Luchando por Justicia: Chain | Cohn | Stiles serves local Latino, Hispanic residents

November 16, 2016 | 6:00 am


Since its early days, the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has served injured people from all walks of life, no matter of age, gender, race or sexual preference.

In fact, the law firm has been at the forefront of progressiveness in Kern County, credited for employing one of the first female attorneys in the area and one of the first black attorneys, among other milestones.

The same goes for serving and employing Kern County’s Latino and Hispanic residents, which now represents around 50 percent of all residents in the area.

Simply said: The law firm, its employees and its community are one in the same.

The injury, accident and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has made available a Spanish language website in order to better serve the local Latino and Hispanic population. You can view that website by clicking here, or visiting abogadosenbakersfield.com.

And recently, Chain | Cohn | Stiles partnered with La Caliente 96.9 to assist Spanish radio station listeners who need help with their potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation* cases. In fact, workers’ compensation associate attorney Beatriz Trejo and personal injury lawyer Heather Rodriguez, who are bilingual in English and Spanish, have become a regular on El Show De Cascabel, a Spanish language show. The radio program is hosted by Juan Leal, who goes by the nickname “El Cascabel,” and Marina Moreno, whose alias is “La China.” The widely popular Kern County show airs on FM station 96.9 from 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The law firm and its employees are also deeply involved in community efforts that serve the local Hispanic population, including Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Latina Leaders of Kern County, among others.

The message relayed to listeners is that Chain | Cohn | Stiles is “Standing for Justice” for all residents of Kern County — or, in Spanish, “Luchando por Justicia.”

You can listen to various Spanish radio interviews featuring Trejo and Rodriguez below:

El Cascabel also frequently gives endorsements of Chain | Cohn | Stiles to his show’s listeners. You can listen to one of them by clicking here.

Trejo and Rodriguez could be heard at various times during the week with El Cascabel answering pressing legal questions from listeners throughout Bakersfield and Kern County. To learn more about Beatriz Trejo, click here, and to learn more about Heather Rodriguez, click here.

And if you or a someone you know needs assistance with a potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation case, call the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for a free consultation at (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Hacer un reclamo falso o fraudulento de compensación para trabajadores es un crimen grave sujeto a un máximo de 5 años de prisión o una multa de hasta $150,000 o el doble del valor del fraude, el que sea mayor, o tanto por el encarcelamiento y multa.

Community Voices: Bad workers’ compensation laws in California are costing taxpayers

October 26, 2016 | 9:02 am


Editor’s Note: The following article appeared as a Community Voices article in the Oct. 14, 2016, Opinion section of The Bakersfield  Californian. To read the article in print format, click here. To see the article online, click here

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Taxpayers: Bad workers’ comp laws in California are costing you

By James A. Yoro

As a business owner, I have a personal investment in the health and welfare of my employees. Not only do I want a safe working environment but if, God forbid, they get injured, I want them to be taken care of so that they can return to work as soon as they recover.  That is what I expect for the insurance premium dollars I have spent.

A workers’ compensation system that provides adequate support to injured workers is a key component to the social safety net that we as a society have all agreed is necessary. It provides a fair and balanced approach to the costs of doing business and the unfortunate inevitability of on-the-job injuries.

Continuing erosion of these safety net benefits result in harmful and widespread economic consequences to the injured worker. What often goes unnoticed and unmentioned is the fact that we all will ultimately bear the brunt of this denial of benefits as a result of the cost shifting that occurs.

In fact, it’s costing you, my fellow taxpayers, right now.

California’s private workers’ compensation insurance carriers so effectively lobbied California’s legislators that they have eroded the system to the extent that the costs for the long-term care and disability for injured workers in the state often falls on taxpayers through the Medicare, Medi-Cal and Social Security system. This is an undue burden to the taxpayers and a shirking of the insurance company’s responsibilities. California’s workers’ compensation insurers continue to collect premiums from California’s employers all to increase their profits while California’s injured workers ultimately have to rely on taxpayer-funded systems.

A recent U.S. Department of Labor report (“Does the workers’ compensation system fulfill its obligations to injured workers?” – Oct. 5, 2016) outlines the troubling condition faced by injured workers because state-sponsored workers’ compensation programs throughout the nation are failing to provide even rudimentary benefits.

