Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
Personal Injury Attorney
Serving The Stockton California Region
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Exacting Requirements face Stockton Malpractice Lawyers

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.



Seeking Justice in Stockton Wrongful Deaths

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.

R
esponsibility 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.


Stockton Personal Injury Lawyers look at Landmark Cases

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.


Stockton Bicycle Accident Prevention

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.
 

Stockton Head Injury Lawyers on Alert

As the popularity in sports grows, our Stockton personal injury lawyers, note that concerns over head injuries are also on the rise – particularly in a sports-minded community like Stockton. Injury lawyers and the public have seen much of the focus regarding traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on football. However, now our Stockton head injury lawyers say the problem crosses the spectrum of sports activities.


Of particular interest is the recurrence of head injuries in soccer, a much loved sport in Stockton. Personal injury lawyers at Sette Law point out that “heading” is an accepted part of the game. Consequently, head protection in soccer can’t cause the game to be modified for players in Stockton. Our injury attorneys say protective head gear has, thus far, been ineffective or inappropriate to the game. A study done by McGill University in Canada, found that 60 percent of players on college teams had suffered concussions. That number was much higher than expected and certainly serves as a caution to soccer teams in Stockton.


Injury attorneys were also surprised to learn that TBI and concussions are now identified in cheerleading teams. Once a role played by energetic young women with bright smiles and pom-poms, cheer squads have morphed into nimble acrobats and gymnasts across America and in Stockton. Brain injury lawyers say high risk jumps and athletic routines increased the incidence of injury. 2010 Cheerleading data showed that almost 20 percent of injuries were to the neck and head. Stockton brain injury attorneys say that new safety guidelines have been issued to protect participants on college, high school, and competitive teams, including teams in Stockton. Our personal injury attorneys point out that not all rules are embraced by every organization from the public and private sectors. By their very nature, cheer teams strive for excellence and new routines, despite the risks, to dazzle audiences in Stockton.

Personal Injury Attorneys broaden TBI Scope
Of course, it’s the rough and tumble sports that are most identified with brain injuries in Stockton. Our injury lawyers handle football and soccer injuries that are direct contact sports and popular in Stockton. Our personal injury attorneys recognize that regulations for the protection of players are in development. However, there seems to be a failure of systems to reach agreement across the spectrum of organizations. In Stockton, injury attorneys say that different rules apply at different levels of participation. From college football to youth soccer and high school sports, there is no common standard for safety for athletes in Stockton. So, personal injury lawyers must follow multiple sports organizations and associations plus monitor lawsuits related to TBI across America and in Stockton. Injury lawyers at Sette Law support the development of sane and consistent regulations that safeguard athletes.