Category Archives: Personal Injury

Kern County Lawyers for DUI Accident Victims

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Driving under the influence (DUI) is still the #1 cause of death on our roadways, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to cause accidents that are often more serious with more severe injuries because their judgment and reaction time is impaired. While the criminal court system can punish a drunk driver for the accident, it does not compensate the victims of the accident.

Drunk Driving Civil Lawsuit

 If you have been a victim of a drunk driving accident, you have the right to pursue claims in civil court to recover monetary damages, in addition to pressing criminal charges. Even if the drunk driver is not convicted in criminal court, you may still seek compensation through a civil claim. While serious compensation will not make up for the physical and emotional costs that a drunk driving accident victim endures, it can make it easier for the person to start putting back together the pieces of their life. Financial compensation can be pursued for:

  • Medical bills and ongoing healthcare needs related to the accident
  • Pain and suffering from the accident
  • Lost wages as a result of missed work
  • Property damage to the car that was damaged or destroyed in the accident
  • Modifications to a home or car because of the injuries incurred from the accident
  • Punitive damages – intended to punish the negligent party and discourage similar negligent behavior by others

If the claim is for wrongful death, you may be able to collect damages for loss of future income, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.

What if the Drunk Driver Has No Insurance?

Most car insurance companies offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage so if you are involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured, you can make a claim with your insurance company to be compensated for your medical care, pain and suffering, and lost wages. However, once you file a claim, your insurance company will view you as a liability, instead of as a customer, and they will do everything in their power to minimize or avoid paying out your claim (learn more about dealing with insurance companies and Uninsured Motorist coverage here).

Another option may be to sue the drunk driver but if the judgment is returned in your favor the defendant may declare bankruptcy which means they’re not responsible for paying the judgment or they may have no money to pay the judgment. Suing the driver can be a long process that may not amount to any compensation.

A third option may be suing a third party such as a restaurant that continued to serve a customer who was already drunk or a bar that served a minor.

Third-Party Liability in a DUI Accident

 While the person who was driving under the influence may be the primary cause of the accident, there could be liability for third parties who contributed to the circumstances of the driver. Third parties that may be held responsible can include:

  • Bar or Restaurant Staff & Owners: it is their responsibility to stop serving patrons that appear to be intoxicated.
  • Hosts: people who host parties or gatherings where alcohol is served can be held liable if they continued to provide alcohol to a guest that was clearly inebriated.

Determining third party liability can be complex and involving an experienced lawyer in representing DUI accident victims is highly recommended.

We Represent DUI Accident Victims in Kern County and California

At Rodriguez & Associates, our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to represent you or a loved one who has been injured as a result of a DUI accident. We have the resources to fully investigate the accident, contributing factors, and can determine if there is third party liability. Our Kern County lawyers are caring and empathetic with our clients and will do everything possible to hold the wrongdoer accountable.

We represent DUI accident victims in Kern County and throughout California. Call us to request a free consultation at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:51 pm

What Type of Compensation is Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Monday, December 28, 2020

If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. This civil lawsuit provides compensation to a deceased person’s estate and surviving family members, such as his or her spouse and children, for the losses associated with his or her death.

However, California establishes strict rules regarding what types of compensation a plaintiff’s family or estate may receive. There are two categories of damages in wrongful death lawsuits: compensation for the deceased’s estate, and compensation for the deceased’s family.

Damages for the Deceased’s Family

Surviving family members can suffer from significant pain and suffering due to the untimely passing of a loved one. The purpose of wrongful death claims is to compensate the family for these losses with a monetary award. If a wrongful death claim is successful, the court will typically award compensation for the following losses to eligible family members.

  • The value of household services the deceased would have provided
  • The loss of anticipated financial support from the deceased
  • The loss of love, affection, guidance, moral support, community, and attention from the deceased to his or her family members

In California, only certain individuals may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased person. Typically, only the surviving spouse or domestic partner, surviving children, and people in the line of succession, such as the deceased’s parents or siblings, may receive this compensation.

Compensation for the Deceased’s Estate

After a person dies, he or she can incur certain costs that his or her estate will need to pay for. The court will compensate the estate for the cost of his or her funeral and burial expenses up to a reasonable amount, as well as medical bills and hospital expenses associated with the deceased’s final injury or illness.

The court will often provide funds for the value of the deceased’s lost income. This specific form of compensation reimburses the estate for the potential income the deceased would have likely earned in the future if he or she lived. The court will also provide compensation for lost wages the deceased incurred during his or her recovery period prior to death.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you lost a loved one due to negligence or reckless behavior, you may be eligible for a wrongful death settlement. However, California sets a time limit on these types of lawsuits—you only have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file. If you wait until this deadline passes to file your claim, the court will almost certainly dismiss your lawsuit and your family will lose the right to collect the compensation you deserve.

