At Sette Law in Stockton, our medical malpractice attorneys must work with a complex of legal statutes and medical issues to represent clients who have suffered a personal injury. Lawyers must have extensive knowledge in a number of disciplines to prevail in court and prove malpractice. Attorneys need to move seamlessly between legal precedents, varying state laws and knowledge of medical procedures and medical regulations. It’s clearly a challenge for any lawyer to specialize in the realm of medical malpractice.
Attorneys Must Satisfy Four Requirements to pursue Malpractice
Personal injury lawyers must first affirm that a plaintiff did, in fact, have a mutual physician-patient relationship. Most often this is the simplest precept for malpractice attorneys to satisfy. A ‘grey area’ that complicates the issue might arise when it’s a consulting doctor who is being accused of medical malpractice. Attorneys defending the consulting doctor may claim that, because their client had no direct, personal link to the plaintiff’s treatment, he or she does not bear responsibility for the personal injury. Lawyers will also watch out for malpractice claims based on hearsay or third party reports. For example, a treatment suggestion from a physician to another party, overheard by a would-be plaintiff, would not meet the criteria set forth on the doctor-client relationship. A medical malpractice lawyer could be fairly certain the court would decline to hear such a malpractice claim, despite the severity of personal injury suffered.
Attorneys will next have to determine that a physician was negligent in providing the treatment that caused the injury. Stockton malpractice lawyers agree that this aspect is one of the most difficult to establish in a personal injury claim. Attorneys will need to provide evidence that a competent doctor, under similar circumstances, would not have caused a plaintiff’s personal injury. And, lawyers are quick to point out that the assessment of a physician’s relative skills may be irrelevant to the claim of malpractice. Our attorneys know that a doctor only has to show that “reasonable skill and care” were delivered to the patient who claims a personal injury. So, lawyers need not prove a doctor is excellent or substandard, but rather that another competent physician would have achieved a different outcome that would not have caused an injury. Attorneys add that this question becomes even more complicated in the arena of specialty medicine where a physician’s intensive training and education engender a higher expectations of quality care. Our Stockton malpractice attorneys know that this aspect of a malpractice suit can be both time consuming and costly, in part, because expert witnesses will likely be required to testify about the defendant and the personal injury.
Thirdly, lawyers have to demonstrate that there is a clear relationship between a defendant physician’s negligence and the plaintiff’s personal injury. Attorneys have to deal with issues such as existing medical conditions that existed before the alleged malpractice. Our lawyers have experience in cases in which a family member suffering from late stage cancer, died during surgery. When family members file a wrongful death suit, their Stockton injury attorney must prove the death was unrelated to the disease and, instead, caused by a physician’s malpractice. Lawyers, in such cases, will need to have command of multiple issues – medical, legal and ethical – for the court to accept the direct relationship between a physician’s negligence and the death or personal injury.
Attorneys must then approach the fourth requirement for a successful lawsuit for medical malpractice. Our Stockton malpractice lawyers will establish for the court a direct relationship between the physician’s actions as the cause of the personal injury. Attorneys will seek to demonstrate there was physical harm that resulted in pain, suffering and economic losses. Our Stockton malpractice lawyers will itemize the plaintiff’s lost earnings and the costs of related medical care due to the personal injury. Lawyers, at the same time, will underscore the argument that the defendant physician delivered care that was well below medical standards, reaching the level of verifiable negligence. Our Stockton malpractice lawyers reiterate that, without the determination of negligence or proof of injury and harm, the court will decline to consider the allegation of medical malpractice.
According to Stockton malpractice lawyers, there are many kinds of personal injury cases that result in a determination of malpractice. Our attorneys point to cases in which surgeons have left medical sponges inside body cavities; physicians prescribing medications without proper notice of possible side effects, and physicians making erroneous diagnoses – all leading to grave and costly personal injury.
Attorneys advise that Compensation may be limited by State Law
Stockton malpractice attorneys must work within the bounds of California’s 40-year-old Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) that limits the amount of non-economic damages to $250,000 for medical personal injury. Attorneys explain this applies to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional and psychological injury, and other non-quantifiable damages like loss of enjoyment of life. These results can’t be measured and quantified, and thus are subject to the MICRA cap. Stockton personal injury attorneys further comment that the $250,000 award has not kept up with inflation over the past four decades. Malpractice lawyers and victims of malpractice in California have repeatedly attempted to raise the cap through legislation but, thus far, have failed to do so.
Awards on quantifiable injuries, our Stockton malpractice attorneys explain, are not subject to such limits. These costs include past and future medical care, and the amount of earnings a victim faces to lose as a result of the personal injury. Lawyers at Sette Law in Stockton, and throughout the state, generally support the updating of MICRA to reflect the current and future state of the economy, so that victims of medical malpractice may be fully compensated for their losses.
Stockton medical malpractice lawyers at Sette Law recognize the complexity of their chosen area of legal expertise. Personal injury attorneys facing the many high bars in medical malpractice feel a heightened sense of responsibility to people injured through medical malpractice. Our lawyers are aware it would be nearly impossible for a layperson to navigate the malpractice system. Attorneys formally study for many years and then practice for several more to develop the kind of broad and deep legal expertise required in the field of medical malpractice. Our lawyers also know that the need to monitor legal outcomes, state statutes and nationwide decisions is an ongoing commitment. Stockton medical malpractice attorneys must dedicate themselves to lifelong learning and vigilance.
