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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California Senator Proposes Changes to Jury Selection – James Otto Heiting Responds

California Senator, Marty Block, introduced Senate Bill 213 which would, in criminal misdemeanor jury trials, reduce the number of peremptory challenges from 10 to 6.  An interview with Senator Block, as well as reactions from those in the legal community, including our own James Otto Heiting, can be found here.

 

Summer’s Not Over Yet—Check Out these Fun Events in Riverside

image2-3The days are only getting hotter, and the kids are once again gearing up for another school year. But before you dust off the backpacks and lunch boxes, there’s still plenty of summer fun left in Riverside, California. Here at Heiting & Irwin Attorneys at Law, we like to relax with our families at Riverside’s Fairmount Park. Whether you’re looking to spend the day cooling off at the pool or basking the August heat with a picnic, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Fairmount Summer Concert Series

Location: Fairmount Park                                            

Date: Wednesday, August 5    

Time: 6:00 P.M.

Don’t miss the last concert in the summer series featuring the Original Sacrifice Band. Bring your chairs, blankets, and snacks for this free event at the park.

[Read more…]

WHY EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIANS GET SUED

While researching issues on a pending medical negligence action, I came across a study by THE DOCTORS COMPANY, describing the top four reasons (as described by patients) for claims made against emergency physicians.

The first and by far most common allegation is failure to diagnose, delay in diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of the underlying condition. The most common conditions leading to the medical emergency(s) were acute cerebral vascular accidents and myocardial infarctions (MI).

The second most common allegation of emergency medical negligence was improper management of treatment, such as failure to stabilize a fracture resulting in further damage. This is just one example.

The third allegation involved improper performance of the proposed treatment or procedure. This included issues involving intubation of the respiratory tract and poor suturing of a wound (just to name a few), causing additional harm.

Finally, the last category described giving rise to emergency medical claims is failure to order medication. It is difficult to imagine how this could occur, however, it appears to be a common claim.

Whether the emergency room is overcrowded, understaffed, subject to long wait periods, or non-communication, patients are entitled to the best medical care available, especially in emergency situations. The key seems to be communication with the physicians and staff and understanding the diagnosis, treatment and referrals. Patients know their condition(s) better than the physician, but should also listen carefully and follow the advice given. Don’t be afraid to speak up!

If you have a potential claim for medical neglect, whether emergency medicine related or any other medical specialty, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available for an initial free consultation of your potential claim.

PURSUING A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM? CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING…

As an attorney who specializes in Workers’ Compensation law it is easy for me to recommend that you get an attorney to represent you if you are injured on the job. The reason for this is simple, there are so many twists and turns, as well as pitfalls in the current Workers’ Compensation system, it just doesn’t make sense not to hire an attorney. Keep in mind that the attorney fee is limited to only 12-15% of your settlement. Furthermore, most knowledgeable attorneys will more than make up this small deduction from your settlement.

More importantly, however, is that you need to know certain limitations about your Workers’ Compensation case from the very beginning. Specifically, you need to know that your Workers’ Compensation case:

  • Will not reimburse you for your actual loss of earnings;
  • Will not compensate you for your loss of earnings capacity – after all you are no longer the same healthy unimpaired individual that you were before your injury;
  • Will not compensate loss of pension, profit sharing or retirement benefits caused by the loss of a job due to serious injury;
  • Will not compensate you for the loss of important insurance benefits which may be lost as a result of your injury;
  • Will not compensate you for your actual “pain and suffering” – at least not in the same sense that certain civil litigation might do so;
  • Will not “make you whole” financially – not to mention physically or emotionally; and
  • Will not make up for lost job.

In short, the best thing you can do, at least from financial perspective, is to keep working – if at all possible. This does not mean that you shouldn’t pursue your fill Workers’ Compensation rights and benefits with the help of a lawyer specializing in this area. It merely means that you need to know the limitations of the system, with your eyes wide open, so that you are not blind-sided sometime in the future.

Please note that there are many other limitations/concerns which should be addressed by your attorney during the course of your litigation. As such, do not be shy about asking questions and voicing your concerns.

Passenger may be liable for death after telling driver to “go faster!”

Be careful when encouraging your driver to take risks.  A recent California case held that a passenger could potentially be found liable by a jury for her role in encouraging a driver to “go faster” along a road which ultimately led to a crash and a death. [Read more…]

YES, YOU DO HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

PART III: PHOTOCOPIES WITHIN 15 CALENDAR DAYS

In my prior posts, I discussed that you actually have multiple laws that entitle you to your medical records, and if you live in California, the Patient Access to Health Records Act is a state law that provides“access to health care records or summaries of those records by patients and by those persons having responsibility for decisions respecting the health care of others”.

In the last post, I discussed how California’s Health and Safety Code, Section 123110(a) allows patients to physically inspect their records within 5 working days of a written request. In this post, I will look at subsection (b) of that same code section, which states in part:

“….any patient or patient’s representative shall be entitled to copies of all or any portion of the patient records that he or she has a right to inspect,

upon presenting a written request to the health care provider specifying the records to be copied, together with a fee to defray the cost of copying, that shall not exceed twenty-five cents ($0.25) per page or fifty cents ($0.50) per page for records that are copied from microfilm and any additional reasonable clerical costs incurred in making the records available.

The health care provider shall ensure that the copies are transmitted within 15 days after receiving the written request.”

