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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“WALK WITH THE ANIMALS” AND HEITING & IRWIN

Don’t forget to attend the annual Mary S. Robert’s Pet Adoption Center’s “24th Annual Walk with Animals”, scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Fairmount Park here in Riverside (2601 Fairmount Blvd, Riverside, 92501).

This year, the walk begins at 9:30 a.m., where participants and their furry friends make the 1.3 mile trek around Lake Evans. Also featured are a pancake breakfast beginning at 8:00 a.m., and K-9 demonstrations to follow the walk at 10:00 a.m.

The law office of Heiting & Irwin is planning to attend for the fifth year in a row, along with our pets, many of which are rescues themselves. Feel free to come join us to help raise money for a wonderful cause.

WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT AT WORK

By: Robin Steele, Paralegal to Workers’ Compensation Specialist, Richard H. Irwin, Esq.

If you are injured in an accident at work you are probably entitled to workers compensation. Nearly every employer is required by state law to provide workers compensation insurance coverage for its employees. If you are injured at work, here are a few important tips to protect your rights:

  1. Make an accident report. You should report any accident that you are involved in on the job, whether or not you believe you are injured.
  2. See a doctor as soon as possible following an accident at work. If necessary and the injury warrants it, go to an emergency room.
  3. It is up to your employer to file a workers compensation claim with their insurance company on your behalf. Follow up to ensure that a workers compensation is filed. You are entitled to a copy of the workers compensation claim filed by your employer. If your employer refuses to file a claim, you may file a DWC-1 claim form with your local Workers Compensation Appeals Board. The form is available online.
  4. Your claim will be assigned to a claims examiner, also called a claims adjuster, working for the workers’ compensation insurance company from which your employer purchased the insurance. The claims adjuster should be available to assist you with your claim. Your employer should be able to put you in contact with the claims adjuster.
  5. If you run into difficulty with any of the above, or have questions about your rights as an injured worker, including your right to temporary benefits should your treating physician declare that you are temporarily totally disabled, you may want to consult with an attorney experienced in handling workers compensation claims.

It is possible to have both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury claim at the same time. This happens more frequently than one might think. There are many common scenarios where a person may be injured on the job the injury may be caused by the negligence of a person or entity not directly associated with their employer. These situations include defective products including industrial machinery not manufactured by the employer, motor vehicle accidents, or heavy equipment mishaps with forklifts or similar vehicles when caused by a person not associated with the employer. Where the employer does not have workers compensation insurance as required by law, a personal injury claim may be filed against the employer for any on the job injury and negligence is presumed under California Labor Code section 3706.

Because it is possible to maintain both types of claims and pursuing a personal injury action may entitle the injured party to much more compensation for pain and suffering damages, it is crucial to consult a personal injury attorney. Many if not most workers compensation lawyers only practice in that sub-specialty as work comp involves practice before an administrative body (rather than the state or federal court system) and is very specialized. If both a work comp claim and a personal injury claim are filed, there are complicated issues regarding liens and reimbursement rights and other complex legal issues that absolutely require competent legal counsel. Therefore, it is important to retain a quality personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the interplay between the two claims and can maximize the amount paid to the injured person.

HOVERBOARD LIABILITY

Now that the holiday season is over, a close inspection of the potential liability for purchase and use of these motorized, self-balancing scooters is appropriate. Injuries from the use of hoverboards range from simple falls to fires caused by the use of this product.

Generally, in California, the legal doctrine of strict products liability would apply, which imposes liability to manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers for injuries and damages sustained from a defective product The product may be defective in the manufacturing process, the design, or the failure to provide appropriate warning(s) to consumers. With hoverboards, likely issues involve design and/or warnings, as injuries range from fire to fractures to concussions. The hoverboard is ripe not only for injury(s), but for potential litigation!

Of course, manufacturers warn that their product is safe for its intended purpose and use; however, over a very short period of time, emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and physicians in general have been inundated with injuries from the use of the hoverboards. Perhaps they are not quite as safe and sane as it initially depicted in the Back to the Future series years ago.

If you are injured from the use of such a product, try to retain the product, literature provided, packing and the receipt. All of the items will be of benefit in the pursuit of a claim for damages. As with any injury or product defect, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available to consult with you on any potential claim.

Primary Assumption of the Risk Strikes… Again!

I’ve written in the past about the primary assumption of the risk doctrine and how it has been greatly expanded over the years.  You can read that article here.

Recently, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District has revisited the limits of this issue.  The case is titled, Griffin v. The Haunted Hotel, Inc., (2015) 242 Cal. App. 4th 490.

In October 2011, Scott Griffin purchased a ticket to experience “The Haunted Trail,” an outdoor haunted house type of attraction where actors jump out of dark spaces, often inches away from patrons, holding prop knives, axes, chainsaws, or severed body parts.  It seems that these types of attractions have gained much popularity in recent years with Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios revamping their parks during the Halloween season. [Read more…]

TO TREAT OR NOT TO (OVER)TREAT: THAT IS THE QUESTION

When attorneys representing defendants in personal injury cases argue that plaintiffs have obtained too much treatment, they refuse to fully compensate the plaintiff for the costs of that medical treatment. Quite as often, defense attorneys also argue that a plaintiff’s lack of treatment shows that they were not really injured, and refuse to fully compensate the plaintiff for the pain and suffering that was endured. So what is a prospective plaintiff to do?

The issue of how much and how frequently to treat can often play an important role in determining not just the value of a given personal injury case, but how much the plaintiff actually ends up with. Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to this very critical dilemma. There are, however, some general suggestions that might help an injured person decide what to do, although it is always best to discuss these and other ideas with your personal injury attorney:

  1. If you are in pain, or have other symptoms that are not resolving, see a medical professional about it. If you ignore your symptoms and do not consult with anyone or do anything about them, it may be hard to prove to a jury that those issues have not resolved.
  2. Follow your doctor’s orders, or those of your treating physician. If you are instructed to treat 3 times a week, it may be best to do so. If you are told to follow a home exercise program, do it. You don’t want to be labeled non-compliant by your doctor.
  3. If you are feeling better, or certain parts of you are recovered, inform your treating physician. Continuing to get therapy for your back when it already feels better may make it difficult to get compensation for therapy that you do not need.

The common theme amongst these suggestions is to rely upon the guidance of your treating physician, and we commonly suggest our clients discuss questions or concerns about their treatment with a medical professional. Even if your lawyer has referred you to a treating physician, perhaps on a lien basis, the decisions about your course of treatment should remain between the patient (the plaintiff) and the doctor.

What to do after a Car Accident

Steps_Following_Accident

Steps Following a Car Accident in Riverside, CA

Being involved in an automobile accident can be a traumatic experience and may result in a whirlwind of consequences. Being prepared can help you remain calm while you are getting medical assistance and protecting your rights. With accidents becoming more frequent every year, it is important to be aware of the steps to take after a car accident.

Call 911

The first priority following a car accident is to call for emergency medical assistance for anyone injured in the accident. If possible, you should help anyone who is injured; however, if you are not medically trained, do not attempt to move a seriously injured person unless leaving the person where they are would put them in risk of greater injury or harm.

Accident Scene Information

Depending on your injuries, you may not be physically able to take the following steps. You or someone on your behalf should:

  • Obtain the information of the other driver including their name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, vehicle owner’s name and address (if different from the driver), and the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle;
  • Take pictures of the accident scene including the surrounding area (i.e. any obstructions, traffic signals, vehicles, etc.) and any injuries;
  • Obtain the names and contact information for people who witnessed the accident. Independent eyewitness testimony is very valuable in a personal injury claim when the other driver is denying fault.

See a Physician

If you were injured, see your family physician as soon as possible. You could be suffering from an injury that may not have been immediately recognized. In some cases, the soreness you feel in the days and weeks after the accident may be an indication of a more serious injury. It is always a wise decision to have a physical exam after being in a car accident.

Repair Your Vehicle

By law, you have the right to repair your vehicle at the shop of your choosing. Obtain written appraisals to submit to the insurance company for the property damage claim. You can settle the property damage claim to have your vehicle repaired without settling the bodily injury claim. However, before signing any releases, make sure you read the fine print to verify the insurance company is not including language in the release that affects your bodily injury claim. If you have any doubts, it is wise to consult with a personal injury attorney.

Keep Copies of Everything Related to the Accident

Keep copies of any and all documents that relate to the accident including medical bills, receipts for medication, statements regarding property damage, and evidence of any other out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. hiring someone to mow your lawn or perform household chores because you are unable to do so due to your injuries).

Never Discuss the Accident or Sign Documents for the Insurance Company

Insurance adjusters contact accident victims as soon as possible following an accident to obtain written and/or recorded statements and signed releases. Their objective is to get in contact with you prior to you consulting with an attorney. In doing so, they hope to obtain evidence to use against you to justify making you in offer below the compensation you deserve.

The insurance company is not on your side. They are a business and their goal is to have the largest profit margin possible. Therefore, insurance companies try to pay as little as possible for automobile accident claims. If the insurance adjuster or anyone on behalf of the other driver asks for a statement or asks that you sign documents, do not agree until you have discussed your case with our office.

Contact Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law for a Free Consultation

Insurance companies have a team of legal professionals and others working for them to investigate the accident. These individuals are highly trained in ways to mitigate the company’s liability so it does not need to pay you the full value of your claim.
To combat the insurance company and even the playing field, you need your own team of experienced accident attorneys fighting for you. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will thoroughly investigate your claims to identify and preserve key evidence that will be used to maximize your compensation.

Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and painful. Let us take the stress off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery while we focus on holding the at-fault party responsible for their actions.

If you need a car accident attorney in Riverside or anywhere in southern California, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. You can call our office at (951) 682-6400 or contact us online.

COLLEGE STUDENTS BEWARE!

It is always a difficult task to find liability of a third party or entity for the unanticipated criminal conduct or actions of another. The reason for this is the very premise that the conduct is not known to or anticipated by the party.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal has now taken this concept one step further by holding that public universities have no duty to protect students from third party conduct, even when the university has knowledge of the past dangerous behavior or threats by the third party! This decision arises out of a situation where a student at UCLA was stabbed and had her throat slashed by a classmate, where it was allegedly known by university personnel of the mental illness and past history of on-campus altercations of the perpetrator.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that “a public university has no general duty to protect its students from the criminal acts of other students.” The decision is based upon current precedents that post-secondary institutions do not have the same special relationship or duty of care with adult students as elementary and high schools have toward minors. This current ruling appears limited to public universities and adult students and leaves open the issue of potential liability for criminal actions of third parties in other education and/or premises settings. This 2nd District ruling is a very cautious, conservative and safe decision in light of the many other potential theories of liability available to the court.

Adult or public university students should be aware of their surroundings and fellow students. No warnings need be given by the educational institution to be wary of potential criminal conduct of others.

If you have any claim for injury incurred at the hands of another, the Law Offices of Heiting & Irwin will provide consultation as to your potential claim(s).

DON’T ASSUME THAT A “VOLUNTEER” IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFIT PURPOSES

All “volunteers” are not denied employment status and entitlement to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Although, volunteers generally are not considered employees and are, therefore, not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits if injured–there are certain types of volunteers that are afforded employee status for workers’ compensation coverage purposes under California law.

For example, some of the specially included categories include:
• Volunteer police, while on active duty;
• Any person assisting a police office at the request of the officer;
• Apprentice and volunteer firefighters while on active duty;
• An individual who voluntarily renders technical assistance to a public entity (eg: city, county, state) to prevent hazardous events such as fires or explosions. Again at the request of said duly authorized law enforcement or fire officer;
• Appointed school volunteers, approved by the particular school district;
• Certain unpaid volunteers for public agencies and certain non-profit organizations–subject to certain requirements;
• Parent volunteers in a non-profit nursery school program may be so entitled;
• Trial jurors–if you want to call them volunteers.

Please note that these are some specially included categories of volunteers offered “employee” status. There are certain to be many more instances where individuals are classified as “volunteers” who are not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage, but where the law, under their particular circumstances, determines they should also be afforded workers’ compensation coverage.

When in doubt, check with an attorney who specializes in this area.

ANOTHER WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT FILED OVER PAUL WALKER CRASH

News broke recently that another lawsuit has arisen from the tragic automobile accident involving a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that claimed the life of Paul Walker and Roger Rodas in November 2013 in the Santa Clarita area northwest of Los Angeles.

In or around May 2013, the widow of the driver of the Porsche, Kristine Rodas, filed suit against Porsche, purportedly alleging negligence, wrongful death and product liability.

Paul Walker’s daughter, Meadow Walker, has alleged in her lawsuit that the car was unsafe and dangerous. According to the L.A. Times, her lawsuit claims Porsche took safety shortcuts, marketed the vehicle as a race car licensed for the road, knew the car had a history of instability, and failed to address safety concerns in the design and manufacture of the vehicle.

Claims have surfaced of other deaths related to this particular vehicle.

If you or someone you know has been injured or harmed in an accident caused by an unsafe vehicle or other product, it is important to speak with an attorney about your possible rights and remedies. At the law firm of Heiting & Irwin, we offer free consultations. Give our office a call today.

October Community Events in Riverside, California

UntitledAt Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law, our attorneys enjoy spending time with their families and we encourage our staff to do the same as much as possible. While we are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional legal services when they are suffering from physical, emotional, and financial damages after being injured because of the negligence of another party, we also know the importance of spending time with family and friends. Riverside community events are the perfect time for us to relax with our family and friends and to meet new friends in our community. Of course, if you need us for any reason, we are always here for you. Just contact our office to reach one of our highly-trained and friendly legal staff members who will assist you with your questions and needs.

With October being the “spooky” month of the year, we are looking forward to attending some of the Riverside family-friendly events planned around a “spooky” theme. Of course, the adults need to have some fun too; therefore, there are a few events just for us adults. Let’s enjoy some spooky fun in Riverside this October. [Read more…]