Many new laws went on the books in California upon entering the new year. These new laws address many different topics and may not affect everyone, but several could have an immediate impact on some of the legal practice areas important to the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth and our clients. As 2021 gets underway in earnest, so too will these changes to the law.
Auto Accidents – AB 47 – Driver records: points: distracted driving.
It was already against the law to use a cellphone while driving. AB 47 increases the penalties associated with distracted driving due to the use of a cell phone. Fines for using a cellphone while driving remain the same, but beginning July 1, 2021, drivers who receive a second conviction of using an electronic device within 36 months of another conviction will be subject to a violation point on their driving records and could risk losing their driving privileges. The violation point could also lead to increased car insurance rates. This new law will attempt to reduce distracted driving that can result in a car crash.
Workers’ Compensation and Employment Law – AB 685 – COVID-19: imminent hazard to employees: exposure: notification: serious violations.
Existing law requires employers to notify employees of hazards in the workplace. AB 685 specifies that COVID-19 is one of those hazards. If your company has received notification that one of its workers has tested positive for COVID-19, the company must follow specific rules, including:
- Providing written notice to any workers who may have been exposed to the coronavirus
- Providing workers with information regarding COVID-19 related benefits, including workers’ compensation,
- Notifying workers of the disinfection and safety plan the the company will implement
AB 685 also specifies that companies cannot retaliate in any way against any worker who discloses a positive COVID-19 test, COVID-19 diagnoses, or order to quarantine.
Employment Law – SB 1383 – Unlawful employment practice: California Family Rights Act
Previously, under the New Parent Leave Act, only employees of companies with 50 or more employees were entitled to 12 weeks of family leave. SB 1383 expands the entitlement to employees of companies with five or more employees.
Criminal Law – AB 2717 – Motor vehicles: unattended children: liability
AB 2717 exempts good Samaritans from civil and criminal liability after forcing entry into a vehicle under certain circumstances. People who notice a young child in a vehicle should call 911 prior to forcing entry into any vehicle.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth provides legal help on a wide variety of practice areas to people living in the San Gabriel Valley and throughout California. If you or someone you know is in need of legal assistance with a personal injury, work injury, employment law, criminal defense case, or other practice area, call our offices today at 888-517-9888 to speak with a legal expert.