“Other social benefit systems … have expanded our social safety net, while the workers’ compensation safety net has been shrinking. There is growing evidence that costs of workplace-related disability are being transferred to other benefit programs, placing additional strains on these programs at a time when they are already under considerable stress.”

For example, here in California, benefits paid to injured workers to replace lost wages during the time off needed to recover from an injury have been capped at 104 weeks. The consequence of this is that those most seriously injured who do not recover in that amount of time face severe financial pressures. With no other similar benefit available, the burden to survive falls on the disabled worker, and ultimately the taxpayers.

The labor department report calls for an increase in the federal role of oversight including the appointment of a new national commission and establishment of minimum standards.

Business owners and employers should all be contacting their legislative representatives and demanding an end to this continuing degradation of rights and benefits to our hard-working labor force.

I am not a proponent of federal intervention into our states workers’ compensation system; however, this report should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. If we do not take care of our injured workers, then the threat of big government casting its shadow across our Golden State looms large in our foreseeable future.

James A. Yoro is a certified workers’ compensation attorney, a senior partner at the Bakersfield-based injury and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, and has nearly 40 years of experience in the practice.

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If you or someone you know is hurt on the job, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys by calling (661) 323-4000 or chainlaw.com.

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Safety Tips: ‘Cumulative trauma’ injuries from work, and how to avoid them

August 31, 2016 | 6:00 am


NOTE: The article below, written by Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation attorneys James Yoro and Beatriz Trejo, appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of the Kern Business Journal. The Journal is a bi-monthly publication by The Bakersfield Californian that showcases business and industry developments across Kern County.

This article focuses on important tips to prevent cumulative trauma injuries in the workplace. This occurs when there is repetitive strain in the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. To view the article in the publication, click here. To see the entire publication online, click here

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In today’s technology-driven work life, it is easy to imagine an 8-hour day sitting behind a computer screen. Alternatively, we are exposed to long hours of standing or repetitive movements, which may lead to what is called a cumulative trauma injury, which occurs over time, as opposed to one caused by a particular event leading to a specific injury.

California law recognizes both of these injuries equally. The following are some tips for avoiding repetitive trauma injuries in the workplace:

Take breaks and use them wisely

No matter what activity you perform most in your daily work life – sitting, typing, lifting or bending, for example – your body is not likely meant to tolerate it for long periods of time. Make sure to take breaks from these activities by avoiding them. Avoid leaving your desk to simply sit in the break room. Avoid straining your eyes at your computer to check text messages on your phone. Instead do what would seem like the opposite – like walking or stretching.

Make sure to tell your doctor

The most common question in a cumulative trauma injury is, “When did the symptoms start?” It is quite rare for a person to actually remember the first time they experienced any type of symptoms. For the most part, a person will ignore symptoms and simply attribute them to being tired or sore in hopes that they will go away. However, this is rarely the case. A cumulative trauma injury is one with a prolonged period of injurious exposure. This means that whatever activity you are performing at work is causing your pain and discomfort and will continue to accumulate unless you change something.

Stay hydrated

With temperatures above 100 degrees, it’s easy to fall behind on liquid intake. Dehydration and heat exhaustion poses a threat particularly for people engaged in outdoor activities. The long Kern County summers makes this threat an ongoing issue that must be addressed daily.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

Stress can impair your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness and injury. Often we are confined to the daily routine without proper rest which leads to stress if an appropriate break or vacation is not enjoyed. Vacations are an important part of maintaining a healthy and long work life. Remember, rest and rejuvenation is vital components to avoiding injury from repetitive work activities.

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RELATED MEDIA

— Compiled by Evelyn Andrade for Chain | Cohn | Stiles

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Kern County’s Latin culture on display at Chain | Cohn | Stiles-sponsored Latination art exhibit

August 24, 2016 | 6:00 am


Kern County is largely populated by people of Hispanic or Latin backgrounds. In fact, just last year the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that more than half — 52.2 percent — of Kern County’s population was Hispanic. It’s no wonder our community is host to a wide array of Latin focused cultural events and activities.

