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Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop, Inc.
Serving Napa, Marin and Solano Counties

Civil Litigation Archives

The difference between compensatory and punitive damages

If you are convicted of a minor crime in California, such as property damage, the chances are you will be required to pay back damages. This amount depends on what you are in trouble for, as well as any additional amount the plaintiff is seeking against you or what the judge feels is appropriate retribution. Damages awarded to the plaintiff often take place in civil court, but they may apply to you as well in a criminal case. At the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop, Inc., we know that it can be helpful to understand what compensatory and punitive damages are.

Can I sue the government when I am injured?

As a California resident, you often deal with governmental agencies. You go to the DMV to get your driver’s license and/or register your vehicle. You may need to go to the Office of Vital Records to get a certified copy of your birth certificate. Other circumstances also may necessitate your visiting a governmental agency to get needed services. But what if you slip and fall on your way in the door or while there? Can you sue the government? The answer is yes, under certain circumstances.

What constitutes medical malpractice in California?

In a California medical malpractice case, you are alleging that a licensed health care provider deviated from the accepted standard of care while treating you and that this deviation caused you injury. The health care provider can be a doctor, nurse, physical therapist, etc. and/or a hospital or other health care facility. The substandard care could be an act or a failure to act.

A frivolous lawsuit? The notorious McDonald's coffee spill

When the phrase “frivolous lawsuit” is mentioned, people often remember the elderly woman who spilled a hot cup of McDonald’s coffee into her lap. The incident has become engrained in the public’s opinion as that of unnecessary lawsuits run amok. However, many Californians are unaware of the truth surrounding the notorious scalding coffee case.

How do I know if I should sue?

When faced with a legal issue in California, an attorney will encourage a consultation, either by phone or in-person, not to convince you that you should sue but to ascertain the nature of the dispute and the strength of your position. To do so, the attorney must obtain necessary facts and evaluate whether it would be prudent and in your best interests to litigate the issue. If your case does not involve a criminal complaint against you, then you are most likely facing an issue that will be handled in a division of the civil courts.

New table saw safety measures could affect product liability

Product liability issues relating to table saw injuries could rise as products designed to prevent injury become more prevalent. In California, according to California Civil Jury Instructions 1203, among the essential elements of a strict liability action (pdf) for harm by a product is whether the injury caused by a product's design was foreseeable or the result of intended use. As technologies are proven to be easily implemented without an unduly burdensome cost, it may be argued that failure to implement certain safety standards in their designs could open manufacturers to liability for design defects because a table saw cannot perform safely as would be expected by a consumer if it is likely to cause injury when used as intended. In other words, the absence of a safety component in a design could ultimately be considered a design defect. This is so because the benefits of a cheaper but more dangerous saw may not outweigh the risk of danger in that design.

Qualities of a good civil litigation attorney

While there are many civil litigation attorneys in California, there are certain qualities that distinguish a good attorney from a mediocre one. The lawyer that you hire will play a large role in determining whether or not you win your case. We at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop have provided a guide to help you determine what traits to look for in an attorney.

What does it take to file a civil court case?

"You can't fight city hall." What that well-known phrase is supposed to convey is the futility of going up against an entrenched government bureaucracy. Even if you have a solid case, navigating the system can leave you feeling like you're fighting a war with paper clips and a rubber band. Settling or just dropping the issue starts to look attractive.

Law Offices of
Matthew C. Bishop, Inc.

1810 Jefferson Street
Napa, CA 94559
Phone: 707-266-6952
Fax: 707-255-3612
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