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An Introduction to Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

- SimpleSEO Group

Have you been injured due to the negligent acts of another person? If so, then you are entitled to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But, you have to act quickly if you want to recover the compensation that you deserve. There are laws that have been put in place to limit the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. These laws, which are known as statutes of limitations, vary from state to state. Here’s what you need to know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in the state of California:

The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases in California

You have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of California. This law applies to almost every type of personal injury case, including car accidents, product liability cases, slip and falls, dog bites, and truck accidents. But, when does the clock on the two-year time limit start to tick? Most of the time, the two years will begin on the day that you sustained the injuries. For instance, if you slip and fall in a retail store and break your arm, you will have two years from the date of this accident to file a personal injury claim.

However, there is an exception to this rule. Some personal injury victims do not realize that they are injured for days, weeks, or months after the accident. When this happens, the court will most likely allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date that you first discovered the injury. This means if you were in a traffic accident and did not realize that you suffered a concussion until three days later, the two year time period would not begin until the day that you realized you were hurt.

If you are filing a personal injury case outside of the regular two-year limit, be prepared to provide evidence that you did not discover your injury right away. The court will need to see proof in the form of medical records that clearly shows why you did not discover the injury immediately following the accident. Without this proof, you may not be permitted to move forward with your lawsuit.

The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases Filed Against the Government

Most personal injury cases will name an individual or a business as the defendant. But, what if the party that has caused you harm is a government agency? For instance, if you are injured in a car accident caused by poorly maintained roads, the city or county government that is responsible for these roads could be held liable for your injuries. Filing a claim against a government agency is not the same as filing a claim against an individual or a business. There are certain rules that must be closely followed, and plaintiffs do not have as much time to initiate the lawsuit, either. If you plan on filing a claim against a government entity, you will only have six months to do so.

The Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Cases in California

A medical malpractice claim is a type of personal injury case filed against a negligent healthcare provider that has caused a patient harm. Although this is a type of personal injury case, the statute of limitations is not the same as it is for other personal injury cases. Medical malpractice victims must file their lawsuits within three years from the date on which the injury occurred or within one year after the they first discovered the injury, whichever comes first. This law was established because injuries caused by medical malpractice are usually not immediately observable. It could take months or even years for the victim to find out that he has an injury, and even longer to trace the injury back to a negligent healthcare provider.

The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors

The rules are slightly different if the plaintiff in the personal injury case is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident. If a minor is injured by a negligent healthcare provider, the minor (or someone acting on behalf of the minor) has three years from the date of the incident to file a medical malpractice case. However, this law only applies to minors that are under the age of 18, but over the age of six. If a minor that is under the age of six is injured by a negligent healthcare provider, the statute of limitations is either three years from the date of the incident or before the child’s 8th birthday, whichever is later.

What if a minor is injured in a car accident, animal attack, or slip and fall? Minors have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of California. Of course, their parents or guardians may file a lawsuit for them before they turn 18. However, if no lawsuit has been filed by the time the minor turns 18, he has the opportunity to file one on his own before his 20th birthday. This rule applies to all types of personal injury cases involving minors except for medical malpractice cases.

Now that you know how long you have to file a personal injury claim in the state of California, are you ready to take the first step towards recovering the compensation that you deserve? If so, seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney at our law firm. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers.

What to Do After Being Injured in A Department Store

- SimpleSEO Group

Just as its name suggests, a slip and fall accident occurs when someone slips, falls to the ground, and injures himself. This may sound like something you would see in a funny movie or TV show, but a slip and fall accident is nothing to laugh about. Slip and fall victims often suffer serious injuries, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and broken bones.

These accidents can happen on any type of private or public property, including department stores. Customers at department stores may slip on wet floors, clutter that is blocking the walkways, torn carpeting, or uneven flooring. Many customers injure themselves before they even get into the store by tripping over potholes or cracks in the concrete parking lots. What should you do if this happens to you? Follow these steps if you’ve been injured in a department store:

Get Help

Nothing is as important as your health and safety, so this should be your first priority in the moments following a slip and fall accident. If you have been injured, do not attempt to move until help has arrived. Instead of trying to get up, call for help on your cell phone or try to yell out to those around you.

If you do not need emergency medical assistance, it’s still in your best interest to visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. The symptoms of your injury may not be immediately observable, so even if you think that you only have a minor injury, this could become much worse over time. For this reason, it’s best to see a doctor right away so that you can be sure that you’re okay.

