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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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!

REDONDO BEACH PEDESTRIANS HIT BY BUS: IS THERE A CASE?

Let’s face it, sometimes accidents happen. And when accidents happen, people, sometimes innocent people, get seriously injured. Thankfully, the legal system in California allows some victims to get compensation from those who cause the accidents and their injuries.

One example would include the recent Redondo Beach incident where a LADOT bus making a left turn struck two elderly pedestrians, apparently crossing the street in the crosswalk. It is possible the living pedestrian and the heirs of the deceased pedestrian could recover for the injuries they received in this incident by filing a personal injury lawsuit against:

  1. Whoever is responsible for the bus, possibly including the driver and LADOT, among others.
  2. Whoever is responsible for the intersection’s operations, including warning lights, signs, and other such things. This could possibly include the City of Redondo Beach, but sometimes this work is contracted out to others.
  3. Whoever is responsible for the intersection’s design, including deciding whether a traffic signal or other control devices were necessary. This could possibly include the City of Redondo Beach, but again, sometimes this work has been originally designed by others.

As you may see, the strength of a potential case can vary based on a variety of specific facts, issues, and events. There may be other rights and remedies available that apply, as more or different information emerges. The above potential defendants may have defenses available that prevent the injured from succeeding in their personal injury cases; there may be other unknown or unidentified defendants responsible.

For these and other reasons, it is imperative to speak with an attorney about your specific situation. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, just like my office at Heiting & Irwin, so you can either discuss your case over the phone or make an appointment to meet face to face with an attorney. Of course, this article offers just a few examples for informational purposes only, and does not substitute for specific legal advice. Be sure to speak to someone as soon as possible.

Brockton’s New Bike Lanes – More or Less Safe for Those on the Road?

1368129673-urlBrockton Avenue in Riverside from Mission Inn Ave to Central Ave, was converted late last year from a four lane roadway (two lanes in each direction) to a two lane roadway (one in each direction with a middle turn lane and large bike lanes in each direction). [Read more…]

THE DEATH OF DUE PROCESS IN CALIFORNIA INJURY CASES

Unfortunately, a good friend of many has died in California – Mr. Due Process.

It appears, at least to this attorney, that the California Constitution and some of the rights that the authors so eloquently sought to guarantee are being stepped on, ignored and just plan buried by the California Workers’ Compensation System.

Specifically, injured workers, no matter how severe or even catastrophic, their injuries and disabilities may be, now have their treating physicians requests for much needed medical care reviewed and frequently denied at two levels of review. This dynamic (& dastardly) duo is Utilization Review (UR) and Independent Medical Review (IMR). Without going into too much detail at this juncture, as I am informed by many, that effective blogs (like weddings) should be short – suffice it to say that these are both entities that have physicians review on injured workers’ primary treating physicians’ treatment requests, without even seeing, speaking with or examining the injured worker and then proceed to deny well over fifty (50) percent of those requests.

The IMR reviewing physician, who represents the second and higher level of review, is essentially the arbitrator of and for treatment requests. This physician is also anonymous to the injured man or woman and her attorney. The injured worker has no right to interact or be examined by this physician. The injured workers’ attorney is not allowed to know the identity of this physician so that he or she can ask the physician how they arrived at their conclusions, question those conclusions or try to convince that physician that the requested medical care, testing, treatment or surgery is needed.

Additionally, in addition to taking the injured worker out of this equation and the injured workers’ attorney, the Judges in the system have also been summarily stripped of their authority, (except in the most limited of situations) to make determinations of medical necessity – that is, they are not permitted to determine that the treatment requested by the injured worker’s primary treating physician is necessary. Those questions are left to the doctor that no one can know, no one can meet, that no one can contradict. And, again, this is a physician who does not see or examine the injured/disabled worker, no matter how serious or catastrophic their injury.

