If you are in a car accident in Los Angeles that is not your fault, you should be compensated. That is what the law says. You should be able to go the doctors you pick for treatment. You should receive your salary. You should be compensated for how the pain from your injuries impacts your life and restricts your activities. Maybe you cannot do your daily run, or bike ride. Maybe it hurts when you do your laundry or clean the kitchen, but it still has to get done. You are entitled to compensation.Uninsured-Driver_MiniGraphic-300x300

But what if the person that hits you only has the minimum required liability policy, or worse, no insurance at all. That is where uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance can help protect you.

If the person that hits you and causes the accident does not have insurance, it is not likely that person will compensate you for your injuries. Typically if people do not have the money to pay for their insurance, they do not have any money to compensate you. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage replaces that insurance coverage that the person that caused the collision should have had. It stands in the place of insurance for the at-fault party so that you can recover if you are injured.

Living in Los Angeles, there are a lot of cars and a lot of people going places. Unfortunately, that also means there are a lot of car accidents. No one ever intends to be in a car crash, but especially throughout the San Fernando Valley, including Encino, Tarzana, Reseda, Van Nuys, and North Hills, it happens all to often.

Someone who causes a car accident is not a bad person. Part of the reason we all buy insurance is so that if we accidentally hurt someone, they will be taken care of. It is fair (and the law), that people that are hurt be compensated for their injuries.  By purchasing insurance we all make sure that injured people do not go without proper medical care and proper compensation for the pain that goes along with a car accident and make sure that people are compensated for the inconvenience of the changes that must be made to accommodate for the injuries.

car-insurance-300x200
Unfortunately, insurance companies spend millions of dollars each year advertising to make people feel guilty when they are injured in a collision. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and one of the ways they do that is by marketing to impact public opinion. Insurance companies do not want to fulfill their duty of paying claims and compensating the injured. They would rather keep the premiums paid to them to purchase mandatory insurance policies without following through on their end of the bargain and providing proper compensation for injuries.

People in Encino, Tarzana, Reseda and across the San Fernando Valley are injured in car crashes everyday. In fact, someone is hurt in a car accident every 8 seconds. The National Safety Council has made April Distracted Driving Awareness Month to help reduce the number of collisions. Texting while driving, holding the phone while driving, and using social media significantly contribute to the problem of safety on the roads. Everyone knows that California has made it illegal to use your phone while you are driving, but most of us seem to think that these laws only apply to other people. It is true, that if I was the only person allowed to use my phone while driving, and you all just stayed clear of me, that would probably work. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who wants to use my phone. To be safe, no one should.

Gross-1200px-300x158

Distracted Driving Causes Auto Accidents

The National Safety Council is hosting a fee webinar on April 19, 2017, to help educate people about the dangers of using technology while driving. The course is free and important. The Council also invites everyone to take the pledge to drive cell free. Rather than a meaningless pledge, it invites you to make that pledge directly to your children or other loved ones that are put at risk of being injured in a collision caused by distracted driving.

distracted-driving-cell-phone-300x200New laws which may reduce car crashes effecting Encino, Van Nuys, Reseda, Los Angeles, and all of California went into effect on January 1. Some of those laws relate to use of your cell phone while driving, and child car seats.

The most significant change is that drivers are no longer allowed to use handheld cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. While talking on a handheld cellphone has long been prohibited, the new law basically prohibits a driving from touching the phone. A cell phone may still be used if it is truly hands free and operated by voice command. In addition, the phone can be used for navigation purposes if it is mounted on the dashboard and operated by a single touch. The purpose of the change is to further reduce car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Keeping kids safe in car accidents is also being stressed in new California driving laws. Studies show that kids are five times safer when rear facing. The new law requires children to remain in rear facing seats until they are at least 2 years old or more than 40 pounds or 40 inches. NHTSA recommends that children remain rear facing until they out grow the seat.

Representing families in birth injury cases is one of the most emotionally difficult things we do at Rice & Bloomfield.  The birth of a child is usually a most joyful event for the parents and family. However, an estimated 29 births out of 1,000 in the United States results in injury to the baby from birth trauma, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. That is almost 4,000 birth injuries per year in Los Angeles.  Some injuries are minor and resolve quickly. However, for those babies who suffer the most serious trauma – from lack of oxygen during labor or delivery to those with permanent, disabling injuries to an arm caused by negligence of a doctor or nurse – life will never be easy or normal for them or their families.

