Category Archives: Kern County Lawyers

Named to Expertise.com’s Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Bakersfield List

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Rodriguez & Associates has been named by Expertise.com’s one of the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Bakersfield for 2022. Expertise.com aims to connect people with the top experts in their city by field. 

Our firm was also named to the site’s 2022 top 19 Best Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield and the top 20 Best Litigation Attorneys in Bakersfield

Expertise.com evaluated 243 personal injury firms in the Bakersfield area, scoring them on more than 25 variables across five categories including availability, qualifications, reputation, experience, and professionalism. The results were then analyzed to provide the public with the best 23 lawyers in the area. 

Rodriguez & Associates is based in Bakersfield, California, but we have represented clients from all over the country. 

If you or a loved one are in need of an experienced and professional personal injury attorney, contact our personal injury attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates today.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:16 pm

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

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Friday, October 29, 2021

Losing a loved one is a very difficult experience. This grief can turn into anger if someone else’s negligent actions are responsible for your loved one’s death. In these situations, you may be able to hold the at-fault party accountable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against him or her in civil court. Under California law, however, only certain parties are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on a deceased person’s behalf. 

Eligible Representatives in California Wrongful Death Lawsuits

According to California’s wrongful death statute, a wrongful death is caused by the legal fault of another person or entity. A wrongful death may occur due to acts of medical malpractice in Bakersfield, negligence, or intentional acts, including crimes. You can pursue criminal charges and a civil wrongful death claim at the same time.

The following people may file a wrongful death lawsuit in California civil court.

  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • The deceased person’s surviving children
  • The grandchildren of any deceased child of the deceased person

If the following individuals can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased, they may also file a wrongful death claim.

  • The deceased person’s parents
  • The deceased person’s stepchildren
  • The deceased person’s legal guardians, if his or her parents are deceased
  • The deceased’s putative spouse, or an individual who had the good faith but mistaken belief that he or she and the deceased were legally married

If no surviving person is available to file a lawsuit in the deceased’s line of descent, additional rules apply. In these situations, any person who would be entitled to inherit the property of the deceased may file the claim.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

California law also restricts the length of time that you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations establishes a filing deadline for certain types of claims, and if you file after the appropriate date, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case. 

You have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California civil court. While there are some exceptions to this rule, they are not always applicable in wrongful death cases. To identify your appropriate deadline and protect your family’s right to recovery, speak to a Bakersfield personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Speak to a California Wrongful Death Lawyer 

Wrongful death litigation can be complex and difficult to navigate, and if you plan on filing a lawsuit, you need an attorney on your side. A California wrongful death lawyer can provide valuable benefits to your claim, including the following. 

  • The ability to assess your family’s damages and accurately calculate your settlement value
  • Negotiation skills to handle discussions with other attorneys and insurance companies, if applicable
  • Access to expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf, such as medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists
  • Knowledge of the California court system and the various steps, requirements, and processes you need to reach a settlement

A California wrongful death lawyer will have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to guide you and your family through each stage of the litigation process. As soon as you are able, contact an attorney to discuss your next steps.

Posted by highrank at 8:25 pm

Who Is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

One of the major differences between commercial truck accidents and the average car crash is liability, or who’s at fault.

Liable parties in a regular car accident are usually just the drivers of the vehicles involved. Determining liability in a truck accident is a far more complex process that could include multiple third parties beyond the person actually driving the commercial vehicle. In other words, the accident may not have entirely been the driver’s fault, even if it appears that way at first. Proving liability in cases like these normally requires an experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyer.

Manufacturing, managing, and loading a truck is a long process that requires input from many different parties. There’s room for error along any one of these points in the process of moving goods from one location to the next. Because of that, the following groups, companies, and individuals could potentially be held liable for negligence in a truck accident:

Manufacturers: Companies that manufacture truck parts and equipment — anything from tires to brake pads — could share in the blame if their parts helped cause an accident. Some common examples of malfunctioning equipment include tire blowouts, faulty brakes, and mechanical failures. A thorough investigation should reveal such things after an accident. If found to be at fault, manufacturers would be required to pay at least part of victims’ damages.

