When accidents occur, victims do not always receive fair treatment from insurers and other entities responsible for compensating them. Similarly, people who are mistreated on the job cannot always get their employer to do the right thing unless they put aggressive, skilled legal counsel on their side. If you were injured in an accident, such as a car crash or a slip and fall, the Orange County personal injury lawyers at Howard Law may be able to assist you. We also are ready to help employees seek recourse for discrimination, harassment, or other forms of workplace misconduct. Our slogan since 2007 has been “Justice First, People Always.” It stands as the guiding philosophy for a legal team that is dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives.Personal Injury
Most personal injury lawsuits are pursued under a theory of negligence. The accident victim must show by a preponderance of the evidence that they suffered injuries because the defendant failed to abide by the standard of care applicable to the situation. The standard of care can vary. For example, if the defendant is a health care provider diagnosing cancer, he must follow a professional standard of care for that situation. Meanwhile, the driver of a car must use ordinary, reasonable care in the circumstances at issue. If liability is successfully established, an accident victim may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other damages.Car Accidents
Many car accidents in California result from distracted driving. Car accidents can also result from tailgating, reckless driving, fatigued driving, speeding, weaving, drunk driving, or aggressive driving. If you are seriously injured by another driver, you may need to retain a skillful personal injury attorney in Orange County to fight for compensatory damages. In some instances, there are multiple drivers or other parties at fault for a victim’s injuries. California imposes joint and several liability on defendants with respect to economic damages, which means that one defendant that was partly at fault could be required to pay the entire economic damages award if other defendants are unable to pay.Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences. They may result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries to the motorcyclist, even if the driver of a larger vehicle is able to leave the scene unscathed. Sometimes motorcycle accidents result from careless or reckless driving by the driver of a larger vehicle. It may be possible to recover damages by establishing another driver’s negligence. Often, insurers are biased against motorcyclists and will look for ways in which a motorcycle accident was the fault of the motorcyclist. California follows the rule of pure comparative negligence, though, which means that some damages will be available unless you were entirely at fault.Premises Liability
Property owners and occupiers owe a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for customers and guests. If you were injured because of a dangerous property condition, an Orange County personal injury attorney may be able to hold the owner or occupier accountable in a premises liability lawsuit. Generally, a defendant is negligent in using or maintaining the property when a property condition creates an unreasonable risk of harm, the defendant knew or should have known about it, and the defendant failed to repair the dangerous condition or provide adequate warnings. Accidents that could give rise to a premises liability lawsuit include slip and falls, defective handrails, falling merchandise injuries, sexual assault, pool drownings, dog bites, and construction site injuries.Medical Malpractice
A health care provider may be held accountable in a medical malpractice lawsuit if they deviate from the accepted professional standard of care. As a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you would need to show that the defendant owed a professional standard of care, the defendant deviated from the professional standard of care, causation, and damages. Usually, it is necessary to retain a credible expert to provide an opinion about what the professional standard of care was, whether and how it was breached, and causation. For example, if an oncologist failed to diagnose breast cancer, your Orange County personal injury lawyer would probably retain an expert oncologist to establish that the professional standard of care was breached in your situation. Medical malpractice may involve birth injuries, surgical errors, a failure to diagnose a condition, a failure to treat complications, blood contamination, anesthesia errors, pharmaceutical malpractice, and more.
Employment laws are designed to keep workers safe and treated appropriately, among other goals. In some cases, the employment relationship between the employee and the employer is governed by contract, rather than a federal or state statute. While employment is “at will” in California, there are certain federal and state laws that limit an employer’s actions. For example, the Fair Employment and Housing Act includes anti-discrimination provisions meant to protect workers with protected characteristics, such as sex, national origin, religion, and race. Federal and state wage and hour laws regulate minimum wage, overtime pay, and related issues.Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination occurs when a worker is treated adversely due to his or her membership in a protected class. There are a number of federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). However, these laws tend to protect workers at mid-sized and large companies and organizations. When a federal anti-discrimination statute is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you will need to file a charge with the EEOC before suing under that statute in federal court. In most cases, FEHA provides greater protection because it applies to smaller employers and covers a greater number of protected classes.Sexual Harassment
FEHA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment can include a wide range of unwelcome conduct, including inappropriate touching, sexual jokes, sexual remarks, exposure to pornography, and even assault or rape. Sexual harassment can involve quid pro quo harassment, in which an employee is promised something in return for submitting to harassing conduct or providing sexual favors. Hostile work environment harassment happens if a customer, client, coworker, supervisor, or manager sexually harasses the plaintiff, and the harassing conduct is so severe or pervasive that a hostile work environment is created. If you are being sexually harassed, it is wise to make it clear that the harassing conduct is unwelcome.Wrongful Termination
California is an at will state. This means that an employer need not have a good reason to terminate or lay off an employee. However, an employer cannot terminate an employee when this would violate the law. For example, if you are fired based on your race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, or another protected characteristic, you may be able to recover damages for wrongful termination. Additionally, you may have a claim if you are terminated for being a whistleblower who refused to perpetrate an illegal act or for exercising another right protected by public policy.Wage and Overtime Claims
Federal and state laws have been put in place to make sure that workers are fairly compensated for their time. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for a guaranteed minimum wage. It also requires overtime payments for nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week. In California, overtime law requires that a nonexempt employee be paid at 1½ times the regular rate of pay when he works for 8-12 hours in a work day and for the first eight hours that he works on the seventh consecutive work day. He should also be paid double the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 12 in a work day and all hours worked over eight on the seventh consecutive work day. However, some employers try to get around wage and hour laws by misclassifying an employee as exempt or as an independent contractor. It is important to talk to a skillful wage and hour attorney about your situation.
If you suffered injuries in an accident or are facing injustice on the job, you should consult a skillful attorney. Howard Law prioritizes client service. Most legal matters are time-sensitive, so it is important to take action as soon as you realize that you may have a claim. Call us at 800-872-5925 or contact us online.