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?

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.

Drug Recalls – What You Need To Know

Thousands of drugs are voluntarily recalled every year. Some recalls are issued by pharmaceutical companies, while others are issued by the FDA. The purpose of a drug recall is to protect the public from possible risks associated with a prescription drug. While this can prevent future harm, recalls do little to help victims who have already been injured.

State and federal laws offer protections to patients who are injured by dangerous drugs in the United States. If you have been harmed because of a defective drug you have the right to assert those protections by filing a product liability lawsuit. The company responsible for putting that defective drug in your hands can be held strictly liable for your injuries.

How Do Defective Drugs Get FDA Approval?

Before a drug can be sold or prescribed in the United States, it must be approved for use by the FDA. Applications for approval must include information about the drug’s intended use and evidence that it is effective. Companies pitching new medications have an obligation to make sure that drugs are thoroughly vetted through clinical testing procedures.

The FDA receives thousands of applications for new drugs every year. While the agency demands compliance with a 5-step process, it really lacks the ability to review each application with the attention it deserves. As a result, the FDA puts a lot of trust into pharmaceutical companies and relies on them to do their due diligence and make sure that drugs are safe for consumer use.

Drug companies are notorious for taking advantage of the stressed FDA approval process. Many cut corners and fail to put medications through extensive clinical tests. As a result, companies aren’t really fully aware of all potential side effects or the long-term consequences of using the new medication. Patients end up being the real test subjects. Dangerous side effects and risks may only become evident once the drug has been widely used for many years.

When Are Drugs Recalled in the United States?

Recalls are voluntary and can be issued by private companies or the FDA. Recalls may be disclosed publicly or issued privately to healthcare providers and pharmacists. Recalls can be issued when one or more person reports a previously unknown or undisclosed risk associated with a specific drug. The likelihood of a recall increases with each additional report.

Drug recalls are classified into one of three categories. Alerts to the public about drug recalls will often depend on which classification has been chosen for a specific drug.

  • Class I Recalls: Issued for drugs that “could cause serious health problems or death.”
  • Class I Recalls: Issued for drugs that “might cause a temporary health problem” or “pose a slight threat of a serious nature.
  • Class III Recalls: Issued for drugs that violate FDA labeling or manufacturing laws but that are “unlikely to cause adverse health reactions.”

Class I recalls are reserved the most serious health risks, while Class III recalls are more of a warning that a drug could potentially be dangerous because of legal violations.

Are Drug Companies Automatically Liable When They Issue a Recall?

No. Drug companies are encouraged to issue a voluntary recall whenever a possibility exists that a drug could pose a threat to patient health. If issuing a recall automatically caused a company to be liable, few would take this important step. However, the fact that a company issued a safety recall can be helpful if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. You could use the recall to help establish essential elements in your case.

Can Issuing a Drug Recall Shield Companies From Liability?

No. Again, drug recalls are issued for the sole purpose of protecting patients from possible health risks. The fact that a company voluntarily issued a drug recall will not shield them from liability if they are sued for damage caused by that drug. These companies can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the medications they design and sell. This means that patients do not have to prove that a company was negligent or knew about the defect.

Instead, strict liability forces companies to make sure that they take all steps necessary to ensure that products are safe for consumer use. If a company misses something or cuts corners to save time and money, they can be liable for harm in the future. The fact that they later issued a recall for a danger they should have caught earlier is irrelevant.

What Are the Grounds For Filing a Drug Recall Lawsuit?

Product liability laws can be used to hold companies responsible for the products they design, manufacture, and/or sell. Injured patients typically approach these cases using one of three arguments: manufacturing defect, design defect, or failure to warn.

Manufacturing Defect: The drug contains a defect that exists because of how the product was manufactured. It was not manufactured according to its design specifications.

Design Defect: The drug contains a defect that is inherent in its design. This defect makes the product unreasonably dangerous.

Failure to Warn: Companies have an obligation to disclose any risks or hazards that it knows or should know about.

Should I Join a Class Action or File My Own Claim?

Class action lawsuits aren’t uncommon when a recalled drug has caused a lot of damage. In a class action suit, victims who have very similar cases band together and pursue compensation as one. This can be beneficial when multiple victims have few resources. Class actions can draw attention and make it more difficult for a drug company to escape liability. When a class action is successful, each victim in the class receives a portion of the financial award.

You’re not required to join a class action lawsuit if you’ve been injured because of a recalled drug. Filing a lawsuit on your own gives you more flexibility and control over your case. You’ll also be able to enjoy the entirety of your settlement or award without sharing with other victims. However, it can be more expens
ive and time-consuming to pursue a case on your own.

The best thing to do is consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will review your case and help you understand all of the legal options available to you. With this information in hand, you can make an informed decision about the path you’d like to take. Your attorney can help to answer any questions you may have.

Boris Lavent, founding partner of Lavent Law, is a respected personal injury lawyer in Miami, FL. Since he began practicing law in 2014, Boris has been continually been recognized as one of the top trial attorneys in the country. He handles all personal injury matters, including those for victims of defective pharmaceutical drugs.