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Personal Injury Claims FAQs - Part 1

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Why should I hire a personal injury attorney?

Why should I hire a personal injury attorney? As a accident lawyer with over 20 years experience, I can tell you that this is one of the most common questions I get from prospective clients. Soon after you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s wrongful actions or failures to act, you will likely be overwhelmed by phone calls and requests for paperwork and statements. It is common for injured victims to receive requests from insurance companies, law enforcement officers and doctors. It can be very confusing to deal with all of the questions about the accident and to understand what to do next. The responsible party’s insurance company may be requesting a signed authorization for your medical records and trying to get a recorded statement from you. Here are some reasons why it is important for you to get the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Experience and knowledge to assess your claim’s value and winnabilityExperienced lawyers understand how to calculate the reasonable cost of your present medical expenses as well as what you might expect to pay to treat your injury in the future. He or she may also refer you to orthopedic doctors, neurologists or other medical experts so that they can help by providing information regarding your ongoing treatment needs into the future. The lawyer may be better able to determine liability in the case, especially if the other party’s insurance company is trying to dispute it.

He or she may use accident reconstruction experts to recreate what happened. An attorney might also use an investigator who can locate and interview witnesses and take photographs as needed. By gathering the evidence from your case, the attorney may be better able to determine if your case is winnable and to prove to the insurance company that its insured was the person who caused the accident. Attorneys are able to do their jobs in assessing the case and its value with objectivity. Since they are not the parties who were directly involved in the accidents, they are able to step back and view the case without emotion in order to get a clearer picture. Lawyers may also be more familiar with categories of possible damages that you might not realize that you could be entitled to. They can evaluate any offers made by the insurance company to you in order to determine the offers are fair or inappropriate.

Ability to conduct proper and thorough investigations to maximize your case’s value

In many cases involving injury, it is difficult to resolve them fairly without doing some legwork. A personal injury attorney will use all of the experts that he or she needs in order to get to the bottom of what happened. He or she may also identify additional defendants and other sources of payment in addition to the person who caused the accident’s insurance company. For example, if a different person owned a vehicle that was involved in the accident and negligently allowed a bad driver to use it, the other person may also hold liability for the accident. Another example occurs when a person is working at the time an accident happened. In that case, the person’s employer may also hold liability. An attorney will investigate the policy limits on all of the insurance policies. Thoroughly investigating the accident is vital in order to obtain the maximum compensation amount possible.

Serving as a buffer between you and the insurance company

Insurance companies have a vested interest in minimizing their losses. In order to do this, they may attempt several different tactics to either minimize the amount that you will receive or avoid paying you all together. Even if your case seems like it is clear and that the other party was obviously at fault, an insurance company may still try to avoid paying you. They try to do this by doing such things as asking you to make recorded statements and asking for signed medical authorizations. You should not sign anything that is sent to you by the insurance company or agree to make a recorded statement without first talking to a personal injury attorney. An insurance company wants signed medical releases so it can dig through your entire medical history in an attempt to find any earlier accident that it can blame for your current injuries. You can simply tell the insurance company that you want to talk to an attorney and cannot make any statements or sign any documents until you do so. Your lawyer can then communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and control what information they are able to access so that the company doesn’t attempt to use irrelevant information against you.

Ability to file a lawsuit and litigate the case at trial if necessary

A majority of personal injury cases don’t go to trial. Most are settled outside of court before any trials that are scheduled. When a lawsuit is filed, mandatory discovery rules come into play. A personal injury lawyer understands that the ability to file a lawsuit and litigate a case may help an insurance company to decide to reach a fair settlement in your matter. Without having an ability to file a lawsuit or having a track record of trying cases, it will likely be impossible for you to negotiate a settlement that represents the full value of your claim.

Peace of mind

When you have been injured in an accident, you are likely upset. You need the time and ability to focus on recovering. When you have a personal injury attorney who can deal with the insurance claim issues and give you sound advice based on his or her knowledge of the law and experience, you can save yourself a lot of stress.

Free case evaluation for any accident or injury claim in California

If you have been injured in an accident, it may be important for you to speak with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer may provide you with an honest assessment and work to negotiate a settlement that is fair. He or she may help you to recover far more compensation than you might be able to receive on your own. If the insurance company will not make a fair offer, an attorney may litigate the matter before a jury in order to try to secure a verdict for you.