And that includes at Metro Galleries, an art gallery in downtown Bakersfield that each year hosts a celebration of Latin culture through an art exhibit and competition. It’s called “Latination,” and this year will be the eighth consecutive year that the art gallery hosts annual event — from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2. It’s free to attend.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Latination 8.

 

Celebration of Culture

Don Martin, owner of Metro Galleries, started Latination eight years ago as way to honor the Latino culture and community contributions, he said. Growing up in Lamont, southwest of Bakersfield, and graduating from Arvin High School, Martin said he was able to appreciate the agriculture-based community.

“I saw and experienced Latinos at work, at play and the wonderful aspects the culture has towards family,” Martin said.

And Latination has become Metro Galleries’ largest openings. Each year, more than 4,000 people of all backgrounds attend the art exhibit.

“Each year it gets bigger and better.” Martin stated. “I think Latination has become a celebration of a culture that many here, whether Latino or otherwise, enjoy and honor.”

Local art experts and community leaders serve as judges of the art competition. The opening night also features live music and food. This year will feature local band Mento Buru, with food provided by El Pueblo Restaurant.

 

Latination Law Firm

At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we believe it is important to embrace the Latin community. Many of our clients come from Hispanic and Latin backgrounds, and the law firm’s staff and lawyers reflect that of the Kern County community. In fact, it’s one of the most diverse offices in the area.

Connecting with people of all backgrounds is important in representing injured clients, and Latination 8 provides an opportunity to celebrate Latin culture and connect with audiences.

As for the Latin community, workers’ compensation lawyer Beatriz Trejo is one example of Chain | Cohn | Stiles being dedicated to serving and helping our Spanish-speaking audience. Trejo is bilingual in Spanish and can be heard regularly on La Caliente 96.9, a local Spanish radio station, answering legal questions from the listening audience. She is also involved in Latina Leaders of Kern County, a nonprofit organization determined to keep Latina women involved in our community.

You can listen to her recent radio appearances by clicking here and here.

— By Evelyn Andrade for Chain | Cohn | Stiles

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MEDIA COVERAGE

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If you or someone you know if injured in an accident, call the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or visit the website, chainlaw.com. Spanish-speakers who need help can visit the website, abogadosenbakersfield.com.

*Notice: Making a false or fraudulent worker’s compensation claim is a felony subject to up to five (5) years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000.00 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Working outside? How to stay safe in the summer heat, and identify heat illness

July 27, 2016 | 6:00 am


It’s summer time in Kern County and the temperatures aren’t going down anytime soon.

Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles wants to remind everyone enjoying the outdoors to take proper precautions to beat the heat, especially those working in the outdoors. Each year, thousands of workers become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some even die. In 2014 alone, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job, according to U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

These illnesses and deaths are preventable. Please take note of these safety measures for staying safe in the summer heat:

 

Protect Yourself

Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. Here’s how to block those harmful rays while working:

  • Dress appropriately for the heat: Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover as much skin as possible in order to prevent sunburn.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses.
  • Limit exposure: UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

 

Hydrate 

It is important to drink plenty of water. The National Institute of Medicine recommends men drink approximately 3 liters of water, and women to drink 2 liters of water per day.

If working in the outdoor heat, drink a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty. During prolonged sweating lasting several hours, drink sports drinks containing balanced electrolytes. Avoid alcohol and drinks with high caffeine or sugar.

 

Rest

Rest in the shade to cool down, and keep an eye on fellow workers. Employers should ensure and encourage workers to take appropriate rest breaks to cool down and hydrate.

Shorten work periods and increase rest periods as temperature, humidity, and sunshine increase, when there is no air movement, if protective clothing or equipment is worn, or for heavier work.

 

Learn the Signs

It’s important to know and be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness. There are different types of heat-related illnesses, ranging from those that cause temporary discomfort to the generally fatal condition known as heat stroke.

