How to Find the Best Personal Injury Attorney in California [Updated 2021]

After an accident, you may need an attorney to help you get the money you deserve.

In this post, we share our ideas on how to find the best personal injury attorney. See below to get started.

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 Los Angeles, CA, you would simply type, “personal injury attorney Los Angeles 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 attorney 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 look up any California 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.

According to Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sherwin Arzani, here is 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 may be true, make sure you understand what they get in the event 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 along 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.

Reasons Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer:

We put together this infographic dealing with 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?
Do I Need an Attorney for My Motorcycle Accident?

Do I Need an Attorney for My Motorcycle Accident?

If you are an avid motorcycle rider, no one would blame you for preparing for the worst—even while hoping for the best. After all, motorcycles are involved in more than 80,000 accidents every year according to the NHTSA. Even if you are a safe and cautious rider, you still put yourself at risk every time you hop onto your bike.

While there is no reason to give into alarmism, it does help to know your options before an accident happens. In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know, including when to call a motorcycle accident attorney. 

Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident

After a motorcycle accident, you may feel confused and disoriented. However, there are several important steps you’ll want to take.

1. Call for Medical Attention First

Your first priority should be the health and safety of everyone involved in the accident. If any person requires medical attention, call 911 right away. It may also be wise to move everyone out of the busy roadway and away from danger.

If you end up getting medical treatment, save your receipts and records. An attorney can use these records to estimate the value of your case. 

2. Gather Everyone’s Contact Information

After you have moved to the side of the road, take a moment to gather the contact information of everyone involved. Be sure to make a record of:

  • Names
  • Phone numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Addresses
  • Insurance information

If multiple people are involved in the accident, take care to keep this information organized. 

3. Call the Police

If you haven’t already, call 911 and request a police report for the accident—especially if the damages seem like they might exceed $500. A police report can make or break a lawsuit or insurance claim down the road. 

Sometimes, physical and property damages don’t present themselves for hours or days. Call the police even if the damages seem minor as a precautionary measure. 

4. Call a Motorcycle Injury Lawyer

Even a non-fatal accident can cost several thousands of dollars. That’s exactly why you should call a motorcycle attorney after every motorcycle accident, especially when serious injuries or fatalities are involved. 

How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?

After a collision, it can be difficult to know who’s to blame. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney can help you to compile witness statements, police reports, and medical bills to determine which insurance provider to file a claim with.

While you might think that you can file a claim on your own, you may not know just how much you are entitled to without legal representation. 

Insurance companies often use underhanded tactics to delay or deny claims, even when they’re valid. If they do offer a settlement, they may try to create an offer in an unreasonably low amount. 

A lawyer can help you calculate the value of your claim, accounting for every cent of your damages. A motorcycle lawyer can also guide you through the process of negotiating a settlement so that you avoid making common mistakes such as:

  • Signing a document without fully understanding the repercussions
  • Allowing the insurance company to record your call
  • Accepting a lowball offer

With a motorcycle accident law firm on your side, you can avoid these mistakes. 

An experienced attorney can negotiate with the insurance providers to fight for an adequate settlement. If insurers are uncooperative or the driver who was at fault did not have adequate coverage, a motorcycle accident attorney can even take your case to court, if necessary.

Can You Sue for a Car Accident If You Are Not Hurt?

Can You Sue for a Car Accident If You Are Not Hurt?

Although it might surprise you to learn, you can sue for a car accident if you are not hurt. But in many cases, you will not need to file a lawsuit to recover your damages. The time, effort, and money put into a lawsuit will not justify the damages you recover in these situations.

There are a few narrow circumstances in which you might file a lawsuit without an injury. The decision to file a lawsuit over damaged property will depend on the property in question and the at-fault driver’s assets.

Here is some information about the situations in which you might sue for a car accident, even if you weren’t hurt.

How Car Insurance Works

Car insurance in California includes bodily injury liability (BIL)  insurance and property damage liability (PDL) insurance.

Bodily Injury Insurance

In California, bodily injury liability insurance covers people injured in an accident caused by the insured party. After a car accident in California, all of the accident victims file a claim against the at-fault driver’s BIL policy.

The insurer investigates who caused the accident. As a result, the accident victims may find themselves searching for an “auto accident lawyer near me” early in the claim process because everything hinges on proving liability for the accident.

Property Damage Insurance

Every state requires property damage liability (PDL) insurance. The limits of these policies vary from state to state. For example, California requires every registered vehicle owner to carry at least $5,000 in PDL insurance.

PDL insurance pays for the cost to repair or replace property damaged by the insured. In most cases, the damaged property will consist of a vehicle. But PDL also covers the repair or replacement of your fence or tree if a negligent driver hits it.

You rarely need to search for a “car accident lawyer near me” for property damage only (PDO) accidents. Instead, you will file a damage claim against the driver’s PDL insurance.

How Much Can Someone Sue for in a Car Accident?

Your damages for property damage include the cost of repairing or replacing the property. For example, you may find yourself wondering, “Someone totaled my car. Can I sue?” In short, you can. However, you’ll usually start by filing an insurance claim.

When you file an insurance claim for property damage, the claims adjuster will:

  • Inspect the damage
  • Collect repair estimates
  • Set a value for your vehicle
  • Offer a damage settlement

Even if your car gets totaled, the at-fault driver’s insurer can estimate its replacement value. Because the adjuster bases the estimate on objective sources like Blue Book values, you can usually negotiate a fair payout without filing a lawsuit.

When Could You Sue for a Car Accident Without Getting Hurt?

Occasionally, you might sue for a car accident without getting hurt. This usually happens because something has gone wrong with the insurance claim process.

Some scenarios where you might sue rather than settle include:

You Were Hit By an Uninsured Driver

If the person who hit you did not have insurance, you must negotiate compensation with the driver. In many cases, you will need the extra leverage of a lawsuit to get the at-fault driver to pay your damages.

Your Damage Exceeds the Policy Limits

If the value of your property exceeds the at-fault driver’s PDL limits, you may need to file a lawsuit to make up the difference. This can happen if you have:

  • Expensive property
  • Vintage property
  • Custom property

Bear in mind that this situation could happen even if you do not drive a Lamborghini. A van customized to include a wheelchair lift could easily exceed California’s PDL minimum of $5,000.

Claiming Compensation Without an Injury

Most injury lawyers will help clients file a PDL claim along with a BIL claim. If the case does not settle, the injury lawyer will include the property damage in the injury lawsuit.

But fewer lawyers are willing to act as your auto accident lawyer without an injury. The damages in these cases rarely justify the lawyer’s fee. Instead, you will often receive a better outcome by negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurer.

How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Boston Massachusetts?

How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Massachusetts?

Many factors impact how much you can recover from a personal injury claim. Some are statutory factors that apply in every case; others are case-specific.

Understanding the types of damages available in a Massachusetts personal injury case can help you determine your case’s value.

Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases

Generally, you can receive three types of damages when another party causes you injury: economic, non-economic, and punitive. These damages are typically available in all injury cases, including fatal car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability claims, slip and fall accidents, and more.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are divided into two categories.

Special damages, or “economic damages,” represent an injury victim’s financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses related to an accident and injury. 

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Therapy expenses
  • Medications and medical equipment
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
  • Loss of income, including a reduction in earning potential

An injury victim proves the value of these damages through receipts, invoices, bills, and pay stubs. Future financial losses are also available in a personal injury claim, including ongoing medical care and future lost income. Medical experts and economists often assist in estimating future financial damages.

General damages, or “non-economic damages,” represent the pain and suffering an accident victim experiences because of an injury or accident. 

Examples of general damages include:

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish and trauma
  • Emotional distress 
  • Psychological injuries, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent impairments or disabilities
  • Decreases in quality of life and enjoyment of life

Non-economic damages are subjective and therefore more difficult to calculate. There is not a statutory formula for valuing pain and suffering. 

Many personal injury lawyers, insurance providers, and juries use the multiplier method to value non-economic damages. Parties assign a number between 1.5 and five to a victim’s case based on the severity of their injuries and other factors. Then, the parties multiply that number by the total amount of economic damages to arrive at a value for pain and suffering losses.

Punitive Damages

These damages are unique as they are not compensatory in nature. Instead, punitive damages “punish” the at-fault party for egregious wrongdoing, such as wanton, willful conduct taken without regard for others’ safety. 

Factors That Impact the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim in Massachusetts

Common factors that impact how much money a personal injury claim is worth are:

Damages Caps

Some states limit the amount of money a victim may receive for non-economic damages. Massachusetts does not cap non-economic damages, except in medical malpractice cases. 

According to MGLA 231 §60H, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in actions against health care providers. 

There is an exception to the rule. The jury may award a higher amount for non-economic damages if the jury finds that there is:

  • Substantial disfigurement
  • Substantial or permanent impairment of a bodily function
  • Other special circumstances that warrant a higher amount for general damages

The jury must find that the imposition of a cap would deprive the victim of just compensation for the injuries incurred.

Comparative Negligence

You must prove that the other party was at fault for the cause of your injury to recover injury-related damages. However, suppose you were partially responsible for the cause of your injury. In this case, Massachusetts’s comparative negligence law will reduce your damages to account for your share of the blame.

However, if you were 51 percent or more at fault for the cause of your injury, you could not recover any money for your damages. This rule is known as a “51% bar.”

Severity of Injuries

Generally, cases involving catastrophic injuries or permanent impairments are worth more than cases involving minor injuries. There are several reasons for this trend.

First, it costs more to treat and care for catastrophic injuries. If a person has a disability, they may require ongoing medical treatment and 24/7 personal care. 

Second, a person with a traumatic injury typically loses more time from work, which increases the amount of lost income. Permanent impairments can significantly reduce the person’s ability to earn an income in the future.

Third, it is generally presumed that a person suffers more when they sustain severe injuries. Therefore, the pain and suffering damages are likely to be higher in these cases.

Your Case Is Unique, So Don’t Base It on Another Case

Other factors could impact the value of your case, such as:

  • The availability of insurance coverage
  • The parties involved in the case
  • The statute of limitations
  • The willingness of insurance providers and other parties to negotiate in good faith

You should consider seeking legal counsel before settling a claim on your own. Most settlement agreements contain waivers of future liability. You cannot demand more money after settling the claim — even if you discover additional damages.

Knowing how much your personal injury claim is worth is essential to protect your best interest.