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Are Temporary Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Topics: Workers' Compensation

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Temporary workers form a significant chunk of the labor market, with estimates around 10 percent of the workforce being hired on a temporary basis.  Temp workers typically have fewer employment protections in the workplace, but they still have the right to a safe work environment.  As such, temporary workers in California are typically provided workers' compensation benefits in the event of a workplace injury.  They are also protected from illegal actions such as retaliation for filing a claim. Back in 2014, then California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB-1897, a law addressing client liability in labor contracting, adding certain protections for temporary workers.
This bill would require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage. The bill would prohibit a client employer from shifting to the labor contractor legal duties or liabilities under workplace safety provisions with respect to workers provided by the labor contractor.
By law, temporary workers in California are supposed to be covered by workers' compensation insurance provided by their temp agency.  If the temp agency does not carry workers' comp coverage, the company utilizing temporary workers can be fined.  There are, however, some exemptions.  Homeowners, businesses with fewer than 25 workers, or businesses who use five or fewer temporary workers are not subject to punishment under AB-1897.  In the unlikely event that a small business utilizes an disreputable temp agency, temporary workers may find themselves unprotected. The best way for any injured worker to protect their rights is to contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney.  If you are a temporary worker injured while on assignment, the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you pursue a workers' compensation claim.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Law Offices of Scott Warmuth Hosts Immigration Seminar at UC Riverside

Topics: Events, From Our Office, Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last Thursday, April 18th, the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth hosted a free immigration seminar for students at the University of California at Riverside.  Immigration department director Tina Xie spoke with students about relevant immigration topics, including how international students can pursue United States visas after graduation. We took some pictures of the seminar, which you can find below. Are you an international student in California?  We will be hosting more seminars at college campuses in the near future.  If you would like us to come to your school, send us an email with your request![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3644" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3645" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3646" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3647" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Citizenship Applications Facing Longer Wait Times

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The wait time for immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship has increased significantly over the past few years.  On average, it now takes 10 months for a legal resident to become a citizen, up from about five months in 2014.  In the city of Los Angeles, the processing time for an Application for Naturalization (N-400) form is currently estimated to be 9.5 to 15.5 months.  Wait times are similar across other service centers throughout California. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), N-400 citizenship applications have increased sharply in recent years. Immigration law and immigration priorities have changed dramatically under the Trump administration, and citizenship is not an exception.  N-400 forms are receiving more scrutiny, fewer staff resources, and increased denial rates, effectively making the citizenship process slower and more difficult.  According to one research analysis, the rate at which citizenship applications are being processed is at its slowest level in at least 10 years.  Combine that with an increased number of applications and you have a recipe for long delays. About nine million immigrants are currently eligible for U.S. citizenship.  In most circumstances, United States citizenship is available to adults who have been a legal permanent resident for at least five years.  The benefits of citizenship are immense.
  • Voting rights
  • Ability to travel abroad without time restrictions or limits
  • Ability to sponsor additional family members for a green card
  • Additional protections from deportation
  • Access to Social Security benefits
Staffing at USCIS offices is not likely to grow significantly, if at all, under the current administration.  If you or a loved one has considered becoming a U.S. citizen, filing your N-400 form as quickly and as accurately as possible is recommended. An experienced immigration lawyer can help.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping permanent residents become United States citizens for 35 years.  For a free citizenship consultation, call our offices today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Topics: Auto Accident

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is one the least understood coverage auto insurance coverage types.  It also happens to be one of the most important.  For a relatively modest price, UM coverage can protect drivers who are involved in an accident from financial catastrophe.  If your vehicle is struck by a driver who does not carry liability insurance or if you suffer serious injury by a driver with low limits of liability coverage, UIM can make a world of difference. UM/UIM coverage is not required in California.  California also has one of the lowest minimum liability coverage requirements in the country.  This combination can leave car accident victims stuck with expensive medical bills, a situation that is far too common. Common Scenario 1) The Uninsured Driver You're driving down the street when your vehicle is struck by a driver who ran a red light.  The other driver admits fault, but also admits that he does not have insurance.  If you only carry liability insurance, but no UM insurance, you are most likely going to have to pay for medical bills and property damage out of pocket.  Pursuing a lawsuit against an at-fault, uninsured driver rarely results in financial recovery. Common Scenario 2) The Serious Injury You're on the freeway as you approach stopped traffic.  You slow down and eventually come to a stop.  The very large pick up truck behind you does not.  Struck from behind, you crash in to the car in front of you.  Your injuries require surgery and intensive physical therapy, resulting in a six-figure medical bill.  The driver of the truck that failed to stop has policy limits of $15,000.  Without UIM insurance, you would be financially responsible for the remainder of medical bills. Common Scenario 3) The Hit and Run You're driving on the freeway at night when you spot a car erratically speeding and weaving through traffic in your rear view mirror.  You stay in your lane and maintain speed, but driving responsibly doesn't prevent the speeding vehicle from clipping your bumper.  The impact is enough to spin your vehicle out of control, which slams into the sidewall.  The other driver doesn't stop.  Hit and run drivers are typically treated the same as uninsured motorists.  If you do not have UM insurance and cannot identify the vehicle that hit you, you would be unable to collect compensation. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth recommends that all California drivers carry UM/UIM insurance for their vehicles.  According to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute, about 15.2 percent of all drivers in California do not have auto insurance.  If you're stopped behind 7 people at a stop light, odds are that one of those vehicles is uninsured.  UM/UIM insurance is usually quite affordable, and the risk of driving without UM/UIM insurance is too great to not have it.  If you've been involved in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth today.  We offer free consultations at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Topics: Personal Injury