  • Heat Stroke: A serious, life-threatening condition that occurs when the body loses its ability to control its temperature. In heat stroke, a person develops a fever that rapidly rises to dangerous levels within minutes. A person with heat stroke usually has a body temperature above 104 degrees, but the temperature may rise even higher. Other symptoms and signs of heat stroke may include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behavior, feeling faint, staggering, strong rapid pulse, dry flushed skin, and lack of sweating. Delirium or coma can also result from heat stroke.
  • Heat exhaustion: A warning that the body is getting too hot. Those most prone to heat exhaustion include elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment. A person with heat exhaustion may be thirsty, giddy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, and sweating profusely. As with heat syncope and heat cramps, the body temperature is usually normal in heat exhaustion. The heart rate (pulse rate) is normal or elevated. The skin is usually cold and clammy.
  • Heat cramps: A person who has been exercising or participating in other types of strenuous activity in the heat may develop painful muscle spasms in the arms, legs, or abdomen referred to as heat cramps. The body temperature is usually normal, and the skin will feel moist and cool, but sweaty.
  • Heat syncope: Someone who experiences heat syncope (fainting) will experience the sudden onset of dizziness or fainting after exposure to high temperatures, particularly after exercising in the heat. As with heat cramps, the skin is pale and sweaty but remains cool. The pulse may be weakened, and the heart rate is usually rapid. Body temperature is normal.
  • Dehydration: There are three stages of dehydration. Symptoms may include dry mouth, dry skin, and headache. Severe dehydration symptoms include extreme thirst, irritability and confusion.
  • Sunburn: Sunburns can cause the skin to become red and swollen. Sunburns can be a risk factor for skin cancer and sun damage. Heat rash, on the other hand, is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness, do the following:

  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Seek shelter from the sun.
  • Apply water on the person.
  • Apply ice on the person’s neck or areas where large blood vessels are near the surface.
  • Remove any heavy clothing.

 

Employer Responsibilities 

Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
  • Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
  • Monitor workers for signs of illness.

— By Evelyn Andrade for Chain | Cohn | Stiles

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If you or someone you know if injured at work, please call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com. Workers’ compensation lawyers James Yoro and Beatriz Trejo can help.

*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 country radio station KUZZ in awareness campaign

July 13, 2016 | 7:00 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to announce a partnership between the Bakersfield-based law firm and the widely-popular country music radio station, KUZZ Radio.

“Bakersfield’s best country music station,” as is the slogan for KUZZ, will begin airing 60-second audio spots featuring Chain | Cohn | Stiles personal injury attorney Matthew Clark, as well as workers’ compensation attorney James Yoro to assist radio station listeners who need help with their potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation* cases.

You can listen to all of these commercials spots below. You can also tune in live at 107.9 FM, 55 AM or visit kuzz.com.

The commercials will focus on spreading awareness of the following legal issues that listeners may have:

  • Auto and Pedestrian Accidents: It seems like every day in the news we hear about families being hurt in car and bike accidents, big rig crashes, and pedestrian accidents on the streets here in Kern County. But what would you do if it happened to you?
  • Choosing a Local Legal Expert: Law firms from out of town think they can come to Kern County and take your case. They pretend to be from here, but they’re not, and they don’t know Kern County. Chain | Cohn | Stiles has helping Kern County residents in Bakersfield for over 80 years, and has recovered more than half a billion dollars for injured clients.
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect: It’s tough enough putting your loved ones in the care of others. You trust they are in the best place, and cared for. But to learn they’re suffering, not being cared for, can be devastating. Chain | Cohn | Stiles can help you get justice.
  • Distracted Driving: Put down your phone, quit texting, and focus on the road. The last thing you want is to get into a car accident, right? But if you or your loved ones are injured in an accident, especially if it’s someone else’s fault, you need experts who can help get you all the medical care and compensation you and your family are entitled to.
  • Workers’ Compensation: A work injury can change everything. Whether it’s your fault or not, you and your family shouldn’t have to suffer.

Like Chain | Cohn | Stiles, KUZZ has deep roots in Bakersfield. It was founded in 1958 as KIKK and changed its name to KUZZ In 1960. Six years later, Buck Owens Production Company purchased the station, and still owns it today. By 1977, KUZZ was broadcasting country music 24 hours per day.

For more on the history of KUZZ, click here.

— By Evelyn Andrade for Chain | Cohn | Stiles

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If you or someone you know has been injured at the fault of someone else, please call Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000 or visit chainlaw.com.

