How to Find a Good Personal Injury Attorney California

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury LawyerAfter an accident, you may need an attorney to help you get the money you deserve.

In this post, San Diego personal injury attorney Curtis Quay shares his tips on choosing a good accident lawyer in California. For the past 15 years, Mr. Quay has successfully handled thousands of personal injury cases. See his suggestions below.

Table of Contents

  1. Search Online
  2. Legal Directories
  3. Online Reviews
  4. California State Bar
  5. What To Ask During the Initial Consultation
  6. Preparing for the Initial Consultation
  7. Understand the Fee Structure
  8. Personality

1. Searching Online

Google

When choosing a personal injury lawyer, start by searching via a search engine like Google.

You can search by using terms like “good personal injury lawyers near me” or “personal injury attorney” followed by your City and State. So if you live in Pasadena, CA, you would simply type, “personal injury attorney Pasadena CA” into the search bar.

This type of search will usually give you a list of attorneys in your area and a list of legal (and non-legal) directories. See more about those below.

 

2. Legal Directories

Avvo

Legal directories are like mini-search engines of their own, but focus only on attorneys. We’ll go over the most popular ones and one non-legal directory, Yelp.

Avvo

Avvo is one of the more popular attorneys directories. Avvo offers a lot of great info including ratings, law school attended, and contact info. More importantly, Avvo tells you if the attorney has ever been disciplined by the California State Bar. Visit Avvo by clicking here.

FindLaw

FindLaw is another popular legal directory that may show up in the search results. FindLaw includes attorney contact info and a bio. FindLaw lacks the robust review system you’ll find in Avvo, but given FindLaw’s search engine placement, we included it in our list. Visit them by clicking here.

Lawyers.com

Lawyers.com is owned by Martindale-Hubble. They’ve been around for years providing info on attorneys. Lawyers.com provides contact info, client reviews, and peer reviews. You can see more by clicking here.

Yelp

Although not a legal directory, Yelp has established itself as a go-to location for those seeking an attorney. Yelp includes contact info, bio, and reviews. Visit Yelp them here.

 

3. Online Reviews

Yelp Reviews

Many of the online directories listed above include personal injury lawyers reviews. When looking at reviews, make sure you don’t just look at the amount of reviews or overall ratings.

Instead, take the time to read the reviews – especially the longer ones. A long review might give you more insight into an attorney.

Another way to find attorney reviews is by using Google Maps. Once you’re there, type “personal injury attorney” and you’ll see results below with reviews.

 

4. California State Bar Page

California State Bar

No attorney search is complete without visiting their profile on the California State Bar website. On this site you’ll see their official contact info, educational background, and further detail on their disciplinary history, if any.

You can lookup a lawyer by clicking here.

 

5. Asking the Right Questions During the Initial Consultation

People with with attorney

Most, if not all, personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. This is a great time to ask a lot of questions regarding their practice and your case.

Here are a list of questions to ask a personal injury lawyer during the free consultation.

  • How many years have you been practicing?
  • Have you handled my type of case before?
  • Where did you attend law school?
  • Do you exclusively practice personal injury law?
  • How long have you exclusively practiced personal injury law?
  • Have you taken any cases to trial?
  • Have you been disciplined by the California State Bar?
  • Ask for a list of their previous victories – both verdicts and settlements
  • How much do you think my case is worth?

 

6. Be Prepared During Your Initial Consult

Prior to meeting with an attorney, take some time to learn a little about personal injury law in your state. For example, most personal injury attorneys will not take a car accident case which solely resulted in property damage.

Additionally, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with tort law and legal terms like negligence.

 

7. Understand the Fee Structure

Don’t sign a retainer agreement without making sure you understand the fee structure. We’ve all heard personal injury attorneys say, “I get nothing unless you win.” This means they work on a contingency basis. While that my be true, make sure you understand what they get in the even that you do win.

In California, an accident attorney will typically take somewhere between 25% – 40%. However, many attorneys will also require that you pay for any fees incurred throughout the process. Your attorney will charge these fees on top of the percentage. What you’ll want to know is exactly what these fees include. For example, it might include the cost for experts, private investigators, and depositions.

