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FAQs About Business Litigation

What is involved when litigating a business issue?

This depends on the issue. The business owner would follow the same process for business litigation as he or she would for any civil lawsuit, including usually obtaining an attorney, pretrial matters such as motions, possible settlement negotiations, trial, and possibly appeal.

What are some alternatives to litigation?

Businesses often use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. The ADR process usually utilizes arbitration or mediation. These alternatives are attractive because they are often less expensive and more efficient than traditional litigation.

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

Mediation is a cooperative process and uses a neutral third party (a mediator) to facilitate consensus building and discussion, in order to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. Arbitration also employs a neutral third party (an arbitrator), who listens to both sides and makes a decision, which is usually binding.

Is the result of mediation or arbitration binding?

The judgment in arbitration is usually binding on the parties. Often the parties decide prior to the arbitration proceeding that the findings of the arbitrator will be final and legally binding. This agreement is usually formalized by a contract signed by all parties involved. Much less commonly, parties may agree to nonbinding arbitration, viewed as a negotiation technique. Mediation is not binding and the parties, if dissatisfied with the result, can move on to a courtroom proceeding.

Can results from mediation or arbitration be appealed?

Because the result of mediation is nonbinding, the parties can still bring their issues before a judge, although this is not technically an appeal. In the case of binding arbitration, an appeals process may take place if the parties have agreed, before the arbitration begins, to allow one. Generally, the decision of the arbitrator is final and the appellate process is not available.

What is a class-action lawsuit?

A class action is a judicial proceeding where usually one or two named plaintiffs represent a much larger group of plaintiffs. Often, the issue is one where there has been an injury to a large enough group of people that individual litigation would be inefficient.

Can business entities participate in a class action?

Yes. If a business entity has an injury in common with a greater group of plaintiffs that have formed a class, then the business may qualify as a class member.

What is the legal fee arrangement for a class action?

Lawyers are normally paid on a contingency-fee basis in class actions. This means that the lawyer only collects a legal fee if a positive judgment for the plaintiffs is reached. Due to the high costs of class-action lawsuits, generally contingency-fee arrangements are the best option.

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What do I need to know about wrongful death lawsuits for the loss of an elderly person?

FAQs About Wrongful Death Law

No matter what the age of the loved one you have lost, the grief is powerful. The law, however, often takes age into account when it assesses your loss. Because your loved one cannot be replaced, the law is at a disadvantage to truly compensate you. Money is one measure that the legal system can objectively use to reflect what has been lost. For more information on how the law applies to the wrongful death of your child or elderly relative, contact an attorney.

The Wrongful Death of an Elderly Person

The wrongful death of an elderly person can leave the spouse or children with a loss of both companionship and monetary contributions. The surviving spouse may have been relying on the pension of the deceased; if the pension plan does not have a survivorship benefit, the spouse may have lost quite a bit of money due to the death of his or her loved one. Many courts will take this into account when calculating damages. Courts also may take into account the companionship, guidance and affection provided by the elderly person to the children or spouse.

On the other hand, the court will also factor in the age of the decedent; the damages will be calculated taking all of these elements into consideration. Some courts also look at whether the loved one experienced pain and suffering before passing away.

Contact an Experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney for Compassionate and Caring Legal Representation

The trial and appellate attorneys of Stolpman, Krissman, Elber & Silver, LLP, are well known and respected for the quality of the legal representation they provide and for the impressive results they achieve for their clients.

All four lawyers are AV Rated* by Martindale Hubbell’s peer review rating process and all three trial attorneys are listed in Best Lawyers in America. *CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary.

Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

To arrange a free consultation with a member of our law firm, call us at (562) 435-8300 or contact us by e-mail. From offices in Long Beach, our lawyers represent clients in the Los Angeles area and throughout Southern California. To learn more about our attorneys, please follow the links below:

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Frequently Asked Questions about Airplane Accidents and Injuries

Who can be held responsible to the injured parties in an air crash?

Potentially liable parties vary depending on the cause of the accident. The owner and operator of the aircraft certainly may be liable. Manufacturers or maintenance suppliers may be liable in certain circumstances. An experienced aviation attorney is essential in identifying all possible claims and defendants.

