San Diego Police Department Officer Acquitted for Oceanside Car Accident and Road Rage Assault

June 24, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

The case involving off-duty San Diego Police Officer Frank White has finally been settled. On Monday, a jury found Officer White not guilty in this road-rage car accident that occurred in Oceanside in March of 2008 that culminated in the shooting of a woman and her young son. Officer White, 29, was acquitted of a felony count of grossly negligent discharge of a firearm and a misdemeanor count of exhibiting a firearm.

Prosecutors of the case argued that White was an easily-angered man who had no justification for not only displaying his revolver, but also firing five rounds into Rachel Silva’s car at night on March 15, 2008. Silva had been struck twice in the arm and her son was struck in the leg. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dusek noted that as a trained police officer, White should have taken other steps to diffuse the situation that brought about the shootings. White had been off-duty and not in uniform at the time it happened, and his wife Jacquellyn was reportedly with him at the time.

California Court of Appeals: Medical Bill Adjustment and/or Writeoff Not Enough to Sustain Collateral Source Attack

June 24, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

San Diego injury victims have repeatedly had their cases undervalued by insurance companies and their attorneys who reduce the victims’ medical bills by the amount paid or written off by medical insurance companies. This process, arising from the misapplication of two Court of Appeal opinions–Hanif and Nishihama–have allowed insurance companies directly attack and gut the collateral source rule.

Under the collateral source rule, evidence that a person or entity other than the tortfeasor has paid for the injured person’s medical care is excluded from evidence in determining the reasonable value of medical damages. In short, the medical damages is the fully billed amount of medical bills.

Earlier today, the Court of Appeal handed down an opinion in the case of Olsen v. Reid that defendants cannot seek reductions of medical damages simply by presenting a bill indicating that an adjustment or write-off was applied to a medical bill. The Court reversed the trial court’s post-trial ruling reducing Ms. Olsen’s medical damages from $62,475.81 to just over $5,000. The Court held that the defendant had not presented sufficient evidence to support the ruling when all it did was present a copy of Ms. Olsen’s medical bill with some amounts indicating a write-off and adjustment of most of the bill.

The Court also issued two concurring opinions which dramatically attack the insurance companies’ ability to obtain a reduction in medical damages. First, Judge Moore summarizes the case history of the collateral source rule and the subsequent attacks by Hanif and Nishihama before finally concluding that Hanif/Nishihama unjustly abrogates the collateral source rule and is, therefore, impermissible. Secondly, Judge Fybel’s concurring opinion lists a number of missing evidentiary items that were presented in Nishihama to obtain the reduction of medical damages–all of which were missing in this case. Most of the items that Judge Fybel describes are very hard for anyone–whether the plaintiff or defendant–to obtain as they contain trade secrets of the medical insurance companies.

We are still reviewing the Court’s opinion and will provide additional information after that review.

Chula Vista Bicycle Rider Killed While on Nationwide Bike Trek

June 23, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

A memorial service is scheduled on Saturday for a Chula Vista man killed on June 21, 2009, during a cross-country bike tour in order to protest government bailouts. The suspect thought to have killed the biker was a drunk driver in Illinois who left the scene of the car crash and was later arrested.

The fatal bicycle accident of Chula Vista resident Jim Gafney, 65, is mourned by his wife Nancy, three daughters, and a large extended family, who had asked him not to take part in the tour, although he was a seasoned bike rider. Gafney was apparently incredibly determined to make his voice heard on the bailouts, which he worries will affect his future generations in a very negative way, and his family hopes that his mission will not be lost but instead, that his death would help carry on his mission and echo his voice.

Gafney was a former Navy man and retired computer engineer who had worked at Camp Pendleton. He had left Chula Vista for his bike across the country on April 27 and was on U.S. Route 50, about 60 miles east of St Louis when, just before 1 a.m. he was struck from behind by a 1997 Nissan Altima being driven by a 27-year-old man suspected to be drunk, according to Illinois State Police. The driver was arrested shortly thereafter by an officer for speeding when they noticed the damage to his car. He told state troopers that he had been driving over a hill and saw Gafney but was not able to stop or avoid hitting him, according to Master Sgt. Chris Trame. Trame notes that the road on which the Chula Vista biker died was just a two-lane roadway with no shoulder, an area that was very isolated and not well lit. The driver is facing charges that include aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of the accident.

