Category: Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in San Diego

Find the Best San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer

Have you recently been hurt in an accident in San Diego? If so, you might be entitled to financial compensation. Hiring a San Diego personal injury lawyer will ensure you maximize the money you deserve. Read on to learn some tips on how to find the best personal injury lawyer in San Diego.

How Can a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney Help me After an Accident?

Personal injury cases can be challenging. That’s why it’s smart to hire an attorney to take care of every detail for you.

Here’s a look into what your personal injury lawyer will do:

  • Listen to your story – probably multiple times on several different occasions – to get a sense of what happened.
  • Answer all your personal injury questions.
  • Research relevant statutes and case law to find the most compelling legal support for your personal injury case.
  • Coordinate an investigation into your accident, enlisting the help of experts along the way.
  • Gather and scrutinize evidence and relevant information – like physical evidence, accident reports, medical records, photographs, and witness statements.
  • Prepare and submit a formal demand for compensation to the proper insurance agency.
  • Handle negotiations with other parties and insurance company defense attorneys.
  • Advise you of settlement offers and help you decide what to do (accept vs. reject).
  • Build a civil lawsuit and submit your claim with the local court within the applicable statute of limitations.
  • Serve defendants with copies of the complaint and personal injury lawsuit.
  • Secure additional information during the discovery phase.
  • Continue to negotiate in an effort to secure a fair deal as quickly as possible.
  • Litigate your case in front of a judge and jury, if a settlement can’t be reached.

Don’t try to handle all of this on your own. Let your San Diego personal injury lawyer put their experience and legal skills to help you. After all, this is what they do every day.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in San Diego

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in San Diego

The lawyer you choose for your injury case could have an enormous impact on the outcome. A lawyer provides advice to help you make decisions in your case. Your lawyer may negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies or advocate for you in front of a jury.

Most people will go through their lives without ever hiring a lawyer. For this reason, when an injury happens, you might not even know where to start your search or what to look for.

Here is some information about how to find the best personal injury lawyer in San Diego.

Understand Your San Diego Personal Injury Case

Understand Your San Diego Personal Injury Case

Before you can find a lawyer to represent you, you’ll need to understand the skills and experience that your lawyer will need. Understanding the nature of your case will help you to find a lawyer that can get the best result possible for you.

For example, if you suffered injuries due to a defective product, you probably need to find a law firm with experience in product liability cases. Similarly, when your injuries arise from a medical error, you need a lawyer who has experience and knowledge in medical malpractice cases.

Finding a San Diego injury lawyer to match up with your claim will ensure that they are comfortable handling the issues that may arise during the case. Although similar legal principles apply to a car accident and a semi-truck accident, a lawyer who lacks experience in dealing with commercial trucking companies and their insurers might get overwhelmed with a truck accident claim.

Some cases might also require a lawyer to have specific knowledge. Medical malpractice cases might require a much more detailed understanding of medicine and medical practices than other kinds of injury cases. Finding a lawyer with an understanding of the key matters in your case will help you to win or settle your case.

Research Your Personal Injury Attorney Options

Even after you determine the type of experience you need in a lawyer, you will still have many, many lawyers from which to choose. According to the State Bar of California, San Diego County has over 16,000 active lawyers. Over a thousand lawyers in the area practice injury law.

To create a manageable candidate pool, you will need to identify some criteria that you want your San Diego personal injury attorney to satisfy. Some of the ways you can research your candidates include:

1. Trusted Referrals

Trusted Referrals

The best injury lawyers get referrals from past clients. When friends and family members recommend a lawyer, you can trust that the lawyer helped them to obtain good outcomes in their cases. 

2. Other Lawyers

Other Lawyers

When a lawyer has the respect of their colleagues, you know that they can produce good outcomes. If you have a relative, friend, or neighbor that is a lawyer, give them a call. Ask them for the names of some respected San Diego injury lawyers. 

