Category Archives: Personal Injury Attorneys

Why You Need Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Bakersfield personal injury attorney, Danay Gonzalez, shares four very important reasons why everyone needs Uninsured (UM) / Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage in her TikTok video.

  1. Covers you when the at fault driver has no coverage.
  2. Covers you when the at fault driver doesn’t have ENOUGH coverage.
  3. Covers you if the at fault driver is an excluded driver on a policy.
  4. Covers you if the at fault driver has a lapse in their insurance coverage.

Being smart about your insurance coverage can spare you from having to pay for a crash that you didn’t cause.

Watch Danay’s TikTok video here:

If you have sustained an injury in a car accident, call our Bakersfield personal injury law firm to discuss your case at (661) 323-1400 or toll free (800) 585-9262 or request to schedule a no-charge consultation online.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:51 am

Danay Gonzalez on Coming Home to Bakersfield and Giving Her Community a Voice

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Giving a voice to those who most need it is one of the driving forces for Danay Gonzalez, in both her life and career.

A native of the Bakersfield, California area, she returned home after receiving her undergraduate degree at UCLA in the hopes of being a positive influence in her own hometown. Joining the Rodriguez & Associates family has allowed her to do just that, serving her community and getting to know the lives and stories of its individual members.

Danay cites events from her childhood as huge motivators for her eventually becoming an attorney. Growing up in Lamont, California, she had many classmates that were victims of crimes, including sexual abuse, who were afraid to speak up because of their families’ risk of deportation. She remembers watching her classmates’ personalities change because of the abuse they suffered, and, in her own words, she felt “an obligation” to help them find both their voice and the courage to use it.

“I don’t want people to be afraid,” she says.

That personal mission statement fits well into the philosophy at Rodriguez & Associates, which is “to serve those who are most in need.” It was this outlook, along with the close, family-like relationships the firm keeps with its clients, that first attracted Danay to the firm.

“Something that I love is that  we’re a family and we treat our clients as family,” she says.

She describes the attorney-client relationship as more of a partnership than a transaction.

Danay remains committed to helping sexual abuse victims that come to the firm with their cases and stories. A detail that stands out from her first case with Rodriguez & Associates is the sheer number of women and men who admitted to being sexually abused but had kept that fact a secret. Even more disturbing was the fact that these incidents were happening at schools, churches, and after-school programs—all places.

Danay_Gonzalez_Bakersfield_Attorney“Where you’re supposed to feel protected or safe.”

But many people—especially those under age—are not safe in these environments. Danay spends a great deal of her time working with minors who are victims of sexual abuse and assault, learning their stories and those of their families. Along with fellow attorney Chantal A. Trujillo, she handles the majority of the firm’s sex abuse cases involving minors.

“Something that we’ve learned through our experts is that these kids will live with this for the rest of their lives.”

Many have PTSD, and Danay sees the effects of that condition.

Giving these children, along with anyone else who is the victim of a crime or accident, a voice is part of what motivates Danay’s day-to-day work life. Back when she was working on that very first case and realizing how many people are sexual abuse victims, she had the realization that something needed to change to help these individuals step out from the silence imposed on them by fear.

“I feel like I need to be a part of that change one way or another,” she says.

The work is grueling, and often emotionally taxing, but she believes the rewards of helping those in need overcome their fear and find their voice are worth the fight.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:57 pm

What Evidence Is Needed in a School Bullying Claim?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

School administrators often do not take action against school bullying until damage has already occurred — and if your child has suffered due to this act of violence, you may hold the school district accountable for his or her injuries. You will need to establish with clear evidence that the school failed to uphold its duty of care to your student under federal law.

Holding a School District Accountable for Bullying Under Title IX

If your child suffered bullying due to a protected characteristic under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, this is an act of harassment under federal law. You can hold the district accountable by proving the following elements.

  • Your student is a member of a statutorily protected class, with regards to race, gender, disability, etc.
  • Your student suffered harassment based on the protected class.
  • The bullying is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.
  • At least one school official with authority to act had actual knowledge of the harassment.
  • The school was deliberately indifferent to the bullying.

Non-Protected Bullying Claims

If the nature of the bullying does not have anything to do with a protected class under the Civil Rights Act, you can still file a lawsuit against the school. Schools have a responsibility to provide students with a safe environment to support their education, and the state requires each district to have anti-bullying policies.

You may be able to hold the district liable if any of the following actions occurred.

  • The district failed to adequately protect all of its students against bullying.
  • School personnel witnessed the bullying and failed to prevent or stop it.
  • The bullying occurred as a result of statements or actions by a teacher, coach, or other school official.