The Trucking Company: The company that hires the truck driver is a frequent third party held liable in accidents. The trucking company is responsible for maintaining and inspecting the vehicle before every trip, ensuring that all equipment is working properly. But too often, these companies cut corners on inspections, increasing the risk of an accident. They may also push a driver to work longer hours than is safe in the name of meeting a shipping deadline.

Cargo Loaders: Cargo loaders are supposed to ensure a shipment is secured and balanced properly in the truck before the vehicle ever departs. Improperly packed cargo could spill onto the road or throw the truck off balance and hinder a driver’s ability to control the vehicle. An underloaded or overloaded truck can also cause problems for the driver and potentially anyone else in the nearby vicinity.

Truck Drivers: Often, the person behind the wheel of the commercial vehicle shares some responsibility in an accident. Drivers that speed, make reckless lane changes, or break other traffic laws are a danger to everyone on the road. Many truck drivers also struggle with substance abuse, while others work past their designated Hours of Service regulations and wind up exhausted and overworked. All of these factors increase the risk of an accident happening.

Because of the number of potentially responsible parties involved, truck accident litigation can get extremely complex very quickly. If the accident is catastrophic — which is often the case with commercial vehicles — proving negligence will get even more nuanced. Trucking companies and others on the above list do not have your best interests in mind and will often try to get out of paying what they rightfully owe. These companies are armed with attorneys and resources and will usually do everything they can to avoid paying you compensation.

Your best course of action after a major truck accident is to find an experienced truck accident attorney. Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience handling truck accident cases, and our expertise covers not just engineering and legal issues but also the day-to-day details for truckers that can lead to accidents. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, 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 2:52 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

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

Rodriguez & Associates Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Kern High School District

Friday, September 3, 2021

Rodriguez & Associates has filed a lawsuit against the Kern High School District on behalf of a minor who was sexually assaulted at school in 2019.

The victim we are representing was allegedly sexually assaulted in the classroom while class was going on.

Daniel Rodriguez was interviewed by ABC News Bakersfield saying that this is an unusual case, as most sexual assault crimes occur in secluded places. The person accused, who is also a minor, has a pattern of assaulting girls at the school.

Rodriguez told ABC News Bakersfield that:

“Our information is that the teacher in our case is no more than 10-15 feet away,” said Rodriguez. “Apparently, the assailant had a history of this. We say this because even though we are in the early stage of this court process, we found out that there were three other victims in addition to the girl we represent.”

The incident happened in November of 2019. The purpose of the lawsuit is to hold the district accountable and get answers.

Rodriguez says the training that teachers and staff get in trying to prevent these kinds of incidents or be aware of them is not good enough. Due diligence would include the school district catching the pattern of harmful behavior.

He hopes bringing awareness to this issue will help make schools a safer place for kids.

“The question becomes, how or why did the school district or the high school ignore it,” asked Rodriguez. “They either knew it, it’s hard to believe they didn’t know about the history, or at the very least, they should have known had they been doing their due diligence.”

If you suspect your child has been the victim of sex abuse while at school or in the care of educators, contact our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys. We have experience handling child molestation, sexual assault, and sexual abuse cases involving teachers, daycare staff, coaches, and other school workers. We are here to help and are adamant about protecting children throughout Kern County. Contact us to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:25 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

Common Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Each year, millions of Americans seek emergency medical services after suffering injuries in a slip and fall accident. Slip and fall incidents can result in devastating harm, including spinal cord damage, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and more. If someone else’s actions are responsible for your slip and fall, you may be eligible for financial compensation. 

Broken Bones

Broken bones and fractures are very common after a slip and fall accident. A fall can place a significant amount of stress and force on different parts of the body, leading to a fracture. The hips, knees, and wrists are especially susceptible to damage during these types of accidents. The risk of a broken bone during a slip and fall increases with age, meaning that elderly people are the most likely to suffer this type of injury.

Soft Tissue Injuries

The soft tissues refer to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin. During a slip and fall, these tissues can become strained, torn, or bruised, leading to severe pain and limited mobility. Symptoms of soft tissue injuries are not always immediately apparent after an accident and may not appear for days or even weeks after your initial accident. Without prompt treatment, however, soft tissue damage can lead to chronic pain. 

