Category Archives: Rodriguez & Associates

How to Prove Police Misconduct

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Police misconduct occurs when a law enforcement officer commits an illegal act or exhibits inappropriate conduct when carrying out his or her official duties. From acts of police brutality to fraud or coercion, police misconduct can cause serious physical and psychological harm. If you believe that you are the victim of police misconduct, there are a number of steps you will need to take to protect your rights and prove your case with the help of a Bakersfield police misconduct lawyer.

Proving a Case of Police Misconduct

There are multiple pathways you can take to file a complaint against a police officer who commits an act of misconduct.

  • You can file an internal complaint through the officer’s police department.
  • You can file criminal charges against the officer through a state district court. If your case involves certain issues, such as the use of excessive force, you can press charges at the federal level by filing a United States Department of Justice (DOJ) complaint.
  • You can pursue compensatory damages against the police officer by filing a lawsuit against him or her in your state’s civil court.

You can pursue civil and criminal charges against the offending officer simultaneously since they involve two separate proceedings in two types of courts. The burden of proof, or the evidence you will need to establish to prove that misconduct occurred, will differ based on the pathway you choose.

Internal investigations involve their own burden of proof, and you will need to speak to your local police department to determine how to file a complaint. If you are pursuing criminal charges, you will typically need to prove that the following elements are true beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The officer deprived you of a right protected under the Constitution or U.S. law.
  • The officer acted willfully.
  • The officer was acting under the color of the law, or the officer appeared to act within the law while violating it.

In a California civil lawsuit, you do not need to prove that the officer violated your rights to receive a settlement. Instead, you will need to prove the officer’s liability by establishing a preponderance of the evidence, or that the officer more likely than not committed the misconduct involved in your case.

To accomplish this, you will need to gather enough evidence to prove the misconduct occurred. Different types of police misconduct are subject to specific legal considerations, so it is best to speak to a California police misconduct attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you determine which pathway is right for you and advise you on how to best approach your claim.

What to Do After Experiencing Police Misconduct

Regardless of the type of charges you wish to pursue, there are a number of steps you will need to take to preserve evidence after experiencing an act of police misconduct. As soon as possible after the misconduct, take the following steps.

  • Write down a detailed description of the misconduct, including any quotes you remember verbatim. Only write down facts you know to be true.
  • If you suffered any injuries, take pictures of them and seek medical care. Save all documentation from your visits.
  • Gather the contact information of any witnesses and preserve any physical evidence.
  • Contact a police misconduct attorney as soon as possible.

Speaking to a lawyer is vital to police misconduct cases. Your attorney will help you gather evidence, advocate for your rights during each step of the process, and craft a compelling case while adhering to specific legal requirements.

Different lawyers handle criminal and civil cases, but you can pursue both claims simultaneously. If you wish to file a civil lawsuit or criminal charges against the offending officer, contact the appropriate lawyer as soon as possible.

Posted by highrank at 4:27 pm

School Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Kern County

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Sexual misconduct and sexual abuse by teachers in the public and private school systems happens more than we think and often times the abuse is unreported or goes unpunished. Stop Educator and Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.), a national organization dedicated to ending abuse in schools and increase public awareness, states that one out of ten children K-12 students are victims of sexual educator misconduct. Sexual abuse happens at the collegiate level also. S.E.S.A.M.E reported in 2015 that:

  • About 3.5 million students in 8th through 11th grade reported having physical sexual contact from an adult (usually a teacher or coach) ranging from unwanted touching to sexual intercourse.
  • The number increased to 4.5 million students when included other types of sexual misconduct, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism.

Signs of sexual abuse of children may include:

  • Not wanting to be hugged or touched
  • Unexplained sleep problems or nightmares
  • Loss of appetite, not wanting to eat, or trouble swallowing
  • Sudden mood swings, insecurity, or withdrawal
  • A new or unusual fear of a certain person or place
  • Exhibits knowledge of adult sexual behaviors and language
  • Draws, writes, dreams, or talks about frightening images or sexual acts
  • Thinks of themselves or their body as “bad” or “dirty”

In teens or adolescents:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Sexual promiscuousness
  • Stops caring about bodily appearance or compulsively eats or diets obsessively
  • Running away from home
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Attempting suicide

Sexual abuse of children does not just happen it schools. It also happens in organizations such as youth sports clubs, religious institutions, and youth recreation programs by coaches, staff, volunteers, and other students.

Our Bakersfield sexual abuse attorneys are dedicated to being the voice for children who have suffered from sexual abuse and misconduct in school or in other organizations. We have the resources and skills to thoroughly investigate claims and bring justice to the children who have been sexually abused.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse in school, contact our Kern County law firm for a no-charge consultation: (661) 323-1400 or toll-free 1-800-585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:11 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

How Long Do Commercial Truck Accident Cases Take to Settle?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Settling a case that involves a large commercial truck (such as a tractor trailer) often takes longer to resolve than an accident involving only cars because there are more components to the claim. In our experience as truck accident attorneys in Bakersfield, these are some of the factors that are involved.

Liability Investigation

An investigation of who was at fault will be done by your attorney and also by the truck’s insurance company. Many truck companies hold insurance policies that are $1 million or more so their goal will be to keep the claim amount as low as possible. Their investigation will try to build a case showing the driver was not at fault – or was only partially at fault. Because they will examine every possibility, investigations may take months or even years.

Injuries and Medical Treatment

Most personal injury cases are resolved when the victim is fully recovered, but injuries that involve a semi-truck may be more traumatic with a longer recovery period, thereby increasing the time it takes to settle the case. Settling the case without a clear picture of total injuries and/or necessary future medical treatment, is not advisable because it may result in an amount that will not fully compensate the victim.

Insurance Company Negotiations for a Settlement

As stated above, insurance companies have much more to lose if the truck driver is found to be at fault so they will aggressively defend the driver and the trucking company. Therefore, negotiations between the truck insurance company attorneys and your attorneys may be very lengthy. If nothing can be agreed upon, a lawsuit will be the next step.

A truck accident is unique and unlike an accident involving only cars. If you’re involved in a commercial truck accident, you will want to hire an attorney who is an expert in the field. Our Bakersfield truck accident lawyers have handled hundreds of truck accidents. We obtained the highest personal injury verdict (over $70 million) in Kern County history for an accident involving a big rig.

If you have been involved in a truck accident, call our Bakersfield personal injury law firm at (661) 323-1400 or 800-585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 6:51 pm

2020 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Bakersfield

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Rodriguez & Associates has been named to Expertise.com’s 2020 list: Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Bakersfield, CA.

Expertise chose us based on 25 variables across the following five criteria: Reputation, Credibility, Experience, Availability, and Professionalism. They evaluated 242 personal injury attorneys in Bakersfield, CA to provide a hand-picked list of 22 of the best personal injury lawyers in the city.

Our firm was also added to Expertise’s Best Litigation Attorneys in Bakersfield and Best Car Accident Attorneys in Bakersfield lists for 2020.

Expertise’s goal is to connect people with the best local experts. Every month they help over 10 million customers find the best qualified service professional for their needs.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:58 pm

What Is an Anoxic Brain Injury?

Friday, June 5, 2020

During an accident, one of the most serious injuries you can endure is a brain injury. Our brain is responsible for controlling many of our body’s functions, from our thoughts and emotions to sending messages between our brain and muscles so that we can move. One of the most severe types of brain injuries you can sustain is an anoxic brain injury, which occurs when something cuts off the oxygen flow to your brain.

How Do Anoxic Brain Injuries Occur?

Our brains need a steady supply of oxygen to function. When an adverse event cuts off oxygen flow to the brain, we can develop severe complications, depending on how long the oxygen loss takes place for. The longer we go without oxygen, the more brain cells die, disrupting important bodily functions and processes.

Many types of accidents and emergencies can lead to anoxic brain injuries, including the following.

  • Car accidents
  • Drug overdoses
  • Improper medical care or monitoring
  • Drowning
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cardiac arrest

Symptoms of Anoxic Brain Injury

When you sustain an anoxic brain injury, you will initially lose consciousness for a certain period of time, depending on how long you go without oxygen. Prior to the loss of consciousness, you may experience slurred speech, confusion, and loss of control of your facial muscles.

Once you regain consciousness, you will likely experience certain effects due to the brain damage, which may include the following.

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Motor skill impairment
  • Difficulty communicating or forming sentences
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes

A full recovery from a severe anoxic brain injury is rare, but it is possible to recover from a mild anoxic brain injury with physical therapy and a comprehensive treatment regimen.

Anoxic Brain Injury Complications

Anoxic brain injuries can lead to significant physical consequences. People with severe anoxic brain injury may enter a coma during the loss of consciousness, or enter a vegetative state upon regaining consciousness. Many cases of severe anoxic brain injury result in death.

In addition, anoxic brain injuries can have an impact on your daily life. You may have trouble performing simple tasks or communicating with the people around you. You may experience personality changes or mood swings that can place a strain on your relationships.

You may develop mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. You may suffer a reduced quality of life and an inability to maintain self-sufficiency, depending on the nature of your injuries.

The financial implications can be just as difficult as the physical ones. If you suffer an anoxic brain injury during an accident, you will likely require years of intensive medical care and physical therapy, as well as disability accommodations. You may also lose wages during your recovery time, or your injury can prevent you from returning to work altogether.

Your Legal Options After an Anoxic Brain Injury

If someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident that resulted in your (or a loved one’s) anoxic brain injury, you have legal options available to seek justice. You or your loved one may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim, if applicable.

Contact a Bakersfield brain injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and determine whether you have grounds for legal action.

