Category Archives: Car Accidents

Named Best Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield by Expertise.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Rodriguez & Associates tops Expertise.com’s list: 2022 Best Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield

Our firm has been featured in top rankings consistently by Expertise.com over the last several years.

We were also named to the site’s 2022 Best Litigation Attorneys in Bakersfield and Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Bakersfield lists. 

Expertise.com scored dozens of Bakersfield car accident lawyers on more than 25 variables across five categories and analyzed the results to give readers a hand-picked list of the top 19 firms in the area. 

Rodriguez and Associates has over 100 years of combined experience in handling car and other vehicular accident cases and takes pride in their reputation of success and professionalism. To learn more about us, click here.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:12 pm

Does Car Insurance Cover Me If I Hit a Pedestrian?

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Car accidents occur every day on California roads. These collisions often involve two or more drivers. In some cases, pedestrians and cyclists are struck by drivers, resulting in severe injuries and property damage.

If you are in a car accident and hit a pedestrian, you could be financially responsible for that victim’s losses. Your insurance policy will typically cover these damages, but if the pedestrian requires additional compensation, you could be liable for the remaining cost.

California Car Insurance Requirements

State laws on car insurance typically fall into one of two categories: fault or no-fault. In no-fault states, people who are injured in car accidents are financially responsible for their own losses. They carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that pays for their damages after an accident.

Like most states, California follows a fault-based car accident system. If a driver causes a car accident, they are financially responsible for all of the damages that the victims sustain. Pedestrians, along with other drivers, passengers, and cyclists, are covered by this insurance policy.

To uphold this financial responsibility, drivers must carry the following amounts of car insurance.

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

What Happens If You Hit a Pedestrian

If you are involved in a car accident and hit a pedestrian, the pedestrian could file a claim against you. Victims of California car accidents have the right to pursue an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver. If the pedestrian believes that you are at fault for the accident, he or she will likely file a claim against your insurance.

Your policy would cover the pedestrian’s losses up to your policy limits. If the pedestrian requires more compensation, he or she could escalate the case to a lawsuit. For this reason, it may be helpful to invest in higher amounts of insurance coverage. A Bakersfield car accident attorney can help you decipher the details of your case and explore your legal options.

Could a Pedestrian Be Liable for Your Car Accident?

Motorists are often at fault in accidents involving pedestrians. However, pedestrians hold certain duties and responsibilities as well. If a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care while on the road and causes an accident, he or she could be financially responsible for the accident. 

For example, say that a pedestrian suddenly runs across the road in front of an oncoming vehicle. The driver does not have enough time to stop and hits the pedestrian. In this situation, the pedestrian would be considered at fault because he or she committed a dangerous act. The driver could not reasonably stop and avoid an accident due to the pedestrian’s actions.

In some cases, drivers and pedestrians share liability for a collision. For example, say that a driver is speeding in a school zone. A pedestrian suddenly jaywalks across the street and the driver could not stop in time to avoid a collision. In this situation, the pedestrian may share 30% of the fault while the driver holds 70%. Under California law, the pedestrian could collect 70% of his or her total damages from the driver.

If you are involved in a pedestrian collision, it is important to speak with a lawyer. A Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney can represent your best interests and help you navigate the claims process. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.

Posted by highrank at 5:50 pm

Trucks vs. Cars: Are All Vehicle Crashes the Same?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Every car crash has its own unique set of circumstances that individuals, law enforcement, and insurance companies must handle, but when a crash involves a commercial truck (also referred to as a semi-truck or tractor-trailer) additional layers of trucking law, regulations, insurance policies, and negligence come into play. Handling a lawsuit that involves a commercial trucking accident requires representation with knowledge and experience of these factors.

Determining Liability

Typically, in a car crash, there is one person who is determined to be at fault. Due to the nature of the trucking industry, multiple parties, including or excluding the driver of the truck, can be held responsible for damages. Depending on the specifics of an accident, the truck driver, the truck manufacturer, the trucking company, and even more players may hold some or all of the responsibility for the incident. Because of these layers of involvement, determining liability in a commercial truck accident can be a logistical nightmare that requires deep knowledge of trucking laws to sort out who is at fault.