In most states, as well as in our federal government, we have as one of our branches of governing bodies, the Judiciary (i.e. judges) who have a distinct and essential role – that is to act as a check and balance to our other branches of government and to hear evidence, interpret and enforce laws and the rights of the people those laws were meant to protect. But, apparently not so in the California Workers’ Compensation system. Clearly, one of the most significant rights of an injured employee in California (or any where) is their right to medical treatment. Unfortunately, the right to hear, interpret, evaluate and enforce the injured worker’s rights to such essential treatment has been abrogated to that of a doctor who doesn’t even speak with or examine the injured worker, but only reviews medical records. And, by the way, the current status of the law says that doctors opinion denying medical care can’t be attacked by a judge even in those instances where the doctor has not read and reviewed all relevant medical records and testing.
Rest in Peace Mr. Due Process. We mourn your departure and will do all that we can to keep your memories and your purpose intact.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR KNEE INJURIES

Contrary to the general assertion that continued knee pain must result in some form of surgical intervention, injection of a gel substance into the knee joint can help lubricate and cushion the knee joint, providing relief from pain and increased flexibility for many months. In knees with osteoarthritis and deterioration, the joint fluid (synovial fluid) breaks down and fails to provide the necessary cushioning in the knee joint. An injection of gel supplements the existing synovial fluid, to provide both pain relief and improvement of function, delaying or prolonging the need for surgical intervention.

 
“Viscosupplementation” is a relatively new and increasingly popular treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The injection of gel (a form of hyaluronic acid) is an effort to restore mobility and functionality to the joint, and decrease pain.

 
Multiple viscosupplements are currently on the market, however, all have potential side effects of which the consumer should be aware. These side effects include minor issues such as redness, skin irritation, and swelling. More significant complications include breathing difficulties, swelling of tongue or lips, facial swelling, fever, and difficulty swallowing.

 
Viscosupplementation is known to provide relief in the short term for most patients. Long term relief is still an issue to be determined. The viscosupplementation procedure can be beneficial but as with any medical procedure, the risks and complications, potential side effects, and benefits must be weighed before proceeding. As with any medical procedure, intervention or surgery, the prospects of medical neglect are always an issue.

 
If you have a claim relating to a form of personal injury, knee injuries, or any medical treatment of an injury or condition, contact the law offices of Heiting & Irwin to discuss your legal rights.

Heiting & Irwin’s Jean-Simon Serrano Retained as counsel for Cheerleaders Hurt in Former Murrieta Mayor’s DUI Crash

On Oct. 16, the lives of four cheerleaders were forever altered.

Headed home from a school pep rally, the Murrieta Valley High School students were the victims of a car accident on Jefferson Avenue toward Lily Avenue at about 8:20 p.m.

Ex-Murrieta Mayor Alan Long was the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the rear end of the girls’ car.

The impact of the car crash shattered the girls’ rear window, severely damaged the bumper, and lodged the passenger doors shut—needless to say, the car was totaled.

More importantly, the girls suffered serious injuries and one is still bedridden (as of Nov. 10). Serrano, of Heiting & Irwin, has been retained as counsel for the girl’s family. [Read more…]

MICRA CAP FIGHT TO CONTINUE

Trial lawyers in the State of California will continue to pursue the effort to raise the general damage malpractice payout cap established by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act in 1975. Even though the recent ballot initiative (Prop. 46) was overwhelmingly defeated, litigators will push to raise the $250,000 limit on pain and suffering damages by any available method.

Seriously out-spent by the healthcare lobby and buoyed by the confusion of issues contained within Prop. 46, recent efforts to raise the MICRA cap went down in flames! Prop. 46 would have raised the general damage limits to $1.1 million and readjusted it annually for inflation, bringing the damages cap for medical negligence cases more in tune with other jurisdictions and into the 21st century.

