Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Lately, we have had several clients who were treated at Palomar Medical Center after being injured in car accidents (or other accidents), and were asked by hospital staff how the accident occurred, and whether the patient/client intended to hire a lawyer (remember, the accident just happened). The Palomar employee then informs the patient that it will not likely be billing the patient’s health insurance, but will wait and submit medical bills to the patient’s lawyer, and wait to get paid out of the case.

This situation causes a fair amount of confusion to the patient, and a high dose of concern. Some of these patients call to see if the hospital can do this, and worry that they will personally be on the hook for medical bills.

Can Palomar Hospital do this? The short answer is Yes. Under California’s Hospital Lien Act, a hospital that provides medical services to a person injured by an accident or some other wrongful act may place a lien on the damages recovered from the negligent party “to the extent of the amount of the reasonable and necessary charges of the hospital.” Civ. Code § 3045.1.  But what the hospital can recover is not absolute. For example, it cannot take more than half of any amount recovered by the injured party. Also, its lien is secondary to other liens. So, for example, if you hired a lawyer before the hospital perfected its lien, the hospital’s lien would be secondary to your attorney’s lien for fees. Since most personal injury fee arrangements are one-third of the recovery, Palomar could only make a claim for up to half of the rest, which is roughly 33%.

91px-Galago_spine_Mivart-46x300According to a recent study conducted at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and reported in Digital Journal, certain hospital-acquired infections at San Diego healthcare facilities can have a long-term negative impact on spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. SCI patients who acquire pneumonia and other infections while at the hospital being treated for their catastrophic injuries see a drastic impact on their ability to recover. Specifically, the report indicates that “hospital-acquired pneumonia and wound infections negatively affect the clinic long-term outcome after acute traumatic spinal cord injury.” The study appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology.

Importance of Reducing Hospital-Acquired Infections in California

One of the most significant takeaways from the recent Ohio State study is that hospitals must do more to prevent hospital-acquired infections if they are going to see spinal cord injury patients recover to the best of their abilities. Patient protection demands that hospitals take additional steps to reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections if they are going to take patient safety seriously. As the report explains, “rates of microbial infections in hospitals, although falling due to improved hygiene, remain problematic.”

MYSINGSO-byk-300x116Did you recently purchase a beach chair at the IKEA store in San Diego on Fenton Parkway? While IKEA can be a great option for purchasing reasonably priced furniture, a recent report from the Newport Beach Patch indicates that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a safety recall of a number of the furniture store’s beach chairs due to the risk of a fall-related injury and the risk of fingertip amputation. To be clear, these chairs have a product defect and can pose an unreasonable risk of injury. If you bought a beach chair at IKEA between February 2013 and December 2016, it is extremely important to learn more about this recall and to take steps to avoid sustaining a preventable personal injury.

How Many Products Have Been Impacted By the Recall?

According to the report, thus far around 33,400 IKEA chairs have been recalled due to the risk of injury. The specific chair that is subject to the recall is the IKEA MYSINGÖ beach chair. They came in a variety of colors, but the chairs have a basic structure in common – they are all foldable and they have a wood base. Each has a polyester fabric seat attached. You can identify the recalled chairs based on the article numbers, which are smaller labels that should be present on the wooden frame of the chair, as well as sewn into the fabric. The following models are subject to the recall:

School_Crossing_Marji_11218998325-300x200In and around San Diego, there are a number of initiatives underway to help prevent accidents and child injuries in 2017. According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 12,000 children between the ages of 0 to 19 sustain fatal injuries each year in accidents. In addition to child fatalities, more than 9.2 million kids in the same age group sustain nonfatal injuries each year that result in treatment in emergency departments. Many of these incidents are preventable if we take safety precautions.

What steps are being taken around San Diego to help lower the number of child accidents and injuries? One recent report from The CW 6 San Diego indicates that new crosswalks have been installed around Point Loma schools, while another report from The CW 6 San Diego notes that a new car seat law in California aims to provide better protections to children under the age of two. What else do you need to know about recent safety steps and car accident precautions in the area?

Point Loma Crosswalk Aims to Prevent Child Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries

800px-BladeCuisinart-300x198For any San Marcos residents who regularly use a Cuisinart food processor in the kitchen, it is extremely important to be aware of a recent product recall that could impact your family’s safety. In most households, we have come to expect that high-end kitchen appliances are safe for use. In particular, devices made by companies like Kitchenaid, Vitamix, and Cuisinart are supposed to provide decades of use as long as they are properly cared for by their owners. However, according to a recent article from ABC 10 News, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), along with Conair (the maker of Cuisinart kitchen appliances), has issued a recall for millions of Cuisinart food processors.

