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Heavy Rains Drive Southwest Airlines Plane Off the Runway in Burbank

Passengers were in for a rude awakening when mud and debris hit the windows, as Southwest Airlines Flight 278 overshot the runway. The accident occurred at 9:05 a.m. as the plane from Oakland attempted to land at Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport in torrential downpour. Up to half an inch of rain was falling, with a flood advisory in effect and visibility down to one mile. Eyewitnesses report the plane began sliding around in an irregular fashion, signaling that something was amiss. The crew deployed emergency slides to help get passengers off the badly wrecked Boeing 737. FAA inspectors and firefighters in high-visibility attire attended the scene.

Southwest Skid Led To Scary Scene in Burbank Today

According to a tweet from Southwest passenger Moe Storch, the plane hydroplaned on a wet runway, but the pilot was able to regain control, slam the brakes, and reverse thrust “just in time.” After the plane careened off the end of Runway 8, it was stopped by the Engineered Material Arresting System, designed to prevent catastrophe. Instagram user Pete Nicks posted: “We are alive. The plane was a few feet from plowing thru the barrier and taking out numerous cars. Crazy stuff.” T    witter user Megan Pepper said she was driving down Hollywood Way and thought the plane was going to crash into her.

Despite the rainfall and flood warnings in the area, the airport remains open. In a typical December, Burbank receives 2.4 inches of rainfall; today, however, the city saw 1.66 inches in just six hours. A temporary ground stop this morning kept incoming flights in the air for an additional 45 minutes, while the chaos sorted out. Southwest temporarily suspended operations, cancelling at least 20 departures. The company hoped to resume operations some time after 4 p.m. local time, but did not promise a specific timetable. Southwest promised to refund the cost of the tickets and “make an additional gesture of good will.”

None of the 112 passengers or five crew members reported immediate injuries. Often in these crashes some patients will later opt to go to the hospital for contusions, deep lacerations, and whiplash neck pain. LA personal injury attorneys are on high alert to field any inquiries as to possible liability. It is up to the airline company to avoid flying and landing in severely inclement weather conditions.

Wild Weather Continues To Pummel California Communities

The current winter storm has caused major traffic disturbances, flash flood warnings, rockslides, and mudslides. Much of the flooding and mudslide conditions are attributed to heavy rains in the burn scar Woolsey Fire and Holy Fire areas in Los Angeles. Also late-breaking today:

  • Three lanes were closed on 5 in the Sun Valley of Los Angeles after an overturned vehicle resulted in a fatality just before 10 a.m. this morning.
  • Voluntary evacuation warnings remain in effect throughout Orange County.
  • Up to four inches of snow fell in Grapevine’s Frazier Park area, causing cars to slide on icy roadways and closing down all of I-5 in both directions as of 9:44 a.m. The southbound lanes re-opened just before 1:30 p.m. Big rigs continue to block the northbound traffic.
  • Flash floods coursed through Hart Park in Orange County.
  • Cars were trapped near the Sepulveda Basin in Encino.
  • The Corona Fire Department is warning Canyon fire area residents to remain vigilant as thunderstorms hit.
  • Mud flows closed a large stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Ventura County until noon today.
  • A mudslide hit the Victory Boulevard offramp to the 170 East in Hollywood.
  • Rock slides have closed the Angeles Crest Highway 2 from Vincent Gulch Divide to Highway 39 through Saturday.
  • The 60 westbound at the 10 Freeway in Riverside County shut down after a 13-vehicle pile-up before 8:30 a.m.
  • A winter storm warning for the San Bernardino Mountains is in effect through midnight, with two to six inches forecast, up to 12 inches on the highest peaks.

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Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney To Learn Whether You Have Grounds For Compensation

If you or a loved one were injured in a weather-related accident, it costs nothing to speak with a personal injury attorney at Ellis Injury Law Firm. Sometimes we come to find out an “accident” was not entirely without blame. When serious errors have been made, negligent parties can be ordered to pay injured victims compensation for past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Our clients pay nothing unless we win, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. In the State of California, you have up to two years from the date of the accident or discovery of injury, so do not delay.

Mudslides Predict A Flood of Litigation in California

After 2018 California Wildfires, Our Worries Turn To Mudslides

rain on windshieldThe 2018 California wildfire season is the most destructive in state history. From the Carr Fire and the Holy Fire in the summer, to the most recent Woolsey Fire and Camp Fire in November, officials are now warning people to evacuate parts of Southern California due to the risk of flash floods and mudslides that rise along with the heavy rainfall.

Lower Butte Creek Canyon was evacuated on Thursday, with Highway 99 closed south of Chico for several hours and flash flood alerts in parts of southeast Chico. Nearly 100 cars were stranded on Honey Run Road at the mercy of two separate debris flows that reached two miles long. About 4,000 homes in the Malibu area were under evacuation order as of Friday.