Bicyclist Killed in San Diego Bike Accident

June 23, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

A 22-year-old man was killed late on the night of June 19, 2009, while riding his bicycle in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. The county’s Medical Examiner’s Office identified 22-year-old Jonathon R. Ramirez as the victim in this tragic San Diego fatal bike accident.

After being hit, Ramirez was rushed to a hospital where he died from head and neck injuries on Saturday morning, as reported by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Law Group Has Gone Paper-less: A Report and How-To Guide

June 23, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

The paperless office has been the dream of many San Diego businesses, including personal injury lawyers. The benefits are tangible and real: reduced office storage space, the ability to access file documents from any file right on your desktop, remote access to any office file from anywhere in the world, and the ability to share and communicate with clients instantaneously through e-mail. As data becomes increasingly digitized and the ease of digitizing data also increases, the paperless office becomes more and more inevitable as the next clear method of law office management.

In the past, the hurdles to achieve this goal has been equipment costs, document management, and the transition cost of changing office systems. However, these hurdles no longer exist and creating a paperless office is now very simple–even for a solo practitioner.

The Law Group is now 5 months into its’ transition to a “paperless” office. Bear in mind that “paperless” does not mean “without paper”. Paper has been around for thousands of years and will continue to have a place in the digital office for the foreseeable future. The goal must be to reduce all unnecessary paper by digitizing it and storing it in a central location.

These were our office goals in making the transition:
1. Reduce office administrative time sorting and filing paper in files.
2. Reduce the time used to search paper files for relevant documents.
3. Create a method to better share documents with clients, opposing counsel, etc.
4. Eliminate the need to store closed files, thereby reducing overhead costs.
5. Stay within a budget of $1,000 for accomplishing this goal

All of these goals were achieved. In addition, we attained other goals, including reducing paper, toner, and copying costs.

After reviewing a number of resources and conferring with other attorneys who have done the same thing, here is how we did it.

The Small Solo Tech Blog shows the five quick steps to a paperless office:

It really is that simple.

In order to effectively go paperless, you need the following equipment:
1. High Speed Scanner
2. Document Tracking Software
3. PDF File Creating Software

In addition, you should consider purchasing a second monitor for your desk (which will require an advanced video card for your computer). While this is not necessary for implementing a paperless office system–or anything else, for that matter–I swear that once you start utilizing a second monitor, you will not go back. A second monitor is like having additional desktop space to hold and manage your documents. It makes cutting and pasting between documents extremely easy and allows you to maintain your e-mail on one screen while drafting a document on another.

High-Speed Scanner
What we have found to be useful is a scanner that will scan single or double-sided documents in a single pass at a rate of at least 15 pages per minute. Based upon the recommendations of others, we purchased Fujitsu ScanSnap s510 scanners for each workstation. We haven’t been disappointed. The scanners scan quickly with a push of a single button, scan right to PDF, come with a full version of Adobe Acrobat (a value of $200 itself), and at a price of $395 per scanner they are the right price to meet our goals. I even bought one for my home office to scan personal bills and records.

Document Tracking System
Once you scan your documents to save on your server, you must be able to search amongst your files and also create an automated file naming system which will logically name your files and organize them for future use.

There are a number of third-party products out there. However, since our office was already using Time Matters for our practice management software, we decided to use its’ document tracking software and established an automatic file naming protocol which organizes files by matter and then description.

The automatic file naming protocol we use is this:

Matter Name/YYYYMMDD Name of Document Author.pdf

Why do we use this naming protocol? Primarily because it is easily searchable in both Time Matters and through Windows Explorer. Putting the date for each document in front of the file name allows documents to appear chronologically in Windows Explorer. This provides another way to locate documents quickly beside searching via the descriptive file name.

