Category Archives: California

Hiring a California Personal Injury Lawyer

Thursday, May 12, 2022

With more than 100 years of combined experience, Rodriguez & Associates has fiercely fought for victims of car accidents, trucking accidents, school bullying, oil field accidents, police brutality, and many other types of personal injury cases. Our trusted reputation and record-setting case results are just part of why people like you choose us for representation.

“I was taken care of beyond belief and I want to thank all the staff, especially Martha and Joel.” -J.A., a former client.

“Daniel and his staff leave no stone unturned in representing their clients.” – J.T., Attorney.

If you have a personal injury case and are unsure how to move forward or pick a lawyer, keep reading. Below we will outline the next steps, answer common questions, and provide insight into the Rodriguez & Associates legacy.

If you think you, or a loved one, may have a personal injury case that could use the attention of one of the best Bakersfield personal injury lawyers, please give us a call at 661-323-1400 or fill out this form ASAP. We speak both Spanish and English.

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

If you, or a loved one, are suffering physical or emotional injuries due to the negligence of another person, business, or entity, you may have a case. To determine this, two of the main factors to establish are liability and damages. While we fight for most personal injury cases, here is a list of our specialties.

How much does a Bakersfield, California personal injury lawyer cost?

We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to pay an attorney’s fee unless we secure compensation for you.

What damages are subject to compensation in a California personal injury case?

While every case is unique, some of the most common damages include pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical expenses (current and future) resulting from the injury.

How should I choose a law firm to represent me?

When selecting an attorney or law firm, base your decision on their education and experience handling cases similar to yours. For example, founder Daniel Rodriguez J.D. also has an engineering degree and training in metallurgy, mechanics, forensics, ballistics, and other facets of engineering. Unlike an attorney with a political science undergrad degree, he can use his expertise to recreate a car accident or find where it was in the manufacturing and design process that the culprit corporation chose to cut corners on safety. Furthermore, this enables him to dig deeper to obtain more relevant information when questioning defendants and witnesses.

Additionally, you should pay particular attention to the firm’s reputation and its history of success in obtaining significant case results. Most importantly, you want a firm that will place your interests above all else and obtain maximum compensation for your injury.

Why choose Rodriguez & Associates?

We pride ourselves on giving each case the complete attention it deserves and requires at every step of the legal process. Below are some of the reasons why victims chose us.

  • By hiring doctors and other experts for each case, we create a formidable team that protects our clients’ rights. This helps us fight against big insurance companies and other lawyers who will do everything possible to avoid being held accountable for the harm they have caused our clients. We never cut corners or costs.
  • Our team is dedicated to obtaining the highest possible compensation amount for our clients. We secured the largest verdict in Kern County history of $70,578,289. Please review more of our verdicts and settlements here.
  • We take more personal injury cases to trial than any other local law firm. This means we get the highest amounts for our clients because insurance companies both fear and respect our ability to get the job done.
  • We treat every client like family and are consistently finding ways to improve our community. From financially supporting our local Burn and Neuro Trauma Units to our annual school backpack giveaways and scholarship funds, we are proud to give back to our community. Learn more about our community involvement here.

Our firm is highly experienced in handling personal injury cases involving:

What are some recent personal injury verdicts and settlements obtained by Rodriguez & Associates?

  • $16,100,000: For the driver hit by a big-rig tire that flew off.
  • $9,450,000: The second highest result in Kern County for wrongful death. This was due to a farm equipment accident.
  • $3,875,000: For a faulty brake repair by the dealership
  • $1,500,000: For a motorcyclist hit by a policeman running a red light.

Let’s Talk.

When injured Bakersfield residents want the toughest, most respected legal representation, they talk to Rodriguez & Associates. Contact our personal injury lawyers today to find justice after suffering debilitating injury and loss.

Please call or text us at 661-323-1400, or fill out this online form, for a free and confidential case consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 6:37 pm

Appeal Upheld in One of the First Civil Cases Against a School District in a School Shooting

Thursday, April 7, 2022

On January 10, 2013 (almost a month after Sandy Hook), a Taft Union High School student walked into class carrying a shotgun, aimed it directly at a fellow classmate, and shot him.