Most people in California are familiar with the legal term “tort,” but according to our Stockton personal injury attorneys there is a good deal the public doesn’t understand about this expansive arena of law. Most often, public exposure to the concept of tort comes at statewide election time when the issue appears on voters’ ballots. Although the issue usually centers on limiting claims for damages, our Stockton liability and injury lawyers know that tort law covers a great deal of legal territory. Consequently, this blog will cover some of the issues involved in torts that our Stockton personal injury lawyers frequently deal with.
Tort law involves civil wrongs which our injury attorneys explain as the claims of one individual or group of people against another person or group. This differs from criminal trials in which the state (not the individual) brings the legal action to court in Stockton. A personal injury lawyer will represent a plaintiff who claims a civil wrong - harm or injury - has been done to him or her by a person or a group. Tort law, according to our Stockton personal injury attorneys, aims to levy punishment for a wrong, as well as to prevent future similar acts.
The dual purpose of tort law can be seen in current actions against car makers throughout the nation and in Stockton. Liability lawyers are representing plaintiffs harmed in car accidents due to faulty equipment – personal injury attorneys are mostly focused on defective airbags produced by the Takata Corporation. Throughout the past year, our Stockton personal injury attorneys have monitored lawsuits involving car makers such as Chevy, GM and others. At the present time, our injury attorneys say there are about several lawsuits pending (including a class action suit), mostly related to faulty airbags. Although a few cases have been settled out of court for monetary damages, several plaintiffs are pursuing trials for the preventative effect a guilty decision might have. Our Stockton Liability lawyers point out this dual-effect is inherent in tort law – one purpose to punish and the other to prevent further harmful acts. In court, personal injury attorneys can further request from the judge an injunction to prevent the company (or individual) from future similar actions. For example, the plaintiff’s liability attorney may ask the court to prohibit the use of airbags purchased from a maker ruled liable for injury. Lawyers at Sette Law closely follow developments of these civil action suits related to defective airbags.
It’s also important to know that in cases such as those just outlined, liability attorneys representing the plaintiff can also extend responsibility (liability) to the entire manufacturing, marketing and sales chain. That means Takata itself can be held liable all the way through to the dealership selling the vehicle in Stockton.
Liability Attorneys contend with Inconsistent Statutes
Our Stockton personal injury attorneys admit that tort law is pretty complicated, in part, because there is no overall federal products liability law. Instead, individual states create liability statutes, so a Stockton liability lawyer must be acquainted with differing laws from one state to the next. To mitigate the lack of overarching tort law, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its own statutes, known as MULPA (Model Uniform products Liability Act). Stockton personal injury attorneys say there is no requirement to reference MULPA in court actions and state use of these statutes is purely voluntary.
Getting into more detail, our Stockton personal injury lawyers explain that the category of products liability has three distinct areas: strict liability, negligent, and intentional torts. Strict liability is the action our Stockton injury lawyers deal with most. In the case of Takata, for instance, the company may have demonstrated adequate “care” in manufacturing airbags and still be held liable for death and injury. Our personal injury lawyers theorize that this element of products liability will apply in the Takata actions.
Moving on, injury lawyers explain that negligent torts involve someone who does not show “care” and causes harm. Say a drunk driver gets behind the wheel and hits a bicyclist on a roadway in Stockton. Liability lawyers will establish the driver’s intoxicated condition shows he failed to demonstrate required care and was therefore negligent.
Next, our Stockton injury lawyers deal with intentional torts in which an individual causes harm to another through physical assault or some active intent to cause harm. Liability lawyers must prove the action was, indeed, intentional. Intentional tort circumstances may include trespassing, intent to exert emotional distress, false imprisonment. Stockton injury lawyers may also represent people involved in defamation and the invasion of privacy, among other acts, under the title of intentional tort law.
Our Stockton personal injury attorneys and lawyers across the nation, have access to the American Law Institute, commonly referred to as the ALA. This organization is a collection of about 4,000 legal experts who produce the “Restatement of Torts,” a reference publication that clarifies and updates the application of law throughout the United States. Our Stockton liability lawyers can leverage the work of these scholars as circumstance arise for our clients in Stockton.
Liability Attorneys contend with Tort Complexities
Personal injury lawyers are keenly aware of the complexities of liability and tort law and, with many years of study and experience behind us, want to help clients better understand how we may assist them in tort cases in Stockton. Our liability attorneys take on the responsibility of staying informed about changing interpretation of law based on cases across the county. At the same time, injury lawyers feel obligated to inform clients about rulings and opinions that may affect their case in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys know that tort law offers opportunity to victims who, through no fault of their own, are injured due to the negligence, intention or actions of others. In addition, our Stockton liability lawyers get satisfaction from knowing that some tort cases have national implications that can save lives. From cities like Stockton, personal injury attorneys can highlight wrongs that, without tort law, could continue to cause injury and even death. Many injury lawyers believe the current actions highlighting auto makers and the Takata Corporation may be just such an instance of tort law opening the door for greater scrutiny of quality in automobile safety equipment.
