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Entries in injury compensation (5)

Thursday
Apr022015

Unleashed: Dangerous Dogs Directive in Los Angeles

Injury Attorney Los AngelesDog Bite Injury Attorney

by David B. Bobrosky

(818) 907-3254

 

 

Recently, a Los Angeles County woman was charged with three felony counts for failing to control her vicious dog. Her Akita attacked three separate people in less than two years – the last incident occurring in November. One of those victims was an eight year old child.

Dog Attack LawyerEarlier this month, the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services issued a directive to immediately impound dogs that seriously injure people or other dogs and cats. According to NBC, the owner of these impounded dogs must then attend a Dangerous Animal Hearing at which the city will decide if the dog needs to be removed or euthanized.

In the past, criminal charges brought against the owners of attacking dogs have been rare, but we may see that happening more often, especially since the death of Diane Whipple in 2001. A judge sentenced one of the dog owners to 15 years to life in prison, for second degree murder.

A man in Lancaster, California was also convicted of second degree murder and could serve 24 years to life because of four pit bulls that terrorized the neighborhood – engaging in at least seven other attacks in the 18 months before mauling a woman walking through the neighborhood in 2013.

Last year a Michigan couple faced murder charges because their two dogs attacked and killed a passing jogger, after having attacked others in the neighborhood. In this instance, the dog owners previously failed to show for a court hearing when the dogs bit an elderly man. Additionally, animal control may also have been at fault as they merely ordered a 10 day quarantine of the animals after the dogs attacked a passer-by in 2012.

Dog Attacks & Injury Claims

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all money paid out for homeowners' liabilityclaims in 2013. From 2003 to 2013, the average cost per dog bite claim has risen over 45 percent.

Dog Bite Fatality StatisticsNational Canine Research Council: Co-occurring factors in dog bite-related fatalities over 10 year period.In California alone the value of dog bite injury claims totaled over $64 million – the highest state amounts paid out across the nation – but not the highest average cost per claim, falling well behind New York. The average insurer's cost per claim is just over $43,100 in New York, $33,700 in California, and $31,600 in Wisconsin. These numbers cry out for the need for responsible pet ownership.

Personal injury awards for dog attacks vary case by case – it all depends on how badly an individual was injured by the dog, whether extensive medical treatment or plastic surgery is needed, and how the attack changed the victim's lifestyle in the long-run.

Additionally, a jury may award exemplary damages from the dog owner. In such a  case, a jury wishes to punish the owner for willful conduct or grossly negligent  behavior, i.e. letting a historically dangerous dog roam the neighborhood. Theoretically, exemplary damages could be awarded against the Los Angeles woman with the dangerous Akita mentioned above.

A Los Angeles County ordinance already sets procedures for dealing with dangerous dogs. Owners of vicious canines may be fined, have restrictions imposed, or be forced to give up the dog to someone else. Ultimately though, the County could order to have the dog euthanized.  

Hopefully the new directive from the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services will further help to enforce the ordnance – allowing for the immediate impounding and subsequent evaluation of these dangerous animals.

David B. Bobrosky is an experienced dog bite attorney in our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him by phone: (818) 907-3254 or by email: dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Thursday
Nov072013

Quick Personal Injury Settlements – Generally Not In Your Best Interest

Injury Attorney Los AngelesPersonal Injury Lawyer

by David B. Bobrosky

(818) 907-3254

 

When personal injury lawyers try to convince you to hire them because they can get you a quick settlement – walk away, fast.

A personal injury attorney’s most important job is to protect you and your future.  A lawyer does this by maximizing the amount of your recovery to pay for all past damages, and hopefully any expected future damages.  A quick settlement is usually code for “I want to get you money quick so I can earn my attorney fees soon and with little effort.” 

This, except in the rare circumstance, is not in your best  interest.

Maximum Medical Improvement

Generally, your attorney should wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement before starting negotiations on your case.  If your attorney does not, how does he or she know what your case is worth?  

