Category Archives: Personal Injury Attorneys

Common Causes of Oilfield Accidents

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Working on an oilfield is a dangerous profession. In an industry that requires working with heavy machinery, combustible materials, and large vehicles among many other hazards, there are a large number of potential hazards. Most oilfield accidents are preventable with proper precautions, yet traumatic and fatal accidents caused by explosions, faulty machinery, or environmental factors, among other variables, continue to threaten the safety of oilfield workers every day.

Oil companies are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment for their employees. Providing in-depth training, appropriate safety gear, and maintaining equipment regulations are all simple ways to avoid accidents that can potentially cause serious injury. When state and federal laws and regulations are not met or are ignored, there is a serious concern for everyone’s safety. When an accident does occur, it is important to hold the responsible parties accountable.

The most recent data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average of 107 annual occupational fatalities in private sector oil and gas extraction industries from 2016 to 2020. Thousands of other injuries were reported ranging from slip-and-fall incidents to chemical exposures. California reported 90 fatalities across the public and private extraction industries in 2020, of which 40% were the result of slips, falls, or trips. Continue reading to learn about the most common causes of oilfield accidents in the US and how to prevent them:

Blowouts

An oil well blowout is an uncontrolled release of oil, liquid, and gas that can occur when the pressure release systems on the well fail. There is a tremendous force behind a blowout that can cause serious injury to anyone within range. The chief operator should be trained to identify the signs of a potential blowout and be looking for signs of a potential blowout at all times. All mechanical systems of the well pump should be inspected and monitored regularly to avoid system failures.

Explosion and Fires

Oilfield workers are constantly surrounded by extremely flammable materials that can combust from even the smallest spark, potentially causing significant harm. Explosions and fires on the oil field are relatively rare but when they do happen, they can cause horrific burn injuries, fatalities, and damage. Most accidents of this nature are preventable and are caused by equipment malfunction, failure to follow safety regulations, or unsafe drilling practices.

Exposure to Toxins and Chemicals

Exposure to the chemicals in an oilfield can create major long-term medical problems for workers. Benzene is a carcinogen found in crude oil and can devastate a person’s bone marrow and blood, causing leukemia, cancers, anemia, and excessive bleeding. Prolonged low exposure to hydrogen sulfide can potentially cause memory loss, respiratory soft tissue damage, and skin complications, while a high concentration exposure to the same gas can be fatal. Effects of chemical exposure might take years to identify, so it is important to receive medical treatment immediately following a known exposure, keep documentation, and follow all recommended safety precautions.

Injured? We Can Help

Working conditions on an oilfield are unique, unpredictable, and dangerous. It is important to remain cognizant of your surroundings, follow safety procedures, and use good judgment while working. If negligence or an unsafe working environment causes you to be injured on the job site, the experienced team of oilfield accident attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates can assess your case and help you figure out what organizations or individuals are responsible for the negligence that was a factor in the accident that caused you harm.

Contact our Bakersfield, CA office today to connect with an attorney regarding your case, and determine the next steps towards your recovery.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:13 pm

Serious Injuries From Car Accidents

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Accidents from the impact of cars crashing often result in serious injuries that have a lasting impact on the lives of the victims. Since the average American car weighs over 2 tons when an accident occurs between two cars over 8,000 pounds of metal and steel collide at great force. The damage and potential injuries can be astounding depending on the circumstances of the accident.

If you are involved in a serious car accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you are entitled to seek compensation for a number of damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of wages. Working with an experienced serious car accident attorney will help you prioritize your needs, identify potential damages, and seek justice on your behalf while you heal.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience recovering damages for victims of severe car accidents including a $4.6 million dollar case resulting in a head-on collision caused by a drug-impaired driver and a $5.5 million dollar recovery on behalf of a two-year-old paralyzed in a high-speed police chase.

What Qualifies as a Serious Car Accident?

Generally, the severity of an accident is determined by the injuries obtained by drivers and passengers. A number of factors may influence the seriousness of injuries including the speed of the vehicles at the time of the collision, the type of impact or collision that took place, and the number of cars involved.

