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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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CA employment lawyerLong-term disability benefits may have been offered as one of the perks in your employment contract. In addition to other types of insurance, these benefits protect you in the event the unexpected occurs. If an injury or illness does prevent you from working, long-term disability payments can provide a lifeline to ensure you and your family are provided for. However, it is not uncommon for insurers to deny or dispute benefits. The following highlights some of the most common reasons you are likely to have trouble collecting on your claim.

Denial of Long-Term Disability Benefits

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60 million people currently live with some type of disability. This amounts to roughly one out of every four Americans. Disabilities can impact your physical health along with your cognitive abilities and may have occurred as a result of a chronic condition or due to sudden and unexpected illnesses or injuries.

If you have been diagnosed with a disability that impairs your ability to work, employer-sponsored benefits may be available. Unfortunately, obtaining these benefits can provide challenging. Insurance companies are in business to make money and one of the ways they do this is by reducing payouts. While your rights to benefits are protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and other state or federal laws, there are common reasons in which a claim may be denied. These include:

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San Jose CA DUI defense lawyerNo matter the circumstances, a DUI is always a serious charge that can carry pretty serious circumstances. When you cause the death or bodily injury of another while you are driving under the influence of alcohol, all of a sudden those charges become even more serious and you will probably face felony charges, rather than misdemeanor charges. When you are charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, you could face years in jail, among other consequences.

DUI With Injury: VEH 23153

If you cause injury to another person while you are driving under the influence, you can be charged with a DUI with injury as per the California Vehicle Code. In order to be charged with this crime, it must be proven that you violated at least one of California’s DUI laws, that you broke another law or acted negligently while driving and that the negligence caused an injury to someone else. DUI with injury can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Typically, a misdemeanor charge will carry a sentence of five days to one year in county jail, informal probation for three to five years, up to $5,000 in fines and a suspension of your driving privileges.

Vehicular Manslaughter and Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated: PEN 191.5(b) and PEN 191.5(a)

If you cause the death of another person while you were driving under the influence, you may be charged with either vehicular manslaughter or gross vehicular manslaughter. Essentially, these two charges are the same thing, but with a gross vehicular manslaughter charge, it must be proven that you acted with gross negligence when you caused the death. Gross negligence occurs when you act in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury and most people would have known that the reckless act created the high risk of death or bodily injury.

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CA injury lawyerDrowsy driving is a major safety issue on the road and it is a particular concern for truck drivers. Long hours and lack of sleep impair vision, reflexes, and judgment while putting you in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel. Unfortunately, police allege that this is exactly what happened in a recent fatal truck accident in San Jose, which blocked traffic for hours and claimed the life of a passenger in the vehicle.

San Jose Truck Accident Kills One, Injures Another

A recent truck accident on Highway 101 in San Jose left one person dead and another with serious injuries. The collision occurred at 3:45 a.m. as the truck was heading northbound near the area of area of McKee Road. Originating in Los Angeles, the unidentified driver had apparently been on the road all night, while an unnamed male passenger slept in the backseat of the truck.

The driver is reported to have temporarily dozed off, causing the box truck he was operating to drift off the right shoulder of the highway and towards an embankment. The truck overturned, causing fuel to spill all over the road. The passenger, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, suffered fatal head injuries while the driver was rushed to a local hospital with injuries that were reported as severe. Fortunately, no other vehicles were involved in the crash.

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CA injury lawyerIn the aftermath of an accidental injury, you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance claim. Whether it involves holding the person responsible for your accident accountable through their coverage or relying on a personal injury policy you have in place, an insurance settlement can help offset the medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs you incur when motor vehicle crashes, slips and falls, and other common types of accidents happen. Unfortunately, while these companies promote themselves as being ‘on your side’ when you need them, the fact is that even the biggest names in the business can engage in bad faith insurance practices as a way of avoiding paying on your claim.

Turning Premiums into Profits

You pay monthly or yearly insurance premiums with the idea that if you get into an accident or cause another person injuries, you will be covered. Insurers portray themselves as ‘good neighbors’ and there to help when you need them, but the fact is that they are for-profit businesses whose bottom line is protecting their own assets.