Even if your contact does not practice injury law, they might have seen a good injury lawyer in court or heard about a lawyer who gets good outcomes.

3. Attorney Referral Services

california state bar

The California Bar Association does not run a lawyer referral service, but many local bar associations and legal associations do. A lawyer referral service will give you the names of lawyers in your area who handle cases like yours. After you got the name, you can look them up on the California State Bar. Every attorney eligible to practice law in California has a profile that includes important information about their professional legal career. Click here to search for a specific attorney.

Organizations like the San Diego County Bar Association require lawyers to meet practice criteria and receive approval from a screening committee before they can be included in the program.

4. Lawyer Rating Services

Legal publications like AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell use proprietary rating systems to score lawyers. 

AVVO uses public records from state bar associations, regulatory agencies, and courts to score lawyers. The score goes from 1 to 10. A lawyer with a good rating would have a six or higher score. Ideally, you want your lawyer to have a 10 Avvo rating, such as San Diego personal injury attorney David Muñoz. This rating is based on his experience, knowledge, and ethics. 

avvo rating

Martindale-Hubbell uses surveys of clients and other lawyers to score a lawyer’s reputation for skill, knowledge, and ethics.

Both scores tend to give more reliable indicators of a lawyer’s reputation and background than user ratings on Yelp or Google. Users can manipulate Google and Yelp ratings up or down to give a misleading impression of a lawyer.

Questions to Ask a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer During the Free Initial Consultation

Questions to Ask a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer During the Free Initial Consultation

Most injury lawyers provide a free consultation for new clients. Use this consultation to interview the lawyer.

As you talk to the lawyer, get a feel for their communication skills. An effective lawyer will be a good communicator. 

An experienced San Diego personal injury attorney will have the ability to explain your legal options, negotiate with a claims adjuster, and persuade a jury. If you have a hard time following the lawyer or understanding the points the lawyer makes, it could mean that they’ll have trouble communicating with a claims adjuster or jurors.

Your injury case could take several months or even years of work. Think about how well your personalities mesh and how the lawyer will act as the representative of your case. 

Some clients want tenacious and aggressive representation, while others want a more cooperative approach. Neither one is necessarily better than the other. It simply comes down to your personality and the type of person you’d like to work with.

Before your initial consultation, you should prepare some questions. A “free consultation” does not mean an “unlimited consultation.” Writing down some questions and topics to cover ahead of time will help you to make the most efficient use of your limited time.

Some questions to consider asking include:

1. How Much Do You Charge?

Many fee disputes arise from misunderstandings about how lawyers charge for their services. Use a free consultation to understand a lawyer’s fee structure.

Most injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer only receives a legal fee if you settle or win your case. If you lose or drop your case, the lawyer will not recover anything. 

An injury lawyer will start on your case without any fees given upfront. Instead, the lawyer will take a percentage of the compensation you recover at the end of the case as payment for their services.

Ask the lawyer about the percentage charged. It’s typically between 33% and 40% – but that varies from case to case and firm to firm. 

Make sure you understand how the lawyer bills for expenses apart from their legal representation, too. Some lawyers will expect reimbursement for court filing fees, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees, regardless of the outcome of your case.

2. Who Will Handle My Personal Injury Case?

In some law firms, partners or shareholders originate cases by meeting with clients, but they assign the cases to associates for the actual work. While this produces an efficient structure, some clients find it to be impersonal.

In smaller law firms, the lawyer you meet will likely handle your case. This can produce a more personal connection. But the lawyer might not have the time or support to handle larger cases, like a product liability case against a billion-dollar corporation.

3. How Will I Receive Updates?

The most common dispute between lawyers and clients arises from a lack of communication. Under California’s Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers must keep clients reasonably informed about their cases and respond promptly to reasonable requests for updates.

When you talk to the lawyer, ask about the ways that you can contact the lawyer for updates. Also, ask about any others in the firm that can provide information about your case in the event that you cannot reach your lawyer. 

Having the number and email address of the lawyer, paralegals, and legal secretaries working on your case will provide you with several paths for getting updates.

4. Have You Handled Cases Like Mine?

Experience instructs a lawyer in what works and what does not work. When you discuss your case, ask about other cases the lawyer has handled that had similar issues. 

While you can hire a lawyer who doesn’t have any prior experience in cases like yours, you could face greater uncertainty throughout the case.

5. What Do You Think About My Personal Injury Case?

Very few cases are perfect. You want to know about the merits and problems in your case. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can identify both and discuss them with you so you can set your expectations accordingly. 

An experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer should also explain the range of outcomes you could get in your case and rough probabilities for each outcome.

Most importantly, discuss the lawyer’s strategy for handling your case. This discussion will allow you to ask questions and provide input into the way that the lawyer will proceed.

Recommended San Diego Injury Lawyers

Law FirmLawyer NameTypes of Cases HandledExperienceAreas ServedOffice LocationCase Results
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers, P.C.David MuñozMinor injuries to major injuries
43+ years of combined experienceSan Diego, Chula Vista, La Jolla, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas2515 Camino del Rio South 350
San Diego, CA
92108
619-777-5555
Tens of millions of dollars
Hamparyan Personal Injury
Lawyers San Diego, APC
Robert HamparyanMajor injuries20+ years of experienceSan Diego, Carlsbad, El Cajon, National City, Escondido2221 Las Palmas Dr, Suite H
Carlsbad, CA 92011
100 million recovered
Law Offices of Andrew H. Griffin III, APCAndrew H. GriffinSerious injuries only
30+ years of experienceSan Diego, El Cajon, National City, Chula Vista275 E. Douglas Avenue, Suite 112
El Cajon, CA 92020
Millions of dollars recovered

Do I Have a San Diego Personal Injury Case?

Do I Have a San Diego Personal Injury Case?

Did you get hurt because someone else was careless? If so, you might have a personal injury case. 

You might also have a case if the other person was cautious, but you got hurt, anyway. Under California law, they could potentially be strictly liable for your injuries. This is most often seen in situations involving defective products, inherently dangerous activities, and dog bites.

If you think you have a case – or need more legal information – speaking with a personal injury lawyer in San Diego is the best thing you can do.

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

On the fence about whether or not you should hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident in San Diego?

Here’s why you absolutely should:

  • You’re statistically more likely to win your case.
  • Hiring a lawyer is correlated with a bigger payout. Accident victims working with lawyers recover up to 3.5x as much in compensation than those who don’t.
  • Insurance companies love to blame the victim. Sharing fault can destroy your injury case.
  • Personal injury litigation is complicated – a single misstep can keep you from getting the money you need.
  • You’ve got enough on your plate right now. Hiring a lawyer gives you time to really focus on getting better.

You’ve got one shot at winning your personal injury case. Hire a personal injury attorney to make the most of this opportunity.

How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

It depends on a lot of different factors.

Consider:

  • The type of injuries you’ve sustained and how severe they are
  • What you’ve spent – and will have to spend – on medical care, rehabilitation, and other injury-related costs
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Whether your ability to work and generate an income has changed 
  • How you’ve been affected mentally and emotionally – what kind of pain and suffering have you endured?
  • The extent to which you share some of the blame.

The more serious your injuries and suffering, the more your case is likely worth. But, valuation isn’t simple. Choose a lawyer who has experience building cases like yours and access to reliable resources to aid them throughout the process.

How Much Does a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?

How Much Does a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?

Nothing upfront. Then if (and only if) your lawyer wins your case, they’ll be paid a percentage of your financial recovery. This percentage varies but typically ranges between 33% and 40%

What can affect an attorney’s contingency fee?

  • Their overall legal experience, career, and reputation
  • The lawyer’s specific experience handling cases like yours
  • The type of case you have – some areas of personal injury law are highly specialized
  • Where you live – an attorney in the city of San Diego will usually cost more than a lawyer practicing in a small rural part of California

These are just a few of the things that can impact what a particular attorney or personal injury lawyer will charge. Always discuss fees – and whether the lawyer’s fee comes from the gross or net recovery – before hiring representation.

When working on contingency, law firms take care of case-related costs and expenses. 

This means they pay for things like:

  • Filing fees
  • Court costs
  • Administrative expenses like copying, filing, and mailing
  • Copies of police reports and medical records
  • Costs associated with discovery, like the fee for a stenographer hired to document a deposition
  • Expert witness fees
  • Trial exhibits, and more.

If the lawyer’s fee is calculated using your gross recovery it’s taken right off the top. Then these costs are deducted from the remaining award. If the fee is calculated using the net award, it means these costs are deducted first. Either way, the amount that’s left is what you get to take home.

A personal injury lawyer should be forthcoming and transparent about their fee structure. If they’re not, that should be a red flag.

How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

Ultimately, that’s up to you. Do you want to sacrifice the amount of money you get for a quick payout? Would you rather hold out for a bit, let your San Diego personal injury attorney work their magic, and apply pressure to get the defendant to pay up in full?

Regardless, settling your claim will take less time than going to trial. And a settlement doesn’t mean giving up value. But, good settlement terms take time. Your lawyer will need time to investigate, analyze evidence, research the law, work with experts, and build a solid foundation for your case.

A good personal injury attorney will keep you informed throughout the process. They’ll keep you updated on progress, roadblocks, and potential setbacks. They’ll also help you make important decisions when the time comes – like whether a settlement offer is good enough to accept or if you should press on.

What is the San Diego Personal Injury Claims Process?

The process of submitting a claim and/or filing a lawsuit after an accident in San Diego can be complicated. There are important deadlines that must be met and procedural rules that must be followed. 

Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:

  • Investigation: An investigation will allow your attorney to get a clearer picture of what happened, gather evidence, and begin to build a claim for damages on your behalf.
  • Notify Insurance Company: You’ll have up to two years to file a civil lawsuit after an accident in California – but insurance companies have special rules about insurance claims. Most require notice of an accident/injury within a reasonable timeframe. Failing to notify the insurer could lead to a denial of your claim.
  • Submit a Demand Letter: A demand letter is your formal request for benefits from the at-fault party’s insurance provider. In it, you’ll tell your side of the story, explain why the insured party is at fault, and demand a specific amount of compensation for your injuries.
  • Negotiations: Typically, insurance companies don’t agree to pay the full amount that’s requested in an initial demand letter. Rather, they’ll probably either deny the claim in full or come back with a counteroffer for less money. It’s up to you (and your lawyer) to decide whether to accept this lower offer or reject it and try to negotiate a higher payout.
  • Filing a Complaint: If your claim is denied, if the insurer refuses to negotiate, or if your damages exceed the at-fault party’s policy limits, you can file a lawsuit. The process begins when you file a complaint with your local court and serve copies on the defendant.
  • Discovery: The discovery phase allows both parties to gather additional information and evidence related to their cases. Your lawyer might conduct depositions, send interrogatories, or issue subpoenas during this process.
  • Settlement: Most cases settle before they get to trial. Both parties privately negotiate the terms of a deal to avoid the cost and time of going to court.
  • Trial: If a settlement can’t be reached, the case will head to trial. There, both sides will have the opportunity to argue their cases call and examine witnesses, introduce evidence, and present facts to a judge and jury. 

San Diego personal injury lawyers know the process well – and also understand how to navigate it to get the bess results for their clients.

San Diego Accident Statistics

Accidents are incredibly common in San Diego. In fact, according to the County of San Diego

Department of the Medical Examiner, accidents are the leading cause of death in the area. In 2019, 50% of all deaths in San Diego County were the result of avoidable accidents. That’s one out of every two fatalities.

Not all accidents result in death. Most, in fact, are not fatal. But, they do leave victims struggling with serious injuries. In 2018, there were a total of 20,270 car accidents in San Diego County resulting in injury or death. More than a quarter of those – 5,607 – happened within San Diego’s city limits.

Which Personal Injury Attorney Should I Choose?

Which Personal Injury Attorney Should I Choose?

We hope all the information provided in this article will help you find the best San Diego personal injury attorney.

Remember, do not feel pressured to choose a personal injury lawyer during your free consultations. You should consider your decision carefully. But also bear in mind that your case may have impending deadlines that you cannot miss.

When you’re choosing a personal lawyer, you will need to prioritize your wants and needs. You may find lawyers with a wide range of experience, diverse backgrounds, and specific legal resources they can apply to your case. Choose the lawyer who will fulfill your needs and expectations for your case.

Additional San Diego Resources

San Diego Courts

San Diego Law Library

New York, NY

Finding a Good Personal Injury Lawyer in NYC – A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve been injured in an accident in New York City, going to court can feel like a tremendous burden has been dropped into your lap. There is paperwork to file, strict rules to follow, and a great deal of uncertainty about whether or not you will be fully compensated.

For that reason, it’s important to have a qualified attorney on your side that will work hard to get you the money you deserve. But, as you may have noticed, there are thousands of law firms and personal injury lawyers to choose from in New York City. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help the process seem less overwhelming.


Do an Online Search

Perhaps the easiest place to start looking for an attorney is by doing an online search. Now, this can turn up hundreds of results. However, you can begin to narrow your research by selecting only a few relevant law firms or solo attorneys that have personal injury law listed as one of their specialties.

Spending some time on a lawyer’s website can give you an indication as to whether or not you might be a good match for each other. Firms often have blogs you can read and testimonials from clients that may be helpful. If you find an attorney that you like, write down his or her contact information and compile a list of those that you wish to follow up with. 

Ask for Referrals

When it comes to finding quality professional services, word of mouth is an extremely useful method. According to Michele Mirman, a personal injury lawyer in New York City, “If you have friends, family, or a colleague that has hired a personal injury attorney in the past, they might be able to recommend someone.” Additionally, they may be able to alert you about a potential issue they had with a particular attorney in the past.  

However, keep in mind that not all attorneys have experience in personal injury law. This means that if a referral is based on prior dealings with an attorney in another practice area, the advice might not be helpful. An example would be if your friend recommended the lawyer that helped him close on the purchase of a house. 

That said, attorneys often have strong professional networks and can connect you with a lawyer that would be qualified to handle your case. For that reason, it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Conduct a Background Check

Now, attorneys often get a bad rap in the media. While much of this may be undeserved, it is always a good idea to do some sort of background check to make sure that the person you may be working with is honest and trustworthy.

In fact, the New York State Unified Court System makes this process easy through its website. You can use the search function to see whether an attorney is licensed in New York and whether he or she has a disciplinary record. When looking at this information, pay particularly close attention to any ethical violations against clients.   

Create a List of Questions

Before reaching out to a potential attorney, it can be helpful to prepare a list of questions to ask. The goal in your initial meeting is to ascertain whether the attorney is qualified to handle your case and determine whether you will work well together.

Questions you might consider asking the attorney include:

  • What experience do you have in personal injury? 
  • Do you have a track record of success? 
  • What is your current caseload like? 
  • Do you have support staff or paralegals? 
  • How do you prefer to communicate – email, phone, etc.? 
  • How will you get paid, and what expenses are the client responsible for? 

The answers to these questions – and any others that you might have – can be really helpful in guiding your decision.

Schedule Meetings with Attorneys

Note that many attorneys offer a free initial meeting, often referred to as a consultation. However, this is not always the case, so you should consider asking before scheduling the meeting.

In most cases, meetings may be done over the phone or at the attorney’s office. Be prepared to explain your case and to ask any questions you have. 

Contact a Legal Referral Service

If you are unsuccessful in finding a lawyer through recommendations or your own research, you might consider using the Bar Association’s attorney referral program. The service is free and the staff will help connect you with a qualified attorney.

Note that consultations with the lawyer may be up to 30 minutes, and the attorney is allowed to charge you a maximum of $35. 

Make Your Decision

Now, after conducting your research and meeting with one or more attorneys, the final step would be to decide whether or not you would like to work with any of them. This process can take time and, unfortunately, it’s not always possible to know which lawyer would produce the best outcome for your case. 

At the end of the day, this is your decision and the lawyer you hire should be someone that you feel comfortable with and is courteous to you. 

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you suffered an accident or injury, you are probably wondering if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers deal with a variety of different practice areas including car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and slip and falls. They know the laws and can accurately represent you to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. It can be difficult to know when in the process you need to hire an attorney.

Here are some tips to make sure you get the representation you need; at the time you need it.

Do You Have a Case?

This is the most important step in making a claim, but it is often the most overlooked. Before you can even file a personal injury claim, you must be able to show that there was an actual injury that was caused by someone else. You must also be able to prove that because of the injury you are entitled to some sort of compensation.

There must also be a way to get compensation. For example, if the person who caused the injury is uninsured, it may be difficult to obtain any sort of monetary payment from them. A personal injury lawyer is trained to look at a set of facts and make sure all of these elements are met. They can also consult with you and determine what type of case you should file and when you should file it.

What Are the Time Limits?

There is a statute of limitations for many injuries in California. This is a time limit that dictates how long you have to file certain personal injury claims. For example, in California, most bodily harm injury claims have a statute of limitations of two years after the injury. This means that you have two years to file a personal injury claim from the date of your injury. You will not be able to file a claim after two years.

Medical malpractice personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the injury. However, you may not discover your injury until years after you had surgery. If this is the case, you are allowed to file a claim up to one year after you discover your injury. Meaning, even if you discover your injury several years after the statute of limitations has passed, you still have one year to make a claim.

Consulting a lawyer to find out what the statute of limitations is for your case is an important step. If you wait too long, you may be barred from any recovery. Lawyers also know of ways to possibly extend the time frame. For example, California allows for tolling. This is a delay or pause of the clock that is running on your time limit. Tolling may be an option if there are circumstances out of your control that make it impossible for you to file your claim before your time runs out.

Do You Have to Deal With Insurance Companies?

If you were injured, you more than likely have to deal with an insurance company. The company will request all records that are related to the accident or injury. This can be a drawn-out process.

For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you may be seriously hurt and in a lot of pain. While you want to recover, the insurance company wants to quickly close your claim. If you miss one document or don’t fill something out completely, your claim may be denied or may take longer than usual. This can be detrimental if you are depending on insurance money to pay medical or car repair bills.

It is important to remember that insurance companies are not lawyers working on your behalf. Their bottom line is to save the company money and to provide you with as little compensation as possible. They may raise your rates even though you are not to blame for the accident. This is where a personal injury lawyer can help you. They can act as your advocate with the company and make sure you are heard and that you get maximum compensation.  

What Other Factors are There to Consider?

In California, legally any person can file a personal injury claim without a lawyer. This may be a good option if the injury is minor or insurance is not involved. Be warned though, there will still be a lot of documentation needed and you will still need to provide evidence. If you choose to go this route, a judge will not give you sympathy because you are not an attorney. They will expect you to be as prepared as if you had representation.  

 It is important to meet with an attorney early in your claim. Usually, a personal injury lawyer will provide a low cost or free consult to hear all of the facts of the case and decide if they can help you. If they take your case, they can help you figure out what type of claim to bring and what the time limits are. They can also help you deal with insurance companies and get the compensation you need to recover.