Can a Husband or Wife Recover Damages in Their Spouse's Personal Injury Claim?
California Law | Spousal Recovery for Injury To a Husband or Wife

What does California Law say about recovery for injury to a husband or wife by the spouse who was not physically harmed but, is certainly suffering from having a spouse who is no longer able to do those things that they were able to do prior to the incident? Is it possible to obtain a money damages award if you were not directly hurt but, your spouse was injured and this severely impacted your life? As a personal injury attorney in the Golden State that has represented hundreds of married persons in the past 18 years, this is a question that I am frequently asked. The simple answer is YES. Under CA law, a spouse is entitled to be compensated for the disruption to their lifestyle caused by the personal injury or wrongful death of their husband or wife as follows:

California Personal Injury Law on Recovery for Injured Spouse

California Civil Jury Instruction 3920 states that if an award is made to a personal injury victim and that victim is married, the jury must also decide how much money will reasonably compensate the victim’s husband or wife for “the loss of companionship and services” (also known as “loss of consortium”) including:

  • The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support; and
  • The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations [or the ability to have children].

The law further provides that money damages must be awarded not only for what the husband or wife has suffered to date as of the time of a jury verdict but, also for the harm that they will sustain in the future. Furthermore, this is considered a “non-economic” damage award (i.e. separate and apart and in addition to any amount awarded for out of pocket costs like medical expenses or lost wages). Because it is “general” damages, the jury must simply decide an amount without reducing that amount to “present cash value” (i.e. the value as of present day).

What is the Standard for Determining a Fair Amount to Award A Husband or Wife of an Personal Injury Victim?

Just like with the award of “pain and suffering” and related “non-economic” or “general” damages to the actual, injured person, there is no standard formula for calculating an amount that is “reasonable” to compensate the spouse. In fact, the portion of the instruction read to the trier of fact on figuring this sum states as follows:

“No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.”

Why is it Crucial to Retain a Quality California Personal Injury Lawyer If You are the Husband or Wife of an Accident Victim?

Obtaining good sound legal advice from a Counselor at Law is important for both the person injured and their mate. Oftentimes, persons attempting to represent themselves will be presented a settlement release agreement with two signature lines (one for the victim and one for their spouse). They are told, “It’s just routine to have married people sign these things together”. They are never provided information that the award for the husband or wife of the injured victim is separate and in addition to the bodily injury compensation of the person injured. Once the spouse signs, they release all further claims and are forever barred from seeking any additional monies. Furthermore, presenting a claim for loss of consortium and making sure that this claim is fully valued requires a lawyer willing to sit down with both spouses and really get to know the nature and extent of their relationship so that the loss of what was a loving and caring marital bliss and the amount that this joy has been diminished can be fully presented for payment.

If you have been injured by the negligence of another and this has caused a serious strain on your marriage, it is critical that you seek competent and caring advice from an attorney familiar with loss of consortium claims. You did not ask to be put into a situation where the marital communications have been subject to discord and the reduction in everything from daily walks around the block to intimate relations have been affected. Unfortunately, the best the system can provide for these losses is a money damage award but, failing to assert these claims in a timely manner and subject to proper legal procedure will leave you with a gap that will never be made whole!

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How Do I Calculate the Value of Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?
How do I calculate the value of pain and suffering in a personal injury case?

How do I calculate the value of pain and suffering in a personal injury case? This is one of the most common questions I get asked as a personal injury attorney. If you have suffered an injury because of the negligence of another person or entity in California, you normally are able to pursue compensation from the defendant’s insurance company. In order to recover damages, you will need to be able to prove that the defendant is at fault. You will then need to prove that you suffered financial losses.

California law grants people who have been injured because of the negligence of others the right to recover damages for both their economic and noneconomic losses. Your economic losses are normally straightforward since they include such things as your medical expenses and income losses. It may be more difficult for you to prove your noneconomic losses, however. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney may help you to calculate the damages that you have suffered because of your pain and suffering and then help you to recover them.

What are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Your pain and suffering damages are losses that you suffered because of your injury at the hands of the defendant. In California, these include the following:

  • Past and future physical pain
  • Past and future mental suffering
  • Past and future loss of the enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • Grief
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional distress

Your pain and suffering damages are losses that you have suffered that are more intangible, making them more difficult to calculate.