Hiring a California wrongful death attorney to represent your claim can help you avoid unexpected delays and file your lawsuit on time. Your lawyer can assist your family with every aspect of the wrongful death litigation process, from negotiating with insurance companies to identifying the damages you qualify for.

As soon as possible following your loved one’s accident, contact a California wrongful death attorney to initiate your claim. Your attorney will explain your legal options and discuss you and your family’s first steps toward compensation.

Posted by highrank at 8:12 pm

Joel T. Andreesen Reflects on his 16 Years Spent at Rodriguez & Associates

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Joel_AndreesenJoel Andreesen attributes his lifelong commitment to fact-finding as a huge reason for his success as an attorney. And that success is about much more than financial settlements. Throughout his career, and during his 16 years at Rodriguez & Associates, where he is now a Senior Partner, Joel has been driven more by a desire to help victims reach closure than by any monetary prize.  

Joel was born and raised in a farming family in Iowa. Leaving that setting, he initially set out to become a journalist. Though he switched to law, he cites parts of his journalism training—rigorous investigation, meticulous fact-checking, effective communication—as enormously helpful to his work as an attorney.

Joel met and began working with Daniel Rodriguez at a different law firm in the late 1980s. Some years later, Daniel left to start Rodriguez & Associates, eventually proposing, in 2004, that Joel should come and work with him. Joel has been there ever since. 

At the firm, Joel says he covers many areas of personal injury, though he started off working on business litigation, employment law, and criminal defense. “I think all of those areas helped me at a young age to be able to get into the courtroom a lot sooner than if [I] was only doing personal injury work,” he says.

Over time, however, his interest shifted to personal injury because of the opportunity it provided in terms of helping others. Like so many at Rodriguez & Associates, that drive to help those in need motivates many of Joel’s choices, right down to the cases on which he chooses to work: “We’ve taken on cases that other firms have turned down that may be tough liability cases but we really truly wanted to try and help these people.“

He cites one product liability case from several years ago as a prime example. A family had contacted Rodriguez & Associates after the father was killed by a defective product. Joel says that another law firm had turned the case down flat out. Joel met with the family and, through what he says was some very basic research, determined that there was a real viable case against the product manufacturer based on a detail the other firm had overlooked. He won the case, and was even told by opposing counsel that the settlement received was the largest one ever paid out by the product manufacturer. 

Not that the money is the prime driver here. For Joel, the real payout was “the satisfaction of helping the family through this process and through a very difficult loss of a great loved one. In the end, we can never bring them back, but hopefully we can help [the family] through it.”

The success of that case is in no small part due to Joel’s commitment to the lengthy process of personal injury cases, which rely so much on minute details and require attorneys to keep very open minds in order to uncover new facts that could influence the outcome. “From the very beginning, we think as broadly as possible,” says Joel. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court, but Joel starts out treating each one as though it were headed to trial, in order to motivate himself and the team to put as much effort as possible into it.

That involves bringing experts onboard from the start — many firms do not bring experts in until the end — and making them part of the process. He gets other attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates involved because “the more eyes that can look at something the more possibilities come up.” And he conducts focus groups with potential juries in whichever county the case is taking place.

The long hours and attention to detail pay off, and not just in financial terms. For Joel, being an attorney is about helping those in need and bringing both material and emotional resolution to often tragic situations. For him, there is no greater settlement than that. 

 

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:37 pm

Who is Liable for a Car Accident Caused by a Medical Emergency?

Sunday, December 13, 2020

California is a fault insurance state, which means that drivers who cause accidents must pay for the damages of their victims. Dangerous and negligent driving behaviors, such as failure to yield and distracted driving, often contribute to these accidents.

There are some situations, however, where a driver may experience a medical emergency while behind the wheel and lose control of his or her vehicle. In these accidents, liability will depend on whether the medical emergency was foreseeable.

The California Car Accident Sudden Emergency Defense

California is one of many states that recognizes the sudden medical emergency defense in car accident cases. Also known as the doctrine of imminent peril, this rule relieves drivers who are responsible for car accidents if they suffered an unforeseen medical emergency at the time of the crash. This doctrine applies if the sudden emergency caused the accident, was outside of the driver’s control, and the driver could not have foreseen the emergency.

A driver who seeks to use the sudden emergency defense must prove the following facts.

  • The driver experienced a sudden and unexpected emergency where he or she was in actual or apparent danger of an injury.
  • The driver did not cause the emergency.
  • The driver acted in a way that a reasonably careful driver would have under the same circumstances, even if a safer option became apparent at a later time.

For example, say that a driver suffers a heart attack while operating her vehicle and suddenly loses consciousness. The driver loses control of her vehicle and runs through a red light, colliding into you. Since the driver could not have anticipated the onset of the heart attack and did not have time to remove her vehicle from the road, she can establish the sudden emergency defense. As a result, this driver would not be liable for your injuries.

