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Jul 08, 2010
Following a great deal of publicity regarding defective Toyota and Lexus vehicles, including complaints of sudden and uncontrollable acceleration, Toyota announced today that it is recalling over 138,000 Lexus models including the GS, IS, and LS vehicle models. The recall was started because of engine difficulties. The models being recalled include the 2007-08 Lexus GS 350 and 450H, 2008 Lexus GS 460, 2006-2008 Lexus IS 350, 2007-08 Lexus LS 460 and 460L, and 2008 Lexus LS 600 HL vehicle models.
According to Toyota, these models share a problem due to foreign materials that may end up contaminating the valve spring in the engine, causing the engine to breakdown and possilby fail completely. If the engine fails when the vehicle is in operation and moving, the failure would increase the risk of a traffic accident.
Toyota will be sending out notices to the owners of all affected vehicles. However, in the meantime, if you are concerned that your vehicle will be subject to the recall, contact Lexus at 1-800-255-3987. Your Lexus will be repaired free of charge.
Jun 15, 2010
A recent essay in The New England School of Medicine suggests that doctors should begin asking their patients whether they drive while texting or talking on a mobile phone. The doctor, Dr. Amy Ship, reports that family physicians routinely ask patients whether they engage in dangerous or risky behavior such as smoking, watching their diet, or remembering to fasten their seat belt. Dr. Ship believes that asking about distracted driving should be incorporated into these risk questions.
Distracted driving--whether by talking on a cellphone or texting while driving--is certainly a problem, particularly amongst teenagers and inexperienced drivers. That is why our San Diego personal injury law firm helps sponsor the Teens Against Distracted Driving program where teenagers and their parents can take a pledge not to text and drive.
But can asking regarding dangerous behavior be effective to making patients safer? Is it the place of medical doctors to take on the issue of texting while driving as a preventative medicine issue? Is it too much of an intrusion into individual behavior to have primary car physicians ask about their patients' personal behavior which is not medically related?
Dr. Ship takes the position that any efforts to keep patients safer and alive is fair game for medical doctors. She herself initiates the conversation by letting her patients know that texting and talking on the cellphone causes more auto accidents. She then tells them that multitasking when talking on the cellphone is obviously dangerous, otherwise patients would not mind if their surgeon spoke on the phone while operating on them.
Anything to increase awareness of the problem of distracted driving helps.
Apr 24, 2010
A report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that the total number of fatal motorcycle crashes declined by 16% in the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same time in 2008. Motorcycle accidents have been rising steadily for nearly a dozen years before setting a record in 2008.
There is no clear explanation for the drop in fatal motorcycle accidents in 2009, only a year after the record of 5,290 motorcycle fatalities was recorded in 2008. Some have speculated that the economy was keeping motorcyclists off the road and pointed to a 42% decrease in new motorcycle sales. The theory is that there were fewer novice riders on the road and that publicity about motorcycle deaths had increased awareness both amongst motorcyclists and motorists about motorcycle safety.
California experienced 133 fewer motorcycle fatalities during the early months of 2009. Overall, the report projects that the annual fatality decline amongst motorcycle riders will be 10% for all of 2009.
Federal statistics show the number of motorcycle fatalities had steadily increased for over 10 years ending in 2007. However, the data released Thursday demonstrates that several efforts to reduce the number of deadly motorcycle crashes have perhaps worked. For instance, the study authors believe that the recommendation for mandatory helmet use amongst motorcyclists placing the second part in reducing the toll number of deaths from motorcycle wrecks. In addition, the authors believe that decreasing the number of people who ride after drinking alcohol, reducing the instances of speeding, and providing additional training for motorcyclists will further reduce the number of deadly accidents. Riding at excess speeds or under the influence of alcohol were determined to be factors in a significant number of motorcycle crashes. In addition, approximately half of all motorcyclists and their passengers who died in wrecks were not wearing helmets.
This decrease in California motorycyle accidents is good news to our office. There is not a week that goes by where we hear stories of someone who has seriously injured themselves in a motorcycle accident and will now face months, if not years, of rehabilitation to get better. If there is anything that motorcyclists can do, within reason, to remain safe, they should do so. Riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun, but is also extremely dangerous.
Dec 27, 2009
Insurance companies and tort reform advocates often argue that plaintiff injury accident lawyers and their injured clients are running up the cost of car insurance and generally making it more expensive for all Americans to live. Not true. This is a story of a recent interaction we had with Progressive Insurance which demonstrates that insurance companies and their unreasonable positions are largely to blame for the increasing cost of auto insurance.
We recently submitted a demand package on behalf of a client who was injured after being rear-ended at a stop sign. Simple case with no liability dispute and limited and reasonable medical treatment for a few weeks to care for our client's sore back and neck.
