Personal Injury

Personal Injury Lawyers in San Diego County

Our Attorneys will get you every last penny in your Injury Settlement or Court Case

Attorneys Fees

The fees and expenses charged by an attorney should be reasonable from an objective point of view. The fees should be tied to specific services rendered, time invested, and level of expertise. Provided a client pays a contingent fee to a lawyer only if the lawyer handles the case successfully, lawyers and clients use this arrangement only in cases where money is being claimed, most often in cases involving personal injury or worker’s compensation. In a contingency arrangement the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the recovery, which is the amount finally paid to the client. If you win the case, the lawyer’s fee comes out of the money awarded to you. If you lose, neither you nor the lawyer will get any money; and you will not be required to pay your attorney for the work done on the case. By entering into a contingent-fee agreement, both you and your lawyer expect to collect some unknown amount of money. Because many personal-injury actions involve considerable and often complicated investigations and work by a lawyer, this may be less expensive than paying an hourly rate.
Personal Injury

Automobile Accident

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident which was the other driver’s fault or if you were a passenger in a vehicle and suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of the driver, you have a claim against that driver’s automobile insurance company for compensation for your losses. Your losses will include your medical expenses, any lost wages due to your injuries, emotional and physical pain and suffering, and permanent injury. In order to protect your claim, you should seek immediate medical attention either at the emergency room or with your family doctor as soon as possible following the injury. Depending on the circumstances and the extent of your injury, you should also let your employer know why you’re not able to work and obtain a doctor’s note for your absence. The other driver may be responsible to reimburse you for these expenses when the case settles.
Some insurance companies will try to convince you not to hire an attorney by promising to pay your medical expenses and lost wages. The insurance adjustor will assure you that he or she will negotiate a fair settlement of your claim. Usually you have to jump through so many hoops to obtain these benefits that you’ll decide you need an attorney anyway. We do not recommend that you deal with an experienced claims adjustor from the other party’s insurance company without the benefit of your own attorney. Certainly you should not give a recorded or written statement to anyone without speaking to an attorney first. Choosing an attorney to handle your claim responsibly and effectively is the most important decision you will have to make following an accident. Remember retaining an attorney to file an accident claim does not mean that you are filing a lawsuit against the other driver. The vast majority of insurance claims are settled before a lawsuit has to be filed.

Motorcycle Accidents

Every day motorcyclists are injured as a result of accidents on our roads and highways. Despite certain prejudices that may exist, motorcyclists are entitled to all of the same rights as other motor vehicle operators when using our highways. If you’ve received personal injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. These losses may include your medical bills, any lost wages due to your injuries, emotional and physical pain and suffering, and permanent injury. You may also have a claim for the damage caused to your motorcycle. As with any claim for personal injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately, either at a hospital emergency room, with your family doctor, or at a walk-in medical center. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, you should let your employer know why you’re not able to return to work and obtain a doctor’s note explaining your absence.
After obtaining any emergency medical treatment that you might need, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Do not give a recorded or written statement to anyone without speaking to an attorney first. He or she will thoroughly investigate your claim and obtain photographs of the accident scene and property damage as well as statements from any witnesses while this evidence is still readily available. A motorcyclist’s claim for personal injuries often raises questions of who was actually at fault. Did the motorcyclist have the right of way? Had the motorcyclist established his or her use of the lane before the accident occurred? What were the weather and lighting conditions like on the day the accident occurred? Were the vehicle’s headlights on? How fast was each vehicle traveling? If required, was the motorcyclist wearing a helmet at the time the accident occurred? An experienced personal injury attorney will properly address these issues and will handle your case in a professional and aggressive manner, keeping you informed of progress along the way.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional healthcare provider. A doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital, or hospital worker whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar with training or experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients. In order to file a lawsuit against a physician or healthcare provider, it is necessary to have a permanent, significant injury and be able to present evidence from a medical expert that malpractice was, in fact, committed. Some states have passed laws capping damage awards, limiting attorneys fees, and shortening the time period in which plaintiffs can bring malpractice suits.
Talk to an attorney if you think you have a medical malpractice claim. Tell the attorney exactly what happened to you from the first time you visited your doctor through your last contact with him or her. What were the circumstances surrounding your illness or injury? How did your doctor treat it? What did your doctor tell you about your treatment? Did you follow your doctor’s instructions? What happened to you? Answers to these and other relevant questions become important if you think your doctor may have committed malpractice.
In many states the statute of limitations allows a lawsuit to be filed within two years from the date that the malpractice occurred or the date when a person recently became aware that malpractice had occurred. For an infant the statute of limitations could run two years from the date of his or her 18th birthday. In state- or county-owned medical facilities there may be shorter time periods in which to bring a lawsuit. If there is concern that there may have been medical malpractice, it is most important that an attorney experienced in this legal specialty be consulted as soon as possible.

Wrongful Death

When one person’s intentional act or negligent actions result in the death of another a wrongful death has occurred. The spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may bring lawsuits for wrongful death against the wrong doers to compensate for the loss of wages or other support they would have received had the person lived. A plaintiff in a wrongful death suit does not have to prove that he or she was completely dependant on the deceased for support but only that the death results in a financial loss. For example, a woman whose husband dies in an automobile accident may have her own means of support, such as a job or inheritance, but if she can show that her husband’s income was put into a joint account and shared by them equally, she can recover that loss.
To help determine the potential income, the court will hear expert testimony from economists and statisticians. In addition, some states – for example, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania — allow the surviving spouse and children of the wrongful death victim to sue for compensatory damages for the pain and suffering they experienced as the result of their loved one’s death. Other states may allow the survivors to sue for the pain and suffering of the deceased. Courts do not allow one member of a family to sue another for wrongful death. In common law a government is also immune from wrongful death suits, although many states allow suits against the state government.
Employers can be sued for causing a wrongful death, but their liability is generally limited by worker’s compensation laws. Wrongful death suits are usually taken on a contingency basis; that is, the lawyer will take the case for a percentage of the damages awarded. But first the lawyer will determine whether the defendant has assets or liability insurance that he can use to pay any damages the court may order. Some people who are responsible for wrongful deaths are judgment proof; that is, they have no assets or insurance that can be used to pay compensation.

Head Injury

Any time someone suffers a head injury, there is the possibility that the effects of the injury will be much longer lasting than is obvious at first. What seems like a simple concussion from which you quickly recover can later turn into months or years of recurring headaches and dizziness. This kind of recurring, long-term head injury often does not appear in the original diagnosis because its causes can only be detected by very sophisticated and expensive testing. Insurance adjustors know that head injuries can last a long time and can reoccur after recovery seems to be complete.
A head injury not only increases how much the claim is worth, often it also speeds up the negotiation process because an adjustor wants to settle the claim before greater head-injury related medical bills are incurred. If you suffered any kind of head injury, check your medical records for any notation of the injury — concussion; a period of unconsciousness, however brief; dizziness; disorientation; nausea. — make specific mention of it in your claim, even if other injuries seem more serious; and if you have any long-term effects such as continuing headaches or dizziness, report them to your doctor and emphasize in your claim that you are still suffering from the effects of your head injury.

Slip and Fall Accidents

An extremely common kind of accident is slipping on wet or otherwise slippery floors, stairs, or ground, or tripping over something on the floor or on the ground. It is a normal part of living for things to fall or to drip on the floor or on the ground; and something put on the ground, a drainage grate, for example, serve a useful purpose being there. Therefore, the owner or occupant of property cannot always be help responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor; nor is the property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something which an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we’re going.
There is no precise way to determine when an owner or occupant of property is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip. Each case turns on whether the owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen and whether the person who fell was careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing he or she fell on. To be legally responsible for the injuries you suffer from slipping or tripping and falling, the owner of the premises or the owner’s employee must have caused the slippery item or item which caused the fall to be underfoot and or must have known about the situation and done nothing about it or should have known the slippery or dangerous material was on the floor, stair, or ground because a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired such a thing.
The third situation is the most common, but it’s also less clear cut than the first two because of those pesky words “should have known.” Liability in these cases is determined by common sense. The law determines whether the owner or occupant of property was careful by deciding if the steps the owner or occupant took to keep the property safe were reasonable. People who work at, live on, and visit property drop and spill things from time to time; and they do not always pick up after themselves; and floors become cracked, torn, or worn and slippery; and ground can become loose, broken, or unusually slippery.
A person who is responsible for property must make some regular effort to check the walking safety of the premises, introduce some repair and cleanup with safety in mind. On the other hand, the law does not require a premises owner to stand by round the clock to repair or cleanup instantly anything that is broken, dropped, or spilled. The law concentrates on the reasonableness of cleanup and repair efforts. Someone who makes regular and thorough efforts to keep property safe and clean is less likely to be found liable than an owner who completely neglects the premises; but usually accident claims arise when the matter of repair or cleanup is not very clear. As a result, you can almost always argue that the owner was not careful enough. The very fact that you tripped or slipped shows that the owner could have been more reasonable than he or she was.
If you have slipped or tripped over something and fallen, there are some initial questions you can ask to determine whether the property owner may be liable. If you tripped over a torn, broken, or bulging area of carpet, floor, or ground, or slipped on a wet or loose area, had the danger spot been there long enough so that the owner should have known about it? If you tripped over or slipped on an object someone had placed or left on the floor or ground, was there a legitimate reason for the object to be there? If there once had been a good reason for the object to be there but that reason no longer exists, could the object have been removed or covered or otherwise made safe? Was there a safer place the object could have been located or placed in a safer manner without much great inconvenience or expense to the property owner or operator? Could a simple barrier have been created or warning given to prevent people from slipping or tripping: and did insufficient or broken lighting contribute to the accident?

