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The workers’ compensation system is an important tool workers in California can use to obtain the money they need without having to prove someone else’s fault. Unlike the civil justice system, which requires evidence of fault, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Even a successful workers’ comp claim, however, will not result in 100% of your lost wages reimbursed. The system in California generally only reimburses an employee up to two-thirds of his or her average weekly wages.
Lost wage reimbursement could be a right you have as an injured worker in California. All employers in the state must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you get injured on the job, whether someone else caused the accident or not, you could receive lost wage reimbursement by filing a workers’ comp claim. An insurance company may reimburse you for lost income in a few different ways.
Apply for these benefits by notifying your employer of your accident and injury within at least 30 days. This is a critical deadline. If missed, the insurer may have grounds to deny your claim. Your employer should then submit the Initial Report of Injury Form within five days. You should hear back from the insurance company as to whether or not it accepts your claim over the next two weeks.
Lost wage benefits through the California workers’ comp system do not reimburse an injured worker for all income lost. Instead, it will only amount to about two-thirds of the employee’s average gross wages. If you make an average of $2,000 per week, for example, your workers’ compensation lost wage check might equal around $1,333. Your benefits are also subject to the statewide weekly maximum, however. This changes year by year. In 2020, the maximum is $1,299.43 per week. In the example above, you would receive $1,299.43 in lost wage reimbursement instead of $1,333 per week due to the state’s maximum limit.
Although it can be easier to settle for workers’ compensation, this might not be the best way to maximize your financial recovery after a serious workplace injury. Limitations on lost wage reimbursements could make it difficult to maintain your previous standard of living. You could qualify for greater compensation, such as 100% of your lost wages, through a personal injury claim instead.
Full wage recovery might be possible by bringing a negligence-based work injury case against your employer or another party, such as a product manufacturer. If your employer caused your injury, do not accept a workers’ compensation settlement before consulting an attorney. Accepting a settlement check bars you from filing a suit against your employer. If a third party is to blame, however, you could be eligible for both workers’ comp lost wage reimbursement and additional compensation through the civil justice system.
If you have a temporary or permanent disability, you could also qualify for checks through Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income. This could supplement the benefits you obtain from a workers’ compensation claim to reimburse you for 100% of your lost wages. Contact an Orange County workers’ comp lawyer after a workplace accident in California about your recovery options.Read More
Parents and guardians of a child who has been sexually abused will experience a range of emotions, and they are often left not knowing how to properly help their child. However, there are steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that child sexual abuse survivors recover from what happened to them. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), approximately one out of every 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
The first step a parent or guardian must take after discovering their child has been sexually abused is reporting the incident law enforcement. After that, parents should focus on the well-being of their child.
One of the main reasons that children do not report that they have been sexually abused is that they fear it will not be believed. Parents and guardians should always believe what their child tells them. If your child says they have been sexually abused, they are almost always telling the truth.
Parents and guardians should never blame the child for what happened. Whether the abuse happened once or several times, this is an extreme trauma for them. Adults should be there to support your child in every way they can to help minimize the long-term effects of the abuse. Parents must stress to the child the abuse was not their fault.
It is important for parents and guardians of a child who has been sexually abused to get that child into therapy as soon as possible. Find a therapist that has specialized training in dealing with child sexual abuse victims. If parents or guardians do not have health insurance that will cover therapy, most states have a crime victims fund that will help pay for these services. You can talk to your local victim’s advocate (usually part of the police department or prosecutor’s office) about what services are available.
Getting a child sexual abuse survivor into counseling is vital. In these cases, a child may not be comfortable telling their parent or guardian everything that happened to them, but they may be willing to open up to a counselor.
A trigger is something that reminds a victim of the trauma they have experienced. This can be just about anything, including a place, person, time of day, sound, smell, or more. If a child sexual abuse victim experience is a trigger, they may feel like they are back in the same moment the trauma initially occurred. It can be like they are reliving the experience. A therapist can help a child develop techniques to help them get through a situation that triggers them.
How a parent or guardian reacts to discovering that their child has been sexually abused will be vital in determining how their child recovers. Parents often blame themselves or even the child for what happened. However, the fault for child sexual abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrator. Let the justice system handle the abuser while you, as a parent or guardian, focus on the well-being of your child. Be there for your child and let them know you believe and support them. Stay calm and know that you are their lifeline.