To establish the school’s liability in this case, you will need to prove the following elements.

  • A relationship between the school and your student existed.
  • Your student experienced harm that was ultimately foreseeable and fairly direct.
  • The school willfully disregarded your child’s safety.
  • The school used its authority to create an opportunity for bullying that would not have otherwise existed.

What to Do If You Believe Your Child Is a Victim of Bullying

To preserve your child’s right to justice and strengthen your bullying claim, you will need to gather clear and convincing evidence. This evidence may include witness testimony, correspondence with the district and school officials, screenshots and photographs of the harassment, and hospital or therapy records.

If your child tells you he or she is being bullied, take the following steps to preserve and collect this information.

  • Talk to your child. Ask him or her for details about the bullying and record the information in as much detail as possible.
  • Collect any tangible evidence of the bullying. Screenshot messages and emails, record audio messages, and take videos and photographs of any visible injuries.
  • If your child has to seek medical treatment or therapy for the bullying, save all records from these visits.
  • Contact the school about the bullying and file a complaint. Record information on who you talk to and when any meetings take place.
  • Document the school’s responses to the bullying. If any agreed-upon resolutions take place, ask for the school to put them in writing and officials to sign the agreements.
  • Review the school’s anti-bullying policy and save copies for your records.
  • Contact a school bullying attorney for legal advice.

School bullying lawsuits can be contentious and difficult to prove, but if your child’s school fails to take action against his or her bully, an attorney can help. Your attorney will advocate for your child’s best interests during each stage of your case. If you have not done so already, contact a California school bullying attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

Posted by highrank at 8:41 pm

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Work Injury?

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Workers who suffer injuries on the job can experience long-lasting complications. This may include severe physical pain, permanent disability, and an inability to return to work, especially if the employee sustains severe, life-long injuries such as spinal cord damage. Even after the injury physically heals, emotional trauma and financial difficulties can still linger.

If you are a California employee who sustains an injury while performing your work duties, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. You can claim funds for medical expenses, wage replacement, and other losses by filing a workers’ compensation claim or lawsuit.

Common Injuries in Workplace Accidents

Thousands of injuries occur in American workplaces each year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. Workers in manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and transportation and warehousing sustained the highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses during that year.

The most common injuries sustained by these employees include the following.

  • Sprains, strains, and tears
  • Soreness and pain
  • Bruises and contusions
  • Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
  • Fractures

Less common workplace injuries include more severe forms of damage, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain damage, burns, and internal bleeding and organ injury.

The Long-Term Effects of Workplace Injuries

Depending on the nature of his or her injury, a California employee can suffer long-term damage after an accident. The employee may develop a permanent disability that prevents him or her from performing his or her job or returning to work at all. He or she may require long-term medical care, disability accommodations, physical therapy, and live-in care, depending on the nature of the injury. These factors can impact an employee’s financial well-being; this treatment can be expensive and his or her insurance may not cover the costs.

In addition, severe workplace injuries can result in serious pain and suffering. Spinal cord damage can result in paralysis, while traumatic brain injuries may result in a loss of certain functions. Broken bones can take months to heal and require corrective treatment. Any and all workplace injuries can cause severe pain, and in some cases, this pain may turn chronic and last for a very long time. As a result of his or her injuries, the employee can develop emotional trauma and experience a loss of quality of life.

Legal Options for Injured California Employees

If you sustain an injury in a California workplace, you can collect compensation for your injuries through multiple avenues. These legal options can help you recover from the long-term effects of your injury and pay for your ongoing care costs.

  • Workers’ compensation claims: If you sustain an injury while on the job, you may receive funds for medical expenses and wage replacement through a workers’ compensation claim. You can recover funds regardless of fault; you will need to prove you suffered the injury while on the job, however.
  • Employer lawsuits: If you believe your employer’s negligent actions caused your injury, you can file a lawsuit against him or her for your economic and non-economic damages. Filing a workers’ comp claim waives your right to file a lawsuit, so speak to your attorney about your best options before making a decision.
  • Third-party lawsuits: If you believe another entity is responsible for your accident, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of machinery or a subcontractor, you can file a lawsuit against this entity in California civil court.

Understanding what to do after a workplace accident can be difficult, but a Bakersfield workplace injuries attorney can help. Immediately after receiving treatment for your injuries, contact your lawyer to discuss your next steps.

