Archives for : October2014

What the EEOC says about Ageism

“How long am I going to be able to work in my field?” “How long before my position is take and given to a younger version of me?” “Am I viewed differently and less effective due to my age?” “Will I be overlooked for promotions?” Many professionals ask questions like these after reaching the age of 50-55. Some of these questions are well founded. Ageism does exist and is there a way to fight against it? Ageism is a form of discrimination and prejudice particularly based on a person’s age. Age discrimination (or ageism) is not typically recognized by the court until the age of 40.

With the rate of unemployed Americans increasing, the competition for obtaining jobs and maintaining jobs has become more evident. In the past it was an advantage to be loyal to a company or an organization and to “grow” with the company. Many companies, in fact, rewarded longevity in employees by bonuses after reaching certain employment anniversaries.

Seniority was a term of prestige and respect, an earned badge of loyalty. However, in today’s society that is no longer the case. Often regardless of the experience, performance qualifications, and longevity of employment within a company a person can still be wrongfully terminated based on their age. Sometimes age is only a result of acquiring attributes as such listed above and with those come a higher cost of compensation.

With more experience, and the qualifications of the job and older person can often require a higher paying salary. However, companies can higher a younger person that is right out of school and pay them a lot less money to do the same job.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated because of your age, contact the Teal & Montgomery employment lawyers to evaluate your case. Call Santa Rosa Office: 707-525-1212 or Sacramento Office: 916-448-1010 for a free consultation today.

Construction Work Accidents to Watch Out For

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
Abraham H. Maslow

Hazards abound in the organized chaos of most construction sites. Solving safety problems on a jobsite takes an open mind and the concerted effort of everyone on the job. Over the years OSHA and jobsite safety inspectors have done their best to mitigate the risk. Still, unnecessary, avoidable accidents occur everyday on construction sites.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the year 2003 there were 155,420 reported construction related accidents. Most of these injury cases caused the worker to miss more than 31 days of work in one year. Loss of work due to injury can often mean loss of wages. Loss of wages can cause financial hardship that can often be as difficult to recover from as the actual injury. Therefore, if you work on a construction site, here are some common accidents to watch out for and try to avoid.

4 Common Construction Site Accidents

Overexertion- Mostly during a new construction job, workers are out in the elements doing their job and because of this they become at risk for heat stroke, dehydration, and physical fatigue.

Electrical Accidents

In new construction, there are various stages of electrical installation occurring simultaneously. There are exposed power lines, unfinished electrical systems, and exposed wiring all over the site.

Slip and Falls

Examples of slip and fall hazards include:

  • uneven ground
  • exposed cords and wiring
  • uncovered holes
  • ladders
  • equipment left around

Struck By An Object

There are always heavy objects being moved all around you, beams being placed above you or beside you, vehicles rushing by to get to carry equipment and supplies to various locations on the site. The potential to be hit by something while working on a construction site is great.

If you were employed as a construction worker and were involved in an accident that caused a serious or catastrophic injury, you most likely do qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Our law firm can help point the way to respected law firms that are well equipped to help you get your workers’ compensation claim underway.    

We have more than 35 years handling construction accident and other workplace accident cases at the law offices of Teal & Montgomery in Santa Rosa. Call 707-525-1212 to schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience

Can My Employer Ostracize Me Because I am Pregnant?

In a recent New York Post story, a former Major League Baseball team’s executive claimed that she was fired for being pregnant and unwed. Leigh Castergine was the first woman senior vice president in the team’s 52 year history. Castergine claims that she was ostracized by the Mets co-owner, Jeff Wilpon for being pregnant and not married. She documented public humiliation as he repeatedly voiced his opposition to her pregnancy outside of wedlock be known in meetings with her and her all male colleagues.

Allegedly, she was told that she would make more money if she got engaged. Eventually, during an evaluation, Casergine was told she had lost her aggressive edge and that if she agreed to keep her mouth shut about the discrimination claims then she could remain employed thought the end of the season. When she had her attorney respond to the offer on her behalf, she was fired 3 within minutes thereafter.

Pregnancy Discrimination

It is unlawful to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Know the Company Policies

To prove that you are being treated differently because of your pregnancy, you must prove that your employer deviated from the standard company policy. Keep the lines of communication open. Pregnancy can change many things from the amount of bathroom breaks needed, to morning sickness accommodations and frequent doctor’s appointments. It is important that you know you the company policy that pertains to accommodating your pregnancy needs. On the flip side of this, knowing what the company policy is about pregnancy can help you determine if or when they deviate from the policy in actions towards you.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated or treated differently because of your pregnancy, contact the Teal & Montgomery employment lawyers to evaluate your case. Call Santa Rosa Office: 707-525-1212 or Sacramento Office: 916-448-1010 for a free consultation today.

