Category Archives: Rodriguez & Associates

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

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

The Greatest Trial Lawyers of All Time

Friday, December 4, 2020

Personal injury attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, was a guest on KGET’s Studio 17 Live with Vanessa Dillon to discuss the greatest trial lawyers of all time.

The Greatest Trial Lawyers of All Time

Here is a recap of the Q/A!

Who is the most famous trial lawyer in world history?
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Who is the most famous trial lawyer in American history?
Abraham Lincoln

Who is considered the best trial lawyer in American history?
Gerry Spence

What are the 3 biggest jury verdicts in Kem County History? And who were the lawyers that got those verdicts?

$32 Million – Daniel Rodriguez
$45 Million – Gerry Spence
$70.5 Million – Daniel Rodriguez

To watch the full segment, click here.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:37 pm

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

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

Patrick Benitez Reflects on the Lives He’s Helped Change After 20 Years at Rodriguez & Associates

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Patrick_Benitez_Litigator_DirectorAfter two decades at Rodriguez & Associates, Patrick Benitez still finds the people he encounters the most compelling part of his job.

As Litigation Director, he interacts closely with not just the firm’s attorneys but also the individuals and families who are victims of oilfield injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and the wrongful deaths of their loved ones. Through close work with these people, he gleans details of both their personal injury cases and, more importantly, their lives. That process forms close bonds between those families and Patrick—ones that last long after the verdict is settled. 

Law firms aren’t typically known for maintaining familial-like ties with their clients that go on for decades. Rodriguez & Associates’ commitment to those close ties with clients is one thing that sets the firm apart, and a characteristic Patrick believes serves as a reminder that under every personal injury case is the story of an individual.

“Their accidents are not the same because the people are not the same,” he says.

This kind of close, personal work with clients has profoundly impacted his own life, too. One case that stands out happened early on in his tenure at the firm. It involved a station wagon that hit three children in a crosswalk. The driver—a school district employee driving a district-owned vehicle—changed lanes and sped up to move around stopped traffic. By the time he saw the children crossing in front of the traffic, it was too late to stop. The youngest of those children was rendered a quadriplegic from the accident. 

Because of the long-term relationships the firm keeps with its clients, Patrick was able to watch that child grow up and even graduate from college. This, he says, has not only given him empathy for families with disabled children, it has also influenced the way he interacts with his own kids, one of whom is on the spectrum for autism.

Working with clients is just one of the many roles Patrick plays at the Rodriguez & Associates. As Litigation Director overseeing all the firm’s attorneys, his day-to-day work life is never quite the same. One of his main jobs is to manage the flow of information that comes in from clients, experts, insurance adjusters, and many other individuals involved with a case, organizing the details and preparing the team ahead of a case. This behind-the-scenes work is what gets attorneys, including the firm’s boss, Daniel Rodriguez, as prepared as possible when it’s time to go into the courtroom.

“I have probably been involved in almost every trial Mr. Rodriguez has had in the last 20 years,” says Patrick.

He notes that Daniel himself is one big reason he has stayed with the firm for two decades.

“Although [Daniel] has been practicing for 40 years, he continues to learn new techniques and new strategy,” Patrick says of his employer, adding that this has “helped me grow not only in my profession but as a person.”

As he celebrates 20 years at Rodriguez & Associates, Patrick continues to weave these lessons into his work, whether in the office, in the courtroom, or at home with his own family.

 

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:00 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

We are a Sponsor of the 2020 Halloween Drive Through

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Our firm is a sponsor of this year’s Halloween Drive Through. The event will be held on Saturday, October 31st, 2020, from 5 pm – 7:30 pm at Stockdale Moose Lodge in Bakersfield, California.

The drive-through will be a family-friendly event and is free to the public, however, donations are welcome. All donations will benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Halloween_Drive_Through_In_Bakersfield_October_31_2020

 

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:42 pm