Is It Possible for Patients to Prevent Emergency Room Errors?

Nobody wants to end up in the emergency room, but for thousands of people each year, this is an unfortunate reality. An emergency injury comes with plenty of stress and fear, and it also comes with receiving care from a team of doctors and nurses you have no relationship with, which can sometimes lead to medical accidents and malpractice cases.

Medical mistakes happen in situations that are high-stress all the time. Is it possible to avoid becoming the victim of a preventable hospital or doctor error? These tips may help.

Bring an Advocate

Not only should you have a source of emotional support by your side at the hospital, but you should also have somebody present who knows your wishes. When you are in pain or simply don’t feel well, you need somebody who is going to oversee the situation or at least provide some testimony about what happened.

Prepare a List of Medications & Medical Conditions

One of the best ways to prepare for a medical emergency is to create a small list of the medications you take and the types of medical conditions you have. You should also report the dosage and perhaps when you take these medications. Anything a doctor should know can be placed on one list that you keep in your wallet or purse for emergencies.

Not only does the list tell the medical personnel what conditions you have and how to treat them, but it also prevents chances of drug interactions that could worsen your condition or contribute to additional ailments.

Speak Up

Doctors are educated professionals, but they can make mistakes. They can misdiagnose you or read tests inaccurately. If you feel that something isn’t quite right, you have the right to ask for a second opinion from a different doctor. You will not lose anything by speaking to multiple doctors to gain a comprehensive view of your situation.

Many patients report that they feel their symptoms are ignored by the doctor. If you feel this is the case, tell the doctor right away. Ignored symptoms may lead to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an important medical condition.

Do you feel that your doctor or nurse is being negligent? You have the right to bring this up to hospital staff or management. Doing so can improve your treatment and perhaps allow management to take note of problems.

Keep Notes

Another way to protect yourself is to keep careful notes written about your stay. You can keep track of treatments you received in addition to how you felt after each one. You can keep track of the names of the doctors and nurses who treated you as well.

Everything feels like a blur when you are in the hospital, especially in an emergency. But keeping track of important events that occur during your stay will ensure you have the details correct should you pursue your case in court. Specific details are much more compelling to a judge or jury.

Know the Limitations

Of course, many instances of emergency room errors are simply not preventable. Doctors may simply struggle to process information when they are running close to empty after a night of working. You can be completely vigilant and still suffer from an injury in the hospital.

If you are the victim of an emergency room error and believe you have legal recourse, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. You may be able to sue the hospital or doctor for your injuries, especially if your condition worsens after you received improper treatment.

We at the Hernandez Law Offices understand the difficulties you are facing. If you are ready to stand up for your rights in court, call us today. We are ready to discuss your emergency room injuries.

5 Facts About California’s Dog Bite Laws

Every year, over 4.5 million peoplesuffer from dog bites, and in many cases, bites or attacks can lead to serious injuries or even death. If a dog in California has bitten you or a loved one, you may want to know more about your rights. Check out these five facts.

1. California Has Strict Liability Laws for Dog Bites

In regards to dog bites, California is a strict liability state. That simply means that you don’t have to prove that the owner was negligent as you do with most other personal injury cases. Instead, just by having dogs, owners are automatically liable if their dog bites someone.

2. California’s Strict Liability Only Applies to Bites

In some states, strict liability applies to both dog bites and other injuries caused by dogs, but in California, however, the strict liability only applies to bites. If a dog knocks you over or scratches you, you can still bring a civil suit forward against the dog’s owner, but in this situation, your lawyer has to argue that the owner didn’t use reasonable care in preventing the incident from happening.

3. Defendants Can Use Trespassing as a Defense

If a dog bites you while you are in public or lawfully on the dog owner’s property, the dog owner has no defense. However, if you trespassed when the attack occurred, the dog owner can use that as a defense. In cases involving police or military dogs, the dog handler can argue that the victim provoked the dog, but that defense usually doesn’t apply with civilian dogs.

4. California Imposes Restrictions on Dangerous or Vicious Dogs

When you take a dog owner to court for a bite or attack, you don’t just protect your own rights. You also help to protect other people who may meet the dog in the future. Under California state law, dogs can be labeled as dangerous or vicious. To be considered dangerous, a dog must have done one of the following:

  • Attacked, bit, or engaged in other behavior that required a victim to defend themselves in the last 36 months, while unprovoked and off the owner’s property
  • While unprovoked, caused an injury that is not severe enough to have the dog labeled as vicious
  • Killed, bitten, or inflicted serious injury on at least two domestic animals when unprovoked and off the owner’s property

To garner the vicious label, a dog must inflict serious injury on a victim, which includes muscle tears, disfiguring lacerations, or other injuries requiring stitches or cosmetic surgery. Additionally, if a dangerous dog’s owner can’t keep the dog under control, the dog may move from dangerous to vicious.