Traumatic Brain Damage

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when you sustain any type of damage to your head. These injuries can occur when an object collides into you, when your head hits a hard surface, or when an object penetrates your skull. You can easily hit your head during a slip and fall accident, leading to a TBI and potentially life-altering complications.

Brain injuries can range from concussions, bumps, and bruises to more severe injuries, such as skull fractures, hemorrhages, and hematomas. However, any type of head injury can be extremely serious and should be treated like a medical emergency. If you hit your head after a slip and fall, seek medical attention immediately.

Spinal Cord Damage

The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages between our brain and the rest of our body. During a slip and fall accident, the vertebrae in the spinal cord can break or one of the discs in your back can slip or become herniated. Any back injury can result in serious pain and limited mobility, but spinal cord damage is often more severe.

Any damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent paralysis below the injury site. This type of injury may also result in neurologic disability and sensory impairment. Without prompt medical attention, spinal cord injuries can be fatal. 

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to remain calm and seek help as soon as possible. If the fall occurs in a store or at another place of business, ask to fill out an incident report to document the accident. If you have sustained serious injuries or if the accident involved a crime, such as physical assault, call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement. Seek medical attention immediately after the accident and save all records related to your treatment and injuries. 

Once you receive medical attention, contact a California slip and fall accident attorney. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.

Posted by highrank at 3:01 pm

Truck Driver Fatigue is a Leading Cause of Crashes

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Some of the most devastating vehicle crashes are those that involve large commercial trucks. And one of the main causes of such crashes is driver fatigue. When those behind the wheel of a semi-truck, big rig, or other large commercial truck are fatigued or drowsy, they substantially increase the risk of causing a major accident. Many of those accidents are fatal.

In 2018, the most recent year for data, 4,951 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in California. Of that number, 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles. 

Any person who drives while feeling fatigued increases their risk of causing an accident. Because of their size (the average semi-truck weighs 80,000 pounds and is 70 to 80 feet long), large commercial trucks can cause devastating damage to both property and lives if they are involved in a crash. Given that, truckers who drive while fatigued or exhausted take an inherently risky situation and make it even more dangerous. 

There are a few common causes of truck driver fatigue:

Driving for too long. Truck drivers in the U.S. are required by law to follow Hours of Service regulations. These stipulate how long they are allowed to drive and when they must take breaks.

Drivers carrying property (e.g., supplies, furniture, etc.) are legally allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They may do so after having 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.

Although driving hours are supposed to be monitored and enforced by electronic logs, drivers often go beyond these limits in order to meet a deadline. Trucking companies may not necessarily enforce the rules set down by Hours of Service regulations. Finally, even when a trucker follows the 11-hour maximum, they are still driving for an extremely long stretch of time and are at risk of extreme fatigue. 

Irregular driving schedules and inadequate sleep. Truckers don’t have schedules that follow a pattern of regular days and hours. Instead, they might work long stretches at a time that are then followed by lengthy periods off duty. Because of this, their sleeping patterns may be inconsistent, degrading the level of rest they actually get. For some, these irregular hours also make sleep more difficult, which can lead to fatigue over time. Over-the-counter sleep aids can increase this problem since they cause drowsiness that may not immediately wear off upon waking. 

Substance use. Substance use and abuse among truck drivers is a serious problem, with many drivers turning to “uppers” like amphetamines to stay awake during their long shifts. Unfortunately, one of the side-effects of such drugs is that they can cause extreme fatigue once they wear off, putting both the truck driver and others on the road at risk.

Unrealistic expectations. Some truck drivers feel enormous pressure from their trucking company or subcontractor to meet very tight deadlines. These deadlines do not always factor in traffic delays, weather problems, and other incidences on the road. Because of that, delivery deadlines can become unrealistic and force truckers to work longer hours than normal without breaks.  

Any of these things can lead to poor decision-making, delayed reactions, shorter attention spans, and even more aggressive behavior on the part of the truck driver or their trucking company. 

If you are involved in a truck accident, proving driver fatigue and negligence will be easier with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. Rodriguez & Associates can assist you in navigating this complex area of litigation as you seek 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 9:06 pm