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Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Why Our Playgrounds Have Not Become Safer

- admin2

The sun is almost always shining here in Southern California, which is why our playgrounds are amongst the busiest in the country. Playgrounds should be a safe place where our children can work off some much needed energy, interact with other kids, and explore new ideas and equipment. Unfortunately, playgrounds are not always the safest place to take your child. 

Checking in on the Statistics 

Every year in the United States alone, more than 200,000 children are taken to the emergency room because of a playground-related injury, and these injuries tend to go beyond a scrape or a bruise. 

  • Nearly 45% of playground-related injuries involve internal injuries, severe fractures, concussions, dislocations and/or amputations.
  • Close to 75% of non-fatal injuries involving playground equipment occur on public playgrounds (such as schools and daycare centers).
  • Children between the ages of five and nine have higher rates of needing to visit the emergency room for playground-related injuries, with the majority of injuries happening at school.

Over 20 years ago the cost of playground-related injuries for children who were 14 and younger was $1.2 billion per year. Given that the number of injuries have not substantially decreased since that time, it is easy to assume that the costs are the same as that number if not even higher.

The Importance of Supervision

Lack of adequate supervision is a leading cause for many of the injuries sustained on the playground today. When parents or guardians are glued to their smartphones, engrossed in conversation or are simply not present when their children are playing, they are being negligent by not observing and supervising the children in their care. 

Young children, especially between the ages of five to nine, have a higher rate of visiting the ER for playground-related injuries. They are often unaware of their own physical limitations, and do not have the experience necessary to know that they are moving too quickly or are climbing too high.

Parents, guardians and caretakers must be vigilant in ensuring that they take reasonable steps to guarantee a child’s safety when on the playground.

If your child has been injured on the playground due to lack of supervision or the poor maintenance and design of playground equipment, at the Cifarelli Law Firm our attorneys are here for you. Our law firm works to defend the rights of children and we will work tirelessly to protect yours. Call us today to arrange for a consultation at (949) 502-8600.

FAQs About Wrongful Death of a Child Claims

- Thomas Cifarelli

The unexpected passing of anyone is painful, but the death of a child can be especially harrowing. Parents are often left with many questions, and here we will try to cover the most common legal questions in this quick FAQ.

Are Parents Able to Sue for the Wrongful Death of a Child?

In the state of California, parents are entitled to bring a wrongful death action when they are able to show that the child has died as a result of the wrongful conduct of another individual or a corporation.

Is There A Time Constraint On When A Wrongful Death Claim Can Be Filed?

California law states that any wrongful death action must be brought within a year from the day the child passed away. If the case is not brought within that time, then the rights of the parents are lost. 

If you are going to bring a survival action (which we will touch upon in a moment), then the suit must be brought within a year of the date of the actual incident, or within six months from the date of death (whichever is longer) 

If you are making claims against public entities (such as the state of California or the city of Los Angeles), you only have six months to file from the child’s date of death.

What Type of Misconduct Must Have Occurred to File a Wrongful Death Case?

The parents of the child may file a wrongful death case if:

  1. The death is the result of negligence
  2. The death is the result of intentional wrongful conduct

There are a number of scenarios from which you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Vehicular actions, toxic exposure, defective products and fatal falls are all common for children, but other scenarios can include accidental or intentional killing by weapons, defective roadway signs, and misprescription of drugs. 

If the Child Survived for awhile after the Event, Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

As mentioned earlier, this is what is referred to as “survival actions”. This is different from a wrongful death action because the estate is only able to recover the economic losses incurred by the descendent from when the incident occurred and their time of death. The estate is still, however, allowed to recover punitive damages.

Losing a child for any reason is incredibly painful, but losing one because of the negligence or the wrongful conduct of another individual or institution is excruciating. At the Cifarelli Law Firm, we are devoted to protecting the rights of those who need it the most – our children. Our attorneys have experience in advocating on the behalf of children who have died far too soon. 

We invite you to speak with one of our trusted Orange County child abuse and injury attorneys today at (949) 502-8600.

Snapchat Videos Show Nursing Home Abuse of Elderly Patients

- Thomas Cifarelli

The advent of social media networks has apparently sparked a new type of mistreatment in nursing homes, as incidents of mistreatment appear in videos uploaded or shared by nursing center workers. Some of the shared content apparently shows dehumanizing photos or videos of elderly residents without their consent.