Posted by highrank at 9:44 pm

Daniel Rodriguez Reacts to Vandalism of his Personal Injury Law Offices in Bakersfield

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Daniel Rodriguez was interviewed by 23ABC Bakersfield​ after he learned his personal injury law offices were tagged with anti-police rhetoric.

He was shocked, but said he understood the pain that many people are feeling right now.

Watch the interview below.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 6:14 pm

Tips on Speaking with an Insurance Company After a Car Accident

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Insurance companies work fast after a car accident. Often times, the adjuster will contact people who are involved in an accident the same day or within a few days after the occurrence. You may even receive a call from the other party’s insurance adjuster. We understand how stressful it is after an accident, so we compiled tips for you on how to speak with an insurance company after you have experienced an auto accident.

Find out who you are talking to.

When you receive the phone call, ask for the person’s name, the insurer they work for, their work address, and work telephone number. If they are unable, or unwilling, to provide you with this information, do not speak with them.

Do not agree to a recorded statement.
The adjustor may claim that a recorded statement will “protect you” or speed up your claim process, but a recorded statement can also work against you. The adjustor may ask you leading questions or remarks (i.e. “It sounds like your back injury is not as bad as you thought”) and the answer you respond with may undermine your injury and your compensation.

Limit the information you give to the insurance adjustor.
You may give them general information, including:

  • Your name
  • The name of others in the accident
  • Date and time of accident
  • Location of accident
  • The insurance information of the other driver
  • The make and model of cars involved

Don’t discuss your injuries.
The extent of an injury in a car accident can take weeks or months to become fully apparent. How you state your injury may be used against you at a later date. You do not owe them a progress report. If they ask you how you are doing, you can say that you don’t know the “full extent of the injury yet”.

 Don’t speculate or guess.
If they ask you questions about the accident, and you don’t know the answer, do not speculate or guess what may have happened. It is acceptable to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”.

It is okay to postpone the conversation.
You may decline talking to an insurance adjuster. You have the right to answer their questions with your attorney and you may tell them that you will not talk to them without your attorney present.

If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a car accident, we may be able to help you. Call our Kern County Personal Injury Law Firm at 661-323-1400 or 800-585-9262 (toll free) for a no fee consultation. Our car accident attorneys speak English or Spanish.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 12:26 pm

What Is the Difference Between Comparative and Contributory Negligence?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

In a California personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the at-fault party acted in negligence and caused the damages you are seeking compensation for. At the conclusion of your case, the court will decide if you are eligible for damages and if so, how much your settlement will be.

Identifying negligence is not simple in many cases, and the court may find that both parties’ actions contributed to the accident. In these situations, the court will either apply the theory of comparative negligence or the theory of contributory negligence to determine the amount of the final settlement. The specific theory that the court applies will depend on the state you reside in.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence states do not allow plaintiffs who share more than 1% of the fault from claiming compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. This means you lose your chances at compensation if you contributed to the accident at all. The only states who still apply the contributory negligence method include Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Let’s say you are in a car accident with another driver at a stop sign. You brake, the driver behind you doesn’t, and he hits the back of your vehicle. You suffer medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and pain and suffering worth $20,000, and request this settlement amount in your lawsuit.

However, the court finds that you had broken brake lights at the time of the accident, and assigns you 80% of the fault in your case. If you reside in a state that practices contributory negligence, you will not receive any damages.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

While contributory negligence is the most severe negligence rule, many states do not use this method. Instead, most states follow a comparative negligence system, which allows plaintiffs to collect compensation even if they share a portion of the fault.

There are two types of comparative negligence rules: pure and modified. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means you can collect compensation in a personal injury lawsuit even if you share up to 99% of the damages. The court will simply reduce your award by the portion you share. Using our broken brake light example, you can still receive $4,000 out of your $20,000 settlement if you share 80% of the fault.

There are two different types of modified comparative negligence states. In some modified comparative negligence states, such as Colorado, you cannot receive compensation if you share at least 50% of the fault. In other modified comparative negligence states, such as Hawaii, you cannot claim compensation if you share 51% or more of the fault in your claim.

You would not receive damages under our broken brake light scenario if you shared 80% of the fault. If the court determines you shared 40% of the fault, you could receive $12,000 out of the original $20,000 under both modified comparative negligence systems.

Hire an Attorney for Your Personal Injury Case

Comparative and contributory negligence can reduce the amount of compensation you receive significantly. In these situations, you must defend yourself against claims that you share liability for the accident by highlighting the at-fault party’s negligent actions.

Hiring a Bakersfield personal injury attorney to represent your claim can help you protect your best interests during the lawsuit process. Your attorney will conduct a full-scale investigation into your claim, crafting a compelling case for your need for compensation and proving the negligence of the at-fault party.

Contact your personal injury lawyer today to discuss your story and begin filing your claim.

Posted by highrank at 9:53 pm