The National Weather Service is advising people in Concow, Magalia, Paradise, and Pulga to beware of rock and mudslides. Highway 70, the Skyway, and Pentz Road are also under threat until at least 9:15 p.m. on Saturday. Inclement weather over the weekend, including gusty winds and up to six inches of snow, are likely to cause traffic accidents and a slew of lawsuits.

Remembering the Thomas Fire Mudslides of January 2018

Santa Barbara County’s January 2018 mudslide killed 13 people and injured more than 25. Just weeks earlier, the Thomas fire roared through Montecito. After five inches of rainfall, a deluge of mud, branches, boulders, and debris spewed forth in waist-high torrents reaching up to 35 miles per hour around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday the 9th, trapping more than 300 residents in their Romero Canyon homes. Nearly 7,000 people escaped just before the heaviest surge hit the region. Fifty additional people were rescued by helicopter, with dozens more transported out of the region by ground crews. The mud was so strong, it lifted a home off its foundation.

The mud tipped a semi-truck on its side, resulting in a fatality, and caused 275 other traffic collisions between 5 and 9 a.m. at the height of the storm. The 101 freeway was closed in both directions for the 30 miles between Santa Barbara and Ventura, and sections of 33 and 150 in Ventura County were closed off as well.

According to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason, “It’s going to be worse than anyone imagined for our area. Following our fire, this is the worst-case scenario.”

Why Do We Get Mudslides After Wildfires?

Burned areas lose their capacity to absorb water, making them more susceptible to flooding and mudslides. All the new debris, along with slick ash, makes for prime landslide conditions. According to Geophysicist and Disaster Researcher Mika McKinnon, the cycle of droughts, fires, flooding, and mudslides may be our inevitable future, but there are ways to mitigate the risk. “Maybe it’s about time for us to start looking at that seriously,” she tells The Verge, “and start being more proactive in mapping out potential landslide hazard areas, and changing what sorts of buildings are zoned for construction in places we know are at risk, and starting to engineer protective barriers to deflect landslides or to catch them or to separate the debris from the water so they’re less dangerous.” In other words, the job entails political will and monetary resources.

Who is Liable for Mudslides?

Ellis Injury Law Firm is preparing for a busy season in light of all the recent extreme weather in Los Angeles. Even if it seems as though a “natural disaster” caused your losses, we may discover evidence that certain parties may have been able to take necessary precautions that were never implemented. Homeowners’ insurance policies generally don’t cover landslide damage, but exceptions may exist for earth movement caused by floods or fire damage. Your insurance company may balk at paying what is owed to you. If you suffered an automobile accident, you may face similar difficulties in dealing with your insurance provider – in which case representation from experienced attorneys is helpful.

Contact personal injury attorneys with experience in natural disaster litigation and motor vehicle related lawsuits at Ellis Injury Law. We have access to a whole range of experts from geologists to civil engineers, accident reconstructionists and appraisers to help build a case for your compensation.

California Leads the Nation in Dog Bites

Roughly 4.5 million dog bites occur every year across the United States. Although dog bites may sound like a minor injury, 20% of them require a medical visit. They can cause severe injury and infection. Some dog bites can be fatal.

Unfortunately, California is the number 1 state for dog bites in the country, according to a report by insurer State Farm on the number of claims filed in 2017. State Farm registered 488 claims for dog bites last year, or more than 1.33 each day in our state. California was responsible for close to 14% of the U.S. dog bite total.

One-third of homeowner liability claims are for dog bites

Illinois, the #2 dog bite state in the nation, registered only 318 claims. So not only was California the leader, but we were way out ahead. Ohio, the #3 state, had just 226 claims, less than half of California’s.

Not only that, but roughly 33% of all homeowner liability claims are submitted for dog bites.

An estimated 50% of all dog bite victims are children – and children are much more likely to be seriously injured by a dog bite than adults. Senior citizens are also frequently the target of dog bites.

Some occupations are very vulnerable as well. Postal mail carriers, for example, are attacked by dogs much more frequently than other occupations. In fact, postal mail carriers in Los Angeles alone receive more bites than they do in any other city in our state.

California dog bite law

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s a good idea to know what California law about them, because the burden of proof is very different than it is for most injury cases.

In personal injury cases, generally, the person injured must prove that the situation was dangerous, and that the party with a “duty of care” — responsible for maintaining safety — knew or should have known that it was unsafe.

But people who have been injured by a dog bite do not have to provide proof of any of that in the case of a dog bite. California operates under a strict liability law with regard to dog bites. If you were bitten (rather than attacked and hurt in another way), and were legally on the property the dog was on, the dog’s owner can be liable for your injuries.