While some serious birth injuries are not preventable – those with genetic causes, for example – many of the most serious can be traced to the inattention of the nursing staff or delay in responding to potential distress of the baby by the delivering doctor. Fetal monitoring should alert the doctor and hospital staff if a fetus is under stress so that timely treatment decisions can be made about how to address that situation before it causes serious and permanent harm.

If a hospital isBirth_Injury_thumb under-staffed or the nurses don’t pay sufficient attention to alarming changes in the fetal heart rate, the oxygen the fetus needs to stay healthy during labor and delivery can be interrupted. Sometimes, the nurses are concerned about the health of the fetus, but the doctor cannot be located or delays responding to those concerns. The result can be a condition called “perinatal asphyxia” or “fetal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.”

I am a trial lawyer. A personal injury lawyer in the San Fernando Valley, who is proud to represent victims of car crashes and dangerous conditions that cause falls, which injure or kill. But, I am perhaps proudest of the work I do as lawyer representing victims of medical malpractice. It is my work as a medical malpractice attorney that has brought me the most satisfaction and made the biggest difference in the lives of my clients.

Unfortunately, limits on the amount a victim of medical negligence can recover in California have made it increasingly difficult to help those injured by health care workers. A $250,000 cap on damages, which was passed in 1975, has never been adjusted for inflation.

packactnewlogo4.png We know who has been hurt by this decades old cap – victims of medical negligence and the families of people who die because of medical mistakes. The prestigious Journal of Patient Safety estimates that 440,000 people die each year because of preventable medical mishaps, a figure also cited by the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s a population the size of Atlanta – killed off each year by negligent health care providers. Only a very small fraction – estimated at less than 5% of medical malpractice victims or their families – receive any compensation for their injuries or loss.

As cell phones have become so common, especially in Los Angeles, where people spent so much time driving, the incidence of distracted driving collisions has gone up. Nobody wants to be injured in a car accident and no one wants to need a car accident lawyer. It is not unusual here in Encino to see people texting while driving. It is no surprise that reading a text requires drivers to take their eyes off the road which leads to a car accident. Writing a text is even more dangerous. It is just common sense that a person who is focusing on a cell phone is more likely to be involved in a crash.

Anyone with whom you discuss it will self-riotously declare the evils of texting while driving. It is common for California drivers to recognize that driving a car and reading small print on an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S4, or other device is bad. No one defends such a dangerous driving habit which surely will lead to injury. Yet, it is common to see people doing it.

Driving%20while%20texting.jpgThis is one area where there is a clear dichotomy between what people preach, and what people practice. Everyone says driving and using a cell phone is bad, but in the San Fernando Valley and across Los Angeles, it is very common to see. People text at red lights, on the freeway, and driving down Tarzana streets.

This is part one in a two part series relating to social benefits from personal injury lawsuits.

People in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California are hurt in auto accidents and through the negligent of others all the time.

Luge%20wake%20KUMARITASHVILI-GEORGIA-WAKE-PICTURES-PHOTOS.jpgEveryone hates lawyers. Juries tell us there are too many lawsuits. Governor Schwarzenegger is taking aim at lawyer with his supposed tort reform proposals.

This is the third in a three-part series about birth injuries in Los Angeles County.

Macrosomia is a condition in which a fetus’ birth weight is much greater than is normal during pregnancy. Generally, macrosomia is defined as a birth weight greater than 4000 grams or 8 pounds, 13 ounces. It is a condition that affects one in ten pregnancies.

Some factors that contribute to macrosomia – genetics, ethnicity, and the size of the parents – cannot be controlled. Other factors that may predispose a fetus to unusual growth in utero can be identified and should be addressed by the obstetrician. If the mother has gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain or diabetes mellitus, her fetus is at risk to develop macrosomia, which is associated with birth trauma to the baby and mother. Women whose pregnancies go on longer than they should are also at risk to develop macrosomic babies.

Encino%20Delivery%20Med%20Mal.jpgThe larger the fetus, the greater likelihood that the baby and/or mother will suffer injuries during delivery. If there is ultrasound evidence that the baby is very large, the doctor needs to take this into consideration when discussing delivery options with the parents.

A woman with a history of having had several large babies without difficulty vaginally may be an appropriate candidate for a vaginal delivery. A petite woman pregnant with a first baby that appears on ultrasound to weigh nearly ten pounds, should be advised of the risks of vaginal delivery and advised to undergo a planned Cesarean section.
Continue reading