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Top 3 Injuries Caused by Revolving Doors

Standard manual wheelchair standing in empty hospital corridor

Legend has it that the inventor of the revolving door came up with the idea because he didn’t like to hold doors open for women. In actuality, Theophilus Van Kannel just wanted to invent a door that would keep out snow and rain, and wouldn’t be blown open by the wind.

Regardless of the true nature of its origin, revolving doors today are known for their convenience and their potential to cause disabling and life-threatening injuries.

Facial trauma

Some of the most common injuries caused by revolving doors involve the face. Incidents involving revolving doors have been reported in which pedestrians suffered broken noses and fractured teeth. These injuries can occur with either motorized or manual automatic doors. During one incident, for example, a mother pushing a stroller was entering a building, and a woman was exiting the building while talking on her cellphone. The motorized, automatic door stopped just as it was supposed to because it sensed the presence of the stroller in close proximity to the door. The woman who was exiting the building smashed her face into the glass panel. The glass panel broke, and so did two of her front teeth.

A similar accident occurred in which an elderly man was entering a building while two young ladies were exiting. The women were distracted by their conversation, and had positioned themselves very close to the panel while walking. The man entering the building came in close proximity with the crush protection sensor, which responded by halting the movement of the door panels. This caused one of the ladies to walk into the door panel, breaking her nose.

Hip fractures

At least two revolving door accidents have caused hip fractures, which are known to be among the most disabling and even life-threatening types of injuries among seniors. A 91-year-old literary agent in New York City, Marianne Strong, filed a personal injury lawsuit after a revolving door caused her to be propelled out from the building. She landed on the sidewalk and broke her hip.

In 1997, former San Francisco 49ers football star Vincent Rovetti was struck by a revolving door at the San Francisco Marriott. He fell and broke his hip. During the subsequent surgery, Rovetti suffered a fatal heart attack.

Skull and brain injuries

Skull and brain injuries are among the most fatal injuries caused by revolving doors. In one incident, a 19-month-old boy had his arm caught in a narrow gap in a revolving door. Efforts to free the arm only resulted in the boy being dragged farther into the gap. By the time he was finally rescued, resuscitation efforts were futile. He was declared dead from compression injuries of the skull and brain, as well as thoracic compression.

Were you or a family member injured by a revolving door? You need a seasoned litigator who has a track record of securing maximum compensation for injured clients. In southern California, families count on Andy Ellis, an award-winning personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.

Call Ellis Injury Law at 888-981-9214 to request your free case review.

Additional resources about revolving door injuries

  1. National Institutes of Health, Traumatic asphyxia–fatal accident in an automatic revolving door, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25753384
  2. New York Post, Essex House revolving door focus of lawsuit, https://nypost.com/2013/09/29/essex-house-revolving-door-focus-of-lawsuit/

Top 3 Best-Kept Secrets in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills Street SignBeverly Hills is likely one of the best-known areas in the United States, due to its presence in movies and television. (Down and Out in Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hillbillies, anyone?)

But Beverly Hills also has a secret side, full of Southern California history. Whether you live in the Los Angeles area or are vacationing, read on to hear about the 3 best-kept secrets in Beverly Hills.

Greystone Mansion

Massive Tudor-style Greystone Mansion is historically rich and one of the most famous estates in Beverly Hills — and in Los Angeles, for that matter. When it was built, it was likely the most pricey home ever constructed in the area.

It was built for Edward Doheny, an early southern California oil baron and given to his son, Ned. But Ned encountered tragedy in the home. One winter night, both he and a friend from his boyhood, Hugh Plunkett, were found shot to death.

Although speculation on who shot the two men has been rife, the case has never been solved. Many think Ned shot Hugh. Ned almost certainly shot himself.

In the mid-1970s, Greystone Mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can roam the grounds.

It has appeared in multiple movies and television shows, including The Big Lebowski, Ghostbusters II, and The Gilmore Girls.

Rodeo Drive

Chic shops! Elegant eateries! If your idea of Southern California fun is to shop until you drop, look no further than Beverly Hills’s biggest and most expensive shopping street, Rodeo Drive. (It’s pronounced Ro-day-oh.)

