Category Archives: Uncategorized

Different Types of Burn Injuries

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Victims of fire or burn injuries can be left with debilitating injuries, physical and psychological scars and may face many years or surgeries and physical therapy to try to get back the life they once had.

There are many ways that people can be burned – from a property hazard, to a bonfire party, to faulty wiring or a workplace injury. While some of the burns are mild, others can be disfiguring. There are four types of burn injuries.

  • Thermal burns are caused by contact with flames, hot water (or hot liquids), steam or other sources of intense heat. These are usually the source of household burns from kitchen fires and burns from auto accidents. Within thermal burns, there are:
    • Flash burns – explosions of natural gas, propane, or other flammable liquids.
    • Flame burns – due to exposure of prolonged, intense heat such as in a car accident or house fire.
    • Scald burns – usually caused by hot liquids such as water, grease, oil, and tar.
  • Contact burns ­– from coals, glass, hot metals or plastics.
  • Chemical burns can be caused by contact with strong acids or alkali substances that may be found in some household cleaners such as bleach, drain cleaner, swimming pool chemicals, etc.,
  • Electrical burns are common in the workplace, such as construction sites, restaurants, agricultural sites, and offices. These are caused by an AC or DC current.
  • Radiation burns are caused by alpha, beta, or gamma radiation, commonly known as sunburns. X-rays and radiation therapy may also cause a burn, which could be a medical malpractice case.

Burn severity is categorized by medical professionals based on how deep the burn is and how they will approach treatment. Burns range from first-degree (mildest) to third-degree (most damaging).

  • First-degree burns include only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Most are minor and superficial. A first-degree burn usually does not require treatment by a medical professional unless it covers a significant portion of the body. A first-degree burn injury can include:
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Minor pain
    • Texture changes when it starts to heal
  • Second-degree burns involve the epidermis (outer layers of skin) and the upper layers of the tissue underneath (also known as the dermis). A small second-degree burn may heal on its own, however a larger second-degree burn may require medical treatment and skin grafting. An individual will usually experience:
    • Blistering of the skin
    • Higher degree of pain than first-degree burns
  • Third-degree burns damage all layers of the skin – the outer layer epidermis and the dermis tissue below it – and may extend into subcutaneous tissues, ligaments, tendons, and bones (when this is the case, some physicians may classify this as a fourth-degree burn). Symptoms include:
    • Charring
    • Dark brown discoloration
    • Waxy and white discoloration
    • Leathery textured areas
    • Undeveloped blistering areas

Our Kern County personal injury law firm has represented many clients including those who have suffered burn injuries from workplace accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and construction accidents. We not only care about the case, but we care about the well-being of our clients and will assist in obtaining medical care and day-to-day support following a serious burn injury.

And always, we will fight to hold the responsible party accountable and for fair compensation.

If you or a loved one has experienced a burn or electrical injury, contact us at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:56 pm

Who Is Liable if I Was Bitten by a Stray Dog?

Monday, August 10, 2020

Dog bites can cause serious injury and debilitating illness, often leading to infections, scarring, and severe, painful wounds. If a dog attacks you, you can face intensive medical procedures, lost wages, property damage, and more — but if the dog’s owner meets certain liability criteria, you can file a lawsuit with the help of a Bakersfield dog bite attorney to collect compensatory damages to recover from these injuries. However, if a stray dog attacked you, different considerations apply.

Strict Liability in California Dog Bite Claims

Under California law, dog owners are subject to strict liability. This means owners liable for any injuries their dogs are responsible for, regardless of past behavior or negligence. If someone else’s dog bites you, you can file a lawsuit against him or her to collect compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional damages you incur due to the bite.

You do not have to prove the dog has a history of dangerous behavior or the owner was negligent at the time of the bite. However, you will not receive compensation in your case if you provoked the dog or you were trespassing on private property at the time of the attack. The court will not award damages if the animal was protecting its owner in self-defense, or if the dog was a military or police animal acting in accordance with its duties.

What Happens If a Stray Dog Bites You?

If a stray dog bites you, there is no owner you can file charges against. As a result, it is very rare to collect compensation in dog bite cases involving stray dogs. The only exception is if a government agency had control over the dog before it escaped and attacked you — in these situations, you may hold the city liable for your injuries.

For example, say that your city’s local pound picks up the stray dog and places it under their care. The dog then escapes and attacks you once it is outside. In these situations, you can argue that the pound’s negligence caused the dog to escape and subsequently injure you, and the agency is responsible for your damages.

Are Stray Dog Keepers Legal Owners?

The legal definition of ownership may also play a role in dog bite claims involving stray animals. Some people may keep and feed stray dogs on their property, but claim they do not own or have any responsibility over the canines. If one of these animals bite you, you may wonder whether or not the person taking care of the dog is legally its owner.