California Civil Jury Instruction 3905A indicates that there is not a set standard for the calculation of pain and suffering damages in the state. Juries are instructed to use their common sense to determine reasonable amounts that are based on the evidence. This makes it vital for you to present clear, easily understandable evidence of the pain and suffering that you have suffered.

When will an Insurance Company Pay Compensation for Pain and Suffering?

When the other party was clearly liable, most insurance companies will pay at least some amount of compensation for the pain and suffering that the victims suffered. However, insurance companies often attempt to get away with paying unreasonably low amounts for pain and suffering. When you have the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, the amount is likelier to be increased to one that is reasonable.

There are a number of factors that affect the amount that insurance companies might pay, including the following:

  • Severity of your injuries
  • The type of pain and discomfort that people normally suffer from your type of injuries
  • How your life, job and relationships have been affected by your injuries
  • How long it will take for your injuries to heal
  • If your injury will require additional care in the future
How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?

Your lawyer will calculate the value of your claim in order to negotiate with the insurance company for a reasonable settlement amount. He or she may use a formula to arrive at a reasonable value.

Multiplier method

One formula that is commonly used is called the multiplier method. This involves the following:

Take the past and future medical bills times a multiplier plus the total of your economic damages to arrive at the reasonable value of your case.

The multiplier that may be used will be a number ranging from 1.5 and 5. Your attorney will choose the multiplier based on the severity of your injuries. It is common for plaintiffs and insurance companies to have different views on how high or how low of a multiplier to use. Often, the plaintiffs begin with multipliers that are a little high while the insurance companies start with multipliers that are too low.

Per diem method

Your attorney may also use a type of calculation called the per diem method. This involves using a daily dollar amount from the day of the accident until the time that the plaintiff reaches his or her maximal medical improvement. Under this method, the amount chosen is a reasonable amount such as $100 per day. That amount is then multiplied by the number of days between the date of your injury and the date that you reach maximum improvement.

Job description method

The job description method of calculating pain and suffering damages is less commonly used. Under this method, your pain and suffering would be written down in a similar way as a job description. For example, if you were confined to a wheelchair for six months, you would figure out how much an average person would require being paid in order to remain in a wheelchair for that amount of time.

There are many different ways that attorneys and insurance companies calculate pain and suffering damages. However, the court and the jury must agree with the way in which the amount was calculated. In major personal injury cases, focus groups are often used. Your personal injury lawyer may advise you of the calculation method that he or she will use to calculate a reasonable amount in your case.

These are certainly not all the methods attorneys use to value pain and suffering damages but, it gives you some idea of how this is analyzed.

Caveat: Your damages will equal the amount of insurance coverage

In general, your total damages (including pain and suffering) will be limited by the policy limits of the defendant’s insurance policy. If the defendant in your case has a policy limit for bodily injury of $50,000, you will likely be limited to that amount. This is because all insurance companies require a complete release of their insured in exchange for payment of the policy limit. However, there are exceptions such as requiring some personal contribution from the insured or when there are additional insurance policies available. One common example is an “umbrella” policy that may provide additional coverage (usually up to $1 million). California law also provides a method for potentially requiring the insurance company to pay a judgment in excess of their limit if a reasonable policy limit demand was made and rejected by the insurance carrier. (See prior discussion here).

Which Method will Be Used to Calculate Your Pain and Suffering Damages?

The insurance company or companies in your case do not have to use any of the outlined methods to calculate your pain and suffering damages. It is common for insurance companies to use computer programs to determine the amounts that they will offer. These algorithms take multiple factors into account. They might also rely on past amounts that they have paid in other cases as a reason to offer a lower amount to you.

How will Your Attorney Present Your Pain and Suffering at Trial?

In order for you to recover fair compensation for your injuries, it is vital for your attorney to present strong evidence of your pain and suffering damages. This makes it highly important for you to open up about how your injuries impact your life and the severity of them. You should not hold back out of a fear that you will be viewed as a complainer. Your lawyer understands the overwhelming impact that injuries may have, and they do not view people who talk about their injuries as being complainers. Take some time to think about all of the ways that your injury has affected you, and write them down. Avoid leaving things out simply because you think that they might be viewed as small. For example, if you love tennis and your injury prevents you from playing it, write it down.