Our client's medical treatment totalled approximately $6,000. Progressive Insurance's offer was $6,500 on a take it or leave it basis. They would offer no more money.
Fine. Although Progressive and other insurance companies think they are the final decision makers as to the value of personal injury cases in California, they are not. Juries here in San Diego and elsewhere throughout the State are the ones who ultimately must decide what a case is worth and how much compensation the injured victim will receive. In these cases, we immediately file a lawsuit and serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint, summons, and a letter which nicely explains that we are sorry to involve them, but their insurance company refused to deal with our office fairly. Now the defendant will spend time at deposition and ultimately at trial while Progressive Insurance will spend more defending the lawsuit than it would take to settle the claim--and then they will still have to pay the jury's verdict.
And somehow plaintiff's lawyers and their clients are blamed for increasing auto insurance rates. Go figure.
Jan 23, 2010
Graco has announced the recall of certain Passage, Alano, and Spree strollers and travel systems after several children had suffered hurt fingers in the canopy hinge. The injuries resulted in the amputation of five fingertips and two lacerations according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Families were warned not to use the stroller until they received a free protective cover kit for the canopy from the company.
The Graco strollers were sold at a number of stores including Burlington Coat Factory, Walmart, Target, Sears, and Kmart between October 2004 and December 2009. Not all Graco strollers were recalled because they did not include the defective hinge. Please check this notice from the CPSC to make sure that your model number is on the recall list before acting.
In order to order a stroller hinge repair kit by calling Graco's consumer service line at 800-345-4109 or order online .
Jan 23, 2010
In the second majory recall of baby cribs in three months, Dorel Asia Cribs issued a recall of over 600,000 cribs due to threat of strangulation and suffocation. The cribs feature enough space for a child's head to become stuck and cause the airway to be cutoff, leading to death or serious brain injury.
Dorel cribs have been available in the United States since 2005.
Reportedly, at least one baby has died and at least six other babies have been injured by the Dorel cribs.
In November, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of Stork Craft cribs which affected over one million drop side cribs in the United States for the same reasons.
To obtain more information about the Dorel Asia Crib recall, call their customer service representatives at 866-762-2304.
Jul 19, 2010
Our main personal injury law office has recently relocated to 625 Broadway, Suite 815 in Downtown San Diego. The building, which is commonly known as the Historical John D. Spreckels Building, is one of the older office buildings Downtown and for three years was the tallest building in San Diego.
However, the most interesting aspect of the building is that it was built by one of San Diego’s leading founding fathers and one of the most interesting businessmen, John D. Spreckels. John Diedrich Spreckels was a true businessman with a grand vision for San Diego and its’ place as a major city in the United States. He was a savvy investor and conducted many projects to help build the city of San Diego to be as wonderful as it is today.
Born in South Carolina, Spreckels moved to New York and then San Francisco where he grew up. Coming from a family line of sharp business developers, including major interests in the Hawaiian sugar trade, Spreckels naturally made a lasting career out of being an entrepreneur. He is credited for helping to transform San Diego intto a beautiful metropolitan city by founding a railway system as well as hundreds of business buildings. The San Diego and Arizona Railway and the Hotel Del Coronado are just two of the most notable infrastructure landmarks that gave rise to the City’s modern development.
On a visit to San Diego from San Francisco, Spreckels was impressed and saw potential in the real estate of San Diego. He fell in love with the sleepy, but bankrupt coastal fishing village, and started his investment in Downtown San Diego along Broadway (known as D Street at that time) by purchasing and developing the wharf and dock at the foot of Broadway and San Diego Harbor. He soon spent his entire life building an empire of business buildings in and around the city.
After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Spreckels and his family moved permanently to San Diego where he quickly become known as the wealthiest man in town. He invested millions of dollars into the city and its’ development. He was the owner of properties such as Coronado Island, Belmont Park, the Union Building, The John D. Spreckels Building, Spreckels Theater, and many other well known structures. Thousands were employed because of him and he was president of various companies that were critical to the growth of San Diego as an important port and metropolitan area in California.
One of Spreckel’s most notable achievements was the development of the San Diego Electric Railway system. He was able to give citizens quick, cheap, and reliable transportation from all over San Diego. This was the first of any form of mass transportation in the city. Many of his buildings still stand today and tell the story of a large part of our city’s history.
John Spreckels was truly a very interesting and accomplished founding father for San Diego It is a great honor to have the Jurewitz Law Group’s office located inside such a prestigious and historic building built by such a great man.
May 17, 2009
Do you want to know what our San Diego personal injury attorneys are up to? Want to know of important news regarding San Diego? Want to know about important developments in the law, particularly concerning accident victims and the public?