Dog ownership definitions vary based on state and local law. In Kern County, a dog owner is any person who owns, possesses, controls, harbors, cares for, or has custody of the animal for at least 15 consecutive days. If you can establish that a certain person had been caring for the stray dog for the required period at the time of the attack, you may be able to name him or her in a dog bite lawsuit.

What to Do After a Stray Dog Attack

If you suffer injuries during a dog attack in Bakersfield, your first priority is to get to a safe place and seek medical attention immediately. If you can do so without further injury or danger, take pictures of the area around the attack and any injuries you sustain. Collect the contact information of any witnesses in the area as well.

After receiving treatment for your injuries, contact a Bakersfield dog bite attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help determine if you can hold a specific party liable in your claim, as well as collect the necessary evidence to prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries.

Posted by highrank at 1:15 pm

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

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

What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Accidents can happen at any time and in any place, including your home, at school, or in the workplace. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to claim compensation for certain damages after an injury, like medical expenses or lost wages. However, the process you enter to obtain this compensation will change based on whether you suffered an injury at work or not.

 

California Workers’ Compensation Law

 

In the state of California, you can collect compensation for injuries you suffer on the job. You must prove that your workplace duties caused the injury, such as overexertion while lifting boxes or a slip and fall on your construction site. Through a workers’ compensation claim, you can collect benefits for lost wages and disability, as well as funds for your injury-related medical expenses.

 

Only injuries that occur during the course of your job qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you suffer an injury during a commute, on your lunch hour, or even while stepping outside for a quick 15-minute break, workers’ compensation insurance will most likely not approve benefits for you.

 

If someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused your accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim against him or her – even if it happens on the job. This is true in cases where a third-party causes your injury at work, a defective product harms you, or your employer acts in an intentionally harmful manner.

 

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

 

Whether you suffer an injury at work that doesn’t fall under workers’ compensation or you are in an accident outside of work, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. For an accident to qualify under personal injury, someone else’s negligence must have caused it to occur.

 

You can claim many different types of damages in personal injury cases, including the following.

 

  • Past and future medical expenses related to the injury, including medications, surgeries, and doctor’s visits
  • Lost wages during recovery time
  • Emotional damages, like pain and suffering and a loss of quality of life
  • Disability accommodations to a home or vehicle
  • Property damage sustained in the accident
  • Punitive damages in situations where the at-fault party acted in an especially reckless or negligent manner

 

What Should You Do After an Accident?

 

If you are in an accident, you will need to take certain steps to preserve the evidence necessary to file your insurance claim, lawsuit, or workers’ compensation claim.

 

If you suffer an injury on the job, take the following steps.

 

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your employer may require you to visit a specific doctor or you can choose one on your own – verify with your employer before you leave.
  • Report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
  • Receive your workers’ compensation claim form from your employer and complete it. Contact an attorney if you need assistance with your claim.
  • Receive a decision from the workers’ compensation insurer within 90 days of filing.
  • If the insurance company denies your claim, you can file an appeal. Contact an attorney to help you build your case.

 

If you suffer an injury anywhere outside of work or during a lunch break, take the following steps.

 

  • Call 911 and bring law enforcement and medical attention to the scene immediately.
  • Take photographs of your injuries, any vehicles involved, and the area where the accident occurred.
  • Collect the contact information for the at-fault party and any witnesses in the area.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible for your injuries and save all documentation.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney to assist you with your insurance claim or lawsuit.

 

Personal injury and workers’ compensation are two different legal processes that can lead to different types of compensation or benefits. The main difference between the two is whether or not you suffered your injury on the job.

 

If you are unsure about your case’s category or wish to discuss the legal processes further, contact a California attorney who works with both personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. Your attorney will be able to advise you on which path you should pursue to claim compensation.

Posted by highrank at 6:29 pm

Can I Sue a Rental Car Company for an Accident?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

California is a fault car insurance state, which means that the at-fault driver in an auto accident is responsible for paying for the injuries and losses of the other drivers involved. Usually, the funds for this compensation come out of the driver’s insurance policy for his or her vehicle – but what happens when the vehicle is a rental car? Is it possible to hold a rental car company liable for an accident that was not your fault?

Liability in California Rental Car Accidents

If you were responsible for the accident, you may have to pay for the damages of the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved, even if you were in a rental car. Unless you purchased coverage for the rental itself, you will usually have to pay for these damages through your personal insurance policy.

If you were not at-fault for the accident and the other driver was in a rental car, you typically cannot file a lawsuit against the company itself – instead, you have three main options to collect compensation.