There are some exceptions. If a dog knocks down a child, for instance, potential injuries are not covered under strict liability, because that applies only to biting injuries. Similarly, a person unlawfully on the premises – say, cutting across a lawn where the dog was housed – is not covered under strict liability. Postal mail carriers, by the way, are considered to be legally on public property, because they are carrying out an authorized public duty.

In cases of non-biting injuries, though, injured parties could sue for damages by proving negligence: that the owner has a duty of care toward the public, knew the dog was or could be dangerous, and failed to provide safety by leashing or otherwise restraining the dog.

Consult a dog bite injury lawyer in southern California

Dog bite injuries can literally be just around the next corner in Los Angeles, despite all your attempts to protect yourself and your family. But California law is on the side of plaintiffs in dog bite cases when owner negligence is a contributing factor.

The Ellis Law Firm has been handling dog bite injury cases in southern California for over two decades. We can help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, and we charge no fees unless we win your case. Call 310-641-3335 today for a free, no-obligation case review with an experienced dog attack injury lawyer in Los Angeles. We win 99% of the personal injury cases we take on!

Additional Resources:

  1. Clark, Lucas and Abbie Bennett. “California is the No. 1 state for dog-bite injuries, State Farm says.” The Tribune. May 11, 2018.
  2. Dog Bite Prevention. American Veterinary Medical Association.

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Los Angeles?

Judge's gavel with clock and calendar on the table.If someone has harmed you in a way that caused injury or illness, or an entity such as a retail establishment or corporation has created conditions that caused you an injury or illness, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages you have suffered. The damages can cover medical treatment, physical therapy, lost time and wages from work, and damages from loss of quality of life.

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How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If something like this has happened, however, it’s important to note that legal claims must be filed within a certain amount of time after you discover the illness or injury. This amount of time is referred as “the statute of limitations.” After the statute of limitations has been exceeded, a court will refuse to hear your case.

Statute of limitations apply in all types of cases, although the time for each type of case may vary.

For personal injury claims, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of discovery of the injury or illness. This is true in Los Angeles and throughout the entire state of California.

In other words, if you slip and fall because a grocery store manager has not cleaned up spilled liquid, you are highly likely to note the injury right away. If you cut yourself, you will notice the cut. If you sprained an ankle, you will likely notice it as you walk out of the store. Any personal injury claim you filed needs to be filed within two years of the date you realized you were injured.

But there are personal injuries that might take time to manifest. What if you have are working in a place with asbestos, for example? Asbestos is a known cancer-causing substance, and was supposed to be removed from buildings decades ago. However, every now and then, a report surfaces that asbestos is found in a building.

In that case, you may discover you are ill in a doctor’s office years after you were injured by breathing asbestos. In that case, you would have two years from the date you discovered you were ill from asbestos.

The Other Party Must Be Negligent in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

It’s also important to note that personal injury cases can only be brought if the other party was negligent. That means that they must have been responsible to make conditions safe, have known they were unsafe, have had enough time to rectify the unsafe conditions, but did not do so.

If all these conditions are met, your attorney can argue that the other party is negligent.

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Los Angeles

Ellis Law Corporation has been successfully fighting for the rights of personal injury victims in southern California for more than 20 years. If you or a loved one has been harmed due to the negligence of another party, we can help.

Call us today to speak with an experienced attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit Los Angeles. Our track record speaks for itself: we win 99% of the cases we take on! Call our law offices today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. California Courts. Statute of Limitations.
  2. California Legislative Information. Code CCP 335.1.

3 Children Per Day Die As a Result of Drowning

Summertime in southern California often means fun near the water. On our beaches, in the ocean, lakes, and rivers, and in backyard and neighborhood pools, people can be found swimming, splashing, and enjoying themselves.

Deaths in Open Water Highest in Five Years

But for many families and children, the risk of drowning is horrifyingly high. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3 children die every day as a result of drowning.

In open water alone (ocean, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and more), over 1,000 children drowned last year, and more than 7,000 ended up in the emergency room as a result of a near-drowning. This is the highest figure registered in the last 5 years. And, of course, many more near-drowning incidents that don’t require a trip to the ER doubtless occurred.

Open water is particularly dangerous because children can be subject to hazards and disorienting conditions that don’t exist in pools. Currents, sudden drops in the floor, cold temperatures, and hitting rocks or vegetation can all contribute to drownings in open water.

Boys are far more likely to die from drowning than girls. Boys constitute 80% of open water drownings. And teenagers from the age of 15 to 19 are far more likely than any other group to die by open-water drowning. Almost 50% of such drownings come from this age group.

How to Prevent Death and Injuries in the Water

Fortunately, there is a great deal parents and other caregivers can do to prevent drownings and near-drowning-related injuries.

