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

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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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Handling medical negligence cases in the everyday practice of law, I see with far greater frequency “medical records” which consist of email correspondence between the patient and the medical provider and/or messages referencing communication via telephone. This practice of medicine is generally referred to as telemedicine, that being the long distance practice of medicine via telecommunications consisting of telephone, internet and video conferencing. This new and increasing method of providing medical services and advice is fraught with challenges and potential risks.

Telemedicine can be an efficient method for physicians to manage their ever increasing patient panels, shorten time to a point of care, and decrease healthcare costs. Telemedicine can be effective in circumstances where geography, lack of transportation, and availability of the healthcare provider are significant issues. In addition, telemedicine can be used in managing certain acute and chronic situations and even serves as an effective triage tool in an emergency department. However, a true emergent, critical or life threatening situation will likely still require the hands-on care and treatment of competent medical professionals. Telemedicine is currently in use in many emergency room situations where ambulance attendants phone the emergency room to contact physicians or mobile intensive care nurses who provide orders during transport and pending arrival to emergency room facilities.

As the services continue to expand, multiple challenges do exist, not only to patients and medical professionals, but to the public at large. There are increasing issues involving patient verification and protection of patient privacy. Confirmation of a “physical” exam to document symptoms and conditions is curious. The quality and qualifications of the physician or healthcare provider; licensing; and availability of insurance are issues of concern. Another potential area ripe for neglect is the fraud or drug shopping by patients for prescription medications.

Telemedicine is an evolving method of medical care. As with any type of medical care, it is ripe for potential neglect and abuse. As a warning to the wise, be careful with the use of telemedicine and confirm the knowledge of and understand the identity of the medical provider, the qualifications, care and treatment being recommended. As telemedicine evolves, so does the legal profession in response to these new methods of treatment. Telemedicine is an area ripe for abuse and neglect and potential claims of medical neglect.

If you have any claim for injury arising from telemedicine or other medical care and treatment received from healthcare providers, the legal professionals at Heiting & Irwin are available to assist you.

Big Rig Accidents Require Special Handling

Heiting & Irwin Specializes in Big-Rig / Tractor Trailer Accidents.  We have represented many clients injured by semis over the years, including high profile cases in Riverside, San Bernardino and Rancho Cucamonga.

Tractor Trailer Accident cases require special handling and special investigation techniques.  Had the driver been working for 16+ hours before the incident occurred?  Is camera footage from within the cab available?  Was there a GPS or other type of tracking/recording device on the truck?  This type of information is not typically available in a collision between two motor vehicles.

When big-rigs are involved, the likelihood of catastrophic injuries also increases.  Make sure you have an attorney that will competently handle the presentation of your claim and retain the right experts to combat the trucking company’s defense team.


On July 13, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official safety communication entitled “UPDATE on Serious Complications Associated with Transvaginal Placement of Surgical Mesh for Pelvic Organ Prolapse: FDA Safety Communication”.

This safety communication was addressed to healthcare providers who have implanted surgical mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse and/or stress urinary incontinence or are involved in the care of these patients, as well as to:

Patients who are considering or have received a surgical mesh implant to repair pelvic organ prolapse and/or stress urinary incontinence[.]”

Hopefully, if you are one such patient, you have been made aware of and reviewed this update, which is available at: http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/safety/alertsandnotices/ucm262435.htm.

Based on new information gathered since 2008, the FDA has determined that, among other things:

a) SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of POP ARE NOT RARE;

b) transvaginal POP repair with mesh MAY EXPOSE PATIENTS TO GREATER RISK than traditional non-mesh repair; and

c) the most complications include mesh erosion (where the mesh erodes or protrudes through the vaginal wall or other barrier), and mesh shrinkage/contraction. (See link above).

According to the safety communication, patients suffering from complications of the transvaginal mesh implants complain of severe pain, severe pelvic pain, painful sexual intercourse or an inability to engage in sexual intercourse, vaginal shortening, vaginal tightening and vaginal pain. Also, men may experience irritation and pain to the penis during sexual intercourse with implant patients when the mesh is exposed in mesh erosion.

In certain situations, an implant patient may have the ability to sue the manufacturer for problems arising from the implant itself, and the physician who performed the implantation surgery, among others. Strict time limits do apply, and it is important to immediately consult with an attorney should you experience any of the above-mentioned concerns. You may contact our office at (951) 682-6400 for a free consultation.


