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Month: August 2014

Understanding Listerosis Lawsuits

Listeria Organism
The bacteria that kills

Listeria became a major news item over the last several years due to a series of outbreaks. In June 2014, a major fruit recall affected Walmart, Costco, and Kroger, according to CNN. The CDC estimates that annually there are over 1,000 cases of Listeriosis each year, including hundreds of deaths. Parents have seen their children become sickened, internal organ damage, and worse. A simple poisoning can lead to a killing, or lifetime medical problems that require around the clock hospital and nursing care. These types of cases are not to be trifled with.

Food Poisoning From Cantaloupes

The largest outbreak of the disease in recent history was in 2011. This outbreak, which affected cantaloupes sold from a farm in Colorado sickened over 100 and killed over 30. Fruit affected by the bacteria listeria could lead to severe infection if consumed. The risk seriously increases for those with potentially compromised immune systems, including the pregnant, already ill, or the elderly. Listeria is the deadliest types of food borne injury and has prompted multiple recalls.

If you or a loved one became seriously ill after consuming cantaloupe from Jensen Farms at Holly, CO, you might have legal recourse. This case was prompted by the farm not following proper safety regulation. While there have already been lawsuits against the farm in connection with the outbreak, there could be other people sickened by the epidemic that does not know how to hold the responsible liable. There have been other, similar cases of listeria in the news, including a romaine lettuce case, plums, nectarines, and other fruits and vegetables. If you or a loved one has been affected by this disease, contact a skilled legal fighter to help determine what to do next.


Big Business Fights Food Poisoning Lawsuits

This big business will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out on tort claims. Getting an experienced representative is a major step in nullifying frivolous defenses and garnering support from mediators, judges and the trier of fact. Always consider that a person that represents him or herself has a fool for a client.

What You Must Know About Structured Injury Settlements

The fighting Griffin of Ehline. Doing justice for the realm.

After being involved in an accident generally, it will result in an insurance company claim in personal injury cases. This means when a settlement is recovered the insurance company will pay out a large sum of money to the claimant, who is the injury party. When it is a large settlement, the insurer will often want to pay the total amount over a period, rather than paying it all at one time. In personal injury la, this is a legal agreement referred to as a structured settlement.

When the injured person has medical bills and other immediate need for a significant amount of money the structured settlement may not be enough monetary recovery at one time. And in this case, the claimant can obtain most of the full settlement amount from a third party buyer. This will mean that rather than having steady settlement income, they will receive it in a lump sum. And it gets paid from the third party for a specific cost.

This means there will be some financial loss on the part of the claimant. But they will have a full settlement, rather than the amount divided into payments. This can be an attractive advantage for some injury victims in need of immediate payment. The laws for this type of structured settlement third party involvement varies from state to state.

The important issue is whether or not the third party buyer is offering a fair value for the lump sum structured settlement amount. The person who has received a structured settlement amount from an insurance company should consult a personal injury legal professional. In fact, they need one with experience in this area of the law in their state.


 

Information in Structured Settlements and Third-Party Buyers

There is information that will be necessary when dealing with a third party buyer and a structured settlement, including:

  • Basic information about the settlement, including the name of the insurance company, the total amount of the settlement and the structured settlement payment plan.
  • The third party buyer will review the total settlement amount and determine if they will take over the structured settlement plan.
  • They will make an offer to the injured victim, and if the tender sounds reasonable, the claimant will then be required to provide specific documents involving the settlement.
  • A contract will be created to be signed once an agreement has been made involving the transaction.
  • Once the deal has been made, the contract will be submitted to the court to be approved legally. This makes it a binding contract for both parties.
  • The court will render a ruling within a few weeks either approving or denying the contract agreement. Upon approval by the court then the transaction of the lump sum will take place within a short period.

Southern California residents may consult Ehline Law Firm when considering a third party buyer for a structured settlement plan lump sum. These legal professionals at the law firm can be reached at (888) 400-9721 to help determine if the lump sum agreement is in your best interest.

Citations:

Hindert, Daniel (1986). Structured Settlements and Periodic Payment Judgements. New York, NY: Law Journal Press. pp. 1–36. ISBN 1-58852-037-4.

“What a Life Contingent Payment Is”http://einsteinstructuredsettlements.com/what-a-life-contingent-payment-is.html

“The Smart Way to Pay Off Debt” http://www.oprah.com/money/Advice-for-Cashing-Out-a-Structured-Settlement-Suze-Orman-Financial

“Success of JG Wentworth Get Cash Now Campaign”http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2838693615001/jg-wentworth-ceo-on-success-of-the-get-cash-now-campaign/#sp=show-clips

 

Car Accidents and Child Safety Efforts

Baby on board
Vector illustration of a triangular warning sign for vehicle safety with a baby girl in bright, cartoonish style. Easy to edit ready to print posters in red, yellow and pink tones.