You can now follow the Jurewitz Law Group on the social networking "micro-blog" site, Twitter.com.
Just create a Twitter account and go to http://www.twitter.com/jurewitzlaw to follow along.
May 17, 2009
The Jurewitz Law Group has opened a North San Diego County office in Carlsbad to serve clients seriously injured by slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and bicycle accidents. The office is easily reachable from San Marcos, Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista, and Escondido.
You can find our Carlsbad office (by appointment only) at:
701 Palomar Airport Road #300
Carlsbad, CA 92011
May 17, 2009
Our new Downtown San Diego office is located at:
501 West Broadway, Suite 1780
San Diego, CA 92101
Tel: (619) 233-5020
Toll Free: (888) 233-5020
Fax: (888) 233-3180
New and existing clients can meet with our San Diego injury accident lawyers at our Downtown office, our North San Diego County Office in Carlsbad, or at any location throughout San Diego County.
Face to face meetings outside Southern California are also possible, but require more lead time.
Jun 20, 2010
Are witness statements collected at the scene of an accident or by your personal injury attorney following an accident subject to the protections of the attorney work-product privilege--a privilege which allows injury accident victims to keep these statements confidential and away from the hands of insurance companies and their lawyers?
The issue was recently tackled by the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District of California in the case of Coito v. Superior Court. The Court was asked to determine whether a statement of a witness to an accident by an attorney is protected by the work product privilege. The Court held that such statements are not protected and can be discovered by opposing counsel during discovery.
The Court distinguished the case of Nacht & Lewis Architects, Inc. v. Superior Court holding that Nacht & Lewis did not hold that a list of witnesses from whom statements had been taken, nor the statements themselves, were privileged. Such statements have very important evidentiary value, including containing inconsistent statements, prior consistent statements, or past recollections recorded--all of which would be admissible at trial. However, were these statements to be protected by the attorney work-product privilege, the opposing party could not have access to these important pieces of information and evidence.
The Court also rejected a qualified attorney work-product privilege defense--in other words that in certain circumstances and with certain limitations, the privilege would exist. The Court held that a recording or document which shows the attorney's thoughts and interpretation of the evidence and case was protected by the privilege. However, in most cases where the attorney or his representative is simply asking questions and the witness responses are simply answering those questions, then the privilege would not attach. The statement would not contain any interpretive input from the attorney. The Court also rejected the argument that the selection of the attorney's questions itself was interpretive--the statements had evidentiary value only.
What this means, for people injured in accidents in California and the insurance companies who oppose them, is that witness statements are discoverable absent an affirmative showing that the statement contains protected interpretive analysis by the attorney.
Mar 23, 2010
The Georgia Supreme Court struck a huge blow for personal injury victim and in particular those injured due to the carelessness and lack of care of their doctors.
A unanimous Court struck down damage caps on jury awards in medical malpractice cases which limited the amount that medical malpractice plaintiffs could recover for non-economic damages (generally referred to as "pain and suffering" damages) to $350,000. The Court held that damage caps violate the right to trial by jury as guaranteed under the Georgia Constitution.
The case upheld a $1.265 million jury verdice in favor of Betty Nestlehutt, a 75-year old Marietta, GA real estate agent. Following a face-lift operation in 2006, Nestlehutt suffered from gaping wounds across her face that required lengthy and painful treatments to keep them from being infected, leaving her permanently disfigured.
The Supreme Court ruled that the cap on damage awards "nullifies the jury's findings of fact regarding damages and thereby undermines the jury's basic function...The very existence of the caps, in any amount, is violative of the right to trial by jury." The ruling makes it clear to the Georgia Assembly that any future efforts to place a cap on damages would be ruled unconstitutional.
This is the latest in a series of rulings in several states which struck down tort reform efforts to limit the amount that can be recovered by personal injury victims. It does not make sense and simply is not fair for those seriously injured at the hands of others to be told that the perpetrator can inflict unlimited damage upon their body, but that they are limited in the compensation they receive in return.
Feb 20, 2010
A San Bernardino County jury awarded a one-man $23.4 million for catastrophic injuries she suffered after a 2007 car accident. The civil judgment was entered against Ford Motor Company and arose after the plaintiff, Cynthia Castillo, lost control of her 1997 Ford Explorer because the tread on her left rear tire separated as she drove along the freeway.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Ms. Castillo's Explorer swerved off the freeway and rolled three times down an embankment you for coming to rest. This serious rollover accidents led to her legs and most of her body being paralyzed. The evidence showed a trial that the Explorer's design cause it to lose control when Ms. Castillo's tire tread separated.
At the time of the accident, Ms. Castillo was 38. She has been a quadriplegic ever since. She has been confined to bed and has difficulty caring for a young daughter.
