What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents in the U.S.?

What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents in the U.S.?

What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents in the U.S.?

Americans drive approximately 3.24 billion miles every year, resulting in roughly 6 million annual car accidents. Each time a car accident occurs the details related to the crash are gathered and recorded by multiple government agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Through the data these organizations compile, we’re able to examine trends in road safety, with the ultimate goal being fewer accidents and safer highways for everyone. In examining the aggregate data, patterns emerge indicating the most common causes of car accidents. Some of those common causes include:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving comes in many forms, from operating a cell phone while driving to simply failing to pay attention. And, as technology has advanced, drivers now have even more opportunities for distraction than ever before. Whether it’s changing the satellite radio, operating a GPS navigation device, texting, checking email, talking without a hands-free device, or attempting to synch your smartphone to your car’s operating system, drivers have no shortage of opportunities for distraction. As a result, more car accidents are caused by drivers failing to keep their eyes (and attention) on the road.

Drunk Driving

Each day nearly 30 people die in tragic drunk driving accidents throughout the U.S. That equals one entirely preventable death every 50 minutes, according the Centers for Disease Control. Alcohol impairment slows reaction time when behind the wheel, often leading to loss of physical control of one’s vehicle. Drunk driving adversely affects everyone on the road, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Speeding


Speed limits are established and enforced to keep our streets and highways safe, and can vary from state-to-state. Nevertheless, drivers frequently disobey the laws, which can lead to serious and often deadly collisions. When traveling at high speeds, it can be much more difficult for drivers to avoid other oncoming vehicles or objects, such as downed trees or power lines.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving technically refers to willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other persons or property. Examples of reckless driving can include dangerous behavior such swerving in and out of lanes, turning from outside the boundaries of marked lanes, driving at excessive rates of speed, etc.

Inclement Weather

Inclement weather conditions commonly result in car accidents, with some areas of the country experiencing blizzards, torrential downpours, tornados, and more. In Southern California, although our weather is primarily consistent (and envied), accumulating fog from off the coast during different times of the day can lead to car accidents. When driving during inclement weather, it’s important to always adhere to the laws of the road and remain extra vigilant for other drivers who may be having difficulty operating their vehicles, and are therefore more prone to accidents.

Contact our top-rated team of expert auto accident attorneys online or by phone today to pursue justice and secure a financial award for damages.

Running Red Lights or Stop Signs

When rushing from one place to another, we’ve all been guilty of attempting to beat a red light by hitting the accelerator when we see green turn yellow. Such behavior is one of the most common causes of not only traditional car accidents and fender benders, but also pedestrian accidents. When one driver ignores the rules, the dangers are increased for everyone.

Night Driving

Driving at night requires extra vigilance on the part of all drivers, as accidents are more likely to occur when it is difficult to observe moving objects including pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles. When driving in poorly lit areas, it’s important for drivers to take extra precautions to help avoid accidents.

Tailgating

Tailgating is the act of following another car too closely, and often results in rear-end collisions. The driver following behind may be unable to stop in time if the car directly ahead is forced to suddenly swerve or hit the brakes. Many tailgating accidents occur at intersections and when traffic lights change.

Car Defects

Poorly maintained vehicles or those with general defects can lead to dangerous car accidents. Accordingly, it’s important to always keep vehicles in good working order and properly maintained, with applicable service records. Broken axles, defective tires, faulty brake lines, and failed power steering columns are just some examples of common defects that result in everyday car accidents.

Blown Tires

Though relatively uncommon, drivers can occasionally fill their tires with too much air (known as over-pressurization). Over-inflated tires can develop small perforations that lead to ‘blowouts’ when traveling on uneven surfaces or roads requiring repair. A blown tire can lead to total loss of control of one’s vehicle. As such, it’s important to always maintain proper tire pressure, and monitor your vehicle’s gauges and sensors.

In Summation:

The majority of car accidents result from driver errors or distractions. In rare cases, outside forces contribute to these crashes. As the majority of car accidents are caused by driver error or negligence, if you are involved in an accident you may be eligible to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation following a physical injury or damages to your vehicle.

What should I do if I’m involved in a car accident?

What should I do if I'm involved in a car accidentThe first priority following a car accident is your health. Whether you’re involved in a minor fender bender or serious rollover accident, you could have injuries that are not immediately noticeable, or that become progressively worse over time. Following an accident it’s better to always err on the side of caution, and you may want to consider undergoing an examination by a physician to confirm that your health is not in jeopardy.

If you do not have any immediate health concerns that need addressing, we suggest proceeding with the following steps:

  • Take pictures of any injuries and request any pertinent medical records
  • Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle or physical property
  • Take photos and videos of the scene of the accident
  • Obtain contact information and interview passengers and bystanders who may have witnessed the accident and can help support your claim
  • Collect the contact and insurance information of the negligent driver
  • File a police report and request a copy for your own records
  • Pursue an estimate for the costs of any repairs to your vehicle

Following these steps will help to provide a solid foundation of evidence that you and your attorney can use to pursue a claim for financial compensation related to any damages.

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

Why should I hire a car accident attorney?

Without legal experience, pursuing a claim to recover financial damages after a car accident can be a daunting task. That’s why contacting an expert Los Angeles car accident attorney at Dordulian Law Group is the most important step you can make. We will fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the largest possible financial award for damages under the law. We have over two decades of experience representing clients who have been injured in car accidents, and our team includes former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Samuel Dordulian, as well as our Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo, a former LAPD Central Traffic Division Detective with over 30 years of experience.

We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our talented attorneys have the experience required to take on and win your case, ensuring you never have to worry about covering any out-of-pocket expenses following the accident – including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact a DLG car accident attorney today to learn more.

How the Menlo Megachurch Sexual Abuse Scandal Should Have Been Handled

by Detective Moses Castillo

Last week the Menlo Church in Northern California made headlines for mishandling a possible claim of sexual assault involving children. A volunteer sought out a church leader to confess “an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors.” Rather than immediately reporting the confession (and helping the volunteer find professional help for his disorder), the church leader chose to remain silent. It’s an unfortunate scenario that, despite being entirely preventable, occurs each and every day, often leading to devastating ramifications.

Ortberg’s inaction is troubling on a number of levels, and I’ll address what should have been done and why in greater detail below. However, in discussing the Menlo Church story with others this week I’ve come to realize another disturbing trend that, just like silence and cover-ups following sex crimes, occurs far too frequently. Namely, I’m referring to the public’s tendency to rationalize such blatant mistakes that are ultimately a straightforward matter of right and wrong.

Sex Crimes – Black & White Versus Shades of Grey:

As a former LAPD detective, I spent the majority of my 30-year career within the department’s various Sex Crimes Units, including several years with the elite Juvenile Division for Abused Children. I investigated over 1500 cases (while supervising or assisting in 1500 more), and although most were horrific and emotionally exhausting, I felt fortunate to be in a position where every day I had an opportunity to help bring justice against some of the city’s most notorious and heinous criminals.

I’ve seen every type of sex crime case imaginable. What I’ve learned over the years is that sex crimes are indiscriminate, impacting survivors of every demographic — young and old, rich and poor, secular and religious, etc. Invariably, each time a sex crime occurs a path of devastation follows, impacting individuals, families, and even the institutions to which they belong. For this reason, I view sex crimes (and the reporting of sex crimes) as a black and white issue. There are few things in life that do not involve shades of grey, that aren’t open to some form of interpretation. But not sex crimes. With sex crimes, there’s a right and a wrong, a survivor and a criminal, and it’s always a tragedy. The only question is whether the heinous criminal act itself is exacerbated by inaction, senselessly leading to compounded damage.

You may be nodding your head along as you’re reading. Most people certainly do, initially, when hearing of a sex crime. But inevitably more facts come to light, and a matter of right and wrong can become open to interpretation, specifically when it comes to the reporting of a sex crime.

In the Menlo Church case, the volunteer who made the confession to Reverend Ortberg also happened to be his son, John “Johnny” Ortberg III. Johnny claimed that he hadn’t acted on his impulses, and the reverend took him at his word. But Johnny continued to have unsupervised access to children through the church, including overnight events and programs, all with his father’s knowledge.

The confession was only brought to light two years after the fact by Ortberg’s other son, Daniel Lavery. Lavery reportedly felt compelled to publicly identify Johnny via Twitter after learning that his father continued to allow Johnny to interact with children unsupervised.

What would you do in that situation if you were Reverend Ortberg? Sadly, statistics show that silence is the most likely course of action, often together with blaming the victim, rather than believing and reporting a claim.  In speaking to people about this specific Menlo Church case, I’m amazed how easy it is for people to rationalize Ortberg’s decision to remain silent. They may not agree with it, and nearly everyone I speak with denies that they would ever not report such a confession. But almost everyone cites the “complexity” of “difficulty” involved in the reverend’s decision. They see shades of grey, when they should only see black and white. And I believe this speaks to a larger issue that we all need to examine when considering the Menlo Church case.

There are many reasons why Ortberg may have ultimately chosen not to report his son. Maybe he was worried about his own reputation, or that people would judge his son unfairly. Maybe he thought he could keep watch over his son, ensuring he would never act on his impulses. But in the final analysis, no reason or rationalization is acceptable because it prioritizes Ortberg’s personal interests over the safety of the children. Regardless of the rationale, making the choice to remain silent was undeniably wrong. Reporting the confession was the only way to do the right thing.

