Category: injured

Wrongful death from a 2020 California wild fire

Deaths related to fires are always tragedies. Sometimes, there is no one who can be held accountable in court. Other times, there is an individual or entity legally responsible for the death of a loved one. In a natural disaster such as the fires in California in 2020, do not assume that no one is liable for the tragic death of a loved one. Investigations may find that a person or company has contributed to the wildfires, giving a family member cause to file an unlawful death claim. Daniels Law can help with these claims.

With the 2020 California Wild Fires near containment, the tragic loss of life caused by other people’s negligence or recklessness is crying out for justice. PG & E Co. is under investigation for a possible connection to the Zogg fire, and further investigations are underway.

If investigations show that a power company or other person or entity could reasonably have prevented the fires with due care, surviving family members of the deceased may have reasons to file wrongful death claims against the person responsible. A death is “wrongful” if the actions of a person or organization result in death. Negligence, wanton disregard for the safety of others, and intentional injury can all result in an unwarranted death. You will need the help of a lawyer to determine whether your case has merit as a wrongful death lawsuit after the 2020 California Wild Fires.

In order for the civil courts to hear your case, you must comply with California’s rules for filing a lawsuit. Only certain parties have the right to file a lawsuit after a death. In California, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or surviving children of the deceased may file this type of lawsuit. If these survivors do not exist, anyone “entitled to the decedent’s property by intestate succession” reserves the right to file. This can include the decedent’s parents or siblings.

You have two years from the anniversary of your loved one’s death to file an unwarranted death claim in the State of California. If you miss this deadline, you lose the right to file a lawsuit. Do not wait until 2022 to file your claim for a loved one who died in the California 2020 fires. Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and your claims for recovery after a negligent wildfire affects the life of a loved one.

Daniels Law’s attorneys and employees are deeply saddened by the loss of lives as a result of the recent fires. They have attorneys and employees directly affected by past fires and want to help fire victims obtain justice from responsible parties. Regardless of whether an energy company played a role in the recent wildfires and / or any other party, Daniels Law can help victims obtain the compensation they deserve.

 

Brain injury from a fall or accident causing personal injury

A blow to the head is a serious matter.

It could be a car accident, or maybe a trip / slip / stumble and fall.

The human skull does a pretty good job of protecting the human brain.

But it doesn’t protect perfectly.

So we see people with brain injuries of all kinds. The obvious injuries are where the skull is broken, when you can see brain tissue through an open wound, which is pretty good evidence that the brain is injured.

What many people do not know: Sometimes people suffer a brain injury even with the skull intact.

Many of these are so-called “acceleration injuries.” This means that a blow suddenly pushes the head in one direction, and when the head stops moving, the brain tissue inside does not.

This can cause all sorts of problems, one of which is what doctors call “axonal shearing,” which happens when tiny brain structures are damaged by the sudden acceleration / deceleration of the human head.

In the last fifteen years, doctors have learned a lot about brain injuries because our soldiers have suffered combat wounds abroad. Explosive explosions regularly cause acceleration injuries that were previously seen only in places where a person was hit by a solid object or in a car accident. For people suffering from traumatic brain injury, improving medical knowledge is a good thing. But we still have a long way to go, because traumatic brain injuries are very often a hidden injury. While people understand obvious injuries, such as the sight of a cast over a broken leg, people can be skeptical about injuries they cannot see.

So it’s incredibly important to recognize a traumatic brain injury, whether it’s your own injury or someone you love.

First steps.

Often, a person with a traumatic brain injury won’t recognize they are injured. In fact, it is usually the people around the injured person who first notice that “something is not quite right.”

My friend Tom Dempsey has developed a questionnaire for the examination of suspected brain injuries that we use in our law firm. The first page of the form is for the person with suspected brain injuries, the second two pages are for family and friends to fill in. With the information from this form, a doctor or lawyer will have a better idea of what questions to ask and what steps to take to confirm or exclude the suspicion of traumatic brain injury.

Testing.

If there is good reason to believe that a person is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, medical providers must evaluate the patient and conduct proper tests.

The best minimum application is for the patient to see a neurologist for an examination. If necessary, there are other specialists who can be helpful, such as neuropsychologists or neuropsychiatrists. A neuroradiologist can carry out various studies to help treating doctors locate problems.

