Category Archives: Personal Injury Attorneys

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

Understanding Liability Waivers

Thursday, September 17, 2020

 If you have ever visited a trampoline park, waterpark, or any other type of recreational activity that could result in injury, you may have received an activity waiver. Businesses provide this type of waiver to protect themselves from liability in case someone suffers an injury on their premises. If you do sustain an injury, the company may use this document to avoid paying for your damages — but there are certain circumstances where an activity waiver will not hold up in the courtroom.

Are Activity Waivers Effective?

Activity waivers may protect the company’s best interests, but there are some situations where a court will not uphold the waiver. If any of the following scenarios apply to your case, you may be able to bypass the terms of the waiver.

  • The document violates state law or public policy.
  • The waiver does not contain the proper wording that California contract law requires.
  • Your injury does not occur due to the risks that the contract states or from simple, or ordinary, negligence.

Your injury lawyer in Bakersfield can evaluate the language in the contract to determine whether you may have grounds for a lawsuit. California has a list of criteria that would make a liability waiver void, and your lawyer will have the experience and legal knowledge necessary to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.

When it comes to negligence, you will need to determine whether simple or gross negligence occurred. Simple negligence refers to unsafe conditions that may occur even if the property owner upholds his or her duty to maintain safe premises, such as malfunctioning equipment. For example, if you slip on a puddle at a water park and hit your head, you may not be able to pursue compensation since this hazard is likely to arise even if the owners paid attention — especially if the contract explicitly states this is a risk.

Gross negligence, on the other hand, refers to intentional harm and a willful disregard of patrons’ safety. If the owner knew about a hazard and ignored it, leading to your injuries, you would have grounds for legal action, even if you signed a waiver. For example, say you visit a trampoline park and suffer injuries when a trampoline collapsed. You discover a manager noticed the damage, reported it to the owner, who ignored it. You can hold the facility accountable under these circumstances.

Liability Waivers in the Age of COVID-19

As more states loosen restrictions during the pandemic, some owners are asking patrons to sign liability waivers releasing their companies from any fault if they contract COVID-19 during their visit. Businesses, including hair salons and restaurants, as well as in-person events have utilized these waivers.

These types of waivers are unprecedented, and they may not hold up in court, depending on the language in the waiver. Future federal legislation may extend broad protections for businesses and nonprofit organizations to avoid COVID-related liability.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If you experience harm while participating in an activity or visiting a business that requires you to sign a liability waiver, you still have options for legal action. Speaking to a California injury attorney can help you understand whether or not the activity waiver could hold up in court.

Your attorney can also assist with evidence collection, handle negotiations, and help you develop a compelling case for your compensation. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your legal options.

Posted by highrank at 11:24 am

What Are the Top Reasons for Insurance Denials?

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Filing a car accident claim should be a simple process — since California is a fault insurance state, the person responsible for your accident is liable for your damages. However, insurance companies often deny claims for a number of reasons, ranging from questions of fault to bad faith practices. Understanding these common reasons can help you prepare for the claims process and appeal the decision, if necessary.

#1: Unpaid Premiums

The at-fault driver in your accident is responsible for making his or her monthly premium payments each month. If a policyholder does not pay his or her monthly insurance premiums, the company will deny your claim. Under these circumstances, you may file a claim under your own insurance if you have underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.

#2: Late Reporting

After a car accident, there are a few actions you should take. You should call 911 to report the accident to law enforcement, you should seek immediate medical treatment, and you should contact a personal injury attorney to begin to file your insurance claim.

Waiting to report the accident to the insurance company can result in a denial — the company may claim it did not have enough time to investigate. Speak to your lawyer and request a copy of the at-fault driver’s policy to see what your reporting deadline is.

#3: Insufficient Coverage

The at-fault driver’s insurance policy may not have the appropriate coverage to pay for your injuries. All policies have limits on the amount of compensation the insurance company can disburse to victims, and if your damages exceed these limits, the company will likely deny your claim. In certain circumstances, the terms of the policy may not cover your injuries and the company will then deny the claim.