Collect Evidence From the Scene of the Accident

Victims that do not need emergency medical assistance should focus on gathering evidence from the scene of the slip and fall accident. Use your smartphone to take pictures of the scene both up close and from a distance. Make sure that no one that comes to see if you need help moves anything from its place at the scene of the accident. For example, if you tripped over something that fell off of a shelf, try to photograph the object before it is removed by a store employee. It’s recommended that you take as many pictures as possible, even if you think that what you’re capturing is insignificant. Every detail that is included in these images can be used to prove liability later on in your personal injury case, so these pictures are important.

Make Contact With Witnesses

Did anyone see you slip and fall? Department stores are typically filled with people, so it’s very likely that another customer or an employee at the store saw what happened. If you can, approach anyone that saw you slip and fall and ask for their contact information. If you have time, you may even want to ask them what they saw so you can get a brief statement from them while their memory is still fresh.

There may be witnesses that rush to the scene after you have fallen. These witnesses may not have seen you fall, but they can still add value to your case if they are able to talk about the conditions of the store or the hazard that caused your fall. Ask for their contact information as well so your attorney can reach out to them if their testimony is needed.

File A Report With the Department Store

You should never leave a department store after a fall without letting someone that works at the store know about what happened. Most of the time, an employee will rush to your side after you fall, but if this doesn’t happen, make sure that you find someone to talk to before you go.

The department store will probably ask you to provide them with detailed information so they can fill out an official report. Be very careful when providing this information. You should never admit that you were partly or totally to blame for the accident and don’t comment on any symptoms that you are experiencing, either. Stick to the facts—describe what caused you to slip, where it happened, and how you fell.

Listen carefully to what the employee is saying as she fills out the report. Did she mention that she knew that the store should have fixed the hazard that caused your fall? Did she say that another customer fell in the same place just last week? This information can be used to help you recover compensation in your case, so make a mental note and don’t forget to tell your attorney about what was said.

If possible, get a copy of the report once the employee has finished filling it out. Then, ask for the employee’s name so you know who you spoke with.

Contact An Attorney

The next item on your to-do list should be getting in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. This must be done as soon as possible—especially for slip and fall cases that occur in public places. Why? Your attorney will need to contact the department store right away to request any surveillance footage that may have captured the accident. But, surveillance footage is often destroyed after just a few days, which means time is of the essence. This is just one of the many reasons why you will need a personal injury attorney on your case quickly.

Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident at a department store? If so, seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers. We will work tirelessly to help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Identifying The Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

- SimpleSEO Group

Currently, over 3 million adults live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities here in the U.S. Sadly, it’s estimated that about 10% of these adults will experience some form of abuse or neglect while in one of these nursing home or long-term care facilities. Many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect go unreported because the victim is too scared or unable to get help. Therefore, it’s often the family members of the victim who spot the signs of abuse or neglect and alert the authorities. What should you look for if you want to protect your loved one? Here are some of the warning signs of abuse and neglect:

Physical Changes

A nursing home resident who is being abused or neglect may have noticeable physical changes as a result of the mistreatment. Residents who are neglected may start to lose a lot of weight or look like they have not been bathed as often as they should be. Their hair may not be brushed and they may be wearing the same clothes that they were in the last time that you saw them. Bed sores are often common among residents who are being neglected by the facility’s staff. If left untreated, bed sores can get worse over time and cause other health complications.

Residents who are physically abused may have unexplained bruises or scratches somewhere on their body. If you notice that your loved one is wearing bandages, ask her how she hurt herself. Some victims may try to cover for their abuser out of fear, so they may start to get nervous when you mention the bandages.

In severe cases of abuse, victims can also suffer broken or fractured bones. These physical injuries may be anywhere on the victim’s body, but you should pay close attention to the wrists and ankles. If there is bruising on these areas of the victim’s body, this could indicate that she is being physically restrained against her will, which is a form of abuse.

A victim that is sexually abused will most likely have bruising on the lower half of her body. She may also complain of pain or bleeding, and may have blood stains on her undergarments.

Emotional and Behavioral Changes

Being abused or neglected can be traumatizing for a victim, so you should also be on the lookout for emotional and behavioral changes that could indicate the victim is being mistreated. Everyone has a unique way of processing trauma, so any change in a loved one’s behavior should raise a red flag. It’s common for victims of abuse or neglect to isolate themselves. If you notice that your loved one is no longer friendly with other residents in the facility or does not want to participate in any activities, this is a sign of mistreatment. As you visit with your loved one, watch how she responds when nursing home employees enter the room. If she immediately clams up and seems nervous, this is a sign that she does not trust them or is scared of them.

Victims that have been abused or neglected can also have severe mood swings. Victims can experience a wide range of feelings, including sadness, embarrassment, anxiety, and anger. If you start to notice any of these emotional or behavioral changes, don’t be afraid to ask your loved one about what’s going on.