Although vehicle safety for the bigger kids headed back to school is of utmost importance, just having a decent car seat is not always enough to provide that cocoon of security we want for our smallest and most vulnerable of the household, infants and toddlers. Child car seats are mandatory for children of certain ages in California and most states.

In California, the law is as follows:

Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.

Children under the age of 8 who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.

Children who are eight years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.

Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt Law.

Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. Also, seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers (Source.)

Parents understand children must be placed in the back seat of moving vehicles for their own safety. Car accidents involving small children whose parents have taken responsibility by using child safety seats in the rear seat has reduced the number of children killed in motor vehicle accidents. There is one part of child protection that is not approached as often as it should be which are the injuries and deaths in children that occur in non-traffic situations. These are mishaps such as driveway and garage incidences where a child is struck by the family or neighbors vehicle.

Annually there are approximately 100,000 children involved in non-traffic accidents involving children 14 years of age and younger. These incidences include back over and driving forward over a child in areas such as driveways, garages or parking lots. The number of this type of harm for children is nearly as high of a risk as the child being inside of a vehicle when there is a crash.

In these types of non-traffic mishaps, approximately 70 percent of child injuries and deaths involve a family member as the driver of the vehicle. Rules for child safety and motor vehicles are essential, especially when the child is not inside of the vehicle including knowing where the child is before starting or moving the vehicle.

Children often want to say goodbye or hello when the driver is moving in the vehicle, which means this is a danger for their safety and rules should be in place to ensure children are not behind or in front of the automobile. Younger children are especially endangered in this type of mishap, because of the height of a toddler and the driver’s ability to see a small child. Statistical data proves this out, with one and two-year-old children being at a greater risk of being harmed in forward or back-over accidents.

Experts in child safety feel children should never be permitted to play near motor vehicles, whether the vehicle is in operation at the time or not. This could create bad habits for the child and automobiles should be thought of in the same manner by parents as other dangerous items, such as guns, knives or poison. Parents should teach children to stay within a safe distance of at least several yards from vehicles, even when they are not in operation.

Vehicles should be kept locked at all times to avoid children having access to a parked auto since there have been incidences that had tragic results when keys were left in the ignition. Unlocked doors or keys in the ignition mean children could cause the vehicle to roll out of the driveway into traffic or start the auto.

Does a Locked Vehicle Place Children At Risk?

The other issue locking a vehicle can prevent is a child getting in the auto and suffering from heat stroke. Removal of the keys will mean that children will not be able to be injured in power doors or windows. Children should be taught that automobiles are not toys and can be extremely dangerous when an adult is not present.

What are Some Risks of Leaving Children Alone in a Car?

Parents should never leave a child alone in a vehicle, since many types of mishaps can occur including heat stroke when there is improper ventilation or air conditioning during hot weather. Even in short periods of time leaving a child alone in a hot car can result in tragedy. Thirty minutes is often all it takes for a vehicles temperature to become high enough a child will pass out from heat stroke or worse.

In some tragic incidences parents in a rush forget the child is in the backseat in a child safety seat when exiting the auto. Approximately 50 children die every year in situations where during warm weather a parent has accidentally left their child in the vehicle and they have died of heat stroke. It is essential for parents to always check the back seat before locking the vehicle and walking away to avoid these types of tragedies.

Another suggestion is to place a stuffed animal in the seat next to the child, which will provide another object for parents to see looking in the mirror war over their shoulder before exiting the vehicle. Parents dropping children off at daycare in a rush to get to their job can set up a calling system with the daycare staff that if their child is not dropped off by a specific time and they are to call the parent. This is often known as an accountability agreement and its away to have a backup system to ensure the child is never left in the car during the workday.


 

Child Automobile Protection

There are some other ways to protect children inside of or around motor vehicles and some of these tips include ensuring the car provides certain elements that assist in ensuring child safety.

  • Purchasing a vehicle should include checking the crash score ratings to ensure buying one that has a stop safety crash rating to protect the family in the event of an auto accident.
  • The vehicle should have an alert for when passengers in the rear seat are not wearing a seatbelt that is either a light on the dashboard or chime. Young children often unhook seat-belts and can put them in a vulnerable position in the event of a crash.
  • When purchasing a vehicle, especially an SUV or pickup truck having a rear-view camera can prevent children being backed over when the vehicle is in reverse.
  • Vehicles with front and rear park assist can alert the driver when there is a child that may not be big enough to be visually seen by the driver. This is often an option that is costly, but can protect children from being hit by the family auto
  • Vehicles with transmission shift interlock is a another choice that can prevent children if they get into the vehicle, since they could otherwise engage the transmission running into traffic, house or garage.
  • Vehicles with auto reverse on power windows and doors can be a safety feature with children to prevent injury.

The most important factor in the safety of the little tikes, is that adults in a position of leadership rely upon their primordial instincts, and not take any risks that could put a small child in harms way. No matter what government mandated rule, or societal demand there is, in the end, these are your charges, not theirs. Laws and rules are a mere floor and not a ceiling when it comes to protecting the next generation. Be a zealous parent or caretaker and watch the risks of injury to children decline.

Pedestrian Risks in Los Angeles

Santa Monica pedestrian bridge
Fun and the Sun lie ahead. Pedestrian ramp towards famous Santa Monica Beach at sunset.

By Ehline Law Firm – Pedestrians in Los Angeles face a high risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. This city was ranked the second most dangerous city in the United States in 2008 by the National Traffic Safety Administration. During 2008 986 pedestrian deaths occurred on the roadways of Los Angeles, with the state of California ranking number one for the highest number of pedestrian fatalities during that year at 7,056 deaths.

In May of 2011, a map released by the Transportation Injury Mapping System showed that South Los Angeles was the most dangerous place for a pedestrian, between the years of 2006 and 2008. When the pedestrian in struck by a motor vehicle they risk serious or fatal injuries. Also, pedestrian accident national data shows that the person that is hit has a 5% chance that the injuries will be fatal. But this number jumps to 11% when the vehicle is an SUV. So the percentage of a fatal injury increases to 11%t. In Los Angeles, this equals one in five pedestrians that were struck by an SUV were fatally injured. The reasoning in this is that the height of the SUV means the injuries will be to the chest and head in most cases.


 

How Pedestrian Injury Accidents Happen

The total of pedestrians that are injured or killed annually amounts to two percent of traffic accidents, and many of these occur, while the pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk when they are struck. The crosswalk pedestrian accident can usually be attributed to:

  • Failure to yield to the right of way of pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Driver distraction.
  • Failure to yield to traffic signals.
  • Inability to observe posted speed limits.
  • Negligent turns at an intersection.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

One of the other problems that pedestrians face that can result in being struck by a vehicle is unfriendly crosswalks. These are marked crosswalks that have a signal for the pedestrian when it should be safe to walk, but at the same time as certain lanes of traffic also have a green light. This can put the pedestrian in jeopardy. After all, a turning vehicle driver might not see them. So he might be travelling too fast to avoid a collision. Or the person might even be travelling through a yellow or red light. This could be the crosswalk that is on a curve in the roadway or obstructions that make it difficult for the driver to see the pedestrian in time to stop.

Pedestrians that are struck by a motor vehicle suffer severe injuries. In fact, they have no protection. And only a very few lucky pedestrians sustain a few bumps and bruises. The majority of pedestrians suffer serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal organ injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and neck or back injuries. These types of injuries often have long lasting health implications that change the life of the injured.


 

Tips to Avoid being Involved in an Accident as a Pedestrian

There are some tips that pedestrians can follow to help to avoid being struck by a motor vehicle and suffering serious injuries.

These tips include:

  • Using Cross Walks: As a pedestrian, it is important always to follow the pedestrian road rules of using designated crosswalks. It is not a “cross-ride”, it is a “cross-walk.” So riders must WALK their bikes and be safe. It shouldn’t have to take a personal injury lawyer, or Los Angeles police officer to say: “hey, don’t ride on the sidewalk!” “Walk” is the core, operational phrase here.
  • Obey Traffic and Cross Walk Signals: When at an intersection follow the crosswalk signals of don’t walk or walk.
  • Never Trust Motorists: Do not trust motorists to yield to the pedestrian’s right of way. Instead use caution when crossing the street at intersections, especially if there is no crosswalk or signal. There are streets in residential areas that the motorist should obey the stop sign, but in many cases is not.
  • Use Caution at High Traffic Hours: During the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. it is important to use more caution as a pedestrian. This is because traffic is more congested. And these are the hours which statistics show is dangerous for pedestrians.
  • Visibility: Wear bright colors because this allows motorists to see pedestrians easier. Also, after dark wears reflective clothing and use a flashlight or head gear with light.

 

Injured Pedestrians and Their Family Have Rights

After a Los Angeles pedestrian accident, when the driver was negligent they have the right to hold them accountable. And if the pedestrian accident is fatal, the family has the right to file a pedestrian wrongful death lawsuit. The Los Angeles personal injury attorney represents the injured victim or the family. So the lawyer will investigate the events of the pedestrian accident, and the lawsuit will include damages to be recovered for:

  • Medical costs
  • Ongoing medical treatment
  • Rehabilitation and therapy expLosts
  • Loss wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional suffering

In the event that the pedestrian suffers fatal injuries there can be other types of damages included in the lawsuit, for the spouse, parents and children that have lost their loved one.

