Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law
(951) 682-6400
5885 Brockton Avenue
Riverside, CA, 92506

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 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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FACIAL WOUNDS FROM DOG BITES

While all injuries from a dog bite or attack require careful treatment and attention, facial wounds, lacerations, puncture wounds, and abrasions can be especially problematic for victims. After the treatment stops, the victim is often left to cope with nightmares, flashbacks, and other negative feelings resulting from the attack, as well as the after-effects of a facial wound, including scarring, deformity, and discoloration. These permanent injuries are visible to the outside world, and the victim is reminded of the terrible ordeal every time they look into the mirror. The effects of such an attack can be especially problematic for children, who are less able to cope with their physical and emotional injuries.

Unfortunately, not all wounds are created equal. For example, a horrific wound that healed quickly and left little permanent scarring would generally be worth less than a more moderate wound that developed an infection or left noticeable permanent scarring. Even the gender of the victim can have an impact on the value of a dog bite case, with females tending to get higher recoveries than males.

In order to maximize the resources available to assist a victim with treatment and recovery, it is important to obtain competent, qualified medical care for the dog bite wounds. It may be necessary to consult with a plastic surgeon. It is also best to obtain legal counsel experienced in these types of cases, to provide guidance and assistance with all aspects of this type of incident, including requests for recorded statements and pictures, to medical authorizations, and to vividly document the progression of the victim’s injuries.

The law firm of Heiting & Irwin has over 100 years combined experience representing the interests of people who have been harmed by the actions of others. We offer free consultations, a warm and inviting office, and a friendly staff to anyone interested in speaking about a potential legal matter. If you would like to speak with someone about your circumstances, please call our office at (951) 682-6400 for a free consultation.

Lunch at Simple Simon’s Bakery & Bistro

Simple Simon's Bakery & Bistro SignAs a proud Riverside, California, business, we often have clients and friends who stop by our office throughout the morning, sometimes concluding their visits just before lunchtime. Inevitably, the question they ask before leaving is, “Where’s a good place around here to get lunch?”

In most circumstances, one Riverside lunch spot comes to mind: Simple Simon’s Bakery & Bistro. [Read more...]

Court Finds Strongly in City’s Favor in San Diego Slip & Fall Case

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We’ve walked by them hundreds of times, maybe even noticed them before – the bases of street signs. Usually they consist of a larger piece of pipe embedded into the sidewalk into which the signpost slides. (See photo) Take a look the next time you see a sign.

For Mr. Heskel, he’ll probably be noticing these for the rest of his life.

On a late September evening in 2009, Mr. Heskel and his son Danny were out for a walk in San Diego. They were on the sidewalk. To Mr. Heskel’s great misfortune, the area was not well-lit and someone had removed a street sign from the sidewalk, leaving only the base embedded into the concrete. Not seeing the base, which was protruding “several inches,” he tripped over it, injured his back and broke his left wrist. There was nothing to alert Mr. Heskel’s attention to the pipe protruding from the sidewalk. It was not blocked off nor was it painted a bright, contrasting color.

Because they were the owners and controllers of the property, Mr. Heskel filed a complaint against the City of San Diego.

The law, as it relates to premises liability, is as follows:

To establish this claim, of premises liability plaintiff must prove all of the following:
1. That defendant owned/leased/occupied/controlled the property;
2. That defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
3. That plaintiff was harmed; and
4. That defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm.
CACI Jury Instruction No. 1000

There wasn’t much of a question that the city of San Diego owned and controlled the property where Mr. Heskel was injured. There was no question that Mr. Heskel was injured. The question for the court became one of whether the city was negligent in the maintenance of their property. Ultimately, it became a question of notice. Notice is determined as follows:

In determining whether defendant should have known of the condition that created the risk of harm, you must decide whether, under all the circumstances, the condition was of such a nature and existed long enough that defendant had sufficient time to discover it and, using reasonable care:
1. Repair the condition; or
2. Protect against harm from the condition; or
3. Adequately warn of the condition.
Defendant must make reasonable inspections of the property to discover unsafe conditions. If an inspection was not made within a reasonable time before the accident, this may show that the condition existed long enough so that a city using reasonable care would have discovered it.
CACI Jury Instruction No. 1011

Mr. Heskel introduced sworn statements of three individuals to show that the City of San Diego had notice of the dangerous condition posed by the protruding signpost.

One such statement was by another gentleman whom had tripped over the pipe “well over one year before” Heskel’s incident and that the city had quickly placed a “No Parking” sign in the pipe shortly after his fall.

Danny Heskel, who witnessed his father’s fall, provided testimony that the area around the pipe was painted a different color shortly after his father’s fall and confirmed that a sign was placed in the pipe shortly thereafter as well.

Another gentleman provided sworn testimony that he regularly worked in the area and that the pipe had been protruding from the sidewalk for “about 2 years.” He further testified that, prior to the sign being placed in the pipe, he had driven his truck on the sidewalk and punctured a tire due to the protrusion.

All of this testimony seems to raise, at the very least, a triable issue of fact as to the City’s liability right?

Not according to the Superior Court or the Appellate Court.

The appellate court concluded that the city carried its burden to demonstrate plaintiff lacked evidence as to the essential element of obviousness.

