Picture of Zev Rubinstein
Picture of Zev Rubinstein
Picture of Zev Rubinstein
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San Diego slip and fall lawyers know some of the most common sorts of documents that enter into play in personal showerinjury cases are various forms of contracts. These documents are things like car insurance policies, employment contracts, or one or another forms of liability waivers. In the case of premises liability claims, for example, people who have paid to attend a sporting event, amusement park, or county fair may have assumed the risk of any potential injury that may occur while on site. In many cases, the terms of this agreement may appear on the back of a ticket purchased, or in some cases they involve actually signing a document.

In one recent case, an older gentleman signed one such liability waiver in the course of joining a fitness club.

In the case, the 60-something plaintiff signed various forms when becoming a member of the defendant gym. The membership agreement included a section entitled “IMPORTANT: RELEASE AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND INDEMNITY,” which stated that the undersigned waived any and all potential for injury, “whether caused by the active or passive negligence” of the defendant club.

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car crashAs a San Diego car accident lawyer, it is not uncommon to come across cases that contain what are sometimes known as “hybrid” legal claims. In the case, the plaintiff was injured in a car accident, which is a straightforward personal injury case as far as the types of claims he likely pursued.

However, the person reportedly responsible for causing the accident was driving in the course of his employment, implicating his employer as the responsible party, subject to the legal principle of respondeat superior (L:atin for “let the master answer,” i.e., be held liable for the actions of its agents). Additionally, the plaintiff who was injured in the car accident had already suffered an injury during the course of his employment, for which he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Therefore, the plaintiff sued the driver who was allegedly responsible for the accident and his employer. After the plaintiff reached a settlement with the defendants, the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation administrator intervened in the case, attempting to recover for its alleged financial damages that occurred as a result of the accident. However, following the settlement, the county defendant moved for summary judgment against the workers’ compensation administrator, hereinafter known as GB (an abbreviation of the company’s name), arguing that it did not establish that it was entitled to reimbursement for payment as a result of the accident. The trial court granted the motion, and GB appealed, arguing there were triable issues of fact with regard to whether the car accident caused any part of the plaintiff’s permanent disability.

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San Diego personal injury lawyers often receive calls to represent individuals injured as a result of car accidents. crosswalkDriving is a large part of Southern California culture.

The California Court of Appeals recently reached a decision in a Los Angeles car accident case, Ramos v. Pong, Cal. Ct. App. (2017), which is instructive on the matter of cases in which a pedestrian is hit and injured by a driver who then flees the scene.

The case arose out of an incident in which the defendant driver hit a pedestrian crossing the street. The defendant conceded negligence by way of a pre-trial stipulation, thus making the sole issue at trial that of damages. The defendant had offered a settlement under Code of Civil Procedure section 998 in excess of $20,000. At trial, however, the jury awarded the plaintiff damages of $16,800. The plaintiff appealed, challenging in particular the trial court’s ruling to exclude evidence regarding the defendant’s failure to stop.

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dogAs an experienced San Diego dog bite attorney, it is not uncommon to hear of litigation in instances in which people sustain injuries as a result of a dog or another animal biting them. Most times, the injured party will file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog or another person tasked with caring for the animal. Less common, however, is the nature of the claims found in a recent case, in which the representatives of a woman who was killed by several dogs pursued various claims against the local governmental agency tasked with animal control issues.

The lawsuit arose out of a situation in which a woman was fatally attacked by several pit bull dogs in Los Angeles County in May 2013. The owner of the dogs was convicted of second-degree murder as a result of the attack. When the lawsuit was initially pursued against the defendant, herein designated as the “Department,” the plaintiffs were apparently told that there was nothing the Department could have done differently to prevent the attack. Over time, however, the plaintiffs were contacted by a former employee/whistleblower, and additional subsequent evidence was purportedly uncovered that suggested the Department had been called in regard to the dogs involved in the attack on several occasions — on at least seven occasions in the 18 months preceding the attack alone.

As early as June 2005, and again in January 2006, the Department received complaints that a pack of pit bulls was running “at large,” attacking livestock, pets, and people — reportedly having escaped from the owner’s property. The Department did not impound the dogs at that time, as required by the County code. This was even though the Department reportedly observed that the owner was keeping more than three dogs, which according to County law necessitated a kennel license.

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shoulderA recent California Court of Appeals decision illustrates the importance of not threatening to sue someone, especially in writing, unless you understand the potentially far-reaching consequences of your actions.

In a decision filed just last week, the plaintiff gave birth via Cesarean section at the defendant hospital in October 2013. On the day after the procedure, the plaintiff fell while walking along a hospital hallway, resulting in a fractured right shoulder.

