Category Archives: Personal Injury Attorneys

2020 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Bakersfield

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Rodriguez & Associates has been named to Expertise.com’s 2020 list: Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Bakersfield, CA.

Expertise chose us based on 25 variables across the following five criteria: Reputation, Credibility, Experience, Availability, and Professionalism. They evaluated 242 personal injury attorneys in Bakersfield, CA to provide a hand-picked list of 22 of the best personal injury lawyers in the city.

Our firm was also added to Expertise’s Best Litigation Attorneys in Bakersfield and Best Car Accident Attorneys in Bakersfield lists for 2020.

Expertise’s goal is to connect people with the best local experts. Every month they help over 10 million customers find the best qualified service professional for their needs.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:58 pm

What Is the Difference Between Comparative and Contributory Negligence?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

In a California personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the at-fault party acted in negligence and caused the damages you are seeking compensation for. At the conclusion of your case, the court will decide if you are eligible for damages and if so, how much your settlement will be.

Identifying negligence is not simple in many cases, and the court may find that both parties’ actions contributed to the accident. In these situations, the court will either apply the theory of comparative negligence or the theory of contributory negligence to determine the amount of the final settlement. The specific theory that the court applies will depend on the state you reside in.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence states do not allow plaintiffs who share more than 1% of the fault from claiming compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. This means you lose your chances at compensation if you contributed to the accident at all. The only states who still apply the contributory negligence method include Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Let’s say you are in a car accident with another driver at a stop sign. You brake, the driver behind you doesn’t, and he hits the back of your vehicle. You suffer medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and pain and suffering worth $20,000, and request this settlement amount in your lawsuit.

However, the court finds that you had broken brake lights at the time of the accident, and assigns you 80% of the fault in your case. If you reside in a state that practices contributory negligence, you will not receive any damages.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

While contributory negligence is the most severe negligence rule, many states do not use this method. Instead, most states follow a comparative negligence system, which allows plaintiffs to collect compensation even if they share a portion of the fault.

There are two types of comparative negligence rules: pure and modified. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means you can collect compensation in a personal injury lawsuit even if you share up to 99% of the damages. The court will simply reduce your award by the portion you share. Using our broken brake light example, you can still receive $4,000 out of your $20,000 settlement if you share 80% of the fault.

There are two different types of modified comparative negligence states. In some modified comparative negligence states, such as Colorado, you cannot receive compensation if you share at least 50% of the fault. In other modified comparative negligence states, such as Hawaii, you cannot claim compensation if you share 51% or more of the fault in your claim.

You would not receive damages under our broken brake light scenario if you shared 80% of the fault. If the court determines you shared 40% of the fault, you could receive $12,000 out of the original $20,000 under both modified comparative negligence systems.

Hire an Attorney for Your Personal Injury Case

Comparative and contributory negligence can reduce the amount of compensation you receive significantly. In these situations, you must defend yourself against claims that you share liability for the accident by highlighting the at-fault party’s negligent actions.

Hiring a Bakersfield personal injury attorney to represent your claim can help you protect your best interests during the lawsuit process. Your attorney will conduct a full-scale investigation into your claim, crafting a compelling case for your need for compensation and proving the negligence of the at-fault party.

Contact your personal injury lawyer today to discuss your story and begin filing your claim.

Posted by highrank at 9:53 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

What Are the Psychological Effects of Being in a Car Accident?

Friday, May 8, 2020

The aftermath of a car accident can be physically painful — but many of us tend to overlook the psychological impacts these collisions can have. From the development of mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder to long-lasting impacts on our daily activities, the mental toll of a car accident can be overwhelming. However, you do have legal options available to recover from this psychological damage.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Car Accident

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that involves overwhelming feelings of fear, uneasiness, or anxiety following a traumatic event. These emotions are common after a car crash, but if they linger or become stronger, they can impact your daily activities and make it difficult to enjoy activities you once loved.

Symptoms of PTSD after a collision often include the following:

  • Uncontrollable flashbacks or memories about the car accident
  • A constant feeling of uneasiness
  • Overwhelming feelings of rage or worry
  • Anxiety around driving or riding in a motor vehicle
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • A feeling of disconnection in regard to events or people

Who Is at Risk for Developing PTSD?