 

Posted by highrank at 8:34 pm

What to do if You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Crash

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Danay Gonzalez, Bakersfield personal attorney at Rodriguez & Associates, created a TikTok video sharing tips on what to do if you’ve been hurt in a car crash.

  • Call the police so that they can make a report
  • Exchange your contact, license, and insurance information
  • Take photos of the damage, injuries, and the scene
  • Seek medical care as soon as possible- symptoms can sometimes take a few days to show up
  • Call the personal injury attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates at (661)-323-1400 to help you with the rest

Watch Danay’s full TikTok video here:

Our Kern County injury attorneys are always here to answer your questions if you or a loved one have been injured. You can contact us via phone or through our website to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:15 pm

What Is a Loss of Consortium Claim?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Having a loved one suffer a serious injury or pass away due to the negligence of another person is one of the most painful experiences we can endure. Not only does your loved one suffer, but you can lose the ability to receive the same affection, comfort, and companionship that he or she was previously able to provide.

If your loved one is no longer to participate in a meaningful relationship due to injury or death, you may be eligible for compensation through a civil lawsuit. This type of legal action is known as a loss of consortium claim.

 What Does Loss of Consortium Mean?

After someone suffers an injury or dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, the victim or an eligible representative can file a civil claim for the damages incurred during the accident. These damages can be economic, involving tangible financial losses such as medical care. The injured plaintiff can also claim non-economic damages, which refer to the intangible pain and suffering he or she endured.

Consortium is a term that refers to the right of association and companionship with your spouse or registered domestic partner, although some states expand this law to include children and parents. A loss of consortium action is a standalone claim you can take as part of an existing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Loss of consortium damages, on the other hand, are a non-economic form of compensation that the court awards to a spouse or family member of the plaintiff. These claims provide compensation for the following losses.

  • Love
  • Comfort
  • Care
  • Affection
  • Society
  • Assistance
  • Moral support
  • Companionship
  • Sexual relations
  • The ability to have children

According to California’s loss of consortium laws, only spouses and registered domestic partners can file these types of claims. Courts typically award loss of consortium settlements to individuals whose loved ones either died or suffered a severe, permanent, and debilitating injury due to the actions of the defendant.

Proving a Loss of Consortium Claim

When you file a loss of consortium claim, you essentially state that the defendant’s negligent actions and the plaintiff’s injuries prevent your loved one from providing certain non-economic benefits that you once shared together.

To prove that you are eligible for these damages, you must prove four important elements.

  • Your spouse or registered partner suffered an injury or died as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
  • You and the injured person were either legally married or had a valid domestic partnership when he or she suffered the injury.
  • You suffered the loss of your spouse or partner’s consortium.
  • The defendant’s negligent act directly caused your loss of consortium.

You can prove your claim using a number of methods, most of which will rely on the existing personal injury or wrongful death claim. For example, say that your spouse suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident that results in paralysis. Surveillance footage shows that the at-fault driver sped through a red light and collided with your spouse, causing the accident and resulting injuries.

You can use evidence from the existing claim to establish the injury and the defendant’s negligence. Your marriage license or domestic partnership registration can establish your legal right to this compensation. The third element is often the most challenging component of your claim, since loss of consortium relies on your personal experiences and how the accident affected you and your spouse’s relationships. You will need to provide testimony, and your attorney can help you prepare for this stage of the claim.

No one deserves to suffer due to the negligence of another person. If you believe you may qualify for a loss of consortium claim, or that your spouse’s case qualifies for personal injury or wrongful death litigation, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Posted by highrank at 12:11 pm

Burn Injuries in the Workplace

Friday, October 9, 2020

A workplace burn injury can be caused by more than just flames. Depending on the line of work a person is in, a burn can be caused by oil, hot steam, or chemicals. Burn injuries are more common in the workplace than we think.

When Do You Need a Burn Injury Lawyer?

Burn injuries incurred in the workplace can be a complex matter. If the worker is burned/injured at work and the employer is responsible, the employee will file a workers’ compensation claim against the employer to recover lost wages and coverage of medical bills. This will be handled between the employee and employer, and a burn injury lawyer is not needed.

However, if a third party is responsible or a cause for contribution to the injuries sustained, a burn injury lawyer should be consulted to see if a personal injury lawsuit against the third party can be pursued. Examples of a third party include someone such as a project manager, engineer or architect, a subcontractor’s employee or a vendor who was working on the job site.