Multiple walking tours will bring you here and let you look and browse the stores where the elite embrace retail therapy. Rodeo Drive is where the wealthy of Beverly Hills and media stars both go to look rich, so be prepared to ooh and aah at big price tags and a tony atmosphere.

The Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM

Once shopping has worked up an appetite, head for the Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM!

Ok, yes, you can get cupcakes in almost any town in the U.S. But can you get one that comes out of an ATM machine? You can if it’s the Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM in Beverly Hills. It’s right next to a regular (walk-in) Sprinkles Cupcakes.

It’s fun to watch the delicious cupcakes be dispensed, just like currency from a regular ATM. (No, this one doesn’t also give cash.) There are also cupcakes for dogs if you have a four-legged friend in tow.

Best of all, the ATM is available 24/7. If you get a 2 a.m. craving, stop by again.

Personal injury law firm Beverly Hills

If you’ve been harmed because of another person’s negligence in southern California, you have someone in your corner. The award-winning attorneys at Ellis Injury Law have been helping victims of personal injury for more than 25 years.

Call 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free case evaluation with a skilled personal injury lawyer Beverly Hills residents trust.

Additional Resources on Beverly Hills:

  1. The Atlas Obscura Guide to Hidden Beverly Hills. https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/beverly-hills-california
  2. Discover Los Angeles. Hidden Gems in Beverly Hills. https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/hidden-gems-beverly-hills
  3. Viator. Beverly Hills Hidden Gems Walking Tour. https://www.viator.com/tours/Los-Angeles/Beverly-Hills-Hidden-Gems-Walking-Tour/d645-5713BEYOND

5 Attributes of an Effective Expert Witness

When it comes to personal injury litigation, the success of your claim hinges largely upon the quality of your legal counsel and testifying experts. Here at Ellis Law, we have spent the past two decades achieving favorable outcomes for complex cases involving defective products, workplace injuries, negligent property maintenance, vehicle and motorcycle accidents. In the process, we have enlisted hundreds of testifying experts to provide convincing, fact-based conclusions within their field of expertise that help win our cases.

The duty of an expert witness is to provide the court an honest, impartial opinion on particular matters within his or her area of expertise that are being disputed. Oftentimes, a convincing expert opinion can lead to settlement negotiations or early resolution of the claim.

The effectiveness of this testimony depends on a number of important factors, which we have identified based on our years of courtroom experience.

Credentials

An expert witness must have top-notch academic credentials to testify on the witness stand.  They should have a terminal degree in their particular discipline along with real-world achievements that support those credentials. Credentials may include but are not limited to: leadership positions on professional committees and published research in reputable journals.

Great Communication Skills

Effective and persuasive communication with both judge and jury are critical. A solid expert will be able to gain – and sustain – the interest of the court, communicating complex medical or technical facts in such a way that makes them easy to understand yet highly credible. A good expert doesn’t just explain their findings, they make a connection with jurors that conveys trust and credibility.

Confidence

Expert witnesses must be confident in their professional findings and communicate this confidence during testimony and cross-examination. An expert who is not 100% confident about their opinion may convey this to the jury and provoke doubt.

Consistency

Consistency is often overlooked but an essential characteristic of expert testimony. An expert must give consistent opinions when preparing their initial report, during the deposition and while testifying at trial. Consistency in previous testimony and published reports are equally important, as any disparate remarks can diminish the credibility of the the expert opinion.

Preparedness & Attention to Detail

In addition to preparing a detailed written report on their professional findings, an expert will study and re-familiarize themselves with the file repeatedly in the days leading up to the trial, so they are fully prepared for any questions that may arise during cross-examination. Every detail matters in complex litigation, and a good expert will ensure that no aspect has been overlooked when testifying.

Some of the best expert witnesses have teaching backgrounds and vast experience with legal proceedings. They are able to break down complex jargon into layman’s terms. They can engage the jury and judge and have a likeable demeanor.

These are some of the most important traits we look for when selecting expert witnesses. And this rigorous vetting has helped our trial attorneys win case after case.

To schedule a private consultation with an award-winning team of Los Angeles personal injury attorneys, call Ellis Law at888-369-2446 today.

Additional Resources on Expert Witness Testimony:

  1. LegalDictionary, Expert Witness https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Expert+witnesses
  2. Cornell Law School, Expert Witness https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Expert+witnesses
  3. TheExpertInstitute, 9 Personal Qualities You Should Look for in an Expert Witness https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/9-personal-qualities-you-should-look-for-in-an-expert-witness/

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Any misconduct or negligent behavior that causes a family member’s death may be grounds for a wrongful death action in California. This type of civil litigation is designed to compensate the decedent’s family members for the various losses sustained as a direct consequence of the death.

Under California law, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by heirs or survivors of the decedent (or estate), in an effort to recoup damages, where “fault” is expressed only in terms of a monetary award. This contrasts to a criminal suit, which would seek imprisonment or another type of punishment for the accused. Wrongful death claims commonly arise from defective consumer products, medical malpractice, fatal auto accidents where drugs or distraction played a role, or other circumstances where another party’s negligence, intentional acts or careless actions caused the untimely death of a loved one.

All states have statutes that allow avenues of legal recovery for the wrongful death of a relative, but these laws also stipulate which persons are eligible to sue for damages.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in California?

According to California Code of Civil Procedure, the following persons are allowed to bring a wrongful death claim:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse, if the two were married at the time of death
  • The decedent’s surviving domestic partner, who is legally registered in California
  • The decedent’s surviving children

Only in situations where the deceased has no surviving children, partner or spouse, can a wrongful death suit be brought by the decedent’s siblings, parents or those who are entitled to the estate of the decedent by “interstate succession.”

In addition, a stepchild may pursue wrongful death damages if they can prove that they were financially dependent on the decedent, relying on them for at least 50 percent of their support. California also allows a putative spouse (a spouse of an invalid or voided marriage who believed in good faith that the marriage was legally valid) and their children to file a claim if they depended on the deceased for financial support.

Compensation for economic & non-economic damages

Claimants can seek to recover several types of monetary damages in a California wrongful death claim, including those that would compensate for the personal losses incurred as a result of the death, as well as any future harm or losses that are expected.

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The decedent’s past hospital and medical bills
  • Value of household services that would have been provided
  • Loss of future financial support
  • Loss of love, companionship, protection, assistance and moral support
  • Loss of training and guidance
  • Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations
  • Loss of the potential earnings and wages the deceased would have earned

Similar to bringing a personal injury lawsuit in California, claimants have just two years (from the date of the death) to file their claim in court. Missing this statute of limitation will jeopardize your right to seek fair compensation for the death of a loved one.

After the traumatic loss of a family member or loved one, you may feel unprepared to deal with legal matters. Here at Ellis Law, our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers are sensitive to the emotions and needs of our clients during such trying times. Our compassionate legal team will meet with you free of charge to help you determine the best course of action.

Ellis Injury Law maintains 20 office locations throughout California, and offer aggressive, results-oriented representation to all of our clients. Contact us today for a complimentary case review.

Additional Resources for “Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in CA”:

  1. Cornell Law, Wrongful Death Action https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/wrongful_death_action
  2. Judicial Council of California, 2015 Court Statistics Report http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/2015-Court-Statistics-Report.pdf
  3. com, California Wrongful Death https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/3900/3921.html

Bike Safety Tips for Kids & Parents

bicycle laneBicycling is a healthy activity for the whole family, especially young children. Southern California’s mild weather and abundant trails offer endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors on two wheels. While a fun way to travel or just explore your neighborhood, biking does come with risks. An estimated 10 percent of all bicycle accidents involve children between the ages of 6 and 10. By teaching younger kids safety guidelines early on, you can help prepare them for years to come. When young riders are armed with the proper skills and knowledge of bike safety, parents can reduce the likelihood of injuries and accidents.

The reality is that many bicycle accidents involving children happen because of rider behavior and lack of skills. It’s never too early to begin teaching your child about the rules of the road and the importance of bicycle safety and helmet use.

Before your little ones start pedaling outdoors, be sure to review these important bike safety tips.

Bike safety tips

It’s a great idea to talk with your kids about the safest places to go bike riding, whether a community park, an empty cul-de-sac, or neighborhood bicycle trails.

  • Make sure the bicycle is appropriately sized –  the handlebars and seat should be at the same height, and the seat should allow a little bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended.
  • Beginners will benefit from training wheels, while older kids can learn to use hands brakes or coaster brakes
  • Choose a quality bike helmet that will protect against head trauma/brain injury
  • A properly-fitting helmet should rest level and not tip forward or to the sides
  • Make sure the tires are inflated, the brakes work properly and the reflectors are firmly secured
  • Wear reflective or bright colors to improve visibility
  • Wear closed-toe shoes and avoid loose fitting pants that can get caught in the spokes
  • If riding with a group of people, bike in a single file, rather than side by side
  • Teach kids to use appropriate hand signals to indicate a left or right hand turn

Teaching your child the rules of the road

Before the age of 8, few kids can judge vehicle speed or have a basic understanding of how traffic works, making them vulnerable targets when riding a bicycle. By taking your child for several “training” rides, you can explain some essential rules such as:

  • Always wear a helmet when biking
  • Look right and left before turning
  • Obey all stop signs
  • Be careful around parked cars and driveways where vehicles may back out
  • Ride on the right, going in the same direction as traffic
  • Walk your bicycle across busy streets
  • No playing in the road
  • Use bike lanes instead of sidewalks whenever possible
  • Always yield to traffic signs
  • Be alert for road hazards like potholes, puddles or broken glass
  • Always ride with both hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn
  • Be home before dark – avoid riding at night

Children tend to emulate their elders, giving more reason to model safe behavior (including constant helmet use!) while biking. By teaching your kids bicycle safety and road rules, you not only help prevent crashes, but you’re encouraging an active and healthier life.

California bicycle accident lawyers

The Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers at Ellis Injury Law are dedicated to winning justice for cycling victims and their families. If you or a loved one was harmed in a bike accident, call 1-800-INJURED for a free case review. Our legal team represents clients throughout Los Angeles and offers 20 convenient office locations throughout California.

Additional Bike Safety Tips:

  1. Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, CHILD BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY TIPS https://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/download/bikeped_safety_tips.pdf
  2. Safe Kids Worldwide, Bike Safety Tips https://www.safekids.org/tip/bike-safety-tips
  3. NHTSA, Kids and Bicycle Safety https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/KidsandBikeSafetyWeb/index.htm
  4. KidsHealth.org, Bike Safety http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bike-safety.html

Study Finds Definite Link Between Brain Trauma and Football

kids football game tackleA recent study has found what one newspaper terms an “incontrovertible link” between playing football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive deterioration of the brain. CTE can cause depression, undue aggression, memory loss, dementia, and suicidal thoughts.

CTE: 87% of players overall and 99% of NFL players show signs

Many football players are subject to repeated concussions as part of playing the sport. While the link between these and brain deterioration has increasingly been argued in recent decades, the National Football League (NFL) for many years denied a clear link. This study, conducted by Boston University researchers, is an addition to the growing body of evidence indicating that concussions and other jarring of the brain common in football is tied to CTE.

The brains of 87% of the 202 players studied overall showed signs of CTE, which can only be determined via postmortem brain examination. Among NFL players, 99% — or 110 out of 111 — had CTE.

It is estimated that linemen receive roughly 15,000 hits over a 10-year period that can cause the brain to be jarred in a manner that leads to CTE.

Despite the very high level of CTE in NFL players, however, one of the most notable findings of the study was that roughly 25% of players who had only played in high school displayed signs of CTE. They were as young as 23. That implies that the signs can start very early, and several years can be enough to cause brain tissue deterioration.

An end to high school football?

The finding has caused observers to wonder if high school football should be actively discouraged. While helmets can protect against some injuries, they do not protect against all concussions, repeated concussions, or intracranial brain movement caused by repeated hits to the head and or body. All of these can cause CTE.

The study’s authors noted that further study is needed. While it increasingly appears that football and CTE are linked, there may also be factors such as genetic predisposition that play a role.

Attorneys experienced in sports and traumatic brain injury

Do you or a loved one have symptoms related to CTE? The Ellis Law Firm can help. We are experienced in the issues related to sports and traumatic brain injury.

The causes and liabilities behind these injuries can be complex, but an experienced sports brain trauma lawyer can help.

Call today for a complimentary appointment with a seasoned Southern California personal injury attorney, at 1-800-INJURED.