A serious injury is determined by a high risk of death, serious disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

Serious Car Accident Injuries

A number of life-changing injuries can be acquired in a car accident

  • Spinal Cord Injuries
    Accidents that cause damage to the neck or spinal cord are common and detrimental to the livelihood of the victim. Spinal trauma from a high-impact collision can sever the spinal cord or dislocate vertebrae causing a combination of serious medical issues including paralysis and lost feeling in parts of the body, the loss of function or control of parts of the body, as well as difficulty breathing.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
    Traumatic brain injury or TBI is usually a result of a severe impact to the head or the result of an object penetrating brain tissue. Depending upon the severity of the injury, victims may face cognitive or emotional issues as well as struggling with ordinary tasks, such as brushing their teeth or feeding themselves, that require motor control.
  • Amputation or Limb Loss
    If a person’s limb is injured beyond repair or keeping it would put them at further medical risk, amputation can be the best life-saving solution. Losing the use of one or multiple limbs due to a serious car accident can drastically affect a person’s quality of life. Effects of amputation include extensive medical procedures and therapies, prosthetic limbs, continuing pain, and emotional trauma.

Why do Serious Car Accidents Occur?

Negligence plays a large role in the number of serious car accidents that occur nationally. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, and aggressive driving were all leading causes of serious or fatal car accidents in 2020. California is among the states that have developed a Strategic Highway Safety Plan to address negligent motorists and enforce safety regulations in an effort to minimize fatalities and serious car accidents.

How We Can Help

The award-winning car accident attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates have over one hundred years of combined experience working closely with seriously injured car accident victims in the Bakersfield area, and throughout California. For years, we have been named to Expertise.com’s list of Best Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield.

Our team understands the extreme difficulties families can face in the aftermath of an accident and comprehensively examines all details of your incident to build a strong case that will help you reach justice and reclaim your life. Contact our Bakersfield personal injury law office today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:59 pm

Steps to Improve Worker Safety on an Oilfield

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Oilfield workers face considerable health and safety concerns due to the nature of their jobs. The number of inexperienced workers, the use of heavy equipment, powerful machinery, and volatile liquids and gasses all contribute to a hazardous work environment, but one that has become essential to California’s economy.

Accidents experienced on an oilfield are often preventable and may occur out of negligence on the part of workers, supervisors, corporate offices, or equipment manufacturers. When negligence causes minor or severe injury, the employee has the right to seek legal representation and potential damages for losses caused due to the injury.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the fatality rate among oil and gas workers is seven times higher than all other industries in the United States. The most common accidents that cause fatalities and injuries in the oil and gas industry include automobile accidents, caught-in, struck-by or caught-between incidents, fires and explosions, and falls from great heights.

Controlling or minimizing the likelihood of a hazard is the best way to prevent accidents and injuries on an oilfield. A number of federal and state government agencies including OSHA set safety expectations and regulations that employers are required by law to follow. Ultimately, organizations, managers, and supervisors are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment for anyone on the worksite.

Ensure Proper Training of All Employees

Companies and supervisors are responsible for the proper training of all employees. Training should include required gear and how to use it, a full understanding of operation procedures, the use of the equipment, and any necessary mechanics, among other things. Inexperienced workers should receive all necessary training before being granted permission to operate equipment independently.

Consistently Enforce Safety Regulations

California Law requires oil companies to follow the strict regulations outlined by government agencies to protect workers, the public, and the environment. Supervisors and managers must consistently enforce these safety regulations in order to maintain a safe work environment for everyone. OSHA regularly performs safety audits of oilfields to ensure companies are in compliance with regulations and workers maintain the right to file a complaint with OSHA should their employer fail to follow and administer proper safety regulations.

