What to Do If You Are Injured From a Dog Bite

In 2017, 1 in every 72 Americans was bitten by a dog. 20% of people bitten by dogs experienced their dog bite wound become infection. Sadly, 39 people died as a result of dog bites in 2017. Injuries caused by dog bites can become very costly for the victim. Victims may have significant medical bills and be unable to work. In 2015, California accounted for more dog bite related personal injury claims than any other state.

What to Do After Being Bit By a Dog

Seek immediate medical attention if you or a loved one is bit by a dog. Make sure to keep all documentation involving the injuries and medical bills. Follow all medical recommendations and document the exact nature of your injuries and their impact. File a police report or a report with your local county health office and give a detailed description of the incident. The dog may be quarantined to ensure the dog doesn’t have rabies. Try to remember if the dog was on a leash or roaming unsupervised.

It’s also important to locate any witnesses who were present when you were bitten.

Liability

In California, the dog owner is liable for damages if the dog bite causes injuries and the victim was in a public place or lawfully present in a private place. You do not have to prove that the dog’s owner knew the dog was aggressive or was negligent in supervising their dog.

The dog owner can escape liability if the victim was trespassing, if the dog was lawfully defending its owner, or if the dog was provoked. However, if the victim is under the age of 5, the provocation defense can’t be used.

You also have the right to sue the person handling the dog when you were bit, even if the handler is not the dog’s lawful owner. You would have the burden to prove that the handler reasonably knew the dog was aggressive or had a history of biting.

If you are bitten by a dog on the owner’s property, the dog’s owner may have renters or homeowner’s insurance that may cover some or all of your expenses.

If you sustained injuries from a dog attack that were not caused by a bite, you still have the right to pursue damages, but not under California’s dog bite statute.

Damages

You can claim compensatory damages for medical bills, physical therapy, lost earning capacity, lost wages, and scarring. Additionally, you can pursue punitive damages for things like pain and suffering.

If you are uninsured or underinsured and can’t afford out of pocket medical expenses, you can obtain a medical lien. Some medical providers will agree to extend you credit for medical treatment in exchange for becoming the first party paid if you reach an out of court settlement or obtain a judgement.

In California, there is a two-year statute of limitation to pursue damages for injuries related to a dog bite. If you have been injured from a dog bite, contact Rush Injury Law for a free consultation.

Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

77% of Americans have at least one social media account. During a personal injury case, opposing attorneys can, and will, conduct backgrounds of litigants by looking through their social media profiles. In some instances, social media posts and data can be subpoenaed or admitted as evidence. Individuals have even lost personal injury cases because of social media posts.

Managing Your Social Media Accounts

Before, during, and after litigation, ensure that your social media accounts are respectable and mature. Also use common sense. If you are suing for a personal injury and claiming physical injuries, posting material of you engaging in activities like skiing or working out is unwise. Likewise, sharing images of you dancing at a bar may be damaging if you are claiming emotional distress.

Social media content can be used by opposing counsel to attack your reputation. Videos, posts, or pictures of you engaging in reckless or illegal activities can give opposing attorneys evidence that you behave in a careless or negligent manner.

Social Media Accounts as Evidence

Several court cases have allowed social media accounts to be subpoenaed and admitted as evidence in civil cases.  In California, publicly posted material like Facebook posts can to be subpoenaed in a civil lawsuit.

In Mailhot v Home Depot U.S.A., the Central District Court of California allowed the defendant to subpoena particularized requests. The Defendant could obtain all social media communications between the Plaintiff and their co-workers that discussed the lawsuit. The Defendant was not afforded the right to access the Plaintiff’s entire social media accounts.

Additionally, California has also held that social media accounts that are publicly viewable can be admitted as evidence in civil cases.

As social media becomes more widely used, attorneys are more frequently requesting account information to help prosecute and defend personal injury cases.

Defamation and Social Media

California law also allows individuals to sue for libel and slander for defamatory comments and posts on social media accounts.

Although free speech protections allow you to freely express your opinions on social media, you can’t make knowingly false and defamatory comments online. While leaving an opinion on a website like Yelp sharing a negative experience at a restaurant is lawful, posting knowingly false information on a social networking site affords the victim the right to pursue legal damages.

The standards for libel and slander in California state that defamation has five elements, including that the statement must be published as a fact, that the statement is false, the statement is not privileged information, the statement reasonably causes special damages, and the person who published the statement was at least negligent. In certain instances, a plaintiff doesn’t need to show that the statement resulted in special damages to pursue a defamation claim.

If someone publicly posts a defamatory statement involving you on social media, the action can be considered defamation.

The popularity of social media impacts all phases of litigation and can create a claim for personal injuries. If you have questions about whether your social media accounts are protected, or are a victim of online defamation, contact Rush Injury Law.

What to Do if You Are Injured from a Recalled Product

Product recalls are common, and many times can result in serious illness and injuries by impacted consumers. The majority of recalls occur after an individual has already been injured by the product, and consumers retain the right to seek damages even if they are injured after a product recall is announced.

Product Recalls

The four most common product recalls are sporting goods, home fixtures and furnishings, personal use items (jewelry, clothing, electric razors, etc.) and children’s toys and products. Products are recalled due to safety concerns to protect consumers and limit claims of negligence against companies.

What is especially difficult about product recalls is that it is hard to quickly inform all impacted consumers. 18 of the 68 children’s products recalled in 2015 were nursery items that caused choking and strangulation hazards, making children product defects especially dangerous. 66% of Americans in 2016 responded that they believe a recalled product resulted in illness or injury.

Product recalls can also include food products, and 456 food items and products were recalled in 2017 for health concerns. SIx different government agencies in the United States can issue product recalls. Additionally, manufacturers and companies can voluntarily recall their products.

How to Check for Product Recalls

Consumers can find a comprehensive and updated list of product recalls on Recalls.gov. The website lists all recalls issued through six different government agencies, covering consumer products, boats, cars, food, medicine, cosmetics, and environmental products.

What to Do If You Were Injured by a Recalled Product

If you have a product or item that has been recalled, don’t use it. Some products like microwaves can easily be unplugged and set aside, but in the case of installed items, it may be impossible to remove the product. In such instances, mitigate the risks as much as possible. If a food item is recalled after you ate it, monitor your health for several days. Many illnesses related to recalled for items may take several days to become noticeable. Check to see what illnesses are related to the food item and ask your doctor how long it would take for symptoms to present.

If you still have the products packing and label, make sure to keep it. Likewise, keep any receipts you may have for the product. Document any potential injuries you suffered and keep itemized bills that are related to injuries you suffered.

Many food related recalls occur because of health risks that can cause illness, so make sure to immediately see your doctor if you become ill from a food product. Document your diagnosis.

Manufactures and governmental agencies issue different types of recalls. Sometimes a part of the product needs replaced, and in other instances the product needs replaced.

Beyond documenting the injury, report the defect to the product manufacturer. If you were injured or became ill after a recall was announced, you still have the legal right to recoup damages. Many product recalls fail to reach all impacted consumers, and many times injuries occur after recalls because consumers are not aware that the product was recalled.

If you want legal advice on a product recall related injury, contact Rush Injury Firm today for a free consultation.

What To Do If You Are Injured at Work

Between 1992 and 2011, the most common months for workplace fatalities were July and August. 11,168 workplace fatalities occurred during July, and 11,155 fatalities occurred during August, making the summer months more dangerous for workers. Increased temperatures and more outdoor work help contribute to the spike in work-related fatalities during the summer. In 2016, 21.1% of all work-related fatalities occurred in the construction field. Construction work is far more common during the summer months, and hot temperatures can lead to complications such as severe dehydration.

Work Related Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers an injury work-related if “an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment.”

It is important to know that a work-related injury includes an event or accident that aggravated a pre-existing condition and doesn’t have to be a new injury.

