| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Big Box Stores and Premises Liability

Californians enjoy the savings provided by big box stores. A number of major retail chains provide a wide variety of items in bulk for a significant discount. And who doesn’t like to save money, right? But are there risks to shopping in these huge stores? When accidents happen in a commercial business, the injuries are often subject to personal injury claims under premises liability laws. If you or a loved one suffer an injury while shopping in a big box discount store, you could be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney in Bakersfield can help you determine if you have a case. What is Premises Liability? Premises liability laws are in place to protect the public from accidents in public, commercial buildings, and other places. Basically, the owner or store manager has a responsibility to take all reasonable actions to ensure that the store is free of obstacles or other means by which patrons could become injured. For example, if a customer spills laundry detergent on the floor of a store, the store must take certain actions. First, a store employee will clean up the mess. Then, proper warning signs must be posted around the site for a certain amount of time, warning other shoppers of a wet floor and possible fall risk. If the mess is not cleaned up properly, or no signage is in view, and another shopper slips and falls, they could possibly file a claim against the store under premises liability law. What About Big Box Retail Stores? Large chain big box retail stores make their profits by buying huge quantities of products and selling them cheaply, and often in bulk. Warehousing costs are reduced by storing large pallets of products right in the store. Very often, this shelving is located immediately above the products on display for sale. A roll of paper towels is relatively light; but the weight of a wooden pallet containing 24 cases, each with 100 rolls of paper towels is significant. In the event of a collapse or inadvertent shifting of a load while placing more pallets of product nearby, these heavy amounts of products could fall on unsuspecting patrons, causing serious injuries. Moreover, since this accident features heavy objects falling from above, head injuries are likely and could be catastrophic. If you or a loved one suffers an injury in a bog box retail location and have questions about your legal rights, contact the Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. Our Personal Injury attorneys have experience with handling premises liability accident claims. We can help you file the claim and vigorously pursue your right to compensation from the responsible parties. Call us today or send a message online to arrange your free same-day, initial case review.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injuries Can Happen When You Least Expect Them

Accidents by their very nature occur suddenly and without warning. An accident can result in a personal injury while performing the most routine activities that you may have done hundreds of times without incident. On other occasions, personal injuries can happen when we attempt some new skill, chore or activity. Depending on the circumstances of your personal injury accident, you may be able to file a legal claim for damages. What are the Most Common Personal Injury Claims in California? California residents in and around Bakersfield experience accidents every day as they go about their daily lives. Some of the personal injury cases we see routinely at Young Wooldridge LLP include, but are not limited to, the following. Car Accidents– These are by far the most frequent cause of personal injuries throughout California. According to Driver Knowledge, approximately 2 million drivers experience permanent injuries due to car accidents every single year. The negligence of another driver can cause catastrophic injuries in a matter of moments. If you are involved in a car accident and incur a personal injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Slip-and-Fall Accidents– Uneven or unsafe walkways are a hazard in busy public thoroughfares and places of business. Loose objects or weather conditions can cause slip and fall accidents. People often slip and fall because of unsafe surfaces or walkways in public places. If someone’s negligent care of a public walkway contributes to your personal injury accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney to determine if you have a case or not. Premises Liability – Premises liability laws are in place to protect the public from accidents in public, commercial buildings, and other places. Basically, the owner or store manager has a responsibility to take all reasonable actions to ensure that the store is free of obstacles or other means by which patrons could become injured. If an injury takes place on public or commercial property, you may be eligible for compensation. Dog Bites– California laws require pet owners to keep their pets safely under control at all times. If a pet is not properly restrained and causes you an injury, this is considered negligence under California law. If you sustain a serious injury due to a dog bite, you should consult a personal injury attorney to assist in filing a claim for financial remuneration to cover medical expenses and other damages. Defective Products– Defective products that are improperly designed or made at the factory can sometimes slip through quality control and be sold to unsuspecting individuals. If you purchase a new product and use it properly, and incur an injury from it, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer, and in some cases, the store where the item was purchased. Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Bakersfield The Personal Injury Attorneys at Young Wooldridge LLP have experience in assisting clients with claims for all types of personal injury. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another, call us today at 661-327-9661 to schedule a consultation about your possible personal injury claim or fill out our online form.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In most California personal injury cases, negligence is a deciding factor. Therefore, knowing about what constitutes negligence and how to prove it is important. If you or someone you love have suffered a personal injury through the fault of another party, it is highly likely that negligence is involved. Defining Negligence Negligence is legally defined as follows: “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).” While aspects of “ordinary prudence” and “some duty to act” are often debated, the courts generally have a firm understanding of these terms as applied to personal injury negligence cases. Basically, a person of ordinary intelligence and capacity who acts or fails to act in such a way that causes another person or party to sustain an injury is guilty of negligence. Proving Negligence Claiming another person or party was negligent in their actions or lack thereof is not sufficient; the law demands that the injured party provide sufficient proof of said negligence. Legally, four elements must combine to prove negligence occurred. They are: Duty, breach, cause, and harm. The existence of a legal duty of care – this means that the defendant (the accused) was obligated to prevent harm from happening to the plaintiff (the victim of injury). The breach of that duty – this means that the negligent party created or allowed a dangerous situation to occur when they could have taken reasonable measures to stop it. The sufferance of an injury or harm – this refers to the physical and mental trauma, property damage, and lost income that resulted from the breach of duty. The proof that said breach caused the injury – this is evidence that the actions or omissions of the defendant directly or indirectly caused the plaintiff’s injury. If all four factors can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the court, you may be able to collect financial compensation from a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. Many other factors can be involved, as every personal injury case is different, whether it happened in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, through a defective product, a construction accident, or by other means. If you or someone you love suffered a personal injury where you believe negligence is a factor, contact Young Wooldridge, LLP by phone or contact form. We are able to fully serve your legal needs during the Coronavirus pandemic and can provide a same-day review of your case with a free phone or video consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

When Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

Life is never really the same when you or someone you love suffers a personal injury. You may be forced to adopt dramatic changes to even performing the most mundane tasks. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that around 31 million people each year receive medical treatment due to injury. Many people wonder when or if they should contact a personal injury attorney in Bakersfield. Young Wooldridge, LLP has served our surrounding communities since 1939, and we have the seasoned experience to help you in the event of an accident. What is Involved in CA Personal Injury Law? The personal injury laws of California provide legal recourse for those suffering personal injuries from the actions or negligence of another party or parties. Young Wooldridge, LLP can assist you with filing a claim with the courts to pursue compensation. Our attorneys have forged strong relationships throughout our community with legal and medical professionals. These partnerships allow us to formulate the best possible defense for your claim. When you need a talented, experienced personal injury attorney in Bakersfield, Young Wooldridge, LLP can provide the legal assistance you need for the following types of accidents: Car Accidents Construction/Industrial/Oil Field Accidents Burn Accidents Dangerous and Defective Products Dog Bites Motorcycle Accidents Premises Liability Traumatic Brain Injuries Truck Accidents Wrongful Death If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury, contact the attorneys at Young Wooldridge, LLP by phone or online to schedule a confidential consultation. How Can Young Wooldridge, LLP Help? Every accident is as unique as the Bakersfield resident who suffers an injury. Due to these differences, and the many complexities that can be present, California personal injury laws can be complicated. You need a seasoned, knowledgeable personal injury attorney to defend your rights and fight to obtain you the compensation you deserve. In cases where one of the family’s providers becomes injured and unable to work, it is especially important that your attorney be able to provide efficient and effective negotiation and litigation on behalf of your claim for compensation.  Call or send an online message to Young Wooldridge, LLP today if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Business Law

COVID-19 and Public Meetings: An Update on the Brown Act Requirements

 On March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom issued a new Executive Order that relaxed additional requirements of the Brown Act. Water Law attorney Brett Stroud prepared the following update for our clients and those who conduct business at public meetings:  Yesterday, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20 (“March 17 Order”), which altered some of the provisions of his previous Executive Order N-25-20 (“March 12 Order”), including his relaxation of certain Brown Act requirements. The March 17 Order differs from the March 12 Order in one significant respect: it removes the requirement that an agency provides a publicly accessible location from which members of the public can observe the meeting and provide public comment.  Instead, an agency may hold the meeting entirely by teleconference, provided it also “implements a procedure for receiving and swiftly resolving requests for reasonable modification or accommodation from individuals with disabilities, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and resolving any doubt whatsoever in favor of accessibility” and “advertise that procedure each time notice is given of the means by which members of the public may observe the meeting and offer public comment.” In short, the March 17 Order permits an agency “to hold public meetings via teleconferencing and to make public meetings accessible telephonically or otherwise electronically to all members of the public.”  The agency must provide notice within the usual timeframe, provide a method for members of the public to offer public comment during the teleconference meeting, and provide a procedure for members of the public to request accommodations based on disability. Like the March 12 Order, the March 17 Order applies specifically “during the period in which state or local public officials impose or recommend measures to promote social distancing, including but not limited to limitations on public events.”  On March 16, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance relative to public gatherings.  That guidance indicates that “all gatherings should be postponed or canceled.” If you have any questions or would like specific advice on applying the March 17 Order for your agency, please feel free to contact an attorney in our Water and Special Districts Department.  In particular, if you plan to hold a meeting by teleconference, please contact us for assistance in preparing your agenda.  We can be reached by phone at 661-327-9661.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Business Law

COVID-19 and Public Meetings: Brown Act Implication of Executive Order N-25-20

On March 12, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an executive order relaxing certain requirements of the Brown Act and the Bagley-Keene Act, affecting public meetings. Water Law attorney Brett Stroud prepared the following information: On March 12, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-25-20 (“Order”), exercising his emergency powers under Government Code sections 8567, 8571, and 8572.  The Governor has the authority to “suspend any regulatory statute, or statute prescribing the procedure for conduct of state business … where the Governor determines and declares that strict compliance … would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency.”  (Gov. Code, § 8571.)  Exercising that power, Governor Newsom has temporarily relaxed certain requirements of the Brown Act and the Bagley-Keene Act. Ordinarily, an agency must post notice of a teleconference meeting at all locations from which any board member will participate, allow the public to attend and offer public comment at any of those locations, and have at least one board member physically present at each location.  Furthermore, a quorum of the Board must participate from locations within the agency’s boundaries.  Those requirements are suspended by section 11 of the Order, and agencies are permitted “to hold public meetings via teleconferencing and to make public meetings accessible telephonically or otherwise electronically to all members of the public.”  The agency must provide notice within the usual timeframe and must provide “at least one publicly accessible location from which members of the public shall have the right to observe and offer public comment.” It should be noted that the authorization applies specifically “during the period in which state or local public officials impose or recommend measures to promote social distancing, including but not limited to limitations on public events.”  The California Department of Public Health has issued such guidance relative to public gatherings. The guidance requires cancellation or postponement of gatherings larger than 250 persons.  Smaller gatherings should only be held if the venue allows for 6 feet of distance between persons.  If individuals at higher risk may be present, gatherings should be limited to 10 individuals.  In the public agency meeting context, all members of the public are permitted to attend, including those at higher risk, and the agency cannot limit attendance to 10 individuals. If you have any questions or would like specific advice on applying this Order for your agency, please feel free to contact an attorney in our Water and Special Districts Department. We can be reached by phone at 661-327-9661.  

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Uncategorized

Halloween Safety Tips for You and Your Family

Personal Injury Attorney | Happy Halloween!  It’s time for kids (and parents too!) to get dressed up and hit the streets in search for the ultimate treat!  However, what’s scarier than any costume you may see, are the child safety statistics that this holiday brings. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.  Here are some tips to ensure you and your kids have a safe holiday. Walk Safely Use traffic signals and crosswalks; cross the street at corners When crossing the street look left, right, then left again; keep looking as you cross. Do not use electronic devices when crossing the street. Walk, don’t run across the street. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never cross in between parked cars or to dart out into the street. Trick or Treat With an Adult Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If children are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should remain in well lit, familiar areas, and trick-or-treat in groups. Costumes can be Creative and Safe! Use reflective stickers or tape to decorate costumes and trick-or-treat bags. If possible, choose light colors for costumes. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. When possible, choose face paint or makeup. Give children flashlights or glow sticks to help them see and be seen by drivers. When selecting a costume, make sure it fits properly to prevent trips and falls. Drive Extra Safely on Halloween Kids get excited on Halloween and can move in unpredictable ways. Slow down and be alert in residential neighborhoods. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully. Remove all distractions inside your car so you can fully concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic. Drive slowly and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for children during these peak hours. Following these effective tips can greatly reduce the risk of injury for you and your child on this holiday.  The personal injury attorneys at Young Wooldridge, LLP wish you and your family a safe and Happy Halloween!  

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Keeping your Tween Safe in the Car

Personal Injury Lawyer | Tween Car Safety Guidelines You read a lot about infant and small child car seat safety. There is always an emphasis on teen drivers. What about the kids in the middle? How do we protect the group that early elementary kids call the “big kids”? But over five years, 1,552 kids between the ages of 8 and 14 died in motor vehicle crashes. Tragically, almost half of them were not buckled in. Personal injury lawyers frequently see cases where injury or death could have been prevented if the injured party was wearing a properly-fitted seat belt. To avoid these situations, parents need to practice diligent safety for their kids while shuffling them from school to extracurricular activities and from the movies to sleepovers with their friends.  Tweens If you don’t have any, you may not be familiar with the term “tween”, a word that encompasses kids ages 8 through 12. These increasingly independent and inquisitive life explorers are learning who they are and what interests them. They’re transitioning away from the safety of their parents faster than some may like. Tweens are a busy group with active social lives, increasing school demands, and the inability to ferry themselves from place to place. Parents spend a great deal of time playing chauffeur to tweens and their friends. Having a plan in place to keep this group safe in transit just makes sense. We’ll discuss some of the challenges tween passengers face and what parents can do to keep them safe. Challenges When parents and caregivers fail to buckle up, children are far less likely to want to wear seat belts. Tweens are distracted with devices, eating, reading, and other social concerns. Disorganization, due to lack of maturity and experience, leaves these kids in a rushed, chaotic state much of the time. Sometimes kids will put their seat belts behind their backs or under their arms because they feel uncomfortable. This could be because they’ve been prematurely moved from a booster seat.  Burgeoning image concerns make tweens embarrassed by perceived “baby” behaviors. What You Should Know Experts advise that children remain in a booster seat until they fit correctly in a regular seat belt. The belt should rest snugly across the chest and never cross the neck. The lap belt should sit high on the hips, not across the belly or midsection. Children typically reach a safe height and weight (4’9″ or taller and over 80 pounds is recommended) for regular seat belts between the ages of 8 and 14. Children should remain in the back seat, the safest place until they are at least 13 years of age. In the event of an accident, airbags can cause additional injuries to children younger than this. It is illegal to ride without seat belts in most states, and you can receive a fine for unbuckled minor passengers. What You Can Do Always model proper seatbelt safety. Keep kids in a booster as long as possible. Do not make exceptions or feed into the “uncool” image perception by allowing them out of the booster for special occasions. Keep kids in the back seat until they are at least 13. Check every car for proper seat belt fit. Some vehicles may require a booster while others do not. Never put the car in motion until everyone is buckled up. Never assume your tween is wearing their seat belt. Offer short-term rewards and consequences for non-compliance. Never negotiate on seat belt rules. Always be consistent in your messaging. Help to lower the number of tween injuries and fatalities in car accidents by setting hard and fast rules for all passengers in your vehicle. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP, can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Car Seat Styles and How to Install Them Safely

Personal Injury Lawyer | Car Seat Styles and a Guide to Installing Them Safely For parents, the safety of their children is of paramount importance at all times. From sports to toys, food to illnesses, we keep a close eye and shepherd them through their younger years. One of the most crucial places for child safety is in the car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 325 children were saved by car seats in 2017. If you and your family are in a car accident, being properly secured in the right car seat is your child’s best chance of avoiding personal injury. Personal Injury Lawyers who can help to ensure you get the care and compensation you may be entitled to in the event of an accident. This guide will introduce you to three different car seat styles and will explain how to install them. However, while this is meant to give you an overview, you should always be familiar with the owner’s manual for your car as well as the car seat as the best installation can vary. Infant Car Seats Infant car seats have a harness and are designed to move with your child, cradling them to reduce the risk of injury to their fragile frame. Infant car seats generally come in two pieces: the base and the bucket. The bucket, or actual seat part, is portable and unlatches from the base. Often parents have more than one base for easy pick-up and drop-off duty sharing. Infant car seats are rear-facing only and should never be installed facing the front. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you keep a child rear-facing as long as possible. It is the best way to keep them safe in the event of a crash. Children should be rear-facing at least until their first birthday. It is important to install the base securely in the vehicle. When possible, use the anchor hooks and attach them to the anchors between the seats of your vehicle. Cinch the seat snuggly to the car using your knee to simulate the weight of the bucket and child. If your car does not have anchors, follow the manufacturer and car recommendations to install the seat using the seat belt. Be sure that every time you place the portable bucket into the base, that it latches completely. Forward-Facing Car Seats Forward-facing seats use a harness and tethers to limit your child’s movement during a crash. They come in convertible, combination and all-in-one styles. Each of these can be used rear-facing until your child is big enough to move to a forward-facing position. It is recommended that children remain rear-facing for as long as possible, up to the age of three. To install these seats you can use either the anchors or the seat belt strap. If using anchors, use a top tether until your child reaches the recommended weight to do without it. If you choose the seat belt strap method, guide the seat belt through the channel indicated on the seat and latch it securely. Make sure the seat belt isn’t twisted during installation and ensure that it is completely extended and in the locked position. Children should stay in the forward-facing seat with harness and tether until they reach the maximum weight and height for the seat. Often, they can transition between ages four and seven. Booster Seats Booster seats are designed to redirect and position the car’s seat belt so that it fits properly over the child. Various models of boosters exist, including the previously mentioned convertible car seat which may transition from a forward-facing to a booster. Additionally, there are boosters that are simply the bottom seat part and boosters that also have a high back. Boosters can be used until the age of 12. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing seat, it is ok to move them to a booster seat. However, they should still ride in the back seat. This is the safest place since deployed airbags can cause additional harm to children. Installation of these seats is simple. Make sure that the seat sits properly on the car’s seat cushion and use the seat belt to secure the child in. When using a high back booster, guide the belt through the shoulder channel and then across the lap through the armrests. The seat belt should fit across your child’s shoulder and not their neck. The lap belt should tighten snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. Use NHTSA’s helpful car seat finder to feel confident you’re choosing the correct seat for your kid. If you are not confident or comfortable installing your child’s car seat, you can find a Certified Carseat Technician in your area. Usually, your local fire department will have someone on hand to help you. Many communities host periodic “Check The Seat” events where they will provide information for parents and inspect to make sure they are installed properly. Protect your kids by keeping them secure any time they’re in the vehicle. If you, or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Business Law

Estate Planning Tips for Small Business Owners

Starting with your initial idea, building and owning a business can be an exciting venture from day one. Developing a proper business plan, securing financing, marketing, paying taxes and all of the other small, but significant, details will surely be some of the most challenging yet rewarding work that you will perform in your lifetime. But have you ever thought about the role you will play in your business after your life is over? Developing a comprehensive estate plan provides a well-developed plan to ensure that your life’s work survives even after you pass. As a small business owner, you spend an incredible amount of time working to establish and grow your business throughout your life. It seems only reasonable that you should take the time to create a plan for your business upon your death. When talking to your estate planning attorney, consider these tips for your business: Avoid Exorbitant Taxes Upon death, the IRS may claim estate taxes on all assets of your estate. Reviewing your personal and business assets as part of a comprehensive estate plan can help minimize the tax exposure of your estate and facilitate an organized transition or sale of the business. To avoid taxes, there are various IRS sections that can help. One section, Section 6166, will allow your loved ones more time to pay the tax by paying the estate tax in 10 annual installments. Another, Section 303, will allow your family to redeem your stock with very little tax penalties. You should talk to your family about these tax sections and determine if your business will be eligible. Creating a plan and instructions for your survivors will help them to navigate these filings.  Create a Buy-Sell Agreement If your business is owned by more than one person, a buy-sell agreement dictates how the partnership or LLC will be distributed upon one owner’s death or incapacitation. Without one, family members may be stuck owning a business they do not want, and partners may be forced to work with people they did not intend. A buy-sell agreement puts in place a plan that when an owner passes, their shares must be bought out by the other owners at a fair market price. These agreements can even establish a sale price so that family members know what they can expect to receive from the sale. In a buy-sell agreement, you can also block certain individuals from having a role in the business. Purchase a Life Insurance Policy It is possible that you have no intention of your business surviving after your passing. Referred to as owner-dependent businesses, some small businesses provide a stable income for the owner, however, there is not a lot of money reinvested in the business and exponential growth is not the intent. If you depend on your business for income and you have a family, when you pass, that income will be gone. A term life insurance policy can serve as income replacement for your family. Additionally, a life insurance policy or irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can help your partners with the capital they might need to purchase your shares if you have a buy-sell agreement. As a small business owner, you owe it to your family and your business to make plans for your passing. Dealing with their loss will be complicated enough without navigating the intricacies of small business taxes and sales. Discuss your options with an experienced estate planning attorney and leave your legacy the way you would want it.

Continue Reading