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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 attorney Beatriz Trejo leads local group advocating for injured workers

May 11, 2016 | 8:15 am


The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association is “the most powerful, and most knowledgeable legal voice for the injured workers of California,” serving the state’s injured workers since 1966, according to the organization’s website.

And in Kern County, Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation* attorney Beatriz Trejo is leading the local Bakersfield chapter as California Applicants’ Attorneys Association president. She also serves on Women’s Caucus, Latino Caucus, and Emerging Leaders Committees, which makes a statewide impact through legal education and legislative advocacy.

“As the local president, I focus my efforts on educating and uniting the workers’ compensation community towards efficient and positive resolution of cases for the benefit of the injured employee,” said lawyer Beatriz Trejo.

Trejo has practiced in front of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board since 2012. As a former defense attorney, Trejo is familiar with the inner workings of insurance companies, insurance carriers, and self-insured employers — all which benefit her clients now in fighting their cases.

Even more, Trejo is fluent in Spanish and can community with ease with Kern County’s large Latino population. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Bakersfield and her master’s degree in political science from Cal State Northridge. She earned her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio.

The Bakersfield chapter of CAAA, led by Trejo, has held several seminars and workshops to benefit attorneys who represent injured workers including, “Dahl and Vocational Evaluations: How to get the most out of your vocational evaluations” at Wool Growers Restaurant in Bakersfield. Those sessions are approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit in the workers’ compensation legal specialization. (That workshop was made possible by a sponsorship from Gemini Legal)

CAAA has been built with the support of its members who recognized the necessity of an active voice for injured workers. The organization is instrumental in providing California injured workers the opportunity for fair workers’ compensation benefits and re-entry into the community as a productive citizen.

“The support of CAAA’s members help to provide the optimum ability for CAAA to continue its distinguished tradition,” according to the group. 

Recently, Beatriz Trejo took part in the filming of a video intended to communicate the commitment of Chain | Cohn | Stiles to serve injured workers in Kern County, including those working in agriculture and in the fields of Kern County. You can watch the videos (in English and Spanish) here:

For more on Trejo, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation services, visit the law firm’s specialized site, bakersfieldwclawyers.com.

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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 attorney joins El Cascabel on Spanish radio station La Caliente 96.9

March 9, 2016 | 8:56 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles has partnered with La Caliente 96.9 to assist radio station listeners who need help with their potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation* cases.

Workers’ compensation associate attorney Beatriz Trejo, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, has become a regular of sorts on El Show De Cascabel, a Spanish language show. The program is hosted by Juan Leal, who goes by the nickname “El Cascabel,” and Marina Moreno, whose alias is “La China.” The widely popular Kern County show airs on FM station 96.9 from 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Trejo appeared recently on the show, in a 6 to 7 p.m. segment to discuss her services, and answer questions from listeners. More than dozen listeners called into the show, and others asked for legal assistance through the radio station’s Facebook page. Questions included how to handle employers who threaten to fire employees who report issues they may be having at work, how to properly handle paperwork related to work injuries, and much more.

To listen to Beatriz’s appearances on the El Cascabel show, see the links at the bottom of the page. You can also catch her live periodically at 96.9 FM, or listen online by clicking here.

Trejo could also be heard at various times during the week with El Cascabel answering pressing legal questions from listeners throughout Bakersfield and Kern County.

Trejo earned her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Bakersfield and her master’s degree from Cal State Northridge. She earned her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio. Trejo has a distinct advantage in her profession in that she is a former defense attorney and is familiar with the inner workings of insurance companies, insurance carriers, and self-insured employers. She joined Chain | Cohn | Stiles to fight for injured workers in 2014.

As for the radio show’s hosts, Juan Leal has been a radio personality since 1995 in Mexico and the United States. He has developed a following throughout Kern County for his sense of humor, sincerity and community engagement. You may have heard is voice on local auto dealership spots, infomercials, narrations, commercials, and spoken word poetry. His partner, Marina “La China” Moreno has been featured on the radio since 2003.

Stay tuned to 96.9 FM for more in this partnership.

And if you or a someone you know needs assistance with a potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation case, call the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for a free consultation at 661-323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.