Even after you are discharged and you initially feel that you are improved, our office likes to wait a month or two to allow you to get back into your normal daily activities to see if your body holds up and make sure your injuries do not flare up again.  If they do, you may need additional care. 

If you are able to return to normal daily activities and still feel back to normal, we will then put together all your medical records, bills, and lost earnings documentation and prepare a settlement package for the insurance company and begin negotiating. 

At this point, it will take additional time for the insurance company to review the materials, evaluate your case and present an offer.  Generally, the initial offer is a mere fraction of what your case is worth.  Therefore, it will take additional time for your attorney to negotiate back and forth, and perhaps file a lawsuit and litigate the case to prove to the insurance company that you are willing to fight for what your case is worth.

Serious Injuries Require Additional Time

What if your injuries are more serious and you will never be completely recovered?  This is all the more reason to make sure your attorney takes the time to determine the value of your injuries. 

If possible, it is best to wait until your injuries have plateaued and you know exactly what problems you will be dealing with into the future.  This is not always possible, as your injuries may not stabilize before your case must be litigated.  It is then imperative that your attorney takes the time to assemble the proper medical experts to be able to prove what care you will need in the future to best meet your medical and financial needs.

The exception to all of this is when there are limited funds compared to the value of your injuries (even in the beginning), in the form of minimum insurance policies and/or collectible funds.  At that point, once due diligence into the amount of money available is completed, a quick settlement may be meeting your needs – even if it’s less than what your case is worth.

Remember, you are the client and you will be the one who has to live with the injuries for the rest of your life.  Take the time to make sure you are receiving the compensation you deserve, and not just earning your attorney a “quick” fee.

 

David B. Bobrosky is a Personal Injury Lawyer and Shareholder at our Firm. Contact him via email: dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com or by phone: (818) 907-3254 for more information.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Wednesday
Jan092013

Los Angeles Personal Injury Compensation

Injury AttorneyAccident Attorney San Fernando Valley 

by David B. Bobrosky
(818) 907-3254

 

If you have been injured in an accident and are thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit, you are most likely wondering “how much is my case worth?” It’s a legitimate question, as you need to decide if it’s worth going forward with your claim or lawsuit. However, it is not an easy question to answer. 

My advice is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. These consultations are generally free – they are at our firm – and will be time well spent. 

However, depending on your injuries, how soon it is after your accident, and what type of treatment you’ve received, a potential attorney may not be able to give you the answer you want. 

Injury Compensation LawyerIn fact, in most cases it should be difficult for any legitimate attorney to provide you with a specific answer. At the least though, an attorney will be able to let you know if it’s worth pursuing. In my view, less significant injuries may be better resolved by going through small claims court.  (Read: California Small Claims Court for Smaller Personal Injury Cases for more information.)

One of the things we can do as attorneys to help you answer this question is explain what type of damages are available to accident victims. Whether you have a small or large claim, consider the following categories when you think about your past and future losses that may be related to your accident:

 

Compensatory Damages

 

Compensatory Damages are exactly as they sound: They compensate you for losses you have suffered due to your accident or injury. Compensation can include:

Construction Accident LawyerEmotional Distress – The psychological consequences of your accident could cause anxiety and fear, not to mention sleep loss.

Enjoyment Loss – If your accident forces you to change your lifestyle, i.e. give up sports, hobbies or other recreational activities, you could be entitled to compensation under this category.

Income or Wages – Did you miss work to recover from your injury? Did the accident leave you disabled in some way, forcing you to change occupations, or leave you unable to work at all? You may be able to recover for these losses.

Change in Marital Relationship – Personal Injury lawyers call this Loss of Consortium, and it generally refers to the negative impact an injury could have on your marital relationship. These are common in more serious injury cases, for example when someone is left paralyzed. Every aspect of the marital relationship, including the ability to have sex and be intimate, is damaged. 