If your child has been sexually abused in a youth sports program, daycare, school, or at an organization such as the Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA, please contact a sexual abuse lawyer from our firm for help.Read More
Child sexual abuse is a major problem in the United States. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), child protective services substantiates, or finds evidence of, a claim of child sexual abuse reported every 73 seconds. The statistics related to child sexual abuse in the United States are heartbreaking. Parents who discover that their child has been sexually abused often blame themselves for what happened. This is especially the case when the parent knows the perpetrator of their child’s abuse.
Parents of child sexual abuse victims should know that feeling strong emotions in the aftermath of discovering that their child has been abused is perfectly normal. Here, we want to talk about how to manage these feelings.
Parents and guardians of a child who has been sexually abused may blame many people. This includes the perpetrator of the abuse, anyone who did not take action to stop the abuse, the justice system, or even the child who has been abused. However, parents of the abused child most often blame themselves. Some of the most common trains of thought are:
Once a parent recognizes that blame arises in their emotions after a child sexual abuse incident, they can “Redirect Blame to Appropriate Responsibility” (ReBAR). This method could be accomplished through four steps, and it will go a long way towards helping the parent and the victim of sexual abuse.
It is important that parents and guardians explore all emotions they are feeling after discovering that their child has been the victim of sexual abuse. Though it is not as commonly talked about, parents can also experience symptoms of PTSD. In some cases, the parent may also have traumatic histories of their own that influence how they react. Parents can talk to therapists or even close friends as they explore what they are feeling.
Blame can distort the way we think, and this distortion could be enhanced by many myths we learn about child sexual abuse, such as untruths that:
It can help parents to look towards specific factors that led to the sexual abuse situation and consider how responsibility for each person can be reasonably allotted. For example, a parent may blame themselves and think they are a horrible person if their child is sexually abused by a coach. In reality, a parent may have hired that coach because they came highly recommended and had no way of knowing that the coach was untrustworthy. Redirecting thinking by looking at who is truly responsible is an important step.
If a parent did indeed make a mistake that increased their child’s risk of sexual abuse (unrestricted internet access, allowing a live-in partner, etc.), the best thing they can do is take accountability for what they did and make restitution to their child as best they can. Though the healing process may take time, it is possible. It is important to remember that the ultimate responsibility for any instance of sexual abuse rests on the perpetrator of the abuse, not a parent who made a mistake.
Children who survive sexual abuse can reach the same level of healthy adjustment as they grow up as those who have never experienced abuse. However, this will take time and patience. Parents of child sexual abuse victims should seek counseling for their child and maintain an open dialogue about what happened. Most of all, my parents should always believe their child and never blame them for what happenedRead More
Sexual abuse of children is abhorrent, and parents and guardians must take every step they can to protect children from predators. While the internet has made it easier to connect to information and stay in contact with our loved ones and friends, it is also made it possible for perpetrators sexual abuse to use the technology to their advantage. With the rise of social media and the ease of sharing photographs and videos, it is now easier than ever for sexual predators to target kids.
There are several steps parents and guardians can take to keep their children safe from internet predators, and it begins with open communication and education.
It can be difficult for parents and guardians to talk to their children about sexual exploitation and online predators. However, this is an essential step in keeping them safe. Before you allow your child to have any social media accounts, speak openly with them about the dangers of cyber-bullying and online predators. Children need to know the dangers of sending sexually explicit photos or videos and they should know to tell a parent any time someone asks for such material. Sexual curiosity is a natural part of getting older for children, and your child will likely not want to talk about all aspects of their private lives. However, if you have educated them on the dangers and let them know you are open to communication, they are much less likely to become targets of sexual predators online.
Minors should have strict security settings in place on their social media accounts. Parents should be able to monitor their child’s social media activity and should be “friends” with them on every account they have. However, this is not enough to keep kids safe, as there are countless social media accounts and messaging accounts that a child could have the parent does not know about. Make sure to have access to your child’s phone at all times. You should know your child’s password to their phone and to every social media account and check them regularly. Look for apps with names you do not know about, as well as “hidden folders” on the phone. Online sexual predators, particularly adult predators, could convince your child to download alternative messaging systems and tell them how to hide certain things from you.
