Protect Yourself From Springtime Agriculture Injuries

Farming is consistently rated as one of the most dangerous jobs in America, according to agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This means that those heading to fields, orchards and vineyards across California this spring are at risk of agriculture injuries.

As you prepare to begin the season’s work, it’s important for you to be aware of the risks involved, to know what you can do to protect yourself, and to be prepared for what to do next should you be hurt. Entire blog →

Surprising Seasonal Car Accident Statistics

Car accident statistics based on time of year can be deceiving. Weather during “winter months” in northern Maine, for example, can differ greatly from that experienced by drivers in southern California. Though one would naturally believe that winter driving, in general, is more hazardous, and that it therefore results in more crash-related deaths, a closer look at the data suggests otherwise.

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (i.e., NHTSA), under the direction of the Department of Transportation, is charged with compiling state and federal statistics on the rate of vehicular accidents and injuries that occur within our borders. Their mission is to:

. . . save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic [and] crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement

As part of that mission, the NHTSA makes extensive data available to the general public which includes information related to seasonal trends in vehicular accidents. Specifically, the NHTSA compiles data on fatalities due to crashes that it analyzes by quarter.

Though it seems counter-intuitive, the data suggest that the fatality rate per 100-million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) is actually highest between July and September, at 1.19 per 100 million VMT. During the quarters comprising late fall (i.e., October through December) and winter (i.e., January through March), the numbers are 1.18 and 1.02, respectively. It is important to note, however, that the reported difference between the quarters is quite small, and may not reach statistical significance.

Have you been involved in a car accident near Modesto? Regardless of the time of year during which the accident occurred, it is vital that you secure highly qualified, experienced representation, lest your rights be needlessly trampled. At Arata,  Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin, two of our specialty practice areas are vehicular accidents and personal injury cases. Get in touch with us using our convenient contact form or give us a call at (209) 522-2211 to discuss your case in detail.

Highway 132 Closed After Deadly Car Crash

At approximately 5:30 a.m. this morning, January 19, 2017, a deadly car crash took place on Highway 132 just west of Modesto between Stone Avenue and Dakota Avenue. Highway 132 was closed for approximately two hours while the California Highway Patrol investigated the incident. The highway reopened in both directions at approximately 7:30 a.m.

If you or a loved one was involved in a deadly car crash, you may need legal representation to safeguard your interests or help you recover the compensation that you are entitled to. Give the experienced attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin a call today to discuss the circumstances of your situation.

Are California Employers Ready For The Increase In Minimum Wage?

As a result of Senate Bill 3 being signed by Governor Jerry Brown on April 4, 2016, California’s minimum wage will increase on January 1, 2017 and will increase each year until reaching $15 per hour in 2022.  This change in employment law not only raises the minimum hourly rate affected employers are required to pay employees, but also results in a change in which employees will be considered “exempt” from the requirement of paying overtime. When an employee is misclassified as exempt, substantial legal liability arises for the employer. This means keeping up with the changes by the new minimum wage increase law is important.
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Changes In Equal Pay Law For California Employers

Pursuant to the Fair Pay Act, California employers of all sizes are now legally required to provide equal pay to all workers, regardless of gender, if they perform “substantially similar” work. The law went into effect at the beginning of the year and has been in the spotlight since.

The Fair Pay Act amended California Labor Code section 1197.5, which was known as the California Equal Pay Act which generally prohibited employers from paying lower wages to employees of one sex when compared to the pay of employees of the opposite sex. Entire blog →

Can Employers Drug Test For Marijuana In California Now That Prop 64 Passed?

Marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California when voters approved Prop 64 on November 8. Now, many employers and workers in California are wondering, “Can employers drug test for marijuana now that it is legal?” Thousands of employers perform drug screening tests before hiring and some even after they hire. Before employers change their policies and before workers go lighting up, here is how the legalization of marijuana in California affects the right of employers to perform pre-employment and post-hire drug screening.

California’s voters approved Prop 215 in 1996 which legalized medical marijuana in California. Since then employers have still performed drug screening for marijuana. Many employers have ruled out candidates for employment and have even terminated employees after they tested positive despite the candidate or employee meeting the legal requirements for the use of medical marijuana. There have been numerous lawsuits filed as a result. Entire blog →

Workplace Discrimination: Are You A Victim?

There are numerous Federal and state laws that protect California workers from discrimination in the workplace. These laws are designed to provide for equal opportunity employment for workers of all races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, and more. The laws generally protect those seeking employment, those that are employed, and those subject to termination by an employer against workplace discrimination. Entire blog →

Do I Need An Employment Law Attorney?

If you are employed in California, there is a high probability that you do not know all of the rights you have as an employee. There are numerous laws on the books that protect workers in California and it is nearly impossible to know and understand all of them. Employment laws are constantly changing thus keeping up with them is a job in itself. If you think that your rights as an employee may have been violated, it is in your best interest to speak with an employment law attorney. Entire blog →

Does Your Company Have The Proper Insurance Coverage?

If your business employs individuals driving company owned or employee owned vehicles in the course of their job duties, depending on the particular circumstances, your business may be held liable for their negligence. The damages that can be awarded as a result of a catastrophic accident are potentially unlimited, therefore it is important that your company hold sufficient insurance to cover this type of situation. Without the proper insurance coverage, your company could be responsible for paying the entire cost your legal defense, settlement or damages if your business if found liable. Entire blog →

Plowing Activity by Duarte Nursery Violated The Clean Water Act According To U.S. District Court In California

On Friday, June 10, 2016, A U.S. District court in California made a decision in Duarte Nursery v. Army Corps of Engineers. The ruling has the potential of affecting farmers and their plowing activities across California. The Federal court ruled that Duarte Nursery violated the Clean Water Act by plowing its property, even though the Act allegedly exempts this type of farming practice. The plaintiffs assert that the implementing regulations provide that plowing activity shall not be subject to the Act, if the activity does not result in conversion of wetlands to dry land. Entire blog →