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Daniel Rodriguez Teaches the Spence Method

Posted in Daniel Rodriguez,Trial Lawyer on September 20, 2022

Daniel Rodriguez, founder and president of Rodriguez & Associates, facilitates a college course for lawyers at the Thunderhead Ranch campus in Dubois, WY founded by renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence.

Daniel’s 3-week annual course centers around the Spence Method, a unique approach to legal storytelling created by Gerry Spence that provides trial lawyers with insight into themselves, their clients, and cases.

As a member of the faculty at Thunderhead Ranch, Daniel has been trained in the Spence Method and brings decades of applied experience to the classroom. Through the Spence methodology, Daniel assists lawyers in connecting with the story of their case and learning the art of “showing themselves so that the jury will see them as an authentic, relatable, and trustworthy person.” A seasoned trial lawyer, Daniel teaches techniques to tell the story of the case throughout the opening statement, witness examinations, and closing argument.

An experienced, award-winning trial lawyer, Daniel Rodriguez is frequently asked to lecture and teach trial skills for organizations such as the Consumer Attorneys of California, American Association of Justice and numerous other bar associations. In addition, he is affiliated with several professional organizations, including the American Association for Justice, the Kern County Bar Association, and the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.

If you are a trial lawyer and looking to take your skills to a higher level, sign up for the 3-week Spence Method course here.

Daniel Rodriguez Interviewed on KGET for Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted in Daniel Rodriguez,Events on September 14, 2022

Daniel Rodriguez, founder and president of Rodriguez & Associates, was interviewed on KGET Studio 17 Live to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Growing Up As a Migrant Farmworker

Daniel tells his story of being born in south Texas about 8 miles from the Mexican border, to parents with little or no schooling. He grew up as a migrant farmworker, moving every 2-3 months following the crops. Daniel picked cotton in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as other crops in California. 

Daniel, not speaking any English, started school in 8th grade. Through the magic of reading, he learned about engineers and lawyers and knew that those were what wanted to become. His upbringing taught him hard work, and that nothing is ever handed to you, you have to work for everything. 

Learn more about Daniel here.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15 to October 15. It’s a time to celebrate the “history, culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

The reason for starting Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15 is significant because it is “the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.”

Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month here.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Rodriguez & Associates

Posted in Daniel Rodriguez,Events on September 12, 2022

Daniel Rodriguez, president and founder of Rodriguez & Associates, grew up as a migrant farm worker. His family, who was constantly on the move from state to state during his childhood, created his appreciation for how the Hispanic community has made an impact both locally and nationwide.

Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 – October 15, was created to recognize the inspirational achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions.

Join Daniel along with Rodriquez & Associates in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

En Español:

Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case

Posted in Car Accidents,Personal Injury Attorneys,Personal Injury Lawyer,Truck Accidents on September 8, 2022

Walking away from a truck accident as an uninjured driver or passenger of a standard-sized vehicle is rare simply due to the sheer size and force of a moving truck. The injuries that occur in a truck accident are generally severe, often including head trauma, internal bleeding, and back and neck injuries.  

Yet, seeking compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment, wages, and even wrongful death in a truck accident is extremely challenging and tedious. Large trucking companies are prepared with legal teams and massive insurance policies that have the goal of protecting their company, their manufacturers, and their drivers from a large payout. 

Working with a truck accident attorney who has experience handling claims against trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers, as well as aggressive insurance companies, is crucial to the success of your case and your peace of mind while you heal.

Crash Investigation

Attorneys can determine the cause of an accident through an extensive and in-depth investigation that will involve visits to the crash site, a review of the driver’s black box, driver log, and other factors including police reports, weather conditions, and eyewitness reports. Attorneys will address the potential for multiple parties involved by reviewing the trucking company’s history of accidents, manufacturing issues, or other logistical concerns. A detailed investigation can take months to review critical evidence in a truck accident. 

Multiple Parties

Layers of trucking laws, specific investigative procedures, and multiple involved parties can make a successful truck accident lawsuit seem out of reach. Unlike a typical car accident, truck accidents can possibly involve multiple negligent parties in addition to the driver. It is crucial for you and your attorney to understand the connection between various parties including the trucking company, manufacturer, and even cargo loaders. Determining which parties were negligent and should be held liable for injuries and damages is an essential part of your truck accident claim. 

Who Can be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?

The trucking industry has so many interconnected roles that negligence, as early in the process as manufacturing, can create potential harm for anyone on the road. Truck drivers, manufacturing companies, truck owners, and trucking companies, among others, can potentially hold responsibility for an accident.

Truck Drivers

The most common defendant in a trucking accident, the negligent behaviors of a truck driver can have tremendous consequences for others on the road. Common negligent actions among truck drivers include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving impaired
  • Failing to follow state or federal laws
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failing to maintain driver’s log

Truck Companies/Truck Owners

The truck’s owner, whether an individual, a company, or a leasing firm, is responsible for ensuring the truck is completely safe and roadworthy. If the truck’s owner fails to properly maintain the truck, and that lack of maintenance causes an accident, the owner can be held liable for any damages. In addition, companies are responsible for hiring fully licensed and experienced drivers and ensuring those drivers comply with trucking laws. Common negligence among truck companies and owners includes:

  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Hiring unqualified drivers
  • Insufficient training of employees
  • Encouraging their drivers to violate hour and sleep restrictions

Truck Manufacturer

Manufacturing errors are significant factors in truck accidents. Recorded data from 2021 showed that about 30% of all truck-related accidents are caused by tire defects. Even when warnings and recalls are in place, the truck manufacturer can still potentially be held liable for damages. 

Cargo Loaders

The companies that hire trucking companies to transport their materials and products can potentially be held liable if their materials are not securely fastened and come loose. Over-loading, improper balance or the use of unsafe straps, levers, or other securing devices are all common factors in trucking hazards.

How We Can Help

California remains among the top states with the highest fatal trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Patrol’s 2019 statistics, 7.7% of California truck drivers were involved in fatal crashes during that year. 

Truck accidents are complex and require an experienced eye. Our Bakersfield trucking accident attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates have handled hundreds of truck accidents. Founder and senior attorney Daniel Rodriguez, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of over $70 million for a truck vs SUV case. Our firm is familiar with truck engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a truck accident, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and possible legal options.

What is a Shared Fault Law and How Can it Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Posted in Personal Injury,Personal Injury Attorneys,Personal Injury Lawyer,Premises Liability on August 10, 2022

Personal injury accidents are not always cut and dry. In California, shared fault laws can affect the outcome of your case. Aggressive insurance companies will use shared fault to their advantage, to minimize their client’s responsibility and damages payout. If you have been injured and are pursuing a personal injury claim, working with a highly experienced personal injury attorney at a reputable personal injury law firm can help you navigate the complexities of shared fault to ensure that you find justice in your case.

What is Shared Fault?

Shared Fault, or comparative negligence, is a law that allows for both the plaintiff and the defendant to be held partially liable for damages. In a situation where both parties were negligent, the court can issue percentages of fault, requiring each party to pay damages to the other, or mitigating the liability of the defendant. Comparative negligence follows the general understanding that the plaintiff does not have the right to recover what they contributed to the accident.

California is among the few states that abide by a “Pure” comparative fault rule which allows the defendant to recover some damages even if they are mostly at fault for the incident.

When Can Shared Fault Occur?

Shared fault can be found in many types of California personal injury cases. While most commonly seen in car accident claims, other common shared fault cases include:

Who Decides Percentages of Fault?

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, but you were also driving distracted and did not see the other car, how much of the fault is placed on you versus the defendant must be decided. Typically, it is the judge or a jury who reviews the facts and makes an informed decision about the role each party played in the accident.

When your case goes to settlement or trial, your attorney will be able to negotiate the percentages of fault for your case. It may be found that the drunk driver in the example above was 80% at fault for the accident, and you were 20% at fault for driving distracted. The damages you receive would be reduced by the amount of 20%.

Every personal injury accident is unique and there is no absolute method to appropriating fault. With many factors that can influence comparative negligence in a case, it is important to have the support of a legal team who has the ability to advocate for you against large insurance agencies and big companies.

How We Can Help

If you have been injured by the negligence of another person in California, contact Rodriguez & Associates today at (661) 323-1400 or by filling out this online form. Our team of Bakersfield, California personal injury lawyers is skilled at handling all types of personal injury claims including those that involve shared fault, with the goal of securing the most possible damages for you as you recover.

What Are “Catastrophic Injuries” in California?

Posted in California,Personal Injury,Personal Injury Attorneys on August 1, 2022

An unexpected injury can have a significant impact on your life, affecting your financial stability, physical health, and ability to go to work. However, some injuries are more severe and lead to more complications than others.

Catastrophic injuries are the most serious bodily injuries a person could sustain. However, this type of harm can be difficult to define. Here is what you need to know about catastrophic injuries in California.

Common Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

According to Supplement 4, Title 42 of the United States Code, a catastrophic injury is defined as any type of injury that permanently prevents a person from performing any type of gainful work. A catastrophic injury can involve many forms of damage, such as the following:

In California, the definition of catastrophic injury is relatively vague. This type of injury is referenced in the California Labor Code, which states that a catastrophic injury includes, but is not limited to, the loss of a limb, paralysis, severe burn, or severe head injury.

The Average Settlement for a Catastrophic Injury Claim

If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit or insurance claim against the person responsible for the harm that you suffered. Through your lawsuit, you can recover compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, disability accommodations, and pain and suffering.

In cases involving catastrophic injuries, these financial awards are often much higher than settlements for non-catastrophic injuries. Depending on your circumstances, your settlement can be as high as hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Catastrophic injury settlements are likely to have a high value for several reasons, such as the following:

  • If you have a catastrophic injury, you will likely require greater amounts of medical care than other patients and may also have long-term care costs.
  • You may require disability accommodations to live with your injury, such as mobility equipment, live-in caregivers, and modifications to your home or vehicle.
  • Catastrophic injuries prevent you from returning to work, meaning that you can claim compensation for the loss of future earnings and benefits.
  • Your pain and suffering award will likely be higher for a catastrophic injury because of the injury’s impact on your life.

What to Do After Experiencing a Catastrophic Injury

If you develop a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve justice. In these situations, it is important to remain calm and seek help as soon as you can.

First, you should seek emergency medical attention for your injuries. Your health is your top priority. Go to the hospital or call emergency medical services as soon as possible and save all of your medical records.

If possible, call 911 to report the accident to the police or fill out an incident report. These documents will ensure that there is a record of the accident on file, which you can use to support your injury claim. Try to gather as much evidence as you can, such as photographs, videos, and witness information.

After you receive medical care, contact a California catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can guide you through each stage of your injury claim and work to recover the compensation that you deserve.

“Clear the Shelters” 2022 with Rodriguez & Associates

Posted in Events,Media Appearance on July 25, 2022

Chantal A. Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez of Rodriguez & Associates, along with their dogs Penelope and Zola, invite you to Clear the Shelters on August 27, 2022.

They teamed up with KGET – TV 17 Bakersfield, an NBC Owned Television Station, and the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center to raise awareness about the nationwide pet adoption event that helps find loving homes for animals in need.

Watch the segment here:

Adoption Drive – August 27, 2022 at:
City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center
201 S Mt. Vernon Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93307
661-832-7387

Click here to learn more about the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center.

Most Common Damages in a California Truck Accident

Posted in Personal Injury,Truck Accidents,Wrongful Death on July 7, 2022

Accidents caused by large commercial trucks can be devastating due to the sheer force of a moving truck hitting a car. In these instances, semi-trucks can be 30-40 times the mass of a standard-sized car, reaching 40 tons when fully loaded. Statistically, in an accident involving a car and a semi-truck, the truck’s occupants are less likely to be physically harmed while the car’s driver and passengers sustain catastrophic and fatal injuries.

Injuries caused by truck accidents result in massive financial and emotional burdens. Pursuing damages for a truck accident can be challenging and complex considering the navigation of motor vehicle carrier rules, state and federal transportation laws, and statutes of limitations. Trucking companies and manufacturers retain aggressive attorneys and insurance companies with the sole objective of avoiding large payouts for at-fault accidents. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is your best opportunity to receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

What Damages Can Be Recovered?

The state of California has a wide range of damages that can be compensated after a trucking accident. While all cases and compensation packages are unique, most damages can be defined as economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages:

Economic damages account for any costs or financial losses that can and will be incurred due to injury or death including:

Medical Expenses

Following an accident, your health and recovery are the top priority. Be sure to seek all the medical help that you need. Waiting to seek medical support leaves an opportunity for the trucking company’s insurance and legal teams to claim you are not as injured as you report. Medical damages can include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Emergency medical support
  • Prescription medications
  • Current and future medical care

Property Damage

Due to the sheer size of trucks, harm to your vehicle is inevitable. After an accident, it is possible to collect compensation to repair or replace your vehicle. If your vehicle was your primary mode of transportation for attending doctor’s appointments and other necessary meetings, travel costs could be included as damages in your claim. Additionally, personal property such as jewelry, watches, and cellphones damaged in the accident can be compensated for.

Lost Wages

If physical, mental, or emotional injuries prevent you from working, you may be able to collect compensation for lost wages. This is critical because truck accident victims are often financially responsible for entire families, and lost wages and piling up medical bills could cause long-term financial devastation.

Furthermore, if the injuries prevent you from working at the same capacity as before the trucking accident, you may be able to claim “loss of earning capacity” compensation.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages or general damages, such as loss of enjoyment of life or mental anguish, are often difficult to calculate without the help of a highly experienced truck accident attorney. These stressors do not have a specific price tag but could harm your life even more than your medical bills. Examples of non-economic damages may include:

  • Fear, anxiety, and depression
  • Body scarring or disfigurements
  • Not being able to hold your baby due to physical injuries
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of identity due to not being able to work

Wrongful Death Damages

If a loved one tragically dies from a trucking accident, certain family members could collect wrongful death damages such as:

  • Immense pain and suffering
  • Medical costs
  • Loss of companionship and care
  • Funeral costs
  • Loss of benefits and wages

Punitive Damages

In rare situations, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are only available if the driver or the trucking company showed willful misconduct, fraud, or malice and are intended to punish the wrongdoer and prevent future misconduct. For example, if the truck driver was on drugs while driving, punitive damages may be part of the compensation package and may require compensation paid towards awareness campaigns or training.

Bakersfield, California Truck Accident Attorneys

In a small town like Bakersfield, finding a personal injury law firm with a truck accident representation success record, engineering expertise, extensive personal injury legal experience, and the ability to acquire trucking logs and records is a rare combination.

Rodriguez & Associates is a personal injury firm well known for all the above. Founder and lead attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, has a degree in engineering and 30+ years of esteemed personal injury experience with concentrated experience in truck accidents. He, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of $70,578,289 million against a trucking company.

Truck accidents are extremely complex as they generally include many more factors than a typical car accident. Hiring a highly awarded trucking accident law firm can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

For a free and confidential consultation about your case, please fill out this form or call/text: 661-323-1400. We speak Spanish and English.

How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Truck Accident Case?

Posted in Car Accidents,Personal Injury,Truck Accidents on July 1, 2022

An accident involving a massive truck can leave a wake of devastation for the victim and their family, not to mention mounting medical bills, the uncertainty of the future, as well as pain and suffering. While negligent parties can be held responsible financially, those payments are not issued until the case is resolved. Clients are often left wondering when their case will reach a resolution.

While it can be difficult to enter into a process with no specific defined outcome or end date, the truck accident attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates aim to make your lawsuit process as transparent and informative as possible while you heal.

Truck Accident Claims Process

Due to the nature of the trucking industry, a truck accident claim takes time. Each truck accident presents a unique set of challenges dependent on a multitude of variables including the extent of medical treatment needed by the victim, insurance company coverage, and the availability of evidence or witnesses. In many instances, trucking accidents can have more than one party held liable including the driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or even the truck broker.

While your attorney may have control over some aspects of your case, there is a specific process that your legal team will follow in order to handle your case:

Collecting Evidence

A thorough truck accident attorney will review every piece of evidence that may indicate negligence. Attorneys will review the scene of the crash as well as inspect the following types of materials for evidence:

  • Surveillance footage
  • Documents
  • Photographs
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Police reports
  • Event data recorders
  • Truck log and maintenance records

Medical Treatment Information

Depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, an accurate representation of damages may not be available immediately. Before deciding what may be a fair and reasonable claim, your attorney will need to receive complete medical documentation that outlines past, current, and future medical needs that resulted from the accident. That can mean waiting for extensive surgeries and therapies to be completed.

Injury Demand Letter

In order to move forward with your case, your legal team must submit a letter of demand to the defendant’s insurance company specifying how the claimant has been physically and emotionally affected by the accident and the damages required due to their negligence.

Settlement Negotiations

The negotiation process can be extensive as attorneys and the trucking company will go back and forth to assign fault and determine damages. Each party will scrutinize the evidence in order to reach a settlement. While most truck accident claims tend to be resolved in mediation, the lack of a settlement agreement, especially in a high-stakes case involving large, known organizations, means the case may go to trial.

Trial

Cases that proceed to trial can be drawn out by the process of the court. Cases can typically last a few days to several weeks depending on the amount of evidence to be reviewed, the number of witnesses testifying, and how long the jury takes to deliberate, among other factors.

How We Can Help

Truck accident cases involve a lot of moving parts that are necessary to proceed toward a resolution. It is challenging to identify a time frame in substantial cases, but starting as soon as possible is key. If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a truck accident, it is important to reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney immediately to assess and begin to build your case.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience handling truck accident cases covering not only the engineering and legal issues but also the day-to-day details for truckers that can lead to accidents. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, including driver logs and trucking company records.

Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Danay Gonzalez Praises Rodriguez & Associates’ Commitment to Community

Posted in Firm News,Rodriguez & Associates on June 16, 2022

After five years as an attorney with Rodriguez & Associates, Danay Gonzalez reflects on how she has followed in the footsteps of her mentor Daniel Rodriguez to become the voice for many in her community.

Danay’s family ties to Bakersfield and Lamont have created a natural bond between her work and her community. From a young age, Danay was drawn to helping others. In an area where there was much fear surrounding immigration laws and deportation, she remembers times when her peers struggled to speak up for themselves. She quickly became the person they turned to for help and advocacy. Inspired by Daniel’s success and visibility throughout Lamont’s Hispanic community as well as his dedication to helping others defend their rights, Danay pursued her interest in the law.

“I grew up knowing Daniel as a big part of the Lamont community. Everyone has a lot of respect for Daniel. He is a pillar in our community and a strong voice for the Hispanic population. I feel honored to be working at the same firm that inspired me to be a lawyer.”

Now, as a trial attorney with Rodriguez & Associates, Danay finds a similar calling in supporting clients through some of the most difficult moments of their lives. She says, “Being a trial lawyer is such a satisfying experience because you get to tell the client’s story. There is no better feeling than telling my clients’ stories and seeing how it affects the jury. Creating that connection with the jury is what makes a case successful… Knowing that I am helping my community and making a difference, makes it all worthwhile.”

Community remains a driving force in the success of Rodriguez & Associates. Danay considers that the deep connection the team has to each other and to the area allows them to connect with locals and become the firm that people turn to when they need help.

“We truly treat our clients like family – that’s what makes us so special. That touch of detail is what makes our firm different. We are able to maintain relationships after the fact and see [our clients] be able to move on from traumatic experiences.”

Danay also recognizes the firm’s determination to create successful outcomes for some of the most difficult cases that other firms would have turned down. She says Rodriguez & Associates is known in the community for taking on those challenges and finding ways to make it work as a team. They are not intimidated to take difficult cases to trial, no matter the amount of work that is required.

Danay is building a successful career as a trial attorney alongside Daniel Rodriguez, Chantal Trujillo, and Patrick Benitez, who she credits with developing the strong, collaborative work environment at the firm. In the last year, she helped her team prepare significant cases that went to trial including the wrongful death of a 71-year-old man that obtained a $4 million verdict and a school sex abuse case in which her team ultimately settled during trial for over $2 million against the school district.

She says of her experiences with the team, “I have learned so much in the last five years. I really feel like I belong here and this is what I was meant to do. I am more confident, more vocal, and have a greater understanding of the law. I am excited to keep learning. I am truly thankful for Daniel – he has helped mold me into the attorney I have become. His mentorship has given me a lot of confidence and tools to become successful.”

While Danay thrives on the achievement of success in the courtroom, she sees the everyday pain that her clients face and understands the sensitive nature of the types of cases she brings to trial, especially those involving children. She expresses the importance of building trust with her clients and having patience and empathy for everyone she represents.

Danay is an ambitious and hard-working attorney who wears her heart on her sleeve. She has made a tremendous impact on the firm and in her representation of clients from within the Bakersfield community. We are extremely proud to have her as a member of the Rodriguez & Associates family.