Avoid Oilfield Worker Burnout

Oilfield workers frequently have high demands placed on their time and availability, including hours of overtime. Exhaustion does not allow workers to work clearly and efficiently, with research suggesting that the effects of fatigue on the brain are as harmful as drunk driving. Exhaustion can affect memory, motor skills, decision-making, and balance. Employers should place reasonable demands on their employees, and provide schedules that allow for adequate rest.

Ensure Oilfield Equipment is Well Maintained

Oilfields contain a significant amount of mechanical equipment that requires specific maintenance to ensure that it is properly functioning. Heavy machinery that is not fully inspected and maintained can potentially have catastrophic impacts on safety features, shut-off valves, and sensors that can prevent or alert to blowouts, fires, or other hazards. Fully functional equipment is less likely to break or malfunction and create the potential for severe accidents.

Supply Workers with Necessary Protective Gear

From masks and footwear to harnesses and helmets, oilfield workers require layers of protection against the elements, slippery surfaces, and heights among other hazards. Since 2018, OSHA requires all employers to provide workers with appropriate and necessary personal protective equipment that meets the administration’s safety standards.

How We Can Help

It is inexcusable for organizations to disregard safety procedures on oilfields to prioritize profit. Unfortunately, this along with careless mistakes on the job lead to preventable accidents. When an accident does occur, it is important to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience representing those injured in the oilfield because of someone else’s negligence, including obtaining $4.5 million for a defective oilfield derrick and $3.5 million for a worker who sustained injuries after an oilfield crane dropped on him. We understand the concerns and frustrations that working families face when an earner is no longer able to work due to injury. Contact our Bakersfield personal injury law office today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:37 pm

Daniel Rodriguez Representing Arvin High School Special Needs Bullying Victim

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Daniel Rodriguez, founding partner and president of Rodriguez & Associates, announced in a press conference on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, that his firm is representing a special needs student who was the victim of a bullying incident at Arvin High School.

The victim is a 16-year-old student who has significant learning disabilities. Mr. Rodriguez explained that it is difficult for special needs children to fit in and find acceptance and friends, making them a target for manipulation.

Recorded by student onlookers and posted across social media platforms including Twitter and TikTok, the video showed the student’s evident despair and frustration as a crowd of bystanders, which included at least one security guard, taunted and laughed at him as multiple students shaved his head.

The incident seemingly ended when another student came to the aid of the victim, helping him to a female security guard who carted him away from the situation. Danay Gonzales, an attorney with the firm, says the school never contacted the student’s mother, who learned of the incident from her sister who had seen it online. The school then attempted to blame the bullying on the student.

Arvin High School, which happens to be Mr. Rodriguez’s alma mater, is part of the Kern County School District. Rodriguez stated in the press conference that schools have a legal obligation and duty to protect all students, a standard that was not met considering the outcome of this incident.

“What is going on in the high school district? They all talk about having measures in place. [Bullying is] not just isolated to Arvin High School,” Rodriguez said. “We have a number of other cases.”

An outpouring of support for the victim and public outcry against the school administration was voiced in a protest last week as residents, students, alumni, and family members surrounded the school. School officials issued a statement, assuring the public that they were investigating the incident and that two staff members were placed on administrative leave.

Rodriguez said his office is also conducting a full investigation of the incident and intends to hold responsible both those directly involved and others who failed to protect the student. Since this particular case is against a government-funded public school, the firm must file a government tort claim prior to filing a lawsuit.

The team of award-winning attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates is known for handling complicated and sensitive issues involving minors affected by school bullying, violence, and other in-school incidents. They offer care and compassion for their clients while fighting intently for truth and justice.

About Rodriguez & Associates

Rodriguez & Associates is Kern County’s top personal injury law firm. The lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience. They are an award-winning law firm known to deliver big firm results with small firm service.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:06 pm

Chantal Trujillo Reflects on Her Experience with Rodriguez & Associates

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Since joining Rodriguez & Associates in 2011, Chantal Trujillo has grown to senior partner, developing into her role as a trial attorney in some of Bakersfield and Kern County’s toughest cases. In a male-dominated field that requires fierce grit and determination, Chantal possesses that and much more, understanding that the most successful work of a personal injury attorney is derived from compassion and empathy.

