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Man suing city after nearly being killed by falling tree

A man is suing the city of San Diego after losing the use of his legs when a palm tree fell onto his Mission Hills home in January 2010. The incident nearly killed him, and he may have to have his legs amputated.

The man’s lawsuit contends that the accident is rooted in budget cuts to the city’s tree trimming and inspection services. The suit argues that had these services continued, inspectors would have found the tree dangerous and taken measures to have it fixed or removed.

City officials disagree, claiming that the city can only be held liable for dangerous conditions that are already known. They hold that because no one made any reports that the tree was diseased or in otherwise poor condition, there is no way they could have known it was a hazard and therefore the city should not be held liable for the accident.

The man’s attorneys estimate that his lost wages and medical costs could total as high as $8 million. His mobility now comes from a motorized chair, and he cannot care for his 12-year-old autistic son as well as he used to be able to.

The case is set to go to trial in San Diego Superior Court on Monday.

While this man was injured at his own home, being hurt as a result of dangerous conditions on another person’s property can be grounds for a premises liability claim. If you have sustained an injury due to someone’s neglect of a hazard on their property, a premises liability lawyer may be able to help you seek the compensation you need to pay your medical costs and make up for any lost wages.

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Pipe explodes on beach sanding site

A pipe exploded yesterday at a Solana Beach sand-replacement project, suspending work on the site.

The pipe was part of an effort to replace sand on that and seven other beaches along the Pacific coast for the Regional Beach Sand Project. The project will place more than a million cubic yards of sand on these beaches.

Witnesses say that a large metal plug about the size of a manhole cover was flung into the air alongside other debris as a result of the explosion. Luckily, no one was immediately injured.

Such explosions are sometimes the result of construction site negligence. If you’ve been hurt in a construction accident, contact the personal injury lawyers of Ritter & Associates at 619-296-0123 to learn more about your legal options.


Man caught abusing Jones Act

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, more commonly known as the Jones Act after Wesley Livsey Jones, the senator who sponsored it, is a federal law with numerous provisions that are designed to protect the American shipping industry in various ways. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Maritime Commission.

It requires that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be done so in watercraft built and operated by American citizens.

This protects the U.S. shipping industry from economic threats. In addition to protecting the shipping industry at large, the Jones Act protects individual sailors by providing them with a program that is similar to workers’ compensation. Sailors who spend at least 30% of their time on the job in navigable waters can have work-related injuries covered under the Jones Act.

Recently, a former employee of maritime transport company Hunter Marine was found taking advantage of Jones Act protections for injuries he sustained onshore.

Forrest W. Phillips claimed he injured his shoulder while handling a wire cable on one of Hunter Marine’s vessels. The company paid for his surgeries, time off, and other related expenses. Later, another employee suggested that Phillips’ injury claim was not what it looked like. The company launched an investigation and discovered that Phillips was already injured when he boarded the ship that day, and told his colleagues that he was going to make an attempt to get the company to pay for his medical costs be pretending to be injured on the job.Seamen receive maritime injury protection from the Jones Act

When the company found out it was being exploited, it ceased payments to Phillips and terminated his employment. Phillips then filed a lawsuit against the company, who filed a counterclaim.

Last month, a federal magistrate and jury sided with the company and ordered Phillips pay back the funds he took from the company with an additional $5,000 in punitive damages.

While Phillips’ actions may have been irresponsible, the Jones Act continues to protect injured sailors from the opposite situation where a negligent shipping company’s policies cause injury. If you are a seaman who suffered an injury on the water and your employer is not complying with the Jones Act, contact the maritime lawyers of Ritter & Associates at 619-296-0123 to learn more about how a personal injury attorney can help you.


Homeless surfboard repairman loses personal injury case against Junior Seau estate

The homeless surfboard repairman from San Diego who decided to represent himself in a personal injury case against the estate of recently-deceased NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau has had his $100,000 lawsuit denied by a 12 person jury.

Murray “Moose” Lea filed suit against Seau last year in relation to an incident where he claimed Seau nearly hit him with his Cadillac Escalade while accidentally driving it off of a cliff in late 2010.

Lea claims to have sustained various muscle and bone injuries as he evaded being killed by Seau’s SUV. However he showed up late for the first day of court and, during his hearing, failed to provide any evidence of hospital payments, did not furnish a single witness, and could not show any proof of lost income, which he put at $80-$100 per hour. While it was not clear to him why all of this hurt his case, any injury lawyer would have known better.

If you have been hurt due to the irresponsible actions of another person, it is in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney to help you prove your injuries in court. A lawyer can help you make a strong case and prevent you from offending the court. Contact the personal injury attorneys of Ritter & Associates at 619-296-0123 to learn more about how a personal injury attorney can help you in your time of need.


Using fireworks responsibly

The Fourth of July is tomorrow, and millions of Americans are planning to include fireworks in their celebrations. Lighting fireworks is a popular way to commemorate America’s independence, but there are serious risks that come with their dazzling sparks.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 9,000 people are injured by fireworks every year. Of these, 21% are eye injuries, some of which result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

Most firework injuries arise from misuse. In order to prevent fireworks injuries, it’s important to make sure you read and follow all of the directions on the product’s labeling.

The San Diego personal injury lawyers of Ritter & Associates urge you to be careful if you plan on using fireworks and wish you a safe and happy Independence Day.


Defibrillator saves man’s heart from stab wound

A 57-year-old San Diego man’s life was saved by his implanted heart defibrillator in a most unexpected way last week.

The man got into an argument with an acquaintance at the elevators near the trolley station that services the Fashion Valley shopping mall. Witnesses saw the acquaintance pull a folding knife from his pocket and stab the man in the chest.

The knife impaled the man’s implanted defibrillator, potentially saving his life. The man was taken to a hospital in serious condition, and his 60-year-old assailant was caught by police nearby and arrested for attempted murder.

If you have suffered a serious injury at the hands of another person, you may be wondering if you need an injury lawyer.


Neurosurgeon makes major advancement in paralysis treatment

The director of the Neurosurgery Peripheral Nerve Program at the UCSD School of Medicine, Dr. Justin M. Brown, M.D., has made a groundbreaking advancement in restorative neurology.

Dr. Brown has pioneered a treatment that helps patients recover movement and sensation in their extremities after suffering traumatic spinal cord injuries. His “nerve transfer” technique has been successful in giving improved results over traditional restorative nerve treatments.

A nerve transfer rewires a nerve from one part of the body to be functional in another area that has lost function. These transfers help restore independence to people who would otherwise need constant help from others.

Dr. Brown is the president and co-founder of the International Society for Restorative Neurology.


DEA locks innocent man in cell for five days

Daniel Chong, an innocent man, was accidentally left unattended with no food or water in a jail cell for five days after a “4/20” DEA raid that confiscated over 18,000 ecstasy pills. Chong, a 24-year-old engineering student, had to rely on drinking his own urine to survive.

He was never arrested and was supposed to be released right away. Chong claims agents said they would release him, and one even went as far as promising him a ride home. DEA officials have apologized for their actions and admitted that Chong should not have been left in the cell.

During his five-day lockup, Chong resorted to eating his glasses out of extreme hunger. He was found suffering from dehydration, cramps, and a perforated lung (as a result of eating glass). He also had self-inflicted cuts on his arms. Daniel Chong can sue the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) of 1946.

If you have suffered an injury through no fault of your own, contact the San Diego personal injury attorneys of Ritter & Associates at 619-296-0123 for a case evaluation.


#17 SDSU men’s basketball wins by 2 points

Yesterday, the #17 ranked San Diego State University men’s basketball team beat Boise State 58-56.

The game was close, but SDSU was ultimately able to come out on top thanks to a free throw shot by Chase Tapley with 7.5 seconds left in the game, putting the team ahead by 2 points.  Boise State had the ball for the remainder of the game, but a three-point attempt in the last second to win the game was unsuccessful.

San Diego’s Tapley scored 14 points, and Jamaal Franklin had 16 points and 8 rebounds.  Last night’s win makes the team’s record 19-3.

The San Diego personal injury attorneys of Ritter & Associates would like congratulate the team on their win and wish them the best of luck in future games.  To read more about last night’s game, see WTSP 10 News.


La Mesa Multicultural Festival this weekend

This weekend is La Mesa’s 16th annual Multicultural Festival.  The event will simultaneously be celebrating Marin Luther King Day and the city’s centennial.

The La Mesa Multicultural Festival is being held on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center, which is located at 4975 Memorial Drive, and is free to attend.

The festival features performances by dancers from Ballet Folklorico, Chinese martial artists, and the Helix Charter High School bagpipe band.

In addition, San Diego State University’s Department of Africana Studies chair Dr. Shirley Weber will speak at the event.

The San Diego personal injury lawyers of Ritter & Associates are happy to announce events in the community.  U-T San Diego has more information on the festival.


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