Articles Posted in Miscellaneous Personal Injury

Health officials are investigating at least 22 E. coli illnesses allegedly caused by health or food problems at Chipotle Grill in Washington and Oregon.  As a result, Chipotle Grill has reportedly closed 43 restaurants in the affected areas pending this investigation.

It was further reported that about one-third of the E. coli victims were hospitalized, and fortunately no deaths have been reported.  Symptoms may include feeling very ill with vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria, is the most common in food-borne outbreaks, and it is believed that many people affected with Shiga toxin E. coli may not seek health care.   As a result the number of people made ill by this E. coli outbreak is likely more than already identified,   Health Department officials have requested that any persons who have eaten at a Chipotle between October 14, 2015 and October 23, 2015, who became ill, including with vomiting and bloody diarrhea, should immediately see their health-care provider and inform their health care provider about this outbreak.

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A high school accident in Anaheim has resulted in injuries to 25 students. The students were injured at Servite High School, during a performance. According to the Los Angeles Times, the injuries occurred when part of the stage the students were performing on gave way and collapsed.

It appears that the students who were injured were students of Rosary High School, a Catholic school in Fullerton, California. They were doing a performance at Servite High School, in Anaheim, California, when they were injured.

Fortunately, none of the injuries are life threatening, but some of the students did suffer serious injuries, including broken bones and other fall injuries. These injuries are often very painful and often require surgery and may require many months or years of physical therapy, chiropractic or other forms of medical treatment.

There are many different legal issues involved with accidents in a school. First, it must be determined if there is any government entity involved. If so, a government claim is required, which involves different time limits from a normal California personal injury case. Second, there are different rules for cases involving minors. Some of these students may have been under 18 and others could already be 18. Next, liability, meaning fault for the accident, must be established.

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In 1975, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (“MICRA”) was set into law in California. This law unfairly limits the amount of money that a victim of medical malpractice can receive for his or her pain and suffering to only $250,000. This amount has not gone up with inflation in 38 years and is the limit regardless of how severe the injury and malpractice. For example, if a doctor were to negligently remove the wrong leg of a patient, the pain and suffering of the crippled patient is limited to the same $250,000.

For the protection of California’s citizens, this law obviously needs to be changed. We urge our readers to vote in the poll on the website for the Los Angeles Business Journal, by clicking here. The poll is on the bottom right of the page, and we urge a “yes” vote, that the limit on California medical malpractice is unfair and far too low. As of the time of publishing this blog post, 92% of the votes in the poll favor raising the unfair limit on pain and suffering damages.

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Did you know that retired professional athletes with non-California teams are receiving California Workers’ Compensation payments?

Former pro athletes who previously played for non-California teams are eligible for and receiving money under California’s workers’ compensation insurance program. According to the Los Angeles Times, former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who played just nine times in California in his 88 game career, received $199,000 from a California workers’ compensation court. He was paid this workers’ compensation money for the lifelong cumulative effects of his NFL injuries, including injuries to his head, arms, legs and general body, per records of workers’ compensation.

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A Los Angeles work accident has resulted in the deaths of the pilot and two passengers of a helicopter, in Polsa Rosa Ranch, California. According to the Los Angeles Times, the helicopter accident occurred during a production of a reality television show for the Discovery Channel. The pilot of the helicopter, David Gibbs, from Valencia, had apparently been involved in other incidents in which he was reprimanded by the FAA.

Many safety issues have come up regarding this particular helicopter crash. First, it has been questioned whether Mr. Gibbs, given his safety record, should have been hired to work on this project. Also, it must be answered why the helicopter was flying at night, in a hilly area with poor visibility. The Los Angeles helicopter accident resulted in the deaths of a crew member and a cast member of the reality based television show that has not yet been named.

According to the L.A. Times, there is currently debate in Hollywood as to the safety of filming certain reality tv shows. It is alleged that deaths and work injuries have occurred due to an attempt to show dramatic footage and cut costs involved in the production of the shows.

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The California Supreme Court has sided with Great America Amusement Park in an important bumper car accident case.

In a decision limiting liability of amusement parks for amusement park accidents to patrons, the California Supreme Court ruled on December 31, 2012, that the Great American Amusement Park is not liable for amusement park injuries suffered to a rider of a bumper car resulting from the inherent nature of the attraction.

The California Supreme Court previously held in a case relating to sports (touch football) injuries: “In cases involving ‘primary assumption of risk’–where, by virtue of the nature of the activity and the parties’ relationship to the activity, the defendant owes no legal duty to protect the plaintiff from the particular risk of harm that caused the injury–the doctrine continues to operate as a complete bar to the plaintiff’s recovery.” Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal. 4th 296. The court now has extended this doctrine to recreational activities, limiting liability for injuries resulting from amusement park rides.