Additional “football and brain trauma” resources:

  1. Picard, Andre. “CTE and Violent Sports: It’s Time To Rethink Our Approach.” The Globe and Mail. July 25, 2017. https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/its-time-to-rethink-our-approach-to-violent-sports-like-football-that-can-lead-to-brain-injury/article35801195/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&
  2. Van Groningen, Nicole. “All But One of 111 Former Pro Football Players Had Brain Injury CTE in Study.” ABC News. July 25, 2017. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/111-pro-football-players-brain-injury-cte-study/story?id=48838098

Summer Water Safety: 10 Silent Signs of Drowning

Whether in a pool or the ocean, swimming is one of the most treasured parts of summertime in California. But did you know that drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children under the age of 10? Even more alarming is the fact that some 90 percent of these drownings occur while the child is in the presence of an adult. How can these statistics be true? If a child was drowning, wouldn’t it be obvious to the parents, the babysitter or the lifeguard?

The reality is that we’ve grown accustomed to a certain image of what drowning looks and sounds like. A lot of screaming, thrashing in the water and desperate gasps for air. The truth is that the signs of drowning are much subtler than the movies depict. They are so subtle that even a momentary lapse of attention can lead to tragedy. 

According to Olympic Gold medalist Summer Sanders, who is now ambassador for the USA Swimming Foundation, “There’s a big misconception that drowning is a large action…the truth is, most drownings are quite silent. You’re not going to hear your kids if there’s chaos in the pool.”

With pool season in full swing and the beaches crowded with young swimmers, it’s important to keep your kids safe around the water. Just because they know how to swim doesn’t mean they’re immune to danger. Here are 10 silent signs that someone may be fighting for their life.

10 silent signs someone is drowning

It takes less than one minute for a child to drown. These horrific accidents can occur in just a few inches of water, and toddlers are especially at risk. Constant vigilance is key when children are around water.

Be alert for these 10 quiet signs of drowning:

  1. Head is bobbing above and below the waterline
  2. The child cannot and does not call for help
  3. Head is tilted back, the mouth may be open
  4. Hair is covering the forehead
  5. Arms are not waving but held by the side or forward
  6. Eyes are closed or unfocused
  7. Child goes silent – no screams or noise
  8. Body remains vertical in the water
  9. No evidence of kicking or struggling
  10. No evidence of distress, appears like they are staring up at the sky

It takes less than 60 seconds for a drowning child to submerge beneath the water. When accompanying a child around water, remember how quickly a drowning can occur. If a child suddenly gets quiet, ask if they are doing alright. A drowning person will not be able to respond. Be prepared to act swiftly. Children have just precious seconds before submerging and survival rates hinge largely on the length of immersion.

Signs of dry drowning

Just because your little one hops out of the water doesn’t mean the danger is over. Though extremely rare, “dry drowning” can pose a serious risk of death hours later. When a child accidentally swallows small amounts of water (sometimes into the lungs), this can trigger vocal cord spasms that shut off air supply.

Symptoms of dry drowning can manifest just minutes after a water-incident, or several hours later. Be on the lookout for:

  • Difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
  • Persistent coughing
  • Sudden sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual behavior

Prevention is crucial for summer water safety

Drownings can be prevented by taking extra precautions with children around water. To learn more about liability issues in drowning events or pool-related injuries, contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Ellis Law Firm today. Our skilled trial attorneys offer aggressive legal representation will fight tenaciously to protect your rights.

Call us toll-free at 1-800-INJURED.

Additional “Quiet Signs of Drowning” Resources:

  1. Parents.com, Dry Drowning: Know the Signs http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/outdoor/dry-drowning/
  2. NewsOK.com, Prevent Drowning: Keep swimmers of all ages safe this summer http://newsok.com/article/5549811
  3. Reader’s Digest, 8 Silent but Deadly Signs of Someone Drowning http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/8-quiet-signs-of-someone-drowning/

Loss of Wages and Compensation in a Personal Injury Case: How Are They Calculated?

gavel and cash moneyWhen people are injured due to the negligence of another entity, whether a person or an organization, they are entitled to receive damage awards for loss of wages and compensation.

Calculating loss of wages

How are loss of wages calculated? Some of it is relatively simple. If you are a salaried employee and an accident that is the fault of another party causes you to lose a week’s work because you are unable to work, the calculation of loss of wages will equate to the wages, or salary, you would have received during that week.