A Bakersfield-area native, Chantal left California to pursue school and life in Texas, returning after obtaining her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio to be closer to family. She considers herself fortunate to have found a home away from home at Rodriguez & Associates and to have had the opportunity to be mentored by the firm’s founder and president, Daniel Rodriguez.

“Daniel took me to depositions and gave me the guidance and coaching to succeed. I always felt comfortable going to him with questions. I have become confident, always learning, and now I can help others learn the ropes and gain their footing.”

While Chantal attributes her technical training to Mr. Rodriguez, her hard work, and the opportunities the firm has presented her with over the years, she has also developed a unique skill that allows her to connect background knowledge from her lived experiences and apply it to the cases she works. She refers to this skill as the “Slumdog Millionaire” effect, as her exceptional memory allows her to recall details from moments in time that align experiences with information, research, or evidence at a moment’s notice – a skill that comes in handy during pivotal moments during trials. Her grit, determination, and presence stem from decades of Kenpo training, a Chinese martial art, which she also taught during her college years, a job that prepared her to present and differentiate information to make it understandable to many.

Familiar with male-dominated arenas such as martial arts, and Texas oil fields, embarking on a career in trial law did not phase Chantal. She says, “there were times that I would look around and be the only female attorney in the room. I had to make sure I was always on my A-game.” Her A-game has led her and her team to successful settlements and verdicts in some of Kern County’s most significant cases including a 2019 verdict in a school shooting case that was later upheld on appeal.

Chantal describes her team at our Bakersfield, California personal injury law firm as a well-oiled machine of experienced attorneys and attentive staff who take pride in putting their clients first.

“Our clients come to us at their most vulnerable and weakest moments in life. Being able to help them take strides in a positive direction and help guide them toward resolution is always our priority.”

Care and respect for clients are a significant part of the firm’s mission, understanding the immense difficulties that their clients are facing. Chantal is all too familiar with the struggles of her clients, many of whom are underage victims of unspeakable crimes including violence and child molestation. These cases are sensitive by nature, and working with minors requires special tenacity and attention to the emotional needs of her clients.

“Our most successful cases are those that will have the most impact and create change where change needs to happen.”

Chantal possesses the natural ability to connect with others, understanding that in her line of work, trust and compassion are just as important traits as tenacity and drive. Building lasting relationships with co-workers as well as clients, Chantal is a testament to the environment that Rodriguez & Associates has developed to serve the people of Bakersfield and beyond.

We are so grateful for the commitment and energy Chantal has brought to the firm over the years!

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 1:50 pm

My Child Was Injured at School – Who Is Liable?

Friday, October 14, 2022

In California, schools must protect the children who attend their institutions. This obligation requires schools to provide adequate supervision and ensure that their facilities are safe. Unfortunately, many children are injured at school every year.

If your child was hurt at school, you may wonder who is liable. In the event that the school’s negligence caused your child’s injuries, you could hold the institution accountable for his or her damages. In these situations, it is best to consult with a Bakersfield personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Common Causes of Injuries at School

We often think of schools as safe places where children can learn and grow their skills. However, there are many hazardous conditions and dangerous situations that a child can encounter at school. An accident at school can lead to serious injuries and potentially lifelong complications, which can affect your child for years to come.

Below are some of the common causes of school injuries:

  • Poorly maintained buses and school vehicles
  • Dangerous property conditions like cracked pavement and loose flooring
  • Poorly maintained playgrounds and recreational equipment
  • Failure to use proper food safety techniques and sanitary procedures when preparing meals
  • Lack of adequate supervision during recess, mealtimes, and extracurricular activities
  • Failure to have an adequate plan for emergencies like natural disasters or school shootings
  • Failure to properly supervise and maintain children’s safety during sports, physical education, and other recreational activities

In some cases, school injuries are not caused by unintentional accidents, but by mistreatment, assault, and abuse. Teachers, caregivers, and other people in positions of authority can intentionally harm children in very serious and painful ways. 

