Rodriguez and Associates

Kern County’s Premier
Personal Injury Lawyers



Commercial Vehicle Driving Data Laws

Posted in California,Personal Injury,Truck Accidents on March 20, 2023

Electronic Logging Device laws are a set of mandates issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and enforced by the Department of Transportation, requiring commercial motor vehicle drivers to record driving data electronically using an approved electronic logging device (ELD).

As commercial trucking accidents become an increasing trend across the United States, federal and state legislators have adopted reporting systems that hold commercial drivers and trucking companies accountable for safe driving practices. Regulation changes were announced by the FMCSA in 2015, with all trucks required to fully adopt the use of ELDs by 2019 in an effort to create safer roads for all drivers.

What is an ELD?

An ELD is an electronic logging device that is connected to a vehicle to record driving hours for the purpose of preparing “hours of service” reports. The recorded driving data which includes vehicle location, engine hours, vehicle movement, and miles driven, can be accessed remotely by dispatchers or compliance managers and viewed by the driver as well as a Department of Transportation officer at any time.

Drivers and fleet managers are not able to edit recorded data, ensuring its validity should records be required for legal action.

What is the ELD Mandate?

Federal laws require commercial drivers to install and register certified electronic logging devices that monitor the hours a truck and its driver are in service. Limitations are placed on commercial drivers and data collected by the devices to ensure devices will capture the required information.

Drivers, supervisors, and trucking companies must abide by the regulations outlined by the FMCSA. Failure to comply with these rules may result in significant citations, fines, and possible loss of licensure.

Why is Tracking Driving Hours Important?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that about 450,000 truck accidents occur nationwide each year, resulting in over 4,000 deaths annually. 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. Most of these accidents are preventable and happen at the fault of the truck driver.

Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents and is a result of exhaustion from long hours of driving. Many drivers will drive past the point of exhaustion to make more money. The FMCSA has set specific laws for commercial drivers including mandatory breaks. Commercial drivers may drive for up to eleven hours following a mandatory 10-hour rest. In California, all commercial drivers must rest for a minimum of 10 minutes after every 4 hours of driving and take a thirty-minute break after every 5 hours.

How We Can Help

Truck accident cases are complex and involve a lot of moving parts that require specific experience and a detailed approach. If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a truck accident, it is important to reach out to a skilled truck accident attorney immediately to assess and begin to build your case. Our Bakersfield truck accident attorneys are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, including driver logs and trucking company records, and handling aggressive insurance companies that represent commercial drivers.

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 of commercial truck driving that can lead to accidents. Contact our office today to discuss your case by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Rodriguez & Associates Celebrates 5000th-Case Milestone

Posted in Daniel Rodriguez,Firm News,Kern County Lawyers,Rodriguez & Associates on March 16, 2023

Twenty-two years ago, Daniel Rodriguez founded Rodriguez & Associates with the goal of providing his Bakersfield, CA community with a devoted and client-centered personal injury law firm to help individuals and their families through unthinkable moments in life. Today, Daniel is proud to announce the firm has signed its 5,000th case since opening its doors in 2001.

This significant milestone represents the culmination of extensive casework, detailed research, and countless court dates. As a firm built on relationships, 5,000 cases signifies the care and urgency provided to every individual and family member who walks through the door, and the team’s drive to fight for justice.

For team members like Patrick Benitez, Rodriguez & Associates’ Litigation Director, who has been with the firm since its doors first opened, this achievement is monumental. “Looking back to the beginning, we have grown so much and have been able to help an incredible amount of people through our pursuit of justice,” he says. “The long hours, extensive research, and challenges are all worth it when we take a step back and look at the larger picture which shows the impact we have made in our community.”

Phyllis Stassi, the firm’s case manager who handled the 5000th case says, “This accomplishment speaks to our level of experience, not only with the volume of cases we handle, but also the variety of scenarios, nuances, and exceptionalities that we have been exposed to through our individualized approach and close work with each client.” Like Patrick, Phyllis has experience with the firm back in its early years. She holds a tremendous amount of respect for Daniel and the culture he has developed at the firm.

