What to expect after a car accident injury

Even though we try to drive safely, sometimes accidents happen. In fact, thousands of people are injured or killed every year. If you have been in a car accident that caused physical harm or injury, here are some of the next steps to expect. Remember, not all injuries show up right away. If you begin to suffer ill effects from the accident, get in touch with your health care professional as soon as possible.


1. After an Accident

    – As soon as possible, write down the facts of the accident (time, date, location) and any other information you think is important

    – Report the accident to your insurance agent. If you intend to file a claim, ask your agent to begin the claims process.


2. Resolve any accident caims

     – Complete records as quickly as possible

     – Preserving information from the accident scene may be helpful in settling insurance or legal issues

     – If your injuries show up after the accident, make sure to contact your health care professional as soon as possible. Begin documenting your injury and treatment process.


3. Caring for Injuries

     – Keep track of all medical treatment, including expenses and the impact of your injury on daily life

     – Consider hiring an experienced attorney to better defend yourself or maximize your recovery.

     – Only discuss the accident with your attorney, your insurance company, and the police. Don’t talk to representatives of the other insurance company – refer them to your attorney or insurance agent.


4. Deciding to Dispute – If you decide to bring a personal injury case, you have three main options:

     – Formal case through civil court proceedings

     – Mediation and arbitration

     – Informal settlement (most common)


Please contact the Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service (805-569-9400) to be referred to a qualified attorney.

Wrongful Termination

Employees in the state of California are considered “at will” which means that either an employee or an employer can terminate a working relationship at any time with or without reason. There are, however, exceptions. An employee cannot be fired because of discrimination, breach of contract, or retaliation.


California, despite being an at will state, has some of the most protective laws for employees.  No employer can terminate an employee based on their: age, race, gender, gender identity, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or disability.

Breach of Contract

If an employee has an employment contract that stipulates that they cannot be fired without just cause, then that employee may not be fired without just cause. In some cases, an employee may have an implied contract. If company policy states that an employee will be terminated after a certain number of write-ups, it becomes reasonable for an employee to expect some sort of disciplinary procedure before termination. Thus, it will be up to the court to decide if there was in fact an implied contract, and if the employee was indeed terminated in violation of it.


If an employee makes a complaint, whether it is about their work environment, unpaid wages, or a call to a government agency to report a violation, they cannot be fired in retaliation. If an employee is fired as a direct result of such a complaint made, then the termination is considered wrongful.

Landlord-Tenant: What is Proper Notice

In order to require someone to vacate your property proper notice is required. Such notice consists of a legal document that a landlord gives to a tenant allowing them 3, 30 or 60 days to remain in the property.


A tenant that wishes to terminate their tenancy must give a landlord notice as well. The amount of time is generally specified in the lease. If it is not spelled out in the lease, or there is no lease, then the tenant needs to give the landlord notice for the number of days between rent payments. For example, the tenant that pays rent on a monthly basis should provide a 30 day notice; or if rent is paid weekly, a seven day notice will suffice.


How does it work?


Depending on the terms of the lease, how long the tenant has occupied the dwelling, and the reason for the notice, different timelines come into play. A landlord must give at least 60 days written notice if the tenants living in a dwelling have been there for over a year. If any tenant has occupied a property for less than a year, and is currently on a month-to-month lease, a simple 30 day notice will serve. If the landlord gives a proper 30 day or 60 day notice, they generally do not need to give a reason for the termination of tenancy. If the tenant fails to pay rent, violates a provision of the lease, or engages in a number of other enumerated offenses, then the landlord may give the tenant a three day notice.


Once the notice is received, the next day is considered day one. For instance, if a tenant is given a three day notice on July 16th, the 17th would constitute the first day, and a tenant would need to vacate the premises, or remedy the situation no later than the 19th of July. Unless the 19th is a Saturday or Sunday in which case the following Monday would be acceptable.


Do you have a question regarding an eviction or some other Landlord/Tenant Issue? Call the SBCBA for a lawyer referral at (805)569.9400. We would be happy to help.

Elder Abuse

What is it?

Elder abuse is the intentional harm or neglect of an independent adult. This includes mistreatment, physical violence, abandonment, theft, psychological abuse, and false imprisonment. This also includes scams and neglect from family members. While this applies to any dependent over the age 18, the punishments can be stricter for those charged with elder abuse of persons 65 years and older. However, it should be noted that domestic violence and elder abuse are different, and different laws and punishments apply to each.


How does it work?

The victim or any adult who helps care for the victim and notices their suffering is responsible to report the abuse. An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is issued by the police to keep the victim safe from the oppressor, and a court date is set. A person convicted of misdemeanor elder abuse could face up to a year in county jail and a $6000 fine, and a person convicted of felony elder abuse could face years in the county jail.



Are you a victim, or concerned that someone you know is? Already involved in a case? We can help you find the lawyer you need. Call 805.569.9400

Partition Action

What is partition action?

Splitting any shared financial investment can be hard to negotiate, and Partition action is one way to address that in law. In essence, partition action is when the court divides property equally between the two parties involved.


How does it work?

Typically, though not necessarily, the court will sell all the real and personal property involved, and split the returns evenly. In California, community property cannot be partitioned. Though this type of lawsuit is usually used to divide realty, it can be used to split any type of partnership. 


The court determines whether the property ought to be partitioned. However, it is not necessary for the court to reach the decision; the two parties involved can pursue settlement. In settlement, the two parties agree on how the property is to be appraised and divided between them. This route is usually much less expensive than pursuing the matter through the court.



Are you considering filing for partition action, or have further questions? We can help you find the lawyer you need to proceed. Please call 805.569.9400

Wrongful Death

What is it?

Wrongful Death is the death of a person due to the negligence of another entity, be that a person or a business. In fact, this type of law was not acknowledged until relatively recently (within the past century), as it had been previously rejected by “Common Law” (old English law that carried over after the American Revolution).



Who can file for Wrongful Death?

Those who can file for wrongful death include family, dependents, life partners, and those who suffer financially because of the death.



How does it work?

Example: Joe the construction worker is killed by poorly managed construction equipment. Joe’s family could sue for wrongful death. If his coworkers cannot work on the site for a time because of the death, and thereby suffer financially, they could sue for wrongful death as well.



Are you considering filing for wrongful death and need a lawyer? Have further questions? Please call 805.569.9400.

Infractions vs. Misdemeanors vs. Felonies


An infraction is a minor offense that results in a fine only. Because it cannot result in jail time, there is no jury trial for this type of case. Also, an attorney can be hired, but is not supplied by the court as a constitutional right.

Example: fishing without a license, minor traffic violations, etc.




A misdemeanor is an offense that can result in jail time for up to a year, and possibly a fine, probation, and/or community service as well. These cases qualify as deserving a jury trial and legal representation for the accused.

Example: a simple assault, petty theft, some drunk driving cases, etc.




A felony is the most serious type of crime that can result in life in prison. This type of case also has a jury trial and provides legal representation to the defendant.  Those caught and convicted of a misdemeanor repeatedly can be charged as felons, as well as those committing fraud schemes.

Example: multiple shoplifting convictions, felony assault with a deadly weapon, etc.


Are you accused of any of these and would like a lawyer to defend you? We can help you look for the right one. Please call 805.569.9400