Your lawyer may offer a range to the jury in order to help it reach its ultimate decision. He or she may also call several witnesses to the stand to help the jury to understand how your injury has impacted your life. Your lawyer will only be able to present examples of the losses that you have suffered if you give him or her the information. You should be prepared to give examples that are real and that come from your life.

How Can an Attorney Increase the Amount Awarded for Pain and Suffering?

Proving pain and suffering damages is vital to making certain that you recover an amount that fairly compensates you. In order to do so, you will need to have the necessary evidence, including the following:

  • Medical records
  • Witnesses who can help to establish the full impact of your pain and suffering
  • Experts who can verify the severity of your injuries and the pain that they cause
  • People who knew you both before and after your accident

Defense lawyers often attack before-and-after witnesses who are your blood relatives as being inherently biased. This means that having witnesses who do not have personal stakes in the outcome of your case is important. You may want to consider co-workers and acquaintances who see you almost daily and who can give their knowledge about how your injury has impacted you.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent actions of others, it is important that you talk to an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles. We review every case and analyze all of the factors that may impact the value. Contact us today to schedule your consultation so that you can learn more about what your case might be worth.

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How Do Medical Liens Work in California Personal Injury Claims?

Medical Bills – California Law

Medical Liens on Personal Injury Settlements in California

Medical liens on personal injury settlements in California can complicate the final resolution and payment of medical bills related to an accident claim. Depending upon the type of lien asserted and other factors, the injured party may have their award reduced or be stuck holding the bag for the costs of certain services if liens are not fully and properly negotiated and paid.

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Personal Injury Medical Term Glossary Personal Injury Medical Term Glossary

A personal injury medical term glossary is a resource page that I thought would be helpful to persons who have suffered an injury and want more information. Oftentimes medical records contain terminology that is confusing to the lay person. Here are a few terms that come up quite often in claims related to bodily harm due to trauma suffered as as result of negligence or wrongdoing:

Abduction: Movement of a body part such as a limb away from the mid-line axis or center of the human body (e.g. muscles that pull arms or legs away from the body are called “Abductors.”

Abcess: A localized collection of white blood cells (pus) indicating an infection.

Adduction: In essence, the opposite of ABduction (i.e. the movement of body parts towards the center of the body) with “Adductors” being the muscles that perform this function.

Artery: Vessel that carries blood away from the heart.

Arthroplasty: Surgical construction of movable joint parts

Arthroscope: An optical tube that is inserted into an incision in the body and used to examine potentially damages tissue, usually in joints.

Articulation: A place where two or more bones come together.

Atrophy: A decrease in the size of organ or muscle tissue due to lower blood flow or non-use.

Blood Pressure: The pressure of blood flowing from the heart as measured by the exertion against veins and arteries (Measured in two parts: Systolic: pressure when the heart is contracting; and Diastolic: the pressure when the heart rests between heartbeats).

Brain Scan: The brain is usually scanned to detect damage in one of two ways: CT or CAT Scan or MRI. This can be “with or without contrast” meaning with or without a dye substance being injected into the brain tissue.

Bursa: A gel-like filled sac located in areas of the body where friction could develop such as between joints.

C-Spine Series: A series of x-rays of the upper (neck) portion of the spine including x-ray views from the front, side and diagonally – This is usually ordered after any type of major trauma to the cervical spine such as in an auto accident.

Carotid Artery: Large artery located on the side of the neck next to the Adam’s Apple. This is often used as a point to check a patient’s pulse.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A condition caused by pressure on the median nerve running through the wrist resulting in pain, numbness and other symptoms, most often caused by repetitive motion injuries but, also can be due to trauma.

Cephalgia: Pain in the head (headache)

Coccyx: The lowest portion of the spine (commonly called the “tailbone”).

Comminuted Fracture: A bone that has been crushed or splintered.

Compound Fracture: Fracture where the bone is protruding through the skin.

Concussion: Condition caused when the head or body is shocked or jarred resulting in the brain being jostled inside the skull (for more information, see our brain injury page).

Contusion: Bruising

Cyst: Sac containing liquid or semi-solid material.

Diskectomy: A surgery to remove all or a portion of an intravertebral disk (a disk between two individual vertebrae in the spine)

Effusion: Escape of bodily fluids into a portion of a body part or tissue.

Embolism: A portion of air, fat, blood clot, plague or other mass that blocks the flow of blood through an artery.

