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Wrongfully Terminated in California After Complaining About COVID Safety Issues? Read This.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced employers to rethink workplace safety for their workers. Unfortunately, not every company has properly implemented these safety protocols to keep their employees protected. It’s important to KNOW YOUR RIGHTS as an employee during these times. It’s against the law for your employer to terminate or penalize you for: Filing a complaint against the company you work for. Refusing to work without proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Taking time off to recover from COVID-19 or to care for a loved one in your household who has the virus (in most cases). Additionally, California employees now have even greater protections thanks to new laws that were passed this year. (Scroll down to the next section for the details.) If you believe you were fired for one or more of the reasons listed above, or you felt you had to quit due to your employer’s failure to create a safe work environment during the pandemic, you should take legal action. You could be entitled to compensation, and it’s your right to seek the financial recovery you deserve. Click here to learn about how our attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm can assist you. It’s also helpful to brush up on the latest COVID-related protections for employees in California... Additional Employee Protections: New California Laws for 2021 The California Legislature introduced the following brand-new laws in 2021 to expand protection for employees affected by COVID. Here’s a recap: Paid family leave available for more employees As of Jan. 1, workers of companies in California with five or more employees are now allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave to take care of sick family members, with the assurance that they will not lose their jobs. Previously, this right was only extended to employees for companies with 50 or more employees. Under the new law, a “family member” can include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and in-laws, in addition to spouses and children. Employers required to notify employees about possible exposure New legislation requires businesses to inform employees within one business day upon learning about any potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. With that notification, they must also provide employees with information about the company’s safety measures for combating the virus, information about workers’ compensation and sick leave, and protection from retaliation. The employer is additionally required to notify local public health officials if the company experiences a COVID-19 outbreak, which is defined as three lab-confirmed cases in the workplace within a span of two weeks. Expanded workers’ compensation eligibility for employees who get COVID Before 2021, it was next to impossible for employees to qualify for workers’ compensation on the basis COVID-19, due to the fact that it’s difficult to prove where the virus is contracted.  In May 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom put the burden of proof on the employer for frontline workers. Under the governor’s order, frontline workers who came down with COVID-19 from March through July were presumed to have contracted the virus from work unless the employer was able to prove otherwise. This made them eligible for workers’ compensation. A new California law in 2021 extends the timeline beyond July for healthcare workers and first responders, and it also applies the “disputable presumption” (the presumption that the virus was contracted at work) to all types of workers at businesses with five employees or more. However, the presumption only applies to those who were working during the time of an outbreak at the job site. (The outbreak must meet certain qualifying standards as set forth by the law.) In short, it’s now a lot easier for all types of workers to qualify for workers’ compensation for COVID-related illness. What to Do If You Your Rights Were Violated Don’t let your former employer get away with illegal activity. Whether the violations occurred in 2020 or 2021, our employment law attorneys and class action lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm are here to help. Click here to learn more about how our team can assist you. We offer FREE, no-obligation consultations!

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Post Collision Fuel-Fed Fires and Burn Injuries

PCFFF (post collision fuel-fed fire) is a common acronym used within the personal injury law community. It stands for “post collision fuel-fed fire.” The US Fire Administration cites post collision fuel-fed fires as the number one cause of car deaths. Car fires can happen for a multitude of reasons, ranging from manufacturing defects like the improper placement of a fuel tank to problems with transmission fluids. The majority of car fires are not fatal – unless there is a burn injury involved. Since most fire injuries occur because of manufacturing issues and are not the victim’s fault, personal injury victims are entitled to hold the manufacturers of motor vehicles accountable. Wilshire Law Firm can get you the financial compensation you deserve! How Common Are Car Accident Fires? Car accident fires are relatively rare. However, the impact of severe burns to an injury victim can be scarring in more ways than one. Those with medical bills from any smoke inhalation that occurred, chemical burns, or any other injuries from their accident may be entitled to compensation for the damages they have suffered. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were a total of 212,500 vehicle fires in 2019. Of those 212,500 vehicle fires, 49% were caused by mechanical malfunctions! Only a small 3% were caused by the crash itself. That is why it is so important to recognize and be aware of the potential causes of a car fire accident – to prevent injuries and fatalities. Causes of Car Crash Fires Several components can lead to a car fire accident, and it is incredibly important that drivers are aware of these factors so that they can do their part in preventing a car accident fire. Very rarely is the cause of the fire the actual crash! The top four causes of car accident fires are: Mechanical Malfunctions Spilled Fluids Electrical Failures Car Crash or Rollover Accident Levels of Burn Injuries A burn is medically defined as damage to the skin caused by extreme heat, flame, contact with chemicals, or hot surfaces. There are several “levels” of serious burn injury, categorized from least severe to most severe. First degree burns These affect the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). The burn site is colored red and may be painful and blistered. There is a very small likelihood of any long-term damage. These types of burns can usually be treated with easy over-the-counter healing treatment. Second degree burns (“partial thickness burns”) This occurs when the burn affects both the epidermis and the lower layer of skin, the dermis. The burn is generally extremely painful, blistered, and has white and red splotches. Third degree burns (“full-thickness burns”) A burn is considered to be a third degree burn when it not only completely burns the epidermis and dermis, but also burns the innermost layer of skin. This type of burn is considered to be very severe and the burn site is likely to appear blackened or completely white and may result in permanent scarring. Fourth degree burns This is considered the most dangerous level of a severe burn. This type of burn means every single layer of skin is damaged, as well as the bones and muscles underneath. Due to severe nerve damage, there is likely to be almost no pain associated with the immediate aftermath of this burn. You would likely need to get some form of skin graft if you experienced this level of burn. Burn injuries that lead to personal injury lawsuits often result in scarring and/or disfigurement to the burn victim. This type of injury is far from being just a simple surface wound and can even permanently change a victim’s life. Can I File a Fire Injury Lawsuit? Yes. If you believe that your burn injury is even partially due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the degree of injury suffered by the affected party and the cost of future medical treatment, the value of each case may fluctuate. To determine the value of your personal injury case, we will need to examine the extent of injuries received, as well as future medical expenses. Most law firms do not have the extensive experience and knowledge necessary to get you the compensation you deserve and maximize the value of your claim. With special legal cases like car accident burn injuries, you need an injury lawyer you can trust. Contact Wilshire Law Firm immediately for an absolutely free case evaluation with no obligation. We will give you our opinion as to the value and liability. Who is Held Accountable? Identifying defendants in a burn injury compensation lawsuit might not be obvious. Your injury lawyer can review your case and determine who should be held at fault or otherwise be found negligent for your injuries. In most cases, there can be both direct and indirect liability in your case. There are likely multiple separate defendants in your case; ranging from property owners to the electrical company. That is exactly why it is so essential to talk to an injury lawyer as soon as possible after experiencing a serious injury in a burn accident. Consulting an Attorney If you are an accident victim, you have the right to seek complete justice for the pain and suffering you have experienced. It is important that you take action right away if you believe that you may be entitled to financial compensation. In California, the statute of limitations gives an individual with a personal injury case two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit. Don’t wait; call Wilshire Law Firm today! Our trial attorneys are known for their fearless advocacy and willingness to fight for our clients and their unique situations. We have a reputation for obtaining maximum value for our personal injury lawsuits and making sure that our clients get the justice they deserve. Wilshire Law Firm is a premier personal injury law firm with extensive experience fighting big manufacturing and insurance companies to get our clients the maximum compensation for their car fire injury. Our law firm will hold people and institutions accountable for the injuries they have caused. We can all help make our communities safer when we pursue the justice we deserve. Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a FREE case consultation! Call +1-800-522-7274.

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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

As scary as it is to admit, you never know when you will need a personal injury lawyer. Nobody ever thinks they will find themselves in a scenario that requires an attorney, and most people don't expect to fall victim to a serious injury. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries happen to people every single day – even to careful individuals who have done nothing wrong. By nature, you can't prepare for an accident (whether that’s a car accident, a pedestrian accident, a slip and fall accident, or something else), but you can plan what you will do in the aftermath. One of the best things that you can do to protect yourself in the event of an accident is to find the right legal help – but that requires to you know how to choose a personal injury lawyer. Being prepared and knowing what questions to ask can make all the difference in your case, from the amount of money you’ll be able to recover for your injury to the level of stress you have to deal with throughout the legal process. Make sure you choose an attorney who will provide you with the level of support you need, as well as someone who is qualified to get you the best outcome possible for your accident case. To help you navigate the process of choosing the best personal injury lawyer in California or elsewhere, read the tips below. 5 Steps to Take in the Lawyer Selection Process Below are a few steps you should take when researching and evaluating attorneys for your personal injury case. 1. Evaluate their experience. The more experience a lawyer has in personal injury law, the more likely they are to succeed in your case. That’s because they’ve seen it all, so they know how to handle even the biggest obstacles, from proving the damages of highly complex, catastrophic injuries to seeing through the tricks of manipulative insurance companies. An accident lawyer with years of experience under their belt is likely already familiar with the kind of personal injury case you’re bringing to them. To properly assess an attorney’s level of experience, make sure to ask the following questions:  Is personal injury one of the main practice areas they focus on as a lawyer and as a firm? (For some general-practice law firms, personal injury could be one of a dozen types of law they practice, meaning they only deal with these cases from time to time, and they might not have the right level of experience.) How many years has the attorney and law firm been handling these types of cases? Does the attorney have extensive trial experience? Are they well-recognized and well-respected in the personal injury law community? (This recognition might be in the form of professional awards, membership/leadership in personal injury or trial lawyer associations, etc.) Do they have experience handling the specific type of case you’re dealing with? (For example, if you suffered from a brain injury, does their firm have experience winning compensation in brain injury cases?) 2. Ensure they have a strong track record for success. Keep in mind that there are many attorneys who have years of experience but still do not actually have a strong track record of success. For example, they may be known for giving in to low-ball settlements from the insurance company, or they might not have proven results for winning the toughest, most high-value cases. As you consider an attorney, review their case results and ask these questions: Have they consistently recovered multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts for clients? Do they have experience winning cases involving catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death claims, not just accidents involving minor injuries? Have they won any awards for their settlements and verdicts? 3. Pay attention to how they engage with you. Trust your judgment. The attorney-client relationship is important, so make sure that you like the way that you are being communicated with and treated by any lawyer you are considering hiring. It’s important to pay attention to the following: Are they ready and willing to answer any questions you have? Are they friendly and professional? Are they strong communicators? (Do they clearly explain the legal process, call you back promptly, etc.) Are they willing to travel to you as needed? Do they seem genuinely concerned about your well-being? 4. Understand their payment model. Make sure to read the fine print carefully when hiring a new attorney to ensure that you fully understand their payment model so there are no surprises later.  A few good questions to ask include: Do they offer a free initial consultation? Do they work on a contingency-fee-basis? (This means you only pay the firm legal fees if they win your case. Additionally, your legal fees are taken out of your settlement, or paid by the defendant, so you don’t have any upfront fees related to your legal representation.) Can they provide a cash advance to cover costs before your settlement or verdict?  5. Consider what additional resources they offer. It’s important to think about the additional resources your prospective injury lawyer can provide. Some personal injury law firms offer a higher level of assistance with various elements of stages of the case, creating less hassle for you and a smoother experience overall. Make sure to ask the following: Do they have a network of medical professionals they can use to help you find the treatment you need? Can they help you find doctors who are willing to work on a lien basis so your medical expenses can be taken out of your settlement or verdict? Can they assist with additional services related to your case such as property damage valuation and liens negotiations (i.e., negotiating costs with your medical providers)? Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in the First Place? After being injured in an accident or another incident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you actually need to hire a personal injury lawyer. The quick answer is YES, you do! Why? Because there will be an opposing party in your case that will be working against you, either to prove you were at fault for your own injuries or to give you the lowest settlement possible. In most cases, this opposing party will be the insurance company of the person or company that caused your injuries. Insurance companies deal with injury claims day in and day out, so they’re experts at using manipulative tactics to lower their payout to injury victims. This is why you need a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney on your side protecting your right to fair compensation. A good lawyer will investigate your case, prove liability by the at-fault party, and handle all negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. They will also make sure you don’t get short-changed, fighting for the highest settlement or verdict to which you are entitled. But make sure you do your homework before choosing a lawyer. Not every personal injury lawyer will be qualified to get you the best result possible in your case. Remember to choose wisely using the tips in this article! About the Authors This article was written in collaboration by Wilshire Law Firm and Atkins Markhoff Adler (AMA Law). Wilshire Law Firm is an award-winning personal injury, employment, aviation, and class action law firm that has been ranked as one of the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report two years in a row, in 2020 and 2021. The walks side-by-side with its clients, fighting to obtain maximum compensation on their behalf in California, throughout the United States, and even internationally. With extensive litigation experience and a strong track record recovering more than $850 million in settlements and verdicts for clients, Wilshire Law Firm is the firm that other lawyers refer their most challenging cases to. Wilshire Law Firm works on a contingency-fee basis, which means clients do not pay any legal fees unless the firm wins their case.  AMA Law proudly serves clients throughout Oklahoma. As a full-service personal injury and accident law firm, the firm strives to help their clients make decisions that will benefit them in the long-term. The firm’s legal team understands that accidents happen, many of which are out of the victim’s control. With more than 100 years of combined experience, AMA Law has helped clients pursue legal action and damages for cases covering a wide range of legal issues. Specializing in personal injury, criminal defense, and drug injuries, AMA Law works tirelessly to help meet our clients’ various legal needs. Established in 1996, AMA Law brings an expert level of legal ability, dedicated work ethic, and unparalleled communication to each and every case.

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Johnson & Johnson Hit With $8 Billion Punitive Judgement

After a series of high-profile (and costly) legal setbacks, the hits keep coming for Johnson & Johnson. Tuesday, October 8th saw a Philadelphia jury award a Maryland man $8,000,000,000 in punitive damages after he said his use of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal as a child caused him to develop enlarged breasts. Yes, BILLION, with a “B.” The award was the largest to date among more than 13,000 lawsuits which generally claim that Risperdal led the plaintiffs to develop a condition called gynecomastia, a side effect which Johnson & Johnson was allegedly aware of but understated when marketing their product to doctors. Originally approved in late 1993 by the Food and Drug Administration, Risperdal was originally approved for treating schizophrenia and episodes of bipolar mania in adults before eventually being expanded to treat symptoms of autism. The plaintiff in the case—Nicholas Murray, 26, of Maryland—originally won a $680,000 compensatory award over the same claims. Although the punitive damages are likely to be reduced some, the move by the jury sends a message to companies that gross misconduct and wrongdoing will not be tolerated. Tuesday’s verdict is just the latest in a string of high-profile blows to the wider reputation of Johnson & Johnson. An August ruling in Oklahoma ordered the company to pay the state $572 million for their contribution to the state’s opioid crisis; similarly, a St. Louis jury found that Johnson & Johnson should pay $4,690,000,000 to 22 ovarian cancer victims and their families after use of the company’s baby powder allegedly led to the ovarian cancer diagnoses.

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