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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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

Assumption of Risk in Sports

people playing basketballIn 2013, we posted a blog on the topic of “Primary Assumption of Risk in “Sports” Cases”. This topic sparked much controversy when it was posted over two years ago. And today, this is even more newsworthy. With so many injuries in sports and due to the recent focus in concussions during football, it is no wonder that so many people connect passionately and personally to this debate. We wanted to open up the floor to hear what others had to say about this topic.

What does “assumption of risk” mean?

To fully understand and contribute intelligently to this debate, it is best to first understand what the topic is covering. It all started in 1992, when the Primary Assumption of Risk Doctrine was created. This doctrine states that a person involved in a sporting event cannot hold a co-participant liable for the injuries that they cause.

For example, imagine that Zack and Alex are playing in a football game. If Zack tackles Alex, ending up with Alex having a concussion, Zack cannot be held liable for these injuries, even though he was the one that inflicted them. No matter how bad Alex’s injury is he cannot sue Zack for any form of compensation. This is because, as per the Primary Assumption of Risk Doctrine, when you choose to play a sport, you are assuming the risk of being hurt. When Alex chose to play in the football game, there is an unwritten/unspoken agreement saying that he understands that he is putting himself in danger, or at risk of injury.

[Read more…]

WHAT IS CALIFORNIA’S “GOOD SAMARITAN” LAW?

In the State of California, there is no duty requiring one person to assist another in an emergency situation. If an individual does determine to help another, the “Good Samaritan” Law states that there is no civil liability for doing so, or for the outcome of such efforts as long as the conduct was done without expectation of payment or reward, performed in good faith, and without substantial negligence.

California Health and Safety Code §1799.102 states that “no person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency, shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission. The scene of an emergency shall not include emergency departments and other places where medical care is usually offered.”

The key element of the Health and Safety Code is the word “medical” : non-medical assistance, such as moving an injured party, rendering aid at a traffic accident or other types of assistance are encouraged. . .just don’t mess up!

If you have questions regarding your legal rights or liabilities, please contact the Law Office of Heiting & Irwin for a free consultation.

DEATH BENEFITS PAID IN FULL WITHOUT 100% FAULT/CONTRIBUTION

Unlike most injuries, if an industrial injury, exposure, occurrence or event even partially causes or contributes to an injured worker’s death, the entire applicable death benefit is payable to the deceased employee’s dependents. This also means that these particular death benefits are not reduced even if the injury/industrial cause is an aggravation of an underlying or pre-existing cause or condition. Therefore, it is enough to show that the industrial cause or contribution to the individual’s death aggravated or hastened (sped up) the death.

This is unlike most work-related injuries. For example, if you have a serious back injury, but the medical evidence supports the fact that 50% of that back disability was caused by a previous injury (e.g. car accident) or underlying condition (e.g. degenerations), your disability award will be cut in half (50%).

Keep in mind, however, that the extent of the benefit paid can be affected by other factors, the most common of which is whether you qualify as a total or partial dependent of the deceased employee at the time of the injury. Please see our future blog(s) regarding those concerns. Or, if you would like to speak to someone about your case, without any charge, please call us at (951) 682-6400 for a free consultation.