Parents and guardians should be aware of changes in behavior in their children. While it is natural for growing children to desire more privacy, you should still be aware of any changes in mood or heightened levels of anxiety. If they are suddenly locking their bedroom door or spending a lot more time alone with their computer or phone, this could be a sign that a sexual predator is developing an online relationship with them.
There are various phases the sexual predators, both online and in real life, will use to “groom” a child into a sexual relationship. These stages begin with forming a friendship with the child by discussing similar interests and slowly forming a relationship. A sexual predator will begin to push their boundaries with the child to see how much information they can get from them. If a sexual predator feels like they can do so, they will begin to introduce sexual topics to gauge the child’s reaction. At this point, a sexual predator will make sure that the child knows that nobody can know about this relationship, and they will use coercion or guilt to ensure that what they talk about remains secret. Once a predator has the child’s trust, they will let their intentions be known and begin an electronic or even physical sexual relationship.
If your child has been sexually abused at school, daycare, a youth sports program, or at an organization such as the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, please contact a sexual abuse attorney from our firm for help.Read More
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds. This is an astounding statistic, and it should most certainly be highlighted again and again until we, as a society, band together to protect the most vulnerable among us. When a person is sexually assaulted, there are several steps they can take to ensure that justice is brought to the perpetrator of the assault. One of those steps could be undergoing a forensic examination to collect DNA evidence left behind after the assault. The process of collecting and preserving evidence after a sexual assault is often referred to as a “rape kit.”
Many medical facilities can employ trained personnel called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). These individuals have received education specifically to help them properly perform rape kit examinations. It is vital that the person who performs these examinations does so with the understanding that they are collecting evidence that could be used in a criminal case. Any missteps while collecting this evidence could result and the evidence being labeled as “tainted” and inadmissible in court.
The practitioners who are trained to properly perform a rape kit differ from other healthcare providers because they are clinically trained to understand the situation that they are dealing with and that the focus should be on the sexual assault survivor’s needs. SANEs are trained to provide comprehensive care that minimizes the trauma for a sexual assault survivor.
SANEs understand the specific needs of sexual assault survivors and will conduct a rape kit in a sensitive and dignified manner. Unfortunately, rape kits can seem invasive, which is exactly what a sexual assault survivor does not need. However, there is some urgency with these kits — the exam needs to be conducted as quickly as possible after an assault takes place in order to maintain the integrity of the evidence.
In addition to having training based specifically on understanding the needs of sexual assault survivors and how to help them through an exam, a SANE also understands that they may be called to testify in court.
Right now, there is no national requirement that hospitals or other healthcare facilities utilize SANEs. However, studies are beginning to show that using SANEs to conduct rape kits leads to higher-quality evidence collection, meaning there are higher prosecution and conviction rates of perpetrators.
If you or a loved one had been sexually assaulted and need to find a SANE to conduct your evidence collection kit, contact RAINN’S Sexual Assault Hotline or look up the phone number to your local Rape Crisis center for information about SANE programs near you. If you choose to go straight to the hospital after a sexual assault, ask the ER admissions personnel for a trained examiner. Even if the hospital does not have a SANE, please still consider receiving a rape kit exam by doctor or nurse who will follow the instructions in the kit. The evidence collected could help put the perpetrator of your sexual assault behind bars and prevent that person from harming anyone else.Read More
Cycling has become increasingly popular in this state as a preferred exercise and recreation method, as well as an everyday mode of transportation for many individuals. However, bicyclists face more risks on the roadway than those riding in traditional passenger vehicles. The number of bicycle accident injuries has risen in California. Those injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another driver need to know whether or not the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the costs of their injuries and property damage.
If you are riding a bicycle, your auto insurance policy typically will not cover any injuries you sustained while riding if the injuries were caused by your own negligence. Auto insurance will also likely not cover injuries caused by defects in the roadway. For example, if you are riding your bike and hit a deep pothole, causing you to lose control of your bike and break your arm, your auto insurance likely will not provide any coverage for your injuries or property damage. However, you may still be covered through your personal health insurance. You may also be able to file a lawsuit against a property owner through a premises liability lawsuit.
If the bicycle accident was caused by another driver, then their auto insurance should cover the driver’s liability for any injuries and property damage associated with the accident. In California, all drivers must carry the following insurance to remain legal on the roadway:
If the driver was at fault for the bicycle accident, then their liability coverage will be responsible for the bicyclist’s medical costs, up to the limits of their coverage. If a driver has the minimum coverage, that means the bicyclist could receive up to $15,000 for their injury expenses and up to $5,000 for their property damage.