Other Signs of Abuse or Neglect

Nursing home residents may experience health issues as a result of their age. But, if they start to develop health problems that could be caused by poor living conditions, this indicates that they may be victims of abuse or neglect. For instance, if your loved one is getting frequent infections or is experiencing symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration, this is a sign that she is being abused or neglected. Nursing home residents who are being neglected may experience health complications if they have not been given their medications. For example, a resident with diabetes may experience a number of different side effects if her caretaker fails to give her insulin shots. If your loved one develops a health problem while in a nursing home, make sure that you speak with the doctor that is treating her to determine what caused the condition. If you believe that abuse or neglect played a role in your loved one’s health condition, you will need to speak to an attorney right away.

You should also be on the lookout for signs of financial abuse, which are very different than signs of other forms of abuse or neglect. Financial abuse occurs when an individual improperly or illegally uses a nursing home resident’s money or assets. For example, a nursing home employee can financially abuse a resident by stealing her checks or credit card information.

To spot this type of abuse, you will need to review your loved one’s financial information on a regular basis. Do you see any unexplained transfers or withdrawals of money? This could indicate that someone is financially abusing your loved one. You should also review your loved one’s credit card statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. Finally, make sure that none of your loved one’s valuables are missing from her room. If anything looks amiss, address the issue immediately before the problem becomes worse.

Do you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home? If so, there’s no time to waste. It’s strongly recommended that you get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn how to seek justice on behalf of your loved one. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers.

Preventing Common Summertime Accidents

- SimpleSEO Group

Everyone looks forward to having fun in the summer, but unfortunately, your summer plans could be disrupted if you or a loved one is injured in an unexpected accident. What can you to do to protect yourself and your loved ones? Follow these tips to avoid some of the most common summertime accidents:

Car Accidents

More people hit the road in the summer, and many of the drivers that you see are inexperienced teens that are out of school for the summer or tourists who are driving on unfamiliar roads. Because of this, there is usually an increase in car accidents during the summer. To avoid getting into an accident, make sure you obey traffic laws and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep your cell phone as far away from you as possible so you aren’t tempted to use it while you’re behind the wheel.

You can also avoid getting into an accident in the summer by staying off of the roads during major holidays such as Labor Day and the Fourth of July. There are more drunk drivers on the road on holidays, so it’s best to keep driving to a minimum to protect yourself.

Fireworks

People often celebrate Labor Day and Fourth of July by setting off fireworks. If you plan on lighting up the sky with fireworks, make sure that you know how to use them without hurting yourself. Keep a bucket of water nearby that can be used to soak dud fireworks and put out a fire in the event of an emergency. Never stand over a firework—even if it doesn’t seem to be taking off right away as expected.

You should never light more than one firework at a time or point the firework in someone’s direction while it is being lit. If kids are around, ask them to stand back while the adults light the fireworks and give them safety glasses that they can wear to protect their eyes. By following these tips, you can prevent most of the common injuries associated with summertime fireworks.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

More pedestrians and bicyclists head outdoors in the summer to enjoy the warm weather. Sadly, this means that there is usually an increase in the number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. If you decide to get some fresh air, make sure that you are always wearing bright colored or reflective clothing so motorists don’t have trouble seeing you. Look both ways before you cross an intersection, even if you don’t think there are any cars coming.

Distracted walking and bicycling isn’t against the law, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Pedestrians and bicyclists need to focus all of their attention on their surroundings, so put all distractions away.

Finally, never assume that you know what a driver is about to do. For example, if it is your turn to cross at an intersection and there is a car approaching, don’t assume that the driver will stop just because they have a red light. Wait for the driver to slow down to a complete stop before you begin walking or biking across the intersection.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Anyone can be injured in a swimming pool, but kids tend to suffer these injuries far more often than adults. The best way to protect kids is to keep a close eye on them even if they are not actually in the pool. Unfortunately, many adults assume that their kids will be safe if they know how to swim. If it’s a pool party, some parents make the mistake of assuming that another adult is watching their kids, when in reality the children are unsupervised. These mistakes can have tragic consequences. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Kids can also sustain brain and spinal cord damage in a swimming pool. For instance, kids can accidentally dive into the shallow end and hit their head on the bottom of the pool. Kids can also slip and fall if they are running around the slippery edges of the pool. To prevent these accidents, make sure you review basic safety tips with your kids prior to going to the pool. Identify the shallow end and deep end of the pool as soon as you arrive so your kids know which end is which.

Playground Injuries

Kids are out of school in the summer, so many parents may try to entertain them by taking them to a community playground. But unfortunately, there are hidden dangers on the playground that could lead to serious injuries. During the summer, the playground equipment can heat up to extreme temperatures if it is not in the shade. Parents should always check the temperature of playground equipment before letting their kids touch it. If they don’t, kids could sustain painful burns when their skin makes contact with the equipment.

