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There are the Yellow stickers – which are no longer valid as of July 1, 2011.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

Self-Driving Cars

png_base64393abaebbf084743-640x426As a child, I remember going to the World’s Fair in Vancouver (Expo 86).  One of the many pavilions held promises of future technology.  Among them, I vividly recall “video phones” where you could see the person you were talking to and self-driving cars.

Almost thirty years later, the phone tech has become a reality – we’ve had the ability to “facetime” or Skype with others for several years now – a tech that, in hindsight, was better in theory than in reality.  It’s very awkward staring at the person with whom you’re chatting over the internet.  Also, unlike a traditional phone call where you are free to go about your business, a video call holds you captive and prevents you from multitasking.

[Read more…]

WHAT IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY?

California Government Code, Section 830(a) states that a “dangerous condition” means a condition of property that creates a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial or insignificant) risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner in which it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used. Under the Government Code, the public entity must repair, remedy or correct the dangerous condition, provide safeguards against the dangerous condition, or warn of a dangerous condition. This includes property that is either owned by the public entity or controlled by the public entity.

The essential elements of public entity liability for dangerous condition of public property depends on proof that the public entity created the condition at issue; had actual or constructive notice of its condition; and that the property was being used with due care in a reasonably foreseeable manner.

What is and is not a dangerous condition is a very fact-specific determination, focusing upon the “when used with due care in a reasonably foreseeable manner”. If it can be shown that the property is safe when used with due care and that a risk of harm is created only when the foreseeable user(s) fails to exercise due care, then such property is not “dangerous” within the definition of “dangerous condition” of public property.

Needless to say, traversing the Government Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, and all of the defenses and immunities available to the public entity can be difficult and deceptive. What is clear is that an injured party (plaintiff) is entitled to recover all damages legally caused by the dangerous condition of public property, assuming the plaintiff meets his burden of proving the damages that have flowed from the public entity’s negligence. Once again, the elements of damages, proof of damages, defenses and immunities are familiar issues with the litigation attorneys at Heiting & Irwin.

If you have a claim against a governmental entity for dangerous condition of property or any other form of claim for injuries and damages arising out of the negligent act of an individual or employee, do not delay, and seek an immediate consultation with the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin.

YES, YOU DO HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

Doctor Holding Up His Hand

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

Well, actually, you have rights (plural) to your medical records. Where you live, or where you have treated, can have an impact on what your rights actually are.

Most people have heard of “HIPAA” (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which is a federal law (from the United States level of government) designed to help you get easier access to your own records, and make it harder for others to access your records.

In addition to this and other types of federal laws, many states give you the right to access your records, or get copies of your records sent to you or a doctor of your choosing, and may even set deadlines for these requests to be completed.

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”.

As stated above, 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.

WHEN TO RETAIN A WORKERS COMPENSATION ATTORNEY

BY:   ROBIN STEELE, PARALEGAL TO RICHARD H. IRWIN, ESQ.

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury and are wondering whether to hire a Workers’ Compensation attorney, the answer depends on the severity of your injury and the overall complexity of your case. The moment any complexity is introduced into your case is the moment you should think about hiring an attorney. For example, if your medical issues have prevented you from returning to your job or performing any type of work, and you fail to receive the benefits to which you are entitled promptly or at all, it may be time to hire a lawyer.

Regardless of the circumstances of your Workers’ Compensation claim, you are entitled to retain the services of an attorney. If your injuries are such that your life will be permanently altered, either because of permanent bodily impairment or a change in your ability to work, a Workers’ Compensation lawyer will be able to advocate on your behalf to ensure that you receive the medical care and Workers’ Compensation benefits you are entitled to.

A local and experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney can assist you in selecting the appropriate work injury doctor, negotiate with the insurance carrier and represent you at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Most Workers’ Compensation cases settle before trial, and an experienced work injury attorney can assist in navigating a settlement to your best advantage. If your case goes go to trial, you are going to want a Workers’ Compensation attorney familiar with that court with years of Workers’ Compensation trial experience. Representing yourself is not recommended unless you have years of Workers’ Compensation experience and knowledge.

A reputable and local Workers’ Compensation lawyer will be familiar with your regional Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and their judges. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is the court where your Workers’ Compensation case will be heard. The workers’ compensation system may have been intended to provide prompt and fair compensation for injured workers, but it now appears to work mostly to the benefit of employers and insurers. Hiring a seasoned attorney will go a long way toward assisting you in navigating your claim and advising you of your rights and entitlement to benefits.

Better yet, hire a Workers’ Compensation attorney who has been certified by the State Bar of California as a Certified Specialist in his/her field. This signifies that he/she has not only passed a comprehensive examination prepared by the State, but has also met or exceeded certain performance and experience requirements that entitle him/her to be a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation law.

If you have any doubt about your ability to handle your Workers’ Compensation claim yourself, don’t hesitate to call a Workers’ Compensation attorney for a free consultation.

Airbags: Technology reducing injury and saving lives

17ike-rav4-ng-srs-airbags-940x529Fatality rates from car accidents have been dropping every year and it’s fairly common for many of the most popular vehicles to earn top safety ratings from the federal government’s crash test program.

Airbags are a big part of this trend.  Frontal airbags have been a federal requirement since the 1999 model year. Side airbags, which are not federally mandated, were standard on 90.3% of 2013 vehicles, according to the IIHS.  Side impact airbags are designed to protect the head and torso in side impact collisions.

In frontal crashes, frontal airbags reduce driver fatalities by 29% and fatalities of front-seat passengers age 13 and older by 32 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Most new cars today come with a plethora of airbags: frontal airbags, side torso airbags and side curtain airbags. Some vehicles even have rear-seat airbags. [Read more…]