Exceptions to the Sudden Emergency Defense Rule

A driver cannot have any knowledge of the illness or medical condition prior to the actual emergency. If you can prove that the driver did know or should have reasonably known about the risk before the accident, he or she would have acted in negligence.

For example, say you are in an accident with a driver who loses consciousness at the wheel. She tries to establish the sudden emergency medical defense, but medical records show she lost consciousness due to the side effects of a new medication.

The medication warning label states that drowsiness is a common side effect and to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery during use. The driver should have known that she could not have safely driven while taking the medication and did so anyway, leading to the accident. In this situation, she would be liable for your damages.

If the driver has a history of medical issues that make it risky to drive, you could argue that a loss of consciousness was foreseeable. For example, if a diabetic driver loses consciousness due to low blood sugar, you could argue that it would be reasonably foreseeable that he or she would experience a medical emergency while driving.

Hiring an Attorney for Medical Emergency Accidents

Liability in car accident claims involving medical emergencies can be very complex. Although you may discover evidence that establishes a driver’s negligence, the insurance company may continue to deny your claim by invoking this defense.

Hiring a California car accident attorney to handle your claim can help you establish your right to damages. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and explore all possible options to secure compensation on your behalf, leveraging strategies to determine whether or not the medical emergency was foreseeable. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your legal options.

Posted by highrank at 7:39 pm

Can a Passenger Be Charged for Distracted Driving?

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Distracted driving, or any activity that removes a driver’s attention from the act of driving, is a very dangerous practice. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,841 people died due to distracted driving in 2018 alone.

When we think of distracted driving, we often assume the driver bears sole responsibility for the distraction itself. In some cases, however, a passenger inside the vehicle may be the reason for the distraction. In these situations, the passenger may be partially liable for the resulting accident.

What Is Distracted Driving?

As California drivers, we have a responsibility to operate our vehicles carefully and safely. This means that you must focus your attention on the road—manually, visually, and cognitively—so that you can adequately respond to hazards and follow traffic rules. Any distraction that takes your mind, eyes, or brain off the act of driving can raise the risk of an accident.

There are three forms of distractions that can occur while driving.

  • Manual distraction, or taking your hands off the steering wheel. Manual distractions may include eating and drinking, applying makeup, fiddling with GPS or radio controls, or texting or typing on a cell phone.
  • Visual distraction, or taking your eyes off the road. Visual distractions may include looking at a cell phone, GPS, or radio screen, looking at another person inside the vehicle, or reaching for something inside of the car.
  • Cognitive distraction, or taking your mind away from driving. Cognitive distractions may include having a conversation while driving, listening to the radio, daydreaming or becoming lost in thought, thinking about stressful situations, or driving while tired.

Passengers inside of a vehicle can distract a driver, leading to an accident. Passengers can initiate arguments, block the driver’s line of sight, show the driver content on a smartphone, or engage in many other behaviors that impact a driver’s ability to operate his or her vehicle safely.

Passenger Liability for Distracted Driving

California is a fault accident state, which means drivers who cause accidents must pay for victims’ damages. In most cases involving distracted driving, the driver himself or herself is liable for these costs. However, if a passenger’s actions are responsible for causing the accident, you may hold the passenger liable for your resulting injuries.

A driver or passenger may have sole liability for the accident, or both parties can share some portion of the blame based on their actions. Drivers have a responsibility to ignore any distraction to the furthest extent possible. If the driver failed to uphold this duty of care, he or she may be partially responsible for the accident. If the passenger’s actions prevented the driver from operating his or her vehicle safety, the passenger will likely be entirely at fault.

For example, say you are in an accident where a passenger grabbed the steering wheel and caused a vehicle to run a red light. In this situation, the passenger will be at fault for the accident as it would have been difficult for the driver to ignore or avoid the crash.

If you are in an accident where a passenger showed the driver a text message on his phone and the driver ran the red light due to the distraction, both parties will share fault. California’s joint and several liability laws will apply at this stage, which will enable you to file claims against both parties for specific damages.

Seek Help from a California Car Accident Lawyer

Liability in car accident claims involving negligent passengers can be complex. To ensure you file the correct claims and gather the evidence you need to secure compensation, seek the help of a California car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your dedicated car accident attorney can evaluate your case, determine which legal options are available to you, and initiate your first steps toward recovery.

Posted by highrank at 7:35 pm

Who is Liable for an Accident Caused by Dangerous Roads?

Monday, November 30, 2020

A car accident can happen due to many factors. Negligent driving behaviors, from drinking and driving to running a red light, are among the most common causes of these collisions, and California’s insurance laws reflect this reality. California follows a fault-based insurance system, which requires drivers responsible for car accidents to pay for their victims’ damages.

However, not all accidents occur due to the actions of a negligent driver. In some cases, poor road conditions, such as loose gravel or cracked asphalt, cause these collisions. If you are in an accident due to poor road conditions, multiple parties may be liable for your injuries. A Bakersfield car accident lawyer can help.

Who Is Liable for Road Maintenance?

If you are in an accident due to poorly-maintained or poorly-designed road, you do not have an at-fault driver you can hold accountable. Instead, the entity responsible for maintaining or planning the road will be liable for the damages you sustain.

In cases where poor road conditions cause your accident, you may file a claim against the city, county, or state government agency responsible for the road’s maintenance. The liable entity may vary based on where your accident occurred and the exact cause of the accident. In some cases, multiple agencies may share liability.

For example, say you suffer an accident on the road due to a pothole. While your city government may be responsible for de-icing the roads or removing gravel, the state government is responsible for paving the roads and fixing defects such as potholes. In this situation, you can hold the state agency accountable. However, if you skid on ice that road maintenance workers failed to clear and strike a tree, you could hold the city agency responsible.

Government agencies have a responsibility to keep roads in reasonably safe conditions. However, to prove your claim, you will need to establish that the government either knew about the condition or that the condition had been around for so long that the agency should have discovered it. You will also need to prove that the government failed to take action and repair the road in a reasonable amount of time.

Establishing Liability for Poorly Planned Roads

Your accident may occur due to a planning and development defect instead of a dangerous condition on the road itself.  In these cases, you will need to prove that the agency’s road design is inherently dangerous, and this defect directly caused your accident and injuries.

For example, say that a state government agency decides to build a road next to a lake suffering obvious and well-documented erosion. You suffer an accident when the road buckles underneath your vehicle due to this erosion. In this situation, you can establish that the state government should have reasonably known about the erosion and should have not built the road in that location in the first place. As a result, the agency is liable for your injuries and damages.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government Agency

While the government may be responsible for the poor road conditions that caused your accident, filing a lawsuit against these entities can be challenging. Most agencies have immunity from lawsuits, which means they cannot face lawsuits unless they provide permission. You will first need to file an administrative claim against the agency; if you do not receive compensation through this process, you may be eligible for a civil lawsuit.

These administrative claims can have very short deadlines and follow different procedures depending on the agency. To navigate this process and ensure you preserve your right to compensation, contact a California car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will evaluate your claim, explain your legal options, and take the necessary steps to file your claim.

Posted by highrank at 8:49 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

Who Will Pay My Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Car accidents can result in serious, debilitating medical conditions, including broken bones, spinal cord damage, paralysis, and traumatic brain damage. If you suffer severe injuries in a car crash, you may need to undergo intensive treatment that could continue for years in the future.

This medical care requires adequate insurance and funds to pay for services the policy does not cover, but many car accident victims cannot afford to pay for these costs out-of-pocket. However, filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident can help you recover the funds you need to heal from your injuries.

California’s Fault Insurance System

Like most states, California follows a fault-based insurance system. This means that any person who causes a car accident will need to pay for the damages of all of the victims involved in the crash, including other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians. These damages include all past and future medical expenses for the injuries sustained in the accident.

To uphold this financial responsibility, all California drivers must carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance. Policyholders can purchase higher amounts of coverage if they choose.

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death per person per accident
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident

If you are an accident victim, the fault insurance system provides three pathways to collecting compensation. You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own insurance, if you have the right coverage. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

Typically, the insurance company overseeing the claim pays the settlements in these processes. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver and do not have appropriate coverage through your own policy, the driver may carry the financial burden alone.

Paying for Medical Treatment Before a Settlement

After a car accident injury, auto insurance policies are supposed to pay for accident-related medical costs from the beginning. However, it can take a long time for your case to reach a conclusion. You may need to pay for your treatments as your medical bills accumulate, using your health insurance or medical payments coverage, if available.

Most health insurance policies will cover treatment for accident injuries, although the terms of your policy may vary. If your health insurance pays for your medical care first, the company will typically file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for compensation. However, you may need to pay for deductibles, co-pays, and any treatment the policy does not cover. Your insurance or lawsuit settlement can reimburse you for these expenses; make sure to save every piece of evidence related to your medical care and the money you paid.

Medical payments coverage, or med pay, is a type of optional insurance coverage that can help you pay for your medical treatment after an accident up to a certain amount. California does not require this coverage, so you will need to purchase it separately. After you exceed your med pay policy limits, you will need to pay for your medical bills by yourself. If you do not have med pay, you will need to rely on your health insurance and personal funds to receive care.

Seeking medical care after an accident can be complex. If you need help finding treatment or understanding your legal rights, contact a California personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can assist you in receiving the care you need, understanding the compensation you qualify for, and filing your insurance claim or lawsuit.

Posted by highrank at 12:21 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