  • You can file a claim with your own insurance company.
  • You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in California civil court. 

Most rental car companies do offer liability coverage at the time of the rental. You could claim funds through this policy as well, if the at-fault driver purchased this coverage. However, filing a claim with the rental car company’s insurance is not the same as holding the company liable for your accident.

Can You Hold a Rental Car Company Liable for Your Injuries?

In order for you to name a rental car company as an at-fault party in your insurance claim or lawsuit, you will have to prove that the company contributed to the accident in some way. The company’s negligence must have played a role in causing the accident, not just the other driver. Usually, this negligence manifests in an issue with the rental vehicle itself.

This can occur in a number of ways.

  • The rental car company could know about a dangerous condition in one of its vehicles, but choose to rent the car out to a driver anyway. You will have to prove that someone, from a renter to a manufacturer or mechanic, warned the company about the defect and they failed to take action.
  • The company could have failed to perform standard vehicle maintenance. Since the company has a duty to ensure that each of its vehicles are safe to drive, they must perform routine maintenance and check-ups. If the company does not invest in maintenance, fails to fix a known issue, or otherwise rents out a dangerous car that is not in safe condition, you could hold the company liable for your accident.
  • The rental car company must also follow state and federal laws and not engage in unethical or illegal business practices. If the company rents a vehicle to a driver without a license, for example, they could be liable for any accidents that driver causes. Using unlicensed mechanics and poor auto parts could also be grounds for liability.

Proving Rental Car Company Liability in Car Accident Claims

If you believe that the rental car company involved in your accident could share a portion of the liability, contact a California car accident attorney as soon as possible. You and your attorney will need to collect evidence to establish the company’s negligence in your claim. To do so, you and your attorney will need to prove four elements.

  • The rental car company owed you a duty of care.
  • The company breached their duty of care.
  • You suffered injuries as a result of this breach.
  • You can collect damages for your injuries in the claim.

Contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin collecting evidence and building your claim.

Posted by highrank at 5:39 pm

Joel Andreesen Named Board President for CSUB Roadrunner Scholarship Fund

Friday, August 23, 2019

Joel Andreesen, senior partner of Rodriguez & Associates, has been named Board President for California State University, Bakersfield’s (CSUB) Roadrunner Scholarship Fund for the 2019-2021 term.

The Roadrunner Scholarship Fund supports champions made in the classroom: 

  • Their student- athletes are leaders among their peers, having a higher grade point average and graduating at a higher rate compared to the entire CSUB student body. 
  • CSUB’s student- athletes give back to the community, devoting more than 2,000 hours to community service projects throughout Kern County last year.
  • Their student- athletes have a proud history of winning, with 30 DII National Championships, 65 DI All-American honors, 318 Academic All-WAC honors, 326 individual WAC honors, and seven WAC championships.

Rodriguez & Associates congratulates Joel on his new position.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:18 pm

Rodriguez & Associates: New Location Effective July 15, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

We would like to inform you that we will be at our new location effective Monday, July 15, 2019, at 8:00 a.m.

Our new address is:
1128 TRUXTUN AVENUE
BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301

Our contact information: Telephone number, fax number, and email will remain the same.

For questions, please contact us at 661-323-1400.

new bakersfield location for Rodriguez & associates

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:51 pm

How Long Do Semi-Truck Accident Cases Last?

Monday, July 1, 2019

If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you could experience significant damages in the months to come. Due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, you may suffer from serious injuries in these accidents, as well as extensive damage to your car and belongings.

You can claim damages for your losses through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, but these cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to conclude. Because of how severe and complicated semi-truck accidents can be, they can sometimes take longer to settle than the average car accident claim.

What Factors Can Lengthen My Semi-Truck Accident Case?

Several factors can impact the length of a Bakersfield semi-truck accident case. Because of the damage that semi-trucks can cause, plus the corporate and government bodies that may be involved, you may need to navigate some very complicated legal considerations.

• The more severe your injuries, the longer your case will likely be. Your attorney will need to determine the extent of your injuries so he or she can calculate your damages for medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. You may need to wait until you reach maximum recovery before your attorney can resolve your case. While you may want to resolve your claim while you are still recovering from your injuries, your attorney will likely advise against this. You may not know the precise nature of your injuries, and could lose out on compensation to aid your recovery.

• Semi-trucks accident cases may involve government investigations in addition to your own. Entities such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration may look into the crash and provide analyses that could assist your claim – but you may need to wait up to a year for them to release these reports. However, these reports can provide valuable information and strengthen your overall cases.