Recommended steps include:

  • Teach children to swim
  • Always have a responsible adult watching children who are in the water
  • Teach the 5 water survival skills (treading water, exiting the water, being able to submerge in water and come back up, turning around and redirecting in the water, and being able to breathe and move forward)
  • Teach the difference between open-water swimming and swimming in a pool (dangers of rocks, vegetation, currents, cold temperatures, and inability to judge distances)
  • Always wear personal flotation devices (PFDs) when on the water, in boats or other craft
  • If you are near the water with children who can’t swim, make sure they always wear PFDs
  • Learn rescue skills
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Swim in designated areas

If You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

Drowning deaths are a real and present danger in southern California because of the accessibility of ocean, pools, and other bodies of water. Drownings are always a tragedy. And the tragedy is exacerbated because drownings are preventable.

If you or a loved one has suffered a drowning death or near-drowning related injury because of the negligence of another party, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles today. Attorneys at Ellis Injury Law will fight to see that justice is done.

Contact us now at 310-641-3335 for a discussion regarding your case. The initial consultation is free.

Additional Child Drowning Resources:

  1. Safe Kids Worldwide. Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children. May 2018.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Child Safety and Injury Prevention. Drowning Prevention.

Best Places to Go Camping in Southern California

Two camping tents, one green, one orange set up on hill top. Wonderful view of ocean in the Crystal Cove state park.From the magnificent redwood forests and dramatic bluffs to desert landscapes, the Golden State boasts dozens of spectacular places to experience nature in all her glory. Los Angeles residents won’t have to venture far to roll out their sleeping bags. There are 14 National Parks within a day’s drive of the city.

Whether you’re planning an epic hiking adventure or a weekend getaway, here are some of the best camping destinations in Southern California.

#1: Leo Carillo State Park

This dog-friendly park is less than a 2-hour jaunt from L.A. You’ll find it in Malibu, right off the Pacific Coast Highway. Leo Carillo State Park has 130 campsites – all with direct beach access and amenities galore. The pretty beach is great for surfing, beachcombing, exploring tidepools and there are several well-marked backcountry trails. You can even pick up food items and sundries at the on-site store.

#2: Serrano Campground

Enjoy the picturesque beauty of Big Bear Lake at this popular campground, nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains. Serrano has 93 single and 16 double campsites that are spacious and shaded by tall pines and juniper trees. This is an excellent spot for fishing, mountain biking, boating and of course hiking. Serrano is a family-friendly campground with RV hookups, firewood sales, interpretive trails, picnic tables, restrooms and showers.

#3: Crystal Cove State Park

Located in the Newport Beach region between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, Crystal Cove National Park (pictured above) has three miles of stunning coastal beachfront and 2,400 acres of wilderness. For a rustic experience, there is tent, bluff and RV camping offered at the park’s El Moro Canyon. This campground is rarely crowded and has clean facilities, restrooms and showers. Those seeking a bit more luxury should opt for one of the beautifully-restored historic oceanfront cottages, built in the late 1930’s.

#4: Blair Valley Campground

With more than 500 miles of scenic trails, Anza Borrego State Park provides the perfect backdrop for off-roading, rugged hiking and primitive desert camping at the Blair Valley Campground. There are no designated campsites and visitors must pack in and haul out all of their food, potable water, firewood and gear. Plan your visit for the Fall or Spring, when the temperatures are mild. For an off-the-beaten- path camping experience, this place can’t be beat.

#5: Idyllwild Campground, Mount San Jacinto

Idyllwild is surrounded by sweet-smelling pine trees and is the perfect place for those who want to avoid big crowds. Located in the high-altitude wilderness of Mount San Jacinto, this campground features amazing hiking, rock climbing, fishing and wildlife watching. Pitch your tent in one of dozens of campsites and enjoy a peaceful backpacking excursion. Amenities include restrooms, showers, potable water and picnic tables.

Camping under the stars, roasting marshmallows and exploring backcountry roads makes for a memorable experience, especially during the summer months. However, this family-friendly activity is not without risks. Accidents – whether at the campsite itself or en route – can cause serious injury or even death. When another party’s negligence is the cause of your injury, the law provides recourse.

An experienced California personal injury lawyer at Ellis Law can explain your legal options and determine if you have a claim for damages. Schedule a free case review in Los Angeles or any one of our 20 office locations by calling 310-641-3335 today.

Resources on Camping in Southern California:

  1. Travel Channel, California’s Most Spectacular Camping Spots
  2. San Diego Magazine, Great Places to Go Camping in Southern California and Baja

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,
  2. New York Post, 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 310-641-3335 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.
  2. Discover Los Angeles. Hidden Gems in Beverly Hills.
  3. Viator. Beverly Hills Hidden Gems Walking Tour.

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.


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.


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 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
  2. Cornell Law School, Expert Witness
  3. TheExpertInstitute, 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
  2. Judicial Council of California, 2015 Court Statistics Report
  3. com, California Wrongful Death