The objectionable content not only violates patient privacy laws, but also provides glaring evidence of nursing home abuse that can be used in a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties.

Nursing Home Abuse Photos on Snapchat

Snapchat is a social media service that displays shared content briefly before vanishing without any lasting record. The photos and videos discovered on Snapchat have shown elderly patients in partial or complete undress.

In one case, a nursing assistant sent a Snapchat video of a patient laughing and singing while seated on a portable toilet, with her pants below her knees. Another video recorded by a nursing home employee in one nursing center showed an employee lightly slapping the face of an elderly patient with a nylon strap as the patient begged “Don’t! Don’t!”

Types of Nursing Home Abuse 

Nursing home abuse can take many forms such as: 

  • Sexual assault or abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Maltreatment by failing to provide adequate care or sedating the patient with anti-psychotic drugs
  • Posting embarrassing photos of patients may also be considered a type of elderly mistreatment in these homes and centers that have the legal duty to take care of their patients

Signs of Abuse 

A loved one in a nursing home may not always report any abuse or mistreatment, but it is possible to detect abuse which may manifest through: 

  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Bedsores
  • Burns
  • Recent wounds or fractures
  • Behavioral changes
  • Poor hygiene

If a loved one appears to be suffering from mistreatment or negligent care in a nursing home, it’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can examine the situation and pursue aggressive legal action against all responsible parties which may include:

  • Nursing home corporations
  • Parent companies
  • Third party staffing companies
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Vendors

In the state of California, The Cifarelli Law Firm, LLP has helped families of elderly patients recover compensation for nursing home abuse. Our attorneys can handle all administrative aspects of your case so you can focus on moving on from the sad experience of a loved one’s injury. Call us today at (949) 502-8600 and learn how we can help.

Man Dies in Drowning Accident at Actress’s Beverly Hills Home

- Thomas Cifarelli

Actress Demi Moore returned from a foreign trip to learn that a drowning accident had happened at her home while she was away.

Police said that a 21-year old guest of the actress’s assistant was pronounced dead after he was pulled out of the pool where he had been for an estimated 10 to 15 minutes. He reportedly slipped and fell into the pool but did not know how to swim.

A potential lawsuit that can arise from this type of drowning accident may be pursued against a homeowner depending on evidence of lack of safety measures at the site of the accident.

Drowning Accident Injury 

Drowning accidents are a leading cause of injury-related death in California and particularly in Orange County, where there are many of bodies of water — natural and artificial. Based on the latest Orange County Fire Authority records, a drowning accident happens every 9 days in Orange County, usually in the summer months. 

Young children are at a serious risk of drowning because a child typically views water as playtime. Older people aged 50 and above are also at risk due to physical fitness issues. 

People involved in drowning or near-drowning accidents often experience very serious injuries, often for the rest of their lives, such as: 

  • Brain damage
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Learning disabilities
  • Coma
  • Paralysis
  • Lifetime problems with cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular system

Claiming Compensation for Drowning Accident

Drownings are a preventable – responsible parties need to ensure that they have taken the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of persons in a pool or public lake or beach.

If someone you love has been injured in a drowning accident, ask your personal injury attorney about claiming compensation. An experienced attorney can assess your situation, identify the party/parties responsible for the harm, and pursue legal action against them in order to obtain the amount of compensation that you legally deserve.

Representing Clients throughout California

In California, the Cifarelli Law Firm, LLP has years of experience in drowning accidents. We handle a wide range of drowning accident cases such as lifeguard negligence, pool accidents at resorts, amusement and water parks, hotels, and public lakes and beaches. We also help families recover compensation after a devastating drowning tragedy resulting in deaths of their loved ones.

We invite you to call us today at (949) 502-8600 to speak to an attorney about your situation.

Potential Burn Injury Arising from Recalled Home Equipment

- Thomas Cifarelli

A giant retailer of home improvement goods in the United States recently admitted that it continued to sell products even after they were recalled for various faults, including those which could cause burn injury.

The products include specific brands of: 

  • Garage door openers
  • Electric welding torches
  • Electric blower vacuums
  • Electric ranges with defective burners
  • Emergency light fixtures

If you recently purchased electronic products for your home, we recommend that you be aware of online news stories on the topic, and for announcements specific items that may have the potential to cause burn injury to you and your family.

Burn Injury Statistics 

A 2014 report of the American Burn Association showed that an estimated 486,000 burn injuries are being treated every year at burn centers all over the U.S. It also reported that a majority of burn injuries were sustained at home. Other places where they are most likely to be sustained are at work, on the street or highway, and during recreational activities. 

Depending on the circumstances of an accident, you may suffer severe burns such as damaged layers of skin tissue, muscle, nerves, and permanent scarring and disfigurement. Severe burns affecting a large portion of the body can also cause psychological damage due to extreme pain and suffering, and loss of self-esteem and confidence following disfigurement.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident resulting in burns to the body, it’s important to seek all the help you can get from medical and legal professionals.

Claiming Compensation for Burn Injury 

After obtaining appropriate treatment for your injuries, you or your family should speak to your personal injury attorney who can determine the cause of your injury, the persons legally responsible for it, and the approximate value of compensation that you can claim against them. 

Compensation for burn injury can cover:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Past and future lost earnings
  • Damages for pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Damages for disfigurement 

In Southern California, the Cifarelli Law Firm, LLP is a trusted Orange County personal injury law office with over 30 years of experience in a wide range of injury cases, including burn injury. 

We have helped clients secure multi-million awards for injuries they sustained due to the negligence of other parties. Our attorneys also handle cases relating to pedestrian accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and nursing home abuse.

We invite you to call our offices at (949) 502-8600 to speak to an attorney about your situation. Initial consultations are free.

NHL Sued for Brain Injury of Former Player

- Thomas Cifarelli

The family of a former NHL player recently filed a lawsuit against the NHL for failing to keep the former player safe, and for the league’s failure to inform him of the permanent consequences of brain injury to which players like him are regularly exposed.

This lawsuit comes about a year after over 200 former NHL players filed a federal class action suit against the league for concussion-related injuries.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

The former player died early this year of an undisclosed cause. But an autopsy later showed that the player suffered from a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. This disease is linked to repeated brain trauma and is said to be a common condition affecting dozens of former NHL players.

CTE can lead to impaired judgment, depression, memory loss, and progressive dementia.

Claiming Damages for Brain Injury

The former player participated in 641 games all over the United States. He sustained at least 11 concussions during his career. And the lawsuit claims that as a result of repeated brain injury, the player experienced various symptoms such as:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Photosensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Mood and behavioral changes

The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount as damages.

Seeking Treatment and Legal Help for Brain Injury

Brain injury is not readily apparent after an accident that involves a blow to the head. The symptoms can manifest over time and often when permanent injury may have set in. If you are involved in an accident where you may have hit your head, with or without visible signs of injury, it’s best to see a medical professional for a thorough examination and if necessary, for tests to determine any injury, including brain injury.

After obtaining appropriate treatment for your injury, you or your family should talk to a personal injury attorney who can assess your situation and your legal options under the circumstances.

Based out of Los Angeles, California, the Cifarelli Law Firm, LLP has over has been serving Southern California residents for over 30 years now. We have helped clients recover the maximum value of settlement that they legally deserve in a wide range of cases such as brain injury, truck accidents, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, products liability, and nursing home abuse.

We welcome your call today at (949) 502-8600 to arrange a free initial consultation.

Study Finds Child Molestation More Prevalent in Disadvantaged Communities

- Thomas Cifarelli

A common perception when it comes to child abuse is that step children are more susceptible to being abused by their non-biological parent than a biological parent. One recent case here in California, the People v. Poletti, only added to this belief.

The step daughter of the defendant in the case accused her step father, Anthony Achilles Poletti, of child abuse and molestation from the time she was 10 years old to when she was 15 years old. These charges ranged from the possession of child pornography to rape and aggravated sexual assault in numerous forms. Poletti was convicted of 15 felonies and was only acquitted of one due to lack of evidence.

Are Step Children More Susceptible to Child Molestation? 

A lot of statistical information has been thrown around regarding the likelihood of step children or children with non-biological people living in the home being abused. But one preliminary study which was conducted by Dr. Stewart J. D’Alessio and Dr. Lisa Stolzenberg of the Department of Criminal Justice at Florida’s International University shed some light on the issue. 

D’Alessio and Stolzenberg examined data from 133 US cities, and focused on two key items: 

  • The biological statics of the children involved
  • The socioeconomic conditions of their environment 

It was found that any children who were living in disadvantaged communities were at a higher risk of molestation and abuse than those living in more affluent communities. However, it was also found that there was no evidence suggesting that a step child was at any higher risk of molestation than biological children unless they lived in a disadvantaged community. 

Know the Signs

Not every child will tell you that he or she is being molested, and children of every income level can be affected. Below are just some of the signs of which to be aware: 

  • The child is acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys, objects, etc.
  • The child has become reclusive and secretive
  • The child is angrier than before
  • The child does not want to be alone with a certain person or in a certain place

At the Cifarelli Law Firm, we make it our mission to hold the perpetrators of child abuse accountable for their heinous actions. The compensation we have been able to obtain for our young victims will never replace what was lost, but it will help pave the road to recovery.

Call us today to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your situation with a professional and compassionate Cifarelli Law attorney, at (949) 502-8600.

One Fatal Motorcycle Crash Leaves a Second Rider Injured

- Thomas Cifarelli

Yet another young life of a motorcyclist was claimed on California’s roadways in late October of 2015, while another was left injured after the crash. Anthony Terrones from Lompoc, California was riding his 2003 Honda motorcycle southbound from Highway 1 to US 101 on October 30th when he collided with a 2015 Chevrolet Impala, and was ejected from his motorcycle.

Immediately after the accident, another young motorcyclist, Jaime Jimenez approached the scene, allegedly at a high rate of speed. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Jimenez then collided with the Mr Torrones. He lost control and spilled onto the highway, sliding into a median which separated the two highways.

Jimenez suffered moderate injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Is Lane Splitting to Blame?

Lane splitting is the practice of allowing bicyclists and motorcyclists to travel between vehicles on roadways to improve the flow of traffic and to increase a rider’s safety. The University of California at Berkeley published a report in the spring of 2015 which concluded that: 

  • Motorcyclists who practiced lane splitting are “significantly less likely” to be rear ended by other motorists 
  • Motorcyclists are less likely to suffer injuries to their head or torso 
  • Motorcyclists are less likely to sustain fatal injuries in a crash

The state of California allows for lane splitting as long as it is done safely and prudently. However, drivers of other vehicles may not agree with the practice and do purposely attempt to block or impede a motorcyclist or bicyclist.

While speed may have played a role in the accident above, it is not yet clear if lane splitting had anything to do with the initial crash or the one which followed.

Understand the Laws Before You Ride

California is the only state in the United States which permits lane splitting. Despite this, many operators of vehicles continue to try and enforce their own beliefs on what is and is not acceptable on the road, and dangerously attempt to block a rider’s attempt to share their lane. This can lead to unfortunate, and sometimes dire, situations on the road.

Motorcyclists and operators of vehicles should not feel threatened when on the road, which is why the Cifarelli law firm has held numerous negligent riders and drivers accountable for their unwise decisions and dangerous actions.

If you have been involved in an accident as either a motorcyclist or a driver of another vehicle, you may be entitled to further compensation than what an insurance company is willing to offer. 

We invite you to call us at the Cifarelli law firm today at (949) 502-8600 to discuss your personal injury case.

Prosecutors Not Charging Caitlyn Jenner in February Car Accident

- Thomas Cifarelli

In late September, California prosecutors announced that they would not be charging Caitlyn Jenner for her involvement in a fatal multi-vehicle wreck earlier this year.

Jenner could have faced misdemeanor manslaughter charges in connection with the February 2015 accident. Authorities were investigating the accident, which claimed the life of Kim Howe, 69, who died when her car was rear-ended and pushed into oncoming traffic on a busy California motorway.

According to authorities, the decision to not charge Jenner in the automobile accident came down to several mitigating factors, specifically the fact that, at the time of the accident, Jenner was not driving in a reckless or negligent manner, nor was she traveling at an excessive speed.

After the accident occurred, Jenner remained at the scene and was said to have cooperated fully with authorities.