Dog Bites Can Be A Serious Matter

Inspector Clouseau:
“Does your dog bite?”

Hotel Clerk:

Inspector Clouseau:
[*bowing down to pet the dog]
“Nice doggie.”

[*dog barks at & bites Clouseau]

Inspector Clouseau:
“I thought you said your dog did not bite!”

Hotel Clerk:
“That is not my dog.”

– From The Pink Panther Strikes Again

There are an estimated 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the U.S. and more than 30,000 victims required some type of reconstructive surgery. There are many dog bites that are not reported and where the victims do not seek medical care. Dogs are trained to protect and rescue. By nature they are loyal to their owners and instinctively gentle in non-threatening situations. So how can a family pet cause so much harm? What causes a dog to be aggressive and bite? Who is responsible for the harm the dog bites cause?


Dogs are territorial. We have all been walking down the street and pass a house where a dog is barking profusely behind a fence. They also behave this way towards other animals and dogs. The more dogs around the greater the risk of an attack.

Children ages 5-9, are often targets because they are irrational, unpredictable, loud and their actions, though innocent are perceived as aggressive towards a dog. Intruders are the last common targets for dog attacks. Unless you are familiar, you are perceived as an intruder and a dog’s nature is to protect his territory.


Dog breeds play a role in the aggressive nature of a dog. Families that have small children often get a mild mannered dog that is not known for agitation or aggression toward children. Some raise dogs to hunt and the dog is trained to attack by scent. Others scenarios involve people who have an aggressive nature themselves and raise dogs to behave the same.

In any case, the owner of the dog has an obligation to keep the dog and the public safe from any possible attacks. If a dog attacks someone who has come unlawfully on their property, the dog is not at fault and the owner is not liable. However, if the dog leaves the yard and aggressively attacks a person passing by, the owner is liable by law.

The law firm of Teal & Montgomery is experienced in helping families and individuals who have been injured by another’s negligence. If you or a loved one have been victim to a dog bite, contact us or call 707-525-1212 to schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience.

Can Someone Be Held Responsible For My Child’s Food Poisoning?

“Responsibility is like a string we can only see the middle of.
Both ends are out of sight.”
William McFee

Seeking out responsibility is a principle-based exercise. Sometimes it’s easier to deal with the complications of another party’s actions than to find out who is responsible and hold them accountable. For a parent, there are not many things worse than seeing your child sick, especially when it seems there is not anything you can do to stop it. Such is the case when your child gets food poisoning.

Food poisoning comes on quickly and strongly. When it is your child you want to know the source of the illness and what that source to take responsibility for the pain it has caused your child. Food poisoning is easily diagnosed and can often be linked to the source. Therefore, if your child has become ill due to food contamination, you may have a case to hold the source accountable.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is the term used to describe any illness that is caused by contaminated food. There are many different pathogens that can contaminate food as well as a number of chemicals and substances that can cause illnesses if they containment food. The Center of Disease Control (CDC), estimates that each year 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 people that are hospitalized and 3,000 people that die from some type of food poisoning each year.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a week and can vary in severity. Typical symptoms are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Stiff neck (if food poisoning is caused by Listeria)

Food poisoning cases can result in kidney failure, chronic arthritis, brain and nerve damage, and even death if left untreated or is a more serious case.


Raising awareness of proper food handling practices can significantly reduce the risk of food poisoning. Also, educating yourself on the type of food your are eating and what chemicals and pesticides they are exposed to can also help avoid you or your family getting sick. However, there are times that you can’t control your environment and are not able to easily obtain the answers you want about your food.

In order to be successful in a food poisoning lawsuit, your claim must involve some if not all of the following:

  • severe injuries
  • hospitalization
  • complications that are severe or life threatening
  • loss of income or wages from time off work
  • out of pocket expenses for medical bills
  • kidney damage
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

Find out more on how the attorneys at Teal & Montgomery can help you on the ” How We Can Help You” page. The attorneys at the Teal & We welcome you to contact us or call 707-525-1212 to schedule a free initial consultation. A Santa Rosa product liability attorney can visit you in your home or hospital if necessary.

When Ladders Buckle and You Fall

“One person’s embarrassment is another person’s accountability.”
Tom Price

The court awarded $2.7 million to Kevin King after he suffered a spinal injury from falling off a ladder at work. According to his attorney’s, the work site Kevin worked on that day failed to provide safety equipment and therefore became liable for the injuries he sustained. Stories like Kevin King’s are not uncommon. In fact, according to a report by the, CDC, falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury mortality nationwide. In the last decade there have been 43% of the fatal falls involved a ladder.

