PERSONAL INJURY BLOG

Wrongful Death Action Filed Against Bart

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

According to Blavity, a chronic fare evader named John Lee Cowell, 28, stabbed two sisters who were exiting a BART train in Oakland. Letifah Wilson was stabbed in the neck but survived. His sister, Nia, was not so lucky, dying from her wounds. The exact motives of Cowell for attacking the two women is unknown. However, Alameda District Attorney has charged the man with murder for which he faces either life in prison or the death penalty if convicted. 

Wrongful Death Action

Nia Wilson's family is not satisfied with the criminal charges that Cowell is facing. Her mother and father as well as two sisters, including Letifah, have filed a wrongful death action against BART, alleging that poor safety precautions led to Nia's murder. The suit also alleges that a link exists between fare evasion and other forms of crime, including the violent kind, and that BART should have been aware of this fact.

BART's Actions

To its credit, BART has been attempting to take a number of measures to keep out fare evaders and to tamp down on crime at its stations. The rapid transit train service that encompasses the Bay Area has hired some civilian law enforcement officers and has built walls to protect payment stalls and has locked easy access gates that fare evaders like Cowell use to access BART's trains.

The Reactions

Nia Wilson's family claims that these measures are inadequate and that lawless conditions at BART stations have become endemic. The lawsuit is asking for a "grief award" of an unspecified amount for the family. It also demands that BART post at every station a notice at each station that would indicate crime statistics for the previous four years. The theory is that these notices would incentivize BART riders to exercise situational awareness in order to protect themselves. So far BART is declining the comment on what constitutes ongoing litigation except to express its continued regret of the murder of Nia Wilson.

For more information contact us.

Lasik Surgery Gone Wrong. Can you Sue?

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

woman getting lasik eye surgery

Though LASIK surgery is considered to be safe, just like other procedures, there are some risks. Some people suffer from dry eye after their procedure, while others may struggle with different vision impairments afterward.

If you are struggling with your vision after your LASIK surgery, you may be wondering what you can do.

Can you sue?

Yes. You may have a medical malpractice case against anyone who was involved in your case. This includes:

  • Your eye doctor
  • The surgeon
  • The ophthalmologist
  • Other health care professionals who have been treating you

What could go wrong?

Just like any other procedure, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Any of the following could be a factor in your case:

  • You weren't a good candidate for the procedure. You may not have gotten enough testing done prior to the procedure or they saw something that meant you weren't a good candidate and they did the procedure
  • Surgery didn't go as planned. Surgeons are still humans, and they make mistakes. They could have cut too shallow or too deep during your procedure.
  • The medical equipment malfunctioned. The equipment that they used during your procedure may not have been working the way that it should have, leading to your injuries.

So, what can you do? What must you prove?

In order to prove medical malpractice, you need to be able to prove that your doctors knew something that you didn't. You also need to be able to prove that they weren't treating you with the same level of care as most doctors.

To do this, you must:

  • Establish a reasonable standard of care. You need to be able to show the judge and jury what most doctors do to provide the best care possible for their patients.
  • Then, you need to show them how your doctor didn't perform up to that standard of care. You need to be able to prove what your doctor did (or didn't do) that lead to your impairment.

Suing for medical malpractice isn't always cut and dry. Because of this, you need to hire an experienced lawyer to help you through this difficult time. Don't hesitate to contact us today to talk about your case and options.

Exploding E-Cigarettes: Do You Have a Case?

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

man using e-cigarette

As more and more people are quitting smoking, they are looking for other alternatives that may be a little safer. E-cigarettes are becoming more popular, allowing people to smoke without all of the harmful side effects.

However, that being said, they aren't as safe as many people think. In fact, many people are injured when the batteries explode. Even though these batteries are protected with shrink wrap, any damage to it makes cigarettes are a true fire hazard. Many of these injuries occur when the batteries are charging.

Can you use if you were injured due to an exploding e-cigarette?

Yes. You may have a product liability lawsuit, which can be quite complex.

What will I have to prove?

In order to win your product liability lawsuit, you will have to prove that your product was defective. This can be proven in three different ways.

  • Defective design. If there are a lot of people injured using the same product, you may be able to prove that there is a flaw in the design of the product, making it unsafe and potentially dangerous.
  • Defective production. If there were only a few injured, something might have happened during the production process. When this happens, the company may issue a recall and halt production until it can be fixed.
  • Defective marketing. If your e-cigarette didn't come with adequate safety warning, you might have a case. You may also have a case if you didn't receive any instruction with it. Because of this, you may have used it improperly, or the product didn't do what it should have done.