More Serious Personal Injury

The weight of the average American car will range between 2,000 to 4,000 pounds, whereas a commercial truck can range from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. Trucks also have significant physical dimensions that require longer stopping distances, wider turn radiuses, and larger blind spots.

In an accident involving any two vehicles, the physical size and proportions affect the force inflicted. A crash involving two cars will potentially cause far less damage than a car that is struck by a vehicle 20 times its size. It is for this reason that accidents involving commercial trucks typically cause greater physical injury, more fatalities, and more totaled cars. Read more about trucking accident statistics here.

Trucking Insurance Policies

A commercial truck accident case can be worth a huge amount in court because the trucking industry requires massive insurance policies. Trucking insurance providers will aggressively defend their clients to avoid liability. A rise in truck accidents has influenced increases in insurance policies for trucking companies with more at stake in a lawsuit. Bakersfield Truck Accident Attorneys of Rodriguez and Associates has the expertise to handle all situations that arise in court.

Investigating Truck Accidents

Due to the many complexities of a truck crash, investigations are extensive and can require many months of research in addition to knowledge of federal and state trucking regulations. Familiarity with different types of evidence required throughout an investigation is imperative. Examples of evidence include:

  • Accident reports
  • Electronic logs
  • Photos and witness statements
  • Evidence requested in a spoliation letter

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 $70,578,289 for a truck vs SUV case. We are familiar with truck accidents’ engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.

If you – or someone you love – have been a victim of a truck accident, contact us today. Call us at (661) 323-1400 for a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:41 pm

Common Mistakes People Make After Being In a Motor Vehicle Accident

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

We understand how a serious injury or losing a loved one in a car crash can and will impact your life. It’s very common to be shaken up after a motor vehicle accident, but it’s very important to remember these key steps so we can help your case to the best of our ability.

  • Get a police report.
  • Take pictures of the scene, injuries, and/or vehicles.
  • Get witness contact information.
  • Don’t tell the police/ambulance that “you’re fine”, it will go in the report.
  • Make sure to seek medical attention within 3 days.
  • Don’t give a statement to your insurance company without having a lawyer.

Watch personal injury attorney, Danay Gonzalez explain these steps in her educational TikTok video:
We understand just how stressful it can be to experience a significant motor vehicle accident in Bakersfield, CA. Our trusted personal injury attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates have handled hundreds of motor vehicle accident cases. We will review every aspect of your claim, and discover the party responsible for your situation.

Whether your car was struck by a drunk driver or you were involved in a collision while riding your bicycle, a crash can cause emotional trauma, property damage, and permanent injuries. Our team diligently fights to maximize your settlement and protect your best interests.

CONTACT OUR BAKERSFIELD MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS

Rodriguez & Associates is conveniently located in downtown Bakersfield. We are available for weekend and evening appointments, charge no fee for consultations, and speak both English and Spanish. To contact us, please call 661-323-1400 or 800-585-9262 Toll-Free.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 10:25 pm

What Is a DOT-Recordable Accident?

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Accidents occur every day on California roads, from minor bumps between vehicles to extremely severe multi-vehicle collisions. These collisions can involve passenger vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks and buses. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), keeps track of collisions involving commercial vehicles. If an accident involving a commercial vehicle results in significant damage, it will need to be recorded by the DOT.

When Does an Accident Need to Be Reported to the DOT?

All motor carriers must keep track of accidents involving commercial motor vehicles. If a collision meets the following criteria, it must be recovered by the federal DOT.

  • At least one person died as a result of the collision.
  • At least one person suffered a bodily injury and had to receive emergency medical attention away from the scene of the accident.
  • One or more of the vehicles involved in the accident had to be towed away from the collision.

When reporting a DOT-recordable accident, the reporter must include the date, city, and state of the collision. Vital information such as the name of the commercial driver, the number of injuries, and the number of fatalities must also be reported. When submitting the report, the reporter must include copies of all accident reports involved in the case.