At Sette Law in Stockton, personal injury attorneys are adept at using technology to create efficiency for our clients. We know that electronic systems offer enormous advantages to our Stockton personal injury clients; our lawyers help people save time and money so that they can expect better outcomes for their personal injury claims. Lawyers can consult with distant experts, medical doctors and clients using Skype, Face Time, messaging and other tools while working on a Stockton personal injury action.
Attorneys are also aware that this helpful technology is now rising up as a developing issue in courts worldwide as wearable technology and powerful applications come under the scrutiny of the courts in personal injury cases. Attorneys explain that wearable fitness apps collect data that might be used as evidence of physical condition after a personal injury. Lawyers in a Canadian case are currently testing the legal waters in just such an instance.
Briefly, here’s a scenario: A woman sues the driver who caused a serious personal injury. Her attorney wants to establish that she was no longer fit for her job after the accident that caused her personal injury. The lawyer representing the defendant counters that the accident is unrelated to her job loss. The plaintiff’s personal injury attorney wants to submit the data from the fitness tracker worn by this active woman before the accident as evidence in the personal injury trial. Lawyers believe they can show a dramatic difference in the woman’s physical condition before and after the accident. Attorneys are interested to know if data like this can be subpoenaed and used in court. There is also a question of privacy – Stockton injury attorneys on either side of a case may argue that such data is private – owned by the person who purchased and used the wearable device.
How Private is Fitness App Data in Stockton?
Injury attorneys say that fitness trackers may include digital feedback on heart rate, blood oxygen levels, sleep quality and are even able to determine what activity is being done. This may create an entree into proprietary information. Stockton personal injury lawyers know that certain data contained in medical records may be off-limits due to laws governing privacy. Our injury attorneys wonder if the boundaries of privacy might shift slightly should fitness data become fair game in personal injury cases. Lawyers ask if access to such information might open the door to other medical information that’s previously been unavailable to personal injury lawyers and the courts?
Clearly, these questions can extend beyond fitness trackers to other applications that record medical data. Stockton personal injury lawyers say that courts will move cautiously in developing opinions about how smart technology might be used in court rooms – how it may either impeded or clarify claims of personal injury. Attorneys point out there are already instances of requests for data in injury cases that have set precedents for court rooms in the U.S. and Stockton. Injury lawyers have successfully subpoenaed Face Book, for example. And email communications can be requisitioned in legal actions. But, personal injury lawyers acknowledge that with wearable technology that records medical information, individuals may have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Stockton injury attorneys will need to monitor developments and integrate changes to best serve clients in cases of personal injury.
Lawyers who specialize in personal injury law know that their arena of expertise is already complicated. Although the premise seems simple – we represent people who have been harmed through the negligence of others – the laws governing personal injury require attorneys to reach a high bar of proof with numerous, detailed stipulations around the definition of “negligence.” Stockton personal injury lawyers must be experts in Tort Law – a discipline that’s fundamental to all personal injury actions. Attorneys seek to establish recognition of damage done to a person’s physical well-being, reputation or individual rights. In Stockton, our injury lawyers generally help individuals injured in a variety of accidents including defective products that lead to grave personal injury. Attorneys point out such accidents can happen anywhere – at work, on roadways, at home or on public and private property.
Injury Lawyers Tap Tech in Courtrooms
Now, technology in the court room is not only creating new issues for personal injury attorneys, it’s becoming a tool! Google Glass, for example, could be used by Stockton personal injury lawyers to capture depositions and record witness comments. We might even imagine the wearable tech used during trial to do instant research while litigating a personal injury case. Imagine a defendant claims to have been golfing and not traveling on the day he is accused of causing a Stockton personal injury. The lawyer for the plaintiff could jump online and check weather conditions on the day of the personal injury. His attorney might discover that the valley was wrapped in fog on the day in question and no one was golfing at any course in Stockton. Injury lawyers may, with their own wearable tech, tap into instant research to benefit personal injury clients.
Attorneys often use experts in their client’s case. When experts are engaged on behalf of a personal injury client, attorneys expect that substantial traveling costs may be passed along to their client. But technology can eliminate costly travel by opening digital communication channels for Stockton personal injury attorneys. Just one example might be the use of experts in jury selection. A Stockton personal injury attorney using Google Glass may include a jury selection expert in, say, Seattle, in the process and bypass the travel expense.
Our personal injury lawyers know that the use of wearable technology in the court room is a new and largely untested development. Stockton injury attorneys don’t expect a rapid integration of digital devices into the trial system. But we are aware that some personal injury lawyers are cautiously pushing boundaries. By its very nature, the legal and judicial system evolves slowly. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys are anxious to offer enhanced services but at the same time, know that justice is the prime concern for everyone. Personal injury lawyers might be able to speed up a process using technology but at what cost? There are many questions that must be answered in this emerging arena of personal injury law for attorneys as well as for the public we serve.
It’s common knowledge who suffers greatest injury in most car vs pedestrian accidents. But attorneys at Sette Law in Stockton this caution: when it comes to liability, the driver does not always shoulder all the responsibility for a Stockton pedestrian accident. Our lawyers say that California practices Comparative Negligence and Duty of Care. Accident attorneys explain that this principle requires that walkers, runners and bicyclists must perform in a safe and responsible manner – adhering to traffic laws and basic common sense, as are drivers of motor vehicles.
