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?
Can You Still Use a Car Seat After an Accident?

Can You Still Use a Car Seat After an Accident?

Several sources recommend that you replace a car seat after an accident. The NHTSA recommends replacing a car seat after a moderate or severe accident.

However, a car seat might not need to be replaced after a minor car crash. The NHTSA defines a minor car crash as:

  • You could drive the vehicle away from the accident scene
  • The vehicle door closest to the car seat was not damaged in the collision
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat
  • None of the vehicle occupants sustained crash injuries
  • The airbags did not inflate during the collision

If any of the above factors apply, you need to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider replacing the car seat. Whenever in doubt, it may be best to replace the car seat. Your child’s safety could be at risk if you use a car seat involved in a car accident. 

The Insurance Company Should Pay for a New Car Seat

If you were involved in a car accident that damaged your car seat, the insurance company should replace the car seat as part of your property damage claim. Don’t allow the insurance adjuster to convince you to replace the car seat. 

You should obtain evidence of the cost of a new car seat that is the same or similar model to your previous seat. You deserve to be reimbursed for the cost of a new car seat if another driver caused the car crash.

Car Seats Decrease the Risk of Death or Injury in a Car Accident

According to the Centers for Disease Control, using a car seat reduces the risk of injury for children by 71 to 82 percent compared to seat belt use alone. Using booster seats reduces the risk of serious injury by 45 percent for children between the ages of four to eight years. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides detailed information about car seats online. Families can use the guidelines to choose a safety seat or booster seat that meets their child’s needs. Parents should also read the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure their child’s height or weight does not exceed the maximum limits for the car seat.

Generally, the AAP recommends using rear-facing car seats for as long as possible. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing safety seat, the parents can transition the child into a forward-facing safety seat. 

The child should use the forward-facing car seat until they outgrow it. Once they outgrow a car seat, the parent can use a booster seat with belt-positioning functions until the child is tall enough for a seat belt.

Parents should check their car seats for recalls and register the car seat to receive recall notices. Each state has laws regarding child passenger restraints. Most state laws follow the AAP and NHTSA guidelines for car seats, but it is up to parents to know the laws in their state.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured in a Car Accident?

Children injured in car crashes can sustain traumatic injuries. Even minor injuries could have long-lasting developmental, emotional, physical, and cognitive impairments.

After a crash, you should have your child examined by a physician — regardless of the severity of the crash. You should also watch for symptoms of injuries in the days and weeks after the car accident.

You can protect your child’s legal right to compensation by filing an injury claim. However, child injury claims can be complicated. Seeking legal advice to understand personal injury claims is generally in your child’s best interest.

If you are considering filing an injury claim, you should:

  • Document the details of your child’s recovery with pictures and notes 
  • Take pictures of physical injuries right after the crash and as the injuries heal
  • Keep a journal detailing your child’s recovery 
  • Make notes about your child’s daily struggle with pain, depression, withdrawal, nightmares, and other symptoms

This information can help your attorney prepare a case for maximum compensation for your child’s damages. 

It is always best to verify claim deadlines with an attorney. Missing a deadline for filing a lawsuit could result in the loss of compensation for damages. 

What-Should-I-Do-if-I-Have-Chest-Pain-After-a-Car-Accident

What Should I Do if I Have Chest Pain After a Car Accident?

There are many reasons why someone could experience chest pain after a car accident. The person could have a chest injury. On the other hand, the person could be experiencing a panic attack because of a car accident.

Chest pains could be an indication of a severe injury. Therefore, any chest pain after a car accident should be evaluated by a medical professional. It is usually best to go to the emergency room immediately if you suffer from chest pains after a car crash.

Chest Pains Are Symptoms of Many Different Types of Car Accident Injuries

Chest pains are common after a car accident. A person may feel pain as the seat belt tightens across their chest or as the airbag hits their chest. Also, there could be chest pain because the person slammed into the steering wheel or dashboard. 

As stated above, chest pains could be caused by anxiety and panic. However, the pains could also be a symptom of chest injuries. Several car accident injuries could present with chest pains.

Chest pains could be a symptom of one or more of the following injuries:

Rib Fractures and Bruising

The force of the impact from the collision could cause one or more ribs to bruise, fracture, or break. Broken and cracked ribs are serious car accident injuries. They can puncture internal organs and blood vessels, causing life-threatening conditions.

Symptoms of rib injuries include:

  • Extreme chest pain
  • Increased chest pain when taking a breath
  • Increased pain when coughing, twisting, or laughing
  • Highly sensitive and painful when touched

Some individuals could experience a dull ache in the chest and mild symptoms. If you have any chest pain, it is best to have an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI to ensure that you did not sustain rib injuries after a car accident. 

Internal Organ Damage

Chest pains could indicate damage to one or more internal organs, including the heart, stomach, lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen. Other symptoms may include extreme bruising, loss of bodily functions, blood in the urine or stool, and coughing up blood. Internal organ damage can be life-threatening. 

Cardiac Contusions and Heart Attacks

Cardiac contusions, or myocardial contusions, is the term used to describe a severe bruise to the heart muscle. 

Symptoms of this injury include:

  • Racing heart
  • Coughing up blood
  • Increase in chest pain when taking deep breaths
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling faint

A cardiac contusion is often caused by blunt force trauma and rapid deceleration when a car is in a collision. 