• You may need to navigate complicated insurance negotiations when dealing with a semi-truck accident. Usually, corporations represent these drivers and have large insurance policies. You can settle your claim with the insurance company and avoid going to court, but negotiations could take time based on the severity of your injuries, the policy limit, and the aggressive tactics that the insurance adjusters could employ to protect their driver and trucking company clients.

• The information gathering process for semi-truck cases can take a long time because of how many liable parties may be involved in your accident. Your attorney will need to gather information on the driver’s history, such as moving violations, Department of Transportation infractions, and other safety records. Your attorney will also want to look into the vehicle and the company itself, making sure they maintained the truck up to federal standards and that negligence from the trucking company didn’t play a part in your injuries. Your attorney will want to learn as much as possible about the company, the driver, the cargo, and any other party who may be involved, and you may have to wait a while for him or her to collect this information.

The Average Length of a Semi-Truck Accident Case

Because each case is different, it is difficult for an attorney to estimate how long your semi-truck accident case will take to reach settlement. Certain factors can lengthen the duration of your case, such as severe injuries or multiple liable parties. The more complicated a case is, the longer it will likely take to reach settlement.

Many semi-truck cases can take a long time to conclude because of clerical mistakes and slow information gathering processes. Obtaining the services of a semi-truck accident attorney can help you navigate these claims and reduce errors in the process. In addition, an attorney can help you enter into sticky negotiations with insurance companies and determine the most efficient pathways to possible compensation.

Semi-truck accidents can be complicated and can vary in length based on your specific circumstances. Because of their complexity, contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to help you reach a settlement for your losses.

Posted by highrank at 6:03 pm

Can I Sue The Police For Killing My Dog?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Police officers receive training for many different scenarios, including those involving dogs. Unfortunately, mistakes can and do happen. The heat of the moment, a perceived threat, or miscommunication can all lead to the untimely death of a beloved canine. In these cases, a dog owner can take a few different types of actions to hold the officer/agency accountable and start the recovery process.

Possible Claims Against the Police

A pet owner can look at both federal and state laws to determine the right jurisdiction for a legal claim. Unless an officer commits an act of cruelty that results in the death of the dog, California remedies fall under property-related claims. Under Californian and most other state laws, an owner can sue for the value of the dog, any medical bills for the dog prior to death, and emotional distress. Animal cruelty deaths fall under a different category and may warrant a larger settlement.

Many dog owners choose to file claims against police officers in federal court as a Fourth Amendment violation (illegal property seizure). Depending on the facts of the case, the plaintiff may make an argument for illegal seizure and/or acts of excessive force. In a federal claim, a plaintiff may receive damages for costs associated with the death of the dog, owner mistreatment (if applicable), and personal emotional distress.

While these claims seem straightforward, law enforcement agencies enjoy many protections from both civil and criminal claims associated with dog shootings. Officers enjoy civil action immunity if they acted within the scope of the job and made a good faith attempt to honor an owner’s rights. Officers may also escape liability in claims if they can demonstrate adherence to agency procedures during the incident.

A law enforcement agency may attempt to settle a claim outside of court instead of fighting the accusation. Dog owners must carefully evaluate the settlement offer before accepting or rejecting it. An agency may only offer compensation for the “going rate” of the dog based on its breed, background, and age. This type of settlement may not cover the pain and suffering an owner experiences after experiencing the death of a canine companion.

What to Do After a Police-Driven Canine Killing

Dog owners can take steps immediately after a canine killing incident to protect their rights to compensation:

  1. Call emergency services. Report the incident and request support and an investigation. If you wait to report the incident, investigators may miss important pieces of evidence. As with any injurious incident, a swift investigation can prevent evidence loss or tampering.
  2. Record witness information. Look for any witnesses to the event and write down their contact information. In urban and neighborhood environments, search for any security cameras that might contain footage of the incident. A visual recording can serve as powerful evidence of police misconduct.
  3. Record officer information. If you are present at the time of the killing, ask for the officer’s name and badge number. Officers must file a report every time they discharge their weapons. Investigators can often locate an offending officer, even if the owner did not witness the incident.
  4. Talk to an attorney. Canine killing cases run the gamut from small claims settlements to civil claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Until a police misconduct attorney reviews the evidence, avoid taking a settlement or talking about the case.

Law enforcement agencies do not keep data on the number of dogs shot, but one specialist from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services facility estimates officers kill 25-30 companion dogs every day. As social media draws awareness to the ongoing problem and more loving pet owners pursue legal action against the police, standard legal procedures may change. Instead of using lethal force, officers could substitute a non-lethal alternative and avoid unnecessary harm to animals and their owners.

Until law enforcement practices change, pet owners must understand their rights after a dog’s death. They can pursue a civil claim to agency perspectives and receive compensation for their losses.

Posted by highrank at 9:28 pm