Causes of Workplace Burns

There are a number of causes of workplace burn injuries. Some of the common causes of workplace burns include:

  • Electrical burns by exposure to wires, electrical sources, or lightning. Electrical burns generated by electrical current through the body can cause damage to tissues and are one of the most serious burn injuries a person can have.
  • Heat burns by fire, oil, hot steam, hot liquid, and other hot objects.
  • Cold burns by exposure to cold, wet, and windy conditions.
  • Radiation burns / exposure from X-rays, UV sources, sun lamps, etc.,
  • Chemical burns from contact with household or industrial chemicals in liquid, solid or gas forms.
  • Friction burns caused by contact with hard surfaces (i.e. roads, rugs, etc.,).
  • Inhalation injury is a burn that can cause more damage than a physical burn. This is caused by inhalation of toxic fumes (often due to a poorly ventilated area).

Burn Severity

Burns can vary in severity depending on a number of factors. A physician can accurately determine the burn degree. Here is how burn degree is ranked (from mild to severe).

  • First Degree: affecting the top layer of the skin with minimal skin damage; Example: a mild sunburn. Most likely does not need medical attention.
  • Second Degree: the burn extends beyond the top layer of the skin; often the skin will blister and/or become extremely red and sore.
  • Third Degree: the burn affects the epidermis (top skin layer) and dermis (the layer of skin underneath) and may affect the tissue below that. These burns can appear white or charred.
  • Fourth Degree: all skin layers are affected and there may be damage to muscle, tendons, and bone. Fourth degree burns may be so extreme that they require amputation.

Occupations That Are At-Risk for Burn Injuries

While many occupations can pose a mild risk for a burn to happen on the job, there are certain occupations that are at a higher risk. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Oil field workers
  • Electricians
  • Construction workers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Mechanics
  • Janitorial Work
  • Food Industry Work (chefs, cooks, servers)

If you have sustained a workplace burn injury, call our Bakersfield personal injury law firm to discuss your case at (661) 323-1400 or toll free (800) 585-9262 and request to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:45 pm

How Do Insurance Companies Investigate a Car Accident?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

After a California car accident, you may wonder what to do next. Since California is a fault-based insurance state, the person responsible for your accident is responsible for paying for your damages, or the losses you suffer due to the crash. This means you have two main pathways to compensation: an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Most car accident cases begin with an insurance claim. During this process, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case will investigate the accident and determine whether or not you deserve compensation. Understanding an insurance company’s investigation process is necessary to protect your rights and achieve a fair settlement.

Compensation in California Insurance Claims

California requires all drivers to hold the following amounts of liability coverage.

  • $15,000 for injury or death per person per accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death to multiple people per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident

You can collect multiple types of damages through a driver’s liability insurance: funds for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and property replacement, for example. However, the driver in your accident may not have insurance; in this situation, you can file a claim under your own policy if you have the appropriate insurance, such as collision coverage.

What Happens After You File an Insurance Claim?

After seeking medical attention and consulting with a car accident attorney, you will begin the insurance process by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s company. Once you file your claim, the company will assign your case to a representative who will contact you. This representative, or adjuster, must determine whether your accident qualifies for coverage and resolve the claim.

The adjuster will ask you for information about the accident, including the police report, witness testimony, and a statement from you describing the crash. You will also need to supply evidence that you suffered the damages you intend to claim, such as medical records, pay stubs, and photographs of any damage to your car or personal property. The adjuster will also reach out to the policyholder and hear his or her version of events.

All of this information helps the company determine if the at-fault driver’s policy can pay for your damages. At the conclusion of the investigation, the adjuster will issue a decision on the claim and possibly present a settlement offer.

If the adjuster believes you are responsible for the crash or your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be, the company may deny your claim or issue an insufficient settlement. The company may also deny your claim if your damages exceed policy limits or if the policy does not cover the type of claim you are filing. At this stage, you and your attorney may decide to appeal the decision or escalate your claim to a lawsuit.

Hiring an Attorney for an Insurance Investigation

While the insurance investigation process may seem simple, it is important to remember that the adjuster’s goals may not align with your own. It is the adjuster’s job to act in the best interest of the company, and you may not receive a fair settlement offer. By hiring an injury attorney to represent your claim, you can protect your best interests throughout this process.

Your lawyer can help you prepare documents for review during the investigation, evaluate your settlement offers, and negotiate for fairer compensation if you do not receive an appropriate amount. As soon as you receive medical treatment for your injuries, contact a California car accident attorney to discuss your claim.