Epidural: The space inside the spinal column between the “dura” (membrane that covers the spinal cord) and the vertebral canal. Most often used in association with a procedure called “Epidural Injections” where this area is injected with anti-inflammatory drugs to shrink the disk material that is causing pressure on a nerve and causing pain, numbness or other symptoms.

Fistula: Abnormal drainage of fluid between two organs or between organs and the outer skin layer. The fluid is most often associated with drainage of pus from an abscess.

Flexion: The ability to bend all or a portion of the body.

Fracture: A break or rupture in a bone.

Hematoma: A collection of blood in a localized area.

Hernia: A protrusion of an organ through a tear or abnormal opening in the wall of tissue. In personal injury claims, this is often used in association with “herniated discs” which are vertebral disks that are protruding abnormally due to a trauma.

Herniated Nucleus Pulposis (HNP): Condition in which the center of an intervertebral disk has protruded outside of the tissue that connects the adjacent vertebrae.

Hypertension: High blood pressure.

Hypotension: Low blood pressure.

Hypoxia: Lack of oxygen.

Infarction: Area of dead tissue resulting from a lack of sufficient blood flow.

Intervertebral: Between vertebrae (the small bones that form the human spine).

Ischemia: Lack of adequate blood flow due to a rupture, blockage or constriction of a blood vessel.

Laparotomy: A surgicial incision in the abdomen.

Lesion: Often used to describe any type of abnormality in organ tissue.

Lordosis: The curvature of the spine. Often used to describe an abnormal curvature due to some type of spinal trauma.

Meninges: The three membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

Myelogram: An x-ray film taken of the spinal canal after injection of a dye material.

Necrosis: Dead cells.

Neuralgia: Pain along the path of a nerve.

Occipital: The back portion of the head.

Open Reduction: Repair of a fracture by re-positioning the bone pieces after surgical incision.

Orthopedics: The branch of medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of the skeletal system and associated structures.

Osteoarthritis: So called “degenerative” breakdown of the cartilage in the joint surfaces and the enlargement of surrounding bone tissue.

Osteomyelitis: Inflammation of the bone including the marrow.

Paravertebral: The area on the sides and surrounding the vertebrae.

Paraplegia: Loss of the use of one the lower part of the human body including the legs due to paralysis (See our spinal injury page).

Peritoneal Cavity: Abdominal cavity where containing many of the body’s internal organs.

Phalanges: Bones in the fingers and toes.

Plasma: The liquid portion of the blood after all blood cells have been removed.

Psychiatrist: Medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treament of mental or emotional illnesses. Able to prescribe medications.

Psychologist: Health care professional (non-medical doctor but, usually holds a Phd in Psychology) who diagnoses cares and treats persons suffering from disturbances in their emotional health.

Quadriplegia: Paralysis of both the arms and legs (Also see our page on spine injuries).

Radiculopathy: Injury to the spinal nerve root, which causes pain or numbness to radiate along the path of the nerve (A common example would be impingement of the sciatic nerve root causing pain down the buttocks and leg).

Range of Motion: The ability of a body part such as a limb to move around an axis (measured in degrees). Limited range of motion is a common condition following trauma.

Reduction: Sometimes also referred to as an “open reduction”. This is a surgical technique to repair a fracture or dislocation of a bone or joint.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy: Trauma to the sympathetic nervous system caused by damaged blood vessels or nerves and can result in swelling, pain, numbness and changes in skin color to the affected area.

Resection: Surgical removal of a portion of an body organ.

Sacrum: Triangular group of small bones at the lowest portion of the spine to which the tailbone is attached.

Skull Series: A series of x-rays of the human skull from multiple angles including frontal, side and oblique. Usually ordered following a head trauma and sometimes in conjunction with a head CT scan or MRI.

Spondylitis: Inflammation of the spinal vertebrae.

Stenosis: Narrowing of a body passage such as a blood vessel (artery or vein).

Thoracic Spine: The 12 vertebrae of the mid back starting at the bottom of the neck (bottom of the cervical spine) and going to the mid-abdomen (the top of the lumbar spine).

Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood back to the heart.

Whiplash: Trauma to the cervical spine due to a sudden back and forth movement (most commonly associated with rear end collision auto accidents).

