FBI’s ‘Operation Cross Country’ Rescues Over 200 Human Trafficking Victims

121 Missing Kids Located in FBI Child Trafficking Operation

At least 121 missing children and child trafficking victims were rescued by law enforcement officials across the country in a nationwide sting operation, the FBI announced earlier this week.

Operation Cross Country,” was a coordinated initiative among the FBI, other federal agencies, state and local police, and social services agencies across the nation to find and assist victims of human trafficking, particularly child victims, the agency indicated in a press release. The operation successfully located more than 200 victims of human trafficking and related crimes during the first two weeks of August, The Hill reported.

The initiative really just takes a concentrated period of time where we’re just focused on the problem of child sex trafficking,” FBI Section Chief Jose Perez, who oversees violent crime investigations, said. “What we do is we sit down with our local partners and our task forces and identify certain areas where we know sex trafficking is prevalent, and we’ll dedicate resources and efforts to identify and remove victims from those areas.”

In its press release, the FBI noted that while Operation Cross Country was an opportunity to highlight the ongoing scourge of human trafficking in the U.S., the agency and its partners “work to investigate and stop trafficking every day.

The FBI confirmed that its Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces stationed across the country worked to locate the victims. Operation Cross Country involved:

  • Approximately 200 federal, state, and local agencies partnering with the FBI
  • Officials locating and rescuing both child victims of sex trafficking and adults who were being trafficked against their will
  • Identifying and rescuing 141 adult victims through the agency’s initiative
  • Investigators identifying or arresting 85 people suspected of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking

The goal of initiatives such as Operation Cross Country is to gather intelligence, build criminal cases against traffickers, and offer victims assistance, the FBI said. The active total number of human trafficking victims located by authorities this year as part of the nationwide initiative is estimated to be 391.

The FBI also confirmed that a local operation in Atlanta helped locate 19 missing children and resulted in the arrest of four traffickers. A similar operation in Chattanooga, Tennessee, helped locate sex offenders who had failed to register, tracked predators who approached children online, and looked for a runaway teenager at high risk for being trafficked.

The result of the Tennessee operation included:

  • One arrest of an unregistered sex offender (which will become a federal case, according to the FBI)
  • Two state arrests
  • Two federal cases opened on suspects who may have been involved with child sexual abuse material production or enticement violations

Operation Cross Country was an “expanded” initiative aimed at investigating sex offenders who may be eligible for federal charges as well as perpetrators trying to connect with children online in an effort to sexually abuse them, the FBI said.

With the advent of social media, access to mobile devices and technology … they’re out there in the neighborhoods not being monitored,” Sam, a special agent who leads the Chattanooga office’s crimes against children investigations, said. “And we don’t know if they’re going to have access to these communication devices to continue to exploit children online or have inappropriate physical contact with children.

According to data provided by the Human Trafficking Institute, more than half of all 2021 trafficking victims in the U.S. were minors. FBI Director Christopher Wray called sex trafficking “among the most heinous crimes” the agency encounters.

Unfortunately, such crimes – against both adults and children – are far more common than most people realize,” Wray said. “As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and help victims, and raise awareness of the exploitation [of] our most vulnerable populations.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland also noted the high priority placed on eradicating human trafficking at the national level.

The Justice Department is committed to doing everything in our power to combat the insidious crimes of human trafficking that devastate survivors and their families,” Garland said.

Recent Legislation Passed to Combat Human Trafficking

Recent Legislation Passed to Combat Human Trafficking

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022. The expanded legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Earmarking more than $1.1 billion to provide shelters, mental health care, education, life skills, and job training for victims of trafficking
  • Spending $35 million for housing to help women escaping their captors and to help prevent trafficking of graduated foster youth
  • Increasing education for children to teach them about trafficking and grooming

The law also mandates that foreign governments must be alerted when registered sex offenders travel abroad.

Can Survivors of Human Trafficking Sue for Damages?

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 allows survivors to file civil claims against entities that benefit from human trafficking enterprises. The law was initially signed by President Clinton and reauthorized by presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump.

Numerous sex trafficking prosecutions have recently made headlines, including:

Keith Raniere and the Nxivm Cult: In 2021, Keith Raniere, founder of the company known as Nxivm (pronounced Nexium), was sentenced to 120 years in prison after being convicted on numerous federal charges (including sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, child pornography, and human trafficking). The notorious cult, featured in a number of recent documentaries, reportedly involved Raniere branding women as “slaves” with his initials.

GirlsDoPorn.com Website: In June 2021, adult film performer and producer Ruben Andre Garcia was convicted on federal conspiracy sex trafficking charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Garcia reportedly conspired with the owners of the adult websites GirlsDoPorn.com and GirlsDoToys.com to recruit young women to appear in sex videos for adult websites using force, fraud, and coercion.

American Hotel Chains Accused of Sex Trafficking: In December 2019, 12 major hotel chains – including Hilton, Intercontinental, and Best Western – were accused of profiting from sex trafficking. Women and children were allegedly held captive, abused, and sold for sex in countless guest rooms across the United States. The litigation against the hotel chains marked the first time that the hotel industry has faced legal action as a collective group.

Contact a Sex Trafficking Lawyer for a Free Consultation

For over 25 years, Dordulian Law Group (DLG) has been helping survivors of sexual assault and abuse obtain the justice they deserve through civil lawsuits. Survivors may file claims in pursuit of various financial damages, such as:

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

  • Counseling or therapy costs
  • Hospital or medical bills (past and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional of psychological trauma
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity

DLG’s SAJE Team includes a four-tiered support network available to assist survivors 24/7. For a free and confidential consultation with a sex trafficking lawyer, contact DLG today at 818-322-4056.

What American Schools Can Learn From Australia’s Sexual Consent Education Programs

Can School Consent Programs Help Reduce Sexual Assault Among Teenagers?

Reports of sexual violence in American schools have been steadily increasing in recent years. A recent Washington Post article provided data from the U.S. Education Department which confirmed that reports of sexual assaults at elementary, middle, and high schools increased sharply between 2015 and 2018.

Can School Consent Programs Help Reduce Sexual Assault Among Teenagers?

Statistically, the Education Department found that:

  • The number of reports of sexual violence at schools during the 2015-2016 school year totaled approximately 9,600.
  • During the 2017-2018 school year, however, that figure spiked to nearly 15,000 reports of sexual violence among students (representing an increase of more than 50%).

Advocates say the staggering increase in reports of sexual violence affecting students in American schools underscores the need for more administrators to be prepared to handle such incidents.

The Washington Post report also noted that the discourse related to student sexual assault has typically revolved around college campuses, with K-12 schools receiving “far less attention.” Moreover, the Washington Post noted that K-12 administrators:

“… are far more likely to be unprepared or unaware of their obligations under federal law when it comes to handling allegations of sexual assault. Unlike colleges, where students often get training or information about where to go to report a sexual assault, grade school students might not know who to tell.”

Additional statistics provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) highlight the urgent need to reduce sexual violence in K-12 schools, particularly given the prevalence reported in postsecondary institutions:

  • Almost one in four undergraduate women experienced sexual assault or misconduct at 33 of the nation’s major universities.
  • 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).
  • Among graduate and professional students, 9.7% of females and 2.5% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  • Among undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  • 5.8% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.

A recent article in The Guardian provided details on ‘sexual consent‘ programs being implemented in Australian schools. Said programs could serve as a guide for American schools – both K-12 as well as colleges and universities – and should be viewed as a priority given the significant increase in reports of sexual violence.

In the sections below, we will review what the Australian school sexual consent program entails, look at how such initiatives could be beneficial to American students (particularly given the numerous scandals which have recently impacted our local community), and provide information on how to file a school sexual abuse lawsuit against your perpetrator for financial compensation.

Australia’s School Sexual Consent Programs

In February 2021, a report in The Guardian detailed how a petition started by a former Sydney schoolgirl, Chanel Contos, coalesced into a “litany” of horror stories from Australian female students who had survived instances of extreme sexual violence.

“Page after page after page. Story after story after story: hundreds of them. Stories of boys raping girls, boys forcing girls to perform oral sex, boys anally raping girls, boys assaulting their girlfriends, boys assaulting girls who are unconscious, sharing the stories and the images and the videos with their friends. In one case, uploading illicitly taken videos to a widely available porn website. Some girls are as young as 13. The boys are their peers,” The Guardian reported.

At the time of the report’s publication in early 2021, the petition had grown to include almost 3,000 testimonies from survivors and about 23,000 signatories from all over Australia and the world. The petition was eventually sent to various Australian MPs (members of parliament) in an effort to “convey the urgency of the situation.”

Since Cantos began raising awareness, the Teach Us Consent petition calling for earlier consent education in Australian schools was launched. As a result, “there has been progress in attitudes towards sexual violence, consent and gendered abuse in Australia. This progress includes Contos’s campaign achieving its goal of mandatory consent education in all Australian schools, starting next year,” The Guardian reported.

How Australia’s Men4Respect Program is Helping Reduce Sexual Violence in Schools

Andrew Taukolo started the Men4Respect program, which runs consent education initiatives in five schools in Queensland, Australia.

As part of the Men4Respect program, Taukolo handed teenage boys worksheets featuring tropes about sexual assault and abuse and asked them to consider if the statements were fact or myth. Some of the tropes included:

  • “Women like to exaggerate how bad abuse is.”
  • “Abuse only happens when a man is provoked by a woman.”
  • “If the abuse was really that bad, then the woman would leave.”

But as Taukolo told The Guardian, the most recent cohort of male students to be presented with such tropes “had a different response to those previous.”

Most of the young men generally say the statements are myth,” Taukolo said to The Guardian. However, he also noted that many of the teenage male students brought up Amber Heard.
“The young men would say things like: ‘But did you watch the Amber Heard trial? She could be just like Amber Heard, she could be a liar and just want money or just want attention,'” Taukolo said to The Guardian, referring to the negative posts directed at Heard on social media during Johnny Depp’s defamation suit against her. “And quite a few of the young men would then change their minds and say: ‘You know, women do actually lie a lot. Most women do lie a lot.'”

But Taukolo also told The Guardian that the alarming prevalence of sexual violence in schools confirmed by Cantos’s Teach Us Consent petition “was a wake-up call for a lot of young men.”

Nevertheless, Taukolo notes that there are still issues that need to be addressed among teenage male students.

When we dive a bit deeper [in the class] and ask what are your actual views on consent and give them some scenarios, that’s when we’d find the alarming attitudes,” Taukolo told The Guardian.

He also noted that a specific area of concern includes the fact that, “Some young men consider asking for consent to be necessary only insofar as to avoid getting into trouble.” “We then try to unpack that, and build their understanding of consent through empathy,” Taukolo said to The Guardian.

Individuals leading the various consent programs in Australian schools believe that real changes in attitudes among male teens can be created.

According to The Guardian’s report, in the eight-week Men4Respect program, 16% of the young men at the start of the course agreed that “men should take control in relationships,” but this dropped to none after the program. Additionally, more than a third initially agreed that “if a woman sends a nude image to her partner, she is partly responsible if he shares it without her permission.” But by the end of the eight-week consent program, this belief dropped to 10%.

As the Guardian reported, in the final lesson of the Men4Respect’s program, “the boys again [sat] in their yarning circle, this time holding a piece of paper with personal reflections on what they’ve learnt.

“The best part was being able to open up without any judgement from any of you,” one of the students said. “My main takeaway is how to treat women in a respectful way.”

Another student said: “My main takeaway is to treat everyone the way you’d like to be treated.”

School Sexual Violence Impacting the Los Angeles Community

School Sexual Violence Impacting the Los Angeles Community
Sadly, the Dordulian Law Group blog has featured countless stories of sexual violence scandals recently which have impacted myriad schools throughout Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas.

In October, a reported sexual assault at Hamilton High School triggered a Los Angeles Police Department investigation. A female student was allegedly assaulted in the boys bathroom of the West Los Angeles high school, with reports indicating that multiple students may have been involved in the attack.

In February, two Rialto, California, assistant principals were arrested after three female high school students alleged they were sexually assaulted by the same male student on campus, but the administrators failed to take any action.

Furthermore, last year two high-profile private high schools were besieged by numerous allegations of ongoing sexual abuse violations dating back decades.

The Thacher boarding school in Ojai, California, endured a sweeping scandal after revelations of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, physical abuse, and abuse of power by administrators and faculty members – some of which allegedly occurred four decades ago – came to light in June 2021.

Additionally, rampant sexual abuse allegations rocked the elite Cate School in Santa Barbara County last year when the Sheriff’s Office confirmed that detectives from the Criminal Investigations Bureau and investigators from the District Attorney’s Office had served search warrants at the school’s campus in June 2021. Authorities “sought to gather potential evidence to further the investigation” of these sexual abuse and misconduct allegations, and detectives had “identified several sexual assault survivors in this case – both current and former students of Cate School,” according to various media reports at the time.

For a list of the many additional school sexual assault, abuse, or misconduct cases that have made headlines in recent months, please visit our recent blog.

How to Secure Justice on Your Own Terms After a School Sexual Assault

Survivors of school or teacher sexual assault have options for obtaining justice on their own terms through civil lawsuits seeking maximum financial compensation with Dordulian Law Group (DLG). As one of the nation’s top-rated and most highly-respected sexual assault firms representing survivors in civil claims, DLG provides every client with all-encompassing resources and support.

Our Sex Crimes Division includes a SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) of dedicated professionals.

DLG’s SAJE Team is available 24/7 to survivors as a four-tiered support network:

  • Litigation Team: Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor with over 100 jury trial victories and 25 years of experience, leads a team of proven and skilled school sexual abuse attorneys.
  • Chief Investigator: Moses Castillo, our in-house investigator, is a retired LAPD sex crimes detective from the elite Abused Child Unit with over 30 years of experience.
  • Mental Health Specialist: Our in-house licensed clinical therapist has over 15 years of experience specifically assisting sexual assault survivors.
  • Victim Advocates: Our two licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates have devoted their lives to helping sexual assault survivors.

Founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG’s team of experienced school sexual abuse lawyers have been fighting on behalf of survivors for decades. If you’ve been victimized by an act of school sexual violence, we will fight to secure justice quickly and recover maximum financial compensation for your claim.

If you experienced a sexual assault incident, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your school sexual assault civil claim, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056. There is never any fee for our expert legal representation until after we’ve successfully secured a maximum financial damages award for your school, teacher, or campus sexual violence claim. If we don’t win, you don’t pay – it’s that simple.

DLG’s school sex crime attorneys have helped survivors recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record. Contact us today to take the first step toward securing justice on your own terms and holding your perpetrator accountable.

How Survivors Can Get Full Restitution in Criminal Court for Certain Sexual Abuse Violations

How Survivors Can Get Full Restitution in Criminal Court for Certain Sexual Abuse Violations

At Dordulian Law Group, we represent survivors of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment in civil lawsuits. The types of sex crime claims that we handle often encompass traumatic incidents, such as rape or child sexual abuse.

When a sex crime occurs, a civil lawsuit can be an effective means of obtaining justice and recovering financial compensation for the survivor. A financial damages award for a sexual assault or abuse claim can include compensation for both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic losses represent losses sustained by a survivor which can be proven with a receipt. Examples may include hospital or medical expenses, counseling or therapy costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and more.

Non-economic losses represent intangible harm endured by a survivor. Examples may include pain and suffering, emotional or psychological harm, and reduced quality of life.

However, under California law, if a sexual perpetrator is charged with certain criminal offenses, the attorney representing the survivor in a civil claim can actually seek financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages through the criminal courts via a restitution order. Pursuing damages through this method of litigation can have a number of advantages.

Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) founder and former sex crimes prosecutor, Sam Dordulian, recently handled such a claim on behalf of a childhood sexual abuse survivor. In the sections below, we will review how this law – despite being arcane and, in some instances, even unknown to experienced prosecutors – can help certain survivors of sexual assault and abuse get both criminal and civil justice which includes financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses.

Certain Sex Crime Violations May be Eligible for Financial Restitution Under California Penal Code § 1202.4

California Penal Code § 1202.4 establishes the various ways in which a victim of a crime who endures a loss shall receive restitution directly from a defendant convicted of that crime. The majority of this specific section of the Penal Code addresses how economic losses must be paid by a defendant for things like:

  • Stolen or damaged property
  • Medical expenses
  • Mental health or counseling expenses
  • Lost wages

However, section (F) of California Penal Code § 1202.4 also establishes how certain felony violations entitle a victim to restitution for non-economic losses, such as psychological harm.

There are three felony violations identified within section (F) of Penal Code § 1202.4:

  • Section 288 (a) – (c) (lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 or 15)
  • Section 288.5 (continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14)
  • Section 288.7 (sexual acts with a child under the age of 10)

As a result, survivors of such sexual abuse violations who pursue a claim under California Penal Code § 1202.4 in criminal court may be able to secure fast compensation without prolonged litigation in civil court.

DLG Case Study: Advantages of Pursuing Claims in Criminal Court on Behalf of Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

DLG’s Sam Dordulian recently sought full restitution in criminal court on behalf of a childhood sexual abuse survivor who was molested by someone she knew.

By pursuing this particular litigation avenue under California Penal Code § 1202.4, a survivor may be able to secure maximum financial compensation while avoiding some common inconveniences which can be found in civil claims.

Some advantages afforded through this type of child sex abuse lawsuit may include:

  • Survivor secures fast justice by avoiding potential years of civil litigation
  • Survivor likely avoids having to be deposed
  • Case likely goes before a sympathetic criminal judge who is familiar with the sordid history of the defendant (and therefore potentially more sympathetic with a victim of crime when deciding on a final damages award)
  • Judge may award both economic and non-economic damages
  • Survivor may recover maximum compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or emotional trauma (a criminal defense attorney will rarely hire defense experts to challenge the extent of harm suffered by a survivor)

Once a restitution order from the court is issued, said order can be converted into a civil judgment. Accordingly, as DLG’s Sam Dordulian demonstrated in the aforementioned civil case, a sexual abuse lawyer can then go after a defendant’s assets (per a traditional civil claim).

But by proceeding under California Penal Code § 1202.4, the survivor may actually be able to secure both criminal and civil justice in a much shorter amount of time (while still recovering maximum financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages).

To summarize, if your perpetrator is facing criminal charges under section 288, 288.5, or 288.7 of California Penal Code § 1202.4 as outlined above, you may have an opportunity to pursue a claim for damages quickly and without some of the common inconveniences that may arise in civil courts. In such instances, a dedicated and proven DLG sexual abuse lawyer can help you file a claim through the criminal courts in pursuit of a maximum damages award.

Don’t District Attorneys Usually Conduct Restitution Hearings for Crime Victims?

The short answer is “yes,” in most cases. However, if any of the three charges outlined above apply to a defendant, courts typically permit private civil attorneys like Sam Dordulian and the DLG team of sexual abuse lawyers to directly conduct restitution hearings on behalf of affected survivors. Accordingly, a survivor represented by a private DLG attorney who pursues damages through the criminal courts under California Penal Code § 1202.4 could access all of the aforementioned advantages.

Moreover, it should be noted that although many prosecutors are not familiar with the option for sexual abuse survivors to pursue financial compensation in criminal court for certain crimes under California Penal Code § 1202.4, that should not discourage plaintiffs from filing claims. DLG’s experienced attorneys can help you file your claim seeking swift justice and a maximum damages award today.

Ready to Speak to a Childhood Sex Abuse Lawyer About Your Claim?

California AB 218 currently affords survivors of childhood sexual abuse an opportunity to pursue justice, regardless of how long ago a crime occurred. Under AB 218, the statute of limitations on any child sex abuse crime is currently tolled (paused) for a limited period of time. Through the end of 2022, a three-year lookback window (also known as a revival window) is in effect, and all survivors may file claims against perpetrators to recover financial restitution, no matter when the crime occurred.

Whether your claim is against an individual (an immediate family member, relative, or friend) or an entity (such as the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Southern Baptist Convention, or a school), AB 218 offers all survivors an unprecedented chance at justice.

Contact a sexual abuse lawyer at DLG today for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation via 818-322-4056. Our dedicated team members are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about filing a child sexual abuse lawsuit for damages.

DLG’s Four-Tiered SAJE Team Advantage for Sexual Abuse Survivors

DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) is dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of survivors, providing a unique and all-encompassing type of legal representation and support that can’t be found at other firms.

Our four-tiered SAJE Team approach includes:

  • Representation by a former sex crimes prosecutor and team of proven sexual abuse lawyers
  • Access to two licensed and nationally accredited in-house victim advocates
  • Access to a licensed in-house clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience
  • A retired LAPD sex crimes detective with over 30 years of experience investigating your case

As a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian has been fighting on behalf of survivors for over 25 years. DLG’s childhood sexual abuse attorneys have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards for claims against individual perpetrators and major entities.

When you choose DLG to handle your child sex abuse claim, you won’t have to worry about upfront fees or out-of-pocket expenses. We never collect any fee for our expert legal services until after we successfully secure you maximum financial compensation.

And some of our recent sexual assault and abuse victories demonstrate the dedication to professionalism and excellence we apply to each and every case:

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG’s proven California child sex abuse attorneys have secured more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for survivors while maintaining a near-perfect 98% success record. If you’re a survivor of a childhood sex crime, we’re here to fight for justice on your behalf.

New Child Sexual Abuse Charges Filed Against LASD Deputy With Previous Sex Crime Arrest

LASD Deputy Previously Arrested for Alleged Child Sex Abuse Charged With Assaulting 4 Girls

An unsealed indictment has revealed that a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputy has been charged with sexually assaulting four girls who were between the ages of seven and 13 at the time of the alleged crimes, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. One girl reported the abuse by the sheriff’s deputy in 2006, but her case was never taken up, according to a KTLA report.

A grand jury indicted the deputy – 51-year-old Sean Essex – on the following charges:

  • 18 counts of oral copulation of a child
  • 12 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14
  • Two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14
  • One count of possession of material depicting a child sex act

Jail records indicate that Essex was arrested by the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau. The alleged sexual predator faces 14 25-to-life counts and 18 15-to-life counts, the District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

Sexually assaulting a child not only robs them of their innocence but also leaves lasting mental trauma. This is one of the most egregious crimes my office encounters and it is made worse when the crime is committed by someone who has been entrusted to protect them and our community from harm,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “My office’s Bureau of Victim Services will provide the assistance and resources to the victims in this case to help them in their healing process.

Gascón also confirmed that one of the four survivors reported that Essex had abused her over 15 years ago, but “the case was previously declined by our office.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that three of the survivors who made allegations against Essex were sisters, and that the disgraced sheriff’s deputy was in a romantic relationship with the mother of his victims. According to the indictment, Essex was actually living with two of the survivors when he sexually abused them.

One of the sisters was younger than 10 at the time of the sex acts, and the two others were younger than 14, according to prosecutors.

Essex “was like a father figure to my three daughters,” the girls’ mother wrote in a court filing dated April 13, adding that he had been sexually assaulting her daughters for six years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Essex is currently being held without bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, according to KTLA. He is due to appear in court on September 1.

KTLA also reported that jail records indicate Essex was arrested by the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau on April 8 of this year. The exact charge for said arrest has not been confirmed, but records indicate that Essex was released on $100,000 bond and appeared in Los Angeles Municipal Court on April 12.

At the time of Essex’s April arrest, KTLA reported it “was part of an internal investigation into allegations that he sexually molested a child” and the alleged sexual predator was expected to face “charges for lewd acts and oral copulation with a child under the age of 14.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement indicating that it had previously attempted to fire Essex “several years ago,” but that decision was reversed by the Civil Service Commission.

In 2018, Mr. Essex was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs while assigned to Training Bureau,” the statement said. “After a criminal and internal investigation, Mr. Essex was terminated. The Civil Service Commission, which is independent of the Sheriff’s Department, overturned the Sheriff’s Department termination and the Sheriff’s Department was ordered to reinstate Mr. Essex. The Civil Service Commission, over the objections of the Sheriff’s Department, ordered him returned to his assignment at Training Bureau.”

“Mr. Sean Essex does not reflect the values of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or those of the dedicated men and women in law enforcement who proudly serve our communities each day. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department expects all of its personnel to hold themselves to the highest ethical, moral, and professional standards at all times. Department members who engage in misconduct, especially criminal misconduct that preys on a vulnerable population, will not be tolerated and will be investigated and fully prosecuted. Society expects peace officers to hold themselves to the highest moral and ethical standards, as does the Sheriff,” the statement said.

In April, following Essex’s arrest, L.A, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was “appalled and saddened” by the allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The LASD confirmed that Essex has been relieved of duty, and that the department is in the process of “removing his pay.”

Sam Dordulian, former sex crimes prosecutor and founder of Dordulian Law Group in Glendale, California, called the allegations against Essex “abhorrent,” noting that after several years of prosecuting Los Angeles sexual assaults, the charges in this particular case were “truly staggering.”

“I’ve unfortunately seen some of the worst and most despicable crimes on the part of sexual predators, but these charges are particularly odious. To see someone in a position of authority, who should have been protecting the innocent, committing these acts repeatedly and over the course of several years is absolutely appalling,” Dordulian said.

Filing a California Sexual Assault Civil Claim for Financial Compensation

Unlike criminal lawsuits which are filed by the District Attorney’s Office and intended to secure a jail sentence or fine, civil lawsuits may be filed by the sexual assault survivor. In a sexual assault civil lawsuit, the intent is to recover financial compensation for the survivor, taking into account the harm that has been endured.

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, civil claims can be an extremely empowering option for survivors of sexual assault, providing an opportunity to confront an assailant while also potentially affording various advantages, such as:

  • Possibility of remaining anonymous during and after the litigation process
  • Sexual history may remain off limits without a court order
  • Most civil claims are settled privately and out-of-court
  • Potential to secure maximum financial compensation for numerous damages
  • Opportunity for a survivor to obtain justice on his or her own terms

To learn more about filing a civil claim for a California sexual assault crime, contact the experienced and dedicated team of attorneys at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) via 818-322-4056. At DLG, we believe survivors, and we fight to ensure that they secure justice through maximum financial compensation.

Deadlines for Filing a California Sexual Assault or Abuse Civil Claim

The deadline for filing a sexual assault or abuse civil claim varies depending on whether the survivor was an adult or a child at the time of the incident.

For Childhood Sexual Assault and Abuse Survivors:

Currently under California AB 218, the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse crimes is tolled (paused) through the end of 2022. For a limited time, a three-year lookback window (also known as a revival window) is afforded to survivors under AB 218, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. In effect, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse in California are currently eligible to file civil lawsuits in pursuit of financial compensation against either a perpetrating individual or entity (e.g. the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Southern Baptist Convention, a school, etc.).

However, it’s important for survivors to acknowledge that AB 218’s three-year lookback window expires on December 31, 2022. After that time, many survivors of childhood sexual abuse – particularly those impacted by crimes which took place several years ago but did not officially file civil claims – will likely be left without legal recourse. The California statute of limitations on childhood sex crimes officially resumes on January 1, 2023. Accordingly, survivors are encouraged to file claims immediately in order to preserve the opportunity for justice.

For Adult Sexual Assault and Abuse Survivors:
California’s statute of limitations on sex crimes allows adult survivors the opportunity to file civil claims up to 10 years after an incident occurs. This means that adult sexual assault survivors have up to 10 years from the date of a sex crime to file civil claims for financial compensation against individuals or entities.

In addition, the California statute of limitations for adult sex crimes includes a separate three-year window in civil claims where sexual assaults lead to the discovery of a psychological injury. A common example of a sexual assault psychological injury is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What Financial Damages May be Recoverable in a California Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

Sexual assault survivors may be eligible to recover various types of financial damages depending on the specific nature of their claims. For example, applicable to the facts of your case, you may be able to secure the following damages in a California sexual assault civil lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Hospital or emergency department treatment costs
  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological distress

To learn more about what specific damages may be applicable to your sexual assault claim, contact a dedicated sex crime attorney from DLG today via 818-322-4056.

Why Survivors Choose DLG to Handle Their Sexual Assault Claims

DLG is one of California’s a premier sexual assault and abuse firms with an unparalleled dedication to fighting for justice on behalf of survivors across the nation. Our four-tiered SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) provides survivors with a unique and all-encompassing type of legal representation and support.

Unlike other firms, DLG’s four-tiered team approach includes:

  • A former sex crimes prosecutor and team of proven sexual assault attorneys
  • Two licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates
  • A licensed in-house clinical therapist
  • A retired LAPD sex crimes detective

Additionally, DLG has a history of proven results in major sexual assault and abuse civil claims on behalf of survivors.

Led by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG’s sexual assault lawyers have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards. Some recent examples of our sexual assault/abuse civil claim victories include:

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your sexual assault case, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Our dedicated, proven, and trusted sex crime attorneys have secured more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for survivors while maintaining a 98% success record.

When you’re ready to take the first step toward obtaining justice against your perpetrator on your own terms, DLG’s SAJE Team is here to fight tirelessly on your behalf.

FBI Warns of ‘Huge Increase’ in Sextortion Scams Targeting Teens

Huge Increase’ in Sextortion Scams Targeting Teens

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reported an increase in online sextortion scams aimed largely at teenagers, according to multiple media outlets. Various FBI branches, including the San Francisco Field Office, recently issued warnings to parents and caregivers regarding an increase in incidents involving sextortion of young children.

The FBI is receiving an increasing number of reports of adults posing as young girls coercing young boys through social media to produce sexual images and videos and then extorting money from them,” a press release from the bureau’s San Francisco Field Office stated.

A July article published in the Mercury News noted that the FBI had warned of a “huge increase” in sextortion scams targeting teens earlier this year, particularly boys aged 14 to 17. The Mercury News article also indicated that data provided by the Cyberbullying Research Center confirmed that 5% of teens have been the target of sextortion recently, yet only one-third notified their parents of the incidents.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center:

“Males were significantly more likely to have experienced sextortion (both as a victim and as an offender)” and “adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual were more than twice as likely to be the victim of sextortion.”

The FBI San Francisco Field Office confirmed having received dozens of complaints involving boys who were reported victims of sextortion within the last year. Most of those incidents involved soliciting victims for money, although others were reportedly sextorted for additional images, according to the FBI press release.

“These crimes have had devastating effects on children and their families,” said FBI San Francisco Acting Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan. “We need to disrupt these criminals by making potential victims and their parents aware of the sextortion threat. Parents and guardians should talk to their children about the dangers of online communication, and the importance of speaking up if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.”

What is Online Sextortion?

According to the FBI, sextortion begins when an adult contacts a minor over any online platform used to meet and communicate, such as a game, app, or social media account.

“In a scheme that has recently become more prevalent, the predator (posing as a young girl) uses deception and manipulation to convince a young male, usually 14 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit activity over video, which is then secretly recorded by the predator,” the FBI said.

Predators may initiate contact under the guise of a friendship. Cases of scammers posing as employees for modeling agencies and requesting photos and/or videos have been reported.

The predator then typically follows the following pattern:

  • Revealing that they have made the recordings of the victim
  • Attempting to extort the victim for money to prevent the recordings from being posted online

“Many of the subjects are overseas and will often demand money in increasing amounts if any is sent during the initial request,” the FBI said.

What are the Penalties for Online Sextortion Scams?

As the FBI notes, sextortion is a serious crime. In fact, the coercion of a child by an adult to produce what is considered Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) carries heavy penalties which can include up to a life sentence for the offender.

In California, if sextortion is committed by an adult (an individual at least 18 years old), the crime is considered a felony. Punishment for sextortion in California can include a sentence of between two and four years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Attempted sextortion is considered a “wobbler” offense under California law. Such a crime can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor, typically dependent on the prosecutor’s discretion.

When charged as a felony, attempted sextortion carries potential penalties of a sentence of between 16 months and three years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

When charged as a misdemeanor, attempted sextortion carries a potential penalty of a sentence of up to one year in county jail.

How Can Parents and Caregivers Prevent Sextortion Scams?

To prevent continued victimization, the FBI recommends that children come forward immediately to a trusted adult – a parent, teacher, caregiver, or law enforcement official – and report the incident.

“Children may feel a sense of embarrassment from such a traumatic experience. However, sextortion offenders may have hundreds of victims worldwide, so coming forward to help law enforcement identify, and ultimately apprehend suspects, may prevent additional incidents of sexual exploitation from occurring,” the FBI said.

The FBI also offers the following tips for parents and caregivers to protect children online:

  • Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you or your children.
  • Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
  • Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.
  • Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
  • Encourage your children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.

According to the FBI, in 2021, the IC3 (Internet Complaint Referral Form) received over 18,000 sextortion-related complaints, with losses estimated at over $13.6 million. The FBI notes that this number reflects all types of sextortion reported, not just the specific scheme referenced above.

How Can I Report a Sextortion Incident to Law Enforcement?

If you believe you or someone you know is the victim of sextortion in California, the FBI offers the following options for reporting an incident:

  1. Contact FBI San Francisco Field Office at 415-553-7400 or online via tips.fbi.gov.
  2. Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-the-lost or Cybertipline.org).
  3. If you want to report a crime outside of California, contact your local FBI field office or dial 1-800-CALL-FBI.
  4. Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
  5. Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the offender.

Contact a California Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer for a Free & Confidential Consultation

Child sexual abuse represents an urgent national issue requiring intervention at the federal and state level. A recent report from The Hill highlights the rampant nature of child sexual abuse, noting that:

“Every minute we fail to act is a minute that another child is in danger of joining the 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-13 boys who experience sexual violence and abuse.”

If you have a child sexual abuse claim, the team of dedicated, experienced, and proven sex crime lawyers at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is here to fight aggressively for justice on your behalf. A child sexual abuse civil lawsuit can be a means of recovering maximum financial compensation for the harm endured as a result of a predator’s actions. DLG’s sexual abuse lawyers are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about filing a childhood sexual abuse civil claim.

Some common questions we receive from clients regarding the child sex abuse litigation process include:

  • How long will it take for my case to reach a final resolution?
  • How much is my childhood sexual abuse case worth?
  • Can I remain anonymous throughout the claims process?

A dedicated member of DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) will be able to answer all of these questions and more when you sit down for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation.

DLG’s SAJE Team offers childhood sexual abuse survivors a unique form of all-encompassing legal representation and support which includes:

  • Former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, and his team of sexual abuse lawyers
  • An in-house licensed clinical therapist
  • Two in-house and nationally accredited victim advocates
  • Retired LAPD sex crimes detective and DLG’s in-house Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo

Child sexual abuse claims are currently not bound by any statute of limitations under California AB 218. This means that, for a limited time, any survivor of childhood sexual abuse may file a lawsuit seeking financial compensation, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

However, AB 218’s three-year lookback window expires on January 1, 2023. As a result, survivors must file claims before the December 31, 2022 deadline to ensure that their opportunity at justice is not hindered.

Contact DLG’s proven and trusted sexual abuse lawyers today at 818-322-4056 to learn more about how a childhood sex abuse lawsuit under AB 218 can help you get the justice you deserve – even for crimes committed decades ago.

Woman Charged in Deadly Windsor Hills Crash Reportedly Has History of Reckless Driving

Mercedes Driver Charged in Deadly Windsor Hills Crash Involved in 13 Previous Accidents

Investigators with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) have identified 13 prior crashes involving Nicole Linton, the traveling nurse who was charged Monday with six counts of murder and five counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with the deadly Windsor Hills collision which occurred last week, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Those 13 previous incidents will be a foundation for the District Attorney’s case against Linton, with prosecutors expected to argue that she “knew the dangers of reckless driving,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Woman Charged in Deadly Windsor Hills Crash Reportedly Has History of Reckless Driving

    Linton, 37, is accused of reckless disregard for human life following the fatal multi-car accident that killed a pregnant woman, a baby, and three other adults, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors allege that Linton was traveling in her Mercedes-Benz at over 90 miles per hour when she ran a red light at approximately 1:30 p.m. on August 4 at the intersection of La Brea and Slauson avenues.

    At a press conference yesterday, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón indicated that Linton could face up to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

    “In an instant, Ms. Linton’s conduct took the lives of six people and injured many others,” Gascón said.

    Despite the 13 prior crashes reportedly linked to Linton, Gascón stated there is no evidence that drugs or alcohol contributed to last week’s deadly collision, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    “I know that some of you spoke to a woman that alleged they have been drinking together. The CHP is working to identify this person, but we don’t have any further information,” he said.

    Murder charges have been filed against Linton in connection with the following deaths:

    • 23-year-old Asherey Ryan
    • Ryan’s almost 1-year-old child, Alonzo Quintero
    • Ryan’s boyfriend, Reynold Lester
    • The couple’s unborn child (Ryan was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed)

    A young family was destroyed in the blink of an eye,” Gascón said while announcing charges against Linton at the press conference.

    Additionally, Linton was charged with murder for the deaths of two women killed in the crash who have yet to be identified, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    The Times also reported that the investigation into the Windsor Hills crash is ongoing:

    Nurse accused in deadly Windsor Hills crash facing 6 counts of murder, Gascón says

    “A specialized CHP accident investigation team is extracting data from the Mercedes’ computers that capture speed, braking and acceleration. That team worked through the weekend preparing an investigation for prosecutors who specialize in handling deadly vehicular incidents.”

    Bail for Linton, which had previously been set at $9 million, was denied at the request of the District Attorney’s Office, according to the Times. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Natalie Stone indicated that Linton is a potential flight risk as a traveling nurse. Her permanent address is in Texas, and she was set to travel to Hawaii for work, prosecutors argued Monday.

    Halim Dhanidina, the attorney representing Linton, reportedly asked the court to continue her arraignment to October, citing a need to review her out-of-state history of “documented profound mental health issues,” according to the Times.

    “She should have been aware of her limitations” before getting behind the wheel, Judge Stone said upon denying Linton’s bail.

    A hearing on the matter was set for August 15, the Los Angeles Times confirmed.

    Feds Blame Reckless Driving for U.S. Traffic Fatalities Hitting 15-Year High

    A recent USA TODAY report indicated that the number of U.S, traffic-related fatalities in the first six months of 2021 hit 20,160, the highest first-half total since 2006. According to government officials, the spike in traffic fatalities is “a sign of growing reckless driving during the coronavirus pandemic.”

    The following reckless driving statistics were confirmed through the USA TODAY report:

    • The estimated number of fatal 2021 car accidents (20,160) was 18.4% higher than the first half of last 2020.
    • That percentage increase was the biggest six-month jump since the department began recording fatal crash data in1975.
    • The increase prompted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to call the situation an “unacceptable crisis.”
    • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that behavioral research from March through June of 2021 showed that dangerous behavior such as speeding and traveling without a seat belt remain higher among drivers than before the coronavirus pandemic.
    • The agency has pointed to increasing road deaths (a trend over the last two years) as related to more reckless behavior on the roads.

    As a result of the increase in traffic-related deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced plans last year to develop a national strategy for steps to save lives on the roads, according to USA TODAY.

    We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America,” Buttigieg said in a statement in October 2021.

    No one will accomplish this alone. It will take all levels of government, industries, advocates, engineers and communities across the country working together toward the day when family members no longer have to say good-bye to loved ones because of a traffic crash.”

    NHTSA Deputy Administrator Steven Cliff urged American drivers to take the following precautions to avoid reckless driving-related deaths:

    • Slow down
    • Wear seat belts
    • Drive sober
    • Avoid distractions

    “All of us must work together to stop aggressive, dangerous driving,” Cliff said last year.

    Data for 2022 traffic-related crashes and fatalities recorded in the first six months of the year has yet to be released by the NHTSA.

    What is Reckless Driving?

    In personal injury law, car accident claims are typically based on a driver’s negligent actions. By contrast, reckless driving constitutes a heightened version of negligence under the law, and therefore is a more severe allegation.

    Let’s look at the difference between negligent driving and reckless driving:

    – Negligent Driving:

    For a driver to be negligent under the law, he or she does not have to be aware that specific actions taken when behind the wheel are risky or likely to cause harm to someone. To recover financial compensation in a personal injury civil lawsuit, a plaintiff filing a negligent driving claim must simply demonstrate that the defendant driver acted in a manner that was inconsistent with how a typical individual would when exercising reasonable care under the same circumstances.

    – Reckless Driving:

    With reckless driving, the defendant must have demonstrated willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others (usually without what’s referred to as “ordinary care”). The main difference between negligence and recklessness is that a driver who is acting recklessly does so with knowledge of the risk of his or her actions. In other words, the driver is aware of what he or she is doing and knows that the action is highly likely to cause harm to others, but chooses to engage in the action anyway.

    In most reckless driving cases, a plaintiff victim will bring a negligence cause action and allege recklessness as a clear demonstration of severe negligence.

    What are Some Examples of Reckless Driving?

    Some common examples of reckless driving include:

    • Driving at excessive speed – well beyond the posted speed limit (or driving faster than is safe for particular road conditions)
    • Evading a police officer
    • Passing other vehicles in unsafe or prohibited conditions
    • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • Changing lanes improperly or erratically
    • Following another vehicle too closely
    • Driving on the shoulder of the road
    • Crossing the median
    • Driving on the sidewalk
    • Changing speeds suddenly
    • Failing to yield to another vehicle that has the right of way
    • Failing to yield to traffic signals (stop lights, stop signs, etc.)
    • Making an improper turn and/or failing to signal that you are turning

    How Long Do I Have to File a California Reckless Driving Claim?

    The statute of limitations for California personal injury car accident lawsuits is typically two years from the date of the incident. In other words, you usually have two years from the date that your accident occurred to file a claim to recover financial compensation. Some of the damages that may be recovered in a reckless driving claim include:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Hospital or medical expenses
    • Physical therapy costs
    • Loss of consortium
    • Lost wages
    • Reduced earning capacity
    • Emotional trauma
    • Loss of limb
    • Scarring or disfigurement

    While most personal injury lawsuits – including reckless driving claims – are bound to a two-year statute of limitations, it should be noted that exceptions exist. Specifically, for civil lawsuits involving government entities, your claim usually must be filed within six months (180 days) of the accident.

    Contact the Best Los Angeles, California, Reckless Driving Car Accident Lawyers Today

    The process of filing a reckless driving civil claim to recover financial damages can be stressful and intimidating. This is especially true given that the injured victim is likely dealing with mounting medical expenses and other types of pain and suffering after an accident.

    Accordingly, contacting an experienced and proven car accident attorney at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) can allow you to focus on your health and well-being while we handle the stressful details involved in the litigation process.

    We’ve successfully recovered over $100 million in settlements and verdicts for injured victims throughout the years while maintaining a near-perfect 98% success record. Our clients consistently recommend us to others because of our compassionate, dedicated, and professional legal representation.

    DLG’s California car accident lawyers are available 24/7 for free and no obligation consultations via 818-322-4056. Our dedicated and proven attorneys have the experience needed to take on and win your case, securing justice for your reckless driving claim through a maximum cash settlement.

    Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

    And you’ll have peace of mind with DLG throughout the claims process – we charge no fee upfront and only collect money for services rendered after successfully securing you a maximum financial damages award for your car accident injury.

    For a Los Angeles reckless driving injury, the best call you can make is the to the dedicated team of attorneys at DLG.

What Do Personal Injury Attorneys Do?

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, suffered a dig bite, or endured a slip and fall, hiring a personal injury lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected and you recover the maximum cash settlement you deserve.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

But what, exactly, does a personal injury lawyer do? Moreover, do you really need one to recover financial compensation for your injuries?

In the sections below, we will review how an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney can help with your civil claim – whether for a car accident, dog bite, instance of medical malpractice, slip/trip and fall, wrongful death, or other type of incident which falls under the personal injury umbrella. We’ll also look at how to file a personal injury civil lawsuit, how long you have to file your claim, what types of damages may be recovered depending on the nature of your injuries, and why Dordulian Law Group is a trusted choice for personal injury victims throughout California as well as the United States.

What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?

In short, a personal injury lawyer can be an effective first-line of defense in protecting your right to recover maximum financial compensation as an injured victim. Dealing with insurance companies – all of which are in business to make money and therefore reduce your settlement award – can be a complicated and intimidating process. Personal injury attorneys protect the rights of victims who are injured in accidents as a result of negligence or carelessness.

Some of the basic duties of a personal injury lawyer may include:

  • Reviewing the facts of your case and developing a winning legal strategy (typically based on past experience)
  • Connecting you with the best medical care professionals to ensure a complete recovery
  • Negotiating medical bills to reduce total costs
  • Providing you with an overview of the litigation process – including an estimate of how long it may take to reach a settlement and how much your damages award may be worth
  • Interviewing witnesses to the accident and taking depositions
  • Hiring and interviewing expert witnesses to corroborate your claim
  • Gathering evidence and conducting a thorough investigation to prove your claim
  • Negotiating a maximum cash settlement
  • If a cash settlement can’t be reached, taking your case to trial

When you sit down for a free consultation with your prospective personal injury attorney, he or she will go over all of the facts related to your accident – whether an Uber/Lyft crash, truck accident, motorcycle collision, dog bite, or slip and fall – and advise you of your rights as well as all available legal options.

Providing as much information as possible to the personal injury lawyer during the consultation phase will help your case proceed smoothly. The attorney may ask about how the accident occurred, who was involved, when you sought medical treatment, if there are any witnesses, if you have photos or videos documenting the incident, etc.

Once your personal injury lawyer has all of the facts related to your car accident, dog bite, or slip and fall, he or she will likely issue a demand letter to recover financial compensation for various damages, such as:

  • Hospital and medical expenses
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional trauma
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

What Does a Personal Injury Claim Investigation Include?

What Does a Personal Injury Claim Investigation Include?

One of the most important aspects of the personal injury litigation process is the investigation. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports and medical records, and more. For claims involving serious injuries and complex liability, many personal injury firms will hire outside investigators to help. But at Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we have an in-house investigator with over 30 years of experience who will be assigned to your case.

Moses Castillo is a retired Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective who serves as DLG’s Chief Investigator. Castillo has investigated and closed some of the city’s most complex and high-profile cases, including sex crimes via the department’s elite Abused Child Unit and car accidents via the department’s elite Central Traffic Division.

When you’re injured in an accident or other type of incident through no fault of your own, the last thing you want to do is take on the responsibility of conducting an in-depth investigation to prove your claim. When you hire DLG’s personal injury law team, we’ll handle all the burdensome details while you focus on what’s most important – your health, recovery, and overall well-being.

A DLG personal injury investigation may include:

  • Interviewing witnesses to the accident
  • Interviewing (or deposing) the at-fault party
  • Gathering evidence (such as photos, videos, closed-circuit or security camera footage, police reports, etc.)
  • Reviewing medical records and interviewing medical experts to help determine the overall impact your injuries will have on quality of life, ability to work, etc.
  • Gathering and reviewing employment records
  • Reviewing roadway conditions, premises conditions, etc. (to help prove liability)

These various pieces of evidence can be essential in helping to prove liability on the part of the individual or entity who caused your injuries. Additionally, wide-ranging and thorough evidence can help corroborate your version of events and ensure that things like pain and suffering and medical bills – both past and future – are taken into account when determining a fair settlement amount.

How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Negotiate With Insurance Companies?

Another important responsibility of a personal injury attorney involves handling all communication with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This role often entails protecting your rights – from lowball or minimized settlement offers, making statements that will impact liability, and more – but also fighting to ensure that your settlement award is maximized fairly and according to the extent of your injuries.

Insurance companies will often work to reduce liability (fault) held by the party responsible for your injuries. Reducing the at-fault party’s liability can diminish your overall settlement award. But a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to counter such arguments and get to the truth – securing justice in the form of maximum financial compensation.

In some cases, liability is straightforward.

For example, if a driver was distracted (sending a text) and crashed into you, causing serious injuries, and the entire event was captured on security footage, proving your case may be relatively straightforward. Accordingly, a settlement may be reached quickly.

But in many cases, liability isn’t as clear-cut. Moreover, the at-fault party may try to deny his or her responsibility (or even claim that you were in fact the cause of the accident which led to your injuries). In such instances, having the best personal injury lawyer fighting to protect your right to maximum financial compensation can be invaluable.

How Much Does a Good Personal Injury Attorney Cost?

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement rather than charging an hourly rate. A contingency fee is defined as a sum of money a lawyer receives on the condition that the case is successful. Legal contingency fees are typically unique to personal injury cases, such as car accidents or dog bites. Unlike hourly fees, which usually require an upfront retainer and then additional payouts according to the number of hours billed by a lawyer, contingency fees are only payable if there is a favorable result in your case.

Personal injury lawyer contingency fees can vary depending on a number of factors, such as how long your case takes to settle, the overall complexity of the case (and whether expert witnesses or other major expense may need to be included in order to reach a successful conclusion), the severity of your injuries, etc. In most cases, an attorney’s contingency fee is one third of a final damages award or verdict. However, this can vary on a case-by-case basis. Accordingly, it is always recommended that you discuss the details of your contingency fee agreement with your personal injury attorney in advance.

On the surface, a personal injury attorney’s contingency fees may seem high. However, studies indicate that personal injury victims actually receive significantly more money for their claims when represented by a qualified lawyer (as opposed to attempting to handle cases by themselves).

In fact, an Insurance Research Council (IRC) study found that settlements were 40% higher when claimants had private legal representation. IRC research also confirmed that the average insurance payout is 3.5 times higher for clients who have hired a private attorney than for those representing themselves. What’s more, the IRC report found that 85% of all money paid by insurance companies for bodily injuries is received by clients who have secured representation from a private personal injury lawyer.

When considering whether or not a contingency fee agreement is the best option for you after suffering an injury, it’s important to remember that if an attorney accepts your case, he or she is therefore willing to accept the risk of potentially receiving no compensation for both legal services and expenses if the case is unsuccessful. By accepting that risk, your attorney is clearly confident that a successful resolution leading to a maximum financial damages award can be achieved.

At DLG, our personal injury lawyers only accept cases we believe can be won. When we take on your car accident, premises liability, medical malpractice, or other type of personal injury case, you can be sure that we will fight aggressively to recover a maximum damages award.

For more detailed information on how personal attorney contingency fees work, please take a look at our recent blog.

What Makes a Great Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you’ve been injured in an accident, there’s likely one thing you’ll come to realize very quickly – there is no shortage of personal injury lawyers in California. Practically every time you turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or just look up while walking down the street, you’ll likely see another advertisement from a personal injury attorney claiming the be “the best.”

But before you call the number you see on a billboard or screen, consider a few traits that can distinguish an average personal injury lawyer from a great one:

  • Years of experience: Unfortunately, there is no minimum years of experience requirement for a lawyer to take out an advertisement promoting his or her amazing skills. Accordingly, when searching for the best personal injury attorney, it’s a good idea to take a look at how long your prospect has actually been practicing law.
  • Win/loss record: Again, an attorney can advertise all over the place without ever winning a major case. Be sure to inquire about the person’s win/loss record (both in terms of successful settlements and jury trial victories).
  • Total damages recovered for past clients: This is an important element to consider when choosing the best personal injury lawyer to handle your case. However, it’s crucial to remember that whatever amount a firm advertises should be viewed in the context of total years practicing and total number of attorneys. For example, if a firm advertises that they’ve recovered over a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients, but they’ve been in business for over 50 years and employ over 100 lawyers, that ultimate amount (while technically larger than other firms) may not be as impressive as a small firm with only a few attorneys that has recovered $50 or $100 million for clients in a matter of years. Hence, be sure to view such information in an overall context rather than simply taking it at face value.
  • Jury trial experience: Does your personal injury lawyer have jury trial experience? Moreover, will your personal injury attorney even be willing to continue handling your case if a settlement can’t be reached and a jury trial is required? Unfortunately, many personal injury attorneys only handle cases where quick settlements can be achieved. In such instances, if your case must go to trial, you could be left searching for a new lawyer (with a limited amount of time to meet the two-year statute of limitations, not to mention having to deal with mounting medical bills and other expenses). At DLG, our founder and president, Sam Dordulian, has more than 25 years of personal injury experience which includes over 100 jury trial victories. We prepare every single case for trial, ensuring that you never have to worry about what to do in the event that an immediate settlement can’t be reached.

For more information on the signs indicating that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your case, please take a look at our recent blog.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

The statute of limitations (deadline) on personal injury claims varies from state-to-state. In California, most personal injury claims are bound to a two-year statute of limitations, meaning you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim. That said, there are a number of exceptions to the California two-year statute of limitations.

For example, if you were injured in a bus accident and are filing a claim against the city of Los Angeles, your case may be bound by a much stricter six-month statute of limitations. Personal injury claims filed against government or public entities are not applicable to the standard two-year deadline, and therefore need to be filed almost immediately.

Regardless of what type of accident you were involved in that led to your injuries, it’s recommended that you file your claim as soon as you’ve received medical treatment. Seeking medical treatment to ensure your health is attended to is always the first step after an accident. But once you’ve received medical care, it’s important to hire the best personal injury lawyer available so your claim can be filed as soon as possible.

Get the DLG Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Advantage

At DLG, we are dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of injured victims. Whether you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, medical malpractice incident, or due to a product liability issue, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help you make a complete recovery which includes your overall physical, emotional, and financial well-being.

DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, is a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who has dedicated his career to helping injured victims get the justice they deserve. Dordulian has assembled a team of skilled, dedicated, and proven personal injury lawyers, as well as specialized personnel like our in-house Chief Investigator, in an effort to ensure that your case is treated with the compassion, discretion, professionalism, and excellence it deserves.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG’s personal injury lawyers have secured over $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for injured victims while maintaining a near-perfect 98% success record. We only work on a contingency fee basis, which means you’re never required to pay a penny upfront. We don’t charge a fee until after we’ve successfully secured a maximum cash settlement for your claim. With DLG, there’s never anything to lose – when you bring your car accident, slip and fall, or dog bite claim to one of our dedicated lawyers, we’ll work tirelessly until a full and fair damages award has been obtained on your behalf.

Contact a member of our team today at 818-322-4056 for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation regarding your personal injury claim. We serve clients throughout California and the U.S.

After suffering a personal injury, the best call you can make is to the proven attorneys at DLG.

Mother of Mason Reyes Says Her Son’s Death Could Have Been Prevented

Mother of Mason Reyes Says Her Son's Death Could Have Been Prevented

The mother of a local 5-year-old boy who died tragically last month in an apparent murder/assault is speaking out. In an interview with KTLA, Sogui Godinez said more could have been done by authorities, and that the death of her son could potentially have been avoided if police, social workers, and family court judges took action.

Authorities discovered Godinez’s son, Mason Reyes, unconscious in a bathtub of an East Hollywood apartment on July 25. He was rushed to a local hospital but died later that day. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and several media outlets confirmed that Reyes had injuries to his face at the time of death.

Darwin Reyes, the biological father of Mason, was charged with murder last month in connection with his son’s death. Reyes faces one count each of murder and assault on a child causing death, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The child’s grandfather, Guadalupe Reyes, who lived in the same apartment building, confirmed to local NBC 4 that Darwin had custody of the boy. Darwin reportedly lived with his current girlfriend, Mason, and two little girls who weren’t home when the boy died.

Speaking with KTLA, Sogui Godinez said Mason’s death could have been prevented, adding that the system which is supposed to protect children failed her as well as her little boy.

Godinez also told KTLA that she reported Darwin Reyes’ violent behavior towards her and their son “numerous times” over the last several years. Godinez said that Reyes would often strike and choke her, in addition to hurting mason with physical violence.

I spoke to one of the social workers. He came to a visit one time with his fingers burned,” Godinez told KTLA.

Godinez acknowledged her past battles with alcohol and drug abuse to KTLA, telling the news outlet that after splitting up with Mason’s father years after their son was born, the court gave Darwin Reyes full custody of the child.

LAPD failed him. The department failed him. I failed him. I feel like I could’ve done more,” Godinez said to KTLA. “What could possibly a child do to you to make you hurt him in that way you know? He needs love.

Mason Reyes’ Mother Decries Inaction by Authorities

The day before Mason was discovered unconscious in an East Hollywood apartment bathtub, Godinez told KTLA she was supposed to meet her son at a local McDonald’s. But during a phone conversation with Darwin Reyes that day, she told KTLA that she could hear the man beating her son.

“Like the phone fell or something, you know, and Mason was like pleading, begging, ‘No Papi! No Papi!’ I called 911 and reported that I had heard him beating my child over the phone,” Godinez said to KTLA.

Mason’s mother told KTLA that after she called 911, police came to Darwin Reyes’ apartment and ultimately determined that despite the reports of abuse, no injuries were found.

Mason Reyes was dead just hours later, Godinez told KTLA.

Too many kids are dying, some that we don’t even hear of. And this is going to keep on happening if nothing is done,” she said.

Additionally, Godinez told KTLA that her “troubled background may be a reason her cries for help were ignored,” but she vows to continue fighting for her son.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for Mason Reyes’ funeral.

Children are Too Often Casualties of the System

The death of 5-year-old Mason Reyes is sadly one of countless examples of children who die as a result of abuse.

In 2019, 4-year-old Noah Castro died after an apparent drowning. But an investigation later revealed that Castro’s death was actually due to severe physical and sexual abuse. Noah’s parents, Jose Maria Cuatro Jr., 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 26, were indicted on the following charges:

  • One count of assault on a child causing death
  • One count of sexual penetration of a child under 10
  • One count of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause death

In July 2020, Noah Cuatro’s great-grandmother, Eva Hernandez, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit on behalf of herself and Noah’s sister and two brothers (all of whom are minors). According to the complaint, Hathaway-Sycamores – the agency where Noah was sent by the County’s DCFS – knew of or suspected the abuse occurring in the boy’s home and failed to properly report the issue.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When negligence or harm on the part of an individual or entity cause a tragic fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by eligible surviving family members. A wrongful death lawsuit can be a means of recovering financial compensation for various damages, such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of love, support, companionship, comfort, etc.
  • Emotional trauma
  • The financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family during their lifetime
  • The loss of gifts or benefits the heirs could have expected to receive from the deceased
  • The reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided
  • Medical bills and other expenses incurred
  • Value of lost benefits, such as the decedent’s pension or health insurance

In California, punitive damages may be awarded in wrongful death cases, but only in instances of serious or malicious wrongdoing.

In rare cases, punitive damages can be claimed through what is known under California law as a “survival action.” A survival cause of action is only applicable in cases where the decedent did not immediately die from his or her injuries. In such cases, even if the decedent lived only a short period of time between the accident and eventual death, a survival cause of action may be appropriate.

Dordulian Law Group pursues punitive damages, which are not capped in the state of California, on behalf of clients in all applicable wrongful death clients.

Free California Wrongful Death Lawyer Consultation

Contact a Dordulian Law Group (DLG) wrongful death lawyer today at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Through more than 25 years of experience, Dordulian has obtained over 100 jury trial victories and helped countless victims secure justice through maximum financial compensation. To date, DLG has successfully recovered more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a near-perfect 98% success record.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

You have nothing to lose by reaching out to a DLG wrongful death lawyer today. Filing a wrongful death claim can help ensure that you and/or your family’s rights are protected. With DLG’s experienced wrongful death lawyers, there is never any obligation or upfront fee, and you do not pay a penny until we successfully recover a maximum financial damages award for your claim.

Top 13 Questions to Ask During a Personal Injury Attorney Consultation

Top 13 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury claim can be brought following any number of scenarios, such as car accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, wrongful deaths, medical malpractice, and more. If you’ve been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to a cash settlement for damages such as hospital bills or medical treatment, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and more.

But recovering the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and ensuing damages can be a challenging and often intimidating process. Having a skilled, proven, and dedicated personal injury lawyer fighting for you can be a huge advantage.

That said, with so many personal injury lawyers to choose from, how can you find the best one for your case? Dordulian Law Group has put together the Top 13 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer below.

Top 13 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Attorney During the Consultation Phase

  • #1 What are Your Fees/How Much Do You Charge for Legal Representation?

Attorneys are paid an excellent wage, largely due to the benefit that expert legal representation can provide to a client in need. That said, in personal injury cases, it is extremely important to determine whether your prospective lawyer charges an hourly rate or works on a contingency fee agreement. The former is self-explanatory – the lawyer charges for every hour worked at a set rate. The latter involves no money up-front on the part of the client. Rather, in a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer only receives compensation after a damages award has been secured for your personal injury case. Based on the settlement or verdict you receive from your personal injury case, a lawyer working on a contingency fee agreement will then take a percentage of that amount. The percentage can vary depending on how long it took to settle the case (often referred to as a sliding scale). Before hiring a personal injury lawyer, be sure to go over all details related to the contingency fee agreement – what the percentage is, what fees are included, etc.

  • #2 How Long Have You Been Practicing Personal Injury Law?

This may seem like a straightforward question, but you might be surprised to learn that many personal injury lawyers (including those advertising on TV, radio, billboards, etc.) don’t have many years of experience. When you suffer an injury in a car accident, dog bite, or other type of incident, an attorney with several years or even decades of experience can be a substantial advantage. Experienced attorneys know how to negotiate maximum financial damages awards on behalf of clients, and they can draw on their past cases to help protect your rights.

  • #3 Have You Previously Handled/Won Personal Injury Cases Similar to Mine?

Again, although this may seem like a no-brainer, many personal injury lawyers advertise for specific types of cases (dog bite, slip and fall, etc.) despite never having handled them in the past. If you were injured in a car accident, you should hire a personal injury lawyer with extensive experience not only handling motor vehicle collision cases, but winning said cases.

  • #4 If I Lose My Case, Will I be Responsible for Any Costs?

Firstly, if your prospective personal injury lawyer fails to even acknowledge the potential for losing a case, it might be a serious red flag. Personal injury cases – particularly those that go to trial – aren’t always slam dunks. And the attorney you meet for a consultation should be honest with you about that fact – no case is ever 100% guaranteed to be a success. With that in mind, it’s important to at least discuss what will be expected of you – fee-wise – in a worst case scenario. If your personal injury case happens to be unsuccessful, will you be responsible for any fees out-of-pocket?

  • #5 How Much Time Can You Devote to My Case/Will Other Attorneys be Assisting?

The personal injury lawyer you see on TV every day might seem like a great person. However, will he or she actually be handling your case? At many “settlement mill” firms, your case might actually be handed off to a first-year associate rather than the partner smiling on billboards throughout the city. Moreover, how much time can the attorney(s) assigned to the case devote to it? These are important questions you will want to have answered during your free consultation.

  • #6 How Long Will it Take to Settle or Resolve My Personal Injury Case?

If the prospective personal injury lawyer you meet with has had experience handling cases similar to yours, he or she should be able to provide you with an estimate for how long your case will take to settle. While extenuating circumstances can always cause a case to be litigated longer than expected, an estimated timeline is a standard part of the personal injury consultation phase.

  • #7 Do You Have Jury Trial Experience (and if So, What is Your Success Rate)?

Did you know that many personal injury lawyers have zero jury trial experience? Moreover, some personal injury attorneys don’t actually handle cases if they must proceed to trial. While the vast majority of car accident, dog bite, and other types of personal injury claims can be settled, some that are complex or involve high-value damages awards may require a jury trial in order to reach a conclusion. If your prospective personal injury lawyer doesn’t handle jury trials and your case can’t be settled, you might be out of luck and forced to find another attorney. At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), our founder and president, Sam Dordulian, has extensive personal injury law experience that includes over 25 years of litigation expertise and more than 100 jury trial victories.

  • #8 Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Whether or not your prospective personal injury lawyer handles jury trials is a completely separate issue from whether or not your case will likely proceed to trial. Once you’ve determined if your personal injury lawyer is capable of handling jury trials, it’s important to get on the same page in terms of whether such a thing is likely (and if so, the extent of that likelihood). Knowing whether your personal injury case has a high likelihood of proceeding to trial is important information for you to consider before choosing the best lawyer to handle your case.

  • #9 What is Your Overall Personal Injury Win/Loss Record (Success Rate)?

If a personal injury lawyer is coy about his or her win/loss rate, it might be a red flag. At DLG, we display our 98% success record prominently for everyone to see. When you sit down for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, be sure to ask what his or her win/loss ratio is (both in terms of settlement victories and jury trial victories).

  • #10 How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

An estimate for how much your personal injury case might be worth is typically a standard aspect of the consultation phase. Your prospective lawyer will likely review all the facts related to your case, assess your injuries and how they may impact your quality of life/ability to work, and then use past case settlements and verdicts as reference points to help give you an estimated value for your personal injury claim that is as accurate as possible.

  • #11 What is Expected of Me in the Personal Injury Litigation Process?

This is important because you will want to understand upfront what your role is during the legal process. Will you need to undergo additional medical evaluations? Will you need to gather evidence? Will you need to make official statements or potentially appear in a courtroom? A prospective personal injury lawyer should be able to give you an overview of what your role will be from start to finish.

  • #12 Are there Any ‘Red Flags’ You See With My Personal Injury Case?

If your case has any potentially problematic aspects, it’s important to know what they are as early as possible. Ensuring that this question is answered during the personal injury lawyer consultation phase can help you in the long-run. Having such information available in the beginning, rather than being surprised mid-way, can save you time, energy, stress, and potentially even a lot of money.

  • #13 Can I See Your Past Client Testimonials/Reviews?

Reviews are a great way to evaluate how a prospective personal injury lawyer treats his or her clients. Reviews and testimonials can also give you a perspective into how successful a prospective attorney has been when handling personal injury cases similar to yours.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer or Can I Represent Myself?

Injured victims always have the right to handle claims on their own. You can send a demand letter to the at-fault party or insurance company and hope for the best. And in some cases, an injured victim is able to recover financial compensation on his or her own.

But is the amount you are able to secure on your own the maximum settlement you could potentially receive? A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can help you win what are often hard to prove damages, such as pain and suffering or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), potentially increasing your overall settlement considerably.

Hiring a DLG lawyer to handle your personal injury claim can be in your overall best interest for a variety of reasons. Confirmed data shows that personal injury victims who hire private attorneys often secure greater financial compensation for their claims.

A study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that:

  • Settlements for injured victims were 40% higher when they had secured private legal representation.
  • The average insurance payout was 3.5 times higher for injured claimants who hired private attorneys (when compared to those representing themselves).
  • 85% of all money paid by insurance companies for bodily injuries is received by victims who have secured representation from a private personal injury attorney.

When you reach out to a DLG personal injury lawyer for a free consultation, we’ll review the facts of your case and provide you with all available legal options to ensure that your rights are protected and the maximum financial damages award you deserve is sought. We’ll also provide an estimate for how long your case may take to settle and how much your personal injury claim may be worth. DLG serves personal injury clients in California as well as throughout the United States.

Free Los Angeles, California, Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation

For a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer from DLG, contact us today at 818-322-4056.

DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee means there is never any fee until after we’ve secured financial compensation on your behalf. You’ll never pay a penny until one of our experienced and proven personal injury lawyers recovers a maximum financial damages award for your claim.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who has been fighting on behalf of injured victims for over 25 years, helping them secure justice through maximum financial compensation. To date, DLG’s personal injury lawyers have recovered more than $100,000,000 for injured victims like you while maintaining a 98% success record.

Injured in a California car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or other type of incident? Searching for the best California personal injury lawyer to handle your important claim and help you secure justice? Don’t settle for anything less than the DLG Advantage. Contact us 24/7 for more information.

Psychologists Look to Improve Traffic Safety as U.S. Car Accident Deaths Increase

As U.S. Car Accident Deaths Increase, Psychologists Work to Make Driving Safer

Traffic fatalities in the United States have increased substantially in recent years. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as the COVID-19 pandemic began, although vehicle miles traveled decreased by 11% across the nation, traffic deaths rose 6.8%. Overall, an estimated 38,824 people died in motor vehicle and traffic-related collisions in 2020.

As U.S. Car Accident Deaths Increase

Through the first nine months of 2021, that trend of increasing traffic deaths continued. Motor vehicle-related fatalities rose 12% compared with the same period in 2020, representing the largest percentage spike in the year-to-year nine-month statistics ever recorded by the NHTSA.

What’s more concerning, as NHTSA data confirms, is that these numbers represent a reversal of the decreasing trend in traffic deaths seen between 2016 and 2019. Furthermore, it’s important to note that economic recessions like the one which occurred in early 2020 typically reduce traffic fatalities.

Additionally, data provided by the National Safety Council (NSC) confirmed that for the first six months of 2021, eight states saw an increase of 30% or more in term of year-over-year motor vehicle deaths:

  • Oregon: 261 deaths recorded (representing a 51% increase)
  • South Dakota: 65 deaths recorded (representing a 51% increase)
  • Minnesota: 211 deaths recorded (representing a 41% increase)
  • Idaho: 107 deaths recorded (representing a 39% increase)
  • Nevada: 181 deaths recorded (representing a 38% increase)
  • Utah: 150 deaths recorded (representing a 36% increase)
  • Vermont: 28 deaths recorded (representing a 33% increase)
  • Tennessee: 682 deaths recorded (representing a 30% increase)

In California, there were an estimated 3,246 traffic deaths recorded through the first nine months of 2021. That figure represents a 17% increase from the same nine-month period in 2020, according to data provided by the NHTSA.

As traffic deaths have continued to increase dramatically through the pandemic, the American Psychological Association (APA) recently released a report detailing how psychologists are working to improve traffic safety.

Psychologists Point to ‘Four Horsemen of Death’ as Car Accident Fatalities Increase

Dr. David Strayer, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah, refers to the “four horsemen of death” when citing the primary causes for rising motor vehicle fatalities throughout the United States.

The ‘Four Horsemen of Death,’ according to Dr. Strayer, are:

These four horsemen are what Dr. Strayer refers to as the “human foibles” behind more than 90% of motor vehicle crashes. And, the APA report notes, experts say that these four categories of common car accidents can be worsened by “relentless cycles of pandemic stress.

“People’s brains are not perceiving information and processing emotion in the way that they did prior to the pandemic,” Kira Mauseth, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Seattle University who studies disaster behavioral health, told the American Psychological Association. “People might be a little bit more impulsive, they’re a little bit less regulated, they might not be considering consequences.”

But as the APA report notes, Strayer’s four horsemen “aren’t going to disappear as pandemic stresses ease.”

“They are persistent contributors to crash deaths and injuries, and the only question is to what level they’ll continue to kill. Around the world, psychologists are working to understand who is most at risk and why, studying everything from basic perceptual processing to cognitive biases to the way the environment can make matters better (or worse),” Stephanie Pappas wrote for the APA.

Additionally, as the APA report notes, the federal government is currently funding efforts to conduct additional research into interventions against risky driving behavior.

How do the ‘Four Horsemen of Death’ Contribute to Car Accident Fatalities?

Let’s look at each of the categories within Dr. Strayer’s four horsemen of death to better understand how they impact car accident fatalities.

Excessive Speed: The NHTSA confirms that speed on the road is among the deadliest of the four horsemen categories that cause accidents, contributing to an estimated 11,258 vehicle-related fatalities in 2020.

Data provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in February 2022 found that the people who reduced their driving the most during the lockdown phase of the pandemic were disproportionately middle-age and female. Those particular demographics are considered to be a “relatively safe group of drivers,” according to the APA.

The AAA further found that the 4% of drivers who started driving more during the COVID-19 lockdown period were largely young and male (the demographic statistically most likely to engage in risky driving behavior). In addition, the AAA found that those who increased their time behind the wheel during the early pandemic were more likely than average to report recent risky driving behaviors (such as driving without a seat belt or speeding).

Impaired Driving: NHTSA data confirms that although drunk driving has declined dramatically over the decades, it still played a role in 11,654 traffic deaths in the United States in 2020.

Furthermore, as the APA notes, researchers have found that alcohol dampens people’s reactions, such as anxiety, to unknown stressors far more than it does to known stressors.

In addition, the APA report indicates that drivers inhibited by drugs or alcohol pose a unique danger to those sharing the roadways (when compared to speeding drivers).

“Speeders tend to be high in sensation-seeking, risk-taking, disinhibition, and poor decision-making. Repeated driving while impaired (DWI) offenders are high in disinhibition and alcohol misuse. People with a history of both DWI and other reckless driving are high in substance misuse and sensation-seeking, low in agreeableness, and tend to be reward-sensitive,” the APA said.

Fatigued Driving: The NHTSA reported 633 drowsy-driving fatalities in 2020 (however, when considering that figure, it should be noted that identifying fatigue as the primary cause of a car accident can be difficult unless the driver clearly fell asleep at the wheel).

The APA report notes that although people are aware of the dangers of driving while drowsy or fatigued, they may not always apply logic when getting behind the wheel (often out of a sense of urgency – to get to work, to run important errands, etc.).

“Research suggests that people know fatigue is bad for their driving abilities, but they don’t always respond effectively. A qualitative study of nurses who worked night shifts found most responded to drowsiness with less effective strategies, such as listening to music in the car. Few tried the more effective option of napping before leaving work,” the APA said.

Distracted Driving: The NHTSA confirmed that distracted driving contributed to 3,142 deaths in 2020. Moreover, throughout the pandemic, the APA notes that many drivers are likely contending with “higher-than-usual levels of distraction.”

“Stress can … act indirectly on driving. For example, pandemic stress might cause poor sleep, which in turn could cause more crashes,” the APA report said.

The APA also points to in-car displays as a possible factor in distracted driving crashes.

“Users sometimes remained distracted from the road for up to 27 seconds after disengaging with speech-to-text. NHTSA guidelines state that users should not have to look away from the road for more than two seconds at a time while interacting with a car’s technology, and no more than 12 seconds in total,” the APA said.

Dr. Strayer conducted studies on distracted driving and in-car displays, and found that drivers “sometimes spent up to two minutes fiddling with things like in-car navigation systems.”

Can I Sue for Damages in a Distracted or Drowsy Driving Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group (DLG) can be the best means of recovering a cash settlement for all applicable damages, including property damage, pain and suffering, psychological trauma, hospital and medical bills, lost wages, and more.

Proving liability in a California distracted or drowsy driving car accident cases requires skill and experience in order to secure the maximum financial compensation you need to make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially. Fighting to recover difficult to prove (and quantify) damages such as pain and suffering or emotional trauma can be challenging, and that’s where DLG’s experienced car accident injury lawyers can be of assistance.

The DLG Car Accident Division is comprised of dedicated attorneys who have helped countless injured victims secure justice. We have the proven results you need for peace of mind throughout every step of the car accident claims process. We won’t settle for anything less than a maximum financial damages payout for your distracted or drowsy driving car accident injury lawsuit.

How Long do I Have to File a California Car Accident Injury Claim?

California car accident injury claims are typically bound by a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you usually have two years from the date that a car crash injury occurs to file a civil claim in pursuit of a cash settlement. However, it’s strongly recommended that you file your claim as soon as possible. Doing so can help ensure that you recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve.

California’s Leading Car Accident Injury Lawyers

DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, has secured over 100 jury trial victories throughout his decorated 25-year career. Dordulian and his team of dedicated attorneys have expansive experience successfully litigating major car accident cases. We will fight hard to obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your car accident injury, working with medical experts and other investigative professionals to gather and preserve crucial evidence that will strengthen your case.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG’s Los Angeles distracted and drowsy driving car accident attorneys have secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts for clients while maintaining a 98% success record. With our No Win/No Fee Guarantee, there is never any upfront cost for our expert car accident legal representation, and you never pay a dime until we successfully secure a maximum financial damages award for your claim.