Consider this; a young man chooses to run across three lanes of a freeway rather than using an overhead pedestrian crossing. He’s hit by a motorist, badly injured in a Stockton pedestrian accident. His lawyer cautions him that the driver of the car may bear little or no responsibility for the pedestrian accident. The attorney for the car’s driver may argue that the young man bears complete responsibility and his reckless behavior caused the pedestrian accident. The attorney representing the pedestrian, on the other hand, will look for aberrant behavior on behalf of the driver. Was he speeding, under the influence of alcohol or some mitigating factor that contributed to the Stockton accident? Lawyers for both parties will impact the outcome of this case, seeking to establish percentages of liability in the pedestrian accident.
Injury attorneys say that most people know the rules of the road as drivers, but laws governing pedestrian behavior are not as well understood in Stockton. Our accident lawyers believe that more education about this topic should be provided in an effort to prevent pedestrian accidents. Lawyers, for example, are familiar with a California Vehicle Code section that states pedestrians not in an unmarked or marked crosswalk, are required to give right-of-way to vehicles that may present an “immediate hazard.” Of course, drivers still have responsibility for pedestrian safety. But, as our Stockton accident lawyers point out, safety is a shared responsibility.
Injury attorneys point out many people know that California law prohibits what used to be known as hitch-hiking. It is clearly risky to solicit a ride while standing on a roadway in Stockton and accident lawyers point out that it’s also illegal. A little more complicated is a code stipulating that pedestrians shall not cross a street that is between two traffic signals that are adjacent, unless there is an official crosswalk. Our accident lawyers say another lesser known rule requires pedestrians to walk on the left side of a street in business and residential locations, unless it is clearly unsafe to do so. Clearly, our Stockton accident attorneys don’t run across many instances in which this code is strictly enforced. However, we feel it’s important for people to be educated about conditions that can lead to pedestrian accidents. Attorneys believe drivers and pedestrians should both operate out of awareness and caution.
Our Stockton accident lawyers know that our city, like so many big cities in California, was built around commuting, not walking. Wide streets and high speed limits are conditions that contribute to pedestrian accidents. Attorneys tracking data report that about 22 % of deaths in California accidents from 2009 to 2011 were pedestrians. Additionally, accident lawyers say California Walks recorded at least 1,600 pedestrian accidents in 2011 that resulted in significant injury. Our lawyers believe better information about pedestrian responsibilities and rights could bring these figures down.
Our Stockton accident lawyers pay close attention to the work of Smart Growth America.org. Along with compiling pedestrian accident statistics, the group advocates for more thoughtful development that makes walking and running safer for pedestrians. Our Stockton accident lawyers support his work. We find it troubling that from 2009 to 2011 Smart Growth America reports 676,000 injuries nationwide to pedestrians along with 47,025 fatalities. According to Smart Growth analysts, many of these accidents are preventable. Our accident lawyers say that although education can help raise awareness of safety, municipalities can prevent pedestrian accidents through city planning that includes awareness of Stockton pedestrian safety. Injury attorneys encourage new development that incorporates walking and biking as alternatives to wide streets made for automobile traffic. These conditions have proven dangerous in the past with high speeds that contribute to Stockton pedestrian injury. Our lawyers have families too, so awareness of pedestrian safety is close to home!
Although many precautions that pedestrians can take for their safety are quite simple, our Stockton accident lawyers suggest families review these rules, particularly for children and elders. One of our injury lawyers says he tells his children to “Assume that you are invisible to drivers.” This basic message encourages pedestrians to be watchful and aware of the potential for an accident. This attorney, who also rides a motorcycle for recreation, reports his cautious approach has many times saved him from a serious accident.
Lawyers add that parents should make sure their entire family dresses appropriately. Pedestrians walking or running, particularly in evening hours, should wear light colored clothing and even carry (or wear) a warning light to prevent an accident. Our attorneys are gratified to see that such affordable safety equipment is now sold in stores throughout Stockton.
Injury lawyers also have some important advice for pedestrians who do meet with an unfortunate accident. Our attorneys suggest that, outside of medical needs, pedestrian victims should not freely express themselves at the scene of a Stockton accident. Our lawyers know that seemingly innocent comments can be used in court to influence a decision. One of our Stockton accident attorneys recalls that a pedestrian injured by a bicyclist actually apologized at the scene for her part in the crash. Later, the bicyclist’s lawyer claimed the victim’s comment was an admission of responsibility for the pedestrian accident. Attorneys advise accident victims to focus on their physical condition, exchange only necessary information and only talk to law enforcement or to an accident lawyer.
As a final precaution, our Stockton accident injury lawyers want people to know that statistics collected by traffic and safety organizations do not reflect reality. There is an admission that countless pedestrian accidents go unreported. Our injury attorneys caution that the dangers are many and real for pedestrians on the roadways of Stockton.
Attorneys at Sette Law in Stockton have a unique and deep
understanding of that it means to lose a loved one in a wrongful death. Our
lawyers work closely with surviving family and know the pain and anger that
often linger with families in Stockton. Wrongful death attorneys recognize that
the mere thought of filing a lawsuit may be overwhelming but, at the same time,
survivors may feel a moral responsibility to do so. Unfortunately, California
has a statute of limitations on such action of just two years, according to
Stockton wrongful death attorneys. Consequently, while survivors are still
grieving they must take on the demands of a wrongful death lawsuit. Our
lawyers, however, are prepared to provide the support and expertise needed to
move through the process and onto healing.