Medical Bills – You can be reimbursed for past and future medical care related to your accident. If you will need ongoing treatment for chronic pain, physical therapy, new prosthetics, etc. – your personal injury lawyer will consult medical experts to estimate the costs of that care.

Pain and Suffering – Pain and discomfort stemming from your injury. (For more details on what is included in this category, read: Pain and Suffering - Damages and Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit.)

Property Damage or Loss – This compensation is based on the fair market value of any items lost because of an accident. They could include damage to a vehicle in the case of a car accident, replacement of furniture or clothing if you were injured by a defective product, etc. You could also receive Loss of Use compensation, i.e. reimbursement for a car rental.

 

Punitive Personal Injury Damages

 

In some personal injury cases, the defendant can be held liable for extreme carelessness or blatantly ignoring safety standards, usually with an eye to increasing profits. Juries can punish these defendants by awarding you punitive damages.

Additionally, they are meant to make an example of the defendant – in an effort to keep other companies or individuals from choosing profits over safety, for example. In car accidents, such punitive damages can be sought against drunk drivers and against distracted drivers (i.e., drivers who are talking or texting while driving). 

 

David B. Bobrosky is a Los Angeles Accident and Injury Attorney at our Firm. For more information about damages and compensation or to get a free consultation regarding your injury, email him: dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Thursday
May032012

Tort Reform – Caps on Damages Cause More Pain than Good

Personal Injury Attorney Los AngelesInjury Attorney San Fernando Valley 

 

by David B. Bobrosky
(818) 907-3254

 

Some states put “caps” on damages awarded by juries in tort, or personal injuries cases.

A “cap” is a law that puts an arbitrary ceiling on the amount of damages a judge or jury can award in a case, regardless of the facts or evidence presented in a specific case. The types and amounts of caps vary by state, and can be imposed on parts, or all aspects of an award--- including compensation for actual medical costs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and/or punitive damages.

 Personal Injury AttorneyCaps were recently in the news again because of the Virginia Tech shooting case. The Virginia Tort Claims Act caps jury awards at the maximum limits of a liability policy. This is why the parents of two students who were killed in the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 may only be awarded $200,000, even though the jury who heard the case awarded $8 million to the two families.

 

Other Painful Outcomes in “Tort Reform”

 

In Nebraska, there is a total cap of $1.25 Million on all damages. This includes pain and suffering, as well as money for past and future medical expenses.

In a case featured in the documentary Hot Coffee, a couple who gave birth to twin sons alleged that their doctor failed to identify a problem during the mother’s pregnancy, despite multiple complaints by the mother. When another doctor discovered the problem days later, the mother was rushed to the hospital where a further delay of an emergency c-section was alleged to cause further damage to her son.

Doctors testified that the young boy would need life-long medical care, including multiple surgeries. A jury awarded the family $5.6 Million for these expenses. Despite the jury’s findings, the award was reduced to $1.25 Million due to the arbitrary cap on damages. Thus, the family will not have sufficient money to care for their son. The burden will now most likely fall to the public.

Graphic courtesy of Consumer Attorneys of CaliforniaHere in California, we are limited by MICRA, or the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, which caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $250,000. This is a cap that has not increased since its inception, despite nearly 40 years of inflation. If it had increased, it should be over $1 Million by now.

When Steven Olsen was two, he tripped and fell on a sharp stick that impaled the front of his mouth, face and sinus cavity. His parents took him to Children's Hospital of San Diego where the doctors repaired the damages and tested for infection, and then sent him home.

A few days later, Steven came down with a fever. His parents took him back to the hospital and requested a brain scan in light of his recent accident. The doctors ignored the request and diagnosed meningitis. Unfortunately, Steven had a ruptured abscess caused by the accident with the stick, and suffered serious brain damage as a result.

Plaintiffs alleged that had the physicians checked the lab results of the infection tests, or had they run a brain scan as requested, it was likely Steven would not have suffered the brain damage.