Playground injuries can also occur when the equipment is defective or broken. Look at the equipment before allowing your child to use it to ensure it is stable and there are no visible hazards. You should also make sure that there is soft material such as mulch, sand, or woodchips on the ground. If the material isn’t soft, your child may fall off of the equipment and hurt himself when he hits the ground.

Have you been injured due to another person’s negligence? If so, it’s in your best interests to seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers.

The Dangers Of Overloaded Or Improperly Loaded Trucks

- SimpleSEO Group

Fatigue is the leading cause of commercial truck accidents in the U.S., but it’s far from the only cause. Another common cause of truck accidents is overloaded or improperly loaded cargo. How can the cargo on a truck cause accidents? Here are some of the ways:

Too Much Cargo Can Cause Problems

Companies must be very careful when loading cargo onto a truck to ensure they do not exceed weight limits established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Trucks are designed to safely carry a certain amount of weight, which should be printed on the truck’s identification plate. Therefore, if a truck is carrying too much cargo, the truck’s performance will begin to decline. Furthermore, the driver may find it difficult to safely turn or change lanes if there is too much cargo. It can also be more challenging to apply the brakes when a truck is overloaded for cargo, especially when going down a steep hill. Drivers who hit a minor bump in the road may completely lose control of their truck if it’s overloaded. In other cases, the cargo may be heavy enough to pop the tires.

Despite these potential dangers, many trucking companies continue to send trucks on the road that are well over the legal weight limits. By overloading the truck, trucking companies can ship more cargo at once to reduce operating costs. However, they also put everyone on the road in danger.

The Importance of Properly Loading Cargo

Besides the weight of the cargo, trucking companies also have to pay close attention to how the cargo is loaded onto the truck. To prevent accidents, the weight of the cargo must be evenly distributed on the back of the truck. If too much cargo is placed on one side, the driver may be unable to control the truck. Making a turn or changing lanes could cause the truck to roll onto its side, and the driver would not be able to do anything to stop it.

The Dangers of Unsecured Cargo

Once the cargo has been weighed and properly loaded onto the truck, it must be secured to prevent it from moving around during the trip. If the cargo is not secured, this can cause a number of problems. Cargo that is not secured in place can begin to shift as the truck moves, which affects the weight distribution. If enough unsecured cargo shifts to one side, the truck could roll on its side the next time the driver turns or changes lanes. In addition, shifting cargo can be rather noisy, and the sudden, unexpected noises could startle the driver and cause him to lose focus on the road.

But, that’s not all. Unsecured cargo can also fly off of the truck and land on another car, which could lead to property damage and severe injuries if the cargo is heavy enough to crash through the car’s windshield. Even if the cargo does not land on another vehicle, it will still end up sitting in the middle of the road, where it becomes a hazard to any driver that passes by it. A driver may not see the cargo until it is too late to get out of the way, or a driver may be unable to move out of the way due to heavy traffic. Running into a piece of debris can cause a significant amount of property damage and serious injuries.

Who is Liable in Truck Accidents Caused by Improperly Loaded or Overloaded Cargo?

Determining liability in a truck accident case can be challenging since there are so many parties that could be held liable. If the accident was caused by improperly loaded or overloaded cargo, the first step is finding out who was responsible for loading the cargo onto the truck.

Sometimes, cargo is loaded onto a truck by the company that is shipping it without someone from the trucking company present. In this case, the liable party would be the company that is shipping the cargo since they were the ones who loaded it onto the truck. But, if someone from the trucking company was present at the time the cargo was being loaded, then they may assume or share liability since they should have known to correct the issues.

Truck drivers and their employers can also be held liable for cargo errors. Why? A truck driver has to follow certain rules while he is on the road. One of these rules is inspecting the cargo at certain checkpoints to ensure that everything is still secure. Drivers must also check the weight of their trucks at weighing stations, and then lighten their load if they exceed their truck’s weight limit. Unfortunately, many truck drivers fail to fulfill these obligations. If a truck driver does not do as he is supposed to while on the road, he can be found liable. Whenever a truck driver is liable, the trucking company will most likely share liability because of the “respondeat superior” legal doctrine. This doctrine states that an employer is responsible for its employees’ negligent actions that occur during the course of employment.

To get to the bottom of who is liable, rely on a personal injury attorney to conduct a thorough investigation of the truck accident. Your attorney will be able to confirm that the accident was caused by a problem with the cargo, and then determine who was responsible for the error.

Have you been injured in a truck accident caused by overloaded or improperly loaded cargo? If so, don’t wait to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers.