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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.

 

Anastasia Drulias Follows Her Dream of Becoming an Attorney

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

For Anastasia Drulias, working at Rodriguez & Associates has been a powerful experience that has propelled her toward her dream of becoming an attorney.

Since high school, Anastasia has known that she wanted to pursue a career in law. As a local to the Bakersfield area, Rodriguez & Associates is a well-known personal injury firm, and she was able to secure an interview with Daniel Rodriguez following high school. Her genuine interest to learn about the law and her hard-working attitude made her a great fit from the start.

Over the last five years, Anastasia has transitioned from a summer intern to a full-time law clerk working alongside the teams of attorneys, completing research, and assisting with cases from start to finish.

It was the people at Rodriguez & Associates, Anastasia says, that kept her returning year after year while she was in school. She expresses a level of comfort in the collegial atmosphere, explaining that while every employee hustled, it was still a very collaborative environment – everyone was always willing to help or answer her questions.

“One of my favorite things about working at the firm is that the attorneys have always been so willing and eager to teach me things, whether they are specific to the task at hand or whether they are just more broadly applicable to the practice of law in general. I am so thankful that they have taken me under their wing in that way and that I have had the opportunity to learn so much from them.”

Gaining hands-on experience with the personal injury firm has not only introduced Anastasia to a variety of practice areas and inspired her to pursue her dream of obtaining her Juris doctorate, but has also helped her identify an interest in international law and international human rights, an area of law that she hopes to explore more at Georgetown University. She credits Rodriguez & Associates with helping her find that alignment with her passion:

“I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer but I didn’t know why. Working here and seeing how the attorneys interact with clients, and how cases progress has shown me why. I learned that I enjoy helping people through the litigation process.”

While we are sad to see Anastasia leave Bakersfield, we know that a wonderful and fulfilling future lies ahead for her. We wish her all the best at Georgetown!

Daniel Rodriguez Discusses the Depp vs. Heard Defamation Trial on KGET

Posted in Media Appearance on June 7, 2022

Daniel Rodriguez was interviewed on Sunrise with KGET – TV 17 Bakersfield about the Depp vs. Heard defamation trial. He talks about the importance of credibility and relatability in these types of cases as well as the influence of social media.

During a defamation trial, it is important that witnesses are seen as credible and relatable in the eyes of the jury. In the Depp vs. Heard trial, Amber was caught saying things that were found to be untrue and lost credibility.

After a while, you forgive people who’ve made mistakes but you don’t forgive people who lie to you.

As for being relatable – it is easier to vote against someone you don’t like; if someone is deceitful and disparaging, then it’s going to be hard to like that witness.

A defamation lawsuit is putting your character into evidence- how you live your life matters. Dirty laundry will be put out there, and in this case, not just the jury, the entire world was watching. It is important that the evidence you are providing is putting you in the right light.

Social media affected the Depp vs. Heard case. There are two main subsets of defamation: slander- what you say, and liable – what you have written. Now, social media plays a part – if you post false information or lie about someone and it hurts them emotionally and financially you can find yourself in a lawsuit.

You have to take accountability on social media. You can’t just post anything, especially if they are lies because they can come back to haunt you.

Watch the full Sunrise interview with Daniel here:


Daniel Rodriguez is the founder and president of Rodriguez & Associates, a Bakersfield personal injury law firm. He appears on KGET – TV  17 to answer common questions and help their viewers better understand the law.

Daniel Rodriguez Named A Favorite Bakersfield Personal Injury Lawyer

Posted in Awards,Firm News,Honors and Recognitions on June 3, 2022

Daniel Rodriguez was listed in The Bakersfield Californian’s 2022 Best of Bakersfield Readers’ Choice as a favorite in the Best Personal Injury Lawyer category. Each year, The Bakersfield Californian hosts this competition to help residents find the best of the best in the county.

Daniel’s professional dedication to the Bakersfield community has not gone unnoticed and has earned him nationwide recognition. Daniel has been included in Super Lawyers® since 2009, as well as the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorney’s™ 10 Best Attorneys in California.

To learn more about Daniel Rodriguez, click here.

Rodriguez & Associates was also named a favorite in the Best Law Firms category. Thank you to everyone who voted for us!!

Rodriguez & Associates Listed In The 2022 Best Of Bakersfield Readers’ Choice Favorites

Posted in Awards,Firm News,Honors and Recognitions,Kern County Lawyers on June 3, 2022

The Bakersfield Californian has named Rodriguez & Associates a favorite in the “Best Law Firm” category in The Best of Bakersfield Readers’ Choice Poll 2022.

Daniel Rodriguez was also listed as a favorite in the “Best Personal Injury Lawyer” category.

Thank you to everyone that voted for us!

Every year, The Bakersfield Californian, a Kern County local newspaper, holds this competition to help our residents find the best of the best in the county from the Best Local Band to the Best Cardiologist. Congratulations to all those recognized this year!

Rodriguez & Associates has also been listed for years on Expertise.com as the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Bakersfield.

Learn more about our firm here.

Five Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents,Personal Injury on May 31, 2022

When you own a motorcycle, good maintenance is an important part of responsible riding. Keeping your motorcycle in good condition can prolong the life of your bike. In addition, regular maintenance can reduce the risk of accident and keep you and others safe on the road. 

Here are a few key tips for keeping your motorcycle in great condition.

#1: Change Your Oil Regularly

To keep your motorcycle in good condition, you will need to change your oil every once in a while. Your owner’s manual should tell you how often you will need to complete an oil change, but in general, this should occur after several thousand miles.

Most people change their motorcycle oil at least once per year. You may need to change your oil more frequently if you drive more often or take your bike through very dirty or dusty areas. Before you ride your motorcycle, always check your oil and never ride if it is low.

#2: Lubricate Your Drive Chain

One of the most important components in a motorcycle is the drive chain. The drive chain helps transfer power from your motorcycle’s engine to your rear wheel. If this chain falls into disrepair, your motorcycle can become dangerous to ride.

It is important to lubricate your drive chain on a regular basis. For best results try to loop the chain after each ride. You should also check the chain’s tension to ensure that it is adequate.

#3: Inspect Your Tires

Next, you should always check your tires on a regular basis and replace them when necessary. Your manual will also include instructions on how often you should change your tires and what type of tires to use.

In addition to regular replacements, you should always check your tires to make sure that the pressure is correct to ensure good handling and avoid potential blowouts. Always check for signs of wear and tear as well; If you notice anything unusual, take your tires in for replacement.

#4: Test Your Brakes Before Each Ride

Your brakes are an extremely important mechanism for motorcycle safety. You should always test your brakes before riding to make sure that they are working. You should also check the brake fluid to ensure that it is at adequate levels.

Every couple of years or as dictated by your owner’s manual, you should replace your brake fluid. Additionally, check the thickness of your brake pads to make sure that they are not worn down. If you start noticing wear and tear, replace them.

#5: Clean Your Air Filter

The motorcycle’s air filter keeps debris out of the engine. To avoid dangerous conditions, you should regularly clean your air filter with compressed air. If the filter is difficult to clean, replace it on a regular basis.

Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

These tips can help keep your motorcycle in good working condition and reduce your risk of an accident caused by poor maintenance. However, collisions can still occur on California roads. If you were involved in an unexpected motorcycle accident, it is important to speak to an attorney.

In California, injured motorcyclists may be eligible for financial compensation if someone else caused their accident. As soon as possible following the collision, speak to a Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney to discuss your legal options.