What constitutes a Stockton Wrongful Death
Sette attorneys explain that wrongful death involves certain
elements, such as careless or reckless acts that may be intentional or due to
negligence. It is the job of a Stockton wrongful death lawyer to prove
liability for actions that led to a death. For example, throughout 2014
accident and wrongful death attorneys have been working on actions related to
the recall of Takata airbags in many models of cars. Wrongful death and
accident lawyers will look at a chain of responsibility – from Takata to
automobile manufacturers and even dealers in Stockton. Wrongful death attorneys fully expect the
number of fatalities to rise as scrutiny increases across the U.S., as well as
liability in accidents that caused injuries.
Stockton wrongful death lawyers say this nationwide concern
illustrates similar issues on a more personal scale. Surviving family members,
no matter what the cause, seek accountability and justice after a wrongful
death. Experienced attorneys know that compassion is required along with legal
expertise in supporting clients in Stockton.
Our wrongful death lawyers treat each case as if it was of
national importance – because, to surviving loved ones, justice is
paramount. The scope of a wrongful death
lawsuit can be limited, say, to an individual who provided alcohol to an
individual who is later killed in a drunk driving accident or much more
extensive such as wrongful deaths related to airbag malfunction – potentially effected
scores of people. Our Stockton wrongful death attorneys seek to establish clear
liability in these cases.
Responsibility for wrongful death, our attorneys explain,
can be shared. Consider, for example, the owner of a bar who hires a bartender
who fails to check birthdays of patrons and serves an under-age patron who
subsequently dies in a car accident. Stockton wrongful death lawyers may look
to hold the bartender responsible, but an also seek liability of the bar owner.
Of course, it’s not only individuals who have liability in
wrongful deaths. Our attorneys have also looked to corporate entities,
agencies, businesses and builders in Stockton wrongful death actions. In
California, for example, there have been a number of lawsuits involving
assisted living and elder care facilities alleged to contribute to wrongful
deaths. Attorneys in such cases work to establish liability – from the specific
facility (and staff) to corporate ownership that contributed to the wrongful
death. Our Stockton wrongful death lawyers say tracing responsibility in these
instances can be complicated because of many levels of corporate ownership. In
such cases, liability is often shared from the individual level all the way up
the corporate chain.
Stockton wrongful death attorneys also handle medical
malpractice cases. On the occasion that the acts (or inaction) of a physician
leads to a wrongful death, attorneys must delve into the details of medical
practices and treatment. Fundamental to a malpractice action is to affirm the
relationship between physician and the patient who suffered a wrongful death.
Lawyers must then establish a direct link between the doctor’s negligence and
the ensuing wrongful death. A deadly outcome from a medical procedure is
certainly an unexpected blow to surviving family, according to our Stockton
wrongful death attorneys. The family may swiftly move from disbelief to
outrage. As Stockton wrongful death lawyers our job is to help survivors work
though the anger to resolution for themselves and for others who risk
experiencing similar, tragic outcomes.
Compensation for Those Left Behind in Stockton
Wrongful death lawyers know that behind many lawsuits is a
desire to right a wrong, and to protect others. In addition, surviving loved
ones should not have to shoulder the financial burdens such a loss may cause.
Our Stockton wrongful death lawyers can seek financial compensation for losses
incurred by survivors. Some of the conditions a Stockton wrongful death
attorney advocates to repair includes reimbursement for medical costs, for
current and future wages, and even for loss of companionship and comfort of the
loved one lost to a Stockton wrongful death.
Attorneys can also sue for punitive damages when they prove a defendant’s
negligence and liability.
Now, as Stockton wrongful death attorneys, we are aware that
financial compensation can never make up for the loss of a loved one. That
absence will forever be an emotional scar. We know that even the decision to
engage a Stockton wrongful death attorney is a complicated one – with emotions
high and rational thinking affected by profound loss. However, from our
experience, prevailing in a wrongful death lawsuit can bring a level of
relief. Financial burdens caused by a
wrongful death, our lawyers know, can weigh heavily on surviving family. Once
that concern is lifted, family members are free to focus on emotional loss,
healing and the future of their family in Stockton.
Our wrongful death attorneys consider the representation of
survivors is a responsibility and a privilege. In our professional – client
relationship there is trust that we’ll assume full responsibility for legal
details, thereby lifting a burden from the shoulders of our clients in
Stockton. Our wrongful death attorneys offer assurance, support and hope to
people who come to us during some of the worst days of their lives.
Thankfully, most people never experience a wrongful death.
But, our attorneys experience the aftermath of many. We are prepared to provide
the support and expertise demanded by such difficult circumstances. Our
Stockton wrongful death lawyers are committed to helping survivors look forward
to a better tomorrow.
In general, the importance of personal injury law has been underestimated by the public. At Sette Law, our Stockton personal injury attorneys share a common goal – to achieve financial justice for victims. We know that our niche of law is frequently mischaracterized and we’ll use today’s blog to highlight just a few of the landmark personal injury lawsuits that brought great benefit to victims and to the public at large. Our Stockton personal injury lawyers have dedicated years of education in this specialty so that victims can stand up to large corporate entities and prevail in court in Stockton.
Accident and personal injury lawyers provide a voice that speaks authoritatively in a court of law. We possess knowledge of prior personal injury cases and access to important court records that help support the victims of a personal injury in Stockton. Without personal injury lawyers with this breadth of experience, victims may be unable to gain just compensation – left with crushing medical bills and personal injuries that become a lifetime challenge. When negligence, on behalf of a corporate entity or powerful individuals, causes grave personal injury, our lawyers can advocate for justice for Stockton personal injury victims. Of course, financial compensation will not heal the emotional scars suffered in a grave personal injury, but lifting financial burdens off the shoulders of the victim, is a step toward healing. And, it’s particularly gratifying when our Stockton personal injury attorneys litigate a case that has implications beyond an individual, positively impacting and protecting others.
Cases that Changed the Legal Landscape
Our Stockton personal injury attorneys are proud of colleagues across the nation who fought hard for justice for personal injury victims, eventually winning cases that impact entire communities and beyond. Most of these landmark personal injury lawsuits pitted a single individual against huge corporate entities with regiments of personal injury attorneys to defend to them. Such high profile lawsuits not only require Stockton personal injury lawyers to argue against powerful, well compensated corporate attorneys, but to also do battle in the media and be adept at managing public perception. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys must also be prepared for a lengthy process that’s trying for ourselves and for the victim of a personal injury.
Because the case was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, the name of Erin Brockovich is familiar to many people in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers herald this case as one of many that shows the intrinsic value of personal injury law because the resulting $333 million settlement in 1993 also changed the practices of one of America’s largest utility companies – PG&E. The lawsuit charged the company had contaminated the drinking water in Hinkley, CA, with hexavalent chromium. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys report that Ms Brockovich did not stop there. She continued to seek out other instances in which communities suffered personal injury and health threats due to negligent corporate practices.
In the 1980s, the then-popular breast implants also impacted women throughout the U.S. and in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers learned that the silicone enhancements were known to rupture or leak, causing personal injury to women. A settlement based on product liability netted the plaintiff $200,000 in damages and another $1.2 million as punitive damages. Our Stockton personal injury lawyers say the breast implant issue heated up after TV personality Connie Chung aired a story in the 1990s, seen across America and in Stockton. Injury attorneys won a 1993 settlement that was claimed by 440,000 women – putting manufacturer Dow Corning into bankruptcy.
Yet another prominent case was litigated by John Edwards, a personal injury attorney who went on to serve as a member of Congress before losing his stature due to a personal scandal. Edwards presented a court case on behalf of a family whose child died when a swimming pool drain suctioned out most of the girl’s intestines. Although she survived, the severe personal injury changed her life forever. Up against the drain maker’s lawyers, Edwards eventually presented evidence the company had received numerous complaints that children had been caught in the suction. After hearing the evidence in the lengthy case, a jury awarded $25 million in the personal injury case – North Carolina’s biggest personal injury lawsuit in the state’s history. Consequently, children everywhere are protected against the company’s negligence across the nation and in Stockton because personal injury lawyers prevailed.
But, it’s the famous personal injury lawsuit against McDonald’s that most often comes to mind, according to our Stockton personal injury lawyers. It was 1992 and the fast-food chain had a policy of keeping it coffee at a maximum temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit. A 72-year-old woman suffered a very serious personal injury when she spilled the coffee on her lap. Our Stockton personal injury lawyers remind us of the severity of her injuries – 22 percent of her body was scarred with up to third degree burns. After weeks in a hospital and skin graft surgery, a personal injury lawyer filed a lawsuit against the company. Doing research and interviewing experts in burns, the personal injury attorney established that 190 degree coffee can cause third degree burns in just two-to-four seconds. Our Stockton personal injury lawyers report that McDonald’s denied responsibility – and helped foment the idea that the personal injury lawyer had filed a frivolous action. However, the woman’s significant medical costs and disfigurement were compelling. In addition, her personal injury lawyer established that the company had received hundreds of complains about burns from its too-hot coffee. The personal injury lawyer prevailed and McDonald’s settled for an undisclosed amount.
Importantly, our Stockton personal injury lawyers point out that these cases not only brought some measure of justice to the personal injury victims, but also serve to protect the public in Stockton. When personal injury lawyers take on cases that may have broad implications they commit themselves to a long and costly legal battle against deep-pocket defendants. But the results of a victory that creates greater public safety and security for families in Stockton drive personal injury attorneys to accept the challenge and step into the legal battle.
As cities across the nation encourage residents to leave cars at home and ride bikes, it’s important that riders step up their attention to safety. Stockton bicycle accident lawyers report that over 100 people lost their lives in bicycle accidents and thousands more were injured across the California and in Stockton. Bicycle accidents, our lawyers at Sette Law report, rose significantly over the past three years across the nation. But, there is reason for bicyclists to be extra concerned in Stockton.
Bicycle accident lawyers say Stockton ranks as the second most dangerous city in its region for riders under the age of 15 and ninth for all riders, as measured by the California Office of Traffic Safety. According to the OTS 2011 report, 138 bike riders were killed or injured in Stockton. Bicycle accident lawyers who work closely with law enforcement, add that these figures likely do not reflect reality on the streets of Stockton where bicycle accidents often go unreported.
Clearly, vehicle drivers must become more aware of bike riders to play a role in preventing Stockton bicycle accidents. But, since it’s the bike riders who are most at risk, adopting some strict safety practices is essential to preventing Stockton bicycle accidents. Our attorneys encourage riders of all ages to follow basic practices:
Be Predictable: Prevent Stockton bicycle accidents by making sure car drivers know your intention to turn and make moves in traffic. Adhere to traffic laws on the streets of Stockton.
Visible Bicycle Accident Prevention: Don’t blend in with the environment when riding a bike! Wear bright clothes, equip your bike with reflectors and lights, make eye contact, make sure you’re seen by drivers.
Total Attention Required: Prevent Stockton bicycle accidents by thinking ahead about your environment and what vehicle drivers might do. Anticipate car doors opening or vehicles making sudden turns in Stockton.
Bicycle injury attorneys at Sette Law are also staunch supporters of bicycle helmets – we think helmets should be basic to bicycle safety for all riders in Stockton.
Our personal injury attorneys say that it is very important for any victim to remember all the details of a bicycle accident. Lawyers working on their behalf will need to prove liability, and personal witnesses along with traffic reports can support the case of a bicycle accident victim.
We’ve all read frightening news stories about dog Bite injuries and deaths. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers know of many local cases that never made front page headlines. Every year people are harmed by out-of-control dogs in Stockton. Dog bite attorneys at Sette Law say that owner liability for dog bite injuries has some specific requirements if victims are to be compensated for their many personal losses.
The statutes governing dog bites often vary among jurisdictions and in some regions “common law” applies. According to our Stockton dog bite lawyers, generally, a few key factors are considered. Personal injury attorneys representing a dog bite victim will investigate whether or not the dog had a known reputation for being aggressive and also consider if the animal had suffered abuse. But, essentially, the focus of any Stockton dog bite legal case will also be on the owner of the animal.
Several Layers of Dog Bite Laws may Apply
Stockton personal injury lawyers reference California code that says an animal’s owner bears responsibility for its behavior. Whether in public or on private property, dog bite lawyers say owners most often bear liability for a dog bite. However, Stockton dog bite lawyers point out that dog owners also have certain protections. If, for example, a person trespasses onto private property and is bitten by the resident dog, the owner may be shielded from responsibility in Stockton. Conversely, dog bite attorneys say that owners usually have liability for injuries when the victim was legally on his or her property when the dog bite happened. Lawyers at Sette report that courts have ruled that dog bite victims who were trespassing on private land played a role in the attack and also took on a risk. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers say this determination can be complicated and may result in the court assessing a percentage of liability to both parties – the injured plaintiff and the dog owner.
However, personal injury lawyers say that dog owners have basic responsibilities. If, for example, an owner knows a dog can be aggressive and takes no steps to protect the public, the owner may be deemed liable. According to Stockton dog bite lawyers, indications that an owner was aware of a dog’s dangerous temperament include posting a warning sign or having to muzzle a dog in Stockton. Dog bite lawyers say common law requires the victim of a dog bite to prove the animal’s owner knew about the dog’s potential to be aggressive.
To further complicate the issue of liability, a person suffering a dog bite in the course of his or her employment can also bear some legal responsibility in Stockton. Dog bite lawyers say that contractual employees at a kennel or boarding facility, for example, may accept the inherent risk of their occupation. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys must look very closely at the details of each dog bite lawsuit or court case to determine liability.
Dog Bites associated with Certain Breeds
In general, common law indicates dogs that have no history or demonstrated behavior of viciousness are to be considered harmless. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers explain this principle can be flexible in interpretation by including specific breeds of dogs with a reputation for being aggressive. Pit bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans, for example, may be among such breeds. Stockton dog bite lawyers say that breeds identified in this category may inherently bear the description of “dangerous.” However, dog bite lawyers recognize it’s important to note that individuals within these breeds are often harmless in nature and do not exhibit vicious tendencies.
Both common law and state statutes can influence the outcome of any Stockton dog bite case. Lawyers should be familiar with landmark cases that established precedents in dog bite law and victims of dog bites are advised to be very clear about the circumstances under which they were injured when consulting with a Stockton dog bite attorney.
Lawyers at Sette Law appreciate the appeal of riding motorcycles in the Central Valley – plenty of great weather and many exhilarating rides in the region surrounding Stockton. Motorcycle accident lawyers also recognize the serious dangers surrounding this popular mode of transportation and fun in Stockton.
Personal injury lawyers refer to data collected by national and state agencies that documented a 175 percent increase in deaths due to motorcycle accidents over 10 years (1998-2008). In 2012 the NHTSA reported that riders faced a 26 percent increased risk of death, according to miles traveled, than do people traveling in cars. Stockton motorcycle accident lawyers also note that public perception of motorcycle riders may be skewed, with officials sometimes assuming the rider was responsible for a crash. In handling numerous Stockton motorcycle accidents our lawyers know this assumption can be far from the truth.