As we approach the fall season, we are constantly reminded of “Back to School” and the fall sports that it brings. Football is in the air, whether it is high school, college or the NFL, and with it comes the alarming risk of concussion-type injuries.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TMI). It is generally caused by a direct blow to the head, or by an indirect blow to the body, causing the brain to strike the inner skull resulting in some type of neurological impairment. Impairments include headache, nausea, difficulties with concentration, memory issues, emotional (irritability and sadness), sleep disturbances and balance and coordination effects. Concussions are common, especially when participating in contact sports, such as football and soccer. Although most concussive traumatic brain injuries are mild, there are some alarming statistics and reason for concern:

  • There are 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year;
  • Football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75% chance for concussion)
  • Soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females (50% chance for concussion):
  • Impact speed of a football player tackling a stationary player is 25 mph;
  • Impact speed of a soccer ball being headed by player is 70 mph;
  • Some studies suggest that females are twice as likely to sustain a concussion as males!

Motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian collisions, bicycle accidents, physical violence, and falls (particularly with young children and older adults) are also common risk factors to sustain concussive type injuries. After one sustains a concussion, the levels of brain chemicals are altered. It usually takes about a week (in a mild case) for the levels to stabilize. More severe concussions can have lasting effects, far beyond weeks, even to the point where bleeding in the brain can be fatal.

Whether you’re an athlete, or just drive a vehicle, the risk of head injury is one that can not be taken lightly. Potential complications include epilepsy, post-concussion syndrome, post traumatic headaches and vertigo, and cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries.

If you sustain a head injury, seek the appropriate medical care and treatment. If the injury may be a result of the negligent or intentional conduct of a third person or organization, contact the Heiting & Irwin law office to discuss your legal rights.

Riverside, California celebrates Labor Day 2014!

LA County beachesCalifornians know a lot about working hard, and about taking time away from the daily grind to relax. Californians know how to enjoy our state’s weather year-round, but especially so during the summer months. It doesn’t matter if you head to the seaside or stay inland, this Labor Day, how about enjoying something fun? After all, you’ve earned it!

Labor Day 2014 is a great reminder of the social and economic achievement made by American workers, including those living right here in Riverside, California.

If you don’t mind driving a bit, the Newport Coast, Orange County and the City of Angels have plenty happening over the holiday weekend – not to mention the beaches!

If you have never attended The Taste hosted by the L.A. Times, here’s a chance to enjoy some of the finest cuisine and drinks available in all of Southern California. Starting Friday, August 29 and running through Sunday, August 31, experience a food and wine festival promoters bill as “authentically L.A.” Los Angeles’ best chefs invite you to enjoy themed meals like, “Field to Fork,” “Dinner with a Twist,” “Sunday Brunch,” and “Flavors of L.A.” (No smog jokes, please.) Tickets are available on the website, starting at $100 and up for adults, with added discounts for L.A. Times subscribers. [Read more…]

Medical Fraud Causing Malpractice

Medical malpracticeAn elaborate workers compensation fraud ring that put several Southern California doctors at the center of the controversy ended with indictments against some of the doctors.  The multi-million dollar fraud ring is claimed to have injured patients when doctors allegedly “put profits over patients,” even to the point of endangering the life of an infant. In an odd twist, the facts of the ring were revealed after a 6-month old ingested cream that had been prescribed by one of the indicted doctors. The infant later died from ingesting, according to the coroner on the case, “high levels of a pain reliever, cough suppressant, and antidepressant” that the mother had apparently been prescribed. The investigation into the baby’s death resulted in involuntary manslaughter charges in addition to fraud charges being brought against the doctors.

Although the mother is not being charged, the underlying issues highlight the issues of betrayal of trust and confidence we place in our medical professionals.

The case is an egregious example of the way that medical malpractice and personal injury resulting from negligent medical care can occur. So often, patients truly are at the mercy of the doctors who may have other, more personal, concerns than patient interests. When someone makes an appointment to seek medical treatment, the patient allows the doctor to guide diagnosis and treatment. [Read more…]

Comedian Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart after Car Accident

Walmart storeThe popular comedian and actor, Tracy Morgan, best known for his starring role in NBC’s “30Rock” decided to sue the Wal-Mart driver involved in the car accident that badly injured him and others this year.

The allegations of Mr. Morgan’s injury include a head-on collision with a Wal-Mart company semi-truck that crossed the median in the early hours of June 7, 2014. The vehicle crash left Mr. Morgan in the intensive care unit of the hospital with broken ribs, a broken nose, and a broken leg. The crash also resulted in injuries to several other passengers, and the death of one person, fellow comedian James McNair.

The fact that the semi-truck collided with a movie and television star merited a high amount of public attention. The fact that the truck was hauling for Walmart, an enormous corporate brand-name itself, created even more publicity for the case. While Mr. Morgan’s personal injuries continue to heal, there is no question that Mr. Morgan’s case will receive a great deal of attention by the court and with public outcries for compensation for his injuries.

But what if there had not been a famous person in the car accident? Would the “average Joe” be able to recover from Wal-Mart, or from the driver personally, if that were the scenario? [Read more…]

Tesla Model S Vehicle Catches Fire – Again.