Can the owner/operator be held criminally liable?

Both the federal government and individual states can impose criminal sanctions in cases involving aviation. Although the classifications and details may vary between them, most states impose criminal sanctions on aviators for reckless conduct that leads to injury, death, or property damage. The difficulty in prosecuting these cases lies in differentiating between cases of negligence and mere accidents.

What is the Statute of Repose?

In the context of aviation litigation, a “Statute of Repose” limits the time a lawsuit may be filed with regard to how long an airplane or part has been in service. The applicable time period varies depending on the jurisdiction.

What is the FAA?

The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) is the element of the U.S. government with primary responsibility for the safety of civil aviation. It is separate from, and independent of, the NTSB.

What is the NTSB?

The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) is an independent federal agency charged with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States. Its jurisdiction also includes trains and other vehicle accidents as well. The NTSB also issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. The NTSB maintains the government’s database on civil aviation accidents and conducts special studies of transportation safety issues of national significance. The NTSB also provides investigators to serve as U.S. representatives in aviation accidents overseas involving U.S. – registered aircraft, aircraft or major components of U.S. manufacturers or where requested by foreign governments.

What is GARA?

GARA, the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, is a “statute of repose” GARA was designed to protect manufacturers of smaller, private aircraft (less than 20 seats) from liability for accidents involving older airplanes and/or parts. GARA bars lawsuits against the manufacturer of an aircraft or component part once that item has been in service for 18 years. GARA does not apply if the aircraft was engaged in scheduled passenger carrying or air medical services operations at the time of the accident.

What are the most common causes of aircraft accidents?

The most common causes of aircraft accidents include:

  • Pilot Errors- Pilots are responsible for transporting the plane’s passengers from one destination to another. Pilots have a duty to follow air safety rules that have been outlined and created to better ensure the safety of everyone on board or else risk an aircraft accident.
  • Faulty Equipment- Faulty equipment or even poorly maintained equipment can fail and cause an airplane to crash.
  • Violating FAA regulations- FAA laws exist to protect everyone using air travel. Violations of FAA regulations can endanger the safety of everybody in the air.
  • Structural or design problems with an aircraft.
  • Flight service station employee negligence.
  • Federal air traffic controllers’ negligence.
  • Third party’s carrier selection negligence.
  • Maintenance or repair of the aircraft or component negligence.
  • Fueling the aircraft negligence

Do the same laws apply to commercial aircraft and private aircraft?

No. General aviation law applies to all aircraft other than those operated by airlines or the military. Commercial airlines and military carriers are subject to different legal standards.

Call Our Aviation Accident Attorneys in Long Beach, CA for a Free Consultation

If you injured in a plane crash, or a loved one was killed in an aviation accident, you need a law firm that has experience in litigation aviation accident claims. From Long Beach, CA law offices, our experienced aviation injury and wrongful death trial lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our lawyers today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

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What do I need to know about wrongful death lawsuits for the loss of a child?

FAQs About Wrongful Death Law

No matter what the age of the loved one you have lost, the grief is powerful. The law, however, often takes age into account when it assesses your loss. Because your loved one cannot be replaced, the law is at a disadvantage to truly compensate you. Money is one measure that the legal system can objectively use to reflect what has been lost. For more information on how the law applies to the wrongful death of your child or elderly relative, contact an attorney.

The Wrongful Death of a Child

When an adult dies, it is easier for a court to quantify the economic loss. The court can consider the wages the person earned and how he or she contributed to the finances of the family. A minor child (under the age of 18) is typically not contributing to the household income, but a child contributes in other ways. Parents therefore can recover, in most states, for the loss of the child’s companionship and affection.

Parents who can recover for the death of a child generally include the child’s mother, the child’s acknowledged father or the child’s adoptive parents. People who act as the child’s parents, but are not legally the child’s parents, usually cannot recover compensation.

When an adult child suffers a wrongful death, the court may approach the situation from a different angle. For the parents to recover, often the child must have been contributing money to the parents’ household or providing valuable services to the parents. This view of the law, however, varies from state to state. Whether the child was married also may affect the parents’ rights.

The law changes when an unborn child has suffered a wrongful death. In some jurisdictions, the success of a wrongful death claim depends on whether the fetus was viable (able to live outside the womb) at the time of death. Other states allow or disallow such a wrongful death claim whether the fetus was viable or not. An experienced attorney can offer you insight on your own state’s laws.

Contact an Experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney for Compassionate and Caring Legal Representation

The trial and appellate attorneys of Stolpman, Krissman, Elber & Silver, LLP, are well known and respected for the quality of the legal representation they provide and for the impressive results they achieve for their clients.

All four lawyers are AV Rated* by Martindale Hubbell’s peer review rating process and all three trial attorneys are listed in Best Lawyers in America. *CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary.

Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

To arrange a free consultation with a member of our law firm, call us at (562) 435-8300 or contact us by e-mail. From offices in Long Beach, our lawyers represent clients in the Los Angeles area and throughout Southern California. To learn more about our attorneys, please follow the links below:

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Wrongful Death Damages Overview

Why types of damages are awarded in wrongful death lawsuits and how are they determined?

Losing a loved one is painful. Losing a loved one due to wrongful death can be even more difficult. If someone’s wrongful actions caused injuries that resulted in your loved one’s death, that is a wrongful death. In common law, there was no legal action that surviving family members could take. That changed, however, when governments began to make laws protecting survivors. Now, in every state in the US, the representative or heirs of a person lost to wrongful death may file a lawsuit for monetary damages. The laws, however, vary quite a bit from state to state, so consulting with an attorney is advisable.

Monetary Damages for Wrongful Death

The main method courts have for measuring loss in wrongful death lawsuits is pecuniary damages — that is, the court must determine the proper compensation for the financial loss that the death has caused. Though this may seem harsh or cold, money damages are the remedy that civil courts have at their disposal. Thus, when the courts measure loss, the first thing most of them turn to is quantifiable data:

  • How much money did the deceased earn?
  • How much money did the deceased save?
  • How financially dependent were the survivors on the deceased?

The court will also take into consideration:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses

The wrongful death lawsuit is meant to compensate certain surviving family members, not necessarily to punish the party responsible for the death. Punitive damages are available, however, in some states when the actions of the defendant were reckless or malicious.

Factors in Determining Economic Loss

Courts look at a number of elements when they determine the level of financial loss the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit has suffered. Most of the considerations take into account characteristics of the person who has passed away:

  • Earning potential
  • Health
  • Life expectancy
  • Assets

Courts assess these factors when considering the financial dependence of the plaintiff on the deceased.

Some activities that might not seem economic at first glance can be characterized as such by the court. This is because it would cost money to have someone besides the deceased perform the activities. They include:

  • Child care
  • Housekeeping
  • Assistance with family member’s medical or daily living needs

The plaintiff may wish to use expert testimony to establish the amount of loss.

Factors in Determining Emotional Loss

Not all of the emotional harm suffered by the plaintiff can be compensated by the court. Some aspects of what the decedent contributed to the family, however, are “calculated” by the court:

  • Parental guidance
  • Companionship
  • Affection

In making this determination, the court will look at the strength of the relationship between the plaintiff and the decedent. The weight the court gives this type of loss changes based on the particular state’s laws.

Survival Action for the Injuries of the Deceased

Some courts will allow the plaintiff to sue for injuries sustained by the person who died. This is called a “survival action” because the legal claim survives after the injured person’s death. This claim could be presented at the same time as the wrongful death lawsuit. If this is allowed, the plaintiff may need to show that the injured person was aware of and emotionally affected by the injuries before passing away.

Contact an Experienced Southern California Wrongful Death Attorney for Compassionate and Caring Legal Representation

The plaintiff’s trial and appellate attorneys of Stolpman, Krissman, Elber & Silver, LLP, are well known and respected for the quality of the legal representation they provide and for the impressive results they achieve for their clients.

To arrange a free consultation with a member of our law firm, call us at (562) 435-8300 or contact us by e-mail. From offices in Long Beach, our lawyers represent clients in the Los Angeles area and throughout Southern California.

To learn more about our wrongful death attorneys, please follow the links below:

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