Fatal distracted driving crash involving deputy in Los Angeles similar to local case

September 4, 2014 | 10:17 am


As was reported recently, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against a sheriff’s deputy who was apparently distracted by his mobile digital computer when he fatally struck a cyclist and prominent entertainment attorney in Calabasas in December.

He was riding his bicycle in the bicycle lane when the deputy’s patrol car hit him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The deputy was reportedly returning from a fire call at the time of the collision.

Even though the deputy was inattentive by typing into his mobile computer in his patrol car, the district attorney’s office reported, the deputy “was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response” and “he acted lawfully.” In short, the law does not prohibit officers from using an electronic wireless communications device while on duty.

The cyclist’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, the sheriff’s department and the deputy, alleging driver negligence and seeking to obtain more information about the incident.

The situation is similar to another case handled by the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, in which two people were struck and killed by Kern County Sheriff’s deputy patrol car as they were legally crossing a street. The deputy was driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone before hitting them, as was responding to a call of a stolen vehicle; however, his emergency lights and siren were not turned on.

In March, the wrongful death case settled for $8.8 million, believed to be record-breaking for an automobile accident case against the County of Kern. Read more about the case here. In the criminal case, the deputy took a plea deal, and was sentenced today to 480 hours of community service. During his sentencing, the deputy apologized for the crash.

Simply, distracted driving is dangerous. The attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have provided tips in their website for drivers to avoid distracted driving.

  • Use your electronic device only when parked, or have a passenger use it.
  • Never use an electronic device or take notes while driving.
  • If your phone rings while driving, let the cellular voice mail service take the call and listen to the message later when you are parked.

These tips are meant to protect you, your family, and everyone else on the road. Other tips include:

  • Pay attention to the road: Do not take notes or look up phone numbers while driving. If you are reading an address book or business card while driving a car, or writing a “to-do” list, then you are not watching where you are going. It’s common sense. Don’t get caught in a dangerous situation because you are reading or writing and not paying attention to the road or nearby vehicles.
  • Do not engage in distracting conversations: Stressful or emotional conversations and driving do not mix. They are distracting and even dangerous when you are behind the wheel. Make people you are talking with aware you are driving. If necessary, suspend phone conversations which have the potential to divert your attention from the road.

For more tips, go to Chainlaw.com. And for more on distracted driving, laws and statistics, click here.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with Groove 99.3

August 22, 2014 | 9:23 am


The Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to announce its partnership with The New Groove 99.3, “Bakersfield’s Old School” station.

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UPDATE: To hear audio clips of Chain | Cohn | Stiles on The Groove, go below and click on the links. 

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The Buckley Radio Group station — which is family owned and operated — is now airing various CCS commercials throughout the day (to listen to these, click the links below under “Radio Commercials”). Twice a month also you will find our attorneys chatting live in air with Groove DJ Sheri Ortiz about various personal injury and workers compensation* cases handled by the law firm, discussing Kern County injury cases getting attention in the media, and answering questions from listeners. You can also find our logo and link on the Groove’s website.

Catch us this month with Sheri Ortiz on Thursday, Aug. 28, and on Friday, Aug. 29. Check back to this post for a schedule of future radio appearances.

Additionally, the partnership between Chain | Cohn | Stiles and The Groove includes participation in three nonprofit events.

  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’ll be reminding women and men on air to see a doctor for a mammogram on each Buckley station, which includes KLLY, KKBB and KNZR.
  • In November and December, we’ll also be involved with Bakersfield Toys for Tots Toy Drive, which raises funds to provide toys to supplement the collections of local coordinators and defray the costs of conducting annual Toys for Tots campaigns.
  • We’ll also be a part of the “Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign” from Dec. 24 to 31. This falls in line with Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ commitment to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. This year, the law firm is helping organize and host Bakersfield’s first-ever “Walk/Run Like MADD” with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County. Learn more about the Sept. 20 event HERE.

Here are the radio commercials you can find airing now on Groove 99.3. To listen to some of our other radio commercials, which will air during each Bakersfield College Renegades football game, go HERE.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles files lawsuit on behalf of family of jogger killed by driver who allegedly fell asleep

August 19, 2014 | 9:45 am


The Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has announced it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of Jesse Rios. You can see the news release and media coverage below.

Rios was struck and killed by a truck driver while on a morning jog. The driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel and jumped the curb where Rios was jogging. The crash investigation is ongoing.

To view media coverage of this case, click on the articles and news stories below the news release.

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Aug. 19, 2014 – NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Bakersfield, Calif. (Aug. 19, 2014) – By all accounts, 26-year-old Jesse Rios was a loving brother, father and son who worked two full-time jobs to take care of his family.

The East High School graduate especially loved his 4-year-old daughter Isabella, and wanted to make sure she could get all medical treatment available for her epilepsy. Jesus and his wife Clarissa would make frequent trips to Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera.

On Tuesday, July 29, while taking a morning jog, Jesse Rios was struck and killed by a truck that ran onto the sidewalk at Westholme Boulevard and Wilson Road near the Rios’ home. The driver, Eliseo Soto, 29, was behind the wheel when he allegedly fell asleep. According to media reports, he had finished a 12-hour shift at West Coast Casing Company.

“I’m heartbroken,” Clarissa Rios said. “Jesse was not just my husband. He was my best friend, my partner, my everything. There is not a minute that goes by every day where I don’t think about him. When my daughter says she misses her daddy and asks when he’ll be home, it takes everything from within me to hold back my tears. I know that going forward we have to stand together and be strong for Jesse, and my hope is that by filing this lawsuit, we will obtain justice for him.”

The Bakersfield personal injury law firm, Chain | Cohn | Stiles, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against West Coast Casing Company on behalf of Jesse’s wife, his daughter and his mother for the loss of love, affection, society, service, comfort, support, right of support, expectations of future support and counseling, companionship, solace and mental support, as well as other benefits and assistance of Jesse Rios.

Matthew C. Clark, lead attorney for the family, added: “The death of Jesse Rios is a tragedy in every sense of the word. He was a devoted husband to his wife, a loving father to his daughter, and a loyal son to his mother. We know that filing this lawsuit will not bring Jesse back, but our hope is that it will hold wrongdoers accountable, bring a sense of closure to his family, and help compensate them for the unthinkable loss they have all suffered.”

The Rios family has requested privacy during this time. Bakersfield Police Department is continuing its investigation of the crash.

430 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 100 – Bakersfield, CA – 93301 – Phone: 661-323-4000

CHAIN | COHN | STILES is Kern County’s leading plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm, voted Bakersfield’s “Best Law Firm” in The Bakersfield Californian’s Readers Choice Poll the last two years in a row. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys have represented clients from throughout the San Joaquin Valley and California for 80 years. We concentrate our efforts on protecting the rights of individuals who have been seriously injured due to the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another. If you have been injured due to the fault of another, you have the right to hold that person or entity accountable, no matter how rich or powerful that person or entity may be. At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we pride ourselves on having the reputation and resources necessary to overcome the most difficult challenges while achieving the best possible results for our clients. For more information, go to chainlaw.com.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter (@chainlaw), Instagram, LinkedIn, Yelp, Pintrest and Google+

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Jogger hit, killed near Castle Elementary School (KERO-23 ABC)

Pedestrian hit by truck on Wilson Road (Eyewitness News, KBAK-KBFX 29-58)

Police: Driver likely fell asleep before hitting, killing jogger (Eyewitness News, KBAK-KBFX 29-58)

Family mourns man killed while on morning run (Eyewitness News, KBAK-KBFX 29-58)

Local runners put on event for Jesus Rios’ family (Eyewitness News, KBAK-KBFX 29-58)