Safety First

Ladder safety is commonly underestimated and operating a ladder may seem simple but if done incorrectly can cause life long complications. Therefore it is important to take precautions to ensure that you are taking responsible for your own safety. The high injury rate is due to lack of safety guidelines being followed and the person operating the ladder carelessly. Use common sense while climbing or standing on a ladder, and read the instructions that come with the ladder.

Human Error

The majority of ladder falls occur due to human error. In the case mentioned above, Kevin King was working on a ladder to reach the ceiling while installing vent piping. While on the ladder, a bit jammed in his drill causing it to buck and hit King in the face, knocking him off the ladder. Did the ladder fail him? No, it was a common occurrence that would have not normally been as dangerous had he not been drilling while standing on top of the ladder. If all safety precautions and regulations had been applied and followed by the company then the fall would not have been as serious.

Manufacturing Defects

There are cases where firefighters, construction workers, or even homeowners have become injured due to a ladder malfunctioning while they were on it. In some cases this is due to weight overload in a specific area of the ladder and in other cases it can only be linked to a defect in the manufacturing of the ladder. In these cases, the operator of the ladder is not misusing the product and is using proper safety precautions when the ladder buckles.

If you or a loved one have suffered a fall from a ladder malfunctioning, you may be entitled to compensation for you pain and suffering. Contact, the law office of Teal & Montgomery, for a free initial consultation of your specific case or to aid in you worker’s compensation claim.

Professional Negligence and Standards of Medical Care

The Seattle family of Tri Hoang was awarded $5.39 million, by a jury after finding an emergency room physician guilty of medial negligence. Hoang visited the emergency room with pain and was seen by Dr. Grace Dy, who prescribed medicine for heartburn and sent him home. Two days late, Hoang decided to go to a different hospital where he was diagnosed with a heart infection. Tri Hoang died due to the infection, four days after the original heartburn diagnosis. Dr. Grace Dy was found guilty of medical negligence in the misdiagnosis of Hoang’s condition in his first emergency room visit.

Professional negligence can occur more commonly than it is reported; and litigation for negligence is most common in the medical field. If professional negligence occurs in the medical field it is called medical malpractice. Between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice suits are brought against doctors each year. The doctors are held to a standard of care which is used as a guideline for the care they provide as well as a way to evaluate their performance. Most error that occur in the medical field, are as a result of a doctor disregarding some portion of the standard of care they agreed to provide.

What is a Standard of Care?

When there is a breach of duty of care between the professionals and their clients or patients, it is professional negligence. This duty of care, or standard of care, is a level professionalism and standards that are commonly held by those in the profession. In the medical field, the standard of care is a written statement of rules, actions, or conditions that direct the patient’s care. A malpractice claim must prove that the doctor neglected to follow the standard of care in order to have a legitimate case.

How Do I Know the Standard of Care My Doctor Adheres to?

Proving medical negligence in the standard of care can be complicated and more difficult than documenting errors. A doctor can still make errors without detouring from the standard of medical care. Therefore, it is important to get advice from a medical malpractice attorney to determine if you have a case of professional negligence. At Teal Law Group, you can get advice from an attorney who is also a medical doctor. Call 707-525-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Something Was Wrong With My Work Truck Before The Accident

One day, while driving your work truck, your brakes lock up at the worst possible time – as you approach an intersection. The collision was unavoidable causing damage to the other vehicle and causing you personal injury. To the untrained observer, you are the at-fault driver and your company is liable. But what if there’s more to the story.

What if, upon further investigation, a mechanic confirms that parts used in the brake system were recalled by the manufacturer? Even though you have an answer as to what caused you brakes to lock up and create an accident, you still had the accident. How do you hold the manufacturer responsible for the accident?

What Went Wrong?

The first determination in an accident is what happened, and who is at fault? In having that clearing documented by a witness or on the accident report by the police officer, you are able to move on researching the origin of the problem. If the problem can be linked to a manufacturing defect or design the liability of the accident falls on the manufacturer. A manufacturing defect is caused by a flaw in the manufacturing process which was unintended by the vehicles design. The defect typically affects a limited amount of the vehicles inventory so it is important to prove that your vehicle was ones of the affected.

Burden of Proof

In a product liability case that involves a manufacturing defect, an expert witness is required to be able to testify that the accident occurred directly as result of the defective product or part. Without this proof the liability of the accident can placed elsewhere even the defected part exists in the same vehicle involved in the accident.