With dangerous dogs, owners must meet very strict licensing and behavior criteria. They also have to notify the state if they sell the dog or it dies. Vicious dogs might be put to death, but in some cases, owners are allowed to keep these dogs if they follow certain safety protocols.

5. The Statute of Limitations on Dog Bites Is Two Years

If a dog has bitten, attacked, or hurt you or a family member in any way, you should contact the authorities, but you should also consider bringing forward a civil lawsuit. Depending on your situation, you may be able to claim a settlement that covers all your damages including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, you only have two years to bring forward a claim, and in most cases, the sooner you reach out to an attorney, the easier it is to build a case. With minors, the statute of limitations is postponed until you are an adult, and then, you have two years after your eighteenth birthday to bring forward a lawsuit.

If you need help, contact ustoday. At Hernandez Law Offices, we help clients with personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal law.

Can You File a Lawsuit After You Receive a Settlement?

When you are involved in a car accident where another driver is liable, your first thought may be to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. However, many personal injury cases settle with the insurance company before they ever get to court. You and your attorney can typically negotiate a settlement offer with the insurer of the liable party.

However, you may wonder what you can do if you need additional compensation after you receive a settlement. In some cases, clients believe they received less money than they need to settle all the damages. This can happen if the injuries you suffer become worse or require additional medical treatment, which is costly.

If you sign a settlement, can you turn around and sue the liable party? Here are some things you need to know.

Can You Still File a Lawsuit After a Settlement Agreement?

The general answer is no. A settlement agreement requires both parties to sign an agreement to settle. In the fine print, the agreement states that you promise not to sue the insurance company for an injury that is from the same accident claim, even if you suffer complications after the fact. The court typically enforces a settlement agreement to prevent you from suing the insurance company.

However, you may be able to explore some exceptions to this rule.

How Can You Sue After Signing a Settlement Agreement?

Some narrow scenarios could allow you to file a lawsuit against an insurer even after you sign a settlement agreement. Some instances include the following:

The Settlement Agreement Has No Mutual Release Agreement

You should have your attorney review the details of your settlement agreement so you are aware of your rights. If the settlement agreement has no mutual release provisions, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit. Although the omission of a mutual release agreement is rare, it could happen.

The Terms Are Not Clear

If the terms are vague, broad, confusing or overall unfair, a judge may invalidate the agreement and allow you to move forward with a lawsuit.

However, you do not have a right to file a lawsuit just because you do not understand the terms in the agreement. Most agreements include complex terminology, which is why you should always have a lawyer look over a settlement agreement before you sign it.

However, you may still have the opportunity to sue if the agreement is not specific and clear in its wording.

The Other Party Acted in Bad Faith

If evidence exists that shows the other party acted in bad faith, the court may invalidate the agreement. Examples include blackmail, coercion, fraud, threats, hidden facts, dishonesty, or violence.

Keep in mind proving the other party acted in bad faith is difficult. However, if you have clear evidence which proves your claim, you should present it to your attorney to possibly file a lawsuit. Evidence can include documentation in the form of emails, texts, social media posts, or voicemails.

When Should You Contact an Attorney?

If you are not already working with an attorney on your settlement for a personal injury, you should seek out legal assistance right away, especially if you believe you may have a case against an insurer. You should never try to take on a major insurance organization on your own.

Our attorneys will help you fight for a fair settlement after your injury. Keep in mind that California has time limits for personal injury claims. Please contact us at the Hernandez Law Offices. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of personal injury law and settlements. We will work hard to help you navigate this complex process.

California Slip and Fall Accidents: What You Need to Know

Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injuries that may run up expensive medical bills, require pricey medical equipment to treat, and demand time off work for doctor appointments and recovery.

Understanding California’s laws that pertain to slip and fall accidents make it more likely you’ll receive fair compensation for your injuries, though it’s best to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations in California for personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, is two years. This means you have two years after the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. If you are suing only for personal property that was damaged or lost in a slip and fall accident, you have three years to file in civil court.

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on government property or the negligence of a government agency or employee caused the accident, you must provide the government with notice of your claim within six months of the accident.

Liability and Proving Fault

Anyone who owns, leases, controls, or occupies property in California owes a duty of care to protect anyone who is on their property legally from harm. In many cases, a parent company or insurance company is responsible for paying damages to injured parties, rather than a single named person.