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]April 7 - April 13 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  It may sound like an April Fools Day joke, but the very serious annual awareness campaign is designed to bring attention to the epidemic of dog bites in America.  The sponsors of the awareness campaign are a who's who of associations and businesses that would have a legitimate interest in reducing the number of dog bites suffered across the country.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog every year, resulting in at least 800,000 hospital visits, most of which involve children. All of the available dog bite statistics highlight often overlooked dangers of dog ownership.  The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) has published an infographic that overviews dog bites and their effect on society.  AVMA also believes that most dog bites are preventable through education and awareness.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has previously posted on the menace of dog bites and what people can do to protect themselves.  Here are some important tips on how to avoid being bitten by a dog.
  • Do not approach unfamiliar dogs
  • If approached by an unfamiliar dog, stay still and don't make any sudden movements or noises
  • While staying still, if a dog knocks you to the ground, curl into a ball and remain still
  • Avoid making direct eye contact with an unfamiliar dog
  • Let sleeping dogs lie - Avoid interacting with dogs that are sleeping, eating, or nursing
  • Do not attempt to break up a dog fight
  • Do not pet any unfamiliar dogs that are restrained
  • Notify authorities if you see a stray dog or any dog exhibiting unusual behavior
Dog owners must also do their part.  AVMA notes that any dog can bite, regardless of breed size, gender, or age.  Proper pet ownership can reduce the risk of dog bites.
  • Always spay and neuter your dogs
  • Avoid games that can lead to aggressive behavior, such as wrestling or tug of war
  • Bond with a new dog before introducing children to it
  • Don't leave dogs chained up outside
  • Do not leave your dog unsupervised with any children or infants
  • Discourage aggressive behavior, including growling or baring teeth
Should the worst happen and you or a family member are bitten by a dog, immediately seek medical treatment if necessary.  In California, the owner of the offending dog is liable for your injuries.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you pursue financial compensation for your medical recovery and pain and suffering.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 to schedule a free personal injury consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Good Luck! H-1B Lottery Likely this Week

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The H-1B visa lottery will likely be held sometime this week if the past few years are any indication.  The number of H-1B visas available every year is currently capped at 85,000, of which 20,000 are only available to applicants with advanced degrees.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept H-1B petitions until they have reached that cap or for the first five business days of April.  If the cap level is exceeded in the processing period, a lottery is held to determine which petitions are processed.  In every year since 2013 (Fiscal Year 2014), the number of petitions in the first five days has exceeded the cap level, necessitating a lottery.  The same will likely happen in 2019 (Fiscal Year 2020). Why do we say 'good luck'?  Because the H-1B selection process basically comes down to luck.  It's completely up to chance whose approved petition is selected during the lottery.  The exact odds that an application is chosen varies depending on how many applications are submitted during the filing season.  Odds are also dependent on how many of the applications received have a master's exemption.  The odds of receiving an H-1B visa have always been much higher if the petitioner has earned a master's degree or higher in the United States, but a recent rule change made the advantage even greater. Under the rule change, the lottery is conducted differently.  There are two phases to the H-1B lottery.  Prior to this year, the first phase would choose 20,000 advanced degree holders and the second phase would choose 65,000 from the remaining advanced degree holders and non-advanced degree holders.   The rule change reverses the order of the two phases.  This year, 65,000 applications are chosen first, followed by 20,000 applications with a master's exemption.  This change effectively increases the number of master's exempt applications that are chosen. Let's use last year's application numbers as an example.  There were 95,885 H-1B applications with a master's exemption and 94,213 applications without.  For applications with the master's exemption, there was a 21% chance of being selected in the first phase and a 38% chance of being selected in the 2nd phase.  Overall, H-1B petitions with a master's degree had a 51% chance of being selected.    Petitions without a master's degree had a 38% chance.  With the rule change, the chance for a master's degree applicant increases to 55% and non-master's degree applicant decreases to 34%. With the H-1B filing season likely concluded, there's nothing an applicant can do but wait for the results of the lottery.  Applications that are not chosen for processing will have their filing fee reimbursed.  If you filed an H-1B application and weren't lucky enough to have your petition chosen, there may be other avenues to live and work legally in the United States.  Speak with an immigration lawyer today!  Call the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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L.A. County to Proactively Dismiss/Reduce Marijuana Convictions