According to a study from the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 39.2% of car accident survivors develop PTSD following a collision — a shockingly high number. In addition, psychological experts state motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the general American population.

You may be at a higher risk of developing PTSD after a car crash if you have a history of prior trauma or mental health conditions. In addition, if you experience high levels of emotion such as fear or helplessness during or immediately after a car accident, your PTSD development risk may also increase. A lack of social support after the accident may also aggravate this condition.

What Treatment Options Are Available for PTSD?

If you believe you developed PTSD after a car accident, it is important to seek mental health treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor or psychiatrist will help you identify your condition and create a symptom management plan, which may include medication, therapy, and other forms of treatment.

Paying for this necessary treatment can be difficult, even with health insurance. However, a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim can help you pay for damages associated with your car accident, including the cost of mental health care.

Economic damages can cover the cost of medications, therapy appointments, and other psychiatric treatment. Non-economic damages can compensate you for the emotional pain and suffering you endure as a result of the PTSD, along with other psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and a loss of quality of life.

Do You Need an Attorney for Your Bakersfield Car Accident Claim?

If you are suffering emotional, physical, and financial damages following a car accident, you need a Bakersfield car accident attorney on your side who can advocate aggressively on your behalf. Hiring a car accident lawyer can benefit your case in a number of ways, including access to a wide network of resources, well-honed negotiation skills, and knowledge of personal injury law.

Contact your car accident attorney today to discuss your case and determine which pathway to compensation is right for you.

Posted by highrank at 9:35 pm

Our Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorneys are Available During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

rod-law-bus-instagramWe hope this post finds you and your family healthy and well during these uncertain times. While we may not be able to meet in person, you might still “see” us on buses around town.

Our attorneys and staff are safely working from home and are available to help clients and potential clients in a few different ways.

Text Us Through Our Website

If you have a question or would like to get information to one of our attorneys, use the green “Text Us!” box on the bottom right corner of our website. This chat does not create a client-lawyer relationship but it is a quick, easy way to ask questions or schedule a consultation.

For Potential Clients

To request a FREE case evaluation, please fill out this form on our contact page (scroll to the bottom of the page and fill in the fields in the red area under “request a free consultation”). Under normal circumstances, we would have you come into the office to meet with us, but during the pandemic we will evaluate your submitted information and contact you via phone to further discuss your potential claim.

For Existing Clients

During this time, we are continuing to work on cases and monitor the status of court proceedings. If any currently scheduled matters are postponed or canceled, we will keep you advised.

Text or call us (661-323-1400) with your questions. If no one is available, leave a voice mail and we will respond at our earliest convenience. If a meeting is needed, we will schedule a phone or video-conferencing time that works for you.

E-Signature Convenience

For your convenience, we will be using ESign for all documents that need to be signed to complete the intake process. ESign is safe and can be done without printing, scanning, or faxing documents back to our office.

While we navigate through this unique time, our goal and commitment is the same – putting our clients and justice first.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:30 pm

Rodriguez & Associates Attorneys on The Great Trials Podcast

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Daniel Rodriguez, Chantal A. Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez were guests on the Great Trials Podcast on Tuesday, April 14th, 2020. Listeners got a behind the scenes look of the Taft Unified School District v. Cleveland case.

In 2013, Bryan Oliver, opened fire with a shot gun at Taft High School, seriously injuring his classmate, Bowe Cleveland. Cleveland was shot in the chest and has since underwent more than 30 surgeries.

Rodriguez & Associates represented Cleveland and after suing the Taft Unified School District, he was awarded $3.8 million in damage.

Listen to the episode by clicking here or listen below:

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 3:38 pm

Can Social Media Impact My Case?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Today’s personal injury cases have several unique considerations that yesterday’s did not. With the advent of social media, it’s easy to share sensitive details of our personal lives in what we believe is a private forum.

However, your social media posts may be accessible to the defendant, members of the defendant’s legal team, and other individuals involved in your claim. What you post online can have a significant impact on your personal injury case — and likely not a positive one.

Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

Although your intentions may not be harmful, social media posts can be very detrimental to a personal injury case. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you suffered an injury that you claim that someone else caused, and are seeking compensatory damages to help you recover. These damages can include payment for medical bills, long-term care and disability accommodations, and lost wages during recovery time.