Loss of wages also applies to situations where you may have to miss work to receive treatment or follow-up for your injury. If you need to take off a half-day due to the injury, you are entitled to compensation for that loss of wages as well.

You will need to provide documentation of your wage loss. This is done via a letter from your employer stating what your regular wages are. A doctor’s narrative letter is also often part of the documentation. The doctor’s letter specifies the nature of your injury, why you were unable to work, and when you can return.

If you are self-employed, your lost wages can be calculated from your financial statements and past year’s taxes. Your potential wages can be determined from this financial information. If your business was growing, the percentage increase can also be determined and added to the loss of wages claim.

Calculating compensation

The term “compensation” applies to all other benefits that you would have received had you not been injured. You are entitled to financial damage awards for all the compensation you would have received but lost through injury.

You are entitled, for example, to financial recompense for any sick days or vacation days you were entitled to. If you used them for time off work to have your injury attended to or to recover, you should be compensated for each day. You were not able to use them as sick or vacation time.

Some companies have policies that cause employees to lose vacation or sick time if it is not used, or that require a certain period of work to accrue. If you were off work a sufficient time that you lost sick or vacation days under these policies, you are also entitled to compensation.

Compensation for benefits includes any company holidays or personal days you would have received if you had been working. You are entitled to payment for those days.

Finally, you are eligible for compensation for lost opportunities and events in which you would have participated had you not been injured. A business conference that would have connected you with important clients, for example, can be compensated monetarily.

If you receive an annual bonus but it is reduced by the company for time off work, or you were unable to make sales that would have contributed to your bonus, it is grounds for receiving financial compensation.

Use of a forensic economist or accountant

If calculating wages or compensation is complicated, your attorney may advise a consultation by a forensic economist or accountant. If your injury requires a lengthy period of recovery, for example, your company may move you to another role. If the salary is less, you are entitled to ask for compensation. If you need to look for another line of work due to your injury, you are entitled to compensation for job search activities. A forensic specialist can calculate the amount of damages you are due.

Talk to an attorney about recovering lost wages

Ellis Law Firm has been defending victims of personal injury in California for more than 20 years. We are experienced at seeking aggressive compensation for loss of wages and compensation. If you need to talk to a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles about recovering lost wages and compensation, call us now at 1-800-INJURED. We will be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation at your convenience. We will fight to make sure you receive just compensation for your injuries.

More “calculating lost wages” resources:

  1. National Association of Forensic Economics, http://www.nafe.net/
  2. Forensic Accountant, http://www.acfe.com/career-path-forensic-accountant.aspx

How to Claim Loss of Consortium in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

California civil code provides legal remedies for spouses and registered domestic partners who have suffered because their partner was injured by the negligent or wrongful actions of a third party. This particular cause of action is known as “loss of consortium,” and it is commonly raised in personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents, workplace injuries and other types of civil litigation.

Why does the law afford spouses the opportunity to seek financial compensation when it was their partner who was physically harmed? In many cases involving catastrophic or other life-altering injuries, the victim isn’t the only one who suffers. Their entire family endures the repercussions of caring for their injured loved one, who may be unable to work let alone perform daily tasks like housework or offering emotional support and guidance to his or her partner. Many auto accident injuries can result in lasting physical and psychological trauma that can deprive a spouse of the affection, care, love and assistance that was the foundation of their marriage before the accident.

Loss of consortium damages

Loss of consortium, also called loss of companionship, is a type of non-economic or general damages that may be sought in a personal injury claim. This cause of action accounts for the burdens, hardship and mental suffering on the part of the victim’s spouse.

Some examples of loss of consortium:

  • The loss of enjoyment or reduction in sexual relations
  • The loss of the ability to have children in the future
  • The loss of the enjoyment of your marriage
  • The loss of services (deprivation of the injured spouse’s assistance in running the home)
  • The loss of financial support previously offered by the injured spouse
  • The loss of moral support
  • Increased economic burdens because of the injured spouses’ reduction in earnings
  • The injured spouse is no longer able to provide emotional support or comfort
  • The inability to enjoy certain activities together because of the injuries incurred
  • Having to deal with an injured spouse who suffers from depression, anxiety and mood swings because of the accident

Proving loss of consortium

Generally speaking, in order to have a viable cause of action for loss of consortium, the spouse’s injury must be disabling in nature for a judge or jury to award monetary compensation. When determining loss of consortium damages, the courts will look at the stability and length of the marriage, the severity of the victim’s injuries, as well as the life expectancy of both partners.