So, what should I do?

You need to hire an experienced lawyer to help you. Don't hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to discuss your case to see what your options are, going forward. If you decide to proceed, we will be with you every step of the way.

What to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

person injury lawyer meeting with injured client

When choosing a personal injury attorney you want the best so your case will have the best possible shot at success. You need the compensation from your personal injury case, and you don't want to lose it because you picked the first law firm out of a Google search. Just like with buying a car or picking a doctor, it is okay to shop around from a personal injury lawyer to find one that you really feel confident in. However, there is also the chance that you don't actually know what to look for in a good personal injury lawyer, and if that is the case, then consider these tips.

Who is Handling Your Case?

Ideally, you want the lawyer you are talking to in a consultation to handle your case. However, that is not always what you will get. Instead, bigger law firms may pass you down to associates. While these big law firms could be great, more often than not, you will feel more like you are just another customer of many.

What Do Their Previous Verdicts Look Like?

You will always want to look over a lawyer's previous verdicts. These will tell you two very important details – do they win and are they willing to go to court? Sometimes lawyers will lose cases, but if they are losing a lot of cases, this is a bad sign. Furthermore, if most of their cases have ended in settlements rather than trial, you may find them push you towards a settlement rather than help you fight for the amount you actually deserve in a court room.

Are They a Focused Law Firm?

Similar to large law firms, you want your personal injury lawyer to actually have a focus on personal injury cases. If they take cases in many different areas of the law, it splits their focus. They could be great personal injury lawyers, but you are also gambling that they are better lawyers in family or criminal law.

How Are They Paid?

It is okay to talk about money! You are paying them to represent you, and it is only fair to know how you will be paying them. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning they only get paid if you win. If there are upfront fees or they are a little shifty about payment, it should be a red flag.

Need Help?

The most important part about choosing a personal injury lawyer is they should make you feel confident about your own case. You should be able to meet them and leave feeling like you can win this case. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer that will fight for you, contact us today to see what Lederer Nojima can do for you.

What to Know About Appealing Your Personal Injury Verdict

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Although many personal injury cases find settlement outside of court, the truly contentious ones will proceed to trial. There, as the plaintiff, you and your lawyer will present evidence to prove that the other party, the defendant, is at fault for your injury or other damages. However, if the defendant refutes that evidence, you may lose your case. This does not have to be the end as you have the right to appeal your personal injury case decision.

The Difficulties of Appealing a Personal Injury Case

In personal injury cases, the losing side has the right to appeal. This means if you win, the defendant could also appeal the decision. Luckily, this does not happen often for usually one reason – money. Appeals take time and a lawyer wants to be paid for their time.

Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, meaning they get paid when you win. If you lose, they may not want to waste any more time on an appeal. They may request upfront payment for time spent on an appeal as well. You are also within your right to try to find another lawyer to appeal your case, but if it is not strong enough, it may be difficult to find a lawyer willing to work on an appeal for a contingency.

How Filing an Appeal Works

If you lost your personal injury case, an appeal is not automatic. You will need to express your desire to appeal with your attorney who will then file a notice of appeal. Now, your case is about not only having evidence of the defendant's fault in your injury, but you must also prove that the previous judge's decision was wrong somehow. If new evidence has come to light, this can help. You will find many judges are hesitant to disagree with another judge's ruling unless there is strong evidence of wrongdoing, bias, or evidence the previous judge did not get to consider.

Need Help?

Have you lost your personal injury case and wish to appeal? Contact us to see if we can help. Lederer Nojima is willing to look over your case for appeal and give you our honest opinion on your chances.

I Think I am a Victim of Medical Malpractice. What Do I Do Next?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

medical malpractice paperwork

When most people think about medical malpractice, they think about people who have lost their lives due to medical negligence. However, medical malpractice could be as simple as getting prescribed the wrong medication or even the wrong dosage.

If you think that you are a victim of medical malpractice and are wondering what to do next, here is what you should do.

Know that you have rights to receive compensation with medical malpractice. 

The law states that, if you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, you have the right to receive financial compensation for any wrongdoing that you have gone through.

Seek the help of a lawyer. 

