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Recent Posts in mesaroslawfirm.com Category

December 01, 2010
  Medical Malpractice
Posted By Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Medical malpractice is a major subset of personal injury law which specifically deals with the negligence of doctors and medical professionals in the scope of their professional duty.

Because of their years of study, training, and experience, doctors, while performing their professional duties, are held to a much higher standard than members of the general public. Like an ordinary claim for negligence, a claim of medical malpractice has 4 basic elements:

  1. Duty: everyone, all the time, has a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. Doctors have a similar duty when they are practicing medicine. A slight twist is put on the standard of care for doctors, which results in the standard being much higher: when practicing medicine, a doctor is expected to behave as a reasonable personwith the same level of education, training, experience, and skill.

  2. Breach: it must be shown that the doctor’s behavior actually fell below this standard of care.
  3. Causation: the doctor’s breach of his or her duty of care must have actually caused the harm that the patient alleges.
  4. Harm: The patient must have suffered some actual harm. 

The major point of contention that comes up in medical malpractice cases is usually whether or not a doctor actually breached his or her duty of care. Because modern medicine is so complex, it’s usually impossible for a jury of laypersons to determine if a doctor actually acted reasonably in a particular situation. For this reason, it’s almost impossible for a jury of laypersons to make an informed decision without an expert witness (usually another doctor who practices the same field of medicine as the defendant) to inform them on the relevant professional standards. Typically, the plaintiff and defendant will each hire expert witnesses to present the facts in a light most favorable to their side.

Typically, a court will instruct the jury to apply one of two possible tests when determining if a doctor’s conduct has fallen below the standard of care. These tests are:

-          The national standard: a doctor’s conduct will be compared against the degree of skill and knowledge held by the average doctor in the same field, across the entire country. This is typically applied to doctors who practice in large cities, or in fairly common specialties.

-          The local standard: The physician will be held to the standard of the average physician in the local area in which they practice. The “local area” might include a city, county, or state.

It’s important to remember that, just because the doctor did something that not every doctor would have done, they have not automatically liable for malpractice. When a medical problem comes up, there are usually at least a few plausible solutions. Typically, there will be some doctors who prefer solution #1, while other doctors might favor solution #2. Let’s say that they both have a very similar (and very good) success rate, but a majority of doctors prefer solution #1, for whatever reason. 

Suppose a doctor uses solution #2, and something beyond anybody’s control goes wrong, causing harm to the patient which would not have happened had the doctor used solution #1. This doctor would not be liable for medical malpractice. 

Just because the doctor used a method that’s preferred by a minority of similarly-competent doctors (we’re excluding total quacks, and assuming that both solutions have a sound medical basis), that doesn’t mean the doctor behaved unreasonably. 

To succeed in a medical malpractice claim, you have to show that the doctor did something that no competent doctor would have done. 

Statute of Limitations 

All personal injury claims are subject to statutes of limitations. Medical malpractice is no exception. In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations begins to run (the clock starts ticking) the moment the injury occurs. However, in some medical malpractice cases, the harm caused by the medical malpractice is not discovered for weeks, months, or possibly years after the malpractice occurs. For this reason, many states have slightly modified the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Some have simply made it longer than it is for other personal injury cases. 

Others, however, have adopted a more reasonable rule: the same statute of limitations applies to all personal injury cases, but the clock doesn’t start ticking until the injury is discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered. 

This makes it far less likely that a valid medical malpractice claim will be barred by a statute of limitations. 

Conclusion 

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. You should consult with an experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney who can advise you on your chances of success, and how to proceed.

Continue reading "Medical Malpractice" »

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November 05, 2010
  Passenger Injury in an Auto Accident
Posted By Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

When people think about filing claims and collecting damages after an automobile accident, they usually just think about the drivers of the vehicles. But what about passengers and their rights? Passengers in automobile accidents can often suffer severe head, neck, and back injuries . What many people don't realize is that a passenger involved in an automobile accident can file claims against the driver of the car they were in, or the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident. 

Rarely are passengers found negligent in an automobile accident, so when negligence is determined by insurance companies, the passenger has the ability to file a claim for damages against the negligent party. A passenger injured in an accident can file a claim and collect damages for personal injury, damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or damaged or lost property. 

Because a passenger's claims may be independent of, or even against the driver of the vehicle they were in (often a close acquaintance), it's important that the passenger secure an independent lawyer to argue for their specific claims. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Los Angeles or while on vacation, either as a driver or passenger, please call the Law Offices of Christopher Paul Mesaros to schedule a consultation.  

Continue reading "Passenger Injury in an Auto Accident " »

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October 15, 2010
  Court Holds Private Social Media Postings Discoverable in Personal Injury Lawsuit
Posted By Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
It’s undeniable–social media use is increasing exponentially. And, with this rapid increase in the use of social media, more attorneys are quickly realizing the utility of social media postings in personal injury litigation. When witnesses or parties to a lawsuit publicly post about their activities and whereabouts, the information can be used to dispute claims of injury during the settlement phase of a case or as impeachment material at trial.

Because social media is a relatively new phenomenon, courts and ethics committees are just now beginning to address issues related to the use of social media postings in lawsuits. 

For example,just last month, a New York court issued a ruling regarding the discoverability of private social media postings in a personal injury trial.

The plaintiff in that case brought a lawsuit against the manufacturer and the distributor of a chair that she alleged was defective. As a result of the defect, she fell from the chair, resulting in numerous injuries. The plaintiff claimed that as a result of her injuries, including herniated discs and restricted motion in her neck and back, she was mostly confined to her home and bed.

The defendants sought access to the plaintiff’s private postings on Facebook and MySpace, two popular social networking sites. Her attorneys opposed the request, claiming that permitting access to the messages would violate her privacy and allow the defendants access to information that was completely irrelevant to the lawsuit.

The court disagreed with the plaintiff, concluding that defendants were entitled to access the private postings as part of the pre-tial discovery process:

Plaintiffs who place their physical condition in controversy, may not shield from disclosure material which is necessary to the defense of the action… Accordingly, in an action seeking damages for personal injuries, discovery is generally permitted with respect to materials that may be relevant both to the issue of damages and the extent of a plaintiff’s injury… (It is) reasonable to infer from the limited postings on Plaintiff’s public Facebook
and MySpace profile pages, that her private pages may contain materials and information that are relevant to her claims or that may lead to the disclosure of admissible evidence.

This is an important ruling, if only because it highlights the risks of interacting on social media sites when involved in a lawsuit. Plaintiffs should take note and may very well want to delete any social media accounts and to refrain from using social media while their lawsuit is pending.
Continue reading "Court Holds Private Social Media Postings Discoverable in Personal Injury Lawsuit" »

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April 26, 2010
  Welcome to our new Blog!
Posted By Christopher Paul Mesaros
I am proud to announce our new blog, as well as tell you a little about myself.  I am the principal at the Los Angeles personal injury law firm "The Law Office of Christopher Paul Mesaros, APC," (mesaroslawfirm.com), and I have been named a 2010 Southern California Rising Star by Los Angeles Magazine. The Los Angeles Magazine will reveal in its July 2010 issue that I have now received this award three years running - 2008, 2009 & 2010. 

Only 2.5% of attorneys are awarded this honor each year.  As this is an award that is based upon peer recognition, I am quite proud of this achievement.  

In 1996, I graduated cum laude from Regis University in Denver, Colorado with a B.A. in History and Political Science. In 2000, I received my JD degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. I was admitted to the California State Bar in July 2001.

Today, I am a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, handling the business affairs, marketing, and client care programs for The Law Office of Christopher Paul Mesaros, APC. I act as the firm's chief negotiator, manage the day-to-day client contact and I am responsible for the running of the business of the law firm.

I have a long-standing reputation for providing compassionate, clear advice and getting outstanding results for victims of , car accidents, defective products, and general negligence. Having resolved hundreds of cases for injured accident victims and their families, I am a passionate advocate of consumer rights and have been praised for  my tenacity in standing up to large corporations, auto makers and governmental entities on behalf of my clients. 

About The Law Office of Christopher Paul Mesaros, APC

The law firm's Los Angeles personal attorneys represent people who have been very seriously injured or lost a family member due to an accident, defective product or negligence throughout California. Christopher Paul Mesaros has resolved a wide variety of challenging personal injury and defective product cases, involving car accidents, work related injuries, dog attacks and defective products. Please visit their website at mesaroslawfirm.com.
Continue reading "Welcome to our new Blog!" »

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