Workplace related injuries can also occur if you work from home. If you are doing any paid work-related activities at home and suffer an injury related to your job, your injury is considered work-related. For example, if you drop a box of work documents and injure your foot, the injury is work-related. If the injury is related to a non-work function or your home environment, such as an injury caused by faulty electrical wiring, your injury would not be considered work-related.

Work-related injuries include a single event that caused the injury, as well as injuries caused by long-term or continuous exposure to certain activities or conditions.

How to Address a Work-Related Injury

If you are injured at work, immediately report the event to your supervisor. Seek appropriate medical treatment. Keep in mind that it is illegal for your employer to fire you for being injured at work or for filing a workers compensation claim. In California, the employer is responsible for providing you with a worker’s compensation claim form within one working day of your injury.

Document your injury with your doctor and follow the treatment recommendations. Some employers may direct you to see a specific doctor or medical practice.

You should consider filing a workers compensation claim. Part-time and seasonal employees typically qualify for workers compensation. In California, non-citizens may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. While independent contractors, in most cases, are not entitled to workers compensation benefits, employers commonly misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers compensation and payroll taxes. If your employer tells you that you are not covered because you are an independent contractor, review the guidelines of your position to ensure that you meet the definition of an independent contractor.

Workers compensation claims may not always cover all of your losses. The main benefits of workers compensation include medical expenses, temporary and permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits.

Accepting workers compensation does not nullify your right to pursue damages or other disability benefits. If you have been injured on the job, contact Rush Injury Law for a free consultation.

How Should I Handle an Injury Caused by a Drunk Driver?

With summer in full swing, plenty of people across the country are hitting the open road. Traveling, vacations and outdoor events are common throughout the summer. More celebrations and more traveling inevitably lead to more drunk drivers out on the road. Independence Day is the deadliest day of the year and has the more auto-related fatalities than any other day. August and July have the highest auto-related fatalities and are two of the deadliest months out of the year for traffic fatalities and injuries.

32% of all auto-related fatalities are alcohol-related, and over 50% of car accidents are caused by intoxication and impaired drivers.

The injuries suffered from a car accident can be not only costly but debilitating. Hospital bills can accrue quickly, and injuries may force you to take significant time off from work.

What Should You Do If You’re Injured by a Drunk Driver?

Make sure you keep records and documentation of the injuries. You want to keep copies of hospital bills and insurance claims. When you report the accident to your auto insurance company, make sure you cooperate with law enforcement if the drunk driver is prosecuted. You may also be eligible for victim’s compensation.

When the accident first occurs, call and report the incident to the police immediately. Try to remember as many details about the accident as possible. If the driver had any alcohol in their system and was under the age of 21, or if the driver’s blood alcohol level was above .08, California law dictates that they were legally intoxicated. Drivers are also considered to be intoxicated under California law if they were under the influence of prescription drugs or illegal narcotics.

How Are You Protected by the Law? 

California law allows you to sue the intoxicated driver for injuries and damages you suffered from an auto accident. You can file a civil lawsuit for compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include hospital bills, property damage, lost wages, and incurred losses. California Civ. Code, § 3294 allows individuals to sue for punitive damages when the tortfeasor is “guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.” Parties in California have successfully received judgments for punitive damages for injuries caused by drunk and intoxicated drivers. 

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the offending party and demonstrate that the liable parties’ behavior is intolerable to a civilized society. Insurance companies do not cover punitive damages, and you must sue the driver personally to receive compensation for things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and future lost earnings.

If you suffer injuries that prevent you from working, or compensatory damages failed to cover all of your losses, you may want to consider filing a civil lawsuit to recover additional damages.

Getting hurt in a car accident can be stressful. Trying to navigate the insurance claims process and civil litigation procedures on your own can be tough. If you need help figuring out the next steps to take after a drunk driving accident, contact the experts at Rush Injury Law for a free consultation.