Now, almost 10 years later, the then 16-year-old victim is receiving full closure.

The State of California Court of Appeals has upheld the original verdict decided in July 2019, placing 54 percent of the responsibility on the School District for failing to protect their student. The judgment holds Taft Union High School District liable for over $2.5 million in damages.

The School District and its employees tried to dodge responsibility for what happened to their student and instead claimed it was all the actions of the school shooter, his mom, and his brother. The school district and its employees also tried to dodge responsibility by saying they are entitled to immunity under the law.

And, while this is usually the case, the ongoing reports of concern made by fellow students and staff to the school district and its employees revealed who knew the most and cared the least.

The mountain of evidence against the school district and its employees created a groundbreaking case in connection with what a school district is supposed to do when confronted with threats of a school shooter and how to protect their students from a school shooting.

Rodriguez and AssociatesDaniel Rodriguez, Chantal Trujillo, and Danay Gonzalez, from Rodriguez and Associates, have represented the student who was shot throughout this legal battle, which included a six-week jury trial.

During this six-week jury trial, they were able to prove that the school district chose to ignore its own policies and procedures, never informed the police about the reported threats, and never even informed the school shooter’s mom about the reports of concern surrounding her son.

California has had the most school shootings of any state since 1970, totaling 164. With school shootings on the rise, systematic improvements need to be made within the institution of public education to ensure the safety of all students and staff within schools.

In addition to handling cases of school violence, Rodriguez and Associates have experience working with victims of school sexual abuse seeking legal action to resolve complicated problems. If you believe your child’s school has failed in its duty to provide a safe environment for its students, contact us today for a free consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 10:32 pm

California Oilfield Accident Lawyers

Friday, January 28, 2022

The oil production industry brings in a substantial number of jobs and millions in revenue to California’s local and state economies every year.

Bakersfield has become known as the oilfield capital of California with the surrounding area of Kern County accounting for nearly 70% of the state’s oil and about 1% of global oil production. While other regions of California are phasing out oilfield production, Kern County is only growing with the recent approval of thousands of new rigs being placed in the upcoming years.

In an industry that is already considered hazardous, the rapid growth of oil rigs in this area is expected to also increase the number of on-the-job injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported oilfield jobs in the top three most dangerous occupations.

It is possible to prevent oilfield accidents, yet traumatic and fatal accidents caused by explosions, faulty machinery, or environmental factors, among other variables, continue to threaten the safety of oilfield workers unnecessarily.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an oilfield accident, consider seeking professional help from our team of experienced oilfield accident lawyers who can help you navigate the many nuances of large corporation legal tactics and the layers of worker’s rights law. We understand the concerns and frustrations that working families face when an earner is no longer able to work due to injury.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing those injured in the oilfield because of someone else’s negligence, including obtaining $4.5 million for a defective oil field derrick and $3.5 million for a worker who sustained injuries after an oilfield crane dropped on him.

Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. With his first-hand knowledge of how difficult and dangerous the work can be, he and his firm are especially versed in the rights workers have in the oilfield industry when accidents and injuries do occur.

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

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:51 pm

What are the Consequences for Driving Without Insurance in California?

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Under California law, all motor vehicle operators must carry the proper amounts of insurance in case they are involved in a car accident. California follows a fault-based car insurance system, making at-fault drivers financially liable for any collisions they cause. If an at-fault driver does not carry the right insurance coverage, not only could he or she face penalties like fines and license suspensions—he or she may need to pay for the damages of his or her victims out of pocket.  

California Car Insurance Requirements 

When it comes to pursuing compensation after a car accident in California, victims typically have two options. They can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or they can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. If they have optional forms of insurance such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, victims can pursue a claim against their own insurance policy as well.

To uphold this financial responsibility, California requires all drivers to hold the following minimum amounts of car insurance.

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person per accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death to all people per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident

Drivers can choose to purchase higher amounts of insurance if they choose. Victims have the right to recover compensation up to the driver’s policy limits and may choose to file a lawsuit against the driver if the claim is unsuccessful or yields an insufficient settlement.

California’s Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If a driver is caught driving without insurance in California, he or she could face strict consequences. Penalties for driving without insurance depend on the number of previous offenses and whether a collision occurs.

  • For a first offense, a driver could face fines between $100–$200 plus penalty assessments between $260–$520. The police officer may impound his or her vehicle.
  • For a second and subsequent offense, a driver could face between $200–$500 in fines plus penalty assessments between $520–$1,300. His or her vehicle may also be impounded.
  • For a first offense after a collision, the driver could face fines between $100–$200 plus penalty assessments between $260–$520. The driver will also face a one-year driver’s license suspension and will need to supply an SR-22 form, which proves financial responsibility and insurance coverage, to reinstate his or her license. The court may order a vehicle impoundment as well.
  • For a second and subsequent offense after a collision, a driver could face between $200–$500 in fines plus penalty assessments between $520–$1,300. The driver could also face up to a four-year driver’s license suspension and will need to supply an SR-22 form to reinstate driving privileges. The court may order a vehicle impoundment.

Liability Challenges for Uninsured California Drivers

After an accident, a driver may need to pay for a victim’s damages if he or she does not have insurance coverage. The victim can choose to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim after the accident, but not everyone holds this coverage. In these situations, the victim may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver—and the uninsured driver will be financially responsible for paying the settlement.

To avoid these penalties and protect your finances, it is important to comply with California’s insurance laws. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, speak with a California car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can evaluate your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Posted by highrank at 5:33 pm

The Most Dangerous Tasks for Oilfield Workers

Thursday, September 9, 2021

When it comes to jobs that are inherently dangerous, the oil and gas industries are at the top of the list. From 2013 to 2017, the most recent year for data, 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Explosions, such as the type that caused the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, are typically what come to mind when we think of oilfield accidents. But while those events are undoubtedly catastrophic, they are not necessarily the most common danger for those working on the oilfield.

The most dangerous tasks for oilfield workers include:

Driving. One of the most dangerous jobs in the oil industry doesn’t take place on the field or rig but instead on the freeway. Motor vehicle crashes cause over 50 percent of work-related deaths in the oil and gas extraction industries, according to the CDC.

This is largely due to the long hours these drivers are usually required to put in. Oilfield drivers are subject to different rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service regulations than other commercial truck drivers. Because of this, oilfield drivers often work much longer shifts, which increases the odds of a Bakersfield truck accident. The fatigue and exhaustion from such long hours can greatly increase the risk of a catastrophic accident happening.

Derrick operations. Derrick operators build, operate, inspect, manage, and service all components of an oil derrick. This means they are constantly working with heavy, dangerous equipment that if not managed properly can lead to falling objects, crush injuries, and slips and falls.

Derrick operators are also expected to work long hours in all types of weather: extreme heat, freezing cold, wind storms, and other situations. Like drivers, these individuals battle a good deal of fatigue from their working conditions and are at greater risk for accidents because of it.

Roustabout. Roustabouts are entry-level workers who do a number of different tasks, including handling cargo, transporting materials, and maintaining equipment. The work is physically and mentally demanding, and the hours are generally long.

Roustabouts also work in extreme weather conditions and with heavy, dangerous equipment.

Many oilfield accidents are preventable when proper safety regulations are followed and basic precautions taken. It is when employers cut corners to save time that their workers wind up at risk for severe injury and even death.

If anyone knows this firsthand, it’s Rodriguez & Associates boss Daniel Rodriguez, who worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic. He knows firsthand how difficult and dangerous the work can be, and how important it is to give those injured by someone else’s negligence a chance for justice.

If you have been injured in an oilfield accident because of negligence, consider contacting a Bakersfield oilfield injury attorney and pursuing a claim. Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:30 pm

Joel T. Andreesen Helps Raise Close to $1 million for Student Athletes

Friday, August 27, 2021

Joel Andreesen at WorkFor years, the senior partner at Rodriguez & Associates, Joel T. Andreesen, has helped our Bakersfield community. As the outgoing President of the CSUB Athletic Scholarship Fund, he’s helped raise close to $1 million for student-athletes. Because of this more student-athletes than ever before can achieve their educational goals with athletic scholarships.

Joel stated, “This year’s record setting fundraising total of $938,433 is a testament to the Kern County community, CSU Bakersfield Roadrunner nation and the Roadrunner Scholarship Board of Directors and their commitment to all current and future Roadrunner student-athletes. He adds, “The increased donation amount will help Roadrunner athletics get closer to its goal of fully funding all available student-athlete scholarships. I want to express a big thank you to all the Roadrunner donors who helped make this a record-breaking year!”

We thank Joel for everything he’s done for our student-athletes.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:16 pm

California Oilfield Statistics 2021

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

California is one of the top 10 oil-producing states in America, with Kern and Ventura counties home to much of that production. In these counties, oilfields provide employment for thousands of individuals, making it an important industry for the livelihoods of many families.

While work on the oilfield is inherently dangerous, the right safety precautions and processes can avert many disasters and oilfield injuries. It helps too, to be up to speed on recent facts about the ever-changing industry, and what those points and statistics mean for oilfield workers.

Some recent figures include:

● The California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) has jurisdiction over more than 242,000 wells, including nearly 101,300 that are defined as active or idle. The Division’s authority extends from onshore to three miles offshore.

● Annually, 34.9 percent of oil supply sources to California refineries came from California oil sources. Overseas sources as well as those in Alaska made up the rest of the percentages, according to the California Energy Commission.

● While California remains one of the top 10 oil-producing states in the U.S., production has been on the decline since the middle of the 1980s. CalGEM is currently working to further the state’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2045.

● From 2008 through 2017, 1,566 workers died trying to extract oil and gas in the U.S. During the same time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited companies in the extraction industry for 10,873 violations.

● According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job between 2013 and 2017. Top hazards that can become fatalities are vehicle accidents, being struck by, caught in, or caught between equipment, explosions and fires, falls, being trapped in confined spaces, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

● Roughly 35,000 wells currently sit idle in California, with production suspended. An analysis by the Los Angeles Times and the Center for Public Integrity found that regions, including Kern County and Los Angeles, do not have enough money set aside to ensure these sites are cleaned up and made safe for all, now and in the future.

Daniel Rodriguez himself worked in the oilfields for years as a roustabout and mechanic, and knows firsthand how difficult and dangerous the work can be. If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, these statistics can help you determine if your situation warrants contacting an oilfield injury attorney and pursuing a claim. Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 1:18 pm

Rodriguez & Associates Obtains $5M Settlement After the 1st Phase of Trial

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

With the help of this wonderful and dedicated jury, Rodriguez & Associates obtained a $5,000,000 settlement on behalf of their injured client.

Rodriguez & Associates

From the start, the defense denied liability and offered very little to resolve the case. Daniel Rodriguez, Chantal Trujillo, and Joseph Whittington worked tirelessly to represent their client while demanding the $5,000,000 insurance policy.

With Daniel’s quick-witted and compassionate approach to gain empathy and understanding from jurors, he won them over and was successful after the first phase when the jury found the defendants liable. The defendants conceded and offered up their insurance policy limits.

We are so happy for our client and congratulations to the Rodriguez & Associates team!

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 6:45 pm

California Texting While Driving Laws and Statistics

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

“It will only take a second.” 

“Mom wants to know where I am.” 

“Work had a question.”

These are just a few of the various excuses people have used to rationalize texting while driving. They’re also thoughts people have had right before they cause a major car accident.

Texting while driving is illegal in the state of California, and for good reasons. Because drivers take their hands, eyes, and mind off the road when texting, it’s an especially risky form of distracted driving. According to Go Safely, California, a campaign from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the average time your eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of traveling the length of an entire football field blindfolded. Additionally, engaging in a visual-manual task like texting increases your risk of getting into a crash by three times.

Despite these alarming statistics, plenty of Californians still text and drive. In 2019, the most recent year for data, 57.9 percent of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver talking or texting on a mobile device.

California law prohibits motorists from using a cellphone or mobile device while driving unless they are in “hands free” mode. That includes writing or reading texts, and applies to anyone driving on California roadways, even if you don’t live in California. The only exceptions to this law are if you are driving on private property or making an emergency call to something like an ambulance. 

According to California Vehicle Code, Section 23123, a violation of this law is punishable by a base fine of $20 for a first offense and by a fine of $50 for all subsequent infractions. That sounds like a small amount of money, but in reality, you will pay more — sometimes over $250 — once assessments are added. 

Previously, drivers did not receive a point on their driving record for texting and driving, but that has changed as of July 1, 2021. A texting-while-driving violation can now result in one point to your record if the violation is within 36 months of a prior distracted driving offense. Points added to your record can increase rates or even result in your license being revoked.

All of these laws are aimed at avoiding crashes, injuries, and fatalities that happen because of texting while driving. No matter what excuse our brains may tell us in the moment, texting while driving is never safe, and the possible consequences of doing it can be devastating to more than just the driver’s life.

Rodriguez & Associates takes the laws around texting and driving very seriously. We are willing to fight for anyone negatively impacted by another driver’s negligence. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by texting and driving, you may be able to claim compensation for damages. Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:07 pm

California Statistics and Laws on Drinking and Driving

Monday, July 26, 2021

Drinking and driving, or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, impairs a person’s ability to drive safely and threatens the well-being of other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians that they encounter on the road. 

Over the last 40 years, public information campaigns such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have set out to eliminate drunk driving through education, prevention, and enforcement by advocating for stricter laws to be passed for drunk driving offences, and while this has helped decrease the amount of DUIs nationwide, it has not ended the problem. In 2019, according to MADD, 10,142 people were killed due to drunk driving which makes it #1 cause of death on America’s roads. The state of California accounted for 1,066 of the nation’s drunk driving fatalities, approximately 10%. 

California Drinking and Driving Statistics 

The most comprehensive statistics for alcohol-impaired driving is from Responsibility.org for the year of 2018. 

  • Total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities: 1,069
  • Under 21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities: 113
  • 69.8% of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities had a BAC of 0.15+
  • 77.9% of drivers with BAC 0.15+ were repeat offenders
  • Total DUI arrests: 127,250 (Nationwide: 1,001,329)

California Drunk Driving Laws

In California, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. The law does not distinguish between prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs. If the drug or medication impairs your ability to drive safely, you can still be charged with a DUI.

California has enforced tougher laws for first time and repeat offenders in an effort to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, drunk driving on our roads. Here is a summary of laws about driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handbook. 

  • It is illegal to use or possess alcohol or cannabis products in a vehicle. Any open containers must be stored in the trunk or where passengers do not sit.
  • It is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle with the following BAC limits:
    • 0.08% or higher, if the person is 21 years +
    • 0.01% or higher, if the person is under 21 years old
    • 0.04% or higher, when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense
  • It is illegal for drivers under 21 years of age to carry alcohol inside a vehicle unless accompanied by a parent or other person as specified by law and the container is full, sealed, and unopened. If caught, the car may be impounded for up to 30 days, driving privileges may be suspended for up to 1 year or delay the issuance of a first driver’s license for up to 1 year, or a fine of up to $1000 may be charged.

Similar laws also prohibit riding bikes and scooters or driving boats under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

We Represent DUI Accident Victims in Kern County and California

A victim of a drunk driving accident can suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. Medical bills can pile up, they may not be able to work or perform their job as before, and their mental state may be different due to the accident. The criminal court system can punish a drunk driver for the accident, but it does not compensate victims of the accident. Our lawyers are prepared to represent you, whether you require a Bakersfield bike accident attorney or were involved in a multi-car collision. 

This is when a victim of a drunk driving accident would seek expert legal representation to pursue claims in a civil court for recovery of monetary damages from medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages from missed work, property damage, and/or modifications to a home or car because of the injuries incurred. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates, are standing by to represent you or a loved one who has been injured as a result of a DUI accident. We will do everything possible to hold the wrongdoer accountable.

We represent DUI accident victims in Kern County and throughout California. Call us to request a free consultation at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:29 pm