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The Importance of Hiring an Honest California Personal Injury Attorney The Importance of Hiring an Honest California Personal Injury Attorney

What is the importance of hiring an honest California personal injury attorney? Getting injured in an auto accident or other traumatic event is one of the most difficult things any person can endure. The road to recovery can be long depending upon the severity of the bodily harm sustained. You have to deal with doctors, physical therapists, and insurance adjusters. The role of your attorney should be to ease the burden of this process by being an intermediary between you and the insurance representatives and, most of all, to provide good sound legal advice based upon honesty and integrity and not simply what you want to hear to sign up (e.g. I’m going to get you a billion dollars!). Unfortunately, there are over 200,000 active lawyers in the Golden State and not all of them operate with such sincere ideals.

Top Five Signs You May Be About To Hire A Dishonest Accident Lawyer:
  1. Personal Contact At the Scene of An Accident or By Phone After A Traffic Collision: California Rules of Professional Conduct 1-400 prohibits lawyers from soliciting business either in person or on the phone either directly or through a representative. Despite this strict prohibition, solicitors (also known as “cappers” or “runners”) routinely go to accident scenes especially in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles to directly solicit accident victims. They have also been known to go to hospitals or even people’s homes unannounced to get a sign up. You should never hire a lawyer if the first contact that was made was a phone or in-person contact by that attorney or someone acting on their behalf!
  2. Your Initial Introduction and Dealings Are With A “Paralegal” or “Legal Representative” and Not A Lawyer: Again in large cities in California and especially in certain ethnic communities, there are many persons holding themselves out to be attorneys when they are, in fact, not licensed with the State Bar of California. For example, in the Hispanic communities, it is typical for persons to call themselves “notarios” or even “licenciados”. Many of these individuals “team-up” with actual attorneys but, California Rules of Professional Conduct 1-310 prohibits real lawyers from forming partnerships with non-lawyers. If the majority of communications you are having with a purported “law office” is with an individual who is a non-attorney, this should be a red flag that you may have hired a non-reputable firm.
  3. Exaggerated Promises About The Time-frame To Conclude An Injury Claim or the Amount of Money to Be Recovered: Any honest injury lawyer will tell you that there are two things about which every accident victim must be reasonable: The amount of time to resolve the claim; and the total amount of recovery. Every lawyer who represents persons who have sustained bodily harm wants to conclude the claims as quickly as possible and for the most money possible but, realistically, the process takes time and the value of any claim depends upon many factors. Any lawyer that says otherwise is not being honest with you!
  4. Lawyers With Advertisements That Do Not Include Disclaimers or Identify A Law Firm or Lawyer Responsible for the Ad: California Rules of Professional Conduct 1-400 requires any advertisements that include past results or testimonials to also include a disclaimer to the effect of the following: “this testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.” This is because every case is different. While past results are a great measure of a lawyer’s ability, every case is different. They all have unique facts and circumstances that affect the value. Likewise, these same ethical guidelines require that attorneys put their names on their ads so that the general public is aware of who is placing the ad. There are websites, flyers, newspaper ads, and many other forms of solicitation that don’t even have the name of the law firm or attorney. This is another sign of potential lack of compliance with law firm ethics.
  5. Lawyers Who Offer “Cash Up Front” For You To Sign on the Dotted Line: While it is not per se illegal for attorneys to loan client’s money, California law does prohibit the practice of tying any such loans to the outcome of a personal injury claim. Moreover, there are strict guidelines and disclosures that must be made to a client for such a transaction and these disclosures must be put in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client. If the first interaction you have with a lawyer or legal representative and such overtures are already being made, it is a bad sign!
Indications of An Honest Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring a lawyer to represent your best interests in pursuing a claim based upon tort negligence is much like retaining any other service professional. It is always best to speak directly with the professional, themselves and not their “representative”. It is during this interview process that you can best assess their knowledge of the law, their enthusiasm to assist persons in need as opposed to just “making money” and their honesty and forthright representations that provide a realistic picture of both the positive and potentially negative aspects of your particular claim so that you go into the process with both eyes open. Why is this important? What do you think is going to happen at the end of the claim if you hire a lawyer that is dishonest in the beginning? You guessed it! You are more than likely going to get a result that is much less than what was promised!

Los Angeles Accident and Injury Lawyers
Los Angeles, California

Client Reviews
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.