The same symptoms of a cardiac contusion may also indicate a heart attack. Along with the above symptoms, the person may experience cold sweats, fatigue, aching in the arms, abdominal pain, heartburn, or indigestion. 

Lung Injuries

Chest pain is a common symptom of lung injuries. The lungs could be punctured, bruised, or collapsed because of a car accident. 

If you experience chest pain, difficulty breathing, uncontrollable coughing, or shortness of breath, you should see a doctor immediately. 

Ruptured or Torn Arteries and Veins

The force of the car crash could result in tearing or rupturing of the veins and arteries. As a result, a person could bleed to death if they do not seek prompt medical attention. 

Muscle Strain and Damage

The supportive tissue, muscles, and cartilage surrounding the ribs and chest can become strained or torn during the collision. The strain or tears can result in chest pain. 

Sometimes, the chest pain may be intense. However, a person may only experience a dull ache or pain when moving a certain way or lifting objects. However, because of the seriousness of chest pain, it is recommended that a physician evaluate even the slightest chest pain after a car accident. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident

If another driver caused your injuries, you could recover compensation for your damages. Seeking immediate medical treatment for chest pain after a car accident is the first step in recovering compensation for your injuries.

You must be able to prove that the car crash caused your injuries. Therefore, you need medical evidence that your chest pain was a symptom of an injury sustained in the car crash. Waiting too long to seek medical care for chest pains after car crashes could jeopardize your health and car accident claim. 

After receiving medical treatment, talk with a personal injury lawyer about your case. First, an attorney evaluates your case. Then, the lawyer explains your legal rights and the steps you should take to hold the at-fault driver liable for your injuries and damages. 

5 Things You Need to Know About Going to the Emergency Room After an Accident

5 Things You Need to Know About Going to the Emergency Room After an Accident

Millions of people are treated each year in emergency rooms for injuries sustained in accidents. People go to the emergency room after car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle crashes, slip & fall accidents, dog bites, defective product injuries, and construction accidents, to name a few. 

Some individuals are transported directly to the ER from the accident scene. Other people go to the emergency room after experiencing symptoms of an injury in the hours or days following an accident. 

Since so many people visit the emergency room each year, you should know a few things going to the ER after an accident.

1.  Notes and Records From Medical Staff Are Important in a Personal Injury Case

Nurses, doctors, and other medical providers ask lots of questions. They will ask about your injuries, and they may question you about the accident or how you were injured. 

Be careful what you say to nurses, doctors, and ER staff members. Your comments and answers become part of your medical record, which the insurance company and defense attorney will receive when you file a personal injury claim.

Therefore, if you state that you are unsure how the accident occurred or imply you are at fault, those statements could significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury case.

Try to keep your answers short and to the point. Do not elaborate on how the accident occurred or offer information that is not requested. Try to keep the conversation confined to your injuries and symptoms. 

2.  Be Careful What You Sign

You will be given numerous documents when you enter the emergency room. The hospital requires that you sign a consent to treatment and other forms. You may also be given forms about your insurance coverage.

If you are seriously injured, it may be impossible for you to understand these forms. If you do not understand the insurance forms, ask the person to wait until you are not under the influence of medication or severe pain to read and understand the document. 

Tell the records personnel that you have health insurance that may cover the cost of care but that the injuries were sustained in an accident caused by another party. 

3.  Tell Nurses and Doctors About All Symptoms

Do not leave out any information about your injuries or symptoms, regardless of whether the symptom is minor or severe. All aches and pains could be an indication of a serious condition. You want the medical staff to note all of your complaints in your medical chart.

One reason for relaying all your symptoms is for doctors to provide a correct diagnosis. It is also crucial for claims purposes. 

Some injuries may not be immediately noticeable. It could take a few hours or days for you to begin feeling severe pain or severe symptoms. It is more difficult for an insurance company to allege that the accident did not cause your injury when the ER records indicate you were experiencing minor symptoms within minutes or hours after the crash. 

4.  Emergency Room Costs Can Be High

The costs of emergency care can be high. Your physicians may need to perform one or more diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. The ER doctor might order a CT scan, MRI, x-rays, an ultrasound, and various blood work. The cost could total thousands of dollars for one imagining test.

Your health insurance company may pay for some of these costs. However, you could have thousands of dollars in co-pays or uncovered amounts that the hospital expects you to pay. Talk with a personal injury lawyer about ways that you can hold off paying ER bills while your personal injury case is pending. 

5.  Request Written Instructions for Further Care

Before you leave the emergency room, ask the staff to provide written instructions for your care. Make sure you understand these instructions and follow them after leaving the hospital. Follow up with your physician as soon as possible for further care.

Delays in medical care, refusing care, and failing to follow a treatment plan can hurt your chance of recovering a fair settlement for your personal injury claim. 

Seek Legal Advice if You Have Questions

Most people have never had to deal with a personal injury claim. Therefore, they may not understand the process or the types of damages they might be entitled to receive. If you have questions about an injury, ask a personal injury attorney for help. 

It is in your best interest to seek legal counsel rather than trust what an insurance company tells you about a claim. The insurance company is looking out for its best interest. You need someone who will do the same for you.