In a suit brought by Smriti Nalwa, due to her fracturing her wrist while trying to brace herself by putting her hand on the car’s dashboard in a head on bumper car collision, the California Supreme Court ruled 6 to 1 that her accident injury was caused by the collision with another bumper car, a normal part of the ride. According to the Los Angeles Times (AA1, January 1, 2013), the court stated, “A small degree of risk inevitably accompanies the thrill of speeding through loops, defying gravity or, in bumper cars, engaging in the mock violence of low-speed collisions. Those who voluntarily join in these activities also voluntarily take on their minor inherent risks.”

In analyzing the legal doctrine of assumption of the risk and recreational activities that inherently involve some risks, the court stated that riders assume some risks when voluntarily riding on bumper cars, specifically stating “[T]he primary assumption of risk doctrine is not limited to activities classified as sports, but applies as well to other recreational activities ‘involving an inherent risk of injury to voluntary participants . . . where the risk cannot be eliminated without altering the fundamental nature of the activity.’ (Beninati v. Black Rock City, LLC, supra, 175 Cal.App.4th at p. 658.)”

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Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter has been linked to 29 cases of salmonella illnesses over 18 states. As a result, and in an effort to protect the public and avoid further Trader Joe’s food poisoning, the Trader Joe’s grocery store chain is recalling this peanut butter and the public is warned not to consume the Trader Joe’s peanut butter.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter, which is sold nationwide, is the likely source of this problem. It is also reported that these two (2) government agencies are investigating as to whether any other items sold at this chain could be contaminated.

Salmonella or salmonellosis is also referred to as “food poisoning”. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.” This infection is more dangerous to children, the elderly and those with a weak immune system.

Not surprisingly, as the infection is linked to eating peanut butter, more than three-fourths of those who became infected are under 18 years of age.

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New information has emerged in the Hemet High School accident that occurred yesterday. According to The Press-Enterprise, there are claims that a mechanical problem in the 1994 Ford Ranger pick-up truck may have contributed to or caused this Hemet pedestrian accident.

The California Highway Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation unit will be thoroughly examining the vehicle to determine if in fact there was a mechanical defect that caused this horrific accident. The driver of the vehicle involved, Daniel Carrillo, who is 18 years old, reportedly claimed that his breaks failed, causing him to run the red light and strike and run over students in the crosswalk.

According to investigators, about 30 students were crossing in the crosswalk when the vehicle ran the red light, at a speed higher than the 25 mile per hour speed limit. Thankfully, the three students who were first reported to be in critical condition now have a good prognosis. Two students however remain in critical condition after suffering serious or catastrophic injuries.

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We previously posted about the “Hot Coffee” documentary by Susan Saladoff, which exposes how corporations, like big insurance companies, spend millions of dollars so that injury victims do not receive fair trials and are not fairly compensated for their personal injury damages.

They have used one case, the “McDonalds coffee” case, to brainwash the general public (including jurors and politicians) into believing there are too many frivolous lawsuits and that lawsuits cause prices and insurance rates to go up.

For the truth, please watch this great documentary. You can watch it on HBO GO, or purchase the DVD on Netflix, from the “Hot Coffee” website or Amazon. It will also be able to be downloaded from iTunes in July.

Recently, I had a client tell me that she felt there were too many “frivolous” lawsuits filed in the United States. When I asked her to back up her statement, she referred to the lady who sued McDonalds after suffering injuries from spilled coffee. When I asked for other examples, my client could not think of any, but still had this belief, from this McDonalds coffee case, that people can cause harm to themselves and receive millions of dollars. My client told me that she thinks that lawsuits such as these drive up the costs for everyone else.

Unfortunately, this is a commonly held belief of many Americans, who hear about a sensational case on the news, and think there is an epidemic. This is no different than people watching the news, hearing about one crime, and immediately concluding that there is too much crime and feeling unsafe, even if overall crime is going down.

The media does not report about how much safer our lives are due to the fact companies are held financially responsible for their unsafe behavior. Without this regulation, companies would act with impunity, neglecting the safety of consumers, as can be seen by the unsafe business practices in many other countries. Instead, sensational stories get the headlines and attention.

Susan Saladoff’s documentary film, “Hot Coffee,” attacks the brainwashing that corporate America, especially very large billion dollar insurance companies, has inflicted on the American public. This film gives us the facts that many people do not know about the McDonalds coffee case. For instance, many people forget that this one incident occurred in 1992, over 20 years ago, but they still think that it represents an epidemic of lawsuits. Further, prior to this incident, McDonalds received hundreds of complaints that they were serving their coffee too hot, but did nothing to rectify it.

[For all the facts of the McDonalds coffee case, including answers to frequently asked questions, click here.]

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