Police: Driver who hit runner, fell asleep at the wheel (KGET-17, NBC)

Family remembers pedestrian killed (KGET-17, NBC)

Local runners honor man hit, killed in southwest Bakersfield (KGET-17, NBC)

Pedestrian hit by truck on Wilson Road (The Bakersfield Californian)

Truck runs onto sidewalk, kills pedestrian (The Bakersfield Californian)

‘First Look’: First News for July 30 (The Bakersfield Californian)

Family of jogger hit and killed sues driver’s company (The Bakersfield Californian) (Newspaper link HERE)

Family of jogger killed in crash files lawsuit (Eyewitness News, KBAK-KBFX 29-58)

Student safety tips for a successful new school year

August 14, 2014 | 10:02 am


For the majority of students in Bakersfield and Kern County, Aug. 18 is back-to-school time. It’s important for students to have a safe environment at school, and also to and from school. Read below for various safety tips and advice — courtesy of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office — on how to protect your children, and how to teach them to protect themselves.

And for many student athletes, it’s time for football season. Through the summer, high school student athletes have been training in preparation for the upcoming season. Recently, more than 120 Kern County high school coaches, trainers and athletic directors attended the ninth annual “Head Injuries in Student Athletes Symposium” organized by Hall Ambulance Service with the Kern High School District. It was aimed to provide coaches and their staff management skills for when an athlete suffers a concussion, including proper procedures for a player to return to play.

Student-athlete safety

With concussion awareness being at the forefront of football these days, it’s important for athletes and coaches to stay knowledgeable on the subject. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that jolts the brain inside the skull, and is usually caused by a bump or blow. Student athletes are more prone to suffering a concussion, especially playing body contact sports such as football, Dr. Ron Ostrom, Hall Ambulance medical director, said recently on “First Look with Scott Cox.”

The Kern High School District reported  80 cases of head injuries among students in 2011, according to KERO Channel 23. In 2013, the number of reported head injury cases was 531.

Bakersfield attorney Marshall Frasher, with the personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, presented during the symposium. Lawyers from the law firm for more than 10 years have provided their time to educate local high school coaches on legal issues associated with school sports.

During a one-hour presentation, Frasher discussed legal issues associated with school sports, liability in sports, and examples of  real-life cases of negligence and inappropriate sexual relations, among other things.

The symposium as a whole also covered legislation aimed at creating statewide safety standards for the protection of athletes. Governor Brown this summer signed AB 2127, limiting the number of full-contact practices for middle and high school football teams to two per week during their regular season. The new law also prohibits full-contact practices during the off-season.

To learn what to do in case an athlete suffers a concussion, visit this Bakersfield Wellness Magazine page here. 

School safety

Kern County and Bakersfield students today are faced with far more than learning new material. Interacting with teachers and other students, bullying, peer pressure and school violence are just a few of the challenges children face.

You can help prepare your children for the situations they will face at school each day and help create a safer school environment. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has provided the following safety tips:

Getting to School:

  • Give yourself plenty of time as you and your children adjust to the new school schedule.
  • Map out a safe way for your children to walk to school or to the bus stop.
  • Work with other parents in the neighborhood to ensure that children in the neighborhood are supervised closely to and from school.
  • Work with your neighbors and your child on identifying “safe houses,” or homes of neighbors who your child is familiar with if your child is scared or needs help on the way to/ from school.
  • Point out places they should avoid, such as vacant lots, alleyways and construction areas.
  • Encourage your children to use the “buddy system.”
  • Teach your children to never speak to strangers, or go anywhere with a stranger, and let them know it’s OK to report if a stranger tries to approach them.
  • Teach your children to always be aware of their surroundings. Be aware of slow moving vehicles or parked vehicles that appear to be occupied. Choose a different route or walk on the opposite side of the street.
  • Children need to pay attention to traffic signals and use crosswalks with a crossing guard if available.

Bus Safety:

  • Make sure your children arrive at least five minutes early for the bus.
  • Make sure your children know to stand on the sidewalk while waiting for the bus.
  • Teach your children to make sure the bus driver can see them before walking in front of the bus, and to never walk behind a bus.
  • Be aware that bullying often happens on the bus. Ask your children about their bus rides, who they sit with, and what goes on in the bus. Encourage them to report any bullying behavior.

After School:

  • Have your children check in with an adult as soon as they get home.
  • Show them how to properly lock all doors and windows.
  • Make sure they know to never open a door to a stranger.
  • Establish a set of rules; who can come over, when homework must be done, and any chores they must do before you get home.
  • Find a trusted neighbor who will allow your children to come over in case of an emergency.
  • Establish strict rules regarding Internet usage.

At School:

  • Teach your children to resolve problems without fighting.
  • Encourage your children to report bullying behavior, either as a victim or a witness.
  • Ask school officials if Internet use is monitored closely.
  • Ask school officials about the safety and emergency plans for the school, all schools are required to have one.

Bullying:

  • Listen to children and encourage them to talk about their day.
  • Take all complaints about bullying seriously; if you don’t your child may not tell you next time.
  • Watch for symptoms such as withdrawal, a drop in grades, or new friends.
  • Notify the school immediately if you think your child is being bullied, and make sure the school investigates and takes action.
  • Praise your children when they are kind to others.
  • Teach children self-protection skills, how to walk and talk confidently, staying alert to their surroundings, and to stand up for themselves verbally.

For even more back-to-school safety tips, visit the Chain | Cohn | Stiles website here.

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UPDATE: Bakersfield Police Department and the Californian Office of Traffic Safety also provided some tips and advice to stay safe on the first day of school, especially since August is “Back to School Safety Month.” The month is designated for promoting traffic safety among parents and children of all ages who walk, ride their bicycle, take the bus or are driven to and from school.

The following safe walking, bicycling and driving practices can be effective if parents teach their kids early and often, and set good examples themselves:

Reminders for parents or guardians

• Plan ahead. Plot your route and give yourself a few extra minutes to accommodate possible commute delays during mornings and afternoons. Apply any makeup and eat breakfast before you leave your house in the morning to avoid distractions while on the road.

• Exercise caution around schools and neighborhoods. Given the increase in pedestrian and bike traffic, drivers should always follow the posted speed limit inside school zones, which is often 25 mph maximum but may be as low as 15 mph. Keep an eye out for any children in the area.

• Drop-off zones. Be extra aware around school drop off zones, and make sure your kids are, too. Too many parents are in a hurry to leave and don’t watch for other children.

• Cell phone use. If you must use your phone, pull over into a parking spot when it is safe to do so.

Reminders for students

• Biking or walking to school. If you have a child that will be biking or walking to school, make sure they know the safest route, are familiar with traffic signals and signs, and remind them to stop and look both ways to make sure no cars are coming before using crosswalks. Children must also always wear a properly fitted helmet if he or she is riding a bike or skateboard; it’s the law.

• Riding a school bus. If your child rides a school bus, make sure that he or she knows to remain seated at all times, to keep the aisles clear, not to throw objects, not to shout or distract the driver, and to keep his or her hands and arms inside of the bus. When a school bus stops to load or unload passengers and its red lights are flashing, all vehicles must stop – in both directions. If the bus stop is on a divided highway, then only those vehicles approaching from the rear must stop.

Additional child safety tips and information can be found at www.ots.ca.gov, at facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS and at twitter.com/OTS_CA.

 

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with Bakersfield College ‘Renegades’ this season

August 11, 2014 | 10:10 am


Bakersfield College recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. The Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles this year is celebrating 80 years.

For the two local institutions, a partnership is only natural. The two Bakersfield staples are partnering this year to help bring all Bakersfield College “Renegades” football games to the people of Kern County.

The BC and Chain | Cohn | Stiles partnership is made possible because of another partnership between Bakersfield staples — BC and The Bakersfield Californian. The local newspaper, its affiliated publication and digital products (together called TBC Media) are partnering to bring Renegades football games in video to Bakersfield.com for the 2014 season.

For the first time, all 10 of Bakersfield College’s 2014 football games will be live streamed in video on Bakersfield.com and GoGades.com, where video highlights from the games will also be available for instant viewing.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles for the 2014-15 season has signed on to sponsor the Renegade football team. You’ll see local law firm in the football game programs distributed at each game (the picture above is from the full-page ad that will be highlighted in the football program — see it full screen here). You’ll see the newest commercials from the law firm airing during the live streamed football games. And you’ll also hear the law firm’s radio commercials when the games are broadcast on Newstalk KERN 1180 AM.

You can watch all of the law firm’s latest commercials by visiting a previous Blogging For Justice post HERE.

To listen to our two radio commercials that will air on KERN 1180, click the links below:

For Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the partnership is also natural because the law firm’s founder Morris Chain is credited for inventing the name “Renegades” for Bakersfield College. Chain played BC football for three years himself. Recently, the law firm accepted the “100 Stars Award” on Chain’s behalf (he died in 1977), awarded to 100 alumni, retirees and community members who had a great impact on Bakersfield College. See a previous blog post about this HERE.

The Renegades start their 2014 season at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 on road at Riverside City College. Bakersfield College returns to Memorial Stadium the following week, Sept. 13, for a 6 p.m. game against Golden West. Each game webcast will feature pre-game and post-game show.

To watch the games online, go to Bakersfield.com. TBC Media will build a section where all of the highlights, full games and other content will be stored for on-demand viewing.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles represents victims in explosive accident garnering media attention

August 6, 2014 | 12:00 pm


UPDATE: Arrests have been made in this case. See the news stories below for more information. 

Russell Lester and Bryan Walls were attending a party on Fourth of July in west Bakersfield, celebrating our nation’s independence and wedding reception. By the end of the night, they were in local hospitals.

The two arrived at the party where party-goers were allegedly setting off illegal fireworks and explosives. Lester and Walls were asked to hold the balloons while they were filled with acetylene gas, which is very unstable, highly flammable gas. The balloons were being taped to a pole when they exploded. It’s possible static electricity ignited them.

Four people were severely injured in the blast, including Lester and Walls. The two suffered burns to their face, chest and arms. Lester lost all the hearing in his right ear and partial hearing in his left ear, and lost peripheral vision in his left eye. Walls suffered hearing loss, too, and Lester’s burns were so severe that he was taken to a Fresno burn center. Others were taken to San Joaquin Community Hospital‘s Grossman Burn Center.

Bakersfield personal injury attorney David Cohn, with the law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, is representing Lester and Walls, who continue to receive medical treatment.

The incident has been covered by local media in recent days. The case was publicly revealed by KERO Channel-23 News on Aug. 4, a month after the actual accident.

Jim Trino, who allegedly was igniting the bombs, told KERO he was celebrating his wedding reception that night. He told KERO that he had been setting off legal and illegal fireworks for more than 30 years, including the acetylene bomb which he pumped the gas into balloons, hung on a metal pole in the middle of a field, and ignited.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the Kern County Fire Arson unit are now investigating.

The Bakersfield Californian also covered the case, including an article by Californian columnist Lois Henry, who argues that local safety agencies failed to inform the public properly about the incident. She calls it “a communications and training failure, something that can only be fixed from the top down.”

To catch up on the news coverage, click the links below:

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The personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are major proponents of fireworks safety and providing burn victims with world-class care. Go HERE for tips on celebrating the Fourth of July safely. And read about our $200,000 donation to the Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital HERE.

If you’ve been burned in an accident, contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles immediately.

NBC article highlights increasing number of truck accidents, fatalities in US

July 31, 2014 | 10:46 am


Fatal truck accidents in the United States happen nearly 11 times every single day in this country on average, killing nearly 4,000 people each year, according to a recently released NBC News feature titled “Truck Accidents Surge, But There’s No National Outcry.”

On top of that, more than 100,000 people are injured every year in truck crashes. NBC News states that the numbers are as bad as if a commuter jet crashing every week of the year, killing everyone on board.

The numbers are getting worse through the years, according to NBC News. Truck-crash fatalities have increased since 2009. The reason: an improving economy leads to more goods being shipped on American highways and more pressure being placed on trucking companies, and drivers, to get the loads delivered on time.

NBC News interviewed with regulators, industry, lawyers and victims of truck crashes that revealed a toxic mix of causes for the deaths. The reasons include overly tired drivers, companies that don’t screen for problem drivers, and a U.S. government that is slow to force new safety technologies on to American roads. Some blame also goes to drivers who weave dangerously in and out of the way of heavier, slower-reacting trucks.

NBC argues that normally, thousands of deaths a year would generate a national outcry. But because trucking deaths are scattered in small numbers across the country, they don’t get covered in the national news; at least not someone famous becomes a victim, as what happened this summer in New Jersey when actor Tracy Morgan was involved in a fatal truck crash.

In California, a truck crash involving a FedEx truck that killed 10 people, including students, made national news.

NBC discusses the issue of government and industries being wary of putting too many restrictions in place that could harm the country’s ability to do business. The expose also highlights these interesting statistics:

  • 3,921 fatalities from truck crashes in 2012, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • 104,000 injuries from truck crashes in 2012, according to NHTSA
  • That’s more than 10 crashes and more than 284 injuries per day.
  • Fatal crashes were up more than 18 percent between 2009 and 2012
  • In the same period, passenger car fatal accidents are down 1.74 percent.
  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4.89 percent of truck drivers were taken out of service once inspected in 2012 for having too many violations. That’s 171,150 drivers.
  • On the same front, 20.13 percent of vehicles were taken out of service; that’s 2,145,733 trucks.
  • To keep up with expected growth in the trucking industry, the United States will add nearly 100,000 drivers each year over the coming decade.

For more on the NBC feature, go HERE.

As you can see, truck accidents often involve complex legal issues that require the assistance of an experienced accident lawyer. The Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have handled hundreds of truck, semi and big-rig accident cases in the firm’s 80-year history. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles immediately.

Here are some other questions and answer to consider if you’ve been involved in a truck accident:

Is my case any different if I am injured, or a family member is killed, by a truck as opposed to any other vehicle driver?

Yes. Although the same laws of negligence will apply, there are special vehicle code sections which apply only to commercial truck drivers and trucking companies and there are special licensing and training requirements of truck drivers which generally make truck accidents harder to defend and easier to win for plaintiffs.

Who can be sued in a truck accident case?

Any person or entity who was at fault for causing the accident can be sued. This includes the truck driver and the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the shipper, as well as any other driver, person or entity who in anyway contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, the manufacturer of a tire that contributed to the accident or the owner of any public or private property whose negligence contributed to the accident.

Can I still sue even if I was partially at fault for causing my own injuries in the accident?

California is a comparative fault state. A person can sue for serious Big Rig Accidents even if he or she are partially at fault, as long as he or she can prove that one or more parties are also at fault. However, the amount of a plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the amount of his or her fault. Therefore, if someone is awarded $5 million dollars in a serious big rig accidents case, but are found to be fifty percent at fault, the recovery will be reduced to $2.5 million dollars.

What damages can I, or the survivors of a loved one, recover in a truck accident injury or death case?

Under California law, a seriously injured plaintiff is entitled to recover all of his or her past and future medical expenses; past and future loss of income/earning capacity; past and future pain, suffering and emotional distress and in cases in which the defendant’s conduct is particularly bad, punitive damages which are awarded to punish the defendant. If a person dies in a truck accident, the survivors can recover monetary damages for their economic losses and emotional distress damages for loss of society, love and comfort.