While an emergency room X-ray or CT scan may look normal, other more specialized tests such as an MRI, PET scan, DTI or SPECT scan may reveal hidden problems.

The good news is that 85% of victims of traumatic brain damage will recover within two years, with the remaining 15%, often referred to by doctors as the “miserable minority,” facing a tougher time.

Irrespective of this, as in all medical fields, the sooner a patient receives adequate medical care, the better his or her chances of a good outcome.

 

Three key principles in total loss wildfire insurance claims 

If you suffer a disaster such as a total loss from wildfire and need to claim on your insurance, consider these three principles:

Get a copy of your policies and read them.

Insurance always starts with a written policy, so the first thing to do when you get ready to make a claim is to get a copy of any policy that might cover your damaged property and read it through from front to back.

If you do not have your insurance policy forms because they have been lost, destroyed or are otherwise unavailable, you will need to obtain a policy reconstruction from the insurance company. Ask your agent or go directly to the insurance company’s policy services department. If you cannot remember who your insurance company is, you will need to do a little detective work. Start with your checking account. A check of your bank records may well lead you to any insurer that could provide insurance coverage for your damaged property.

Check your coverages.

Your insurance policy covers certain types of losses and excludes protection for others. That’s why it is important to get a copy of the contract right at the start.

A problem that often occurs after a catastrophic loss is the damaged property is not fully insured. Where a broker or broker advises you professionally on appropriate coverage or binds coverage based on their own professional expertise, you may have a claim for professional negligence if the property is not insured to its full value.

Watch out for Time Limits

Property insurance policies generally have their own deadlines, known as “limitation periods,” and the period during which legal action must be filed to enforce the contract is frequently shorter than the period applicable to a simple written contract.

If in doubt, consult a lawyer about the time limits for your claim. Be proactive. Once you have suffered a loss, a clock ticks somewhere that could limit your ability to claim back the insurance benefits.

 

$10.9 Million Jury Verdict in Personal Injury Lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit filed by Daniels Law resulted in a $10.9 million jury verdict against Los Angeles County. The personal injury case involved a man who suffered serious injuries when a county employee drove a forklift truck over his legs.

Jurors deliberated for nearly a day before determining that the county was responsible for the injuries of James Cobb, who was 34 when the accident occurred on the grounds of USC Hospital in 2015.

The award is more than double the county’s highest settlement offer, according to Daniels Law Partner Bill Daniels.

“The county offered to settle the case during jury deliberations for $5 million after initially making a $1.5 million settlement offer before the trial began,” Daniels said.

The county rejected an earlier $3 million settlement request, in addition to an offer to implement a so-called “high / low agreement” that would set a lower and upper limit on potential damages, even if the jury agreed to a higher or lower amount.

As Cobb walked across a crosswalk after parking his car, a forklift driven by hospital employee John Hill, hit Cobb from behind.

The impact caused Cobb to fall forward, and the forklift truck then ran over both legs. Cobb’s injuries required extensive surgery and ongoing rehabilitation.

During the trial, county attorneys argued that Cobb could have avoided the forklift if he had taken better care crossing the crosswalk where the collision occurred. Cobb, an employee of a local party rental company, was working on the grounds of County USC Hospital to oversee a tent installation for two events on the USC Medical School campus at the time of the accident.

Crucial to the eight-figure verdict were extensive video animations and exhibits that graphically documented why Cobb was an innocent pedestrian legally walking in a crosswalk and showing how the county’s negligencein operating its forklift truck.

“We strongly believe that the county’s defense team thought they could win by confusing our jurors. Our strategy was to paint a clear picture so that jurors could understand why we brought this case to trial and get a fair outcome,” Daniels added.

County attorneys were shocked by the jury’s verdict and appealed, arguing the verdict was too high and laying out legal arguments that were basically the same ones the jury rejected at trial

Three justices with the California Court of Appeals rejected the county’s argument and upheld the ruling in all respects.

“The judgment is affirmed. Cobb is awarded his costs on appeal,” Justice Chavez wrote in the appellate decision.

“The Cobb trial was a great success because we put together a great team,” Daniels concluded.

The hefty personal injury award is one of a string of jury victories won by Daniels Law over the past five years.