Tesla S safety Electric car manufacturer Tesla made news recently regarding the safety of its vehicles following the death of a Los Angeles, California man fleeing the police. Apparently the man fled the police by stealing a Tesla Model S from the west L.A. service center. Seven other people were said to be injured when the man ran the luxury car into other vehicles driving on La Brea Avenue.

The Tesla Model S remained the “best-selling electric car for 2013” despite fire issues, including a couple of separate fires. Both fires were under suspicion as starting due to an overheated battery. U.S. regulators released the results of those investigations, however, and found that the battery did not cause the fires: “The U.S. regulators who reviewed the car safety required no changes aside from adding a titanium shield to strengthen the car’s battery pack.”

If you are an injured driver following a fire or other extraordinary occurrence, do you need to prove the reason for the occurrence in order to recover any personal injury compensation?

Generally speaking, in order to prove a defective product resulted in injury, the plaintiff (injured party) would need to prove the defect to the court. Even if U.S. regulators have found no defect in the batteries or other components the plaintiff may still gather the evidence to prove either negligence in the design, manufacture, repair, or in some other aspect of how the car’s preparation and distribution was handled.

These are highly fact-specific scenarios, and considering the technology speaking with a personal injury attorney who understands defective product lawsuits would be invaluable. We hope you do not ever become injured, but if you should, please know that the friendly staff and knowledgeable attorneys of Heiting& Irwin, Attorneys at Law are here to help you.


Photo Credit: jurvetson via Compfightcc


With each passing year it seems as if, despite the constraints of the California Workers’ Compensation system, we are able to settle many cases in the high six-figure, and at times, seven-figure range. This is in large part due to the nature of the injuries sustained by the injured worker (which are often considered catastrophic), but also to the necessity for a Medicare Set Aside.

A Medicare Set Aside (“MSA”), as used in the Workers’ Compensation system, is an allocation of a portion of a Workers’ Compensation settlement that is “set aside” to pay for future medical treatment related to the workplace injury or illness. These allocated monies must be spent before Medicare will pay for treatment related to the workplace injury or illness.

MSA’s are often required when a settlement exceeds a certain sum and, in addition, when an individual is either already entitled to Medicare, or has applied for Social Security Disability benefits, or is over a certain age.

Some companies offer evaluation services to recommend an appropriate MSA amount, and offer many benefits to the injured worker. At the (employer’s) insurance carriers’ expense, the evaluation provides a more realistic assessment of the total anticipated cost of an individual’s work-related medical expenses, projected over their “life expectancy”, or expected lifetime.

Additionally, in order for an (employer’s) insurance carrier to buy-out the injured worker’s future medical care portion of the Workers’ Compensation case, they must now pay no less, and usually significantly more than, the value of the projected MSA.

Because of the benefits offered to the injured worker, the (employer’s) insurance carrier would prefer to deal directly with the injured worker, paying them much less than full value to buy-out their “future medical”. Many times, the injured worker is very vulnerable; he or she may not be able to return to usual, customary duties due the severity of the injuries, may have run out of certain benefits, may have to care for family or loved ones, or any other stressors of daily life.

As a result, the injured worker is often anxious to settle and accept far less than full value for their cases. DON’T BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF! If you have serious or catastrophic injuries, speak to an attorney immediately. At Heiting & Irwin, we offer free consultations. You may call our office at (951) 682-6400.


The 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures that citizens’ civil cases can be heard and decided upon by a jury of their peers. It provides parties to lawsuits with the opportunity to present facts and evidence for an eventual impartial decision under applicable law(s).

However, the civil jury trial is disappearing with the advent of forced mediation, arbitration and other settlement-based procedures.

As a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), I am very familiar with one of the principal missions of this organization: to uphold and preserve the jury system for present and future litigants. Judges now are more case managers than “trial judges”. Attorneys either lack or fail to develop trial skills, due at least in part to forced participation in other alternative dispute resolution processes. Another critical issue is the cost of jury trials, not only to the litigants but also to the prospective jurors, who must sacrifice their personal time and effort to preserve this face-to-face aspect of the justice system.

ABOTA has launched a website, devoted to the principal of upholding the jury system. More information regarding history, issues, problems, and solutions can be found at www.saveourjuries.org. ABOTA’s skilled trial lawyers (plaintiff and defense civil litigators throughout the country) are intent on preserving your right to a trial by a jury. The website contains valuable information, educational materials and commentary regarding this important yet disappearing fundamental right.

Should you have any questions on your legal rights, including your right to trial by jury, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available for consult and to represent your rights. Let’s fight together to protect and preserve the civil litigation system that is the backbone of our society and one of our most fundamental rights!

Dennis R. Stout
ABOTA member since 2002