What Happens After an Accident Is Reported to the DOT?

California drivers are familiar with the concept of points, which are strikes levied against your driver’s license after a traffic violation. The points system is monitored by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers who accumulate a certain number of points could face severe consequences, such as the permanent loss of driving privileges.

The FMCSA maintains a similar system involving DOT-recordable accidents. When a Bakersfield accident involving a commercial driver is reported, the FMCSA will record it and monitor violations committed by certain drivers. The FMCSA will also track violations that occur within individual trucking companies. 

If a trucking company incurs a certain number of DOT-recordable incidents, it could affect that carrier’s safety rating. The FMCSA will take the number of accidents associated with the carrier, multiply the number by one million, and divide it by the number of miles that the motor carrier has traveled over the past 12 months.

Collecting DOT-recordable accident data also helps the FMCSA identify potentially negligent commercial vehicle carriers. Trucking companies with unusually high numbers of incidents may not be training their drivers, hiring qualified personnel, or maintaining their vehicles regularly. A carrier may also encourage their drivers to break important trucking regulations, such as hours-of-service rules. 

If a carrier has a history of DOT-recordable accidents, the FMCSA can impose serious penalties, such as fines.

Speak to a California Truck Accident Lawyer

If you are involved in a commercial vehicle accident on California roads, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Through an insurance claim or lawsuit, you can recover compensatory damages to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. However, you need a Bakersfield personal injury attorney on your side to represent your best interests.

A California truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the litigation process and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your case and identify your optimal path to recovery.

Posted by highrank at 6:41 pm

Warning Signs of Truck Brake Problems

Friday, October 29, 2021

Truck drivers and their employers have a duty to make sure that their vehicles are in safe working condition. Commercial trucks are very large and heavy, and collisions involving these vehicles can be very dangerous. However, serious collisions involving trucks occur in California every year, often involving driver and trucking company negligence.

Mechanical defects are a common cause of truck accidents, and old, defective, or malfunctioning brakes are some of the most common vehicle components to cause an accident. Brake problems in commercial trucks are not always easy to spot, but there are a few key warning signs to watch for.

Common Signs of Malfunctioning Brakes

Brakes are critical components of a commercial truck. Without them, drivers cannot safely bring themselves to a stop and can easily lose control of their large vehicles, resulting in catastrophic injuries in Bakersfield. To prevent these accidents, truck drivers and their companies must maintain vehicles regularly and keep an eye out for signs of trouble.

There are several signs that could indicate truck brake problems.

  • Grinding or scraping noises when braking
  • High-pitched squealing sounds 
  • Vibrations that come from the brakes
  • A brake pedal that feels unusually loose
  • Veering to the side when hitting the brakes
  • Having to press down harder than normal to engage the brakes

Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by Brake Problems?

If you are involved in a truck accident caused by brake problems, you may wonder what to do next. Truck accidents often result in severe financial, physical, and psychological hardship. Because California is a fault accident state, you have the right to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Multiple parties may be liable for a truck accident caused by malfunctioning brakes, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Some of the most common defendants include the following:

  • The truck driver: If the driver’s negligence caused the brake problems and your accident, he or she would be liable for your damages. For example, if the driver owns and operates his or her own truck and fails to repair the brakes after hearing grinding or squealing, he or she would be liable for any accident caused by the malfunctioning brakes.
  • The trucking company: A trucking company has a duty to ensure that its fleet of vehicles are in good condition. If the company fails to maintain its vehicles regularly, notices brake issues and fails to repair them, or actively ignores requests for brake repairs, it would be liable for any truck accident that occurs due to malfunctioning brakes.
  • The brake manufacturer: If the accident was caused by defective brakes, you could hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries. In these cases, the brakes are either defective by design or developed a defect during the manufacturing process. You could also name the distributor, retailer, and other parties along the supply chain in your lawsuit.

If you are injured in a California truck accident, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Your Bakersfield personal injury attorney can investigate your accident, identify the at-fault party, and evaluate your legal options. 

During your case, your lawyer can guide you through each stage of the litigation process and advocate aggressively for your maximum compensation. After seeking medical attention for your injuries, contact a California truck accident attorney to identify your optimal path to recovery.

Posted by highrank at 8:22 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

What Happens During the Car Accident Settlement Process?

Thursday, September 30, 2021

California is a fault-based car accident state, meaning that negligent drivers are financially responsible for their victims’ losses. Through a car accident claim, you can recover damages like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

If you are filing a claim, you may wonder how the car accident settlement process works. This process involves more than submitting paperwork to an insurance company—depending on the complexity of your accident, you may need to engage in negotiations, escalate your claim to a lawsuit, and enter the courtroom. In these situations, it is important to have an attorney on your side.

Investigating the Car Accident

After a California car accident, you typically have two options to recover compensation for your injuries. You can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit against him or her in civil court. Most car accident claims begin in the insurance stage before escalating to a lawsuit if the insurance claim is denied or the settlement is insufficient to meet your needs.

Before you can file your claim, however, you will need to gather evidence about your accident. Your car accident lawyer will investigate your claim and monitor your medical records as you recover from your injuries. As soon as you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and you have a better understanding of your injuries, damages, and long-term needs, your lawyer will initiate your claim.

Filing an Insurance Claim

If you file an insurance claim after your accident, you will submit information about the collision to the at-fault party’s insurance company. A representative will be assigned to your claim and conduct an investigation. At the conclusion of your case, the representative will determine whether or not you qualify for compensation and the value of your settlement.

Insurance claims typically take a few months to reach a conclusion. During this process, your lawyer will submit evidence and negotiate with the representative to secure the highest possible settlement. If you do not receive a settlement or if it is too low to meet your needs, your lawyer will either appeal the decision or file a lawsuit.

Entering the Car Accident Lawsuit Process

Before your attorney files a lawsuit in California civil court, he or she may choose to send a demand letter to the at-fault driver outlining your intent to file a claim and requesting a negotiation. If you engage in these negotiations, you may reach a settlement before filing a lawsuit. If these discussions are unsuccessful or either party chooses not to negotiate, your lawyer will file your lawsuit.

After filing your claim, you and your attorney will enter the discovery process and exchange information with the at-fault party. This phase can take six months to one year to conclude. Before trial, you may engage in negotiations with the at-fault party again and attempt to reach an agreement. If these negotiations are successful, your case will conclude before going to trial.

If these discussions are unsuccessful or do not take place, your case will enter the courtroom. The court will hear evidence from both parties and determine who is at fault for the accident. At the conclusion of your case, the court will decide whether to award a settlement and the amount of compensation you should receive.

If you are filing a car accident claim, it is important to have an attorney on your side. Your lawyer can represent you throughout your claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Posted by highrank at 5:22 pm

What Causes Poor Road Conditions?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

When we think of traffic accidents and collisions, we tend to think that the situation must have been caused by a driver that was reckless, distracted, or under the influence. However, unsafe roadway conditions are an underlying contributor to a number of accidents across the country. A poorly designed, ill-maintained, or naturally hazardous roadway can pose significant risks to even the most careful driver. In this article, we’re going to discuss some of potential hazards that can lead to unsafe road conditions.

  1. Ill-Maintained Roads: If a road is not actively monitored and maintained by qualified professionals, it may deteriorate to the point that it becomes an active hazard for drivers using it. A poorly maintained road can result in a number of problems, including potholes and cracks in the blacktop. In some instances, a driver that hits an unexpected pothole may lose control of their car. This can cause the vehicle to veer into another lane or oncoming traffic. The car can also blow a tire or break an axle, resulting in a major collision.
  2. Defective or Confusing Roadways: In other cases, a highway may be unusually dangerous due to an improperly maintained center barrier. When properly installed and maintained, a center barrier reduces the risk of drivers entering the opposing lanes of traffic. They are designed to redirect vehicles on impact, lessening the impact of a collision and protecting drivers on the opposite side of the road. If not kept in good collision, the barrier may fail and lead to a significant crash. Roads with hard-to-see lines or a lack of proper signage can also cause problems for drivers. Particularly on difficult or unfamiliar roadways, a lack of proper direction can lead to a collision.
  3. Poorly Designed Roads: Some roads are dangerous due to intrinsic design flaws or oversights. Poor design can take a number of different forms, including: sudden or sharp curves with low visibility, blind corners, poorly lit roads, overly crowded roadways, inefficient merges that cause bottlenecks, ineffective drainage systems, a lack of shoulders for emergency stops, and obstructions such as trees or utility poles. If a roadway has a history of significant dangers and accidents, there may be an underlying factor in its design that contributes to such issues.
  4. Unorganized Construction Zones: From time to time, it’s vital to repair, expand, or reconstruct sections of roadway. However, if a construction zone is poorly marked or traffic is directed in a confusing or inefficient manner, drivers can be at additional risk of an accident. Misleading signs and unpredictable changes to the roadway can substantially increase the chances of a crash. Additionally, construction vehicles can pose an unfamiliar risk to many drivers. Large trucks, bulldozers, excavators, and other heavy-duty vehicles may be present on or near the roadway in a construction zone.

Contact Rodriguez & Associates for Collisions Caused by Dangerous Roads

It can be challenging to prove that your collision was caused or influenced by a poorly maintained road. The skilled Bakersfield dangerous road lawyers at Rodriguez & Associates evaluate your accident to help determine whether:

  • A public agency controlled or owner the road the accident occurred on
  • The road involved was dangerous at the time of the accident
  • A dangerous roadway condition directly influenced the collision
  • The crash occurred in such a way that the public entity could have reasonably expected given the dangerous condition
  • The dangerous roadway came about because of the public entity’s failure to mediate the risk to drivers

We’re prepared to support you through the legal process and provide the justice you and your loved ones deserve.

Posted by highrank at 3:10 pm

What to Look for When Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

In truck accidents, it’s usually those inside the passenger vehicles that get the worst injuries. This is because commercial trucking vehicles like semi-trucks, which are on average 72 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds, cause so much more destruction than your typical sedan. Drivers of smaller vehicles are therefore much more vulnerable.

Since multiple parties can be held responsible in a truck accident, including the driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturers, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries if you are involved in a truck crash. To do that, it is best to find an experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyer that has your best interests at heart.

As you search for the right attorney, you will ideally find a person with the following characteristics:

Experience With Truck Accident Cases

Your attorney should have at least some experience handling truck accident cases. This is a complex area of personal injury litigation, and your attorney needs to know how to properly investigate the case as well as the many state and federal laws that will be involved. Truck insurance companies almost always try to avoid paying what they owe to a victim, and a good truck accident attorney will be able to anticipate this and fight back with your best interests in mind.

Resources and Accessibility

Some firms take on so many cases they aren’t able to give each individual one the attention it deserves. That can potentially hurt your chances of claiming as much compensation as you deserve. The ideal attorney will have enough resources to be able to manage your case and provide additional staff to help respond to your calls and emails around the clock. It is never a good sign if you cannot get in touch with your attorney’s office or get a response to a question.

Positive Customer Feedback

No attorney wins every case, but you can get a sense of how competent this person is by paying attention to what others are saying. Look for online reviews about your prospective attorney to determine how easy they’ll be to work with. You want someone who is available, empathetic, detail-oriented, and can make you feel at ease during a stressful situation. If reviews suggest otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere for your attorney.

Awards and Honors

Top lawyers are usually on “Best of” lists. An attorney’s website and LinkedIn profile should list local and national recognition, along with that person’s participation in community organizations and pro-bono activities. An added bonus is if the attorney has won an award for multiple years in a row.

Though it might feel a little overwhelming to start your search for a truck accident attorney, remember that the more work you put into finding your ideal person, the better your case result is likely to be. Truck accidents are physically and emotionally traumatic events. You can improve your changes of compensation by working with the right person.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience handling truck accident cases. Our knowledge covers not just engineering and legal issues, but also the day-to-day details for truckers that can lead to accidents. We are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, too, 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.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:17 pm