastbound lanes at Mountain Avenue.  At least nine vehicles and a tractor-trailer combination were involved in the fiery collision.

One person was apparently declared dead at the scene of the accident, prompting call and response by the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office.   The cab of the big rig was completely blackened by fire, and several other vehicles were also destroyed by fire.  The cause of the accident is still under investigation, and initial reports seem to rule out the possibility of drugs or alcohol being a factor. http://www.dailybulletin.com/rss/ci_16653819?source=rss

When horrific collisions like this occur on California freeways, it is a reminder to all of us who get behind the wheel that nothing should be taken for granted.  Through no fault of a driver, a cascade of unfortunate circumstances can unfold in just a second, causing serious, permanent injury and even death.  While negligence likely played a role in the happening of this accident, it was probably the fault of no more than one or two of the drivers involved.  Consequently, in all likelihood there are at least seven innocent victims in this tragedy, not to mention their friends and families who will have to deal with the aftermath.   While perfect justice cannot be achieved (since we cannot undo all of the harm and loss of life), it is important that the victims in a situation like this are compensated and the responsible party or parties held accountable.  Our civil justice system is premised on these ideas compensation and accountability, intended to bring about a fundamental fairness necessary to maintain the civility we have all come to expect.

Compensation for victims of auto/truck accidents, caused by someone’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle recklessly and/or recklessly and causes a serious traffic collision and injuries or death, 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 involved in a freeway collision caused by another’s 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.

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