Make sure you don’t get blindsided, as these fees can significantly cut into your award settlement.

 

8. Personality

People meeting with an attorney

The last thing to consider is how well you got a long during the initial consultation. Did you find it easy to speak with the attorney? If not, you might want to consider continuing your search until you find someone who is a good personality fit for you.

 

Did We Miss Anything?

We hope that this guide will help you find a reputable personal injury lawyer in your area. Did we miss something? If so, please comment below.

About the Author: Attorney Curtis Quay has over 15 years experience handling both plaintiff and defendant personal injury claims. Mr. Quay earned his J.D. at prestigious Temple Law School.

 

Reasons Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer:

We put together this infographic dealing the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident. These reasons include:

  1. Medical Issues: A good attorney will work with a team of experts that can properly evaluate your injuries.
  2. Financial Issues: An attorney will help you with the financial issues that inevitably arise after an accident.
  3. Higher Settlements: An experienced attorney can often help you negotiate higher settlements with the negligent party’s insurance company.

 

Why Should I Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?

Monsanto Continues to Sell Roundup in California, Despite Evidence Suggesting Cancer Link

For decades, controversy has surrounded Roundup weed killer, one of the most widely-used pesticides in the world. Monsanto, the pesticide manufacturer, maintains that its product is perfectly safe. However, several scientific studies seem to suggest that Roundup isn’t safe. In fact, one recent study revealed that exposure to Roundup increases the risk of developing cancer by as much as 41 percent.

There may also be hard evidence to support these scientific studies. Many individuals claim to have developed cancer after being exposed to Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate. Despite this information, Monsanto continues to market and sell Roundup in California and other states across the country.

Companies Have an Obligation to Warn Consumers About Risks

When a company sells or markets a product in California, it has to make sure that the product is safe. In fact, under California state product liability laws, companies can be held strictly liable harm caused by defects in their products. In other words, a company doesn’t necessarily have to know that a product is dangerous or defective to be liable for a consumer’s injuries.

There are three main types of product defects: design, manufacturing, and marketing.

  • Design Defect. A design defect exists when a product is dangerous because of the way it was designed. Is the product unnecessarily or unreasonably dangerous? Is there a reasonable and safer alternative for the product’s design? If so, a company may be liable for harm caused by a design defect.
  • Manufacturing Defect. A manufacturing defect exists when a product is not manufactured according to its blueprints and design. In other words, there is an issue in the manufacturing process that prevents the product from being created as intended.
  • Marketing Defect. A marketing defect exists when a product lacks necessary warnings of known or potential hazards, dangers, or risks.

Companies can also be liable if they knew or should have known that their product was unreasonably dangerous or carried any health risks. Consumers deserve to be fully informed before using a product. If a consumer isn’t made aware of risks associated with the use of a product, they can’t make an informed decision. As a result, their health and safety can be put in serious jeopardy.

Consumers injured by defective or dangerous products can file product liability lawsuits to recover compensation for harm they suffer.

Monsanto Facing More Than 11,000 Roundup Injury Lawsuits

After developing cancer and other health issues, many individuals decided to file product liability lawsuits against Monsanto. As of March 2019, the company has been named in more than 11,000 Roundup injury lawsuits.

The vast majority of these cases were initiated after Monsanto lost the first Roundup injury case to go to trial. There, a jury ordered the company to pay a California man $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

The jury believed that the man developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after being exposed to the company’s controversial pesticide. It also believed that Monsanto concealed information about the health risks associated with glyphosate and failed to warn the man about those risks.

Another Roundup injury trial is currently underway. There, another California man sued the company after he also developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup weed killer. A similar result in this trial could force Monsanto’s hand and encourage them to settle other pending lawsuits.

Anyone injured because of Roundup exposure has the right to pursue compensation. It’s important to find an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand your legal options. Contact our legal team today to learn more.

See a Doctor After Your Accident. Your Health and Injury Claim Will Thank You

Going to the hospital is one of the most important things you can do after a car accident. This is true even if you don’t think that you’ve been injured badly in the crash. In fact, it may be even more important to go if you think you’re okay. Why? There are three primary reasons.

Three Reasons You Need to See a Doctor Immediately After an Accident

First, if left untreated, injuries can pose a serious threat to your health and safety. Going to the doctor right away will help to rule out any internal injuries that wouldn’t have been able to identify on your own. Your doctor can make sure that you get the medical treatment you need to keep you safe.

Second, going to the hospital will help to establish a link between the accident and your injuries. You’re only entitled to recover compensation for injuries that were caused by your accident. According to Boris Lavent, a car accident lawyer, “Getting your injuries documented right away will help to strengthen the argument that they were a result of the crash.” Lavent added,  “The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more vulnerable your claim begins.” The defendant may argue that there’s no hard evidence to show that the accident caused your injuries. A medical evaluation completed shortly after your accident will help to support your case.

Third, seeing a doctor for an assessment will help to show that you took reasonable steps to identify your injuries after the accident. This is important, because some injuries may not be evident right away. In fact, you may think that you’re perfectly fine until days, weeks, or months later when you begin to experience symptoms.

In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit for damages after an accident. What happens if you don’t realize that you’ve been injured until the deadline to file has come and gone? Delayed discovery of your injuries could allow you to file a lawsuit after the initial statute of limitations has expired. However, it’s important to note that you must have failed to discover the injury despite reasonable efforts to do so.

Car Accident Injuries That May Not Show Up Right Away

Some car accident injuries will be very obvious after an accident. You’ll probably know that you’ve broken a bone or dislocated a joint. However, other injuries may not be clear to you right away. In fact, you may not even begin to experience symptoms until long after the accident.

Soft Tissue Injury: Soft tissue injuries involve damage to the muscle, tendons, and/or ligaments. This can include bruising, sprains, strains, and whiplash. That’s right. Whiplash, one of the most common car accident injuries, is a soft tissue injury that often goes unnoticed right away. It’s important to keep an eye out for any common signs of a soft tissue injury, including limited mobility, painful movement, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and swelling.

Head Injury: Sometimes car accident victims will not know that they’ve suffered a serious head injury. This is particularly true if the victim did not seek medical attention after their accident. It’s also easy to dismiss the symptoms of a head injury. A victim may simply believe that their discomfort is normal or brought on by stress. In truth, however, signs of a head injury likely indicate that you have a head injury. Seek medical attention immediately if you begin to experience headaches, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, difficulty speaking, limited mobility, unexplained anger or irritability, or seizures.

Emotional Trauma: You’re not only at risk of suffering physical injuries in a car accident. Victims, particularly those involved in violent crashes, can experience severe emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is incredibly common after an accident. However, the signs and symptoms of PTSD often take time to manifest. A victim may not truly identify the extent of their trauma until long after the accident. Signs of PTSD may include guilt, loneliness, withdrawal from social activities, hostility and agitation, insomnia, and flashbacks.

Back Injury: A car accident can be very violent. Your body can be subjected to extreme shock and trauma. This can pose a threat to your back and spine. However, you may not notice that you’ve suffered a back injury until the accident is in your rearview mirror. Back injuries can, and often do, become worse over time. It’s important to make sure that your injury is treated promptly. See a doctor if you experience a loss of mobility or begin to experience swelling, bruising, or pain in the back.

When you’re injured in a car accident you may have the right to recover compensation. You can maximize your financial award by supporting your case with as much evidence as possible. Medical records and reports can be incredibly persuasive when your attorney is at the negotiating table. Take the time to see a doctor after your accident. You’ll be able to keep yourself safe and strengthen your legal case at the same time.

California Boating Accidents

Recreational boating accidents aren’t uncommon. In 2017, more than 4,200 boat accidents were reported to the United States Coast Guard. 658 of those accidents were fatal, while another 2,600 caused bodily injuries. When you are injured in a boating accident and someone else is to blame you have the right to ask for compensation. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can allow you to recover much-needed compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Here’s what you need to know about boating accidents and personal injury claims in California.