Stockton Injury Lawyers say Motorcycle Riders at Bigger Risk
But, motorcycle riders must be aware they are in greater danger of serious harm from an accident in Stockton. Injury lawyers caution the margins for error are small on a motorcycle. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, driving at high speed, improper turns and driving while intoxicated are the top three causes of motorcycle accidents. Of course, these behaviors apply equally to car drivers in Stockton. Motorcycle accident lawyers refer to police reports, witnesses and accident scene evidence to establish liability for a crash in Stockton.
Motorcycle Accident lawyers advise riders to be aware of some startling statistics. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, in 2006 13.10 vehicles out of 100,000 were involved in fatal accidents. Comparable motorcycle crashes resulted in 72.34 percent deaths per 100,000 nationwide and comparably in Stockton.
Motorcycle accident Lawyers encourage Education for Riders in Stockton
Personal injury attorneys at Sette are alarmed at these statistics. It is clear that motorcycle riders must take extra precautions on the roads of Stockton. Our motorcycle accident lawyers believe education and training enhance safety, and we recommend the California Motorcyclist Safety program sponsored by the California Highway Patrol. This proven program equips riders with important skills and leads to a certificate that provides a waiver for the requirement that motorcycle riders take a Driving Skills Test at the DMV in Stockton.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers also point to NTHSA research that shows riders over the age of 40 were involved in 56 percent of fatal accidents across the U.S. and similarly in Stockton. Personal injury attorneys report that injuries to riders in this age group were also more severe, according to the 2012 study. Stockton accident lawyers tapped research from Brown University for reasons behind these numbers and found that the over-40 group tended to ride big motorcycles that are heavier and more prone to roll over. Researchers also attributed diminished vision and slower reaction times in older riders.
Stockton motorcycle accident lawyers note alarming statistics on the other end of the age spectrum. Young (and inexperienced) riders often choose Super-Sport-Bikes which are lighter, faster, powerful, and quickly reach high, dangerous speeds on roads in Stockton. Motorcycle accident lawyers say riders on these youth-oriented bikes face a risk of death or injury that’s four-times high than for other model motorcycles in Stockton.
Personal injury attorneys at Sette see the devastating impacts of motorcycle accidents in Stockton. Our motorcycle accident lawyers urge riders to take advantage of the CHP training course and to ride with extreme awareness, as if your life depends on it!
The scope of GM’s recall of 39 million vehicles widened recently as the National Highway Traffic safety Administration was drawn into the continuing saga. Stockton car accident lawyers at Sette Law report the NHTSA apparently knew about defective ignition switches that prevented airbags from inflating in certain GM models. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys say a recent report from Congress states the NTHSA knew about the problem in 2007 but failed to make those findings public until GM started its recalls in 2013. Many accidents and a mounting number of deaths have been attributed to this defect that includes cars across the nation and in Stockton.
Car accident lawyers have depended on reliable information from the NTHSA but, in light of this recent failure to report, many question the agency’s reliability. Further complicating this recent news for Stockton injury attorneys, is NTHSA’s award of a Five Star rating for the Chevy Cruze, recalled earlier this year because of an airbag defect. In light of this oversight, Stockton car accident lawyers must question the quality of NTHSA reports.
In its defense, NTHSA representatives say that GM obfuscated problems in its reporting to the agency. Allegedly, the car maker had a policy of not using the word “defect” in its communications with the NTHSA. The agency became unwittingly involved in a game of hide-and-seek, according to NTHSA spokesmen, thus keeping GM drivers ignorant of problems in cars nationwide and in Stockton. Our car accident lawyers take this breech of public trust seriously. The NTHSA has a responsibility to the driving public and now must restore trust for Sette’s Stockton injury attorneys.
Settlement Case may affect drivers in Stockton
Car accident lawyers are closely following a court decision related to the 2010 death of a woman driving a Chevy Cobalt. Before the airbag defect was disclosed by GM, the driver’s family settled with the car maker. However, Stockton injury lawyers say once the defect was public, the family returned to court to have the settlement overturned. The parents of the young driver stated their legal action is not related to money but to justice and public awareness for other families across the nation and in Stockton.
Injury attorneys representing the family retained engineers to examine the Chevy Cobalt’s switching mechanics. They discovered it had been redesigned to correct the defect that caused the young woman’s car to crash. Stockton car accident lawyers say this finding served as evidence in the family’s claim that GM was aware of the defect but failed to notify the public.
Our Stockton car accident lawyers report the court decided in favor of the family’s request to overturn the prior settlement. Stockton personal injury attorneys explain the next step will be legal action against GM by the grieving family. GM representatives expressed disappointment with the judge’s decision that will influence similar cases in Stockton.
Personal Injury Lawyers say GM Fights to Limit Damage Claims
The car maker that is now aligned with the biggest recall in automobile history continues to oppose some settlement claims according to Stockton car accident lawyers. In a 2006 crash in which the driver and a back seat passenger were killed when the front airbag failed to deploy, GM has refused to take responsibility for both deaths. The company accepts liability for the driver, but not for the passenger, saying the lack of a back seat airbag relieves them of responsibility. Stockton injury attorneys at Sette Law believe this treatment of victims’ families is a callous, corporate grab that inflicts further injury.
Our Stockton car accident lawyers anticipate a vigorous court battle in these and other issues surrounding a tragic drama that has gravely wounded one of America’s iconic car makers and led to death and injury for crash victims and their families.