These damages will include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of support
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of future earnings

A wounded pedestrian can also seek the assistance of a pedestrian injury lawyer to help file a lawsuit. The suit will include seeking a recovery for the damages that would be included in the injured pedestrians lawsuit, such as medical expenses, emotional distress and any other expenses incurred due to the negligence actions of the driver that struck the pedestrian. Damages would be for past, present and future and usually requires a an expert, or several, to valuate that totals for a jury.

The pedestrian injured, or the family of a pedestrian that dies after being struck by a motor vehicle should have the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney. The law will limit the amount of time to file a lawsuit in the state of California, and the litigation in these types of claims can be complicated. And it will involve insurance companies.

Sources: “L.A. drivers have high rate of fatal pedestrian, cyclist crashes” – (Jerry Hirsch): http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/02/business/la-fi-mo-auto-traffic-deaths-20121001

 

The Growing Problem of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a growing problem. To illustrate this, at least two recent studies show how prevalent this treatment of elderly adults is. Nursing home abuse is a growing problem. To prove this, at least two recent studies illustrate how prevalent this treatment of older adults is. One of the studies included both elderly citizens and nursing home staff. Even some nursing home staff members had seen elderly abuse by other staff members.


The Recent Case Studies

The National Center for the Protection of Older People at the University College Dublin found in their research that over one in four employees had witnessed psychological abuse. This kind of ill-treatment includes treatment such as shouting, swearing or insulting the elderly resident at a nursing home. And this is heinous enough, but to make elderly nursing home abuse even worse, one in eight employees had witnessed physical abuse of residents. So this involves pushing, shoving, pinching, grabbing or unnecessary restraint of residents.


Theft by Caretakers

This was an in-depth study, involving over 1300 nurses and healthcare assistants from 64 nursing homes. The data from the research showed that physical and mental abuse were not the only crimes. There is also the fact that 1.2 percent of staff members have been seen by other employees taking valuables from residents.


Gullibility of Seniors

Many a nursing abuse law firm has argued in court that elders are susceptible to being scammed. At least one recent study that was conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, supports this argument. It focused on the brain of the elderly and found significant differences in the major areas, compared to those in the study who were younger. The study used participants from a senior living center between the ages of 55 and 84, and then they used staff members and students between the ages of 20 and 42.

They found that when showing the two groups a series of photographs, with individuals who appeared trustworthy and then others where the individuals had a shifty appearance, there was a large difference in reactions in the brain. The younger participants were able to quickly identify the people in the photos who should not be trusted, while the elderly group of members did not have the same reaction.


“Gut Reaction” Response Seems to Disappear in Elder Brains

Further, testing using an MRI showed that the part of the brain known as the anterior insula in older participants lacked activity, wherein the younger participants there was a flurry of activity. The anterior insula is the part of the brain that “gut reactions” come from, which make a person feel ill-at-ease or stressed, pick up behaviors, and helps in making difficult decisions.

This lack of activity, researchers determined, makes it difficult for the elderly citizen to get on the appearance, behavior or signals when being scammed. This puts them at risk that can cost them their life savings or even bring them in physical danger. These are only two of the recent studies concerning nursing home abuse. They show possible reasons that nursing home abuse occurs so often.


Recent Cases of Abuse

Recently, two nurses were held responsible for felony elder abuse of a nursing home resident who succumbed to the lack of proper care. One of the staff involved was a registered nurse and director of nursing at the El Dorado Care Center, where the events of elder abuse took place. When the resident was taken to the hospital, they documented injuries, other than the reason for being admitted to the hospital, which included bruises and a wound on her pinky finger.

The nursing home owner, Horizon West Healthcare Inc., when held accountable, settled the claim for $3 million and then sold 27 nursing homes it owned. In civil court, the husband of the elder abuse victim, as a part of his lawsuit, claimed the nursing home was understaffed to maximize profits.

The Unreported Abuse

These nursing home employees were held accountable. However, there are thousands of cases of nursing home abuse, with what is believed to be approximately half or more never reported to authorities. This is because in most cases, the nursing home resident feels defenseless.

They do not believe they have an avenue to stop the mistreatment and live in fear of the abuse, which is what the nursing home staff member, who does not provide the proper care to the resident, counts on. Often the elder abuse only comes to light because of the family members who recognize the signs and go to the authorities and an elder abuse lawyer.

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