Filing a Lawsuit Against a School for a Child Injury

If your child is hurt at school, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the person or entity who was responsible for the incident. Your options for compensation will depend on the circumstances surrounding your child’s injuries. 

Depending on the cause of the injury, any of the following parties could be liable if your child is hurt at school:

  • School Employees: If an employee of the school’s negligent or intentional actions caused your child to get hurt, you can file a claim against that employee. For example, if a school bus driver causes an accident, you can name him in your lawsuit. If a teacher fails to provide adequate supervision, you could file a claim against that teacher.
  • The School and the School District: If an employee of the school causes an accident, you can name the school and/or the school district in your lawsuit. You can also file a lawsuit against the school or district directly if the entity’s negligence caused your child’s injury.
  • The Government: If the school is a public institution, it is considered a governmental entity. You could file a lawsuit against the government agency responsible for the school as well.
  • A Non-Profit or Religious Organization: If your child attends a private school, you could file a lawsuit against the non-profit or religious organization that oversees the institution.

Discuss Your Legal Options with a School Injury Attorney

When your child is hurt at school, it is easy to feel scared and overwhelmed. In these situations, it is important to seek the help of a California personal injury lawyer who can support you and your family during the legal process. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your child’s options.

Posted by highrank at 9:37 pm

5 Types of Brain Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

When a car accident happens, it is common for the vehicle occupants to suffer forceful blows, jolts, or bumps to the head. This trauma can cause serious damage to the brain and lead to painful, sometimes life-altering effects like persistent headaches, loss of function, or even a coma.

Brain damage can range in severity and can lead to significant financial, physical, and emotional hardships. There are many types of brain injuries that a person could sustain in a car accident, including concussions, skull fractures, and contusions.

#1: Concussion

Concussions are one of the most common types of brain injuries in traumatic accidents. This injury is typically caused by a blow to the head and results in symptoms like nausea, headache, vomiting, blurred vision, and ringing in the ears.

Concussions are relatively mild, but some injuries can lead to dangerous complications and long-lasting effects. Some patients experience a temporary change in mental function and could suffer compounded symptoms if they have another concussion before the first one is healed.

#2: Skull Fracture

During a car accident, the skull surrounding your brain can fracture or crack. Because they can happen any time that you hit your head, skull fractures usually occur in addition to other injuries like concussions. Symptoms of this condition include bruising, swelling, severe head pain, and bleeding from the ears or nose.

#3: Coup-Contrecoup Injury

A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when your brain is injured in two places. During a car accident, you could suffer a blow to the head that severely injures the brain at the site of impact. However, the force can be so great that it causes your brain to slide to the other side of your skull and suffer an injury on the opposite end. Coup-contrecoup injuries can be very painful and lead to bleeding, swelling, and bruising.

#4: Brain Contusion

Contusion is another word for bruise. When the brain suffers a violent jolt or blow during a car accident, it is very common for contusions to develop. In some cases, brain contusions heal without major medical intervention. However, these injuries can lead to extremely dangerous complications like blood clots and bleeding.

#5: Diffuse Axonal Injuries

Axons are cables that connect different neurons in the brain together, allowing electrical impulses to travel from cell to cell. Extreme forces exerted during a car accident can cause the axons to tear or shear, leading to a diffuse axonal injury. This type of brain injury is extremely severe and often results in devastating injuries, comas, or death.

Contact a California Brain Injury Attorney

If your brain was damaged in a motor vehicle collision, you deserve fair compensation for the harm that you suffered. By filing a brain injury lawsuit or car insurance claim, you could secure a settlement to help pay for medical care, property damage, disability accommodations, and other losses.

If you have suffered a brain injury in California, you should retain the services of an attorney who will fight for the full value of your compensation. Your brain injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and work to protect your rights and best interests.

Get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible after your car accident to initiate an insurance claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will evaluate your case and help you begin the process of obtaining the settlement you deserve.