The American Association of Justice has conducted extensive studies on some of the largest, most well known and trusted insurers in the U.S. and the practices they often employ. Taking in more than $1 trillion each year in premiums, they turn these into profits by disputing, downplaying, and denying claims. Common ways they do this include:

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San Jose, CA murder charge attorneyIn common conversation, many terms are often used interchangeably. In everyday terms, murder, homicide and manslaughter can take on the same meaning, but in legal terms, they each have distinct meanings with very different consequences. To complicate this area of the law, murder has multiple degrees of charges, all which have different requirements and various punishments. California’s Penal Code goes into detail about each type of murder charge and the punishments that offenders face if they are convicted of the crime. 

Murder

Simply put, murder is the unlawful killing of a human being by another human being. In order for a killing to be considered murder, there must be “malice aforethought.” This means that the person accused of killing another person must be proven to have a blatant disrespect for human life or committed an act that had a very high probability that death would result from the act. Murder is classified into two charges: first-degree murder and second-degree murder.

First-Degree Murder: In order for first-degree murder charges to be brought, one of the following must be met:

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CA injury lawyerThis year is looking to be another year of increased social activism in the Bay area, with the Women’s March and other, smaller events taking place last month. While the focus is often on protecting your rights to peacefully assemble and what to do when confronted by the police, it is also important to be aware of how to protect your personal safety against the actions of counter-protesters. Unfortunately, clashes can turn violent and result in serious personal injuries. The following outlines what you can do to be prepared.

Louis C.K. Protest Spurs Physical Assault

Allegations of sexual misconduct against comedian Louis C.K. are among the many to have sprung out of the #metoo movement in 2017. Event bookings were quickly canceled and invitations disappeared in the aftermath. However the comic, who has never been one to shy away from controversy, recently began booking club dates again, which included a stop in San Jose.

C.K. was scheduled to perform at the San Jose Improv, with sold-out shows on Wednesday, January 16th and Thursday, January 17th of 2019. On opening night, more than 30 protesters showed up outside as well, picketing against what they claimed was giving an acknowledged sexual harasser a platform in the community.

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CA employment lawyerThe job field is competitive for workers in the San Jose area, with numerous qualified candidates eager to fill positions. If you are a disabled person, it may feel like you are at a distinct disadvantage in terms of obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. While unfair labor practices are still rampant, there are numerous employment laws in place to protect you against disability discrimination. The following highlights important information you need to be aware of to defend yourself and your rights.

Protection Against Disability Discrimination on the Job

According to the Pew Research Center, close to 40 million Americans suffer some type of disability. While some of these are unable to work, physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments that prevent them from working or performing even simple daily tasks, more than half play a vital role in performing a variety of different types of jobs.

Unfortunately, those with disabilities face numerous obstacles in the workplace. For one, Pew reports that they are likely to earn less than other workers. Even getting hired by a potential employer may be a challenge, but the Employment Development Department (EDD) provides services in San Jose and throughout California to help you obtain job skills and employment. It is also important to be aware that throughout the process, there are both state and federal laws in place to protect you.

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San Jose, CA probation violation lawyerBeing convicted of a crime can be a pretty scary situation. There are a few different punishments that you can receive for most crimes. The sentence you receive entirely depends on the crime itself, the actions that you took and the circumstances surrounding the crime. All crimes will have minimum punishment requirements, but the actual punishment you are sentenced with depends on what the judge determines is the most appropriate course of action. Probation can be a great option for many offenders, but it does come with certain stipulations that you are required to follow. If you break the terms of your probation, you could face even more consequences.

Probation Terms

According to the California Penal Code, probation is a type of sentence that can be imposed with or without incarceration in state prison or county jail. You can be granted probation for both misdemeanor convictions or felony convictions, but both types of probation are designed to help rehabilitate offenders, rather than punish them.

The California Penal Code describes the guidelines for the terms and conditions of the probation, though they are very wide. Common types of terms and conditions for California probation include:

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CA accident lawyerNumerous factors can contribute to car accidents and there may be multiple drivers involved. The actions of one motorist can end up causing a chain reaction, eventually involving numerous other cars and potentially serious injuries. In these situations, it requires a thorough investigation to determine all those who may be responsible so that you can get the compensation you are entitled to in a claim.

San Jose Multi-Vehicle Crash Proves Fatal

On October 28, 2018, CBS SF Bay Area reported on a multi-vehicle accident which occurred in San Jose. It happened on Interstate Highway 280 at roughly 4:00 a.m., a time when traffic is not typically heavy. Involving a total of four different vehicles, it killed one of the drivers while leaving several others with potentially serious injuries.

Preliminary investigations by the California Highway Patrol show the multi-vehicle crash occurred in the following sequence:

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CA injury lawyerIn San Jose and other major cities, scooters have been increasingly embraced as a fun hobby and a fast, convenient form of transportation. While they become even more widespread in use and integrated into the transportation system, there continue to be reports regarding potentially serious accidents and personal injuries  which are raising concerns. San Jose officials are the latest to threaten a ban, claiming the scooters are a menace to both motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic and generally jeopardize public safety.

Google Maps Integrating Scooters in App

Google recently announced that it would begin integrating Lime scooters and bikes into its existing Map application, making it easier for users to locate the nearest shared vehicle. Lime will now take its place alongside ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Not only will this help to increase convenience for Lime Users, but it should also serve to increase the number of people using the motorized scooters both for entertainment as well as for travel purposes.

Google is rolling out the Lime integration in 13 major cities, including San Jose and other metropolitan areas throughout California where Lime scooters are currently in use. Other U.S. locations include Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Scottsdale, Arizona, Baltimore, Maryland, and Seattle, Washington. Lime is also catching on overseas and can now be easily located through Google Maps in Auckland, New Zealand and in Brisbane, Australia. While it is good news for the company and its users, there are those that have serious concerns about potential safety issues.

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CA employment lawyerAt one time, generous pension plans and retirement packages were a given with some jobs. Unfortunately, as times have changed, benefit packages have become increasingly sparse and need to be carefully negotiated as part of your employment contract. Government workers have traditionally enjoyed better benefits than some private sector workers, but a new policy initiated by the governor could cause some major setbacks. While private employer-sponsored benefits are protected by ERIS laws, the so-called ‘California Rule’ adds additional protections to government workers against having pension benefits eliminated without providing compensation. The court is currently reviewing the rule and the outcome has the potential to wreak havoc with these worker’s futures and may cost them significant amounts of money.

The California Rule and Government Pension Benefits

The California Rule is a policy in regards to pension benefits, which has its origins in the 1950s. The National Public Pension Coalition states that the idea was simple and something that made perfect sense: when a public worker is hired to a job and enters into an employment contract, the pension benefits they are offered cannot be diminished without offering some sort of compensation to take the place. It is a rule that several other states follow as well, but it has recently come under fire in the California Supreme Court.

Five years ago, Governor Jerry Brown enacted sweeping pension reforms designed to scale back some of the more generous perks public workers were alleged to be receiving. Spurred by the Great Recession, the scale back was designed to cut government spending while saving taxpayer money. Opponents of the changes, comprised largely of union leaders and public service employees, claim that the reforms allowed employers to significantly cut pre-agreed on benefits, without offering anything in return. A lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court against the governor, seeking to have the reforms overturned.

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyWhen you are accused of a crime, it can feel like you have no control over your situation. The criminal process can be confusing, and it can sometimes feel like a waiting game when you are in the middle of the criminal justice system process. Though you do have limited control over your situation when you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you do have. The United States Constitution guarantees specific rights to each and every U.S. citizen if they are ever accused of a crime. These rights were granted to citizens to ensure that each person has the same chance to a fair trial.

Right to Be Presumed Innocent

When you are accused of a crime, you are presumed to be innocent. In California, the burden is on the state to prove that you are guilty of the crime you are being accused of. This is where the widely-known phrase “innocent until proven guilty” comes from. Going along with your right to presumed innocence, you must also be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which was put into place to try to prevent people from being incriminated on scant evidence.

Right to Remain Silent

As many people know from popular television shows like “Cops,” the right to remain silent is one of the first rights you are informed of when you are arrested or before you are interrogated by police. Thanks to the Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, all citizens have the right against self-incrimination. This right means that you do not have to answer any questions or make any statements to police and that a jury cannot use your silence to infer guilt.

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CA injury lawyerAccidental injuries can happen due to a variety of situations. However, there are plenty of cases in which the injuries you suffered were caused intentionally. You may have been a victim of assault and battery injuries which was committed by someone you know or due to violent interactions with strangers. In either situation, the person who committed the act can be held personally liable for the medical costs, lost wages, and other damages you suffer.

Assault and Battery Injuries

Under the California Penal Code, an assault occurs when someone attempts to commit a violent act on another with the ability and intent of causing injuries. A battery is the actual use of force or violence on another person. Both actions can result in serious criminal charges.

In addition to the criminal penalties perpetrators face, such as fines, court costs, and a potential jail sentence, they could be forced through the courts to pay restitution to the victim. While this may cover some of your medical costs and expenses, it may not cover any long-term damages you suffer as a result. In addition to the emotional trauma and the potential for scarring, assault and battery injuries can have major impacts on your overall health:

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CA injury lawyerThere are numerous traffic situations where making a U-turn may seem like a good idea. Encountering unexpected traffic conditions, missing your exit ramp on a highway or a turn you needed to make on a city street, or simply realizing you are headed the wrong direction are all common scenarios which could cause you to attempt this type of traffic maneuver. While in general, U-turns are legal throughout California and throughout San Jose, there are situations where they are prohibited and could put you, your passengers, and other motorists at risk from car accidents and injuries.

Fatal U-Turn Accident

A U-turn accident recently occurred in San Jose, which left one person dead and others involved with serious injuries. The crash occurred just before noon on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at the 800 Block of South Jackson Avenue. While police have yet to name the victims, traffic crash reports indicate that a Honda Accord headed south attempted to make an illegal u-turn north. As he stopped in the road, he was struck by a Chevy Trailblazer also in the southbound lanes.

As a result of the crash, both drivers and three passengers in the Honda suffered serious injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals, where one of the passengers died a short time later. It appears both drivers may have been somewhat to blame for the crash, which was the 44th fatal car accident to occur in San Jose over the course of the year.

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San Jose CA theft charges attorneyThere are many times in which certain words can be interchanged and used in place of one another. When you are dealing with the law, it is crucial that wording is precise, so as to avoid as much confusion as possible. While you are pretty much able to use theft, robbery and burglary in the same context in normal conversation, they mean three very different things when you are speaking in the context of the law. They are separate charges that each come with their own punishments. If you have been charged with theft, robbery or burglary, it is important to know what exactly you have been charged with and the consequences for that charge.

Theft

Two terms that are interchangeable in California law are theft and larceny. California law states that larceny occurs when a person takes, steals, carries, leads or drives away the personal property of another person. There are many ins and outs of theft in California -- the punishments vary greatly depending on the type of objects that were taken and the value of those objects. Typically, grand theft can carry a prison sentence of up to a year and a monetary fine. Petty theft can carry a $1,000 fine, six months in county jail or both.

Robbery

According to California law, theft is defined as the felonious taking of personal property that is in possession of another person and in his immediate presence, accomplished by means of force or fear. Fear can mean the fear of unlawful injury to the person who is robbed, relatives or family members of that person, or anyone in that person’s company. Punishment for robbery can vary. If the person robbed a dwelling alongside two or more other people, they could be looking at three, six or nine years in the state prison. In cases other than that, a person who commits robbery will be facing three, four or six years in state prison.

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CA injury lawyerWhen running late for an appointment or when frustrated over congested traffic conditions, it is not uncommon for drivers to engage in aggressive driving behaviors. Honking your horn, refusing to yield, and tailgating are all common on roads and highways in San Jose and throughout the Bay Area. These types of behaviors are dangerous and lead to an increased risk of car accidents and injuries. They can also easily escalate to a level of road rage. In a recent case, a local man was sentenced to more than two years in prison for an incident involving law enforcement officials.

Road Rage Results in Federal Sentence for San Jose Man

A local San Jose man accused of getting involved in a road rage incident more than a year ago with a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officer was recently convicted in District Court. A man was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison on December 12, 2018, after pleading guilty in the altercation that occurred in May of 2017.

At the time, the man had been driving a Chevy Suburban on Interstate 680 and going at a high rate of speed when he became enraged at a driver of a Dodge Journey, who he deemed as going too slow in the fast lane. The man switched lanes, pulled up alongside the Dodge, and threw a chisel at the vehicle. It broke the rolled up passenger side window and landed in the lap of the driver, who just happened to be a federal DEA agent. The agent was not injured in the attack, but the other driver was charged with aggravated assault.

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CA injury lawyerFor colder climates, the beginning of December and the holiday season means an increased chance for snow and icy conditions. In the San Jose area, warmer temperatures mean that winter weather often brings a deluge of rain, as was the case recently. Heavy rains and flooding have impacted the entire South Bay area, and while not perceived to be as dangerous as snow or ice accumulations, has resulted in an increase of car accidents and injuries. At this time of year, it is important to be aware of the impact rain can have on driver safety and to take the steps needed to protect yourself.

Rain and Car Accident Risks

Heavy rains and storms have been passing through the Bay area since Thanksgiving and are taking a heavy toll on drivers. News media reported that multiple car accidents have been blamed on the weather, while heavy flooding and submerged roads have caught drivers off guard.

Numerous accidents and breakdowns have occurred over the past several weeks. On busy bridges and highways, they have the potential to cause multi-vehicle pileups, resulting in serious injuries and property damages while tying up traffic for hours at a time. Rain and wet conditions are nothing new in the San Jose area, but many drivers fail to recognize how they can increase car accident risks.

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San Jose, CA evading police charges defense lawyerWhen you see red and blue lights flashing behind you, you probably get a nervous, dreadful feeling in your stomach. In situations like these, our fight or flight response is initiated, but listening to your instinct telling you to flee the situation is one of the worst possible things you can do. If a police officer is trying to pull you over it is illegal for you to try to outrun them or flee from them, and you can get into serious trouble for doing so. If you attempt to flee or evade a police officer, you could be facing jail time, fines and even a driver’s license suspension.

California Vehicle Code Offenses

There are technically four offenses that you can be charged with if you attempt to flee or evade a police officer. California Vehicle Code VEH 2800 contains information about each separate offense.

Evading a Police Officer -- VEH 2800.1

According to the code, you are guilty of a misdemeanor when you evade or attempt to elude a police officer if all of the following conditions are true:

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CA employment lawyerIn the current political climate, immigration is a hot-button issue. As a result, it is increasingly likely now for employees to find immigration-related issues spilling over into the workforce. As a form of employment discrimination, it cuts both ways in the San Jose area. While foreign-born workers with green cards and work permits have long faced harassment and unfair treatment on the job site, in the local tech industry there are claims that visa holders have a distinct advantage.

Accusations that Tech Companies Favor Visa Holders

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., a company with revenue over $19 billion in the past fiscal year which has launched a customer collaboration center and digital re-animation studio in Silicon Valley, was recently cleared of charges that they engaged in discriminatory hiring practices. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in Oakland federal court against the company in 2015. At that time, company workers alleged in a class action lawsuit that Tata discriminated against non-Asian workers. In addition to unfair hiring practices, the plaintiffs claimed that American employees were more than 13 times more likely to be fired than their Asian counterparts.

The original complaint was filed by an IT worker, who claimed roughly 95 percent of Tata’s 14,000 US employees were of Asian descent. He also cited the fact that Tata was the second largest company in the country in terms of hiring workers under the H-1B Visa program. H-1B visas allow companies to recruit and bring into the country foreign-born workers who are highly skilled in their fields. Tata is not the first American company to face these accusations. The U.S. Department of Labor found Cisco Systems guilty of the same types of charges.

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CA injury lawyerFor pedestrians, being struck by a motor vehicle can result in serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. In many cases, it is the reckless actions of drivers who are to blame in these collisions. For victims, getting compensation in a claim can help offset the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages they suffer. In the event injuries prove fatal, holding the at-fault driver accountable can help give grieving family members a sense of justice.

When these types of tragic events involve hit and run accidents, this can end up proving challenging. Witnesses to the accident are often invaluable in providing information that can lead to apprehending these suspects. In the case of a recent fatal hit and run accident in San Jose, witnesses went one step further, preventing a potential hit and run driver from fleeing the scene.

Fatal Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident in San Jose

Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, a fatal pedestrian accident happened on the Capitol Expressway in San Jose. The collision occurred on Saturday, November 24, 2018, when an identified female was hit by a 2018 Ford truck traveling in the eastbound lanes. Investigators report that after striking the victim, the 39-year-old San Jose driver attempted to leave the scene.

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