If you or someone in your family was seriously injured while using any type of manufactured product in Santa Rosa or beyond, you are encouraged to talk to one of our attorneys at Teal & Montgomery. We have the experience that it takes to pursue the compensation that you need after a serious injury caused by any type of consumer product.

We welcome you to contact us or call 707-525-1212 to schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience. A Santa Rosa product liability attorney can visit you in your home or hospital if necessary.

How Are My Medical Records Protected

Medical records can contain very sensitive personal information that you wouldn’t want to be broadcast to everyone. If you’ve ever been concerned that an employer or family member could easily find out medical information you want to keep quiet, you can rest assured that it’s not that simple.

The History of Medical Privacy

In 1996, the United States Congress enacted The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA for short. This act covered a lot of different issues related to healthcare, but one of the most notable was its rules on privacy. It has a strict set of rules on who can and cannot view medical records or other personal information provided to healthcare providers.

When you visit a new doctor and first fill out all that paperwork, one of the things they ask you is if you would like to allow your medical records to be viewed by anyone else. This allows spouses, parents, or children to be given information about your medical records if they ask. If someone is not on that list, they cannot view it, unless they have a court order or some other legal authority to access the information.

How Long Are Health Records Stored?

While the laws on how long health records must be stored vary a little from state to state, the general rule is that records are stored for at least five years past when the patient was last seen. Most medical records are now stored digitally, which means that a lot of records can be stored in very little space, so some hospitals are choosing to hold onto them nearly indefinitely, in case they are ever needed again.

If medical records are destroyed, it must be done thoroughly, in a way that makes them impossible to reconstruct. This is to protect the patient’s confidential information. Paper documents are shredded, microfilm is pulverized, and DVDs are cut.

Data Security and Medical Records

One question that comes up a lot with digitized records is asking whether they are stored securely. If a local clinic sends medical records to a network hospital, is there a chance someone could hack into the system and retrieve those files?

HIPAA requires healthcare providers to follow procedures that will adequately protect patient data, such as encrypting data or password protection. Technology is changing all the time, so there is no way to guarantee 100 percent that there will never be an issue, but there are many safeguards in place. Healthcare providers are also required to notify patients if there has been a security breach, so anyone whose data might have been affected can take steps to protect themselves.

If you have questions about how your personal clinic handles your records, ask them about their policies. You can also request a printed copy of your medical records to keep safe with you at home.

Contact our attorneys today to learn more or to get started on your case!

Most Common Construction Site Accidents

Construction sites are a common location for accidents because of the nature of the work and the busy activity in the vicinity. The continuous operation of vehicles and equipment add the to the noise and chaotic atmosphere that can cause breaks in concentration that can lead to accidents. A number of types of accidents are commonly found in these areas:

Falls From Ladders or Scaffolding

Much of the work done on construction sites involves being on ladders, roofs or scaffolding, which increases the chances for accidents exponentially. All ladders and scaffolding should be tethered as securely as possible. Fall prevention belts can help to minimize injuries from roof falls. All workers should wear proper footwear for this type of work.

Injuries From Use of Equipment

Saws, drills, mixers, jackhammers, cranes, bulldozers and construction vehicles all pose significant risks for workers. Proper equipment training, availability of safety equipment and frequent safety reminders can help to reduce the incidence of accidents.

Falling Objects

Construction materials are often brought up to upper levels of the structure, and these can pose falling hazards for those working below. Ensure that all materials, tools and equipment are properly secured when working above ground level to prevent objects from falling on other workers.


Electrical hazards are also common on construction sites. The danger of electrocution affects not only those working directly with electrical lines. Other workers may not be aware of the presence of exposed wiring when performing tasks. Clear placement of hazard signs can help alert workers to these dangers.


Problems with dehydration and overexertion often occur on construction sites in warm climates. Contractors should always ensure that sufficient water is available to prevent dehydration in warm weather. Frequent breaks in a shaded area will prevent workers from being overcome by intense sunshine and high temperatures. Keep cell phones on hand for emergencies.

Trench Collapses

On sites where digging is required for pipes and other structural equipment, workers may face the danger of collapsing trenches. Ensure that these trenches are properly shored and checked by experienced supervisors before workers enter them to finish operations.

Fires or Explosions

Construction sites may have a variety of flammable chemicals on hand that are used in building tasks. These compounds can ignite from a tossed cigarette or spark from equipment. Keep all chemicals clearly labeled and away from the work area until they are immediately needed. Train workers on the dangers of commonly used compounds to prevent accidents.

If you’ve been injured on the job contact our attorneys today and get started on your case!