If the injured spouse is expected to make a full recovery in a short period of time, the spouse may have a more difficult task in proving the requisite degree of harm suffered. As an example, a spouse would have a greater likelihood of recovering loss of consortium compensation if their partner sustained a traumatic brain injury compared to a broken arm that would heal relatively quickly.

In accidents where the health and stability of the marriage has been seriously compromised because of the injury, a loss of consortium claim can add tremendous value to the potential recovery.

Free personal injury case review

Ellis Law Corporation is a leading personal injury law firm headquartered in Los Angeles. Our legal team understands the pain, suffering and hardships that entire families face after a serious accident. If your spouse or domestic partner endured severe injury, we invite you to schedule a consultation with an experienced California personal injury lawyer free of charge by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Loss of Consortium Resources:

  1. Justia, 3920. California Loss of Consortium (Noneconomic Damage) https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/3900/3920.html
  2. Legal Dictionary, Loss of Consortium http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/loss

 

How Is Loss of Income Calculated in a Personal Injury Case If I Am Self Employed?

Wooden gavel laying on American dollarsPlaintiffs file personal injury lawsuits in order to obtain compensation for their economic losses. For most people, the calculation for “loss of income” is fairly straightforward – based on wage statement and tax return data. A business owner or self-employed worker faces a more difficult path to proving what has been lost as a result of the accident injuries.

What counts as “lost income” for a self-employed plaintiff?

As a self-employed professional, you are entitled to recover:

  • Lost income – How much time did you have to take off your usual workload?
  • Loss of earning capacity – Did you lose skills and abilities for a time after your injury?
  • Lost profits – Did you lose current business as a result of your injuries?
  • Lost business opportunities – Did you lose pending business opportunities due to injury?
  • Loss of good will – Has your loss of availability hurt your relationships with current/future clients?
  • Sick leave and vacation pay – What sick and vacation pay would you have accumulated?

What proof do you need to prove self-employed losses?

Several years’ worth of tax returns is the preferred documentation. However, there are myriad reasons why you may not want to hand these documents over to the courts. They contain personal information such as spouse income, investments, charitable donations, and other sensitive data. Though these returns are confidential in the hands of the IRS, the courts waive this confidentiality once they appear in court. California law (Tax.C. §§ 19542, 7056) protects citizens from having to turn over their tax forms over the course of discovery and litigation.

Other sources to establish claim to income losses may include:

  • A letter from a client, customer, vendor, or business associate verifying your name, position, rate of pay, number of hours typically worked, and amount of time missed after the accident.
  • Letters from lost associates, verifying that the accident and injuries sustained prevented associates from doing business with you.
  • Bills of sale, invoices, appointment calendars, documentation of meetings and conferences, and payments received leading up to the accident can be used to show how much you were working and earning.

Additional considerations in calculating loss of income

The courts often pursue the following questions in their assessment of loss:

  • What type of business is it?
  • What type of person is the claimant?
  • Can a replacement manager be hired to maintain the business?
  • What portion of earnings are attributable to labor, and what portion is investment income returns?

In some cases, damages are calculated based on the cost of hiring a replacement, rather than an estimation of lost business profits – which can be very difficult to prove beyond a questionable doubt.

Who can help build a strong loss of income case?

Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at The Ellis Firm regularly rely upon a number of professionals to help build a strong case for our clients’ losses. Economic experts can testify on your vocational abilities, the market for your skills, and provide a reasonable estimate of loss based on tangible factors. Forensic accountants can study your past income and prepare a detailed report regarding your future income based on growth rate projections for your type of business and by scaling up the estimation of added customers. They can provide a glimpse into what your competitors were able to achieve to make a compelling case.

Contact California lawyers at The Ellis Firm for a free case review. We have experience obtaining maximum compensation for self-employed plaintiffs.

Additional “loss of self-employed income” resources: