For many people who come to see Chain | Cohn | Stiles, it is their first time ever hiring an attorney. The legal process is simply foreign for them.
And for this reason, many are surprised to learn how long it takes for a personal injury or workers’ compensation case to resolve from start to finish.
To discuss this issue, Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Matt Clark has recorded a short video focusing on the length of an average case, and why they typically take as long as they do to resolve.
You can learn more about this topic, and learn the answer, below. And if you have other questions related to a personal injury, accident or workers’ compensation legal issue, visit Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ Frequently Asked Questions page.
One of the questions we get asked almost every time by new clients is how long will this case take to finish? In my years of experience, other lawyers don’t do a good job of explaining the legal process in injury claim. I’ll address it here. On average, a personal injury claim takes somewhere between 12 to 24 months to resolve. That being said, some are resolved quicker and some take more than 2 years. But average, cases take between 1 to 2 years.
You might ask why? Let me address that. From the day we meet with clients, there may be instances where we file a lawsuit right away, and others not right away. In Kern County, which has an efficient legal system, it takes 12 to 18 months to get a trial date. And that date is the light at the end of your tunnel for your case. During those 12-18 months, a lot of things can happen. We go through a process called “discovery,” where we exchange information. That seems simple, but it’s actually a lengthy process where we requests documents, interrogatories, admissions, subpoenas and take depositions, which is a statement by witnesses and you under oath. The exchange of all the information takes many months. It’s also important to note, the filing of a lawsuit doesn’t always mean it will end in a trial. We do handle every case as if it’s going to trial. It ensures that we are prepared for trial, and makes certain that defense attorneys know we are ready. And that goes a long way to settle your case for the highest amount, or toward a successful verdict.
We make it our goal at Chain | Cohn | Stiles to ensure that your case is handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. All we do is handle injury and accident cases. Whether minor or severe injuries are suffered, your circumstance can be life-changing. It’s important to be able to move on with your life as quickly as possible. So we’ll do everything we can to make sure your case is resolved, so you can move on with your life, and without delay.
If you or someone you know has a potential personal injury or workers’ compensation case, contact the lawyers for a free consultation at (661) 323-4000 or visit the website chainlaw.com.
*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.
Two veteran attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America program, which is the oldest and among the most respected attorney ranking services in the world.
David K. Cohn, managing partner at the law firm, was selected into the personal injury litigation category, while James A. Yoro, senior partner at the firm, was selected into the workers’ compensation law listings.
Attorneys named to “The Best Lawyers in America” are recognized by their peers in the legal industry
for their professional excellence in specific practice areas. For the 2018 edition of The Best
Lawyers in America, more than 7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in nearly 55,000 leading
lawyers being included in the new edition.
“Best Lawyers believes that the best lawyers know who the best lawyers are,” according to the program’s methodology. “Thus, our recognitions are based purely on the feedback we receive from lawyers already highlighted in our publication.”
David Cohn is one of the most respected lawyers in the Central Valley, having been voted into the “Best Lawyer” category of The Bakersfield Californian’s Readers Choice Poll for the last five years straight. He is a Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent-rated trial attorney, has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, and was selected to join the International Society of Barristers. Over the course of his career, which spans more than 40 years, Cohn has obtained numerous multi-million dollar results on behalf of his clients, and his cases have led to workplace, roadway and vehicle safety measures.
James Yoro is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional in California, and is one of the most veteran and most respected workers’ compensation lawyers in the San Joaquin Valley. He is the president of the Kern County Bar Association. He has argued cases in front of the California Supreme Court, and for nearly 40 years has fought day in and day out for the rights of injured workers.
For more than 30 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Its methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.
Attorneys are nominated for consideration. They are divided by geographic region and practice areas, and are evaluated by their peers on the basis of professional expertise. Those who receive high peer reviews undergo an authentication process to make sure they are currently practicing and in good standing. Only then can top attorneys be included in Best Lawyers.
If you or someone you know is injured on the job, or involved in an accident at the fault of someone else, please contact the Best Lawyers honorees at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.
Dog bite attacks can happen at any moment as evidenced by a Bakersfield video that has gone viral.