Your best chance at winning a medical malpractice case is by hiring the best lawyer that you can. He or she will help you figure out if you have a case and then help you build on it so that you can get the compensation that you deserve.

You are going to have to prove that you have a valid case. 

You are going to need medical records that will prove your claims. You are going to need to show that you have a relationship with your doctor. Then, you need to show that your doctor's actions (or lack of actions) caused problems or didn't meet with the standard of care that you should have gotten.

In fact, you should start by requesting your medical records and recording every conversation that you have with your doctor.

Be careful when talking to others. You should never talk to the doctor directly after you believe that he or she did something wrong. That would just make the case even worse. In fact, they may say that you threatened them. Their insurance company may also try to contact you and you shouldn't talk to them. Everything that you do should go through your lawyer or you could make everything worse.

If you believe that you have a medical malpractice case, you need to hire a lawyer right away. He or she will help you get through this difficult time.

Don't hesitate to contact us for all of your legal needs. We will fight for you so that you can get the compensation that you deserve!

Premises Liability in L.A. and California

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

wet floor sign

Personal, private or public property can be scenes for long-lasting injuries and damages. If you are a property owner, liability for the injuries and/or damages can be expensive. Being informed about the law in Los Angeles and California can help victims with compensation and help property owners avoid liability costs through maintenance of their properties.

Causes of Premises Liabilities and Injuries

Indoor Hazards

In California, property owners have the obligation to keep properties safe to avoid accident and injury. Defects in structure from not fixing building are liabilities. Risks such as damaged elevators or escalators, stairs with loose railings, worn or broken steps, and loose or worn carpets are hazards. Ceiling or balcony collapses can cost property owners thousands. Every day poor property oversights such as wet, slippery floors are liabilities. Renovation or building construction can be liabilities indoors and outdoors. Poorly marked construction areas, for example, are liabilities.

Outdoor Hazards

Premises dangers are not always indoors. Frequent premises liabilities are poorly maintained sidewalks, parking areas, and entrances. Swimming pools are often dangers, and drowning incidents are common premises hazards. Locked gates and pool coverings give a false sense of security because it takes only one incident when someone forgot to close and secure a gate, or negligence of putting on a pool covering to create a tragic situation.

Other liabilities include dogs that are not properly secured and may cause biting or mauling injuries. Inadequate security measures on a premise such as a hotel or other accommodations can cause liabilities if someone breaks in and commits a crime.

Who is Liable

In California, premise owners are liable for injuries to plaintiffs. However, plaintiff responsibility is also important. Property owners can be less liable if injured plaintiffs are intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, premise owners are not liable if plaintiffs have trespassed on properties. The exception is for those who lack the maturity or ability to understand the potential dangers such as children, the cognitively handicapped or seniors with dementia. Premise owners must secure their properties against those who are vulnerable.

Compensation

Compensation may include:

  • Economic damages for medical and rehabilitation costs including long-term care for permanent disability, replacing damaged property, lost wages and lost future earnings.

  • Non-economic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental distress and loss of consortium, which is compensation for injuries that interfere with your ability to maintain support and intimacy in your relationships such as in a spousal relationship.

  • Punitive damages are awarded if the property owner was extremely negligent. An example would be if a property owner refused to secure a swimming pool and there was a second drowning incident.

If you have been in an accident in the greater L.A. area, then please contact us. Our team of experienced attorneys is standing by to assist.

Wrongful Death Litigation from the Wildfires

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

wildfire in california

The recent wildfires in California, which have resulted in at least 87 deaths, massive property damage, and the dislocation of thousands of people, are likely to generate numerous lawsuits. Wrongful death actions by bereaved relatives will be of particular interest.

However, the problem with filing any legal action, especially wrongful death, will be to determine who is primarily at fault. The wildfires have been blamed on everything from climate change to bad forest management, which allowed flammable dead trees and wood debris to remain scattered about, tinder waiting for ignition. Even the practice of building homes too close to forested areas has been cited as a cause.

One possible immediate cause of at least one of the wildfires has been a powerline operated by Pacific Gas and Electric. The company has reported that one of its transmission lines went out at the time and place where the fire started. The surmise is that one of the lines went down, sparked on some deadwood, and started the fire. If so, Pacific Gas and Electric could be found to be liable for the fire.

The Associated Press reports that a woman named Neva Rodriguez has filed suit against Pacific Gas and Electric on behalf of her father, Jerry Rodriguez, a 73-year-old man who lived in a trailer park alone in Paradise, the town that was totally destroyed by the fire. The elder Rodriguez was found dead in his trailer home.