Topics: Criminal Defense

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]California voters passed Prop 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative in 2016.  The ballot initiative passed with 57 percent of voters in favor.  On January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in the state.  Los Angeles County officials expected that tens of thousands of people with criminal records would take the steps necessary to remove or reduce marijuana convictions.  Instead, the process to expunge those records was too large a hassle for most people.  Now, L.A. County prosecutors are seeking to automate the process, reducing or dismissing marijuana convictions on behalf of 54,000 people. To accomplish this feat, the District Attorney's office will be using an algorithm developed by nonprofit tech organization Code for America.  The software will scan digitized data to determine which convictions, dating back decades, are eligible for relief.  It will then automatically fill out the appropriate forms to expedite the expungement process.  Code for America's algorithm was previously used in February for the same purpose in San Francisco.  In San Francisco, 9,362 cases were reduced or dismissed using the algorithm.  Prior, only 23 people in San Francisco sought relief under Prop 64. The efficiency of the algorithm has already been demonstrated.  According to the district attorney's office, it took four years to process 26,000 cases under Proposition 47, which reduced certain marijuana convictions from felonies to misdemeanors.  The algorithm identified eligible candidates under Prop 64 in 12 seconds.  Code for America's algorithm could also be used in other counties and even for state compliance with Assembly Bill 1793, which requires the California Department of Justice to identify state convictions eligible for dismissal under Prop 64. See the full news story here. The benefits of expungement are immense, removing convictions and arrests from background checks and making it easier for people who made past mistakes to find work and housing.  And expungement does not only apply to marijuana arrests.  Any defendant charged with a state crime that does not result in a prison sentence can seek expungement of their criminal record.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps our clients with the cumbersome paperwork to ensure that process is handled quickly and without error.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 for a free expungement consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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The Increasing Popularity of the Dash Cam

Topics: Auto Accident

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dashboard cameras, often called dash cams, are car-mounted cameras that continuously record footage in case of an unexpected incident on the roadway.  They've long been a staple in police cruisers, but are now creeping into more and more consumer vehicles on the roads.  Dash cams have long been popular in Russia and other countries with high rates of attempted insurance fraud, but are now seeing a rise in popularity across the United States.  Dash cams are becoming seen as an affordable way to protect oneself in the event of a car crash. Having recorded footage in the event of a car crash can be beneficial in numerous ways.  Dash cam footage can help prove a driver is not at fault in a crash, document the seriousness of a collision, help identify possible hit and run drivers, and even expedite insurance claims when there are questions of liability.  One of the things the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth recommends to drivers after a car accident is to identify witnesses, get their contact information, and collect their eyewitness statement.  A dash cam can essentially function as an eyewitness who has perfect recollection. When can a dash cam become beneficial?  Let's say you're driving on the freeway and someone merges into your lane, causing a collision.  When police arrive, the other driver says it was you who swerved into their lane.  The police report indicates that fault cannot be determined because of conflicting statements.  Your dash cam, however, shows you driving properly in your lane when the collision occurs.  A similar situation could happen if your vehicle was cut off or if someone backs into your vehicle, both common insurance fraud schemes.  In almost every circumstance, a rear-end collision is the fault of the trailing vehicle, but if you have video of the other driver merging in front of you and then slamming on the breaks or your stopped vehicle being struck from the front, you can prove you aren't at fault. Dash cams do not prevent auto accidents, but they can provide clarity in the event of one.  But, it's important to understand that the clarity may not always be in your benefit.  The mixed overall effect of dash cams may be why no major insurance companies offer premium discounts yet.  Dash cam evidence may help insurance companies accept liability more quickly, but there's no guarantee that the insurance company will even accept the footage.  An experienced car accident lawyer can use your dash cam evidence to bolster your case.  If you have been injured in a car crash, call the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]