For more vital questions and answers for a truck, semi- or big-rig accident case, visit our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles celebrates Delano’s 40th ‘Philippine Weekend’

July 24, 2014 | 8:48 am


Each year, thousands congregate in Delano for a month’s worth of events designed to unite, celebrate and commemorate the Kern County city’s large Filipino population.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to help the city celebrate its 40th Philippine Weekend, continuing this weekend.

Events and celebrations during the commemoration include a basketball tournament, a pub crawl, a parade, the Mr. and Mrs. Philippine Weekend Pageant, a dance contest, a variety of cultural and live musical performances, and the popular pork adobo cook-off.

“Philippine weekend began in 1975 as a way to unite American-born, Filipino-born and Mestizos — half Mexican, half Filipinos — and bring them all together, while showing the cultural history and the heritage of the Philippines,” co-organizer Jay Tamsi told The Bakersfield Californian.

On Thursday, attorneys for the Bakersfield personal injury and workers’ compensation* law firm will attend the 40th Philippine Weekend Street Fair, organized by Delano Chamber of Commerce. They include workers’ compensation* lawyer and Chain | Cohn | Stiles partner James Yoro, who is Filipino, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles associate Neil Gehlawat, the son of a longtime and well-known Delano pediatrician, Dr. Dilbagh Gehlawat of Delano Pediatrics Group.

Earlier this year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took park in the Delano Chamber of Commerce‘s “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and Street Faire.” The street fairs give Chain | Cohn | Stiles a chance to answer local resident’s legal questions, share tips and information, and give out Chain | Cohn | Stiles goodies to the families in Delano.

This Thursday’s fair will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Main Street, between Cecil and 13th avenues. The fairs feature vendor and informational booths from Kern County service providers.

Attorney James Yoro will also be taking part in the adobo contest, judging who in Delano makes the best “unofficial national dish of the Philippines,” according to Tamsi.

“Not only do local families and restaurants compete, we now have people coming from throughout the state to participate in our cook-off, which is something that is very unique to our festival,” Tamsi told The Californian.

Besides the street fairs and during Philippine Weekend, you can also find Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ presence at several Delano restaurants and business — including Sylvia’s Clerical Solutions and Lupe’s Restaurant – where you’ll find our business cards.

UPDATE: Chain | Cohn | Stiles had a great time taking part in the Philippine Weekend festivities. Go HERE to see pictures from events.

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* NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with correctional officers to provide legal services

July 21, 2014 | 9:39 am


Nearly 50 years ago, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles pioneered Group Law Services, which provides legal assistance to the working people in Kern County.

Members of Group Law Services groups and businesses can take full advantage of membership benefits including free consultations, reduced legal fees and notary assistance.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to partner once again this year with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which represents more than 30,000 correctional peace officers working inside California’s prisons and youth facilities, and the state’s parole agents who supervise inmates after their release.

According to the CCPOA, the group’s mission is to promote and enhance the correctional profession, protect the safety of those engaged in corrections and advocate for the laws, funding and policies needed to improve prison operations and protect public safety.

“Over the years, CCPOA has won a number of key reforms, including psychological screening for new officers, additional training and improved safety equipment and practices,” the CCPOA states on its website. “CCPOA has a long, proud history of safeguarding the rights and welfare of the men and women it represents – dedicated professionals who do a tough, dangerous and essential job.”

The lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for decades have represented correctional officers in Kern County and across the state in various workers’ compensation* and personal injury cases. Through Group Law Services, correctional peace officers can receive these services and other benefits anytime they’re in need.

In fact, correctional officers throughout the state can see an ad for Chain | Cohn | Stiles in the PeaceKeeper, the official quarterly publication by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. You can find the ad by clicking here.

The publication is printed to foster professionalism and communication among correctional personnel. Correctional officers who dial the number in the ad, or visit our website, get all of the legal benefits through the Group Law Services program.

If you are currently not a member of Group Law Services but are interested in becoming a member, please direct membership requests to Chain | Cohn | Stiles Marketing Director Jorge Barrientos at 661-323-4000.

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*Notice: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Remember Kaitlyn’s Law when out in the Bakersfield heat

July 17, 2014 | 9:54 am


The San Joaquin Valley heat continues to beat down on the streets of Bakersfield and Kern County. It’s important to be as safe as possible when outside, and remember Kaitlyn’s Law if you’re driving with young ones in your vehicle.

Kaitlyn’s Law was adopted in 2002 following the death of 6-month-old Kaitlyn Russell. She was left unattended in 100 degree heat by her babysitter for several hours and was later found dead. Kaitlyn’s Law makes it illegal for children ages 6 years or younger to be left unattended in a vehicle without supervision of a person who is 12 years or older when:

  • There are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety;
  • And when the vehicle’s engine is running and/or the vehicle’s key is in the ignition.

As temperatures in Bakersfield continue to remain in triple digits and high double digits, the risk of vehicular hyperthermia, or heat stroke remains – especially when young children are left unattended in vehicles. Regardless of how or why a child is left behind, the end result can be devastating, the Bakersfield Police Department states in a recently released advisory.

Studies have shown that within 20 minutes, air temperature in a small car exposed to the sun on a 95-degree day exceeded 122 degrees inside of the vehicle. Within 40 minutes the temperature soared to 150° degrees. Leaving a window slightly opened or cracked did little to prevent the temperature from rising to a level dangerous for children, vulnerable adults and pets, according to Bakersfield Police Department. No matter what the weather is like, or length of time you need to be away from your vehicle, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle is extremely risky, and can result in tragedy.

Recently, a father in North Carolina made national headlines and his video went viral when he tested the car heat. After seeing a story about yet another toddler death after the baby was left alone in a hot car, the father got into his car on a 90-degree day, rolled up the windows and switched off the air-conditioner. You can watch the video here.

Leaving children in cars also poses many dangers besides hyperthermia. Dangers to children left unattended in cars include carbon monoxide poisoning, runaway vehicles, carjacking, child abduction, trunk entrapment and emotional trauma, according to safety officials.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SAFE KIDS, Bakersfield Police Department and the Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles recommend following these safety rules to avoid heat-related injuries or other vehicle dangers:

  • Never leave a child alone in or around a vehicle.
  • Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination, particularly when loading and unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
  • Place a reminder of your child’s presence where you’ll be sure to see it before leaving the vehicle (diaper bag next to your briefcase and baby blanket under your lunch, for example)
  • Never leave a child in a vehicle with the motor running or the key in the ignition.
  • Keep car keys away from children at all times.
  • Always lock your car, even at home, and remind your friends and neighbors to do the same.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
  • Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent children from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
  • Dial 9-1-1 immediately if you see young children left unattended in vehicles.
  • Heat in vehicles is also a risk to seniors and pets.

For more summer safety tips, view these previous safety posts on chainlawblog.com, or visit our safety advisories at ChainLaw.com.

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UPDATE

Following this post last week, Amber Rollins, the director of “Kids and Cars” — a nonprofit public safety awareness website for child safety around automobiles — wrote Chain | Cohn | Stiles to make readers aware of a campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in vehicles.

KidsAndCars.org has launched a “We the People” petition drive on the White House petition website to urge the White House to authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation to:

  • Provide funding for research and development of innovative technology to detect a child in the rear seat when a driver leaves the vehicle and a child is left alone.
  • Identify, evaluate and test new technology to accelerate implementation of the most feasible and effective solutions.
  • Require installation of technology in all vehicles and child safety seats to prevent children from being left alone in vehicles.

The goal of the campaign is to get 100,000 signatures on the petition by Aug. 12. Go to http://wh.gov/lL8nX to sign the petition.