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Providing legal counsel to San Jose and the Bay area for over 30 years in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury, employment and disability law.
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California accident attorney, California injury lawyerIf you are an accident victim, you should not have to pay for your medical treatment and lost wages. You should also be compensated for the pain and suffering you experience. However, some personal injury victims believe that because they were injured they are entitled to an unlimited amount of damages. This is not the case. California law imposes duties on accident victims, and failure to fulfill these duties could be used against you in court or by an insurance adjustor. This holds true for all victims whether you were injured in a car wreck, slip and fall, or any other accident where you believe another party to be at fault. Speaking to an attorney about what steps the law will require you to take is a good way to be sure that you are meeting your duties as an accident victim.

The Duty to Mitigate Damages

The law requires that accident victims take “reasonable” steps to mitigate damages. An accident victim cannot recover for losses that could have been avoided by taking ordinary care and “reasonable exertion.” [Valle de Oro Bank v. Gamboa (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 1686, 1691.]

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San Jose criminal defense attorney, hate crime caseThe Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity” and notes that approximately 5,500 hate crime incidents are reported by law enforcement agencies across the United States annually. Hundreds of these incidents occur in California each year. In fact, one highly publicized hate crime that occurred in Richmond, California and gained national attention last fall is once again in the news this week as the offenders involved were recently sentenced.

This case involved a 42-year-old Sikh man who was attacked one night while driving home. The Los Angeles Times reports that the victim was stopped at a red light when the occupants of a white Ford F-150 pulled up next to him, started throwing beer cans at his car, and then pursued him after the light turned green. Then, while stopped at a second red light, two men got out of the truck, reached through the victim’s window, grabbed him, and repeatedly punched him in the face while yelling profanities. Additionally, the attackers knocked off the victim’s turban, grabbed his long hair, and cut parts of it off with a knife. Cutting a Sikh man’s hair is culturally considered to be humiliating, so consequently the victim tried to stop the knife with his hand and cut his finger in the process. As a result, the victim’s pinky finger had to be amputated.

Based on this incident, two of the attackers were charged with, and plead no contest to, felony assault and committing a hate crime. Each attacker has since been sentenced to serve three years in prison.

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California accident attorney, California injury lawyerIf you rent a house or apartment and get injured due to a hazard in the premises, your landlord may be held responsible. The landlord will not always be liable, however, and there are many instances where liability is a close call. Because of the complexity of some slip and fall cases, it is recommended that a skilled personal injury attorney review your case.

What a Tenant or Visitor Must Prove

Because slip and fall cases are negligence cases, the accident victim that the landlord acted unreasonably as a property owner. It also must be proven that the landlord knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed and failed to correct it.

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San Jose criminal defense attorneys, California marijuana lawsEver since California voters approved Proposition 64 (aka the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) in November 2016, there seems to be a good deal of confusion about our state’s current marijuana laws. For example, some people incorrectly claim that weed is now legal in California under all circumstances, and in all amounts. Yet others mistakenly believe that they can now smoke marijuana in area where smoking tobacco is permitted. However, this is not the case.

Anyone who has been charged with a marijuana-related crime in California, and who has a case specific question, should seek counsel from a local drug charges defense lawyer without delay.

CA’s Marijuana Laws Under Proposition 64

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California accident attorney, California injury lawyerMany injured people and their families have heard of awards for pain and suffering. In many cases, pain and suffering can be a sizable part of a settlement or award for a personal injury claim. Pain and suffering can be awarded in almost any accident, including car accidents, slip and falls, civil assault proceedings, and catastrophic injuries.

Some who are unfamiliar with the law assume that pain and suffering awards are arbitrarily set. People assume that this number is grabbed from the sky by a jury based on how they feel about the victim and the person who was at fault.

This is usually not the case. While pain and suffering seem like an abstract concept, there are ways that professionals who deal with personal injury cases assess what a pain and suffering award will likely be.

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San Jose criminal defense lawyers, California gang membersAccording to The Mercury News, three suspects were recently arrested in connection with a recent gang-related stabbing in San Mateo. On the night of the stabbing, police officers were dispatched to the 500 block of North Delaware Street after a 17-year-old was reportedly stabbed by six to eight male attackers. The three men who have been arrested in connection with incident were booked into the San Mateo County Jail on various charges and are suspected of being gang affiliated. Whether or not these suspects are in fact gang members, and whether or not the attack was carried out in furtherance of a gang, may end up being very important facts thanks to California’s gang laws.

California’s Gang Laws

In an effort to cut down on gang activity in California, legislators enacted California Penal Code §186.22 which makes it a crime to participate in a gang and provides for a gang sentencing enhancements for gang members and those who associate with them.

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California car accident lawyer, California injury attorneyBeing in a car accident can be a jarring. It is also something that most people do not have a lot of experience handling. People are often uninformed about how best to conduct themselves after an accident and what it takes to prevail in a lawsuit. Some drivers may rush to assign fault - either to someone else or to themselves. Others may try to resolve all issues of damage at the scene.

As attorneys, we can say that none of these are good ideas. Typically, the best thing to do after an accident is to address your injuries with a doctor, comply with law enforcement, and avoid giving your opinion or saying extraneous statements.

These are some common things that get said after an accident that could make your case more difficult even though you were not at fault:

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San Jose criminal defense attorney, San Jose criminal defense, juvenile criminal offensesIn California, a minor—someone who is less than 18 years old—can be tried as an adult under certain circumstances. When this happens, the juvenile case is transferred from juvenile court to adult court, either automatically or upon a judge’s finding that the minor is not “fit” for the juvenile court system.

Crimes for Which Minors Must be Tried as Adults in California

According to California’s Welfare and Institutions Code section 602(b), any person who is alleged to have committed certain crimes when he or she was 14 years old or older must be tried as an adult under the general law in a court of criminal jurisdiction. These include murder, under some circumstances, rape, sodomy, and others.

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California premises liability attorney, California injury lawyerSummertime for many people means backyard pool parties. If you are a guest in someone’s home with a pool, the homeowner has a duty to provide you with a reasonably safe swimming environment. This duty is found in an area of law called premises liability. There are several dangerous conditions that can be present in home swimming pools. There are also special considerations for children around swimming pools.

Common Dangerous Conditions

  • Slick walking surfaces: A homeowner should foresee that the area around the pool will get wet. Thus, the area around the pool should be suitable for this purpose. Common dangerous conditions include slick decks, stairs without treads and algae growth on the ground.
  • Poor maintenance: The pool and accessories should be properly cared for by the homeowner. Diving boards, pool ladders, and water slides should be sturdy and able to support their intended use.
  • Poor pool design: Some pools are poorly designed and create drowning hazards.
  • Poor water quality: If not correctly cared for, pool water can spread dangerous diseases or expose swimmers to chemicals.

These conditions can cause serious injury. It may be that the homeowner is liable, in which case a homeowner’s insurance policy is implicated. In some cases, the manufacturer of a pool part or product may be liable.

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San Jose age discrimination lawyers, age discrimination, wrongful terminationAccording to an article in the LA Times, a California community is outraged that a beloved garbageman, who served his community for the past 32 years, has been fired. The 58-year-old garbageman is reportedly loved by his community for his extraordinary work ethic and many good deeds. Stories have circulated about the man dragging residents’ trashcans to the curb for them when they forgot, as well as children who have dressed up as the man for Halloween or requested that their birthday cake be decorated with a trash can in his honor. In fact, after the garbageman was fired, more than 500 people wrote letters asking the refuse collection company to take him back.

Eventually, the refuse collection company caved into the community’s pressure and rehired the garbageman. However, the man was fired again when a human resources employee for the company claimed that the garbageman failed to prove that he was legally authorized to work in the U.S.

The refuse collection company claims that the garbageman was initially fired for poor work performance (they allege that the former employee had four accidents over a 12-month period). The garbageman, on the other hand, claims that in actuality he was fired due to his age and has therefore filed a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming age discrimination.

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California accident attorney, California personal injury lawyerTwo lawmakers have put forward a bill that would essentially allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. If passed, bicyclists would be able to go through stop signs at clear intersections with nothing more than a rolling stop. The new law would not apply to traffic signals. Proponents of the bill argue that this law would make the roads safer for bicyclists, who are at a great risk of injury in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle.

How Would the Law Make the Roads Safer?

The lawmakers who introduce this bill claim that by reducing the amount of time cyclists are at an intersection, the risk of an accident between bicycles and cars is reduced. Requiring cyclists to come to a full stop substantially increases the amount of time spent at each intersection.

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California injury attorney, California accident lawywerProving who was at fault in an accident is a major issue in any personal injury case, whether it be a car accident or a slip and fall. In some cases, an accident victim will be put in the defensive position when the at-fault party asserts that the victim is responsible for the accident.

For example, if you slipped and fell on a slick floor in the supermarket, you may be able to file a suit against the store. You may be able to prove that the store is responsible for your fall by failing to clean its floors in a timely way.

However, there may be a video of your fall showing that you were texting while walking or that you were running down the aisle. If a jury sees that evidence, the jurors may conclude that the fall victim is ultimately at fault or at least partially at fault.

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San Jose employment law attorneys, employment laws in CaliforniaCBS Los Angeles reports that employers and employees alike should be aware that California has several new labor and employment laws on the books.

California’s New Minimum Wage

As of January 1, 2017, California’s minimum wage was raised from $10.00 to $10.50 for most employees in the state—California’s new minimum wage only applies to employees of businesses with 25 employees or more.

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California accident lawyer, California car crash attorneyNearly 15 percent of California drivers operate a vehicle without car insurance. This is above the national average of 12.6 percent. Many more California drivers are underinsured, meaning that their policy limits will not cover the property damage and bodily injuries resulting from a serious accident. Accident victims wonder what will happen to them if they get into a car accident where there is no insurance policy.

In these situations, the insurance coverage of the driver who was not at fault will typically come into play. If the uninsured driver has substantial assets that could cover the injuries, it may be possible to sue the at-fault driver. Wage garnishment may also be an option. However, typically those who drive without insurance do not have such assets.

Types of Coverage

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San Jose DUI defense attorneys, aggravated drivingUnder California law, what is the difference between driving under the influence (DUI) and aggravated driving under the influence? Aggravated driving under the influence is often talked about as if it were a separate offense. However, in reality it is simply a type of DUI under California law.

When a person is convicted of driving under the influence in California, the court will consider both mitigating and aggravating factors when deciding how the offender will be punished. An aggravated DUI in California is therefore a drunk driving offense involving one or more aggravating factors considered at sentencing.

Aggravating Factors Under California’s Drunk Driving Laws

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California injury lawyer, California accident attorneyAn accident that takes place in a stairway or stairwell can be more dangerous than a fall on a flat surface. If the fall occurs while the victim is descending, he or she could fall at a faster speed. If the fall occurs while the victim is ascending, there are numerous objects that could cause more injury like handrails or the steps themselves. As attorneys who have represented many slip and fall victims, we see several common stairway hazards that cause severe and painful injuries.

  • Uneven steps. Steps should be uniform in height;
  • Poorly lit steps. Stairwells often do not have the proper lighting making it difficult to see;
  • Wet steps. If there is a spill or if the steps have been recently mopped, warning signs should be posted;
  • Slick steps. If needed, steps should have adequate non-slip tape. This tape should be replaced as frequently as needed and should not be worn down;
  • Unmarked steps. Sometimes a small step or set of steps will be unmarked. Uneven steps should also be marked; and
  • Lack of handrail. Typically, there are regulations in place that require handrails. These handrails must be properly maintained and should be secure. They also should be placed at a specific height and more than one handrail may be required for wider stairways.

When Is Someone Responsible for My Stairway Fall?

All business owners and homeowners owe a duty to provide visitors with a reasonably safe environment. The biggest hurdle for a fall victim in proving a claim is typically the “notice requirement.” This requirement means that the owner must be aware or should have been aware of the dangerous condition.

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California wrongful death attorney, California pedestrian accident lawyerThe most recent data on pedestrian fatalities shows a steep increase compared to previous years. The number of pedestrian deaths for the first half of 2016 totaled 2,660, and experts estimate that the number of pedestrian fatalities in all of 2016 will be 5,997, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Accidents between cars and pedestrians are especially dangerous for the pedestrian. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney who can fully pursue your rights under California law.

Pedestrian Deaths In Previous Years

In 2015, there were 5,376 pedestrian fatalities, and in 2014 there were 4,910. Thus, the number of pedestrians fatalities in 2016 is estimated to be 11 percent higher than the 2015 figure and 22 percent higher than the 2014 figure.

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California car crash lawyer, California accident attorneyRoadway conditions and construction zones can cause serious accidents. If you believe that your car accident can be attributed to a dangerous roadway condition, you should contact an attorney as these claims are complicated to pursue.

Recently, there was a seven-car pileup in a construction area in California that led to a fire and bodily injury. While the cause of the accident is still being determined, construction zones are common places for accidents.

Sometimes the accidents are caused by driver error as drivers are more prone accidents in unfamiliar areas or where there are unexpected changes. Other times, the construction areas lack appropriate signage or are improperly designed. In these instances, the government or a government contractor may be responsible for your auto accident.

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San Jose traffic violations attorney, California traffic ticketNo one likes being pulled over by the police. People like it even less when they receive a ticket or citation as a result. However, for some, that is only the beginning of the problems. Many people work paycheck to paycheck and simply cannot afford to shell out extra money for an expense of which they did not plan or budget. Until this year, a program was in place to help those individuals. The California Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program was enacted in 2015 as a measure to relieve the financial burden receiving a ticket can have. However, that program ended as of April 3, 2017.

About the Amnesty Program

Under the program, drivers with unpaid tickets were eligible to have the amount they owed reduced or have their revoked driver’s license reinstated, barring any legal exclusions. Roughly 200,000 people were assisted by this program which helped them reduce the amount of debt they had to pay and the time frame in which they had to pay it. Now, the program has expired. So, what does that mean for you?

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San Jose criminal defense lawyers, shopliftingWhen you hear the word shoplifting you likely envision someone wandering around a store pretending to shop while he or she covertly slides merchandise into his or her bag or pockets. But do you think about someone cashing a forged check at a bank? Probably not. However, according to a recent ruling from the California Supreme Court, cashing a forged check can now be classified as shoplifting under some circumstances.

This new ruling comes from the case People v. Gonzales and expands our state’s definition of shoplifting to not only refer to stealing merchandise from a store while pretending to be a customer, but also encompasses other types of theft as well based on the definitions provided in Proposition 47.

People v. Gonzales

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