If something you post online raises suspicion about the nature of your injuries, the extent of your treatment plan or medical expenses, or your recovery timeline, you could lose your chance at receiving your settlement. The type of content that could lead to loss of credibility is not always obvious.

For example, say that you suffered a broken leg in a car accident. The at-fault driver caused this car accident by speeding through a red light and striking the side of your car. While you can easily prove that the at-fault driver was responsible for the accident by examining surveillance footage and police reports, proving your need for compensation is a bit more difficult.

You file your claim and ask for $50,000 to cover your damages, which includes ongoing medical treatment for at least four months. During your case, you attend a party while using your crutches. A friend takes a picture with you at the party, and your crutches are outside of the shot.

If you post this picture onto social media, it will raise suspicion about your need for medical treatment and the credibility of your injuries. The insurance company or the defense attorney could use this photo as justification that your treatment costs do not need to be as high as you claim — potentially leading to a reduction in your overall settlement and a loss of the funds you need to recover.

Social Media Tips for Personal Injury Victims

Although you must be careful about what you say online, it can be difficult to quit social media cold turkey and you may still want to be active on your accounts. However, it is important to be smart, be cautious, and think before you post.

  • Set all of your social media accounts to private and limit your posts as much as possible during the extent of your case. Something as simple as sharing a funny picture could be evidence against you. Keep your profiles locked and only post when necessary.

 

  • Do not accept any friend or follower requests from people you do not know in real life. Although many states consider this practice unethical, some attorneys or even insurance representatives may attempt to follow or friend you. It is best not to accept any new requests during your case.

 

  • When you do make a post on social media, do not post anything about your case. Remember, anything you post online could be evidence against you. If you make a contradicting statement, you can lose your chance at collecting the compensation you need.

 

  • In addition to the above tip, do not post about your injuries, doctor’s visits, treatment progress, travel, or anything related to the harm you suffered. These statements could become evidence against you.

Personal injury cases can be complex, especially in today’s digital age. You must take extra caution when sharing details of your case online, or even with family and friends. If you say or share something that could harm your credibility, you can lose your chance at collecting the settlement you need to recover.

For best results and to avoid accidental harm, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your Bakersfield personal injury attorney can advise you on the best practices of posting on social media, helping you preserve your credibility and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Posted by highrank at 5:15 pm

Can I Still File A Lawsuit After Accepting a Settlement?

Monday, February 10, 2020

The aftermath of a serious injury can be physically, emotionally, and financially difficult. You may suffer from chronic pain, lose significant amounts of wages during your recovery period, and struggle with expensive medical bills for necessary treatments. In these situations, it can be tempting to accept a settlement as soon as possible — but if the settlement is not sufficient enough to help you recover, can you still file a lawsuit?

Settlements versus Lawsuits: What’s the Difference?

Before discussing whether or not you can file a lawsuit after accepting a settlement, it is crucial to understand the difference between these types of agreements.

A settlement is a private agreement to pay you an agreed-upon sum of money following an accident caused by the person that the entity authorizing the settlement represents. Typically, an insurance company offers a settlement after you file an insurance claim, or, in some cases, following negotiations with you and your attorney. Settlements from insurance companies may be quite lower than what you could claim in a lawsuit unless your attorney argues otherwise, but you can usually obtain the money much faster than you could in a lawsuit.

A lawsuit, on the other hand, is an action that you file in civil court against the at-fault party responsible for your injuries. You and your attorney will present your case in front of a judge and jury, establishing the liability of the other person and presenting evidence that details your physical, financial, and emotional losses. The court will decide whether or not the other person was at-fault, and may award you a settlement based on the damages you claim. The lawsuit process can be long and complex, but you have a greater opportunity to claim the maximum compensation you need to recover through this avenue.

You Cannot Accept a Settlement and File a Lawsuit

When you accept a settlement, you usually waive your right to pursue additional legal action against the at-fault party in your case. The insurance company will typically include a release of liability in your settlement paperwork, which prevents you from filing a lawsuit over the same incident.

