Category Archives: Kern County Lawyers

Different Types of Burn Injuries

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Victims of fire or burn injuries can be left with debilitating injuries, physical and psychological scars and may face many years or surgeries and physical therapy to try to get back the life they once had.

There are many ways that people can be burned – from a property hazard, to a bonfire party, to faulty wiring or a workplace injury. While some of the burns are mild, others can be disfiguring. There are four types of burn injuries.

  • Thermal burns are caused by contact with flames, hot water (or hot liquids), steam or other sources of intense heat. These are usually the source of household burns from kitchen fires and burns from auto accidents. Within thermal burns, there are:
    • Flash burns – explosions of natural gas, propane, or other flammable liquids.
    • Flame burns – due to exposure of prolonged, intense heat such as in a car accident or house fire.
    • Scald burns – usually caused by hot liquids such as water, grease, oil, and tar.
  • Contact burns ­– from coals, glass, hot metals or plastics.
  • Chemical burns can be caused by contact with strong acids or alkali substances that may be found in some household cleaners such as bleach, drain cleaner, swimming pool chemicals, etc.,
  • Electrical burns are common in the workplace, such as construction sites, restaurants, agricultural sites, and offices. These are caused by an AC or DC current.
  • Radiation burns are caused by alpha, beta, or gamma radiation, commonly known as sunburns. X-rays and radiation therapy may also cause a burn, which could be a medical malpractice case.

Burn severity is categorized by medical professionals based on how deep the burn is and how they will approach treatment. Burns range from first-degree (mildest) to third-degree (most damaging).

  • First-degree burns include only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Most are minor and superficial. A first-degree burn usually does not require treatment by a medical professional unless it covers a significant portion of the body. A first-degree burn injury can include:
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Minor pain
    • Texture changes when it starts to heal
  • Second-degree burns involve the epidermis (outer layers of skin) and the upper layers of the tissue underneath (also known as the dermis). A small second-degree burn may heal on its own, however a larger second-degree burn may require medical treatment and skin grafting. An individual will usually experience:
    • Blistering of the skin
    • Higher degree of pain than first-degree burns
  • Third-degree burns damage all layers of the skin – the outer layer epidermis and the dermis tissue below it – and may extend into subcutaneous tissues, ligaments, tendons, and bones (when this is the case, some physicians may classify this as a fourth-degree burn). Symptoms include:
    • Charring
    • Dark brown discoloration
    • Waxy and white discoloration
    • Leathery textured areas
    • Undeveloped blistering areas

Our Kern County personal injury law firm has represented many clients including those who have suffered burn injuries from workplace accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and construction accidents. We not only care about the case, but we care about the well-being of our clients and will assist in obtaining medical care and day-to-day support following a serious burn injury.

And always, we will fight to hold the responsible party accountable and for fair compensation.

If you or a loved one has experienced a burn or electrical injury, contact us at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:56 pm

How to Prove Police Misconduct

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Police misconduct occurs when a law enforcement officer commits an illegal act or exhibits inappropriate conduct when carrying out his or her official duties. From acts of police brutality to fraud or coercion, police misconduct can cause serious physical and psychological harm. If you believe that you are the victim of police misconduct, there are a number of steps you will need to take to protect your rights and prove your case with the help of a Bakersfield police misconduct lawyer.

Proving a Case of Police Misconduct

There are multiple pathways you can take to file a complaint against a police officer who commits an act of misconduct.

  • You can file an internal complaint through the officer’s police department.
  • You can file criminal charges against the officer through a state district court. If your case involves certain issues, such as the use of excessive force, you can press charges at the federal level by filing a United States Department of Justice (DOJ) complaint.
  • You can pursue compensatory damages against the police officer by filing a lawsuit against him or her in your state’s civil court.

You can pursue civil and criminal charges against the offending officer simultaneously since they involve two separate proceedings in two types of courts. The burden of proof, or the evidence you will need to establish to prove that misconduct occurred, will differ based on the pathway you choose.

Internal investigations involve their own burden of proof, and you will need to speak to your local police department to determine how to file a complaint. If you are pursuing criminal charges, you will typically need to prove that the following elements are true beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The officer deprived you of a right protected under the Constitution or U.S. law.
  • The officer acted willfully.
  • The officer was acting under the color of the law, or the officer appeared to act within the law while violating it.

In a California civil lawsuit, you do not need to prove that the officer violated your rights to receive a settlement. Instead, you will need to prove the officer’s liability by establishing a preponderance of the evidence, or that the officer more likely than not committed the misconduct involved in your case.