Despite the recent setback of Prop. 46, trial lawyers still have thoughts and plans to reform the antiquated limits established in 1975, whether by further initiative or through the court process. Courts in other jurisdictions have invalidated certain caps, but will the California Supreme Court consider such an issue regarding the MICRA damages cap?

The fight is not over. Round one was a victory for the healthcare industry. With a better strategy, increased funding, and clarification of issues, the trial lawyers will continue their efforts to bring MICRA damages to a more realistic limit.

If you have a claim for damages, whether by medical or other professional negligence, or any type of personal injury or civil damage claim, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available. We are just a phone call away from assisting you.

WATCH OUT – PAY ATTENTION AND SPEAK UP!

Too often an individual who initially has only a physical injury (eg: injury to an arm, leg,
neck, back, etc.) develops other, often more serious problems, which are a consequence of their original injury or treatment.

Examples include:

● Aggravation of High Blood Pressure – caused by anxiety, stress or depression (among other things) associated with their industrial injury. Being injured, off work, dealing with significant changes in finances, etc., are all potential contributing factors;

● Aggravation of Diabetes – insulin levels can be affected by trauma, including the trauma of surgery;

● Sleep Issues- sleep disturbance, in different forms, can be caused by many factors, including stress, the effects of medicine(s), and pain. This can, in some circumstances, lead to a more serious condition known as “sleep apnea” which has its own negative effects on an individual’s well being;

● Serious Dental Damage – Anxiety, depression and the extended use of certain medications can lead to multiple problems such as clenching/grinding of your teeth while sleeping and TMJ with obvious negative dental consequences. The use of certain medications can create a condition known more commonly as “dry mouth” which can ultimately lead to decay and deterioration, loss of teeth, etc.

The above are some conditions that are consequences of industrial injuries not more commonly thought of.

The above list does not include the potential damage to an individual’s liver, kidneys, stomach or heart that can be caused by some of the above conditions, not to mention the damage caused by chronic medicine use.

If you are a friend or family member of an individual who has sustained an industrial injury, pay attention to changes you see or the injured worker talks about. Those changes in high blood pressure, heart related symptoms, insulin intake, sleep disturbance, teeth or jaw-related symptoms, intestinal/stomach problems, etc. – may be connected to their industrial injuries and/or the consequences of treatment received as a result of those original injuries.

Watch out – pay attention- speak up!

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury, or “TBI,” occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain.

It is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, especially in children and young adults.  TBI is usually the result of falls, vehicle accidents, or violence.

Brain trauma can occur as a consequence of an impact to the head, by a sudden acceleration/deceleration within the cranium or by a complex combination of both movement and sudden impact.  In addition to the damage caused at the moment of injury, brain trauma may cause secondary injury, a variety of events that take place in the minutes and days following the injury. These processes, which include alterations in blood flow to the brain and the pressure within the skull, contribute substantially to the damage from the initial injury. [Read more…]

INJURIES WHILE USING RIDESHARE SERVICES

With the advent of “rideshare” services such as Uber and Lyft, among others, the question arises of who will be responsible for injuries sustained by riders of these services. The short answer is, it depends.

There may be any number of commercial and personal insurance policies that might cover the “rideshare” rider. For example, Uber’s website indicates that, for rides requested through UberBLACK, UberSUV, or uberTAXI, there is a “commercial insurance policy in at least the minimum amount required by local regulations”, while rides requested through uberX may be covered by drivers’ personal insurance policies, commercial insurance policies, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

This does not account for policies covering other vehicles involved in any collisions, policies personal to the riders/passengers themselves, or policies covering other entities who may bear responsibility for the injuries sustained by the riders of these services.

If you are injured while using a “rideshare” service, please be sure to gather as much information about the identity, employers, and insurance policies of everyone involved, and to take as many pictures of damage or injuries as possible. Unless you feel confident you will properly identify the various policies which may cover your injuries, and successfully navigate your claims to a satisfactory resolution, CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY. The office of Heiting & Irwin offers free consultations, so call today.