PDF Creation Software
Again, there are a number of third-party software solutions out there. But since the ScanSnap already comes with a full version of Adobe Acrobat–which also seamlessly integrates with Time Matters–we use Acrobat.

Even if you don’t plan to transition to a paperless office, we highly recommend purchasing a copy of Acrobat for your office. The latest version of Acrobat, version 9, includes a number of powerful tools including the ability to insert digital signatures in documents, insert signature tabs and labels to direct clients to take action, and bates stamp documents.

Implementing a System
Really, this is the hardest part. Not only do the partners and supervising attorneys need to buy in and insist that the system be strictly adhered to, but that commitment needs to flow to the support staff. Everyone needs to be able to perceive the benefit of changing how business is done.

Our system is very simple. As soon as a document comes in the office before any action is taken the document is scanned and stored. The document is also marked so that other staff recognizes that the document has been scanned.

In addition, to limit the number of documents required to be scanned, we have done away with our fax telephone line and printer in favor of toll-free internet fax. Faxes now appear on our desktops in PDF format and can be directly saved to the server. In addition, this allows us to fax documents from our desks without having to retrieve hard copies from the paper case file.

The benefits of this system are significant. But the time and effort might seem daunting. I assure you, however, that this system can be implemented in 30 days and everyone–your clients, your staff, and yourself–will love the change.

Five People Stabbed in Dangerous Chula Vista House Party

June 22, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

A Saturday night party on June 20 in Chula Vista turned dangerous and threatening when five people suffered knife wounds and had to be treated at local hospitals after a fight on the premises.

The fight was located on 4th Avenue near Palomar Street in Chula Vista and happened about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. Witnesses told the authorities that there had been several people fighting, but no one had seen the weapon that injured five people at the Chula Vista party.

All the suspects had left before the police arrived, although one had been described as a 25-year-old Latino and was seen wearing a white T-Shirt, while a second suspect was described as a 6-foot-3 Latino, roughly 200 pounds, last seen wearing a collared shirt and blue jeans.

Medical Malpractice Protections Extended to EMTs While Driving

June 22, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

In February of this year, the California Court of Appeals extended the protections afforded to medical doctors under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) to emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who are in the process of transporting patients for medical care.

In the opinion by Justice Madeleine Flier, the Court of Appeal held that such protections were warranted since the services provided by EMTs were “inextricably identified” with the health and medical care of their patients. Further, the Court rejected the argument by the plaintiff, a Los Angeles police officer injured while riding along in the ambulance when it was involved in a collision, that MICRA protections could only be extended to those services to which an EMT was licensed. The court held that EMTs were licensed to provide transportation by the Department of Motor Vehicles’ special license and, therefore, were still protected by MICRA when involved in traffic accidents while transporting patients.

Whiplash Injury Risk Increases As Rear-End Crashes Become More Severe

June 22, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

When a rear-end crash occurs, there is always a risk that whiplash injuries to the head, neck, and back will become permanent. This risk increases along with the severity of the accident. The faster the rear vehicle is traveling in a rear-end accident, the more likely it is that the passengers in the front vehicle will suffer long-term or even permanent disabilities due to the resulting whiplash injuries.

Multiple studies have found that permanent head, neck, and back injuries from whiplash are more likely at higher speeds. A 2005 study from Sweden found that permanent whiplash injuries were rare when the rear vehicle was traveling under 10 miles per hour. Temporary pain and loss of mobility occurred in some patients, but these injuries usually resolved within a month.

At higher speeds, however, whiplash can cause permanent injuries or death. A 2002 German study looked at nine cases in which drivers or front-seat passengers were killed after their vehicle was rear-ended at a speed of 100 miles per hour or more. Fractures of the spine, internal bleeding, and severe soft tissue damage proved fatal in each fatal car crash. At speeds between 60 and 90 miles per hour, deaths were less common, but permanent injuries from whiplash were likely.