In February 2014, the plaintiff sent a detailed letter to the defendant, describing her injury and allegedly outlining the basis for her “medical negligence” claim. The plaintiff apparently additionally requested damages in the amount of $240,000 and purportedly stated that she would “move to the court” if she did not receive a check within 20 days. The defendant subsequently denied the plaintiff’s claim after its insurer reviewed the plaintiff’s records. In October 2014, the plaintiff’s retained counsel sent a letter to the defendants, stating they were providing notice pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 364. The formal lawsuit followed in January 2015.

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bike wheelA California Appeals court recently entered a somewhat routine decision in a car accident case, but the ultimate holding may take some Californians by surprise. In the case, a bicyclist was involved in an accident with a car, which apparently caused injuries (the appellate decision did not discuss the actual claims in the case).

On the day of the accident, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident when his bicycle collided with the vehicle being driven by the defendant. The plaintiff stated that he could not remember what happened on the day of the collision. He could not recall what he saw or what color the light was just before the accident happened. However, the driver of the vehicle and two witnesses at the scene stated that the plaintiff’s bicycle entered the intersection on a red light, and the car had a green light when the driver entered the intersection. Thus, when the plaintiff filed a personal injury action against the car’s driver and its two owners, the trial court granted a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the defendants.

Regarding the evidence in the case, one of the witnesses stated that he had entered the crosswalk before noticing a bicyclist approaching very quickly and then entering the intersection, resulting in the accident. On the basis of this witness’ account, as well as the driver’s statement and the other witness’ statement, the police officer who responded to the accident stated his opinion that the bicyclist was responsible for the accident, and the trial court adopted that conclusion.

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The constantly expanding amount of information on the internet provides a staggering amount of statistics regarding tractor trailer accidents, both in California and nationwide.truck

Recently, the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health issued a press release out of San Diego, announcing its report of the “Dirty Dozen” most dangerous employers for 2017. The coalition represents 21 affiliates in 15 states, and its mission is to promote workplace safety. Of the 12 companies included in the report, three have their headquarters in California. One of the dozen included a company responsible for some 10 percent of traffic in the Los Angeles area, according to the report. It was included for various reasons, including the death of one of its drivers during a truck accident.

A related report released recently by the Bureau of Labor statistics found that 745 drivers suffered fatal injuries in the year in which the data was reported, which was reportedly the most of any occupation.

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Cases involving injuries due to asbestos inhalation have been in the news a lot lately, as individuals exposed to the material over a long period of time have begun to show symptoms. In one such case, the plaintiff alleged that his father was exposed to asbestos from the defendants’ products during the time when he repaired brakes and clutches for his employer. The plaintiff also alleged that he was secondarily exposed to asbestos when he visited the father at work, doing things such as sweeping piles of dust from the repairs, and also when the father would return home with dust on his clothing, which was washed with the family clothing.

asbestos

The plaintiff was secondarily (para-occupationally) exposed to the same asbestos when he visited the father at work and when the father inadvertently carried asbestos to the family home or vehicle after work. As a result of this asbestos exposure, the plaintiff suffered from or had an increased risk of contracting serious injuries, including mesothelioma. He brought causes of action for negligence, breach of implied warranty, strict products liability based on design and manufacturing defects, fraud and failure to warn, and conspiracy to defraud and failure to warn. The defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment, each arguing that the plaintiff did not have and could not obtain evidence to prove his claims.

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XrayIn a decision filed just last month, a California Appeals court entered their decision regarding a personal injury case.

The case arose out of a car accident whereby the plaintiff was purportedly rear-ended by the defendant. According to testimony, the accident occurred when the defendant’s foot accidentally slipped off the brake temporarily, while he attempted to reach an item that had fallen to the floor. After pulling over to assess the damage to their vehicles, both drivers ascertained negligible damage to their vehicles, no emergency services or tow vehicles were called, and the plaintiff did not exhibit any signs of injury. After exchanging insurance information, the two individuals drove off in their own vehicles.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant answered, admitting liability for the collision and property damage, which had been paid, but denying that the accident had caused the plaintiff to suffer any damages. The issues of damages and causation went to a jury, and the ultimate verdict was in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed, claiming that the testimony of the defendant’s designated medical expert was improper.

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dumbbell

A California Appeals Court ruled earlier this year in a case that touched upon the various legal claims that can be involved in personal injury cases.

The plaintiff was a member of the fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness. On one occasion while exercising, he used a “hack squat” machine. The health club had two of the machines, one that had a safety catch and one that did not. On the day of the incident, the plaintiff was using the machine, and his legs became tired, so he was unable to return the weight to the required height. Since the machine he was using did not have a catch, the weights descended too low for comfort, causing the plaintiff to suffer an injury.

The plaintiff filed suit against the maker of the machine, the health club, and other affiliated entities, alleging products liability claims based upon negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty in addition to claims for premises liability and negligence.

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