This means that a patient is entitled to photocopies of any records the patient is entitled to inspect, as indicated in subsection (a). The patient must give the doctor a written request, describe the records requested, and pay the fee for copies and related clerical costs (which must be reasonable).

The doctor must be sure the “COPIES ARE TRANSMITTED WITHIN 15 DAYS AFTER RECEIVING THE WRITTEN REQUEST” for the inspection. Health & Safety Code, Section 123110(b) (emphasis added).

There are also many other sources of law dealing with your rights to access your own medical records. As stated in my prior posts, the rights you have, and the way(s) you can enforce those rights, can vary based on your particular circumstances, so if you have any questions, or have encountered difficulties obtaining your records, you should contact an attorney for individualized advice.

(The above is being provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute, nor substitute for, personalized legal advice.)

YES, YOU DO HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

PART II: Physical Inspection of Records Within 5 Working Days

In the original post, I discussed that you actually have multiple laws that entitle you to your medical records. If you live in California, for example, you may have heard of “PAHRA” (the Patient Access to Health Records Act), which is a state law designed to provide “access to health care records or summaries of those records by patients and by those persons having responsibility for decisions respecting the health care of others”.

The actual laws put into effect by PAHRA are “codified” (found) in the State of California’s Health and Safety Code, including Section 123110, among others. This “code section” has multiple parts detailing how doctors (or providers) are supposed to behave when you request your records. For example, subsection (a) states, in part:

“any adult patient of a health care provider, any minor patient authorized by law to consent to medical treatment, and any patient representative shall be entitled to inspect patient records upon presenting to the health care provider a written request for those records and upon payment of reasonable clerical costs incurred in locating and making the records available….

A health care provider shall permit this inspection during business hours within five working days after receipt of the written request.

The inspection shall be conducted by the patient or patient’s representative requesting the inspection, who may be accompanied by one other person of his or her choosing.”

This means that a patient is entitled to inspect his/her records after paying for the cost of finding and making the records available. The cost must be reasonable and of a clerical nature. The patient’s records may be inspected by up to two people, the patient or a representative, and one other person if elected.

The patient must be allowed this inspection “WITHIN FIVE WORKING DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE WRITTEN REQUEST” for the inspection. Health & Safety Code, Section 123110(a) (emphasis added).

There are also many other sources of law dealing with your rights to access your own medical records. As stated in my last post, the rights you have, and the way(s) you can enforce those rights, can vary based on your particular circumstances, so if you have any questions, or have encountered difficulties obtaining your records, you should contact an attorney for individualized advice.

(The above is being provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute, nor substitute for, personalized legal advice.)

Should We Raise the Speed Limit?

I recently read an article titled, “Roads are Better.  Cars are Safer.  Let’s Raise the Speed Limit” written by Stephen Boyles, an Assistant Professor of Transportation Engineering at the University of Texas.  In this article, he discusses that not only do our current speed limits not increase safety; they actually make things worse.

According to Boyles:

“Artificially low speed limits actually make roads less safe.”

“Research shows that the speed limit has little effect on how fast people drive. Traffic engineers have tried all kinds of tricks — flashing lights, pink signs, cute speed limits such as 48 instead of 50 — and they all work only for a week or two until the novelty wears off.”

“While many drivers ignore speed limits altogether, others do try to follow them out of a sense of safety or obedience.”

“This difference in speeds is actually more dangerous than if everyone were driving at a faster speed. We’ve all felt the frustration of being behind slow drivers and annoyance at aggressive drivers weaving through traffic. Both of these situations are dangerous and make traffic worse.”

He discusses a stretch of roadway in Texas (Highway 130) which has a speed limit of 85 m.p.h.  He implies that this speed limit works because modern roads, as well as modern cars, are engineered for this kind of driving.  He believes that “speed limits should be set at the 85th percentile of traffic speed. That is, only about 1 out of 7 cars should be driving faster than the speed limit. Any more than that and the speed limit should be raised.”

He argues that a reasonable speed limit would make people respect the law more. “Speeding should be seen as a serious matter, not a routine offense most of us commit every day.”

We’ve probably all seen this, cruising down the interstate with the flow of traffic and coming quickly upon someone who is going exactly 65 m.p.h.  It’s dangerous because you have to rapidly slow down and/or swerve around them and this increases the potential for rear end and other types of collisions.

Professor Boyles raises interesting points – speed limits were set at a time when cars were slower and much less safe.  Shouldn’t we raise speed limits to keep up with technology?  Isn’t this especially true when the vast majority of motorists, according to Boyle, are exceeding the speed limit anyway?  Can we not trust motorists to drive at a safe speed without an artificially low speed limit?

Clean Air Vehicle Decals

decalYou’ve probably seen cars in the carpool lane with special stickers; however, did you know that there are actually three different kinds of stickers?

California law allows single-occupant use of carpool lanes by certain qualifying vehicles.

There are the Yellow stickers – which are no longer valid as of July 1, 2011.

Current, valid stickers are either green or white. [Read more…]

4th of July – Be Smart. Stay Safe.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 1.04.49 PMThe 4th of July is a great holiday for us to kick back, relax, and spend the day with family and friends. With so many Americans traveling during the same short time period, there are bound to be some unfortunate complications on the road. Be prepared to make the trip as safe as possible.

Find out more by clicking the infographic.

Heiting and Irwin 4th of July