#4: Liability Disputes

Since California insurance claims rely on fault, the insurance company may reject your claim if it is unclear who caused the accident or if it believes you are responsible. The company may dispute the damages you claim, questioning whether or not your injuries are valid, and the treatment costs you claim are necessary. The company may also conclude that you are partially responsible for the accident; if you were at-fault for a portion of the crash, the company may use this information as grounds for denial.

#5: No Medical Records

After an accident, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not feel hurt. Medical expenses not only comprise the bulk of your settlement, but the medical records you receive from your visits are valuable evidence for your case. If you fail to receive medical treatment or wait days or weeks after the accident to see your doctor, the insurance company can use this information to dispute your claim’s credibility.

What to Do If an Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

After an insurance denial, you have two options you can pursue. You can appeal the insurance company’s decision and try to reach an agreement, and possibly file a bad faith claim against the company as well. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court. Different pathways work best for different situations, so speak to an attorney to determine which option is best for you.

From the beginning of your claim to the end of the lawsuit or appeal, you should have an attorney on your side. Lawyers represent the interests of their clients through numerous processes, including the initial claim, any appeals or bad faith actions, and lawsuits. If you haven’t reached out to a Bakersfield car accident attorney, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your claim.

Posted by highrank at 8:01 pm

Daniel Rodriguez Discusses the History of Jury Trials

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Daniel Rodriguez, founder and president of Bakersfield personal injury law firm Rodriguez & Associates, spoke with Vanessa Dillon on KGET Studio 17 about the history behind jury trials.

Daniel shared in the interview points including:

  • Jury trials began in about 600 B.C in Ancient Greece
  • Trials typically lasted one day. It was broken up into three sections; the accuser went for three hours, then the person being accused had three hours, and then the jury (of at least 200 people) would deliberate and take a vote.
  • The jury would take a stone (the white stone meant innocent and the black stone meant guilty) and toss one of them in the middle. Back then, it was a majority rule, not a unanimous verdict.
  • The most famous trial in history was the trial of Socrates. He was found guilty of impiety and corrupting the youth and was sentenced to death by poison.

To watch the interview, click here.

Rodriguez & Associates is a Bakersfield, California personal injury law firm that serves those that are in the most need. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury you can contact us at our office: 1128 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA at (661)-323-1400 and visit our website for more information.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 3:54 pm

Types of Truck Accidents

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

According to the 2018 report from American Trucking Associations, 11.49 billion tons of freight was transported by large commercial trucks (also referred to as semis, big rigs or tractor-trailers) in 2018. Trucks are on our roads and highways daily and, unfortunately, truck accidents happen due to driver fatigue, mechanical failures, unsafe driving, and other causes such as drug/alcohol use, distracted driving or lack of skill.

Truck accidents involving other vehicles are severe and, often, fatal. Here are the common types of truck accidents that occur.

Head-On: A head-on accident is often due to distracted driving or driver fatigue (drowsiness or falling asleep at the wheel). These accidents usually result in serious injury or death.

Jackknife: A jackknife accident is when a driver brakes fast and the trailer slides outward to a 90-degree angle of the truck cab. This type of accident can cause vehicles behind the truck to collide with the truck or with each other when trying to stop suddenly.

Rollover: A rollover is when a commercial truck loses control and rolls over on its side. These types of accidents may crush other cars on the road.

T-Bone: A T-Bone accident occurs when a truck runs a red light or stop sign and hits a car on its side.

Wide Turn: This type of accident occurs when a truck driver is attempting to turn in one direction but swings out to the other before making the turn. If the truck hits another vehicle while swinging out, the accident is referred to as a wide turn or “swinging turn” accident.

Blind Spot: A big rig has many more blind spots than a regular sized car. A blind spot accident is when a truck driver is changing lanes and is unaware of a car (or cars) in the lane he is going into and as he moves over, he hits the car(s) or forces them off the road.

Underride Accident: An underride accident is when a truck stops abruptly and the car behind it doesn’t stop in time and gets lodged under the truck trailer. These accidents are often fatal.

