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Tort Reform

Hot Coffee the Movie Shows the Ill Effect of Tort Reform

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on June 26, 2011 - Comments off

Remember the McDonald’s coffee case? A woman orders a cup of hot coffee. She puts the cup in between her legs as she drives. Then, the coffee spills, and she gets third-degree burns on very private areas on her body. Cha-ching!
Though, that is not exactly the whole story. Susan Saladoff, director of the documentary film Hot Coffee, which premieres on HBO tonight at 6 p.m. PST, shows viewers what really happened in the infamous “McDonald’s hot coffee” lawsuit. The movie looks at what actually happened to Stella Liebeck, why the case got so much media attention, who funded the effort, and who really profited from spilling hot coffee.
Hot Coffee is a “call to action.” It asks the question, What happens when access to court is so lopsided that the average person cannot gain access? And who really pays the price, the negligent party or taxpayers?
In the four cases the film documents, Saladoff shows how Americans are surrendering their Constitutional rights in all sorts of ways without even knowing it and how they are being screwed by the system –not taking advantage of it.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of a defective product or negligent person, you are entitled to damages. The California personal injury attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group will protect your Constitutional rights and get the money you deserve.


What Good Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do For Society?

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on November 17, 2010 - Comments off

Unfortunately, personal injury attorneys have a bad reputation with most people. Many see our role in the legal profession as greedy and vindictive people who chase ambulances in order to make money at the expense of our clients and society.
Not only is the stereotype false, but many people overlook all the good things that injury lawyers do. We are dedicated to our work and we are motivated by ensuring our client’s rights are represented so that they receive the compensation they deserve.
The San Diego accident attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group certainly do not fall under this poor stereotype. We recently wrote an article about the stereotypes about our profession, why they are not true, and why injury attorneys benefit the public. Click on the link below to read the full article and learn about why personal injury lawyers are good for society.


Dangerous Product Case Opinion Limits the Rights of Californians

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on November 17, 2010 - Comments off

The California Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District recently handed down a decision in the case of Gonzalez v. Southern California Gas Company that can only be described as questionable at best and destructive to the rule of law at worst.
A young girl died after her car hit a gas meter that was along the side of the road and not properly covered as required by federal law—a law that was created due to the foreseeability of accidents like this one. The jury ruled in her favor, but the Court of Appeals decided to reverse the verdict, leaving her family without justice. What makes it worse is that the Court decided NOT to publish their opinion for official review and authority—an indication that the justices may have realized that their ruling was unsupported by existing case law.
Our San Diego injury lawyer website recently wrote a brief article detailing the events of this defective products lawsuit and why this is important to everyone to read and understand. The Court decided not to provide the public with protections that previous courts and Congress had intended gas companies to install. Please read our article on this outrageous tort reform opinion for the full story.


Will Schwarzenneger and GOP Hurt Californians With Tort Reform?

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 24, 2010 - Comments off

We’ve written about the misguided instrument known as tort reform that is intended to help protect society from runaway litigation costs, but really only helps irresponsible companies and people from having to pay for the full extent of the damage they cause for others.
California is no stranger to tort reform measures, such as MICRA, which has been a boon to insurance companies in reducing their risks while still permitting them to charge exorbitant rates to doctors to protect them from medical malpractice claims. Now, in an effort to solve the California budget shortfall, Governor Schwarzenegger and the Republicans in the legislature are trying to force tort reform measures into law.
The most destructive of these measures is the implementation of a damages cap on pain and suffering. Damage caps are arbitrary and, in my opinion, illegally remove authority from jurors to determine appropriate damages in civil case. The arbitrariness of damage caps is made even worse when the cap is set at a ridiculously low level–$250,000 as proposed by the Governor.
The Governor’s attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the injured is misplaced and unfair.

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Posted in: Tort Reform


The Arbitrary and Unfair Impact of Tort Reform

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 23, 2010 - Comments off

Earlier today, my friend and New York medical malpractice attorney Gerry Oginski posted this link on Facebook to a New York medical malpractice verdict against a podiatrist. The verdict was noteworthy in that the jury awarded $3,000,000 for the victim’s pain and suffering ($1.5 million for past pain and suffering and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering).
This sparked a discussion amongst several lawyers from throughout the country about how inequitable tort reform laws are to the victim solely because of where they choose to live or receive medical treatment.
In New York, there is no tort reform cap on pain and suffering damages. Therefore, the $3,000,000 verdict, so long as it is supported by evidence, will not be reduced. However, here in California, we have MICRA–California’s tort reform measure which places certain limits and requirements on medical malpractice lawyers and their injured clients. Specifically, the California legislature has placed a cap on pain and suffering at $250,000. It does not matter how badly injured you are, whether you need constant medication to live with moderate pain the rest of your life, had 2 wrong limbs amputated, etc. California has decided that under NO circumstances is anyone’s pain and suffering worth more than $250,000 when injured by a doctor.
So, let’s assume that we have 2 people who have suffered the same injury and have the same prognosis. The only difference is that one was injured by a New York doctor and the other by a California doctor. The former victim will get compensated $3,000,000 for his pain and suffering while the other will only recover $250,000.
That is just not fair or right.
The tort reform mess gets even worse in other states, such as in Indiana. In the Hoosier State, total damages are capped at $1.25 million for all damages. This is true even if current and future medical treatment exceeds $10 million and lost wages are $3 million or more.
This inequality in results, based solely on geographic location of where the injury occurred, cannot stand. Tort reform has created this and many other unfair results for injured people, all in the name of saving society from runaway litigation costs–which have been proven time and time again not to exist.
One of these days, the public will hopefully wake up and rescind these unfair tort reform laws. Until then, these unequal results will continue.