To accomplish this, you will need to gather enough evidence to prove the misconduct occurred. Different types of police misconduct are subject to specific legal considerations, so it is best to speak to a California police misconduct attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you determine which pathway is right for you and advise you on how to best approach your claim.

What to Do After Experiencing Police Misconduct

Regardless of the type of charges you wish to pursue, there are a number of steps you will need to take to preserve evidence after experiencing an act of police misconduct. As soon as possible after the misconduct, take the following steps.

  • Write down a detailed description of the misconduct, including any quotes you remember verbatim. Only write down facts you know to be true.
  • If you suffered any injuries, take pictures of them and seek medical care. Save all documentation from your visits.
  • Gather the contact information of any witnesses and preserve any physical evidence.
  • Contact a police misconduct attorney as soon as possible.

Speaking to a lawyer is vital to police misconduct cases. Your attorney will help you gather evidence, advocate for your rights during each step of the process, and craft a compelling case while adhering to specific legal requirements.

Different lawyers handle criminal and civil cases, but you can pursue both claims simultaneously. If you wish to file a civil lawsuit or criminal charges against the offending officer, contact the appropriate lawyer as soon as possible.

Posted by highrank at 4:27 pm

School Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Kern County

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Sexual misconduct and sexual abuse by teachers in the public and private school systems happens more than we think and often times the abuse is unreported or goes unpunished. Stop Educator and Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.), a national organization dedicated to ending abuse in schools and increase public awareness, states that one out of ten children K-12 students are victims of sexual educator misconduct. Sexual abuse happens at the collegiate level also. S.E.S.A.M.E reported in 2015 that:

  • About 3.5 million students in 8th through 11th grade reported having physical sexual contact from an adult (usually a teacher or coach) ranging from unwanted touching to sexual intercourse.
  • The number increased to 4.5 million students when included other types of sexual misconduct, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism.

Signs of sexual abuse of children may include:

  • Not wanting to be hugged or touched
  • Unexplained sleep problems or nightmares
  • Loss of appetite, not wanting to eat, or trouble swallowing
  • Sudden mood swings, insecurity, or withdrawal
  • A new or unusual fear of a certain person or place
  • Exhibits knowledge of adult sexual behaviors and language
  • Draws, writes, dreams, or talks about frightening images or sexual acts
  • Thinks of themselves or their body as “bad” or “dirty”

In teens or adolescents:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Sexual promiscuousness
  • Stops caring about bodily appearance or compulsively eats or diets obsessively
  • Running away from home
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Attempting suicide

Sexual abuse of children does not just happen it schools. It also happens in organizations such as youth sports clubs, religious institutions, and youth recreation programs by coaches, staff, volunteers, and other students.

Our Bakersfield sexual abuse attorneys are dedicated to being the voice for children who have suffered from sexual abuse and misconduct in school or in other organizations. We have the resources and skills to thoroughly investigate claims and bring justice to the children who have been sexually abused.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse in school, contact our Kern County law firm for a no-charge consultation: (661) 323-1400 or toll-free 1-800-585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:11 pm

How Long Do Commercial Truck Accident Cases Take to Settle?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Settling a case that involves a large commercial truck (such as a tractor trailer) often takes longer to resolve than an accident involving only cars because there are more components to the claim. In our experience as truck accident attorneys in Bakersfield, these are some of the factors that are involved.

Liability Investigation

An investigation of who was at fault will be done by your attorney and also by the truck’s insurance company. Many truck companies hold insurance policies that are $1 million or more so their goal will be to keep the claim amount as low as possible. Their investigation will try to build a case showing the driver was not at fault – or was only partially at fault. Because they will examine every possibility, investigations may take months or even years.

Injuries and Medical Treatment

Most personal injury cases are resolved when the victim is fully recovered, but injuries that involve a semi-truck may be more traumatic with a longer recovery period, thereby increasing the time it takes to settle the case. Settling the case without a clear picture of total injuries and/or necessary future medical treatment, is not advisable because it may result in an amount that will not fully compensate the victim.

Insurance Company Negotiations for a Settlement

As stated above, insurance companies have much more to lose if the truck driver is found to be at fault so they will aggressively defend the driver and the trucking company. Therefore, negotiations between the truck insurance company attorneys and your attorneys may be very lengthy. If nothing can be agreed upon, a lawsuit will be the next step.

A truck accident is unique and unlike an accident involving only cars. If you’re involved in a commercial truck accident, you will want to hire an attorney who is an expert in the field. Our Bakersfield truck accident lawyers have handled hundreds of truck accidents. We obtained the highest personal injury verdict (over $70 million) in Kern County history for an accident involving a big rig.