Pacific Gas and Electric has maintained that safety is its primary consideration. However, the company has also warned investors that its liability may exceed the amount of insurance it carries if it is found to be primarily at fault. The litigation, though, will likely take years to sort that question out. In the meantime, natural disasters such as wildfires are likely to increase in damage and fatalities. Businesses that might be found liable should adjust accordingly.

For more information contact us.  

Social Media and Personal Injury Law

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

When a person attains an injury such as broken bones, concussions, brain injury, chronic pain, they are usually entitled to a personal injury claim whenever these things cause extreme damage. Whether this damage is financial due to high-cost hospital bills or this damage is emotional, resulting in extreme amounts of pain and suffering. Some injuries can even result in PTSD, anxiety, or depression. This is when it might be smart to file a personal injury claim. There are many factors that can affect the result of a personal injury claim and one of these is social media. 

Posting About Your Injury

Social media has taken over our lives in the twenty-first century. In this day and age, everyone seems to be on social media, to update their lives in real time. According to statista.com in 2017 the average user spent about 135 minutes a day on social media, that's is a little over two hours of your day. If you post constantly on your social media about your day, then it isn't unimaginable that you will post about any recent accidents you've been in. 

The internet is free and able to be used by anyone who can connect to it. So, social media posts are considered the public record. This means that any posts containing information on your accident, injury, wellbeing, or day-to-day affairs, can be used against you. 

  • The Insurance company will be looking at your social media to check on how serious your injuries are if there are pictures of you dancing when you say you have a broken leg. 
  • The defense attorney will look for evidence of your well being, checking posts to see if your claim of anxiety and depression has shown across your platforms. 
  • A court judge may look as well to check on your claims of injury. 

Everyone has heard it while applying for jobs or holding down a job, not to post anything that can incriminate you for that position, but that also applies to any legal situations, such as a lawsuit. It is best not to best anything about your injury until after the settlement. If you need help in practicing good use of social media then it might be time to get some legal help. 

Seek Legal Advice

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel that you need to file a personal injury claim, the first thing you should do is talk to an attorney. Attorney's can help in knowing what is okay to put on your social media, and what is legally public and private. Private messages need a search warrant in order to be used in a court of law, rather than regular posts that can be used without your notice. The last thing you want to do is have one of your social media posts show up in court and affect your claim. Lederer Nojima in Los Angeles is one of the best personal injury law firms in the state. If you are in need of legal advice, feel free to contact us.

Should You Consider Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Tuesday, January 01, 2019


First, What Is "Wrongful Death"?

It's a death caused by a person or group of persons (company, agency, etc.) due to negligence, incompetence, or malpractice. Since it's not viewed as intentional, it's not a criminal matter.

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought in a civil action only by those legally entitled to do so. Usually, this claim is filed by relatives, as determined by law.

Examples Of Wrongful Death

A common catalyst for a wrongful death claim is vehicle accidents. Obviously, those driving "under the influence" who cause fatalities are not only criminally liable but likely candidates for a wrongful death lawsuit. (This applies to any reckless driving accidents causing death.)

Vehicle accidents are also caused by defective road conditions. When those road conditions appear to have been a result of negligence, a wrongful death claim may await.  

Death because of faulty design, defective manufacture, or lack of warnings to consumers about possible/probable hazards of products: this also may prompt a wrongful death claim.

Malpractice by those in the medical world (doctors, hospitals, product manufacturers, etc) likewise occasionally creates a valid claim of wrongful death. 

Work-related accidents and conditions causing a fatality could motivate the surviving family members to seek legal redress. Machinery malfunction, hazardous chemical exposure, an unsafe workplace: these and other factors often require legal compensation (when causing wrongful death).   

Fairly recent on the legal scene, wrongful death due to "intentional infliction of emotional distress" leading to suicide has produced wrongful death lawsuits

The Value Of Excellent Legal Representation 

The untimely death of a loved one often overwhelms the surviving family. Not only has negligence (of some sort) robbed innocent ones of companionship. It has also caused financial hardship for the loved ones of the deceased.

Enlisting the services of a compassionate highly experienced law firm eases the resolution of both of those issues. Should you find yourself in these unfortunate circumstances, contact us. Our record over several decades speaks for itself. Allow us to legally speak for you! 


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