Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law

5885 Brockton Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506
United States
Phone: (951) 682-6400
Fax: (951) 682-4072
Email: contact@heitingandirwin.com

About Our Firm

Heiting & Irwin began in 1976 out of a deep commitment to the fundamental values of the American justice system. In that spirit, we've dedicated … Learn More

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Meet Our Attorneys

Meet the attorneys of Heiting & Irwin in Riverside, CA. Each attorney has many specialties and experiences that contribute to the overall … Learn More

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Free Initial Consultation

Initial consultations are always free and can be handled in person, over the phone, or by email. If you wonder if you have basis for a case, contact … Learn More

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In practicing personal injury, medical negligence and assorted tort litigation, we are frequently asked if a lawsuit can be brought against the United States of America, an agency of the federal government, or an employee of same. The simple answer to such an inquiry is . . . if they permit you to do so! The process to initiate such a lawsuit is tricky.

Claims against the federal government are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act, which sets forth what claims are permitted. Assuming the Act allows a claim to proceed, the initial step (after gathering all evidence in support of any action) is to comply with the claims presentation requirements of the Federal Tort Claims Act. Generally, a claim must be presented to the appropriate federal agency within two years of the date that the incident occurred. Typical claims presentation statutes against state or local public entitles are six months. Claim forms may be available which outline the specific information required to be presented in a Federal Tort Claim.

The United States (or an agency thereof) generally has six months thereafter to act upon such a claim, although they can have more time if they want it! Rarely is a claim accepted, so typically a lawsuit must be filed in the appropriate U.S. District Court within six months of the decision on (rejection of) the claim. From that point forward, the litigation, including discovery and trial, are governed by the court and the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Federal Tort Claims, other public entity claims, and actions for personal injury(ies) in general are handled on a daily basis by the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin. If you have questions regarding your specific circumstances, please call us to speak to an attorney.


While waiting last Friday for the light to change green at Van Buren Boulevard and Wells Street here in Riverside, I watched in terror as an Emergency Vehicle, lights flashing and all, had to delicately maneuver around traffic approaching it from behind in order to make a left turn. It wasn’t dark, and the vehicle’s red color was easy to observe. Outrageous, I thought; there ought to be a law…..

Well, apparently there is. According to California’s Vehicle Code, Section 21706:

“No motor vehicle….shall follow within 300 feet of any authorized emergency vehicle….”

As a personal injury attorney, I am reminded on a daily basis of the important role that emergency first responders play in saving lives and preventing further harm to the patients they treat.

As anyone can imagine, however, there are a variety of reasons why the ambulances, fire trucks, police officers, and other first responders need to arrive at an emergency quickly and safely, without being themselves involved in some accident for which aid is required.

One day, it may be you or a loved one waiting for help to arrive. So let’s all be a bit more mindful while driving, and give our first responders some room on the road!

Why Should I Hire You?

I’m occasionally approached by a potential client who says, “I have a slam dunk case.  Why should I hire your office when I can handle this on my own and not have to pay fees?”

There are many answers to this question and the ones that apply vary from case to case.

There are very few “slam dunk” cases.  You’d be surprised how often an insurance company will fight over a seemingly obvious “clear liability” case.  I’ve seen cases where a defense is mounted after a defendant driver claims the injured party reversed into her… while they were traveling on the freeway!  Insurance companies will sometimes place roadblocks for the unrepresented party – roadblocks which may be difficult to overcome without the assistance of an attorney. Sometimes no settlement offers are made at all, forcing the injured party to file a lawsuit on their own or retain an attorney at the last minute.  Filing a lawsuit incorrectly or filing it late can harm your case or prevent you from recovering at all.

You may already have been offered the policy limit on your claim.  Why would you hire an attorney at that point?  You may not be constrained by the policy limit offered.  We make sure no stone is left unturned.  There may be other insurance policies that apply to your claim – policies of which you are not aware and may unknowingly agree to settle without.  There may be assets which the defendant can offer up as compensation in addition to the insurance policy presently offered.  Part of our representation involves looking into other policies of insurance and into the assets of the defendant.  We will also investigate your claim to see whether there are other liable parties – such as the city, county, or state.  With our representation, you will have the peace of mind that every avenue of recovery was explored.

There are a multitude of reasons you should hire Heiting & Irwin.  Contact us, or give us a call at (951) 682-6400 and one of our attorneys would be happy to discuss the reasons, as well as your case, with you.

James Otto Heiting Receives Avvo 2015 Top Contributor Award

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.12.35 AMHeiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law are very excited to announce that Avvo has named one of our attorneys, James Heiting, as a top contributor! Avvo is an online service dedicated to “helping people make the best decisions for their important legal needs.” People use this site to search for help on their legal issues. As for attorneys, they contribute the content and earn points in a variety of ways. [Read more…]


In November 2014, voters rejected Proposition 46 by a substantial margin, maintaining California’s general damage cap of $250,000 in medical negligence cases. Undaunted by the defeat, trial lawyers (Consumer Attorneys of California) are continuing the fight to raise the present damage limits before the Appellate Court, arguing the unconstitutionality of the Act. As has been argued before, why are general damages to victims unlimited in personal injury, product defect and other negligence cases, but limited to $250,000 to victims of medical neglect? Where is the fairness?