If the cost of the bicycle accident exceeds the minimum policy amounts, the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver will only pay the legal minimum. If the injured cyclist sustains severe injuries, it is very likely their cost of care will exceed $15,000. In order to recover compensation beyond the insurance minimum, the injured cyclist may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), there were over 11,000 bicycle accident injuries and 124 bicycle crash deaths in the latest reporting year across this state. Due to the vulnerability of bicyclists, a high percentage of reported accidents result in fatalities or injuries. Even if a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, their bodies are not made to sustain an impact from a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds. It is not uncommon for a bicyclist to sustain the following injuries in a crash:
It is important to understand that bicycles are treated as regular vehicles on the roadway. A bicyclist must follow all traffic laws, just like other drivers. If a bicyclist strikes a pedestrian or another bicyclist, they could be held liable for injuries they cause. In these cases, a bicyclist could face a personal injury lawsuit from the person they strike and injure.
If you or someone you love were injured while riding a bike, get in touch with an Orange County bicycle accident lawyer for legal advice.Read More
Nobody wants to get into a car accident. Not only are these incidents scary and confusing for everybody involved, but they can become incredibly costly. It is important for drivers and visitors in California to understand how the state handles auto insurance. Not all states deal with car insurance claims the same way in the aftermath of a vehicle accident. While every state has a requirement that drivers carry auto insurance, do you know whether or not California is a fault or no-fault state?
For the purposes of car insurance, California does not follow a no-fault system.
In a no-fault state, drivers are required to maintain insurance to cover losses that they suffer during a car accident. In the aftermath of an accident, drivers turn to their personal injury protection (PIP) to get coverage for the medical costs associated with their injuries. Drivers will not file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. This system is designed to cut down on the time that it takes for a person to receive the compensation they need for their injury expenses.
In some states that have a no-fault system, drivers may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party if the amount of damage is severe and rises above certain thresholds.
California, like most other states in the country, is considered a “fault” state (also known as a tort state). In a fault state, responsibility for coverage of injuries and property damage in the aftermath of a crash falls onto the at-fault driver. The person who caused the accident will be on the line for these expenses. For example, if you are struck by a driver who runs a red light, and you sustain injuries and property damage, you (or your insurance carrier) will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier in order to recover compensation for your expenses.
Every state is responsible for implementing the minimum required car insurance coverage for drivers. In California, all drivers are responsible for carrying the following:
Drivers in California are not required to carry uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage.
If a victim sustains a serious injury in a car accident, medical expenses could quickly rise above $15,000. However, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier is only going to pay up to the policy limits. In a tort system, the injured party is allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover compensation above the minimum insurance payout.
In California, there is a “pure comparative negligence” system in place. This means that even if somebody is partially at fault for their own injuries, they can still recover compensation. In California, even if a person is 99% at fault for an accident that caused their injury, they could still recover damages. In a comparative negligence system, the amount of money that a person receives in damages will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the incident. For example, if a person is awarded $10,000 in damages for their car accident injuries, but they are found to be 20% at fault for the incident, they would only receive $8,000 in total compensation.
If you or a loved one were injured in an auto accident and are seeking compensation, get in contact with an Orange County car accident lawyer today.Read More
Losing a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity, is incredibly difficult. However, certain people are entitled to file wrongful death lawsuits in California to recover damages for the loss of their loved one. State law limits who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Anyone not qualified to bring a claim under California wrongful death statutes will likely not be able to file a claim in court to recover damages.
According to the California Code of Civil Procedure, section 377.60, the following groups of people are allowed to make a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one:
Various types of compensation could be recovered by family members who have lost a loved one. However, it is not uncommon for family members to seek the following damages in a wrongful death claim:
The total amount of compensation family members will receive if their claim is successful will depend on various factors specific to their case. This can include the deceased’s life expectancy at the time of the wrongful act, their income at the time of death, projected income had the wrongful act not occurred, and more.
There are innumerable ways in which a wrongful death case could arise. Some of the most common incidents that lead to wrongful death claims include the following:
This is by no means a complete list, and you should consult with an Orange County wrongful death attorney about your case.
