Category Archives: Personal Injury Attorneys

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

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