While plaintiff’s evidence suggested that the condition was above ground and visible, it did not demonstrate that it was of a substantial size or so visible from public thoroughfares that the city, in the exercise of due care, should have become aware of it and taken corrective action to cure it.

Because Mr. Heskel, in the Court’s opinion, failed to present any evidence that the condition was obvious such that the city, in the exercise of due care, should have become aware of it, his claim failed as a matter of law, notwithstanding his evidence that the condition was present for over one year before his accident.

It is very unfortunate that the Court has ruled in the City’s favor. It seems clear to me that, having been present for as much as 2 years (according to one declaration), the city had more than ample opportunity to discover this dangerous protrusion and make the changes necessary to ensure that its residents are safe. Clearly, once Mr. Heskel injured himself, the City wasted no time in fixing the problem.

If you are injured on public property, it is very important that you do not delay in presenting your claim. Claims against public entities in California must be made within 6 months.

We at Heiting & Irwin have decades of experience in presenting public entity claims and representing those injured on both public and private property.

The case referred to in this article is: Heskel v. City of San Diego, 227 Cal. App. 4th 313

Make Sure Your Burn Case is Properly Handled

by Kristopher Williams

When an injury occurs, sometimes it leaves a large scar, sometimes a small one, and sometimes, for the lucky, there is no scar; however, someone who has survived an injury involving burns to his/her body, catastrophic or minor, will always have scars (at least with today’s state of plastic surgery). All too often the burn survivor has his/her life permanently changed for the worse, regardless of the survivor’s ability to cover the scars with clothing. Where the burns cause scarring to portions of the body not easily covered by clothing, the physical scarring can often cause mental anguish, anxiety, and even depression that is more detrimental to the survivor than the original injury. A burn survivor can be the subject of ignorant ridicule and unwarranted embarrassment at the stares of onlookers. When a severe burn occurs, early, effective treatment is key to minimize the scarring. When another person is responsible for the burn-injury, seeking outstanding legal representation will help ensure that the survivor receives the maximum compensation. If you or someone you knows is a burn survivor, don’t let time go by without contacting a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights. The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have been practicing personal injury and have successfully litigated cases involving burn survivors since 1978. A professional attorney is ready to discuss what legal rights you or your loved one may have. Don’t wait, contact us today.

What is the Difference between Murder and Wrongful Death?

A Young Girl CryingAs an experienced Riverside, California, wrongful death lawyer, clients and friends often ask me a seemingly difficult question: what is the difference between murder and wrongful death?

First, I should say that both murder and the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another is very hard on survivors and family. Those left behind have a hole in their heart, knowing that a loved one was taken from them wrongfully.

The simplest way to draw a distinction between the two is to describe the legal classification of each. [Read more...]

When is It Time to Fire My Doctor?

Doctor Holding Up His HandAt Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law, we speak with many medical malpractice victims on an annual basis. We often find that they are frustrated and emotionally hurt by the lack of professionalism exhibited by the doctors or medical professionals who caused their injury.

The importance of the relationship between you and your doctor should not be undervalued in any way. If your instincts are telling you the fit just isn’t right, find someone with whom you’re more compatible.  While it is easy to trust a doctor, following your gut in these instances could save you from injury or health issues down the road.

I recently found a helpful article from Consumer Reports. The piece outlines five signs they say you should look for which indicate it’s time for a change. [Read more...]

What Should I Do if My Car Breaks Down on the Freeway?

Car Broken Down on the Side of the RoadEach year, countless individuals are injured along the freeways of California. It often starts with a flat tire, smoke from under the hood, or a mechanical breakdown that forces drivers to pull off to the side of the road. While unavoidable, this is extremely dangerous, putting the driver and all passengers at risk.

In an effort to keep you safe and avoid a such car accident injury, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has provided some helpful tips that discuss what to do in the event your vehicle becomes disabled on the freeway. (Hint: everything in the picture above is incorrect.) [Read more...]

Drive Out to the Riverside Drive-In Theatre

Van Buren Drive-In Theatre | Riverside, CASome great ways to bring family and friends together during the summer are watching movies, playing around outside, and having a cookout.  At the Riverside, California drive-in theatre you can do all of those things at once.

The Riverside Van Buren Drive-In Theatre is the perfect place to get together on a warm night.  You can get there early, stake out the perfect spot, and enjoy the weather and community while you wait for featured movies, like Spiderman II, to come on the big screen. [Read more...]

James Otto Heiting and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California

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Judge Harold Hopp, James Otto Heiting, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, James Latting, and Jacqueline Carey-Wilson (President of the Riverside County Bar Association). The photo was taken on March 17, 2014, at a reception in Sacramento following the Chief Justice’s annual address to the legislature on the state of the court. Earlier that day, Judge Hopp and the attorneys were lobbying the Inland Empire legislators for passage of SB 1190 and additional court funding.

Cycle Safety as Summer Heats Up

by Kristopher L. Williams

As summer heats up and daylight creeps past 8 pm, cycling-enthusiasts, both new and veteran, will be traveling the streets, for both exercise and transportation. I’ve been cycling on a road-bike for about a year now, and I love it; however, I try to stay on paths with restrictions on motorized vehicles, but I also like to get out there and hit the streets that my taxes have helped pave. In a collision between a bicyclist and an automobile, the bicyclist will inevitably lose. [Read more...]