A cat came to the rescue of a boy when he was attacked in his driveway in southwest Bakersfield home. Surveillance video shows the boy playing on his bicycle in his front yard when a dog sneaks up behind him and grabs his leg.
The family’s cat, named Tara, according to KERO-23 (ABC) defends the boy, attacks the dog and chases it away. The boy’s mother told KERO that the boy was taken to a hospital and needed 10 stitches, but is doing fine now. The boy’s mother also was bit by the dog after she rescued her son.
“National Dog Bite Prevention Week” is from May 18 to 24 this year. According to State Farm insurance, California tops the list of states reporting the most dog bite claims, The Bakersfield Californian reported.
The top 5 states for State Farm dog bite claims in 2013 were:
California — 449 claims $14.7 million paid
Illinois — 309 claims $8.9 million paid
Ohio — 221 claims $4.2 million paid
Texas — 207 claims $4.0 million paid
Pennsylvania — 180 claims $5.8 million paid
The Bakersfield dog bite and attack lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are well-equipped to handle personal injury cases involving animal attacks, most commonly dog bite cases. Statistically speaking, children under the age of 10 are at the highest risk for experiencing severe and often permanent impairments from a dog attack.
The attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have compiled several frequently asked questions that may help you in the case you or a loved one experiences such an incident.
Who can sue in an animal bite or animal knock-down case?
Any person, whether a minor or adult, who has been bitten or knocked down by an animal who has been improperly or inadequately leashed or contained can sue for injuries or death caused by an animal bite or knock-down.
Who can I sue?
If you were injured or a family member was injured or killed by any animal, you can sue the person who has or should have had control of the animal. For a person to be responsible they need not be the owner of the animal. However, an owner who retains some control over the animal remains liable even if the animal is partly under the care of others.
Are there special protections under the law for people who are bitten by dogs?
Yes. California has a statute that holds that the “owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by anyone who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the dog owner’s property, regardless of the prior viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of that viciousness.” Thus, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for anyone who is injured or killed by a dog bite. You do not have to prove that the owner was negligent. Although the dog bite statute does not apply to the person in possession or control of a dog, that person can still be found liable for your injuries if he or she was negligent in controlling or containing the dog.
Is there a law that protects me and my family if we are attacked by any animal other than a dog?
Yes. The keeper of an animal of a species that is dangerous by nature, or that the keeper knows or has reason to know has dangerous propensities or traits, is strictly liable to anyone injured as a result of those propensities or traits. This rule provides greater protection than the dog bite statute, because it applies to keepers other than owners and animals other than dogs, including horses.
My child suffered a severe injury after being knocked down by a large dog owned by a neighbor. Can my child bring a lawsuit and recover for his or her injuries?
Yes. If you can establish that the dog had dangerous propensities or traits you will be able to maintain a strict liability case against the owner and will not have to prove negligence. Further, the owner can be held responsible for negligence if you can prove that the owner failed to exercise ordinary care in controlling the dog. This can include failure to warn you and your child of the dog’s dangerous traits, failing to ascertain whether the dog had a dangerous propensity, failing to restrain a dangerous dog, or engaging in conduct likely to excite the dog causing him to knock down your child.
Further, if the dog was unleashed and you were in a city with a leash law, there will be a presumption that the owner was negligent in causing your child’s injuries.
My aunt was walking down the street when a dog ran out of the house and charged at her. My aunt attempted to run away but tripped, fell and broke her hip. The dog never touched my aunt. Is she entitled to bring a lawsuit against the dog owner?
Although this may be a difficult case to prove, your aunt should be able to bring a case if she reasonably feared for her safety and she can prove that the owner or possessor of the dog knew or should have known of the dog’s propensity to attack people walking on the sidewalk and failed to act appropriately.
My child was bitten by a dog when he crossed through my neighbor’s back yard to get to our house without being invited. Can he bring a lawsuit even though he was a trespasser?
Yes, but only if you can establish that your neighbor was negligent in leaving his dog in the back yard and that he knew or should have known that children would cross through his back yard. This will still be a difficult case, and you will not have the benefit of the strict liability rules that apply to other dog bite cases since trespassers are excluded under the dog bite statute.
What damages are recoverable in animal bite cases?
A Plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for past and future and medical expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering, and if it is deemed that conduct is bad enough, punitive damages (i.e., punishment damages against the defendant). If the victim dies, his or her survivors are entitled to recover full compensation for their economic losses that result from the victim’s death, as well as emotional distress damages which stem from the loss of society, care, and comfort of the decedent. If the survivors can prove that the victim lived for a period of time between the negligent act and death, they can also bring an action for punitive damages.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an animal attack, contact our Kern County personal injury law firm immediately.
UPDATE: Several media outlets covered the one-year anniversary and protests. See them below.
The news release is as follows:
May 8, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Family, attorney mark one-year anniversary of wrongful death of David Silva
Bakersfield, Calif. (May 8, 2014) – On the night of May 7, 2013, David S. Silva was asleep in front of a home in east Bakersfield, across from Kern Medical Center. Several law enforcement officers arrived on scene and proceeded to use unreasonable and excessive force in striking Silva with batons several times all over his body, while he screamed for his life and repeatedly begged the officers to stop. After being repeatedly beaten, bitten and hog-tied, Silva stopped breathing.
Shortly after midnight, Silva was taken to Kern Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic and unfortunate death of David Silva at the hands of local law enforcement from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol,” said David K. Cohn, managing partner with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, who is representing the Silva family. “Although disappointed, we were not surprised by District Attorney Lisa Green’s decision several weeks ago to not pursue criminal charges against these officers. That being said, we remain committed to obtaining justice on behalf of David and his entire family, especially his four children, who will be without a father for the rest of their lives.”
He continued: “The road to obtaining justice will be a difficult one; however, we are confident that in the end, the truth will prevail and justice will be done. This case is certainly about David Silva and about what happened to him, but it is also about much more than that. It is about changing the culture of local law enforcement in this community, and holding law enforcement officers who use unreasonable and excessive force accountable for their actions.”
Attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles will be in attendance and support the family of David Silva as they hold a rally at 4 p.m. today at the Liberty Bell outside of Kern County Superior Court, on the corner of Truxtun and Chester avenues.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed a civil rights lawsuit in connection with the wrongful death of David Silva. The lawsuit arises out of an incident at the intersection of Flower Street and Palm Street in Bakersfield, when David Silva died as a result of unreasonable and excessive force used by six Sheriff’s deputies, a sergeant, and two California Highway Patrol officers. The complaint seeks damages on behalf of David’s four young children, his significant other, his parents and his brother, for the loss of love, affection, society, service, comfort, support, right of support, expectations of future support and counseling, companionship, solace and mental support, as well as other benefits and assistance of Silva.
1430 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 100 – Bakersfield, CA – 93301 – Phone: 661-323-4000
CHAIN | COHN | STILES is Kern County’s leading plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys have represented clients from throughout the San Joaquin Valley and California for 80 years. We concentrate our efforts on protecting the rights of individuals who have been seriously injured due to the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another. If you have been injured due to the fault of another, you have the right to hold that person or entity accountable, no matter how rich or powerful that person or entity may be. At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we pride ourselves on having the reputation and resources necessary to overcome the most difficult challenges while achieving the best possible results for our clients. For more information, go to chainlaw.com.
Bakersfield Life Magazine recently featured Cohn in the monthly “12 Random Things You Didn’t Know About …” section of the monthly Bakersfield publication. The section typically highlights a well-known personality in Kern County, who shares facts that most people around our community may not know.
Part of reason Cohn was chosen for this feature is because he has been practicing law for nearly 40 years, and today he is one of the most highly regarded personal injury lawyers in Kern County.
He’s also a scuba diver, an avid University of Southern California football fan and university alumnus, and a Bakersfield native.
Additionally, the feature story was included in the May 2014 issue of Bakersfield, which happens to the “Best of Bakersfield” issue, where the results of a city-wide poll by The Bakersfield Californian newspaper of everything related to Bakersfield are revealed. In the issue, Chain | Cohn | Stiles was voted by Bakersfield as the “Best Law Firm” for the second year in a row, and Cohn was voted as a “favorite” in the “Best Lawyer” category, also the second time he was chose for this category.
“… It’s in his practice where Cohn truly shines,” Bakersfield Life Magazine wrote in the recent issue, which you can find on newsstands around Kern County now. “In this year’s Best of Bakersfield competition, his firm — Chain | Cohn | Stiles — was voted Best Law Firm and Cohn bears the title of ‘Super Lawyer’ in Southern California, an honor bestowed upon only the top 5 percent of lawyers in the region.”
Among the random facts that Cohn shared with Bakersfield were:
Some of my first jobs included making pizzas at Pizzaville, vacuuming cars at Oak Street Car Wash and sweeping out box cars for Santa Fe Railroad.
He graduated from Highland High School in 2002. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from Cal State Bakersfield, where he was also a part of Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honor society. He then attended Whittier Law School where he served as Managing Editor of the Law Review, and had the honor of being published in the review. He graduated cum laude from Whittier in 2010.
After law school, Chad worked briefly in Pasadena before returning to Bakersfield and joining another local firm. For two years, he litigated state cases covering a wide variety of legal issues, including personal injury and civil rights. Chad has also provided advice and counseling to clients facing legal issues on a volunteer basis at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.
When he’s not working, Chad likes to cook, eat out at restaurants, and travel. He’s toured throughout the United States, studied abroad for a short time in France, and visited various other countries in Europe.
“I’m happy to be able to put my knowledge of our community to use in helping our clients,” Chad said.
If you have been seriously injured due to the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another, call the Bakersfield personal injury lawyers, including Chad, at 661-323-4000. Also, find Chad on our website, chainlaw.com.
UPDATE: Chad has been featured in the “People in Business” section of The Bakersfield Californian. To see the article, click HERE.
Earlier this week, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took park in the Delano Chamber of Commerce‘s “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and Street Faire.” It was a chance for our law firm to answer local resident’s questions, share tips and information, and give out Chain | Cohn | Stiles goodies to the families in Delano and throughout Kern County.
Several Delano parents asked us about workers’ compensation cases. One Delano resident in particular hired a Los Angeles attorney to help him with his workers’ compensation case, but that attorney had done a poor job at communicating with him, and at resolving his case, he said. We explained to him that many residents in Kern County have this problem: They seek counsel from lawyers outside of our county — after getting their information from television commercials or other loud advertisements that these outside lawyers make — and quickly realize they made a mistake.
In fact, many times, the workers’ compensation*, social security disability and personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles get calls from clients who were unsatisfied with the attorneys they hired from Los Angeles, Fresno and other areas outside of Kern County.
As for the concerned Delano resident seeking workers’ compensation assistance — who was an employee of a prison in Delano — we helped him with the next steps he should take, and he vowed to call us for assistance.
Other Delano residents remarked to us that they had seen our commercials on television, and were impressed with their quality, and by the words of the attorneys.
And many others were happy to learn that the son of a longtime and well-known Delano pediatrician was one of our associate attorneys. Dr. Dilbagh Gehlawat of Delano Pediatrics Group for decades has taken care of children and families in Delano, and many times brought along his youngest son, Neil Gehlawat, to the office — from childhood to adulthood. Several people at the street fair remarked, “Is that little Neil?,” when they noticed him in brochures we were handing out. Now, Neil Gehlawat handles personal injury cases at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, while his father continues to serve families of Delano and Kern County.
The street faire — held on Main Street between 9th and 12 avenues — also featured booths from other service providers from throughout Kern County, though Chain | Cohn | Stiles was the sole Kern County law firm in attendance. Other booths included Sunset Waste Systems and Delano Area Rapid Transit, to name a few.
Our message to the people of Delano was essentially this: We hope you never need a personal injury attorney, but if you do happen to need one, we would hope you choose a local, professional, and caring Kern County lawyer, like the ones at Chain | Cohn | Stiles.
At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we know our clients are No. 1.
So, in the newest issue of Bakersfield Life Magazine, out Saturday in The Bakersfield Californian and online now, we wanted to highlight the experiences of our former clients at our law firm. See our ad HERE, and also on our Instagram.
We chose three real-life clients to feature in the ad. Here is what they had to say:
Michael C., who suffered a leg amputation following a motorcycle accident:
“I didn’t know what had happened after the accident, and I didn’t know anything about the legal system. But after the first meeting with David Cohn, I knew he was on my side and I was going to be OK. I had no problem worrying about the firm taking care of business. He was a big help. Now, I have no worries and no regrets.”
Marilyn B., who was injured after a driver ran a stop sign and broadsided her vehicle:
“They are the best lawyers in town. They came to see me in the hospital after my accident, and I was so nervous. But they reassured me everything was going to be OK, and I didn’t have to worry about anything. I trusted them. Overall, I was satisfied with the way everything went. They did so much for me and gave me confidence.”
Jonathon A., who suffered serious burn injuries when a steam line blew out:
“The lawyers and staff at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are some of the most heartfelt, trustworthy and caring people I have ever worked with. They made sure that my whole family and I were treated like family, and we never had our questions go unanswered. I thank you all for everything you have done for my family and I. You guys and girls truly changed my life. I am forever grateful!”
Five witnesses to the May 2013 confrontation between law enforcement and David Silva have filed a lawsuit in federal court, according to The Bakersfield Californian, alleging they were unlawfully detained and law enforcement improperly seized their cell phones they used to record the in-custody death.
After the witnesses recorded the incident, Kern County Sheriff’s investigators “continued to harass, threaten, intimidate, pressure” the witnesses until they received the cellphones used to take video, they allege.
Seven deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers confronted Silva outside of Kern Medical Center. Deputies used baton strikes on Silva, restrained him, and a police canine was also used and bit Silva several times
After Silva was custody, he experienced trouble breathing and died soon after. The beating to Silva, according to CCS complaint, ultimately resulted in his death.
The case drew widespread media attention and concern throughout Kern County, the state and across the country. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times were among dozens of media outlets that covered the case.
Kern Sheriff Donny Youngblood asked the FBI to conduct a parallel investigation into the case after the incident. And the case in ongoing.
Late last week, Chain | Cohn | Stiles announced a wrongful death settlement between the County of Kern and the families of two people killed by a speeding Kern County Sheriff’s deputy.
That $8.8 million settlement is believed to be record-breaking for an automobile accident case against the County of Kern. But the toughest part of a wrongful death case like this, Chain | Cohn | Stiles Managing Partner David K. Cohn says, is placing the value on a human life.
Cohn discussed the case and settlement with The Bakersfield Californian’s CEO Richard Been on “First Look with Scott Cox” live news show. (Watch the video of the show above)
Cohn represented Daniel Hiler’s fiancee and two young sons. The 24-year-old was struck and killed along with Chrystal Jolley, 30, in late 2011 by Kern County Sherriff’s Deputy John Swearengin.
Both were crossing a road in Oildale when Swearengin’s patrol vehicle struck and killed them. Swearengin was driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone before hitting Hiler and Jolley. He was responding to a call of a stolen vehicle; however, his emergency lights and siren were not turned on.
Law enforcement officers can travel in excess of the posted speed limit so long as their forward facing overhead lights are activated to warn others that they are responding to an emergency, but Swearengin didn’t do that, Cohn said. In fact, the deputy violated several policies and procedures.
The Hiler family will receive $4.8 million from the settlement.
“You try to convey that loss of love, society, comfort and protection they (Hiler’s kids) will not have,” Cohn said Tuesday on the show. “And that’s when you ask the jury to consider and put a number on that loss.”
Cohn’s appearance on the live streamed-radio news show was the latest press on the case. Following Friday’s announcement, media from throughout Bakersfield, Kern County, the state and even Associated Press mentioned the civil case’s culmination. The criminal case is ongoing.
Local media coverage included (click the links for news coverage on the case):
And several other news outlets ran the Associated Press story on the Chain | Cohn | Stiles settlement, such as this one here.
While the civil case is settled, the criminal case against Swearengin continues. He is charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and he has plead not guilty.
Cohn also discussed other Chain | Cohn | Stiles cases involving Sheriff’s deputies, including a claim brought by a young woman who was sexually assaulted by a deputy at her home in Tehachapi. The Sheriff’s deputy involved in the sexual assault is currently being prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. For more current cases involving Chain | Cohn | Stiles, go to Chainlaw.com.
UPDATE: Below is media coverage regarding the criminal case against the Kern County Sheriff’s deputy involved in the crash. Local and national media covered the case: