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 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 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?
What Are the Odds of Dying in A Car Crash?

What Are the Odds of Dying in A Car Crash?

Since 2014, over six million motor vehicle accidents have been reported in the United States each year. In 2019 alone, there were 6,756,000 traffic accidents nationwide. The result was 36,096 traffic fatalities and 2.74 million injured persons. With such a high rate of accidents occurring each year, you may wonder: “what are the odds of dying in a car crash?”

Odds of Dying in a Car Crash Compared to Other Causes of Death

The National Safety Council (NSC) calculated the lifetime odds of dying from selected causes. In 2019, your odds of dying in a car accident were one in 107. Dying in a motor vehicle crash was eight on the list of causes of death. 

The other seven causes of death examined were:

  • Heart disease (1 in 6)
  • Cancer (1 in 7)
  • All preventable causes of death (1 in 24)
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease (1 in 27)
  • Suicide (1 in 88)
  • Opioid overdose (1 in 92)
  • Fall (1 in 106)

Most traffic accidents are the result of negligence or carelessness. In other words, traffic accidents are preventable in most cases. Drivers make mistakes or engage in dangerous driving behaviors that increase their risk of being in a car accident.

Common Causes of Car Crashes in the United States 

The most common causes of automobile accidents include:

Speeding

Speeding was a factor in 26 percent of the fatal auto accidents in 2019. As the vehicle speed increases, the chance of being in a crash and sustaining severe injuries increases. In 2019, over 9,475 speeding-related deaths were reported.

Distractions 

Distracted driving continues to be a contributing factor in many motor vehicle accidents. In 2019, distracted driving was a factor in six percent of fatal traffic accidents. 

The most common distraction was daydreaming or being lost in thought, followed by:

  • Cell phone use
  • People or objects outside of the vehicle
  • Vehicle occupants
  • Using or reaching for a device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting vehicle controls
  • Moving objects in the vehicle
  • Smoking

Any activity other than focusing on the road has the potential to be a deadly distraction.

Impaired Driving 

Drunk and drugged driving continue to be a problem throughout the country. Each day, approximately 28 people die because of a drunk driving accident. In 2019, approximately 10,142 people died in drunk driving accidents.

Impaired drivers typically face criminal charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The criminal penalty increases if someone is killed or severely injured because of a drunk driving accident. Likewise, drunk drivers may also be held financially liable for the damages caused by a DUI accident.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving caused 697 deaths in 2019. When a driver is fatigued or drowsy, their ability to operate a motor vehicle can be severely diminished. Moreover, the chance of falling asleep at the wheel increases, and reaction times and judgment can be severely inhibited. 

Failing to Follow Traffic Laws

Many accidents are caused by failing to follow traffic laws. Failing to yield the right of way, improper lane changes, and following too closely are common causes of traffic accidents. Other factors might contribute to the causes of these types of accidents, such as drunk driving and distracted driving. 

All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe and does not place others at risk for injury or death. If the driver fails in that duty of care, the accident victim may sue the driver for damages.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim or Personal Injury Claim 

When a car accident injuries a person, that person may file a personal injury claim seeking compensation of damages. 

If the other driver is entirely at fault for the cause of the crash, the accident victim may demand full compensation for damages, including:

  • The cost of medical treatment and care
  • The cost of personal care and in-home health care
  • Permanent disabilities and impairments
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Decreases in future earning potential
  • Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life and enjoyment of life

When a person dies in a car accident, the family may file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. The wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the family members for damages arising from their family member’s death. 

Damages in a wrongful death case may include financial losses, such as loss of income and funeral expenses. The family may also receive compensation for the loss of companionship, support, guidance, and care from their loved one. 

Lawsuits related to car accidents must be filed within a certain period after the car crash to satisfy the statute of limitations. If you do not file a lawsuit seeking wrongful death or personal injury damages before the deadline, you give up your right to pursue an action in court. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible after a car accident is generally in a person’s best interest. 

Something Was Stolen From My Hotel Room—Who’s Liable?

Something Was Stolen From My Hotel Room—Who’s Liable?

Imagine you are on the road and decide to spend the night at a hotel. You check in, carry your stuff to your room, and get settled. Over the course of the night and the next morning, you are in and out of the room—checking out the pool, exercise room, and breakfast. When you gather your things to leave, you realize your laptop is missing. After further investigation, it becomes clear it was stolen. 

While we all hope this nightmare scenario never happens, it is good to be prepared and understand the law regarding such an issue. More specifically, if something is stolen from your hotel room, who is liable?

While there is no easy answer to that question and there are a thousand different factors that could produce a thousand different answers—which state you are in, whether or not there is clear signage noting the hotel’s liability and policy, whether or not there is a safe—there are several general rules that can help determine liability when something is stolen from your hotel room.

Innkeepers Laws

Just about every state in the country has what are known as Innkeepers Laws. Innkeepers laws govern a range of issues related to hotels and the entire hospitality industry. For example, innkeepers laws cover things like:

  • Evictions
  • Overbooking
  • Security

Innkeepers laws also cover the issue of liability when something is stolen. Because dollar amounts and exact verbiage of the laws vary from state to state, it is important to understand the rules in each state to which you travel. 

By way of example, consider the innkeepers laws in the state of Massachusetts. In the Bay State, a hotel is only liable for up to $300 of lost property for things like luggage, clothing, and money. However, if you deposit money or jewelry to be watched by the hotel, their liability goes up to $1000.

Other states might have rules about safes in the room and signage stating the hotel’s policy and liability limit. For example, if one of your valuables is stolen and you hadn’t put it in the safe then the hotel might not be liable. 

Also, generally speaking, hotels are not at fault if your loss of property is the result of an act of nature such as a hurricane or earthquake, or if it is the result of civil unrest such as a protest or riot. 

Tips for Keeping Your Stuff Safe While Traveling

For the most part, innkeepers laws tend to favor hotels and inns. For that reason, it is important you educate yourself before you hit the road. You will want to make sure you read the hotel’s policy on items that are stolen and what you have to do to make sure your valuables are protected. 

If a hotel room you are staying in has a safe, you might want to consider placing your valuable items inside of it whenever you are not in the room. 

One other option that might be a good idea is traveler’s insurance. Most traveler’s insurance policies cover items that are stolen from a hotel room. Of course, the amount covered depends on the policy so you will want to make sure you get a policy that meets your needs.

Finally, if something was stolen from your room and you feel the hotel is responsible but they are stonewalling you, you may want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. A good lawyer will be able to investigate your case and determine whether or not the hotel should pay up. 

Of course, not every item that is stolen will warrant legal action. But if you have had something truly valuable stolen from your hotel room, there might be steps you can take to seek justice.

How Much Damage Occurs in a 30 MPH Crash?

How Much Damage Occurs in a 30 MPH Crash?

How fast is too fast to drive? Speed limits are designed to reduce the risk of accidents. The limits are based on numerous factors and calculations that determine the maximum safe speed for a given stretch of road. 

Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents. During 2017, speed was a contributing factor in about one-fourth of all fatal traffic accidents. As a driver increases the speed of the vehicle, several factors come into play:

  • The risk of an accident increases
  • It takes longer for the vehicle to stop
  • There is an increase in the severity of the crash and crash injuries
  • Occupant protection equipment is not as effective 

While there is a great deal of focus placed on excessive speeds, crashes occurring at just 30 mph can result in considerable damage, traumatic injuries, and loss of life.

What Happens During a Collision?

When a vehicle collides with another vehicle or object, the vehicle absorbs some of the energy from the impact and slows down as a result. Simultaneously, its frame may crumble and be crushed because of the force of the impact.

Even in a 30 mph crash, a vehicle can sustain substantial damage to the frame and other components. The amount of damage to the vehicle also depends on other factors such as:

  • The age, model, and condition of the vehicle
  • The type of vehicle or object struck
  • Whether the driver applied the brakes before the collision
  • The speed of the other vehicle
  • The type of crash that occurred (i.e., head-on collision, sideswipe, rear-end accident, side-impact, etc.)

When accident reconstructionists investigate a crash, they consider the vehicle’s speed and all other factors when examining the vehicle’s level of damage.

Impact on the Vehicle’s Occupants

At the time of the crash, the people in the car continue moving at the same speed the vehicle was traveling until they are stopped for an external force. The external force could be the seatbelt or airbags. It could also be hitting the dashboard, window, or the back of a seat. 

Wearing a seatbelt is the best way to protect yourself in a crash. The seat belt absorbs much of the energy that your body would absorb if it were thrown into the dashboard or another object within the vehicle. By absorbing some of the energy from the crash, the seatbelt helps reduce the severity of injuries or prevent them altogether.

Impact on Internal Organs

Some sources refer to this stage of a car wreck as the internal collision. Even though a passenger is wearing a seatbelt and the seatbelt stops the person’s body from moving forward, the person’s internal organs remain in motion until they strike bones or other internal organs.

For example, traumatic brain injury can occur even though the occupant did not hit their head during the crash. The sudden stop in forward motion causes the brain to strike the skull, which can cause contusions, bleeding, tears, and other damage to the brain. Brain damage can result in permanent disabilities and impairments. 

A 30 mph crash has the potential of causing traumatic organ damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and other organs. 

Filing Personal Injury Claims for a Low-Speed Car Accident 

Car accidents that occur at lower speeds can still result in significant injuries and damages. However, many insurance providers downplay low-speed car accidents by claiming that the lower speeds reduce the severity of injuries. However, there are many studies and sources that contradict those allegations.

It is best to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident, regardless of the severity of the crash or whether you believe you sustained injuries. Internal organ damage, whiplash, brain injuries, and other types of injuries may be difficult to recognize without medical treatment.

Furthermore, documenting your injuries with medical records immediately after the accident makes it more difficult for the other party to argue that the crash did not cause your injuries. 

Your doctor may tell you to rest and report any changes in your condition. Even so, you have a record of the symptoms you experienced after the crash in case your condition worsens, or you discover an injury that was not known immediately after the accident.

Do Not Give In or Give Up 

Do not give up the pursuit of your personal injury claim if you sustained injuries in the crash. If the other driver and the insurance company continue to deny your injury claim, seek assistance from an injury lawyer. Make sure you know your legal rights and take steps to protect your best interests.