The jury awarded the Olsens just over $7 million in pain and suffering, but the $250,000 MICRA imposed cap reduced that figure to less than four percent of the intended award.

 

Caps Do Not Prevent So Called “Frivolous” Lawsuits

 

Proponents of Tort Reform cite "frivolous" lawsuits, high insurance premiums and better access to health care as reasons to put limits on damages.

But the truth of the matter is that arbitrary caps do not result in reduced premiums, but rather increased profits for the insurance companies. This is why the leaders of Tort Reform are generally the insurance companies.

Personal injury attorneys are not against businesses making profits, or doctors. In fact, my firm does not even handle medical malpractice cases. However, arbitrary caps do not do anything to prevent so called “frivolous” lawsuits – they merely deprive the most seriously injured and damaged people compensation awarded by a jury of their peers.

 

David B. Bobrosky is an Injury Attorney who advocates for the rights and safety of individuals. Contact him via e-mail: dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Tuesday
Feb142012

Damages and Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Injury AttorneyInjury Attorney Los Angeles 

 

by David B. Bobrosky
(818) 907-3254

 

I speak to many potential clients on a weekly basis, many of whom have suffered a car accident injury. The most common questions I hear are “what am I entitled to if I have been injured in an accident?” or “what is the driver responsible to pay after a car accident?”  

In this post, I am going to explain the compensatory damages available to you if you have been involved in a car accident.  

Compensation for InjuryWe commonly group the types of damages into two classes: 

  1. Economic Damages
  2. Non-Economic Damages

 

Economic Damage Compensation

 

These damages are what we typically call “out of pocket” expenses. The most common types of personal injury damages in this class include: 

  • Property Damage - This category includes those to your vehicle, and any personal items in the vehicle that were damaged or destroyed in the accident. 

  • Loss of Use Damages - These are damages for not being able to use your property because of the accident. The most common item in this category is the amount you spend on renting a car. 

  • Medical Expenses, Past and Future - If you have health insurance, this is more than your co-pay. It includes the full amount of your bill. In some states, such as California, this is limited to the amount paid by your health insurance company.

    This category, if you have health insurance, is essentially recovered to pay back your health insurance company since the bills were incurred due to the negligence of another. Although your attorney can usually negotiate a discount off of the reimbursement since you are essentially collecting the funds for the health insurance company. 

  • Loss or Earnings - If you missed time from work and/or will miss time in the future, you are able to recover for that lost time. If you own your own business and can prove that you lost profits, or will lose profits in the future from the accident, then you can recover for these as well.

Pain and Suffering: Non-Economic Damage Claims

 

Wrongful Death LawyerThese damages are what we typically call “general damages.”  They are known by most people as damages for “pain and suffering.” 

Non-economic damages most often include compensation for: 

  • Physical pain, impairment and disfigurement from physical injuries sustained in the accident. 

  • Mental suffering and emotional distress related to the accident and physical injuries. 

  • Loss of enjoyment of life due to the injuries suffered. 

  • Grief, anxiety, humiliation and inconvenience from the accident. 

Non-economic damages are often the biggest damages in a case. If you’ve been burned by a defective product or attacked by a dog, the medical expenses may not be astronomical because such injuries do not typically require future medical care. 

However, the general damages for the disfigurement and emotional distress from the permanent scarring for the rest of your life will be significant. 

Likewise, if you are catastrophically injured or if a loved one is killed in an accident, the non-economic damages for your loss of enjoyment of life and grief over your loss will be the major part of your personal injury settlement, or claim at trial. 

The claims discussed above are not an exhaustive list of the damages available in every case, but they are the most typical. And certainly, not all of these damages apply to every personal injury case. But this should give you a good idea of what’s available to recover if you are unfortunately injured by the negligence of someone else. 

David B. Bobrosky is an Accident Injury Attorney in our Personal Injury Practice Group. You can reach him via e-mail: dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com, or by calling 818.990.2120.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

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