Rear-end accidents present specific injury risks that differ from other kinds of accidents. Our skilled Southern California car accident attorneys have experience representing those who have been injured in rear-end accidents, as well as other types of car crashes. To discuss your case with us and learn more about your legal rights, call us today.

San Diego Drug Recall Attorneys

June 20, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

As technology progresses, new drugs hit the pharmacy shelves at an incredibly rapid rate. Though, not all drugs that pass through the system are as safe as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims it is. As a result, many patients suffer seriously, and often deadly side effects from these potential life-saving medications.

Defective Product Injuries : Drug Recall

Pharmaceutical Drugs are Meant to Better Lives. However, When Drug Companies Sell Products to Consumers Without Rigorous Testing, They Can Do More Harm Than Good.

As technology progresses, new drugs hit the pharmacy shelves at an incredibly rapid rate. Though, not all drugs that pass through the system are as safe as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims it is. As a result, many patients suffer serious, and often deadly side effects from these potential life-saving medications.

A drug recall occurs when a particular drug is removed from the market because it is either defective or potentially harmful. This can be done voluntarily by the manufacturing company or requested by the Food and Drug Administration if they receive numerous reports from physicians about the dangers of usage.

According to an analysis of FDA data, in 2009, there were a staggering 1,742 drug recalls, a huge leap from the 426 recalls reported in 2008.

Reasons for Drug Recalls

Manufacturing Defect

This accounts for the majority of recalls. It typically occurs when something goes wrong during the manufacturing process. Or if the packaging itself is not made according to approved specifications.

Design Defect

The defects exist when a product does not perform as intended or presents unreasonable risk of injury. This typically occurs when studies, additional data, or adverse events show that a drug may unreasonably increase the risk of a serious side effect.

Labeling Defect

A labeling defect occurs when the company does not provide the proper warning labels or cautions in the instructions to inform product users of risks involved with usage.

FDA Drug Recall Classifications

Category I: The use of, or exposure to, the recalled drug is most likely capable of causing a serious health issue or even death to the consumer.

Category II: The use of, or exposure to, the recalled drug is not likely to cause a serious health issue. At most, it may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences.

Category III: The use of, or exposure to, the recalled drug is not likely to cause an adverse reaction.

Contact a Drug Recall Attorney

If you or a loved one has experienced any extreme side effects, such as a heart attack or stroke, because of a recalled drug, get medical attention and contact an experienced San Diego product liability attorney immediately. You may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for some or all of the injuries you incurred.

Filing a claim against a large drug company can be difficult and very confusing. Drug companies will bend over backward to protect their brand name and reputation from being tainted. If you have a case, call our San Diego product recall attorneys and we will work to get you the monetary compensation for your injuries, hospital and medical bills, loss of wages, and other injury-related costs.

Bicycle Accidents Cause Severe Head Injuries to Two in San Diego Area

June 20, 2018 Injury Lawyer San Diego 0

Two bicyclists were sent to the hospital with severe head injuries in two separate San Diego-area bicycle accidents recently, with one of the accident victims also suffering spinal cord injuries.

The first accident involved a 54-year-old woman riding her back in Carmel Valley. She was traveling down a steep hill on El Camino Real when she lost control of the bicycle and fell. Rescue workers rushed her to a nearby hospital for treatment of the severe head injuries she suffered in the accident. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the accident and whether she was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, according to an article in the Del Mar Times.

The second accident left a 25-year-old man with spinal fractures, jaw damage, and a traumatic brain injury. He was riding along a driveway on Camino Santa Fe when he crashed. Medical workers said that his injuries were non-life-threatening, but the hospital to which he was taken has not issued an update on his condition. Meanwhile, investigators continue to look into the causes of his accident.

Injuries from bicycle accidents can range from bruises and scrapes to severe, even life-threatening traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. Our dedicated San Diego bicyclist injury lawyers have the experience and resources to help you get the compensation you need for any kind of bicycle-related injury caused by another’s negligence. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today.