According to Ford Motor Company and its' attorneys, the accident was caused by a worn-out tire that Ms. Castillo put on her own vehicle and had failed to replace. Ford also blamed Ms. Castillo or failure to maintain the vehicle, arguing that her failure to replace the shocks and other maintenance failures demonstrated her own lack of care and cost are accidents and injuries.
Nonetheless, the Rancho Cucamonga, CA jury came back with a unanimous verdict in Ms. Castillo's favor, finding Ford Motor Company almost 100% at fault for causing her injuries.
This is a fantastic verdict and result for a severely injured person who now has to face life largely paralyzed and need the help of others for assistance with even the most basic tasks and routines. We are very happy for Ms. Castillo and hope that the jury's verdict will finally bring her some peace and much-needed help.
Nov 28, 2009
On July 28, 2009, an Orange County jury awarded a severely injured construction supervisor $4.7 million after he was struck by a commercial truck while supervising the installation of a natural gas pipeline in Orange County. The 36 year old man was left with severe injuries that made him disabled and restricted his physical abilities.
The underlying commercial truck accident occurred on December 8, 2006, while the plaintiff was supervising the installation of a natural gas pipeline when he was struck by a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by an employee of the defendant making a lunch delivery. The defendant was a franchisee of three El Pollo Loco restaurants. The defendant driver had pulled from a stop sign into the intersection in front of an approaching Toyota 4-Runner. Neither driver saw the other before the collision. After both vehicles struck each other, the Chevy was propelled into the plaintiff, causing severe injury, including a shear fracture of the pelvis and a massive injury to the left shoulder. Total medical care costs exceeded $405,000 and the plaintiff lost $63,000 in income. He underwent three surgeries to stabilize his pelvis and beat two separate bouts of MERSA following the surgeries.
As a result of the accident, the plaintiff was forced to give up his field supervisor position in favor of a sedentary job as an estimator for underground construction. There was no claim for future medical care since the experts on both sides agreed that no medical treatment would improve the plaintiff's condition. The medical evidence was also largely undisputed. The plaintiff was relegated to a largely sedentary lifestyle following the auto accident. He could not lift over 20 pounds, had difficulty walking over half a mile, and could not sit or stand for prolonged periods. Prior to the car accident, plaintiff was in excellent health and had a very active lifestyle with his wife and two children.
The defendant driver pointed the finger at the driver of the 4-Runner and did not take responsibility for his own role in the accident.
After a jury trial, the jury rejected the argument that the driver of the 4-Runner was negligent and concluded that it was not reasonable for him to anticipate that the driver of the Chevy would enter the intersection when it was unsafe. The jury awarded over $405,000 for past medical costs, past wage loss of over $63,000, past "pain and suffering" of $2,000,000, and future "pain and suffering" of $2,250,000 for the remaining 40 years of plaintiff's life.
Congratulations to the plaintiff on receiving a fantastic and well-deserved victory. We wish him and his family the best in the future.
Dec 20, 2009
A new free report from the American Association for Justice (AAJ), "Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse", tells how the insurance industry is increasingly using questionable tactics to increase their bottom lines at the expense of injured people and claimants. This only harms the public who relies on a honest and efficient insurance system to compensate them for serious accidents.
The Report identifies the following common insurance company tricks:
- Denying Claims: This is the most common tactic and is regularly employed by all insurance companies, including Allstate, State Farm, and USAA. By denying valid claims, the insurance companies boost their profits because those are monies that will not be paid out. Insurance companies have even been known to incentivize their employees to deny valid claims.
- Delaying until Death: Insurance companies regularly delay claims in the hope that the claimant will die before the claim is paid or hoping that the injured person will give up or settle for less. Many people do just that rather than stay the course.
- Confusing People: You are not alone if you have ever been confused after reading your insurance contract. They even confuse lawyers. Insurance companies regularly use confusing agreements and language to discourage consumers.
- Discriminating by Credit Score: Insurance companies determine premiums and insurance approvals based upon credit scores. Lower scores pay higher premiums.
- Abandoning the Sick: Insurance policy holders who are the most need of medical care are often targeted by the insurance companies and have their benefits cancelled to lower the amount of money paid out for health care.
- Cancelling for a Call: Some people will call their insurance company to get a feel how filing a claim will affect their insurance coverage. If the effect is too negative, they won't file a claim. However, just by making the call, the insured has essentially made a claim as far as the insurance company is concerned. At renewal, the insurance company can use these phone inquiries to deny claims.
Be sure to protect yourself by doing your insurance policy homework and order a copy of Ross Jurewitz's Book, The Ten Biggest Mistakes that can Destroy Your California Accident Case, which includes a section on how to buy insurance.