Tire Blowout: When a tire blowout happens on a truck, it can cause the driver to lose control and/or tire debris can fly out and hit cars around the truck, causing an accident.

Rear-end Collision: If a driver in front of a truck stops suddenly, the truck may have not enough stopping room and will rear-end the car. A rear-end collision between a commercial truck and a car can cause significant damage and injuries.

Our Bakersfield truck accident attorneys have handled hundreds of commercial truck accident cases. In 2019, we obtained a $70.5 million verdict, the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history, for a family who was driving in an SUV when a big rig ran a red light and slammed into them.

Learn more about the truck case in this video from personal injury attorney Daniel Rodriguez, founder + president of Rodriguez & Associates.

If you are looking for an experienced truck accident attorney, contact us at (661) 323-1400 or toll free (800) 585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 3:42 pm

Rodriguez & Associates on KGET’s “Studio 17 Live”

Friday, July 31, 2020

Rodriguez & Associates attorneys were guests on KGET’s Studio 17 Live.

Daniel Rodriguez was on with them on July 21st, 2020. He addressed whether the mask requirement is constitutionally correct and discussed what happens if you refuse to wear a mask and the repercussions of doing so.

Bakersfield personal injury attorneys Danay Gonzalez, Chantal Trujillo, and Chantal’s beloved dog, Chyna, were on July 29th, 2020. They discussed the importance of partaking in this year’s Clear The Shelters virtual adoption drive. The nationwide pet adoption drive will be on August 1-29, 2020. Watch the segment here:

Make sure to tune into KGET on August 13th. There will be a special tour of the Rodriguez & Associates building and on August 20th,  Daniel will be a guest on Studio 17 Live again.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:14 pm

How Can I Prove an Injury Is from a Defective Product?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Injuries from defective products can be devastating. From vape pens to dangerous drugs and medical devices, you deserve compensation for the losses you suffered as a result of the product — and you can claim these damages through a product liability lawsuit.

Most defective product lawsuits rely on the concept of strict liability to establish a plaintiff’s right to damages. Whether your injury is the result of a manufacturing defect, a dangerous design, or a lack of adequate safety instructions, you will need to establish a series of elements to prove your claim.

Element #1: You Suffered Damages

First, you must establish that you suffered damages during the accident involving the defective product. California laws allow you to claim both economic and non-economic damages in product liability lawsuits, such as medical expenses and property damage.

You cannot claim compensation in this type of lawsuit if you did not suffer actual physical injuries or financial losses as a result of the defective product. If the product almost injured you, but did not actually cause an injury, you will not have grounds for a claim.

Element #2: The Product Was Defective

Next, you will need to prove that the product had a defect. The process of proving this element will depend on the type of defect involved in your claim.

  • Manufacturing defects: You may need to examine the product or bring it to an expert to search for issues.
  • Design defects: The design must be unreasonably dangerous from concept to production. For example, if you use a knife and suffer injuries when you drop it, this is not unreasonably dangerous because this is a reasonable risk. If you use a tea kettle with a design that leads to pressure build-up and explosion, you may have a claim on your hands.
  • Failure to warn: You will need to prove that the product’s dangerous qualities are not obvious to the average person, and the manufacturer failed to include adequate warnings to inform the consumer of the danger.

Your attorney will connect you with the resources necessary to identify the defect and validate your claim. For example, he or she may hire a manufacturing expert to analyze the product for damage.

Element #3: The Defect Caused Your Injuries

To successfully claim compensation, you must prove that the defect directly caused your injuries. You can prove this fact through a number of means, such as testimony from medical experts, your medical documentation, and witness statements.

Element #4: You Were Using the Product as Intended

Finally, you must prove that you were using the product as the manufacturer intended you to use it or could have reasonably expected its consumers to use it. For example, say you suffer electrocution injuries from a hair dryer. The court finds that you were using the device in a pool when the manufacturer clearly states that you should not use the product near water.

In this situation, you will likely not win your claim since you were not using the product as intended. However, if you were using the product in your bathroom away from water and suffered an electric shock, you may have a claim.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Defective Product Lawsuit?