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Click the links below to listen to Beatriz Trejo on El Cascabel Show on La Caliente 96.9 FM:

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Wrongful death, auto accident cases headline million-dollar results in 2015

January 6, 2016 | 11:31 am


As the New Year begins, let’s take a look back at 2015 at several real results Chain | Cohn | Stiles obtained for the people of Kern County in their accident, wrongful death and workers’ compensation* cases.

$6 Million – Wrongful Death

Jesse Rios was going for his routine morning jog when he was struck and killed an employee of West Coast Casing, LLC. The driver was driving a company truck home from work when he fell asleep at the wheel in a residential neighborhood, allowing his truck to veer up onto the sidewalk, where he struck Jesse.

Jesse left behind a young daughter, a new wife, and his devastated mother. Before his death, Jesse had worked two jobs to help care and support his family.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his family’s behalf, claiming that Eliseo Soto was negligent when he fell asleep at the wheel.

During the lawsuit, it was discovered the driver had previously had an accident due to falling asleep at the wheel. Also, he admitted that he was tired on the morning of the accident and that he should have pulled over to the side of the road and slept. In addition to proving that both the driver and West Coast Casing, LLC, were liable for the accident, Chain | Cohn | Stiles was able to prove that Jesse, a cook and dishwasher at two chain restaurants, would have financially supported his young family for many years to come.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles retained vocational and economic experts to prove the value of Jesse’s financial contribution to the family. The case settled at mediation for $6 million less than seven months after the accident.

$3.5 million – Big Rig Accident

The plaintiff was driving in his work truck as he was returning to Bakersfield, having performed a job in Lancaster, Calif. As the plaintiff was traveling on the high-way, a dust storm caused visibility to drop to almost zero. The plaintiff came to a stop, as vehicles in front of him stopped. At that time, the defendant, who was driving a tractor trailer for Market Transport, failed to see traffic stopped ahead of him, and he rear-ended the plaintiff.

The plaintiff did not seek immediate medical care after the accident. Instead, his employer drove him back to Bakersfield, and he sought urgent care treatment later that same day. Upon retaining Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the lawyers suggested that the plaintiff seek additional emergency medical care. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a brain bleed.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed suit against the defendant and his employer, Market Transport, for negligence in the big rig accident.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles, recognizing the significance of the plaintiff’s injuries, asked that he be evaluated by a neurologist. Ultimately, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. Chain | Cohn | Stiles retained experts in neurology, psychology, neuropsychology, endocrinology, vocational rehabilitation and economics to offer opinions regarding the plaintiff’s future needs.

The case ultimately settled at second mediation for $3.5 million.

$2.35 million – Auto Accident

The plaintiff was driving a 20016 GMC Denali safely northbound in Tehachapi. At the same time and place, a driver of a 2007 Sterling truck was going northbound on the same road while in the course and scope of employment for Shred-It USA Inc.

The defendant carelessly and unlawfully maintained and operated the vehicle so as to cause a crash and rear-end the plaintiff’s vehicle, which caused serious and permanent injuries to his body. As a result, the plaintiff suffered a disability and was unable to resume his pre-injury occupation as a correctional officer.

The case settled in 2015 for $2.35 million.

$2.15 million – Industrial Accident

Plaintiff John Doe was a tractor trailer driver assigned to pick up a load of pipe from Doe Pipe Manufacturer, loaded by the company, and deliver it to a customer in Colorado. The plaintiff’s only involvement in loading the pipe was throwing straps over the load to secure it. When he arrived in Colorado, he began unstrapping the load, when a large piece of pipe rolled, striking plaintiff’s foot. He suffered a broken foot, and eventually developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed suit against Doe Pipe Manufacturer, alleging they negligently loaded the pipe. Specifically, the firm alleged the defendant failed to place anti-roll blocking or chalks around the piece of pipe. The defendant claimed they were not responsible, citing federal safety regulations that state truck drivers are responsible for the safety and securement of loads.

In addition to its trucking expert, Chain | Cohn | Stiles hired a computer graphics expert to create a simulation of the load on the plaintiff’s truck, which proved the plaintiff could not see the top of his load to ensure that the pipe on top was properly chalked into place, and the defendant prohibited him from climbing on top of his load to check. Chain | Cohn | Stiles also retained medical experts to assist in determining what future medical care the plaintiff would require.

The case settled before the court for $2.15 million.

$2 Million – Dog Bite

The plaintiff called the Kern County Sheriff’s Office for assistance with domestic violence. Her child’s father was being abusive.

When Sheriff’s department officers arrived, the plaintiff began walking toward the deputy’s patrol car, and the K-9 inside of the patrol car was released, and began attacking the plaintiff. The department claimed the K-9 was released accidentally.

The dog bite case settled with the County of Kern for $2 million.

$1 million – Wrongful Death

John Doe was a resident in a residential care facility that specialized in the care of adults with severe developmental disabilities.

While in the home, John Doe got into an argument with one of the home’s staff members. John Doe punched the staff member in the face, which resulted in several additional staff members physically restraining John Doe, face down, on the home’s floor. John Doe was restrained for a period of approximately 14 minutes, during which time he stopped breathing. No one from the home attempted to resuscitate John Doe, and he was not provided with any medical care until law enforcement and paramedics arrived on scene.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of John Doe’s mother.

Throughout litigation, the group home contended that it was not at fault for John Doe’s death, and that instead his death was due to his poor health. Moreover, the group home contended that John Doe started the altercation, by punching the staff member. Chain | Cohn | Stiles  was successful in proving that the group home should have provided special training to its staff, including training for how to safely restrain someone such as John Doe.

The case settled for insurance policy limits of $1 million.

$810,000 – Workers’ Compensation

The plaintiff was injured when a drill fell on his shoulder, causing severe injuries to his neck, upper back, shoulder and chest. The client and his family came to Chain | Cohn | Stiles because they needed help dealing with the complicated nature of the injuries and the consequences it was having on all of them.

The total guaranteed payout to the client came out to $810,000 in workers’ compensation benefits.

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For more results and case information, visit the Chain | Cohn | Stiles website at Chainlaw.com.

*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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

These results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles visits Kern County prison employees to provide tips, resources

October 14, 2015 | 10:44 am


Workers’ Compensation* attorneys and staff from Chain | Cohn | Stiles recently visited Kern Valley State Prison in Delano to provide resources and tips prison staff and correctional officers.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles took part in the recent annual health fair for Kern Valley State Prison staff, which is hosted by the prison to “increase awareness of beneficial programs and products available to staff,” according to organizers.

Participation by the workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm in the health fair was part of the law firm’s partnership with Kern County prisons called Group Law Services. The program, started by the Chain | Cohn | Stiles nearly 50 years ago, provides quality legal help for working people in Kern County, especially those who belong to local credit unions, labor unions and service organizations. Through Group Law Services, members and their immediate family members are entitled to free initial consultations, reduced fees if ever in need of help from our law firm, and other benefits.

To see a list of local groups that provide their members with full access to Group Law Services benefits, click here. If your group is not a member, but are interested in becoming a member, please call 661-323-4000.

Benefits are provided to correctional officers and staff members of all Kern County prisons including Kern Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, California Correctional Institution, and Wasco State Prison. Among the most common clients coming to Chain | Cohn | Stiles from these prisons are correctional officers as part of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

Job injuries, unfortunately, are a part of life for officers working in prisons. They are exposed to various dangers and physical demands unique in their workplace. Assaults by inmates, for example, are a common occurrence.

It’s important for these officers to take notice of their legal rights and obligations under California workers’ compensation laws. Here are some general tips employees of prisons can follow if injured on the job:

  • Report an injury as soon as possible.
  • Get names of any witnesses.
  • Get medical treatment if you need it.
  • Make sure to explain how you got hurt.
  • Fill out accident report forms accurately.
  • Be consistent in your statements.
  • Do not give a tape recorded statement to an insurer.
  • Consider talking to a workers’ compensation lawyer.

If you are injured in a work-related incident, or suffer from a disease or ailment caused by your employment, you should protect your rights, and the best way to do so is to retain a competent workers’ compensation attorney.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation attorney James Yoro has nearly 40 years of experience in Kern County, and attorney Beatriz Trejo can assist Spanish speaking injured clients as well.

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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 value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.