Category Archives: Personal Injury Attorneys

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

Is There a Cap on Non-Economic Damages in California?

Monday, November 25, 2019

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can claim compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages in some circumstances. However, many states can limit the amount that you may claim by imposing caps on certain types of damages in certain lawsuits – even if you believe the circumstances of your case warrant a higher award. The state of California imposes caps on non-economic damages in certain circumstances.

Different Types of Damages in California Lawsuits

You have the right to claim two main types of damages in a California personal injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the tangible financial losses you suffered as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages while you were in the hospital or recovering at home, property damages sustained in the accident, and disability accommodations to your home and vehicle.

On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the losses you cannot provide a financial paper trail to prove. They refer to the emotional repercussions of your injuries, such as the development of mental health issues like depression and anxiety, or other intangible impacts, such as chronic pain, disability, and disfigurement, or a loss of quality of life.

In certain cases, you may also be able to claim punitive damages in your lawsuit. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party, not to compensate you for your losses. Courts will assign punitive damages on top of economic and non-economic damages in situations where the at-fault party acted in an especially negligent, reckless, or dangerous manner.

How Do California Courts Calculate Non-Economic Damages?

In the state of California, different courts calculate non-economic damages in different ways. There is no set standard under which the state will determine your non-economic damages. The jury will determine the final amount based on the circumstances of the case and what would be a reasonable amount based on your injuries.

To successfully prove your case for non-economic damages, your attorney will need to establish that you suffered the injuries as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence or recklessness. After presenting your case to the courtroom, the jury will determine whether or not you can claim compensation, and will determine how much you should receive.

California Non-Economic Damage Caps

California does not impose limits on the amounts on economic damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit. In most personal injury cases, California does not impose a limit on non-economic damages either – unless the case falls under certain circumstances.

 

  • If the lawsuit involves an instance of medical malpractice, the court caps amount of non-economic damages you can claim at $250,000.

 

  • If you do not carry car insurance and suffered injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you do not have the right to claim non-economic damages. The exception to this rule is if the at-fault driver was under the influence at the time, during which you can claim non-economic damages.

 

  • If you suffered an injury while you were driving under the influence, even if the other driver was at-fault for the accident, you cannot claim non-economic damages if the courts convicted you of the DUI.

 

  • If you suffered an injury while committing or fleeing a felony crime, you cannot claim non-economic damages if you receive a felony conviction, even if you were not at-fault for the injury.

 

Calculating non-economic damages can be challenging, as well as collecting evidence for the economic damages you could claim and determining whether or not your case qualifies for punitive damages. However, hiring an attorney to assist you with your lawsuit can help you discover optimal pathways towards maximum possible compensation. If you have not done so already, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and to begin the filing process. 

Posted by highrank at 8:12 pm

How Daniel Rodriguez Built a Law Career Based on the Values of Home and Community

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Daniel Rodriguez may be a renowned California lawyer today, but he comes from much more humble roots—ones he’s not planning to forget anytime soon. As an article for the most recent issue of Kern County law publication Res Ipsa Loquitur details, it’s his beginnings as the son of migrant workers and his early years spent struggling for his own education that have informed so much of what he does today with his personal injury law firm, Rodriguez & Associates.

From a young age, Daniel understood the importance of education. Even though he and his family moved a lot, he took it upon himself to ensure he and his five siblings were always enrolled in school, often filling out the paperwork to register them himself.

Daniel enrolled as an electronic engineering student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the early 1970s, where he became the first Latino to graduate from that program. Even so, he always knew he wanted to become an attorney, though he found the profession initially challenging as a first-year law student at UCLA. “In engineering, there’s a formula and there’s always a right answer. It’s black and white. It took me a whole year to understand that law is different. You have to be able to see both sides of the coin, both viewpoints at stake in a dispute,” he told Res Ipsa Loquitur.

The value of that lesson has informed much on Daniel’s career. Personal injury law is a tricky, often messy business that relies on nuances and gray areas. Being able to argue both sides of a case has been key to Rodriguez & Associates success over the years when representing its clients.

Perhaps an even more valuable lesson he has learned along the way is the importance of community and remembering one’s roots. Despite success in law school that led to multiple job offers upon graduation, he decided to forgo working with a Los Angeles-based firm and instead returned home to the Central Valley, California. Once there, he actually struggled to find work as an attorney.

And when he eventually landed a job with an insurance company as a defense attorney, he quickly realized how discouraging it felt to represent the interests of companies rather than individuals.

So he changed course and instead went to work for a Bakersfield law firm where he was able to fight for people who were injured working, as the article puts it, “in the same orange groves he grew up working in or on the same cotton gins he and his father had worked on all those years before.”

Eventually, he met a law clerk named Joel Andreesen and the two decided to start working together. Over the last decade, they have built up a firm around the values of helping people who most need it and giving back to the communities from which they came. Serving the community, both inside and outside of the courtroom, continues to be a value on which Daniel and his firm practice the law and to build a bond with each and every client along the way.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 11:41 pm