Posted by highrank at 11:21 am

Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys in Bakersfield

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A “hit-and-run” accident is when someone leaves the scene of an accident that s/he was involved in. These accidents typically involve two (or more) vehicles or a pedestrian or cyclist and a vehicle. If the responsible party for the accident flees the scene, and is not caught, the injured party can still recover compensation for injuries, damages, pain and suffering, lost wages or death of a loved one caused by the accident.

It is important to note that if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives and you can give a full statement. Take notes and pictures of the scene and write down everything you can recall about the accident and any description of the other vehicle. Do not try to chase the perpetrator down. There is a chance that other people may have witnessed the accident and can provide information to law enforcement to catch the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is caught and identified, civil charges can be pursued. Having representation by a hit-and-run attorney will help you get the compensation that you need to move forward with your life.

If the perpetrator is not found, you may be able to submit a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.

About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

About 85% of California auto insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage. This means that if you are in an accident that is not your fault – whether it is a hit-and-run or a driver who is not insured or does not carry enough insurance coverage – your auto insurance company will cover your losses, damage, and medical bills dependent upon the amount of coverage you have.

However, there are cases when people are surprised to find that they do not have full coverage and the minimum coverage is not sufficient. If this is the case, having a personal injury attorney on your side will help you get fair and just compensation from your insurance company by using one or more of the following tactics.

  • Assembling evidence to prove that you were a victim of a hit-and-run accident including evidence of injuries – how severe they are and if they are going to affect your life permanently.
  • Holding the insurance company accountable by making sure they are being transparent in their communications and not using difficult or deceptive tactics to confuse the victim and give less than what the person is entitled to.
  • Calculating damages accurately for your claim including quantifying your damages and asking for enough money to make sure you will be covered for medical fees, medical devices, future treatments, and, if applicable, pain and suffering and lost income.
  • Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement. Attorneys are familiar with the tricks that insurance companies use during these negotiations that can trap an unsuspecting victim to settle for less.
  • If the insurance company and attorney cannot come to a settlement, the attorney can take the case to trial on your behalf to fight for you.

At Rodriguez & Associates, our Bakersfield hit-and-run accident attorneys are committed to making the responsible party pay so you can focus on getting back on your feet.

If you or a loved one was involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact us at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:41 pm

Who Is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Defective Product?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Suffering a defective product injury can be painful and confusing. Liability in product injury lawsuits can be complex, and you may not know who you can hold accountable for your injuries. Oftentimes, these cases involve multiple entities.

You can file a product liability lawsuit against any entity along the chain of distribution, depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury. You may name one defendant in your case, but it may be in your best interest to name every single entity or individual who was involved in the creation, sale, or supply of the defective product.

#1: The Manufacturer

The most obvious defendant in a product liability claim is the manufacturer of the product. These entities control multiple processes where the defect might have occurred, from assembling the product to developing an inherently defective design to failing to include adequate warnings or instructions. You can include additional parties who worked with the manufacturer on this product in your lawsuit as well.

#2: The Component Supplier

In products that contain several important components, such as motor vehicles, the manufacturer as a whole may not be solely liable for your injuries. If the accident occurred due to a component inside of the product that a third-party supplier provided, you can file a claim against the component supplier directly as well as the manufacturer.

#3: The Retailer

Although retailers are not involved in the design or manufacture of the product, they may be liable for selling you a defective product. Retailers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe and not defective. They must remove any products that are defective, and failure to do so is an act of negligence.

You do not have to be the actual buyer of the product to hold the retailer accountable, and you do not have to be the product user either — for example, if you suffer an injury after a friend’s vape pen exploded, you can still hold the retailer, manufacturer, and any other entity involved in the chain of distribution accountable. Both new and used products may be eligible for this type of litigation.

#4: The Distributor

You can also hold the distributor or wholesaler who provided the product to the retailer responsible for your injuries. The distributor is the reason why the product made its way to store shelves, after all, and distributing a defective product is an act of negligence. Any middlemen that appear between manufacturers and retailers may be liable for your injuries.

What to Do After a Defective Product Injury

If you suffer an injury while using a product, you need to take two immediate actions: seek medical attention and preserve evidence. Keep the product and all physical evidence related to your injury, such as your clothing or vehicle — do not throw anything away. Visit a hospital as soon as possible to treat your injuries and save all documentation. After you seek medical attention, contact a product liability attorney.

Your defective product lawyer can help you determine the cause of your injury, seeking help from expert witnesses who can examine the evidence and provide valuable testimony in your case. Your attorney will also help you understand who to hold liable, helping you navigate the complex litigation process. To preserve your right to compensation, speak to your attorney as soon as possible following the accident.

Posted by highrank at 11:52 am