In California, there is a two-year statute of limitations in place for wrongful death claims. This means that a claim must be brought by the individuals mentioned above within two years of the date of the person’s death.Read More
Large commercial trucks are a valuable part of our society. These vehicles deliver an incredible amount of goods all over the country and here in Orange County. However, due to their size and weight, large commercial trucks can cause serious injuries in collisions with traditional passenger vehicles. It is important to understand the most common causes of truck accidents in order to be able to avoid them.
There are innumerable causes of truck accidents on our roadways. However, the following causes tend to be more common:
In many cases, a truck accident is caused by faulty equipment or mechanical failure of the vehicle. It is up to truck owners and operators to regularly inspect and maintain each vehicle. Failing to do so could result in a failure of part of the truck at high speeds. A tire blowout could cause a truck to veer across the road and into other drivers. Improperly tied down cargo could fly off the truck and slam into other vehicles. Bad brakes could lead to a truck slamming into vehicles on the roadway.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) places restrictions on how many hours a truck driver can operate each workday and workweek. Truck drivers are required to take breaks between driving shifts and rest a certain number of hours every day. However, there are times when drivers feel compelled to operate beyond their capacity, which can lead to them falling asleep at the wheel and causing a serious accident.
Truck drivers regularly multitask behind the wheel of their vehicle. This can include talking or texting on their phones, adjusting the GPS system, using a CB radio, eating and drinking, and more. Anything that takes a driver’s focus off of the roadway could lead to them causing a serious accident.
Driving a large commercial truck is far more complex than driving a traditional passenger vehicle. All drivers should have their commercial driver’s license and be trained to drive each vehicle that a company asks them to operate. Unfortunately, many truck drivers are under-trained and unqualified. An experienced driver behind the wheel of an 80,000 vehicle is a major problem and can cause serious accidents on the roadway.
When passenger vehicles operate in a truck’s blind spots, accidents are much more likely to occur. There are several blind spots around large commercial trucks, including:
There is an old saying that “If you cannot see the truck driver in their mirror, then the truck driver cannot see you.” All passenger vehicle drivers should be aware of a truck’s blind spots and take steps to avoid them.
According to the FMCSA, there were approximately 148,000 injuries and more than 4,700 fatalities due to large truck accidents during the latest reporting year in the U.S. These incidents can lead to severe injuries, and it is not uncommon for a victim to sustain the following:
Victims should secure help from an Orange County truck accident lawyer who can help them assess their case and secure the compensation they are entitled to.Read More
A common question among personal injury claimants is how much their claims might be worth. The monetary value of your claim can determine your financial future, allowing you to plan for what comes next. Understanding the value of your claim can also help you determine if you need a lawyer, as well as if an insurance adjuster is offering you a fair amount. Each case is unique. Before you accept an insurance settlement, speak to an Orange County personal injury attorney to find out if you are accepting a fair and reasonable amount.
There is no accurate average settlement on personal injury claims. Every case and client is so unique that the results can vary significantly. Some injured victims have recovered a few thousand dollars through successful insurance settlements while others have received verdicts of millions for catastrophic damages. Your case could be worth $10,000, $250,000, $1 million or more. It could also be worth under $10,000, making you eligible to file in the Orange County Small Claims Court. Dozens of factors could affect the overall value of your personal injury claim, including:
The best way to calculate the value of your Orange County personal injury claim is by consulting an attorney. A personal injury attorney will have the experience and legal knowledge to accurately gauge what your injury and damages are worth under the law. A lawyer can assess your damages, review expenses, and calculate an accurate value of your economic losses. Then, he or she can estimate what your pain and suffering damages are worth based on all applicable factors. Knowing how much an attorney believes your injury case is worth could give you greater negotiating power during an insurance settlement.
Although no average personal injury settlement amount exists, it is possible to break down the types of damages you may be able to recover. This can help you calculate your losses and understand what your case might be worth. Compensable damages remain the same across the civil justice system in California. An insurance company will calculate a settlement based on the same compensable damages the civil courts use.
A personal injury settlement in Orange County could also include amounts to cover property damages, loss of consortium, lost enjoyment of life, legal fees, travel expenses, wrongful death damages, and more. If you believe you have grounds to make a personal injury claim and wonder what your settlement could be worth, ask a lawyer near you for a free consultation.Read More