What is wrong with these small kitchen appliances? They pose a risk of laceration, and dozens of consumers across the country have already reported suffering serious mouth injuries as a result of the product defect.

Defective Riveted Blade in Cuisinart Food Processors Results in Massive Recall

d9xx3cjoh2s-manu-adan-300x200Residents of San Diego County should be aware that dog bite injuries have been on the rise in California this year. According to a report from CBS News, emergency department visits connected to dog bite injuries have risen by 44% over the last decade in the state. Between 2015 and 2016, dog bite injuries requiring emergency treatment have gone up by about 10%, according to an article in the Modesto Bee. Animal attacks can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries, especially to young children. What has caused the recent rise in dog bite injuries in California? Who is liable for dog bites in our state?

Rise in Dog Attacks Leaves Experts Confused

As the Modesto Bee article underscores, local animal services employees simply are not certain what has led to the increase in dog attacks in California, particularly the sharp uptick between 2015-2016. The animals services director of Stanislaus County indicated that she “had contacted fellow animal services directors in the state, who had no observations about the data.” Local residents, according to the CBS News report, believe more dog owners are failing to properly train their dogs, which is resulting in more animal attacks across the state. But is there any data to support that conclusion? Currently, the only data we know for certain is that more dog bite injuries are happening in rural counties in California in comparison with urban counties.

rmwtvqn5rzu-jesse-orrico-300x199For quite some time now, UC San Diego has been a “widely acclaimed hub for neuroscience exploration,” according to a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The university “consistently ranks in the top tier of graduate neuroscience and neurobiology programs in the United States and nationally.” Now, with a donation from the Junior Seau Foundation, traumatic brain injury (TBI) research will expand dramatically at UC San Diego, with a specific focus on sports-related concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

The Junior Seau Foundation was formed back in 1992 by the NFL linebacker who played for the San Diego Chargers from 1990-2002. Seau died as a result of suicide in 2012, and researchers determined that he had been suffering from CTE at the time of his death. How will the donation expand brain injury research at UC San Diego and help to prevent deaths like Seau’s?

Additional Donors Will Match Donation and Will Endow a Faculty Fellowship

ibpzztr3vxy-tristan-colangelo-300x169When is a general negligence claim in California actually a medical negligence claim and thus subject to a different statute of limitations? When a plaintiff in California sustains an injury because of another party’s negligence, California law generally provides a two-year statute of limitations, which means that the injured plaintiff has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. For instance, car accident cases, premises liability cases, and truck accident claims typically all must be brought within two years from the date of the injury. However, the statute of limitations is different for a medical negligence claim, which has a one-year statute of limitations.

According to a recent article in the Northern California Record, a California Supreme Court decision could have far-reaching effects on certain negligence claims that plaintiffs seek to bring in the state. In short, the court emphasized that any personal injuries that are “integrally related” to medical care are subject to the medical negligence statute of limitations. What does this mean for future plaintiffs? To better understand, we should explore recent case law in more detail.

Supreme Court Limits Plaintiff’s Ability to File Lawsuit

600px-Mri_brain_side_viewIf your child currently plays tackle football in San Diego County, you might want to think twice before agreeing to let your child attend another practice or play in another game. Indeed, according to a recent article from NBC News, a new study suggests that head injuries of all sorts—including but not limited to concussions—may irreparably alter a child’s brain. The study was conducted by a team of researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, who were interested in exploring the wider effects of head trauma on kids who play football. Unlike several other recent studies, these researchers wanted to broaden their study to include more brain injuries than just concussions. In so doing, they learned that various types of head injuries can change the way a child’s brain works.

Details of the Recent Study of Youth Football Players

Currently, about three million kids across the United States play in tackle football programs. Up until now, research has primarily looked at the effects of concussions and has explored ways to prevent mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). However, the recent study from Wake Forest suggests that we need to be worrying about more injuries than just concussions.

Quarterly_Child_Passenger_Safety_Seat_Check_held_at_MCX_parking_lot_140519-M-IY869-018Beginning on January 1, 2017, residents of San Diego County will have to abide by a new law concerning child injury prevention and auto accident safety. According to a recent article in the Benito Link, as of the first of the year—just a few months away now—California residents will have to pay close attention to a new law that requires children who are under the age of 2 to ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are only a couple of exceptions to the recently passed law. If the child weighs 40 pounds or more, or if the child is 40 inches tall or greater, then the child is not subject to the terms of the new law, even if she or he is under the age of 2.

What else should you know about this law? And will it help to prevent child injuries in serious car accidents?

Comparing California’s Car Seat Laws and Child Seat Safety

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