If you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you’ll need to prove several things in order to receive compensation to cover your injury expenses and other losses:

  • First, you need to prove that the defendant was responsible for the property you were on when you fell.
  • You must also prove that the defendant was negligent in some way that was a substantial factor in your injury due to your fall.

For slip and falls, this usually involves showing that there was a condition on the property that increased the risk of falling, that the defendant knew or should have known about the condition, and that the defendant failed to remove or repair the condition or protect people on the property from harm in another way, such as putting up a barrier around the hazard.

Comparative Negligence

Many slip and fall accidents aren’t the fault of a single person; there’s often some blame on the injured person’s part too. California uses a pure comparative negligence rule when determining how much plaintiffs can recover in damages.

Comparative negligence means that courts look at the amount of fault each party had in the accident when they decide on a dollar amount to award. For example, if you suffer a head injury in a slip and fall accident that was deemed 25 percent your fault and accumulate $100,000 worth of damages, the court will reduce your award by your fault percentage, leaving you with $75,000.

Allowable Damages

The main damages plaintiffs recover from California slip and fall lawsuits are classified as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages reimburse or compensate the injured party for their actual losses. There isn’t a cap on compensatory damages awarded in California slip and fall cases.

Some losses result in economic, or pecuniary, damages. These damages are for losses where an exact dollar amount is easily determined, such as medical bills and lost wages from work. Other losses result in noneconomic damages. Pain and suffering damages are the main non-economic damages that may be awarded in a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit.

In rare cases if a defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, a California court may award a plaintiff in a slip and fall case punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault party rather than compensate the plaintiff for a loss.

Hernandez Law Offices serves personal injury clients in the greater Fresno and Madera, California, areas. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact ustoday to set up a consultation appointment at no cost to you.

Discovery Techniques in a Personal Injury Case

The discovery process allows opposing parties to get relevant information from each other. You need to prepare for the discovery process so that you don’t make any mistakes with your answers. Below are some of the techniques that the other party can use to get information from you.

Requests for Admissions

Requests for admissions ask you to accept or deny specific statements. The opposing party will construct their request for admissions carefully so that they can better understand your position on specific issues. For example, in an auto accident case, the defendant might ask you to admit that:

  • You drank at least five bottles of beer before driving
  • You drove with an expired driver’s license
  • You abruptly stopped just before the accident

You tick the appropriate box or dash (to accept or deny the statement). Some requests for admissions require you to explain your denials. Answer the questions carefully and honestly. Even if you don’t explain your denials at that point, the opposing party might require the explanations later.


A deposition requires oral questions and answer. The parties to the case plus their respective lawyers meet and hold the depositions in the presence of a court reporter who records the proceedings. Here are a few tips to help you ace your deposition:

  • Carefully listen before you ask a question
  • Don’t interrupt the other party
  • Answer honestly
  • Seek clarification if you don’t understand a question
  • Correct yourself if you realize a mistake

Your injury lawyer will prepare you for the depositions. Follow your lawyer’s advice to the letter to strengthen your case.


Interrogatories are roughly similar to depositions in that the other party asks you questions and you answer them. The main difference is that for interrogatories, the questions come in a written form. Unlike requests for admissions, interrogatories don’t limit your answers to acceptance or denial – interrogatories are open-ended.

For example, in an auto accident case, the opposing party might ask you to:

  • Describe the accident in your own words
  • Describe any preexisting injuries you had
  • Describe any lingering pain you still have

You have a limited time to answer the interrogatories. Answer the questions honestly, and seek legal counsel to ensure your answers don’t weaken your case.

Physical Examinations

The discovery process is not just about answering questions. The opposing party can also request the court to let them examine you physically. A physical examination might be necessary if the accident has left you with permanent disfigurement, scarring, or disability.

Consider a case where you want compensation for a huge scar on your face. The defendant might request a physical examination so that they can ascertain the degree of the scarring.

Requests for Production

Requests for productions require you to produce tangible evidence, typically (but not always) documents. The opposing party will only request you produce evidence they believe you possess. For example, in an auto accident claim, the other party might ask you to produce:

  • Medical records
  • Pictures of your damaged vehicle
  • Shoes you had at the time of the crash

Unlike requests for admissions, requests for production tend to be broad rather than specific. Some of the requests might overwhelm you. You can object to unreasonable requests if you have a relevant legal justification.

The way you handle the discovery process can strengthen or weaken your case. Ideally, your lawyer should prepare you so that your compliance with the court orders don’t harm your case. Hernandez Law Offices can prepare you for the discovery process and help you pursue your damages. Contact ustoday so that we can review your case and start work on it.