What Causes Boating Accidents?

Boating accidents can happen for many reasons. However, certain boating accident causes are reported more frequently than others.

Inexperienced Operator

Boats are complicated pieces of equipment that must be handled by a knowledgeable and experienced driver. For years, it has been fairly easy for inexperienced and unqualified people to operate a boat in California. In fact, until recently, the state had no boater education requirements. New laws require boaters to take a boater-safety education course before they can hit the open waters.

The new laws are important because inexperienced operators are responsible for a large percentage of boating accidents. Inexperienced boaters may not know how to navigate the vessel safely or handle unexpected and severe weather conditions.

Negligence

Anyone who operates a boat has an obligation to do so safely. Boaters not only have to look out for the safety of their passengers, but also for others in and on the water. Accidents are likely to happen when boat operators become negligent. Negligent conduct may include:

  • Speeding
  • Riding too close to shore
  • Riding too close to other vessels
  • Riding too close to swimmers
  • Texting and boating, or
  • Failure to pay attention.

Boating Under the Influence

It’s illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in California. Boating while intoxicated increases the risk of a serious accident. Operators are less likely to have the capacity to control the vessel, see hazards in the water, avoid other crafts, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Defective Equipment

Sometimes boating accidents happen even when vessel operators do everything right. Some of these accidents can be caused by defective boating or safety equipment. Companies that manufacture products, including boats and safety equipment, have an obligation to make sure those products are safe for consumer use. When a product is defective and causes an injury, those companies can be liable for damages.

What Are the Most Common Boating Accident Injuries?

Boating accidents can be particularly devastating. Statistics show that the most common boating accident injuries include:

  • Drowning
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Hypothermia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Burn injury
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation, and
  • Wrongful death.

It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you have been involved in a boating accident.

What Damages Can I Recover If I File a Boating Accident Lawsuit?

The main reason you’ve decided to file a lawsuit is probably to recover money from the person who is responsible for your boating accident and injuries. In California, boating accident victims can seek both economic and non-economic damages.

What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages help to put you back in the financial position you would have been in if you had never been injured. In other words, economic damages compensate for financial costs you experience as a result of the accident or injury. Common examples include:

  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Other medical bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Disability, and
  • Property damage.

You can recover economic damages for actual costs you have today, as well as for costs you can reasonably anticipate having in the future. It’s important to identify how your boating accident injury may affect you down the line.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Boating accident injuries won’t just be financial. You’ll also probably experience debilitating physical, emotional, and social injuries, as well. Non-economic damages can help to compensate for these personal injuries. Common examples include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Emotional distress
  • Embarrassment
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Since these injuries are so intimate they can be very difficult to value in terms of money. It’s important to work with experts who can identify the full extent of your non-economic injuries and place an accurate value on your suffering.

How Can I Prevent Boating Accidents and Injuries?

Many boating accidents are avoidable. You can reduce the chances of being involved in a boating accident by keeping a few simple tips in mind.

Here’s how to stay safe and prevent injury when using a boat:

  • Only ride on a boat operated by an experienced and credentialed operator
  • Make sure boats are properly maintained and inspected before use
  • Avoid alcohol and drug use before and during boating excursions
  • Always wear a life jacket, or know where safety devices are located on the vessel
  • Avoid boating excursions in bad weather, and
  • Remain cautious and aware of other vessels and swimmers in the water.

Boating can be fun. It can also be dangerous if operators don’t exercise an appropriate level of caution and care. Always speak with an attorney if you are injured in a boating accident. You may be entitled to compensation that can cover medical costs, disability, and even emotional trauma. For more information, see our guide on finding a good personal injury lawyer in Calfornia.

John Rapillo is a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Orange County, CA. John has been successfully helping accident victims in California for more than 35 years. For more information on boating accidents and all personal injury cases in California, visit https://rapillolaw.com.