Among the 5,000 cases the firm has completed, Rodriguez & Associates holds multiple record-setting verdicts and settlements, reflecting the level of expertise their team of personal injury attorneys provides across many practice areas including car accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, police misconduct, child abuse, and school shootings. Some of their most prominent cases include:

  • $115,000,000 – Largest personal injury settlement in Kern County history
  • $73,650,000 – Largest personal Injury verdict in Kern County history
  • $70,578,289 – 2nd largest personal injury verdict in Kern County history
  • $36,700,000 – 3rd largest personal injury verdict in Kern County history
  • $17,500,000 – Downed power line electrocutes man
  • $16,100,000 – Big rig wheel flies off and crashes into car
  • $13,500,000 – School district employee runs over student
  • $12,075,000 – Drunk big rig driver kills young girl
  • $12,000,000 – Forklift incident that killed a truck driver

Currently, the firm is representing the family of a Bakersfield Police-involved auto accident victim, Mario Lares. Mr. Lares was killed on his way home from work on January 19, 2023, as officers pursued a stolen vehicle. This case exemplifies how evidence collection, research, and knowledge of the community can significantly impact the foundation of a case. Rodriguez & Associates examines each case individually and takes the time to research and involve expert witnesses and forensic engineers to collect the most accurate and relevant evidence and information.

Much of the firm’s notoriety is due to Daniel’s diligence when preparing for trial and his team’s determination to not back down from finding justice. Rodriguez & Associates has become known for taking on challenging cases and upholding those cases through the appeals process.

“Although [Daniel] has been practicing for 40 years, he continues to learn new techniques and new strategies. He leads by example which inspires the team to grow personally and professionally as well.”
-Patrick Benitez, Litigation Director at Rodriguez & Associates

Congratulations to Daniel Rodriguez and his team at Rodriguez & Associates for reaching 5,000 cases! This milestone achievement is a testament to the firm’s dedication to the Bakersfield community, its commitment to placing clients first, and the team’s drive to fight for justice.

Rodriguez & Associates’ 2022 Verdict Increased to a $12 Million Settlement

Posted in Firm News,Results,Wrongful Death on March 2, 2023

In December 2022, Daniel Rodriguez and partners Joel Andreesen, Chantal Trujillo, and Danay Gonzalez secured an $11 million wrongful death verdict for the family of a man who was killed in a tragic job site incident.

In February 2023, this same case settled for $12 million in total. We were approached by the defense asking if we would settle under their $11 million policy and we refused.

When it comes to getting justice and fighting for our client’s rights, we never back down.

How to File a Car Accident Claim with Progressive

Posted in Car Accidents on March 1, 2023

Being involved in a car accident is always a difficult experience. In addition to dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of the accident, you also have to navigate the process of filing an insurance claim. This process can be daunting and sometimes, it is necessary to work with a personal injury lawyer. If the at-fault driver has Progressive auto insurance, you will need to follow a series of careful steps to file a claim.

Submit Your Claim to Progressive

The first step in filing a car accident claim with Progressive is to report the accident to the company. You can do this online, through the Progressive app, or by calling the company’s claims department. When you report the accident, be prepared to provide as much information as possible, including the date, time, and location of the collision, the names and contact information of any other drivers involved, and the names and contact information of any witnesses.

Assess Your Inspection and Repair Options

Once you have reported the accident to Progressive, the company will assign an adjuster to your claim. The adjuster will contact you to discuss the next steps in the claims process, which may include an inspection of your vehicle to assess the damage. Depending on the severity of the damage, the adjuster may recommend that you take your car to a repair shop.

Schedule and Receive Your Repairs

The adjuster may recommend that you take your car to a repair shop that is part of the Progressive network. If you choose to have your car repaired at a shop that is not part of the Progressive network, you will need to provide the adjuster with an estimate for the cost of the repairs. 

Once the adjuster approves the estimate, you can schedule your repairs with the repair shop of your choice. When the repairs are complete, you will need to provide Progressive with an invoice for the work that was done. If you have rental car coverage as part of your policy, you may be able to rent a car while your car is being repaired.

Should You Provide a Statement to Progressive?

After an accident, the insurance company may ask you to provide a statement about what happened. While this process may seem routine and straightforward, it is important to proceed with caution. Insurance companies often use statements as evidence to minimize their liability and reduce the amount of compensation that they need to pay. That’s why it is essential to seek the advice of a lawyer before providing a statement.

Insurance companies have teams of adjusters whose job is to protect the company’s interests. Without legal representation, you may not know your rights or be able to negotiate effectively with insurance companies. 

On the other hand, a car accident attorney is dedicated to protecting your interests and advocating for the highest possible settlement. Your lawyer can help you understand your legal options, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and escalate your claim to a lawsuit if necessary. 

Injured in a California Car Accident? Speak with an Attorney

After a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention and gather as much evidence as possible. Then, contact a California car accident lawyer who can represent your case and fight for your right to compensation. Schedule a free consultation immediately after the collision to discuss your case and take your first steps toward filing an insurance claim.

Can You Sue For Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

Posted in California,Car Accidents on March 1, 2023

Car accidents are common occurrences that can happen to anyone at any time. While most people focus on the physical injuries that can result from a car accident, it’s important to remember that emotional distress can also arise from such incidents. Emotional distress can severely impact an individual’s mental health and overall well-being, leading to long-lasting psychological issues. 

If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing emotional distress, you may be wondering if you can sue for compensation. Under California law, you have the right to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for your collision. 

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a psychological condition that can arise from a traumatic event, such as a car accident. This level of distress can manifest itself in different ways, including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbances, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pain. 

The impact of emotional distress can vary from person to person, and it can be challenging to deal with. For instance, some individuals may feel a deep sense of fear and apprehension every time they get into a car, while others may experience flashbacks or nightmares related to the accident. 

How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Car Accident Claim

California is a fault car accident state. Under state law, victims have the right to pursue insurance claims or lawsuits against negligent drivers who cause motor vehicle collisions. In addition to economic losses like medical expenses and property damage, victims also have the right to claim damages for non-economic pain and suffering, which includes emotional distress.

To prove emotional distress, you must provide evidence that the car accident caused your emotional distress. This can be challenging, as emotional distress is not a visible injury, like a broken bone or a cut. Working with a car accident lawyer can help you prove emotional distress. 

You can leverage several pieces of evidence to prove emotional distress, such as the following:

  • Medical Records: If you sought medical attention for your emotional distress, your medical records could help prove the severity of your symptoms. These documents can also establish a link between your trauma and the collision. 
  • Witness Statements: Eyewitnesses to the accident may be able to provide statements to help establish critical facts about the accident. People in your life, such as your friends and family members, may also be able to testify about your emotional state.
  • Expert Testimony: A mental health expert may be able to testify on your behalf and show how the accident affected you. Your lawyer can connect you with an expert who can support your case.
  • Journal Entries: After the accident, you may want to keep a journal where you detail how the collision has impacted you and affected your mental health. You can use these entries as evidence in your claim against the negligent driver.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Your Emotional Distress Claim

Emotional distress is a valid condition that can arise from a car accident. If you’re experiencing emotional trauma after a car accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention and speak to a personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process. 

With the right evidence and legal representation, you may be able to receive compensation for your emotional distress and the impact it has had on your life. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible to discuss your case and plan your next steps.

Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

Posted in Personal Injury,Rodriguez & Associates,Truck Accidents on February 21, 2023

While distracted driving and speeding do play a role in commercial truck accidents, additional circumstances surround commercial trucking and the common instances of negligence in the industry that can heighten dangerous situations for everyone on the road.

Commercial truck drivers carry a lot of responsibility to get their goods safely to a destination. However, many of them are under pressure to make their deliveries as quickly as possible. This pressure, combined with factors such as driving for long hours, inclement weather, poor road conditions, and mechanical problems, has the potential to cause a serious truck accident.

If you or a family member are the victims of an accident caused by a negligent commercial truck driver you have the right to seek compensation for the damages caused by the driver, a trucking company, or a truck manufacturer depending on the circumstances.

Data from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) averaged over 4,200 fatal commercial truck accidents between 2015-2020. Of those people who were killed in a truck accident, nearly 70% were occupants of a passenger vehicle. According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 107,000 commercial trucks were involved in crashes resulting in injury.

Commercial 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. 

Why do commercial truck accidents happen?

Major Cause of Truck Accidents: Driver Fatigue
Drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours per day. That is 77 hours per week on the road. However, if under pressure to get to their destination or trying to make up time for unforeseen delays, many truck drivers will attempt to drive more hours than they safely should. Lack of sleep, or falling asleep at the wheel, is a major cause of truck accidents.

Mechanical Failures: Brake Failure, Blown Tires, Breakdowns
Truck owners are required by law to see that their trucks are in top working condition when setting out on the road, however, this takes time, money, and potentially hours of usage away while undergoing maintenance. Consequently, many trucks are not given proper maintenance which can lead to mechanical failure like brake failure or blown tires, which can cause an accident.

Unsafe Driving: Speeding and Overtaking
As truck drivers face deadlines to get their deliveries made, they may resort to unsafe driving. Speeding in an 18-wheeler truck significantly reduces reaction time so if a driver is faced with a dangerous situation, they may not be able to break immediately or move over quickly enough to avoid an accident. Another truck accident cause is when a truck cuts off – or overtakes – a vehicle. If the vehicle veers off the road, the likelihood of the accident being fatal is high.

Other Causes: Drug / Alcohol Use, Distracted Driving, Lack of Skill
Many truck drivers who have been involved in an accident have been found guilty of using alcohol and/or drugs on the job. Some use these substances to stay awake to drive longer hours. Drivers have also been found guilty of distracted driving due to phone usage while driving. Sometimes accidents are caused simply because the truck driver lacks expertise and skill in handling large commercial trucks.

How We Can Help

Our Bakersfield truck accident attorneys have handled hundreds of commercial truck accident cases. We are familiar with the causes of commercial truck accidents and skilled at acquiring drivers’ logs, company records, and other evidence to create strong cases.

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.

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.

Show us the Love! Vote for us in the 2023 Best of Readers’ Choice Poll!

Posted in Awards,Daniel Rodriguez,Firm News,Kern County Lawyers,Rodriguez & Associates on February 13, 2023

This Valentine’s Day show your love for our firm by voting for us in the 2023 Best of Readers’ Choice Poll. We are listed in the Best Law Firm category and 3 of our lawyers are listed in the Best Personal Injury Lawyers category.

To vote, click on the direct links below, click vote and enter your email address:

You can vote once a day, every day, until Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PT, so vote daily!

Thank you for showing Rodriguez & Associates your love and Happy Valentine’s Day!


Daniel Rodriguez Represents Family of Police-Involved Auto Accident Victim Mario Lares

Posted in Car Accidents,Daniel Rodriguez,Press Releases on February 8, 2023

Daniel Rodriguez is conducting a private investigation of the circumstances that caused this incident and is pursuing justice for Mario Lares.

Daniel Rodriguez, president and founder of Rodriguez & Associates, is representing the family of Mr. Mario Lares, who was killed after being struck by a Bakersfield Police Department patrol vehicle when he was driving home from work. The renowned Bakersfield personal injury attorney is conducting an independent investigation of the incident to determine liability and seek justice for Mario.

According to reports made by the Bakersfield Police Department, the crash occurred as officers were in pursuit of a stolen vehicle in the early hours of January 19, 2023. Lares was traveling West into the intersection of South Vineland and Muller roads in Bakersfield, while the patrol vehicle was traveling South. Most of the roadways in that area are poorly lit and only stop signs are used to control traffic flow. The California Highway Patrol noted a stop sign for vehicles traveling North and South.

In an interview with KGET Channel 17 local news Rodriguez asked the City of Bakersfield to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. He says the actions of the officers must be addressed. “Just because someone is wearing a badge does not excuse them from the same standards that apply to all of us,” Rodriguez stated.

Rodriguez plans to investigate if the officers failed to stop at the stop sign or failed to follow Code 3 policy – the appropriate use of lights and sirens to clear an intersection before proceeding. “If all of those things turn out to be correct or some of them turn out to be correct, that means that the officer violated laws and he is not above the law,” Rodriguez said.

“We trust the Police to properly use their power and authority to protect the public. When police misconduct causes death, the responsible parties and organizations must be held responsible.”
-Daniel Rodriguez, Founder and President, Rodriguez & Associates

About Rodriguez & Associates
Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing victims of serious personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from the negligence and careless actions of individuals, large companies, and organizations who disregard basic safety precautions. Rodriguez & Associates has obtained the top 3 highest personal injury verdicts in Kern County history and has more multi-million dollar verdicts than any other law firm in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Learn more about Rodriguez & Associates here:

A Spanish version of this press release is available here.

Daniel Rodriguez Representa a La Familia de Mario Lares, Víctima De Un Accidente Automovilístico Involucrado Con La Policía

Posted in Car Accidents,Press Releases on February 8, 2023

Daniel Rodriguez está realizando una investigación privada sobre las circunstancias que provocaron este incidente y está buscando justicia para Mario Lares.

Daniel Rodriguez, presidente y fundador de Rodriguez y Asociados esta representando a la familia del Sr. Mario Lares, quien murió después de ser chocado por una patrulla del Departamento de Policía de Bakersfield cuando conducía a casa desde el trabajo. El renombrado abogado de lesiones personales de Bakersfield está realizando una investigación independiente del incidente para determinar la responsabilidad y buscar justicia para Mario.

Segun los informes hechos por el Departamento de Policía de Bakersfield, el accidente ocurrió cuando los oficiales perseguían un vehículo robado la madrugada del 19 de enero del 2023. El Sr. Lares viajaba al oeste hacia la intersección de las calles South Vineland y Muller en Bakersfield, mientras que la patrulla viajaba hacia el sur. La mayoría de las carreteras en esa área están mal iluminadas y solo se utilizan señales de alto para controlar el flujo de tráfico. La Patrulla de Caminos de California notó una señal de alto para los vehículos que viajan del norte al sur.

En una entrevista con las noticias locales del canal 17 de KGET, Rodriguez pidió a la ciudad de Bakersfield que responsabilice a los responsables por sus acciones. Él dice que las acciones de los oficiales deben ser abordadas. “El hecho de que alguien lleve una insignia no los excusa de los mismos estándares que se aplican a todos nosotros,” afirmó Rodriguez.

Rodriguez planea investigar si los oficiales no se detuvieron en la señal de alto o si no siguieron la política del Código 3 – el uso apropiado de luces y sirenas para despejar una intersección antes de continuar. “Si todas esas cosas resultan ser correctas o algunas de ellas resultan ser correctas, eso significa que el oficial violó las leyes y no está por encima de la ley”, dijo Rodriguez.

“Confiamos en que la policía utilizará su poder y autoridad de manera apropiada para proteger al público. Cuando la mala conducta de la policía causa la muerte, las partes y organizaciones responsables deben rendir cuentas”.
-Daniel Rodriguez, Fundador y Presidente, Rodriguez y Asociados

Acerca de Rodriguez y Asociados

Rodriguez y Asociados tiene décadas de experiencia representando víctimas de lesiones personales graves y reclamos por muerte injusta como resultado de la negligencia y las acciones descuidadas de individuos, grandes empresas y organizaciones que ignoran las precauciones básicas de seguridad. Rodriguez y Asociados ha obtenido los 3 veredictos por lesiones personales más altos en la historia del condado de Kern y tiene más veredictos multimillonarios que cualquier otra firma de abogados en el sur del Valle de San Joaquín. Aprenda mas sobre Rodriguez y Asociados aquí:

Meet Rodriguez & Associates Attorney Jefferson Eberhardt

Posted in Personal Injury Attorneys,Personal Injury Lawyer,Rodriguez & Associates on February 3, 2023

It was a chance meeting with Daniel Rodriguez while borrowing a book from a friend and peer, that catalyzed Jefferson Eberhardt’s path toward Rodriguez & Associates. Speaking with Daniel in those first casual moments in the office taught him a great deal about the culture and merit of the firm and the pride Daniel’s team takes in their work.

“I immediately recognized that the level of dedication the team pours into each case cannot be matched. Everyone is extremely committed. The firm is comprised of a driven group of individuals who make sacrifices and who constantly seek cutting-edge approaches to jury trials. Rodriguez & Associates is the top. It is rare to have a chance to learn from the master, so I seized the opportunity to work for Daniel Rodriguez.”

Jefferson joined the Rodriguez & Associates team in 2022 eager to develop his skills as a trial attorney as part of one of the top firms in personal injury law. He brings to the firm strong written and oral advocacy skills, discipline, and a background in psychology that allows him a unique perspective into the cases he is involved with and empathetic connections with clients.

Although law was not his initial career choice, if you ask Jefferson’s parents, they would say he was born to be a lawyer. Even from a young age, he was determined to have his voice heard; constructing arguments and negotiating everything from allowance upgrades to shopping trips, complete with contracts and conditions.

Jefferson completed his undergraduate degree as a psychology major, only shifting his interest to law after taking a law course and being fully immersed in what the profession entailed. He entered the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego as a Merit Scholarship Recipient and was admitted to the California State Bar in 2014, after graduating.

“I believe that my background in psychology can add tremendous benefit to my trial skills. It is certainly advantageous in demonstrating empathy for my clients and connecting with a jury.”

After passing the Bar, Jefferson began his law career with a firm working on a combination of employment law, business law, and personal injury cases. Through his experiences with a variety of practice areas, Jefferson learned that he was most drawn to cases involving personal injury due to the monumental impact they can have on families and individuals, and found meaning in fighting for the rights of those suffering tragic wrongs.

“I am constantly inspired by our clients. Hearing their stories and getting to know them personally motivates me to pursue justice on their behalf and help bring them peace.”

Dedicated not only to his profession but also to his personal health, fitness and nutrition are an important part of Jefferson’s busy lifestyle. He uses fitness to balance the stress of the strenuous and time-consuming work expected of attorneys. His personal health has become such an ingrained part of his lifestyle that while attending a required 3-week trial lawyer course in Wyoming he had a set of dumbbells shipped to him.

Although not originally from Bakersfield, Jefferson shares the sense of community and pride that Rodriguez & Associates exemplifies in their work and relishes the opportunities to learn from some of the most experienced and practiced attorneys in the personal injury arena. He is committed to being the best version of himself professionally and personally to stand with our team in helping those who need help the most.

We are so grateful to have Jefferson at Rodriguez & Associates!