Additionally, prosecutors supported the decision to not charge Jenner, indicating that, despite the tragic loss that came as a result of the accident, traffic accidents are not always criminal matters.

However, Jenner’s legal woes in the aftermath of the accident are over. Earlier this year, the stepchildren of Howe filed a civil suit in California courts, alleging that Jenner’s negligence played a prominent role in the fatal wreck.

If You’ve Been Involved in an Auto Accident 

When auto accidents occur, the first step is often the most important – gathering information for all involved.

For many people who have just experienced a car accident, this can be the most difficult part, and understandably so. The moments following a car accident are filled with shock, panic and adrenaline, and filling in the blanks can be the least of your worries. 

In many cases, a quick name, phone number and auto policy number is all that is recorded at the scene of a car accident, if there are no serious injuries or property damage. However, collecting all pertinent and accurate information is of the utmost importance.

Accidents involving uninsured motorists present a new set of problems, specifically the lack of insurance coverage. If you do not have uninsured motorists coverage in your personal auto insurance plan, it can be increasingly difficult to recover any compensation, even if the uninsured was found to be at fault.

When someone is at fault in an automobile accident, the other party may pursue damages, including the cost of repair, rental car expenses, lost wages or medical expenses that were incurred as a result of the accident. If there have been medical issues, getting the appropriate documentation from your medical practitioner is key when recovering financial damages. 

If you or someone you know has recently been involved in an auto accident as a result of another’s carelessness or negligent driving, you may be entitled to compensation. 

In Los Angeles, the Cifarelli Law Firm can assist clients who have been involved in car accidents, providing the sound legal advice you need while working to recover compensation or other damages.

Our experience is what separates us from other law firms, and for more than 23 years we have successfully handled both defense and personal injury claims stemming from these types of incidents. Helping our clients is our main goal, and we only collect our legal fees if we reach a settlement in your favor.

Call us today at (949) 502-8600 to schedule your initial consultation with one of our qualified attorneys.

Spinal Cord Injury Victim Receives $21.5M in Damages

- Thomas Cifarelli

On May 23, 2013 work was being performed on the trolley tracks at the Imperial Transit Station in the East Village. Workers left the scene without providing any cautionary signage, resulting in more than 10 people tripping over the exposed rail at separate times. It was David Long who took the most serious tumble, tripping over the two-inch piece of track and hitting his head against the platform. 

That moment forever changed David’s life – he was 55 at the time. The blow to his head and the collapse to the ground resulted in fractures to the vertebrae in his neck and significant injuries to his spinal cord. Long would never walk or move his arms again. The injury resulted in a once able-bodied man becoming a quadriplegic.

Plaintiff Receives a $21.5M Settlement from Insurance Companies

Long filed a lawsuit in January 2014 which involved a lengthy list of different companies, including:

  • HMS Construction Inc.
  • Metropolitan Transit System
  • San Diego Transit Corporation
  • San Diego Trolley, Inc.
  • Asphalt and Concrete Enterprises, Inc.
  • Simon Wong Engineering
  • San Diego Association of Governments

The case settled relatively quickly in late July this year, and it is expected that the settlement will be paid in full by September 2015.

How Individuals Are Compensated for Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, falls are the second most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States, with 26.7% of spinal cord injuries being the result of trips and falls.

Unfortunately, these accidents are often much more significant than injuries to other parts of the body, which is why the damages one receives may go above and beyond incurred medical expenses and pain and suffering.

The purpose of receiving damages from a claim is to restore an injured individual to their pre-accident condition. As in Long’s case and many others who have suffered an injury to their spine, their injury is permanent and life-changing. Because of this, compensation may also include items such as: 

  • Ongoing health care
  • Rehabilitative care
  • The cost of assistive devices
  • Modifications to an injured person’s home

Spinal Cord Injuries Require Legal Guidance

If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

As tempting as it may be to settle for what an insurance company may offer you as compensation for your injuries, it is in your best interests to consult with a personal injury attorney first – in the Irvine area, the Cifarelli Law Firm is on hand to assist.

The insurance company will try to have you settle for as little as possible, but we have the experience to know exactly how much you should be compensated for so that you can enjoy as full of a recovery as possible.

We invite you to call us today to arrange for a free consultation at (949) 502-8600.