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HOWARD LAW, P.C.
Pacific Arts Plaza
675 Anton Boulevard, First Floor
Costa Mesa, California 92626
Tel: (800) 872-5925
Fax: (888) 533-7310
GREETINGS FROM HOWARD LAW!
This year has been off to a great start for our Howard Law firm, as our team of Orange County, California attorneys and professionals began 2012 under the new banner of Howard Law, PC, with a renewed commitment to providing the most attentive personal services in order to meet the diverse needs of all clients—working hard to protect their rights and ensure bright and promising futures.
February has long been associated with the symbol of the heart, and our team at Howard Law, PC feels that the true message of this month is in the practice of dedication to others, a value we strive to maintain in our practice—as we believe that every person should have access to our nation’s legal system, regardless of income status.
At Howard Law, PC, we love what we do, and feel there is no greater honor than advocating on behalf of our clients. We continually strive to offer you affordable legal help, at the very moment that you need it the most.
Our dedicated Howard Law attorneys and staff realize that it is a privilege to represent the people who hire us, and we strive to ensure that under our legal care, our clients feel protected and secure, and that their voice is heard clearly.
HOWARD LAW, P.C.
VINCENT D. HOWARD
HOWARD LAW PRACTICE AREAS
“At Howard Law, we realize that it is a privilege to represent the people who hire us.”
Practice Area of the Month
At Howard Law, PC, our Costa Mesa, California personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals in Southern California who have experienced emotional distress, pain and suffering, financial loss and even death due to physical injury as a result of someone’s wrongdoing, defective products, defective medical devices, and medical malpractice.
Our Riverside personal injury law firm represents a wide variety of personal injury cases related to auto accidents, motorcycles accidents, aviation accidents, catastrophic injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, slip and fall injuries, dog bite injuries, premises liability, nursing home abuse, medical malpractices, and wrongful death.
For many people who have experienced physical and emotional trauma from sustained injuries due to someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence, the thought of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can seem stressful and daunting—which is why Howard Law, PC steps in—in order to help clients through every phase of the legal process, providing exceptional legal counsel on the best way to proceed in filing personal injury claims effectively.
As a small boutique law firm, our attorneys take pride in representing the unique and individual needs of each client, and are experienced in advising our clients on the best possible course of legal action to take. We are also comfortable going to trial and our attorneys have demonstrated a tremendous track record in helping our personal injury clients receive the compensation they deserve from the responsible parties.
According to Vincent Howard, when you retain the services of an experienced Southern California personal injury law firm like Howard Law, “you increase your chances of recovering the maximum amount possible for your injuries, pain and suffering, the loss of a loved one, and other damages.”
If someone’s carelessness, recklessness, negligence or intentional wrongdoing has caused you personal injury or suffering, contact Howard Law today, so we can take action to protect your legal rights.
"You want to work with a personal injury firm that knows how to prove the other party or parties were responsible."
Howard Law Personal Injury Feature
The Danger of Distracted Driving
As our California Injury Lawyers Blog reported this month, there were a number of collisions in Orange County, California over Valentine’s Day, including a traffic crash in Dana Point, an Irvine bicycle accident, a Fullerton pedestrian accident, and a Carson car accident—all of which resulted in serious injuries and deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) California is the deadliest state in the nation for automobile accidents, with over 3,400 California car accident deaths reported in 2008.
Across the country, as many as one-third of all traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers. Other California car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers, speeding, driving aggressively, drivers who have poor driving records or suspended or revoked driving licenses, and distracted drivers.
As Vincent Howard has frequently stated, few California car accidents are actual, ‘accidents,’ as national studies continue to prove that nearly half of all car accidents are caused by some form of distracted driving, including using cell phones, consuming food while driving, playing with the stereo, and other dangerous activities that distract drivers while driving.
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is defined as any activity that could distract or divert a person’s attention away from the main task of driving—activities that endanger the safety of the driver, passengers and bystanders. Common distractions include text messaging, using cell phones or smart phones, eating or drinking, personal grooming, talking to other people in the car, reading or navigating maps, using navigation systems, watching videos, or adjusting a radio, MP3 player or CD player.
Text messaging is considered the most dangerous distraction to driving, as it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver—increasing the possibility of accidents. The NHTSA states that the best way to end distracted driving is to educate Americans on the threat of these activities.
Distracted Driving Facts and Figures
- The NHTSA states that in 2009, there were 5,474 deaths due to crashes where distracted driving was involved, with an estimated 448,000 personal injuries.
- In 2009, according to NHTSA, 16% of fatal crashes and 20% of injury crashes involved reports of distracted driving.
- As reported by the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry (CTIA), over the month of June in 2011, over 196 billion text messages were sent and received in the United States, almost doubling the amount from 2009.
- The Pew Research Center reports that in 2009, 57% of American teenagers between the ages of 12-17 owned cell phones, and 66% used their phones to send and receive text messages. An estimated 40% of all American teens claim to have been in a car when the driver used their cell phone in a way that caused danger.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) found in the Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations Study, that text messaging while driving creates a risk of crashing that is 23 times worse than driving without being distracted.
- The study also found that sending and receiving texts takes the driver’s attention from the road for an average time of 4.6 seconds—which is the same as driving the entire length of a football field at 55 mph, while completely blind.
- A Montash University study found that drivers using cell phones or hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes that are serious enough to cause injury to themselves.
‘Distraction’ Guidelines for Automakers
On February 16, 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed the first ever ‘Distraction’ guidelines for automakers—recommendations that would encourage automobile manufacturers to develop in-vehicle electronic devices that limit the detraction risk for drivers. The announcement of the guidelines reportedly came days after President Obama’s FY 2012 budget request was announced, which includes $330 million for six years of distracted driver programs aimed to increase awareness of the dangerous issue.
The DOT’s proposed Phase I distraction guidelines include recommendations aimed to:
- Reduce the device difficulty—in regard to the tasks required by the devices
- Limit the operation of the device to one hand only, which would leave the other hand on the steering wheel for safety
- Limit the off-the-road glances necessary for device operation to no more than two seconds
- Reduce the unnecessary visual information that causes distractions to the driver’s field of vision.
- Reduce the amount of manual inputs needed to operate the device
Howard Law represents clients who have been seriously injured or killed in accidents in the Los Angeles County and Orange County, California areas. Call us today, toll-free at 1-800-872-5925, for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your legal rights
"Legal Help You Need, When You Need it!
This month’s staff spotlight shines on Cami Troge, Howard Law’s Senior Paralegal, who plays an important role in assisting our Howard Law attorneys in all of the practice areas within the firm.
Cami joined Howard Law, PC in 2008, and has been a valuable asset to the firm with her extensive experience working on a variety of civil litigation matters—including business litigation, predatory lending, wage and hour employment disputes, and personal injury. She also has experience working on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions.
As Howard Law’s Senior Paralegal, Cami works on all phases of a case from drafting the complaint, through the entire trial process. She is also skilled in the research and analysis of legal documents.
In 2006, Ms. Troge graduated with honors in Paralegal Studies and obtained a Paralegal Certificate approved by the American Bar Association. Cami is a member of the Orange County Paralegal Association.
Cami is extremely passionate about working in the legal industry, and is proud to be a member of Howard Law, PC.
Labor and Employment News
CA Joins DOL in Fight Against Employee Misclassification
Our dedicated Orange County labor and employment law firm continues to be a valuable resource for key wage and hour developments affecting the California and national workplace—with an expansive knowledge on current employment trends that affect the treatment of employees.
As Vincent Howard discussed in a recent Costa Mesa, California Employment Lawyers Blog, Mary Morgenstern, California's Secretary of Labor, has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Nancy J. Leppink, the deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD), in order to join in the fight against employee misclassification.
According to Julie A. Su, California’s Labor Commissioner, California will work together with the DOL to implement new efforts guided by this memorandum—in order to protect the wage and hour rights of employees and properly classify independent contractors, and to level the playing field for honest employers who are directly threatened by cheating employers engaged in act employee misclassification.
As frequently reported in our Orange County wage and hour blog, employee misclassification is a raging problem plaguing workplaces throughout the state of California and the country. In 2011, nearly 6,800 wage and hour violation lawsuits were filed, and the DOL's WHD reportedly collected over $5 million in back wages for overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), that stemmed from employees being misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.
The act of employee misclassification presents a serious problem for employees, as they are often denied access to important employee benefits and protections that they are legally entitled to, such as minimum wage and overtime compensation, rest and meal breaks, unemployment insurance, and family and medical leave, among other benefits. Employee misclassification also gives dishonest employers who skirt labor laws an unfair competitive advantage by placing economic pressure on employers who play by the rules. The DOL states that employee misclassification also creates massive losses for state workers' compensation funds and unemployment insurance, and according to the IRS, the act of employee misclassification costs the U.S. Treasury over $1 billion per year.
California is the latest state to join in the DOL’s fight against employee misclassification, along with Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Utah, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana and Washington—all states that have signed similar agreements.
The state of California has also recently introduced new legislature to combat the workplace problem of employee misclassification, with Governor Jerry Brown’s Senate Bill 459, that took effect on January 1, 2012, punishing employers who misclassify employees with harsh penalties, and California Representative Lynn Woosley’s introduction of the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act (EMPA) of 2011, a reinvigorated bill from 2010, aiming to eliminate employee misclassification.
The DOL’s Misclassification Initiative was launched under Vice President Biden's Middle Class Task Force, and formed these government memorandums of understanding in order to prevent and detect employee misclassification in states across the country.
Our Riverside employment attorneys represent employees who have been improperly classified in the workplace, or who have experienced violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, or California Labor Codes violations in cities throughout Orange County, or Southern California.
Howard Law in the News
Our Howard Law firm continues to participate in a number of distinguished legal associations and charitable organizations throughout Orange County, California. Here are a few of our recent Howard Law firm activities:
- In a recent issue of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA) Gavel Journal, Vincent Howard was thanked by Outgoing President Yoshiaki C. Kubota, for his OCTLA support and friendship while serving as Secretary of the 2011 Board of Directors under Kubota’s presidency.
- Last month, Vincent Howard was sworn in as the 3rd Vice President for the at the OCTLA 49th Annual Installation of Officers & Directors and Judicial Awards Program.
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The information contained in this Newsletter is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this Newsletter, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the letter without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state. The content of this Newsletter contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The Firm ("Howard Law") expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this Website. Results of prior successes do not guarantee a similar outcome. The result any one individual client obtains is unique to their specific facts and circumstances regarding their case. This Newsletter is a public resource of general information concerning our firm. It is intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and up-to-date.