This example, like thousands of others, has only one outcome, and we should all be familiar with it by now — the mishandling inevitably leads to a larger and more devastating issue. What if Ortberg immediately sought professional help for his son and disclosed the situation to his congregation? Would he have been scorned for helping his own son, thereby protecting his congregants? What potential outcome so concerned Ortberg that it caused him to choose to put his own self-interests ahead of the safety of the children in the congregation? Where would we be now if Ortberg had simply reported the confession and sought professional help for his son?

When Someone Discloses a Sex Crime to You:

The strength and courage required to disclose a sex crime is something that can only be understood by the survivor. If someone discloses a sex crime to you, the most important thing you can do is empathize. Validate the survivor’s act of courage by expressing your belief in what they’re telling you. Allow the survivor to tell you the story exactly as they wish, and provide assurance by expressing your unconditional support.

Once the disclosure has been made, it’s important to let the survivor know that you now have a duty to report the crime to the proper authorities. This can often be a delicate, at times contentious interaction, particularly if the survivor is a child. And when a survivor has just taken the step to confide in you, the last thing you want to do is hurt them by betraying their trust. In instances where a child survivor pleads with you to not disclose what they’ve just told you to authorities, it can be helpful to offer an alternative perspective. Rather than disclosing what he or she has just told you, offer the option of having the child tell the same story directly to the authorities (and stress that you will be there the entire time offering love and support).

Attempt to explain that this option will allow you to not break the child’s trust, while also ensuring that no additional child is harmed by remaining silent. It can be a very difficult road to navigate for the confidant, especially when a child is involved. What’s most important, however, is that you never lose sight of the fact that all sex crimes must be reported immediately. Inaction will ultimately lead to far more negative consequences.

Moreover, when a child of sexual abuse comes to an adult they trust and discloses such a terrible secret, inaction on the part of the adult can sometimes create harm almost as damaging as the abuse itself. If a child comes to you and discloses a sex crime, it’s a cry for help and a call to action. Do not let that significant moment in a child’s life (or an adult, for that matter) pass without doing the right thing and reporting the crime. Silence following a disclosure can leave a survivor feeling hopeless and trapped. They’ve made the disclosure in an effort to stop future abuse, but are left feeling as though they failed.

Now what? Will the abuse continue? What options do I have if the one person I trusted did nothing in the face of horrific abuse?

If someone comes to you and discloses a sex crime, I sincerely urge you to do the right thing. They’re coming to you because they want help. Providing help by reporting the crime is always the right course of action.

In California, sex crime survivors have rights when making a disclosure to authorities. A survivor has the right to be interviewed by an officer of the same gender. A survivor has the right to have a designated support person with them at all times when making a statement or being interviewed by police. That designated support person can be a friend or relative, but if the survivor isn’t comfortable with someone they know, a professional victim advocate can be provided.

Organizations such as rape crisis centers have dedicated victim advocates ready to respond 24/7 to survivors reporting a sex crime to the police. Victim advocates are highly trained professionals who provide emotional support to survivors, serving as their tireless advocate throughout the disclosure process. Victim advocates are some of the most important players in the war on sex crimes, which is but one of the reasons why DLG employs two full-time, nationally accredited victim advocates on our in-house SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts).

How a Sex Crime Must Always Be Reported:

 Sex crimes must always be reported to the police. The only variable is whether you’re making an emergency call to 911 or a general call to your police department’s sex crimes unit. Most police departments have a designated hotline where sex crimes can be reported, and the reporter can choose to remain anonymous.

If no one is in immediate danger, the call should be made to such a tip line. However, with sex crimes involving children, it’s important to keep in mind that given a child’s vulnerability, every moment is critical. In Los Angeles County, some phone numbers to keep readily available include:

  • The Child Abuse Hotline: 800-540-4000
  • The LAPD’s Child Protection Section of the Juvenile Division: 213-486-0570
  • The Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-978-3600
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • The LAPD Non-Emergency Information Line: 877-ASK-LAPD (275-5723)
  • The LAPD’s Non-Emergency Dedicated Spanish Line: 213-928-8222

In the Menlo Church case, Reverend Ortberg should have called the police and reported his son’s confession. The fact that his son claimed he had never acted on his impulses should not have inhibited him from making the call. Doing so would have led to three critical outcomes:

  1. Triggered a proper investigation by the authorities (hopefully confirming that Johnny had indeed never sexually abused a child).
  2. Established a record of the confession that would help to ensure measures were put in place to keep Johnny away from Children, significantly decreasing the chances of a child being harmed in the future.
  3. Ensured Johnny immediately received proper professional support.

It’s important to keep in mind that sex crime disclosures often take place years after the actual incident occurred. Every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. However, one-third of sex crime survivors never disclose, and the average age to disclose childhood sexual abuse is reportedly 52.

Obviously, when a sex crime occurred in relation to when someone discloses to you will effect which number you dial to report the incident. If a sex crime occurred to a child 30 years ago, your call should be placed to the general tip line versus the child abuse-dedicated line. But whether the crime occurred 30 years or 30 minutes ago, you must make the call. Prior to California’s AB 218 law, the statute of limitations may have affected whether or not legal action could be pursued against a sex offender.

However, under AB 218 the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse is currently removed until the end of 2022, and all survivors are able to pursue civil claims for financial damages against their attacker, regardless of when the crime took place.

When a sex crime is disclosed to you, nothing – not the statute of limitations, a relation to the survivor/abuser, or even your personal opinion as to the veracity of the claim — should stand in your way of making the call to authorities.

Potential False Claims of a Sex Crime Incident:

False sex crime claims are exceedingly rare, whether involving children or adults. But when it comes to a child’s claim of sexual abuse, in 30 years of investigating I found that if a false claim ever did occur, it commonly involved a custody dispute, with one parent essentially instructing a child to lie. Otherwise, instances of children making false accusations are virtually non-existent.

For that reason alone, any time a child makes such a claim it must be reported immediately (never mind the myriad other reasons, like it’s the right thing to do).

The Civilian Internal Investigation Mistake:

In the Menlo Church case, after reporting the issue to the authorities, Reverend Ortberg should have also reported the matter to his superiors. This is not only good communication policy within organizations and businesses, it removes the responsibility moving forward from the individual (Ortberg) where it does not belong, and places it on the overall institution where it does.

Additionally, however, this allows the organization to conduct an internal investigation, but only after the proper authorities have been alerted and begun their own investigation.

Internal organizational investigations led by civilians are unacceptable if conducted on their own. For starters, no civilian has been properly trained to conduct an investigation, particularly when it comes to complex and sensitive issues like sex crimes. But more than anything, internal investigations are inherently biased, and can allow a culture of abuse to become pervasive throughout an institution. We’ve seen this hundreds of times in cases related to the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.

This week the Huffington Post confirmed that the Menlo Church’s board announced it would be conducting a “supplemental independent investigation” into “concerns raised about Johnny Ortberg that will be overseen by a new committee of elders, staff, parents and volunteers.” Moreover, the report confirmed the church has “pledged to hire an ‘independent outside organization’ to audit its child safety policies.”

A Required Change in Perspective:

 Personally, as someone with three sons, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for Reverend Ortberg to hear Johnny’s confession and plea for help. Some would say Ortberg was put into an impossible situation. But I disagree. He was most certainly put into a difficult situation, nobody is arguing otherwise. But he chose to remain silent, and consequently endangered countless children. The only aspect of the situation that should have been ‘impossible’ was the potential for him to not report the confession.

The Menlo Church’s motto is, “Everybody’s welcome. Nobody’s perfect. Anything’s possible.” The moment Ortberg first contemplated remaining silent, he should have consulted that very message for guidance.

Everyone should be welcome, and since none of us is perfect that should also have included Johnny, provided he committed to never harming a child, and stopped any future interactions. And through that honesty, by disclosing the confession, it should have been possible for Johnny to remain an accepted member of the congregation (because of that fact, not in spite of it), and for Reverend Ortberg to continue leading the congregation. But by remaining silent, fearful of what might happen if Johnny’s imperfections were discovered, Reverend Ortberg contradicted his own church’s creed. And the result is a scandal and potentially sexual abuse of children that has yet to be uncovered.

We need to not simply view all sexual abuse as a plague that must be eradicated, but realize that any claim related to such abuse must be reported, regardless of the circumstances. Sadly, in my more than 30 years investigating sex crimes, I can count on one hand amount of times an individual did the right thing when it came to reporting a claim against a family member or friend. In fact, the first instinct is typically not to report the claim, but to turn it against the survivor, with accusations of false claims or “misunderstandings” that can be resolved without revealing the matter to authorities. That trend needs to change, and whenever a sex crime (or urge to commit such a crime) is disclosed, the first instinct always needs to be, “we need to call the police.”

Some may say it’s not nearly so clear-cut, and that you must consider the ramifications of how a false claim can affect someone. Setting aside the fact that, as mentioned earlier, false claims are extraordinarily rare, let’s put the alternative scenarios of reporting versus not reporting into perspective.

Is a worse outcome silence leading to a domino effect whereby dozens of victims are impacted, or, in the highly unlikely event that a claim is false, an investigation and temporary scarlet letter of sorts associated with the accused?

The answer should be self-evident. However, just as we need to make a collective shift in reporting all sex crimes, we also need to appreciate that in the rare instance of a false accusation, where a professional investigation is conducted and the accused is found to not be culpable, that individual deserves the ability to resume a productive life that is not forever tainted by the allegation. Due process is everyone’s paramount right, which means that when someone is found innocent of such a claim, the court of public opinion should reflect the court of law. That’s easier said than done, of course. But doing so would make people more inclined to report sex crime claims without seeing shades of grey and second-guessing their decision based on potential personal fallout (i.e. the scarlet letter syndrome).

In the case of Reverend Ortberg, there was one correct response to his son’s confession – “Son, I love you, I believe you, and I’m going to do everything I can to help you.” From there, the Reverend needed to do two things:

  1. Report Johnny to the authorities
  2. Keep him away from children in the future

He didn’t, likely motivated by the incorrect belief that, in the end, doing nothing would lead to a more personally desirable outcome than reporting ever could. But, as it always does, the decision to remain silent in the face of a sex crime (or in this case the urge to commit a sex crime) led to more negative consequences than doing the right thing ever could.

Currently Ortberg is embroiled in a scandal that may ultimately lead to his dismissal. Additionally, the church is affected by negative publicity, and rightful outrage over the mishandling of the confession may cause a mass exodus of congregants. If a professional investigation determines abuse did occur, Ortberg and the church could face a mountain of civil lawsuits. Additionally, Ortberg could potentially face criminal penalties, although the law is particularly vague when it comes to clergy members.

Under California’s “mandatory reporting law,” it is a crime for certain professionals to not report instances of actual or suspected child abuse and child neglect. In a case of suspected abuse, subsection (a)(1) of the law defines an instance of reasonable suspicion as one where it is “objectively reasonable” for a “reasonable person in a like position” to suspect without certainty that child abuse has occurred. Clergy are considered mandated reporters in California, but are technically exempt from the mandatory reporting law if they hear about potential child abuse during a “penitential communication.” The church’s top leaders claim that Johnny came to his father “in confidence.”

I would argue that the context in which Johnny specifically sought out support from his father – as either a close relative or a designated clergy member – is irrelevant. Ortberg had a legal obligation to report what Johnny told him given that any “objectively reasonable” person would certainly entertain the potential for child abuse to have occurred (in spite of the denial of any actual conduct). Whether or not Ortberg ever faces a criminal penalty for failing to report the information, however, is difficult to predict. Even if the ongoing investigation eventually confirms previously undiscovered abuse, the legal grey area within the mandatory reporting law allows for the possibility that Reverend Ortberg would never face a criminal penalty for remaining silent (up to one year in county jail and multiple fines).

Regardless, I firmly believe that by failing to act Ortberg was in the wrong. It reminds me of a quote I often reference when working with survivors:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

-John F. Kennedy in a 1961 speech

Whenever silence and inaction is chosen over reporting a possible instance of sexual abuse, the continued victimization of both children and adults at the hands of perpetrators is allowed to continue unchecked.

Dordulian Law Group – The Sex Crime Experts of Our SAJE Team:

At DLG, our primary area of expertise is sex crimes. Whether it’s childhood sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual assault, or any other number of horrific crimes, DLG’s expertise and success stems from its seasoned SAJE Team of Sexual Assault Justice Experts, led by Samuel Dordulian. Dordulian began his career as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County prosecuting sex crimes. As a sex crimes prosecutor, Dordulian successfully obtained life sentences against some of the city’s most heinous sex offenders, forever removing them from our community.

When Dordulian left the District Attorney’s Office to start his own private practice, his goal was to provide sexual abuse survivors with a unique type of all-encompassing representation. Dordulian established DLG to provide survivors the opportunity to not simply recover financial damages in a civil lawsuit, but also receive the support and resources they need to properly heal and move forward.

The result of that vision is the DLG SAJE Team – a group of dedicated and experienced Sexual Assault Justice Experts who ensure survivors receive not one, but four tiers of representation when pursuing a civil lawsuit against an attacker.

The Four Tiers of DLG SAJE Team Representation:

  1. Case Lead: Samuel Dordulian, former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County
  2. Investigation Lead: Detective Moses Castillo, former 30-year LAPD sex crimes unit leader in the city’s elite Juvenile Division for Abused Children
  3. Support Lead: A licensed clinical therapist with 15 years of experience helping sexual abuse survivors
  4. Advocate Lead: Two in-house, licensed, and nationally accredited victim advocates who have decades of experience passionately advocating on behalf of survivors

If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse, we’re here for you. Please contact us online or call 800-880-7777 directly to connect with a SAJE Team member 24/7.

The Long-Term Effects of Clergy Sexual Abuse

When I give my business card to survivors, the quote on the bottom reads, “Investigating the most important case .. YOURS.” It’s a sentiment I apply each and every day in my role as Chief Investigator at Dordulian Law Group. If you need to report a sex crime, are the survivor of a sex crime who needs support in deciding whether or not to pursue a lawsuit, or simply have questions regarding a sex crime matter, please know that I am here for you and will do my utmost to support you in any way that I can utilizing my more than 30 years of experience.

Los Angeles Apparel Factory Ordered Shut Down Following Coronavirus Outbreak; Hundreds of Workers’ Compensation Claims Expected

In response to “flagrant violations” of public health and safety orders, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Friday that it was forcing the garment factory run by Los Angeles Apparel to shut down effective immediately.

In a public statement the Department of Public Health confirmed three Los Angeles Apparel factory workers died in June, while another worker died in July. The deaths, all reportedly related to a coronavirus outbreak, sparked an immediate investigation.

“The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment.”

The factory, located in downtown Los Angeles, was initially shut down on June 27 after the three employee deaths. According to the county, Los Angeles Apparel then violated the shutdown order and reopened “with apparently new employees.” Upon the unlawful reopening, the fourth factory worker died, and more than 300 workers have since tested positive for the disease. The county also reports that the company attempted to block health inspectors from entering the factory. That act of defiance is what incited the latest shut down order, which mandates the factory remain closed until it can demonstrate “full compliance” with public health mandates.

Marissa Nuncio, director of the Garment Worker Center, stated it was “heartbreaking to hear of worker deaths at Los Angeles Apparel,” adding that she hopes the tragedy “raises awareness of the urgent need to protect workers.”

According to a report from Business Insider, “Los Angeles’ garment industry is notorious for labor violations.” In March, Director Nuncio stated that when factories began shifting from clothing to the manufacture of personal protective equipment such as masks, “Workers — largely undocumented women of color — often reported sub-legal wages, paid not by the hour but by the object they sewed, in poorly ventilated sweatshops.”

Hundreds of workers’ compensation and a select number of wrongful death lawsuits against Los Angeles Apparel will likely be filed in the coming days, with the coronavirus outbreak infecting so many employees.

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order in May, all California workers infected by COVID-19 are protected by workers’ compensation insurance. As a result of said order, infected workers are eligible for a financial award related to lost wages, medical care, a disability, death benefits, and more. The executive order makes it easier for workers who become infected with COVID-19 to file a claim for those workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, the executive order extends to all workers, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented as well as documented workers who contract the coronavirus on the job are eligible for the same workers’ compensation benefits.

At Dordulian Law Group, our Workers’ Compensation Division is led by Charles Rondeau, a certified specialist with the State Bar of California who has over 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of workers. Additionally, Mr. Rondeau is the former Chairperson of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Law Commission of the State Bar of California, and is a proud member of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (“CAAA”), the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (“CAALA”), the Consumer Attorneys of California (“CAOC”), and the California Employment Lawyers Association (“CELA”).

If you are a worker and have been infected by COVID-19, do not wait to file a claim for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation or call 800-880-7777.

With our decades of experience and 98% success rate at trials, Dordulian Law Group is the best choice for handling your workers’ compensation case. With DLG, you can be confident knowing you have the top-rated workers’ compensation lawyers in Los Angeles fighting for you every step of the way.

 

 

How Do I Find the Best California Lawyer to Win My Workers’ Compensation Case?

What qualities should I consider when searching for the top-rated workers' compensation lawyer in Los Angeles, California?

When someone experiences an injury at work, workers’ compensation insurance provides five basic financial benefits to the injured party:

  • Medical care: Payments by your employer towards medical bills for necessary care to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work
  • Temporary disability benefits: Payments for lost wages resulting from an injury that prevents you from participating in your usual job while recovering
  • Permanent disability benefits: Payments if you don’t recover completely
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits (for injuries occurring after 2004): Vouchers to help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you don’t recover completely and don’t return to work for your employer
  • Death benefits: Payments to your spouse, children, or other dependents if you die from a job injury or illness.

Under California Labor Code Section 3700, all California employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. At Dordulian Law Group, we are experts at helping you win your workers’ compensation claim and collect the financial benefits you deserve.

With the emergence of COVID-19, some changes to workers’ compensation law have taken place. In May, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order extending workers’ compensation eligibility for California workers who contract the coronavirus, making it easier for them to file a claim for the much-needed benefits they deserve.

As COVID-19 continues to affect how and where we work, it’s important to remember that all California workersregardless of immigration status – are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In the event of an unfortunate injury, you have rights under the law and you are entitled to financial compensation.

Finding the best Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney to handle your workplace injury claim can be time consuming. With so many lawyers in California, it can be difficult to differentiate the top-rated, experienced lawyers with high success rates from those with less expertise that could jeopardize the outcome of your case. Hiring an attorney to represent you and ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve can be the most important decision you make following a workplace injury.

To discuss your legal options, schedule an appointment online for a free consultation or call our top workers’ compensation attorneys today.

We’ve put together a standard checklist of qualifications you will want to consider when searching for the most experienced lawyer to handle your workers’ compensation case. Our checklist will help you find the perfect workers’ compensation lawyer in the least amount of time so you can win your claim, receive the financial benefits that you are entitled to under the law, and begin your recovery process as soon as possible.

What qualities should I consider when searching for the top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer in Los Angeles, California?

1. A Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist with the State Bar of California

A simple Google search for ‘California workers’ compensation attorneys’ will generate nearly 3.5 million results. Searching through those many results to find a competent, top-rated attorney to handle your case is difficult enough. However, trying to find a lawyer who is a certified workers’ compensation specialist with the State Bar of California amid those millions of results can be nearly impossible. That’s because the prestigious title of Workers’ Compensation Law Specialist is extremely rare, with less than 2% of California attorneys holding the qualification.

At Dordulian Law Group, our Workers’ Compensation Division is led by certified specialist Charles Rondeau. Mr. Rondeau has more than 25 years of experience successfully representing injured workers. He is the former chairperson of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Law Commission, and has had the honor and privilege of arguing some of the most important workers’ compensation cases before the California Supreme Court. Such cases include Valdez v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in 2013, and State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund (Sandhagen) in 2008. Additionally, Mr. Rondeau has argued before several District Courts of Appeal and has numerous published appellate decisions.

Additionally, Mr. Rondeau is a highly sought after presenter/guest speaker at conventions that teach California attorneys about workers’ compensation laws, keeping them apprised of changes and trends within the industry. In other words, Mr. Rondeau is such an expert at workers’ compensation law that he literally teaches other attorneys how to do their job effectively.

In short, our lead workers’ compensation attorney is an expert in all regards. He is renowned in the workers’ compensation law and employment law arenas, and has the knowledge and experience required to take on and win any type of workers’ compensation case. He is the exact type of lawyer you will want handling your important workers’ compensation case.

When searching for the perfect workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you, finding a certified specialist like Charles Rondeau can give you a significant advantage in winning your case and securing the largest benefits award for your injury. In other words, you should make every effort to find and hire a qualified and experienced attorney who also happens to be a certified workers’ compensation specialist.

2. Personalized Care and Attention

Many firms advertise an ostensible commitment to clients by citing a team of experts that is available 24/7. However, as you may have already discovered while researching some of the supposed ‘top-rated’ workers’ compensation firms in California (specifically in the Los Angeles area), many firms don’t live up to the image they work hard to advertise and promote.

Hiring the best workers’ compensation attorney to handle your claim must be done as soon as possible following an injury. If you contact a firm and do not receive a timely response, that is a good indication you and your case will not be treated as a priority, and you will not receive the proper attention and support you deserve.

Many large ‘mega firms’ you may see advertised on television, radio, billboards, and the internet try to convince you that they will win your workers’ compensation claim and secure you the largest benefits award for damages. However, these firms tend to focus the majority of their efforts on the largest personal injury cases that will garner the largest award. Therefore, if your case isn’t of a catastrophic nature, it’s entirely possible that it will not be a priority to such a mega firm.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call (866) 369-5435 now.

At Dordulian Law Group, we treat each of our clients as members of our extended family, and view every case – regardless of the size or specific circumstances – as our highest priority. When you’re injured at work, your life can be turned upside down in an instant, and knowing how to proceed and navigate the many important decisions that result from such an injury – such as negotiating with insurance companies, fighting for your right to obtain proper medical care, reimbursement on medical bills, and communicating with your employer’s insurance company to secure lost wages – can be stressful and overwhelming. But with Dordulian Law Group on your side, we make the process seamless and stress-free by handling all of these details on your behalf and allowing you to focus on what’s most important – your health and overall recovery following an injury.

How Do I Find the Best California Lawyer to Win My Workers' Compensation Case?

If you have questions or concerns regarding your case, feel free to contact us online or by phone at 800-880-7777. We are available to provide the support and guidance you need day or night. Our expert team of attorneys, intake specialists, victim advocates, a retired LAPD detective, and general support staff are here for you each and every day. When you choose Dordulian Law Group, you can be sure that you will never be left alone searching for answers concerning your case, and you will have access to a support network comprised of a team of experts.

3. An Experienced and Dedicated Investigation Team

When injured at work, worrying about proving that the injury occurred in the workplace can weigh heavily on your mind. At Dordulian Law Group we have an expert investigation team led by a former Los Angeles Police Department detective with over 30 years of experience. Our lead investigator, Detective Moses Castillo, investigates all workers’ compensation cases to ensure that all the facts related to the circumstances of your injury are presented in court and applied to your claim.

With our investigative team overseeing your case, you never have to worry about outside influences (employers, insurance companies, etc.) distorting the truth and reducing the benefits you deserve. Having a full time investigator on staff is an attribute unique to Dordulian Law Group that is rarely, if ever, found at other firms. Our lead investigator’s years of experience and expertise offer an invaluable asset to our workers’ compensation clients. It’s yet another reason why Dordulian Law Group is the best choice for your workers’ compensation case, to give you the best chance at winning and securing the greatest benefits award to which you are entitled.

Why you want an experienced, proven, and trusted law firm like Dordulian Law Group on your side to handle your workers’ compensation case:

As we reported back in March, many workers do not report job-related injuries due to fear of being fired or disciplined. The same is true for workplace sexual harassment claims, which are significantly underreported due to similar fears. At Dordulian Law Group we believe the best way to curb this unfortunate cycle is by educating workers on their rights.

If you are injured on the job – whether through a serious workplace accident resulting in significant injuries that are immediately identifiable, or through a slowly lingering trauma from an injury that worsened over time without a specifically identifiable date such as a back pain – you have rights under the law, and we are here to ensure that you take advantage of the benefits available to you.

The most important step after sustaining an injury is to report that injury and file a claim as soon as possible. Even if you feel the injury is minor and might heal on its own, it’s best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney first so they can help determine whether or not you have a substantiated claim. Unfortunately, many workers neglect reporting an injury and filing a claim and as the injury worsens, they eventually become unable to work and are left without many options. That’s why it’s imperative that you report your injury – whether large or small – immediately to a top-rated Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer (and, if at all possible, a certified specialist).

What makes Dordulian Law Group the best choice for handling your workers’ compensation claim?

Dordulian Law Group is a unique workers’ compensation firm based in Los Angeles that is unlike any other firm throughout California. We have the top resources – our workers’ compensation division led by a certified specialist with decades of experience, an expert investigator and former LAPD detective, etc. – that are typically only found at large ‘mega firms’ that may or may not treat you and your case as a priority.

Additionally, we provide you with the 24/7 support and guidance you deserve, which can typically only be found at boutique law firms. We make every workers’ case a top priority, and our results prove that our methods generate the best outcomes for our clients time and time again.

The Dordulian Law Group advantage means providing top resources and producing the greatest results (we have a 98% win record at trials) for our clients while maintaining one-on-one attention, care, and support. We are unlike any other firm because we combine the best of what ‘mega firms’ have to offer with the best of what boutique firms have to offer, making us the ultimate choice for workers’ compensation claims.

If you have been injured at work, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation. Even if you feel the injury is minor (or related to COVID-19), you should take the important step to be evaluated by our team to determine if you have a claim and if the injury could progress and leave you unable to work for an extended period of time. We are available by phone at 800-880-7777.

Local Music Teacher in Semen-Tainted Flute Case Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges

Local music teacher John Edward Zeretzke, 61, from Ventura has agreed to plead guilty to one federal charge of production of child pornography and six state counts of lewd or lascivious acts with minors under 14 years of age. The guilty plea comes after pleading not guilty in April 2019 to state charges accusing Zeretzke of recording himself ejaculating into flutes that were then given to five girls at elementary schools throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. State attorneys accused Zeretzke of then taking photographs of the girls using the tainted instruments. Court documents indicate the alleged violations involving the flutes occurred between January and April 2017.

Zeretzke is the founder of Flutes Across the World, a nonprofit organization that teaches students how to make their own flutes. He has agreed to plead guilty to accusations involving sex crimes with minors dating back to 2015.

The federal indictment accuses Zeretzke of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, allegedly sending a 15-year-old girl he met on Facebook over 40 explicit photos of himself. On November 7, 2015, court documents indicate the victim told Zeretzke in a Facebook chat she planned to lose her virginity on her upcoming 16th birthday. The indictment alleges Zeretzke then sent a response indicating “he had always wanted to have sex with a virgin and wished he could be that person” for her.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that in August 2017 Zeretzke traveled to the Philippines to engage in sex with an individual who was 12 to 16 years old, and received child pornography through his Facebook account.

For more than 30 years Zeretzke reportedly taught thousands of children throughout California. He was also a teaching artist for the Music Center of Los Angeles.

Since its founding in 2009, the Flutes Across the World organization has worked with thousands of children throughout the country, including several school districts in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Children taking part in the program would reportedly create pairs of decorated flutes — one flute would be kept by the child participating in the program, while the other would be given to a child in a foreign country. In 2017 the Los Angeles Times reported, “officials warned parents in seven California school districts of the potential contamination of flutes received by their children.”

Flutes Across the World also led music missions to numerous countries including Haiti, the Philippines, and Honduras. The Mercury News reported the organization sent “flute ambassadors” to Nepal, Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia.

As part of the plea deal, the Central District of California agreed to dismiss all but one of the federal counts against Zeretzke. However, those dismissed charges may still be considered upon sentencing.

If you would like to report an incident of sexual assault involving a child, please contact our SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) today. With the passage of California’s Child Victims Act — also known as AB 218 — the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children is removed until January 1, 2023. In effect, this means sexual predators have nowhere to hide, and survivors of child sexual abuse are finally able to obtain justice and receive a financial settlement for damages, regardless of when the crime occurred.

Contact us to arrange a free consultation, or call 800-880-7777 to speak with a member of our team directly.

 

 

 

 

4 Steps for Finding the Best California Personal Injury Lawyer to Win Your Car Accident Case

Will the Car Accident Lawyer I Find Handle My Case Directly?

When someone is injured, personal injury law provides an opportunity to file a lawsuit seeking financial restitution for damages incurred from the accident such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Personal injury law covers a wide range of accident types including: dog bites, slip-and-falls, product liabilities, car accidents, and much more.

A look at the steps involved in researching and hiring a top-rated California personal injury lawyer to help you win your car accident lawsuit.

Suffering an injury is a difficult, often traumatic experience no one should have to endure. In addition to the pain and suffering resulting from the actual injury, the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages can lead to increased tension and stress. Following an injury, reducing worry so you can focus on your recovery should be the first priority. Part of reducing that worry entails finding the best attorney to serve as your tireless advocate in handling the inconvenient details (e.g. tracking down the at-fault party, reimbursement for medical bills, haggling with insurance companies, etc.). So, how do you find a top-rated personal injury lawyer with experience winning your specific type of case (in the least amount of time)?

Given how expansive the personal injury law arena is, finding the best attorney to represent you following an unfortunate car accident can be challenging. A simple Google search for ‘personal injury lawyers near me’ will generate nearly a hundred million results. Navigating through the advertisements and the countless websites in search of the best lawyer for your car accident case can be overwhelming. How do you separate the dog bite specialists from the car accident specialists? Without knowing what to look for, the search process can be unnerving, unsettling, and detrimental to your recovery process.

To discuss your legal options, schedule an appointment with our car accident lawyers today. Our top car accident attorneys are available to assist you 24/7.

Finding the perfect attorney who will recover the largest possible financial award for your car accident can involve extensive research and fact-checking, and can be incredibly time consuming. There are thousands of personal injury lawyers in California, many with at least some experience handling car accident cases. You don’t have the time to interview each and every one before making a final decision and proceeding with your case. Moreover, even if you did have the time, you could certainly spend it on something more enjoyable than searching for the best car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.

With that in mind, what’s the most expedient and effective way to find the right car accident lawyer for you?

We’ve put together a checklist that includes some basic guidelines for the most effective way to search and find the best personal injury lawyer in your area (and by “best” we mean one who will win your car accident case and recover the largest possible financial award you deserve). Let’s look at some steps that will ensure your search separates accurate information from misinformation, and you ultimately end up finding and hiring the best car accident attorney for your specific needs.

A Checklist for Searching and Hiring an Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Specializing in Car Accidents:

The key to hiring a top-rated personal injury lawyer specializing in car accidents involves not only knowing what to look for, but also how to find it. Our ‘Smart Search Checklist’ for doing just that includes the following steps:

  1. Understand the difference between advertisements and webpages prior to beginning your search
  2. Confirm the attorney you find handles your type of case directly
  3. Confirm the attorney you find has previous experience and success with cases similar to yours
  4. Evaluate overall rapport and likability of the attorney before making a final decision

That may seem like a lot of steps involving an inordinate amount of time and effort. However, once you know what you’re looking for and how to look for it, it’s actually a fairly straightforward process. Moreover, given how important it is that you find and hire the best personal injury attorney to handle your car accident case, it will be time well spent. This blog is here to help you find that perfect attorney without spending a minute more than is necessary. With that said, let’s look at the first step on our checklist: understanding the difference between advertisements and webpages before beginning your search.

The Online Search Process for a Top-Rated Car Accident Lawyer in California:

A Checklist for Searching and Hiring an Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Specializing in Car Accidents
Following a car accident, the process of finding the most experienced, competent, and savvy lawyer to handle your case often involves an online search. The goal of any online search should be to find non-biased and accurate information. Given the importance of the end result that comes from conducting such a search (e.g. the attorney who will have your case in their hands), accident victims need to be able to recognize the many red flags that exist. Knowing how to differentiate between ad-based pages and legitimate, independent pages (commonly referred to as organically generated results) is a critical step in finding the best lawyer for you.

When you Google a search term like ‘Best personal injury lawyer for car accidents in California,’ the first links you will see are actually advertisements (ad-based pages will have a black ‘Ad‘ designation above the blue webpage link, while general pages will not have the ‘Ad’ indicator). These ads are paid for by law firms or marketing companies that match prospective clients with attorneys. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to realize that these types of pages are, for the most part, inherently biased. They rely on the assumption that, because of their listing at the top of the search engine results, you will automatically click on them, believing that they are non-biased and trustworthy.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident please call (866) 369-5435 to set up a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case and a potential financial award for damages.

The Online Search Process for a Top-Rated Car Accident Lawyer in California:
But ad-based pages are basically just like commercials on television, where a service is being sold to you. Their sole focus is to attract a high volume of clients, with no obligation to provide you with high quality attorneys who are capable of high quality results.

As you scroll down through the search listings underneath the advertisements, you will likely come across multiple pages that are either law firms or marketing companies that law firms hire to help promote their image – depicting them as top attorneys in their respective field. The problem is that it can be difficult to distinguish between a marketing page and a law firm page, as they both provide similar types of information, attempting to persuade you to ‘call now’ or sign up for a free consultation. These pages can be quite misleading, and it’s nearly impossible that you will ever find any negative information or feedback if such information exists (such as win-loss records, specific types of experience, reviews from dissatisfied former clients, etc.).

But that’s the exact type of information that is so important and must be included in your decision making process. Therefore, it’s good to be aware that the information found on advertised sites can be sanitized to create the perception that you’ve magically found the best option for a lawyer. Simply being conscious of the difference between ads and organic search results puts you at an advantage and helps you differentiate between fact and fiction.
4 Steps for Finding the Best California Personal Injury Lawyer to Win Your Car Accident Case

Additionally, it’s important to be aware how marketing companies that sell law firm advertisements operate. These marketing companies make their money through connecting lawyers with potential new clients. They’re merely a ‘middleman’ between the injured party and the lawyer seeking new business. Again, that’s not inherently a bad thing, but you must realize that to such companies you, and your case, are viewed as a commodity.

If you hire a car accident lawyer in this way, after you provide your information on the marketing website (which may look exactly like a law firm website) your case is then sold to the highest bidding law firm (a process which in no way guarantees you will be paired with a reputable or experienced lawyer to help you secure the largest possible settlement). Law firms pay millions of dollars to such marketing companies, and it’s imperative that they recoup those millions as soon as possible. In order to recoup their expenses, law firms that rely on securing new clients via marketing companies typically attempt to close (or settle) their cases as quickly as possible (meaning your case could potentially be rushed and not fully presented through to trial). Once a case is closed or settled, these firms receive a portion of any award you might receive to cover those high costs.

Whether or not you decide to hire a lawyer via an advertisement or through a marketing company will not ultimately determine the success of your case. However, we feel it’s important that car accident victims simply realize the difference between advertisements and organic search results so they’re better informed and able to understand the information they’re viewing. From there, you’ll be able to make an educated decision and hire the best attorney for you.

Will the Car Accident Lawyer I Find Handle My Case Directly?

Although personal injury law is expansive, whether or not a personal injury lawyer’s expertise is equally expansive is by no means guaranteed. Just because a personal injury lawyer’s website lists several different practice areas – slip-and-fall, car accidents, medical malpractice – does not mean he or she has experience handling (let alone winning) those types of cases. In fact, simply listing or advertising practice areas does not necessarily mean a personal injury lawyer solely accepts those types of cases. This leads us to the second item on the checklist for hiring the best car accident lawyer – confirm whether he or she will be handling your case directly.

That may sound self-explanatory, but it’s an issue many potential clients unfortunately don’t realize prior to hiring an attorney, and it needs to be addressed from the outset. Before you decide on an attorney to represent you in your car accident case, it’s a good idea to simply ask if said attorney will be handling the case individually, or with the aid of outside counsel. Hiring an attorney who requires outside assistance to handle your car accident case isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, and you may very well win your claim and recover a substantial financial settlement. It simply means the attorney felt additional assistance was needed in order to have the best chance of winning, which is something you, the client, deserves to know from the beginning (before making any decisions).

Does the Car Accident Lawyer Have Experience Winning Cases Similar to Mine?

Whether you choose to be represented by an attorney from a singular firm, or multiple attorneys from multiple firms, it’s imperative that someone on your team has experience successfully handling car accident cases similar to yours. This leads us to the third item on the checklist for hiring the best car accident lawyer – confirm he or she has past experience handling and winning your specific type of car accident case.

That means that if you were involved in a hit-and-run collision and sustained catastrophic injuries, your personal injury lawyer should have experience handling hit-and-run cases where clients sustained similar catastrophic injuries. If you were involved in a rollover accident with a commercial vehicle and are no longer able to work because of your injuries, your personal injury lawyer should have experience winning cases against commercial vehicle companies on behalf of clients who sustained debilitating injuries.

Again, this may sound self-explanatory and obvious, but it can mean the difference between winning and losing your car accident case, which can mean the difference between millions of dollars. Given that the stakes involved in hiring one attorney versus another are so great, it can be helpful to compare the process from a similar perspective, as you would when searching for any specialist in a particular field.

When you’re looking to hire a wedding planner, it’s important to ensure the candidate has experience handling weddings of a similar size, in a similar location. Additionally, it’s important to ensure the person you’re directly communicating and working with will indeed be handling the planning and decision making so the wedding is a success.

Similarly, when you’re in need of a knee replacement and searching for the best surgeon, it’s important to ensure you find a doctor with specific experience successfully completing knee replacements (as opposed to a knee replacement and hundreds of heart transplants), and that this individual will be performing the actual surgery (as opposed to a colleague with unknown experience).

The same is true when searching for a personal injury attorney to win your car accident case – experience and success in similar cases is critical.

Once you’ve found a car accident lawyer who appears to have the experience you need, you’ll want to ensure that you’re able to get along and work together. This leads us to the fourth and final item on the checklist for hiring the best car accident lawyer – determining whether or not you feel working together would be a “good fit.”

Finding the “Best Fit” in a Car Accident Attorney:

After conducting a smart and effective online search, it’s always advisable to meet with your prospective car accident attorney at least once before making a final decision. Firstly, requesting to meet with the attorney for a consultation will give you a good sense of whether or not they will prioritize you and your case (if they can’t make time for you before taking your case, chances are they won’t be inclined to make much time for you after being hired).

Additionally, due to the amount of time you will likely spend communicating and meeting with your attorney throughout the legal process, it’s important that you have a general rapport and get along well. Being able to interact one-on-one without any undue conflict will help ensure you have the best chance of winning your case. Again, this likely seems quite straightforward, but before making the final decision and hiring a car accident lawyer, be sure to realize the amount of time you will be spending together, and how important the relationship will be.

What Makes Dordulian Law Group the Right Firm to Help You Win Your Car Accident Case?

Since you’re here, you may want to take a moment to review Dordulian Law Group’s experience pertaining to car accident cases as well as some testimonials from our satisfied clients. For over 20 years we have been winning all types of car accident cases for our clients including: hit-and-runs, rollover accidents, commercial collisions, crashes resulting in catastrophic injuries, and much more.

But that probably sounds like a lot of firms you may have encountered throughout your search for the best, top-rated, most successful car accident lawyer in Los Angeles. So, what separates Dordulian Law Group from the competition?

The Dordulian Law Group advantage for car accident victims is simple: we combine the personalized care, support, and discretion that is expected from smaller ’boutique’ law firms with the resources and results that can normally only be found from larger ‘mega firms.’ We view each client as a member of our extended family, and we ensure the entire team of experts at Dordulian Law Group is available 24/7/365.

But unlike traditional boutique firms, Dordulian Law Group clients also have access to the type experience, resources, and results they deserve (but can typically only find through a mega firm). Take a look at three quick facts that should help convince you why Dordulian Law Group is the best Los Angeles car accident firm, and the right choice for you.

1. DLG founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, is a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who has successfully handled countless car accident cases, helping clients recover millions of dollars. Dordulian has experience on both sides of the law when it comes to car accidents – successfully representing victims as well as prosecuting criminals who have broken traffic laws.

2. DLG’s chief investigator, Detective Moses Castillo, recently retired from the LAPD after a decorated career spanning nearly three decades. Castillo uses his extensive experience as a former detective in the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Central Traffic Division to help our clients obtain justice following a car accident. Over the years Castillo has successfully investigated and closed hundreds of serious car accidents, including hit-and-runs and wrongful death cases.

Between Samuel Dordulian and Detective Castillo, there is virtually no type of car accident we haven’t handled or investigated. That’s the type of experience you can’t find at most law firms – and our unique resources lead to results. Every DLG client can be confident in having the best shot of winning their case and collecting the largest possible award settlement because of our expert litigator and investigator team.

3. We care about our clients, and we get them the results they deserve. DLG clients never have to worry about being just another number, or that their case will not be treated with care and dedication. Each DLG client receives personalized support and attention from our team of experienced specialists. Additionally, we win for our clients. We have a 98% win record in trials and have recovered over $50 million through the years. We are ready to fight for you to secure the largest possible financial award for your car accident case.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you don’t need to spend another minute searching for the best car accident attorney in the state of California to help you win your case. Dordulian Law Group is a different kind of law firm, providing clients personalized service and support without sacrificing anything. With Dordulian Law Group you have access to every available benefit and advantage – vast experience, proven success and results, the resources to ensure you succeed, and the personalized service, care, and attention you deserve.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

Types of Sexual Assault Laws in California

California sexual assault laws with hand covering woman's mouth

Coming forward about a sex crime can be a very difficult process, but in order to deal with a painful experience such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, or even rape, one needs to first understand what these terms mean and how they relate to the law. In what is already an emotionally taxing journey, knowing what qualifies as a sex crime can be a crucial first step in seeking what is often long overdue justice.

What Qualifies As a Sex Crime in California?

A number of different offenses fall under the umbrella term “sex crime,” but they generally relate to coerced – and therefore illegal – sexual conduct against another individual. Let’s begin with the most specific, and most serious, offense.

Rape

Under the current law in California, rape is defined as a penetrative act of sexual intercourse with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator and who does not provide consent.

The operative word here is “consent,” which is your right to determine what happens to your body. This means that rape isn’t just what most people think it is – a forced act perpetrated by a stranger – it can occur in any of the following circumstances:

  1. The perpetrator ignores verbal resistance from the victim, such as saying “no,” “stop,” or “I don’t want to.”
  2. The victim is unable to give consent because they are:
    1. Intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
    2. Asleep
    3. Unconscious
    4. Mentally or physically incapacitated
  3. The victim is coerced by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.
  4. The perpetrator threatens to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person.

In other words, anything that compels a victim into a penetrative sex act without their given consent is considered rape.

What Is the Difference Between Rape and Sexual Assault?

What Is the Difference Between Rape and Sexual Assault?

Technically, rape is sexual assault. But it’s important to note that while rape is a specific form of sexual assault (namely, involving penetration), the term sexual assault can also cover a wider range of criminal acts. Sexual assault (also known as sexual battery) is defined by the California Penal Code as the touching of another person’s intimate parts (meaning a sexual organ, groin, anus, buttocks, or breast) against that person’s will and for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. This means anything from unwanted groping, kissing, rubbing, or forcing the victim to touch the perpetrator in sexual ways.

The key here is intent, meaning that if a stranger brushes past you at the supermarket and accidentally touches an intimate part of your body, it is not considered sexual assault. However, if a co-worker drunkenly gropes you at an office party or forcibly kisses you against your will, that is a criminal offense.

Sexual Assault Laws in California

In California, sexual battery or sexual assault can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Examples of a misdemeanor can include:

  • Intentionally fondling a stranger’s breasts without consent
  • Groping someone’s buttocks without first obtaining consent

This type of offense that doesn’t involve unlawful restraint is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The fine can increase to $3,000 if the defendant was the victim’s employer.

Examples of a felony can include:

  • Holding someone down against their will and kissing them and/or unclothing them
  • Convincing someone who is mentally ill to masturbate in front of you
  • A male doctor falsely telling a female patient that he must feel her breasts for an examination for his own sexual arousal or gratification

This has a range of punishments. The defendant could receive a term of imprisonment in county jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000 if filed as a misdemeanor. However, if filed as a felony, it allows for imprisonment for two, three, or four years as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Sexual Harassment

Even though this is the broadest term within sex crimes, sexual harassment can be just as serious and is not to be taken lightly. It is also quite nuanced, so we’ll break it down into two categories:

1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment

This typically occurs in a professional environment in which a supervisor, either directly or impliedly, requires a subordinate to submit to sexual cooperation that is contingent on an adverse employment action, such as a demotion, or a termination. In other words, the stereotypical “sleep with me or you’re fired” scenario. It’s not rape, because there is technically consent, but it’s a roundabout form of coercion, and therefore harassment.

2. Hostile Work Environment

This type of behavior doesn’t always include any type of sexual advance at all. One of its most common manifestations is gender harassment, which means being discriminated against based on your sex. This can include crude sexual jokes or images, degrading comments about bodies and sexual activities, sexist remarks about women being unfit for leadership positions or men being unfit for childcare. The harasser doesn’t even need to be of the opposite sex; men can harass men, and women can harass women.

Such actions are considered “sexual harassment” because they are based on the sex (or the gender) of the person, not necessarily because they are sexual in nature.

It can sometimes be a gray area whether or not something is harassment. It’s important to note that for this type of behavior to be illegal, it needs to be both subjectively and objectively offensive. Subjectively, the behavior needs to be “unwelcome” to the victim – meaning that it caused them some level of emotional distress and affected their ability to perform their job. At the same time, the behavior must be such that any reasonable person would find the behavior objectively offensive, hostile, or abusive. If these two criteria are met, then it’s sexual harassment.

To discuss your legal options, schedule an appointment with our sexual harassment lawyers today. Call (866) 369-5435.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child molestation crimes are prosecuted very aggressively in the state of California, and will oftentimes result in much stricter penalties. These offenses can include:

  • Lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14
  • Lewd or lascivious acts with a minor by force or fear
  • Sodomy
  • Annoying or molesting a child with a sexual interest in the child
  • Oral copulation with a minor
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Child pornography
  • Child prostitution
  • Abducting a child for sexual purposes

Common perpetrators of child sexual abuse include:

What is Child Sexual Abuse Tragically, children often suffer in silence and it may take decades for a survivor of child sexual abuse to acknowledge or even remember what happened. It’s very important for parents and teachers to understand the signs given off by a child or teen who has been a victim. Some of these signs include:

  • Quickly withdrawing from or not trusting certain adults
  • Avoiding physical contact (not wanting to be hugged or kissed)
  • Nightmares and fears of going to bed

How to File a Claim for Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, or Rape

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sex crime, the road to healing can be long and arduous, but it’s important to remember that you have legal options that can help you along the way.

Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases

As a victim of sexual assault, one of the first things you should know is that your case can be tried either in criminal or civil court – or both. A criminal case is handled as a crime against the state and brought to court by the state rather than by the accuser (you), and this can result in the perpetrator being convicted and sentenced to jail time. While this satisfies the need for justice, you won’t always have a say in the direction of a criminal case and may only appear as a witness for the prosecution. Moreover, any financial restitution awarded to you will usually be low, since it can only be collected from the perpetrator (who may not have many assets to begin with).

However, you also have the right to file a civil claim, which is handled by the accuser (you – also known as the “plaintiff” in this case and usually represented by an attorney).

Here, you can not only sue the perpetrator for damages, but also any other entity (such as the perpetrator’s employer) that may have been responsible for the perpetrator’s acts. This could entitle you to a much greater amount of financial compensation that can cover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

What Is the Statute of Limitation for Sexual Assault Claims in California?

In civil cases, the time limit to file a claim depends on whether the victim is an adult or a child. If the assault occurred on or after the victim’s 18th birthday, they must file:

  • Within 10 years from the date of the last act (note: this new statute of limitations took effect on January 1, 2019. If you were assaulted before this date, you may only have 2 years from the date of the attack to file a claim) OR
  • Within 3 years from the date the victim discovers an injury or illness that has resulted from an act of sexual assault

To discuss your legal options, schedule an appointment with our sexual harassment lawyers today. Call (866) 369-5435.

For children, the statute of limitations is much longer. According to California’s Child Victims Act, which took effect on January 1, 2020, childhood survivors of molestation will have until their 40th birthday to file a civil claim or up to five years from discovery of the psychological injury to the sexual abuse.

The act also opens up a three-year window starting January 1, 2020 that allows survivors of any age with expired claims to bring a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator (whether alive or dead), a private organization, or the government – no matter when the abuse occurred.

Should I Hire a California Sexual Assault Lawyer?

As a victim of sexual violence, you may often feel confused, afraid, alone – even angry or impatient. Of course, you have the right to pursue a civil case without representation, but without an attorney, it’s not certain that you’ll succeed, and – let’s face it – you’ve been through enough. It takes a great deal of bravery to come forward with your story, and it’s an internal battle that you had to fight, and win, on your own. Let us take care of the rest. At Dordulian Law Group, our sexual assault lawyers will take your accusations seriously and will aggressively fight for justice and compensation on your behalf.

We have a team of Sexual Assault Justice Experts (our SAJE Team) that has handled hundreds of sexual assault cases with a proven track record of successfully prosecuting countless assailants. By speaking up, you’ve done the hard part. Contact us today and let us be your voice the rest of the way forward.

Investigators Seek Additional Alleged Survivors of Adult Film Actor Ron Jeremy

Adult film actor Ron Jeremy has been charged with raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth. On Friday, Jeremy — full name Ronald Jeremy Hyatt — pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court to three counts each of forcible rape and forcible penetration by a foreign object, one count each of forcible oral copulation, and sexual battery. If convicted he reportedly faces 90 years to life in California state prison, and could be required to register as a sex offender.

Jeremy is the third man to be charged with sexual assault by a Hollywood task force established in 2017 by Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. The task force was formed to investigate sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, and previously charged Harvey Weinstein and producer David Guillod.

Prosecutors allege Jeremy raped a 25-year-old woman in May 2014, sexually assaulted a 33-year-old woman and a 46-year-old woman in separate incidents in 2017, and raped a 30-year-old woman in July of 2019. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department believes there are several additional alleged victims of Jeremy’s sexual assault. Investigators are asking anyone with information to please step forward.

Local authorities are distributing a new flyer with Jeremy’s mugshot and seeking the public’s help in identifying any additional survivors. Investigators are encouraging anyone with pertinent information related to an incident — regardless of how long ago it occurred — to come forward and disclose as soon as possible.

If you have information related to sexual assault involving Ron Jeremy you can contact investigators a number of ways, and have the option to remain anonymous.

Information may be provided to the Special Victims Bureau 24 hour tip line at 877-710-5273, or to Lieutenant Adams of the Sheriff’s Department at 562-946-8232.

Anonymous tips may be provided online through Crime Stoppers or by calling 800-222-8477.

You may also use your smartphone to download the P3Tips app for submitting information anonymously.

As we recently reported following the announcement of three counts of rape filed against actor Danny Masterson, California residents have the legal right to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages against their attacker in addition to any criminal charges that may be pursued. DLG’s founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, is a former sex crimes prosecutor as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Together with his SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts), Dordulian encourages survivors of sexual assault to seek both criminal and civil justice when searching for closure in their personal journey of healing.

If you have information regarding a sexual assault, would like to speak to a member of our SAJE team, or would like to setup a free and confidential consultation regarding a potential civil lawsuit, please do not hesitate to contact DLG today at 800-880-7777.

Dordulian Law Group is a Los Angeles-area firm specializing in sex crimes, workers’ compensation, and personal injury cases. As a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Mr. Dordulian worked as a sex crimes prosecutor, successfully obtaining life sentences against some of the state’s most heinous criminals. Since founding his firm in 2008, Dordulian has successfully recovered over $50 million for his clients.

 

 

 

 

 

How California’s AB 218 Offers Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Survivors an Opportunity for Justice

Dordulian Law Group’s founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, has described California’s Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) as “a time machine” allowing his team to go “back in time, as far back as we need to, and prosecute childhood sexual assault crimes…even if the statute of limitations already expired.” Dordulian is specifically referring to the “lookback window” aspect of AB 218, which temporarily removes the statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault crimes for three years. Under the new law, which took effect in January 2020, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a three-year window to file a civil lawsuit against their abusers. From 2020 to the end of 2022, the statute of limitations is removed, meaning that predators (individuals and institutions) who would have otherwise been immune to civil prosecution are now open to litigation, and survivors may seek justice via financial damages regardless of when the crime occurred. 

California’s AB 218 represents landmark legislation, with many additional states taking notice and considering implementing similar changes. This current opportunity for survivors to obtain justice is unprecedented, and abusers — particularly individuals and institutions guilty of systemic abuse and corruption — face severe ramifications. Accordingly, let’s take a look at how AB 218 could impact a particular institution facing rampant accusations of childhood sexual abuse, and what the temporary “time machine” means for survivors.

How does AB 218 impact Catholic Church sexual abuse survivors?

Studies indicate that only one-third of childhood sexual abuse survivors disclose as children, while one-third never disclose. The average age to disclose childhood sexual abuse is reportedly 52. When survivors do come forward, far too many are unable to obtain justice against their abusers due to the statute of limitations. AB 218 is an opportunity to change these tragic statistics.  

When AB 218 was passed, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement declaring, “for the next three years that is no longer the case for victims in California,” referring to the average age that survivors come forward often barring their opportunity to seek justice. “By opening a window to justice and allowing survivors whose cases were previously barred by statute of limitation to be heard in court, important information can be exposed that can help create safer, more informed communities,” SNAP said. 

By removing the statute of limitations, all survivors now have an opportunity to come forward and pursue justice. The scope of the law’s potential effect on survivors of abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church is difficult to fathom, as tens of thousands of individuals could now be eligible to seek financial damages. 

Childhood sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been widespread for decades. In 2004, a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice determined that from 1950 to 2002 a total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of childhood sexual abuse against the Catholic Church. Of those allegations, the dioceses identified 6,700 unique accusations against 4,392 clergy over that time period in the U.S. That represents approximately 4% of all 109,694 ordained clergy (whether priests, deacons, or members of religious orders) active in the U.S. during the time covered by the study (which, it’s important to note, does not include the last 18 years). 

Those staggering statistics are even more troubling considering the report found that of the 4,392 accused, only 252 (5.7%) were ever convicted. Given the statistics concerning the average age of disclosure for childhood sexual abuse victims, as well as the number of survivors who never come forward, there are without question countless individuals who now have an opportunity to seek justice against the Catholic Church through AB 218. The question remains, however, whether or not survivors will choose to come forward before the lookback window closes (taking the time machine with it). 

What should I do if I’m a survivor with a sexual abuse claim against the Catholic Church?

It goes without saying that perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse are hoping survivors will not file a claim by December 31, 2022, after which time the statute of limitations resumes. If you are under 40 years of age on January 1, 2023, you will still be able to file a claim after the lookback window closes until your 40th birthday. Moreover, if you are over 40 after the lookback window closes you still may have an opportunity to file a civil lawsuit under the five-year statute of limitations for the discovery of an adulthood psychological injury resulting from childhood sexual abuse (we covered the details of both scenarios in an earlier blog post). 

However, to have the greatest advantage in court and the greatest likelihood of success in a civil trial, it is imperative that survivors file a claim now, before the lookback window closes. Once the window closes, the law becomes more complex and open to interpretation. When pursuing justice, especially against powerful institutions with far-reaching influence, it is critical that you take advantage of every opportunity available under the law. AB 218’s lookback window is an invaluable opportunity for survivors seeking their day in court. We strongly recommend that survivors file a claim as soon as possible, on the record via a civil lawsuit, before the lookback window closes. Doing so will help ensure you have the greatest likelihood of success in recovering financial damages against your abuser. 

Am I entitled to financial damages in a Catholic Church sex abuse lawsuit?

Compensation for Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors

A primary goal of pursuing a civil lawsuit for childhood sexual abuse is to recover financial damages from the perpetrator. In cases of abuse by a member of the Catholic Church, we will likely pursue damages against both the individual(s) responsible for committing the abuse, as well as the institution if we can prove responsibility in either knowingly allowing such heinous acts to occur on their watch, or failing to take action to stop such acts from occurring. 

Under AB 218, survivors who have been the victim of a systematic cover-up (whether by individuals or institutions) are entitled to treble damages. “Treble damages” is a term referring to a statute permitting a court to triple the amount of the actual damages awarded to a prevailing plaintiff (i.e. if you were to be awarded a settlement for $5 million against the Catholic Church, under AB 218’s treble damages statute you would, in actuality, ultimately receive a $15 million settlement). 

AB 218’s treble damages clause is viewed as an effort to prosecute widespread and systemic sexual abuse crimes throughout institutions and seemingly send a message to predators that such acts are not merely despicable, but intolerable.

Last year, KTLA reported that AB 218-related cases could cost the Catholic Church over $4 billion. The report cited the potential for triple damages to be awarded to survivors in instances where a cover-up can be proven. 

How do I choose the best attorney for a sexual abuse case against the Catholic Church?

The first, most important, and undeniably most difficult step in the healing process involves deciding whether or not to come forward, face one’s attacker, and pursue justice. Once that decision has been made, determining the best attorney to help you pursue a Catholic Church sex abuse civil lawsuit is a process that will likely involve extensive research and careful consideration.

At Dordulian Law Group, we believe survivors deserve representation and support that is comprehensive. Given the gravity of the cases we encounter, and the nature of the crimes committed, this means more than simply having a capable and experienced attorney as an advocate in the courtroom. If you’ve made the difficult decision to come forward and file a lawsuit against your attacker, we believe you deserve not only an experienced team to help you succeed in court, but a support network to assist you in moving on and establishing a semblance of closure. As such, we’ve established an in-house SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) to provide each survivor with four tiers of representation when pursuing a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church:

  • Attorney Samuel Dordulian: lead litigator and a former sex crimes prosecutor as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Dordulian has decades of experience fighting for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As a sex crimes prosecutor he convicted countless offenders with life sentences. As a representative for survivors pursuing civil lawsuits he has helped his clients recover over $50 million.
  • Detective Moses Castillo: Dordulian Law Group’s chief investigator for all sex crime cases has over 30 years of experience as a former LAPD detective in the elite Juvenile Division for Abused Children unit. Detective Castillo has successfully closed countless cases where some of the city’s most detestable criminals were prosecuted with life sentences for their abhorrent crimes.
  • Two certified and nationally accredited full time victim advocates on staff and available to survivors 24/7
  • An in-house, licensed clinical therapist with 15 years of experience

With Dordulian Law Group, survivors have access to four tiers of all-inclusive representation and support.

Resources for survivors:

If you or someone you love is considering pursuing a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church, we have compiled some resources you might wish to explore

The difficulty involved in making the decision to come forward and seek justice is highly personal and can only be fully understood by a survivor. It is our sincere hope that all survivors will take advantage of AB 218’s lookback window, given that currently only 0.005% of sexual assault perpetrators ever end up in prison. AB 218 is a groundbreaking opportunity — available for a limited three-year period — to change the tragic paradigm of a lack of justice for childhood sexual abuse crimes.

If you have questions regarding a possible claim against the Catholic Church or another sex crime matter, please contact us today. Our SAJE Team of dedicated advocates is here to assist all sexual abuse survivors in the journey of healing. 

AB 218 Child Sex Abuse Revival Window Deadline

California AB 218, the landmark legislation which took effect in 2020, allows ALL survivors of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file a civil claim and obtain justice through financial compensation — regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. But AB 218’s three-year loopback window officially expires at the end of 2022, and survivors who haven’t filed a claim before that time will likely left without any future legal recourse. To speak with a child sexual abuse lawyer, contact us today at 818-322-4056.

Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Charges Actor Danny Masterson With Three Counts of Rape

Words sexual assault victim

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today that her office is formally charging actor Danny Masterson, best known for his role in the television series That 70’s Show, with three counts of rape. The charges stem from separate incidents between 2001 and 2003 when Masterson allegedly forcibly raped three women at his Hollywood Hills home. 

According to the complaint Masterson, 44, is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, raping a 28-year-old woman in April 2003, and raping a 23-year-old woman later that same year. 

Masterson has been under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department since 2016, when the allegations first came to light. Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case. With the multiple charges against him, Masterson reportedly faces a sentence of 45 years to life in a state prison. 

Masterson was arrested at 11:30 a.m. today and is currently being held on $3.3 million bail. An arraignment in Masterson’s rape case has been set for Sept. 18, 2020.

In a public statement, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office stated they have “declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases, one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the crime alleged.”

In August 2019 four women filed a civil lawsuit alleging Masterson stalked and harassed them after filing complaints of sexual assault to the LAPD. That civil lawsuit also named the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member, as a defendant. 

If you are a rape survivor, should you file a civil lawsuit in addition to a criminal lawsuit?

In California, rape survivors have the right to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages against their attacker (be it an individual or institution) in addition to any criminal charges that may be filed. At Dordulian Law Group, we encourage survivors to seek both criminal and civil justice when wronged. While a criminal trial can provide peace of mind and some sense of closure when an attacker receives a prison sentence, a civil settlement can help a survivor move forward on their own terms by recovering financial damages against said attacker. 

To discuss your legal options, schedule an appointment with our sexual harassment lawyers today. Call our dedicated rape victim attorneys today.

How can a rape survivor find an experienced and trusted sexual assault attorney in Los Angeles for a civil lawsuit?

Upon deciding to take the step to pursue a civil lawsuit, survivors should carefully consider a sex crime attorney’s past experience and success in similar cases before ultimately choosing representation. 

Why choose Dordulian Law Group for a sexual assault civil lawsuit?

At Dordulian Law Group, we believe that survivors deserve all-encompassing representation which includes an expert litigator/investigator team as well as a victim advocate/clinical therapist support network. 

DLG’s founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, established an in-house SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) to provide survivors of sexual assault comprehensive, four-tiered representation. Dordulian Law Group’s unique Sex Crimes Division offers all clients full access to the following SAJE Team members:

  1. Lead litigator/attorney, Samuel Dordulian, with two decades of experience fighting for sexual assault survivors and recovering over $50 million on their behalf
  2. Lead investigator, Detective Moses Castillo, a former LAPD supervisor in the elite Juvenile Division for Abused Children unit with over 30 years of experience
  3. Two certified and nationally accredited full time victim advocates on staff, available to survivors 24/7
  4. An in-house, licensed clinical therapist with 15 years of experience

Survivors who choose Dordulian Law Group have the advantage of four-tiered representation. 

Pursuing civil justice for a sex crime:

Survivors who wish to pursue a civil lawsuit against their attacker can be confident in choosing Dordulian Law Group. We have decades of experience fighting and winning on behalf of survivors, ensuring that justice is obtained and significant financial damages are recovered.

If you are interested in discussing your case with a SAJE Team member, please do not hesitate to contact us today.