While these elements may seem straightforward, investigating and proving a defective product lawsuit is difficult without an attorney on your side. When pursuing a product liability claim, you will likely need to face large corporate legal counsel equipped with resources you may not have access to.

When you hire a product liability attorney to represent your best interests, you will receive a number of benefits, including the following,

  • Your lawyer will have access to manufacturing experts, medical professionals, and other expert witnesses who can provide testimony in your claim.
  • You may not know the full value of your claim, and your attorney will have the ability to calculate an estimated settlement amount, so you do not accept insufficient offers.
  • Negotiating with the at-fault party can be difficult without the right experience, and your lawyer will have the skills necessary to advocate for your best interests.

Hiring a defective product lawyer is an important investment in your future recovery. If you have not done so already, contact your Bakersfield defective product attorney as soon as possible to begin investigating your claim

Posted by highrank at 6:22 pm

Which Pedestrians Are Most at Risk?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Pedestrian safety is a major concern throughout California. Negligent drivers, poor road conditions, and dangerous intersections can increase a pedestrian’s risk of colliding with a motor vehicle while walking in Bakersfield. Certain pedestrians are at higher risk of suffering a severe injury or dying in these accidents, including children, older adults, and joggers.

#1: Child Pedestrians

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 19% of all people killed in pedestrian crashes in 2017 were children aged 14 years and younger. Children are at such a high risk for pedestrian accidents for a number of reasons; they may not understand the rules of the road as well as adults, are smaller and can be easy for a motorist to miss, and may run into the street without warning.

Drivers must be vigilant when traveling through areas where children are present, such as school zones, parks, residential neighborhoods, and behind school buses. Motorists must honor the speed limit and if a school bus stops, they must also stop until all of the children aboard exit safely and the driver continues on his or her route.

#2: Older Pedestrians

Elderly adults are at a higher risk of pedestrian fatalities than many other age groups. According to the NHTSA, 20% of all 2017 pedestrian fatalities involved adults 65 years and older. Adults between the ages of 50 to 54 and 55 to 59 had the highest pedestrian fatality rate in 2017 at 21%.

Older adults are at a higher risk of pedestrian injury for a number of reasons. Many elderly people take walks around their neighborhoods for exercise, or rely on walking and public transportation to get from place to place. Elderly adults may also walk at a slower pace than other pedestrians, and impatient drivers may speed through intersections or make premature turns, leading to a collision.

#3: Alcohol-Impaired Pedestrians

Alcohol plays a large role in many traffic accidents, and drivers are not the only ones who are at risk. According to the NHTSA, approximately 32% of pedestrian fatalities involve a pedestrian who has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Alcohol can impair judgement, coordination, fine motor skills, concentration, and memory — all of which can increase a pedestrian’s risk of an accident. In addition, pedestrians walking home while under the influence are likely to be traveling at night, and data from the NHTSA shows that the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur during evening hours. 30% of fatalities on the weekends and 20% of fatalities on the weekdays occur between 9pm and 11:59pm.

What Should You Do After a Pedestrian Accident?

The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming, but justice is available for victims of motor vehicle collisions. Under California’s fault-based insurance system, the at-fault driver in your accident must pay for the damages you suffered, which you can claim through his or her insurance or a personal injury lawsuit.

To preserve evidence in your claim, take the following steps after the accident.

  • Seek medical attention immediately and save all documents from your visits.
  • Call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement officers.
  • Exchange contact details with the at-fault driver.
  • Take photographs of your injuries and the area where the accident occurred.
  • If there are any witnesses at the scene, collect their contact information.
  • Speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Contacting a Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyer to assist with your claim is one of the most important steps you can take for your case. Your attorney will guide you through the litigation process, represent your best interests in discussions with the insurance company, and help you secure a sufficient settlement for your needs. If you have not done so already, contact a California pedestrian accident lawyer.

Posted by highrank at 5:46 pm

Working with Personal Injury Attorney Daniel Rodriguez

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

“Everyone I know has nothing but wonderful things to say about Daniel Rodriguez and Rodriguez & Associates. From dealing with the secretaries to other attorneys in the office, we were always treated with the utmost professionalism. We were always seen immediately and treated like family; really treated like family. It was not an easy case for us, it was a very emotional case for us because it was my dad. But Daniel understood that, Daniel could see that, and I think that made him fight even harder because once he got to know who my dad was and our family, he got to see what a terrible loss we took when my dad was taken away. So, we are very thankful for Daniel Rodriguez and his team. He is beyond professional, beyond compassionate, I can’t see any other attorney here in Bakersfield that does the kind of work that he does. The quality of work and the time he takes out to speak to his clients and make sure their needs are met.”
-Nadine Escalante

We are honored when we receive testimonials like this that are so heartfelt and genuine. Daniel Rodriguez, founder and President of our Bakersfield personal injury law firm leads Rodriguez & Associates with the motto, “Big firm results with small firm service.” All personal injury attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates take this to heart by treating each client and case as if they were representing someone from their own family. We strive to thoroughly investigate every case to see that justice is served and that our clients receive what they deserve (and more) for their pain, suffering or loss. During this process, we also get to know the clients and their families on a personal level so when we win on their behalf, it is not just a victory for the firm, it is a personal victory for our attorneys as well.

If you have been injured, we are here to help. Contact us today for  a free consultation by calling (661) 323-1400 or 800-585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:00 pm

What Should I Do if I’m Injured on Public Transportation?

Friday, July 10, 2020

Injuries on public transportation can be painful. From falling down when the driver makes an unsafe turn to suffering broken bones and lacerations in a bus crash, these accidents can result in expensive medical costs, long periods of time out of work, and damage to your personal property.

You may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to recover compensation for these losses. However, filing a lawsuit requires an understanding of liability, California’s common carrier laws, and the potential damages you may be eligible for.

Who Is Liable for a Public Transportation Accident?

The first step to filing a lawsuit for public transportation injuries is to identify the at-fault party in your claim. Your entire case will depend on proving this defendant’s negligence, and you cannot begin the filing process until you identify who is responsible for your injuries.

Liability in public transportation cases can be complex. If a bus driver was responsible for the accident, you will usually file your claim against the state or local government or regional transportation authority who employs him or her.

In cases where a third-party driver is responsible for the accident, you will file the claim directly against him or her. You can either file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or a lawsuit in civil court.

California’s Common Carrier Laws

If you are in a car accident while in a motor vehicle, you can collect damages for your injuries by proving the other driver’s negligence. To secure your settlement, you must prove that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care, breached his or her duty of care to you, and this breach of care directly caused your injuries.

For public transportation accidents, you will still need to prove the at-fault party’s negligence to win your case. However, California law considers all public and private transportation companies to be common carriers and subject to a higher standard of care than a regular driver.

California’s common carrier law requires common carriers to use the utmost care and diligence for the safety of their passengers. In addition, common carriers must provide everything necessary to uphold this duty of care and use a reasonable degree of skill to carry out these requirements.

If a common carrier does not uphold this duty of care, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Common causes of negligence in public transportation cases include the following.

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Unnecessary stops and starts
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to maintain public transportation vehicles
  • Inadequate driver training
  • Collisions with another motor vehicle

Immediately following your accident, collect as much evidence as you can to identify its cause. Take pictures and videos, ask witnesses for their contact information, and seek medical attention to receive treatment for your injuries.

Contact an Injury Attorney

One important consideration you must keep in mind for public transportation cases is that the statute of limitations differs in these lawsuits than in other motor vehicle accidents. If you are filing a claim against the government, you must file your lawsuit within six months after the accident or the court will likely dismiss your claim.

This deadline is much shorter than the standard personal injury deadline, which is two years from the date of the accident. To ensure that you meet this statute of limitations, contact a public transportation accident attorney.

Your attorney can provide a number of benefits beyond helping you file your lawsuit. Your lawyer will have a strong knowledge of common carrier and personal injury law, be able to connect you with resources to build your case, and can estimate your damages so you do not accept an insufficient settlement. As soon as possible after your accident, contact your attorney to discuss your legal options.

Posted by highrank at 4:48 pm