Having failed in past attempts to obtain change through both the legislature and ballot measures, perhaps this effort before the Appellate Court will provide some success. Arguments will soon take place before the First District Court of Appeal, and win or lose, likely before the California Supreme Court thereafter. Obviously, Consumer Attorneys are lining up to provide supporting arguments in the current case of Chan v. Curran, but the supporters of MICRA cap are also plentiful, arguing decades of decisions affirming MICRA.

Time will tell. Hopefully sooner or later the California Supreme Court will address the MICRA issue and whether the Act violates a victim’s right to fairness under the law; whether MICRA is constitutional; and whether it lacks a “rational basis” in today’s environment.

Questions on medical negligence, damages and the ongoing battle regarding MICRA can be directed to attorneys at Heiting & Irwin, as well as questions on any issues involving claims for personal injuries and damages.


This Saturday, March 21, 2015, the law offices of Heiting & Irwin will be participating in the Mary S. Robert’s Pet Adoption Center’s “23rd Annual Walk With The Animals”. Held at Fairmount Park here in Riverside (2601 Fairmount Blvd, Riverside, 92501), the walk around Lake Evans begins at 9:30 a.m., with registration starting on-site at 8:00 a.m. Also featured are a pancake breakfast, K-9 demonstrations, and various other exhibits.

Our dog pack, “Heiting’s Hounds”, plans to attend dressed in St. Patrick’s Day green shirts. Please help us come out in support of this non-profit, no-kill shelter, dedicated to providing giving homeless cats and dogs a second chance for a happy, healthy life by finding them good, loving homes.


1) Notify Your Employer

If you are injured on the job, always report it to your employer as soon as possible – even if the injury, at least initially, seems insignificant. What may at first appear to be a minor symptom or injury may be the sign of a more serious symptom or injury that will get worse over time.

2) Go to a Doctor

Seek immediate medical attention for all injuries. If you are unwilling or unable to do so, at a minimum, seek medical attention for any injury that causes you to lose any time from work or for which symptoms (pain, numbness, tingling, etc.) last for more than a few days.

As to number 1) and 2) above, please keep in mind that if you sustain an injury on a specific date and you fail to report it and also fail to seek medical attention, BEFORE your job/position is terminated, either by your employer or yourself – you will not be entitled to any compensation in most cases.

3) Return to Work

Whenever possible, continue working. The recovery you ultimately receive in a Workers’ Compensation matter will not make up for a lost job. Keep in mind that you know your body better than anyone else. If you feel you can return to work doing your usual job or a modified job, do so unless, of course, your employer will not permit you to do so.

If a physician (even one from an Industrial Medical Clinic) says you can return to work, but you feel you are unable to do so, do not refuse to return to work. You will face losing your job if the only medical evidence your employer has says you are able to work and you choose not to do so.

In that circumstance, it is better to return to work, be cautious with your body mechanics and try to work for a short time – 2 hours, 2 days . . . But if you feel you are hurting yourself or your injury is still being aggravated, let your employer know, if you can’t continue working, also advise your employer. By doing this, you will have complied with the doctor’s recommendations, regarding your return to work status by trying to return to work and will be showing your employer that you want to return to work, but that it is, at least at that time, premature to do so. At that point, you should ask to see the same or another doctor to address your injuries.


Jean-Simon Serrano has been named Super Lawyers Rising Star four years in a row

Jean-Simon Serrano has been named to the Super Lawyers’ 2014 Southern California Rising Stars list, an honor awarded to no more than two and a half percent of attorneys in Southern California each year.  This is the fourth consecutive year that Mr. Serrano has been awarded this honor.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

The Super Lawyers and Southern California Rising Stars lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Super Lawyers magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

Heiting & Irwin is proud to have Mr. Serrano as a part of our personal injury team.

Riverside, CA Motorcycle Accident

Riverside Motorcycle AccidentsThink about how many times you crashed your bicycle when you had training wheels on it – probably not a whole lot. Four wheels are relatively stable, even for a six-year-old. What about when you took the training wheels off? There were probably lots of skinned knees, maybe a broken wrist, and certainly a bruised ego. Making a small jump to motor vehicles, it might go without saying that motorcycle accidents are far more dangerous than car accidents. In fact, motorcycle accidents have a fatality rate that is 26 times greater than the fatality rate of car accidents.

With those looming statistics, why ride motorcycles? What could possibly be worth that risk? Cars are safe, comfortable, controllable, and not weather-dependant. They both get you from point A to point B, but what about the space between the two points?

[Read more…]

Bike Lane Safety

Bike Lane SafetyWith bike lanes becoming more and more popular around California, it is imperative that cyclists know the correct ways to safely operate their bike. The roads are shared by vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians, unsafe operation can affect many different people. When bicyclists enter the roadway, they not only put themselves at risk, but everyone else on the road.

For some safety tips for bicyclists, check out our most recent infographic!