However, you can back out of a settlement and pursue legal action before you sign the paperwork. Your attorney may evaluate the offer and determine that the funds are insufficient to pay for your injuries. You also have a greater opportunity to present evidence for a higher settlement in the courtroom, which may result in a larger amount of compensation. There are situations where a settlement prior to trial would be more beneficial than a lawsuit — your attorney will advise you on the best course of action for your case.

Should You Accept a Settlement After an Accident?

If you are suffering from the aftermath of a serious accident, an insurance company representative will likely contact you and ask you a series of questions about the incident. He or she may offer you a settlement soon after discussing your injuries, and it may be tempting to sign  this document instead of entering into lengthy trials and negotiations.

However, the funds the company may provide might not be enough to help you recover from your injuries. You may not know the extent of your damages at that point, and signing an early settlement can decrease your chances of obtaining the funds you need.

Accidents and injuries can lead to significant expenses, from medical bills to lost wages to property damage and more. To ensure that you receive the amount of compensation to recover from your accident, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following the incident. Your Bakersfield accident attorney will be able to evaluate any settlement offers you receive, help you determine the damages you are eligible for, and advocate for your needs from the negotiating table to the courtroom.

Posted by highrank at 9:35 pm

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Everyday

Monday, January 20, 2020

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

At Rodriguez & Associates, we remember Martin Luther King Jr. today on MLK Day and everyday.

Our Bakersfield, Ca personal injury attorneys are committed to bringing those responsible to justice, by providing the caring and empathetic service that can only come from someone who’s been in the same situation as the person being served.

We are forever thankful for the work and wisdom of Dr. King and respect and honor the legacy he has left in this world.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:49 am

How to Prove a Wrongful Death

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we can face. The death of a family member can be even more painful to face if he or she lost her life due to someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally violent behavior.

In these situations, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party to claim compensation for the damages you and your family suffered as a result of the incident that led to his or her death. However, proving a wrongful death case requires satisfying a series of specific legal elements.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

In all states, only certain individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. If you qualify, you must file the lawsuit within two years of the date of your loved one’s death, and you must prove that you are one of the following people in relation to the deceased.

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • A surviving child
  • A person who is in the line of succession to inherit the deceased’s property in the event that no spouse or child exists, such as a parent or sibling
  • A person who is financially dependent on the deceased, such as a stepchild, a putative spouse or putative children, or parents

You can file a lawsuit against any party that may be at-fault for the death of your loved one, including individuals, corporations, hospitals, or government agencies. You can file a wrongful death claim against a single person or entity, or multiple parties. However, to prove your case and claim compensation, you will need to provide evidence to support a series of four elements.

Element #1: Duty of Care

Before you can establish that a wrongful death occurred and that the at-fault party is responsible, you will first need to prove that the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care at the time of the accident. To prove duty of care, you can provide a copy of medical records, a lease agreement, surveillance footage, and other pieces of evidence that establish the relationship between the at-fault party and your loved one.

For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, you can prove that the at-fault driver owed him or her an obligation to follow the rules of the road and to drive safely. If your loved one died due to dangerous conditions in an apartment building, you can prove that the landlord had a duty to maintain safe premises and respond to hazardous conditions promptly.

Element #2: Breach of Care

After you establish the responsibility that the at-fault party had to your loved one, you must prove that he or she breached the duty of care in some way. Proving this element will vary based on the circumstances of your case. For example, if a driver ran a red light and crashed into your loved one’s vehicle, you can establish the breach by showing police records and surveillance footage.

Element #3: Causation

Once you establish that the breach occurred, you will next need to prove that the breach of care directly led to the death of your loved one. You can prove this by displaying medical records, witness testimony, surveillance footage, expert witnesses, and many more pieces of evidence. Your attorney can help you determine which evidence you need to prove causation.

Element #4: Damages

Finally, you must prove that the death of your loved one led to damages that you and your family members can collect in your lawsuit. Damages in wrongful death cases differ from personal injury lawsuits and can include any of the following.

  • Final medical expenses for the deceased
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of consortium or companionship

If you are grappling with the death of a loved one in California, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. To do so, you will need an attorney on your side who is familiar with the legal process that governs these lawsuits and who has the resources necessary to help you build your case. Contact a Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and to begin the filing process.

Posted by highrank at 5:06 pm