Posted by highrank at 8:53 pm

Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Walking away from a truck accident as an uninjured driver or passenger of a standard-sized vehicle is rare simply due to the sheer size and force of a moving truck. The injuries that occur in a truck accident are generally severe, often including head trauma, internal bleeding, and back and neck injuries.  

Yet, seeking compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment, wages, and even wrongful death in a truck accident is extremely challenging and tedious. Large trucking companies are prepared with legal teams and massive insurance policies that have the goal of protecting their company, their manufacturers, and their drivers from a large payout. 

Working with a truck accident attorney who has experience handling claims against trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers, as well as aggressive insurance companies, is crucial to the success of your case and your peace of mind while you heal.

Crash Investigation

Attorneys can determine the cause of an accident through an extensive and in-depth investigation that will involve visits to the crash site, a review of the driver’s black box, driver log, and other factors including police reports, weather conditions, and eyewitness reports. Attorneys will address the potential for multiple parties involved by reviewing the trucking company’s history of accidents, manufacturing issues, or other logistical concerns. A detailed investigation can take months to review critical evidence in a truck accident. 

Multiple Parties

Layers of trucking laws, specific investigative procedures, and multiple involved parties can make a successful truck accident lawsuit seem out of reach. Unlike a typical car accident, truck accidents can possibly involve multiple negligent parties in addition to the driver. It is crucial for you and your attorney to understand the connection between various parties including the trucking company, manufacturer, and even cargo loaders. Determining which parties were negligent and should be held liable for injuries and damages is an essential part of your truck accident claim. 

Who Can be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?

The trucking industry has so many interconnected roles that negligence, as early in the process as manufacturing, can create potential harm for anyone on the road. Truck drivers, manufacturing companies, truck owners, and trucking companies, among others, can potentially hold responsibility for an accident.

Truck Drivers

The most common defendant in a trucking accident, the negligent behaviors of a truck driver can have tremendous consequences for others on the road. Common negligent actions among truck drivers include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving impaired
  • Failing to follow state or federal laws
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failing to maintain driver’s log

Truck Companies/Truck Owners

The truck’s owner, whether an individual, a company, or a leasing firm, is responsible for ensuring the truck is completely safe and roadworthy. If the truck’s owner fails to properly maintain the truck, and that lack of maintenance causes an accident, the owner can be held liable for any damages. In addition, companies are responsible for hiring fully licensed and experienced drivers and ensuring those drivers comply with trucking laws. Common negligence among truck companies and owners includes:

  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Hiring unqualified drivers
  • Insufficient training of employees
  • Encouraging their drivers to violate hour and sleep restrictions

Truck Manufacturer

Manufacturing errors are significant factors in truck accidents. Recorded data from 2021 showed that about 30% of all truck-related accidents are caused by tire defects. Even when warnings and recalls are in place, the truck manufacturer can still potentially be held liable for damages. 

Cargo Loaders

The companies that hire trucking companies to transport their materials and products can potentially be held liable if their materials are not securely fastened and come loose. Over-loading, improper balance or the use of unsafe straps, levers, or other securing devices are all common factors in trucking hazards.

How We Can Help

California remains among the top states with the highest fatal trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Patrol’s 2019 statistics, 7.7% of California truck drivers were involved in fatal crashes during that year. 

Truck accidents are complex and require an experienced eye. Our Bakersfield 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 over $70 million for a truck vs SUV case. Our firm is familiar with truck engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a truck accident, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and possible legal options.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:54 pm

What is a Shared Fault Law and How Can it Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Personal injury accidents are not always cut and dry. In California, shared fault laws can affect the outcome of your case. Aggressive insurance companies will use shared fault to their advantage, to minimize their client’s responsibility and damages payout. If you have been injured and are pursuing a personal injury claim, working with a highly experienced personal injury attorney at a reputable personal injury law firm can help you navigate the complexities of shared fault to ensure that you find justice in your case.

What is Shared Fault?