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California Judges Corrected on Application of Controversial Collateral Source Exception

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on April 15, 2009 - Comments off

California judges recently received better guidance for how and when to apply a controversial exception to the collateral source rule, a rule that permits California injury victims to recover the full amount of medical bills incurred following an accident even if paid by a source other than the person who caused the accident (a “collateral source”).
The clarification recently came through the editing of citations in the California Judicial Council Judges Benchbook, a reference source for judges hearing California personal injury cases. The edit makes it clear that defendants are not entitled to a post-trial reduction hearing. Rather defendants must meet a specific exception to the collateral source rule for the trial court to consider holding a post-trial reduction hearing.
You can read more about this development, as well as the insurance companies’ efforts to misapply California case law, in this post at our San Diego personal injury attorneys website.

Posted in: Insurance, Tort Reform


Nevada May Lift Medical Malpractice Damages Cap; Should California Do the Same?

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on April 13, 2009 - Comments off

Well, it looks like the Nevada Medical Malpractice Reform Law may not see its’ fifth birthday–or at least its’ damage cap provision may not. Nevada legislators are considering overturning or raising the $350,000 cap for “pain and suffering” damages arising from medical malpractice.
The reason? Recent scandalous, unethical, and dangerous behavior by doctors in the state have led legislators to realize that damage caps hurt consumers while protecting negligent doctors.
We’ve taken a look at these developments and what it might mean for California’s MICRA damage cap of $250,000. You can read more about this California medical malpractice development at our San Diego personal injury lawyer website here.


One of Tort Reform’s Biggest Lies Disproved….Again

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on March 28, 2009 - Comments off

We’ve written twice now about Oklahoma’s current tort reform efforts led by Republican Senate President Pro Tem Tom Glenn Coffee (R–Oklahoma City), a former medical malpractice defense lawyer. You can read more here and here.
One of the big myths leading the Oklahoma tort reform movement and tort reform in general is that without tort reform, doctors will flee to other jurisdictions with tort reform. The argument goes that with tort reform, medical malpractice insurance rates go down and attract doctors–while high insurance rates drive doctors away.
The problem is that the data does not support the myth. That is the case again in Oklahoma. According to this Edmond, OK news story, the number of Oklahoma doctors is increasing even while the tort reform movement is claiming they are fleeing. In addition, the doctor owned medical malpractice insurance carrier, Physicians Liability Insurance Company, is in the best financial shape in it’s three decade long existence. The company is posting record profits and will be the clear winner if the Oklahoma tort reform bill passes limiting injured medical patient’s right to be compensated for injuries caused by their professionally negligent doctors.
Like any political issue, it is always important to look and investigate the real data underlying the tort reform movement. Is there a real reason to substantially limit injury victim’s right to justice? If so, what is the purported benefit? And, last, is that benefit worth the cost? In almost all cases, the answer to these tort reform questions is “No”.
If you or any of your loved ones has been injured or killed due to medical malpractice, contact San Diego medical malpractice lawyer Ross Jurewitz and the San Diego personal injury attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group at 619-233-5020. You may also contact these San Diego injury lawyers online here.


Oklahoma Tort Reform Measure Revisited

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on March 28, 2009 - Comments off

Clayton Hasbrook, an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer with the law firm Hasbrook & Hasbrook, recently cited our blog and our post about the Oklahoma Tort Reform bill.
Given that he represents the very people this bill will affect, Clayton has some strong opinions about the bill. You can read his opinions in his post: “Oklahoma tort reform makes its way out to CA“.

Posted in: Tort Reform


Oklahoma Tort Reform: An Unfounded and Misguided Attack on Injury Accident Victims

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on March 22, 2009 - Comments off

About a month ago, we wrote about the emerging and ongoing efforts by Oklahoma Republican legislators and former medical malpractice defense attorney and Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City) to initiate a new batch of tort reform measures. In our post, we argued that the Oklahoma tort reform plan does not go far enough because it does not require doctors to take substantive positions regarding their own negligence. You can read our entire post here.
However, the Oklahoma tort reform measure keeps growing additional reform measures–all of which hurt Oklahomans and are being sold to the public as a way to prevent “greedy plaintiffs’ lawyers” from profiting from “frivolous lawsuits”. Never mind the fact that the job of barring frivolous plaintiffs from recovering is the role of the insurance defense lawyer and judge, not the Oklahoma legislature. You can read more about the Oklahoma tort reform effort in this Seattle Times news story.
The most recent Oklahoma tort reform attacks include special class action rules for lawsuits brought against tobacco companies, a cap on non-economic damages (also known as “pain and suffering”) at $300,000, expert certification before a lawsuit can proceed, and requiring consumers to “opt in” rather than “opt out” of class action litigation.
One of the more egregious tort reform measures interferes with an injury accident victim’s ability to find a lawyer by placing compensation restrictions on that attorney. Contingency fees, meaning fees which are only collected upon a successful completion of litigation, are capped at 33 percent of the first $1 million dollars recovered under the proposed measure. For higher awards, the contingency fee award is limited at 20 percent.

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Posted in: Legislation, Tort Reform


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