If you have been involved in a truck accident, call our Bakersfield personal injury law firm at (661) 323-1400 or 800-585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 6:51 pm

Rodriguez & Associates Obtains $70M Verdict

Monday, May 18, 2020

Personal injury attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained a $70,578,289 million verdict, the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history.

A mother with her two children were driving in an SUV when a big rig ran a red light and slammed into her car. The mother and son suffered multiple injuries, while the other child has since suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from witnessing the accident.

While the truck driver initially said that the mother ran the red light, Rodriguez & Associates was able to obtain footage from a dash camera on a bus that proved the truck driver wrong. In addition, the big rig driver was driving on a suspended license and had 14 prior crashes.

About the case and verdict, Rodriguez said, “It was so satisfying to feel validated.”

At Rodriguez & Associates, we care for our clients like family because, at the end of the day, we are in this together.

If you have been involved in a personal injury related accident and would like a case evaluation, call our Bakersfield personal injury law firm at (661) 323-1400 or 800-585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:55 pm

Meet Kern County Personal Injury Attorney Danay Gonzalez

Monday, June 3, 2019

Attorney Danay Gonzalez has a powerful voice. She uses it to sing ballads in English and Spanish; as a personal injury lawyer, she uses it to advocate for those who need it the most.

Attorney Danay Gonzalez Bakersfield

Growing up in Lamont, CA, Danay observed many of her classmates were afraid to speak up for themselves out of fear of getting their families in trouble or deported. At the same time, she admired Daniel Rodriguez, a successful member of the Hispanic community and a prominent attorney, who advocated for her friends and neighbors. She knew that she wanted to help others too.

Pursuing her dream of becoming an attorney, Danay attended UCLA and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science. She went on to receive her JD from the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. During her years in law school, she worked in the summers as a law clerk at Rodriguez & Associates so it was only natural that she would come back to her community and work for our firm after successfully passing the bar exam on the first try. When Danay is at work, she is passionate about fighting for people’s rights and helping them find their own voice. If Danay is your attorney, you know that you are in good hands.

If you have been injured, let us help you put back together the pieces of your life. Schedule a no-charge consultation by calling 1-800-585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 1:33 pm

Meet Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorney Chantal Trujillo

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dedicated. That is one of the words we use to describe personal injury attorney Chantal Trujillo. When she takes on a case, her mission is to secure the best verdict for her client and she does this by getting to know her clients, understanding their needs, and meeting their requests.

Chantal has been with Rodriguez & Associates for 8 years and has handled many personal injury and wrongful death cases. Some have gone to a jury trial where she has obtained impressive verdicts. Her dedication to her clients and cases have her working overtime but she doesn’t mind because she considers our Bakersfield law firm her home away from home.

 

Born and raised in Bakersfield, Chantal left our area briefly to earn her BA from the University of Texas and her JD from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. She is happy to be back home and serving members of our community.

If you – or someone you love – has suffered from a personal injury, contact Kern Count’s premier personal injury law firm at (661) 323-1400 to schedule a free consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:52 pm

Meet Daniel Rodriguez, Founder and President of Rodriguez & Associates

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Daniel Rodriguez understands the meaning of hard work. As the son of migrant farm worker parents, Daniel lived in four different states and attended many schools in his first 18 years of life. Although his parents have little education between the two of them, they instilled the value of education and hard work in all six of their children which Daniel took to heart in both his professional and personal life.

Daniel’s undergraduate degree is in Engineering from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, one of the most prestigious public university engineering colleges in the country. He received his JD from UCLA Law School and passed the bar exam on his first try! During his college years, he worked hard – studying and holding a variety of jobs from washing dishes to selling encyclopedias door to door to working as a mechanic in the oilfields.

Within one month of starting his law career, Daniel tried his first jury trial, an unusual occurrence for a typical plaintiff attorney. His expertise and skill as a personal injury lawyer developed from experience coupled with his belief that there’s no substitute for putting in the hard work.

On top of managing a personal injury law firm in Kern County, Daniel is a seasoned marathon runner. His goal is to run a marathon on each of the seven continents. If you can’t find Daniel in the office or on the track, you’ll find him teaching at Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College – a trial advocacy school that is considered to be the best in the country.


To view part two of the video, click here.

Rodriguez & Associates is dedicated to serving those in need – victims of motor vehicle accidents, defective and dangerous products, workplace injuries, police misconduct and more. Contact us at (661) 323-1400 to discuss your personal injury case.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:49 pm