Shared Fault, or comparative negligence, is a law that allows for both the plaintiff and the defendant to be held partially liable for damages. In a situation where both parties were negligent, the court can issue percentages of fault, requiring each party to pay damages to the other, or mitigating the liability of the defendant. Comparative negligence follows the general understanding that the plaintiff does not have the right to recover what they contributed to the accident.

California is among the few states that abide by a “Pure” comparative fault rule which allows the defendant to recover some damages even if they are mostly at fault for the incident.

When Can Shared Fault Occur?

Shared fault can be found in many types of California personal injury cases. While most commonly seen in car accident claims, other common shared fault cases include:

Who Decides Percentages of Fault?

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, but you were also driving distracted and did not see the other car, how much of the fault is placed on you versus the defendant must be decided. Typically, it is the judge or a jury who reviews the facts and makes an informed decision about the role each party played in the accident.

When your case goes to settlement or trial, your attorney will be able to negotiate the percentages of fault for your case. It may be found that the drunk driver in the example above was 80% at fault for the accident, and you were 20% at fault for driving distracted. The damages you receive would be reduced by the amount of 20%.

Every personal injury accident is unique and there is no absolute method to appropriating fault. With many factors that can influence comparative negligence in a case, it is important to have the support of a legal team who has the ability to advocate for you against large insurance agencies and big companies.

How We Can Help

If you have been injured by the negligence of another person in California, contact Rodriguez & Associates today at (661) 323-1400 or by filling out this online form. Our team of Bakersfield, California personal injury lawyers is skilled at handling all types of personal injury claims including those that involve shared fault, with the goal of securing the most possible damages for you as you recover.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:51 pm

What Are “Catastrophic Injuries” in California?

Monday, August 1, 2022

An unexpected injury can have a significant impact on your life, affecting your financial stability, physical health, and ability to go to work. However, some injuries are more severe and lead to more complications than others.

Catastrophic injuries are the most serious bodily injuries a person could sustain. However, this type of harm can be difficult to define. Here is what you need to know about catastrophic injuries in California.

Common Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

According to Supplement 4, Title 42 of the United States Code, a catastrophic injury is defined as any type of injury that permanently prevents a person from performing any type of gainful work. A catastrophic injury can involve many forms of damage, such as the following:

In California, the definition of catastrophic injury is relatively vague. This type of injury is referenced in the California Labor Code, which states that a catastrophic injury includes, but is not limited to, the loss of a limb, paralysis, severe burn, or severe head injury.

The Average Settlement for a Catastrophic Injury Claim

If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit or insurance claim against the person responsible for the harm that you suffered. Through your lawsuit, you can recover compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, disability accommodations, and pain and suffering.

In cases involving catastrophic injuries, these financial awards are often much higher than settlements for non-catastrophic injuries. Depending on your circumstances, your settlement can be as high as hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Catastrophic injury settlements are likely to have a high value for several reasons, such as the following:

  • If you have a catastrophic injury, you will likely require greater amounts of medical care than other patients and may also have long-term care costs.
  • You may require disability accommodations to live with your injury, such as mobility equipment, live-in caregivers, and modifications to your home or vehicle.
  • Catastrophic injuries prevent you from returning to work, meaning that you can claim compensation for the loss of future earnings and benefits.
  • Your pain and suffering award will likely be higher for a catastrophic injury because of the injury’s impact on your life.

What to Do After Experiencing a Catastrophic Injury

If you develop a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve justice. In these situations, it is important to remain calm and seek help as soon as you can.

First, you should seek emergency medical attention for your injuries. Your health is your top priority. Go to the hospital or call emergency medical services as soon as possible and save all of your medical records.

If possible, call 911 to report the accident to the police or fill out an incident report. These documents will ensure that there is a record of the accident on file, which you can use to support your injury claim. Try to gather as much evidence as you can, such as photographs, videos, and witness information.

After you receive medical care, contact a California catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can guide you through each stage of your injury claim and work to recover the compensation that you deserve.

Posted by highrank at 7:06 pm