parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200With the rise of the freelancer economy, workers, employers, and lawmakers have all faced questions of who is truly an employee versus and independent contractor. For the past few years, employers have erred on the side of classifying workers as independent contractors. It saves them money since they do not have to offer health insurance, other benefits, or pay taxes on those workers. However, it puts the contractors at a distinct disadvantage since they pay additional taxes and are forced to purchase their own health insurance policies. They also miss out on important employee rights, including workers’ compensation insurance. Not to mention, many freelancers face difficulties saving for retirement without employer-sponsored plans.

This year, a case made its way to the California Supreme Court posing an important question regarding how workers can and should be classified. The court took a worker-friendly approach, which will make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.

If, under California’s new rule, you believe your employer is misclassifying you as an independent contractor, contact a San Francisco employment attorney at Brod Law Firm.

mike-wilson-175347-225x300As rents in certain areas of the country skyrocket, more and more tenants are asking why there is not some – or a better – form of rent control. As of right now, most landlords can increase the rent as much as they like as long as they give proper notice. One of the reasons for this in California is the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which was passed in 1995. The Act imposes limits on the kind of rent control policies cities can adopt. However, a measure to repeal the Act may be headed to the next November ballot in California.

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act

There are a few significant provisions with the Act that many tenants believe are harmful in today’s real estate market. The Act bans cities from using rent caps on any unit built after February 1995. This a majority of apartments in California’s major cities cannot be rent controlled. All of the new development going up in cities like San Francisco can have exceedingly high rents and there is little local governments can do about it.

hogarth-de-la-plante-17754-copy-300x179On Monday, April 30, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) vehicle was parked on the right shoulder of I-80 in Fairfield. It was struck from behind by a white Mitsubishi Mirage prior to 3:40 p.m. The Mitsubishi driver and two passengers, one seated in the back and the other in the front passenger seat, were all seriously injured and taken to a local hospital. The CHP officer suffered moderate injuries. The accident is currently under investigation. If the Mitsubishi driver is found to be at fault, then the injured parties may file a personal injury claim against the driver and their insurance policy.

If you were injured in a crash in California, do not hesitate to ask for legal help. The personal injury lawyers at Brod Law Firm have years of experience handling car accident claims. By calling us, you obtain an experienced and knowledgeable advocate who will fight hard for your right to compensation. Contact Brod Law Firm today online or by calling (800) 427-7020.

Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents

petra-cigale-128139-unsplash-copy-300x200The U.S. is dealing with a large outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with romaine lettuce, and a few states, including California, have been hit particularly hard. The initial announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding an outbreak of E. coli took place on April 10. As of the initial announcement, 17 individuals in seven states had been affected. Their illnesses had developed between March 22 and 31. Of those individuals, six had been hospitalized. One individual had been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure and one of the more severe potential side effects of an E. coli infection. Since April 10, the outbreak has worsened.

Information as of April 25

The CDC reports that, as of April 25, 84 cases of E. coli infection have been linked to romaine lettuce produced in or around Yuma, Arizona. Individuals affected are spread across 19 states. There have been no deaths, though 42 people have been hospitalized and nine have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. California has had 13 residents affected by the foodborne illness. The only state hit harder is Pennsylvania with 18 infected individuals.

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200San Diego has become well-known around the country for being a safe and family-friendly city. The area has been enjoying a decreasing crime rate in recent years. However, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan says the work is not finished. Stephen’s office is focusing on reducing incidents of elder abuse, recognizing it when it happens, properly investigating it, and prosecuting it when necessary.

San Diego County’s “Blueprint”

In March, the county D.A.’s office launched an initiative against elder abuse, which has been on the rise in the previous five years. The D.A.’s office has compiled information and tools that they are referring to as a “blueprint” designed to help key professionals identify elder abuse and effectively question those affected by it, including seniors who may be suffering from dementia.

matthew-hamilton-135738-copy-300x200On March 7, Gregory Lopez answered Brenan Brock’s request for a ride on the Uber app. As Lopez drove down I-5 in Orange County around 1 a.m., his 2016 Jeep Compass ran out of gas. Lopez attempted to coast to the right shoulder, but the vehicle came to a full stop in one of the highway lanes. Brock was put in the position of having to get out of the vehicle and help Lopez push the Jeep to the side of the road. Brock, now exposed on the highway, was struck by Jonathan Tavita. Brock suffered such devastating injuries that physicians were forced to amputate both of his legs. Brock filed a lawsuit against Uber, the Uber driver, Uber’s insurance carrier, Hertz, and Tavita in April alleging negligence and negligence infliction of emotional distress.

Uber Crashes

While ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft are growing in popularity, so are the number of accidents the Uber and Lyft drivers are involved in. Ridesharing drivers are not professional drivers in the sense that they do not have any specific or additional training than what is required to obtain a normal driver’s license. They are just as likely to be careless or reckless behind the wheel as any other driver. It comes as no surprise, then, that many passengers have experienced accidents that caused them injuries like Brock’s.

david-klein-407116-unsplash-copy-240x300In early March, a video was released showing a 5-year-old dangling from a chairlift at Bear Mountain Ski Resort. The young child slipped from the chairlift shortly after it started moving. The child’s ski instructor caught her by her hoodie. During the time she was dangling from the lift, the child was choked by her the hoodie and her helmet. Thankfully, the young girl was able to safely drop to a tarp. She suffered bruising to her neck.

From initial reports, it appears at least two things went wrong. The night before, rain in the area froze, causing ice on the equipment. The child’s parents believe the lifts were not properly cleaned in the morning before being put to use. Also, when the child, her sibling, and the instructor got on the chairlift, the safety bar was not brought down. Bear Mountain officials are investigating the accident to determine what went wrong and how to prevent similar occurrences.

Ski Resorts are Not Liable for All Injuries

matthew-hamilton-135738-copy-300x200On March 23, a San Mateo resident, Wei Huang, 38, passed away after his Tesla Model X collided with a median on Highway 101. The initial collision caused a three-vehicle crash with a Mazda and Audi. The Tesla sustained a significant amount of damage and the exposed lithium ion battery caught fire. In order to combat the fire, local firefighters used the available water source. They also contacted the Palo Alto-based Tesla, and engineers disassembled a part of the car battery on the interstate. The engine was closely monitored afterward since the batteries can reignite for up to 24 hours after cooling.

Accident Leads to Investigation

Following the fatal crash, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board sent two investigators to review the accident. The NTSB is interested in why the crash occurred, why the battery caught fire, and the procedures used to contain the situation afterward. It is unclear, as of now, whether Tesla’s Autopilot feature was in control of the vehicle at the time or whether Huang was driving.

marcus-zymmer-189542-unsplash-copy-300x200In February, two separate personal plane crashes led to three fatalities. The most recent crash occurred on February 21. Dr. John Serocki, 61, embarked on a solo flight in a single-engine Cirrus SR22T from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport. His plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and he passed away at the scene. No one on the ground was injured. It was not immediately clear why the crash occurred, though it is possible that the engine failed.

Earlier that month, on February 6, a single-engine Cessna 182T crashed after taking off from Gillespie Field. The plane, carrying John and Cherril Longhurst, 70 and 71, respectively, crashed about one mile from the runway.

Both crashes are being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If a plane crash investigation determines that the cause of the crash was something other than pilot error, then the surviving family members may have a legal claim against the responsible party.  

miguel-a-ramirez-18261-copy-217x300Due to medical advancements in the past decade, physicians can now cure Hepatitis C, which is a chronic liver disorder. However, the drug regime is extremely expensive, making it inaccessible to a significant percentage of the population that needs it, including prison inmates. Prisoners in California and numerous other states are fighting for access to the cure instead of relying on old and ineffective treatments, many of which have debilitating side effects.

What is Hep C?

Hep C is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. Many people do not exhibit symptoms for a long time, which delays diagnosis. When systems do present, people may experience stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and jaundice. People with Hep C may bruise and bleed easily. They could have fluid retention in their abdomen and swelling in their legs. The infection also may lead to confusion and slurred speech.