Broken Bones

If x-rays show that any bone mass suffered even a minor break, including a chip or crack, the numbers in your case will immediately move higher. Of course insurance adjustors are not robots who simply see broken bone and then automatically raise the damage formula. They do distinguish between less and more serious breaks. If the break is a fine crack in a tiny bone, for example, and does not require any treatment or affect the way you go about your daily life, the broken bone will not raise the damages formula as much as a more substantial, life-disrupting break which may have permanent consequences. As with all other injuries, the more serious you can show the break to be, the higher you move up the compensation ladder.

Joint Injuries

Any time you suffer an injury to a joint, there is the possibility of future arthritic problems in that joint. When a joint is injured, blood usually collects there and eventually calcifies, creating a hard and rough surface in the joint which can later — often not until years later — cause pain and difficulty in movement. In your medical records, however, doctors do not normally mention such potential arthritic changes because it is not usually possible to predict whether such changes will later prove troublesome. If you suffer a joint injury, ask your doctor whether future arthritic change is a possibility. If the doctor makes a note of the possibility in your medical record, it will give you more ammunition in your claim for damages. Whether or not the possibility of arthritic change appears in your medical record, make sure to specifically mention this possibility in your claim for damages to the insurance company. Such a reminder helps make the insurance adjustor take your injury more seriously and may also help by showing the adjustor that you are organized and have done your medical homework.

Ex Parte Child Custody Orders

Generally, the Family Court will not order emergency orders relating to child custody unless there is a showing of immediate harm to a child, sexual abuse or the threat of a child being removed from the State of California without the written consent of the other parent. If these is a legitimate threat under any of these basis, then immediately contact the L:aw Office of Alexandra McIntosh at (760) 753-5357.
With regard to custody, in general, California law gives no preference to one parent of a child based on that parent’s gender, age, wealth, disability, race, creed, religion or employment status. State law generally says that a court shall award child custody jointly, or if to one parent, it should be to the parent most willing to share the child with the other parent. Serving the best interest of a child is the guiding principle in all custody decisions.
Every situation is different. Developing your case will involve the presentation of facts that show that you properly nourish, nurture and care for your child while generously providing continuing contact with the other parent. If domestic violence is involved, these factors may not apply, and a court’s discretion in awarding custody to a person convicted of domestic violence is extremely limited.

Back Injury

Movement or displacement of a spinal disk or of the space between vertebra sounds more serious than a strained neck or back, and insurance adjustors often respond with higher compensation for such specific descriptions of back or neck injuries than to a general strained back description, even if it’s exactly the same injury. Emergency rooms and orthopedists usually take x-rays of an area of the spine when an injured person complains of pain. Those x-rays may reveal some slight abnormality either in a disc or in the space between vertebra which will be described by reference to the number of the vertebra in question, such slight narrowing in L4, L5 spacing or narrowing of L5, S1. If you find any mention in your medical records of such abnormality in a numbered vertebra, repeat that diagnosis word for word as a way of demonstrating the seriousness of your injury, regardless of how much or how little treatment you received.

Intentional Torts

In order to have a valid claim, you must first have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, your injury must be the result of someone else’s fault. It is not always necessary to have a physical injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Suits may be based on a variety of non-physical losses and harms. In the intentional tort of assault, for example, you do not need to show that a person’s action caused you actual physical harm but only that it caused an expectation that some harm would come to you. You also may have an action if someone has attacked your reputation, invaded your privacy, or negligently or intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon you. If you believe you have a claim, your should seek legal advice as soon as possible.


If you win a case, a judge or jury awards you money known as “damages” for your injuries. That amount can include compensation for such expenses as medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensation for future wage losses. It can also compensate you for physical pain and suffering. In addition, you may receive damages for any physical disfigurement or disability that resulted from your injury. The money is intended to restore your loss. It’s not considered as income and is not taxable as income by the federal government or the state.
Note that an award of damages does not necessarily translate into hard cash. You may have to take further legal steps to actually collect the money. If a defendant against whom you have won a judgment does not pay it or has no insurance, collection proceedings can be initiated. These proceedings vary from state to state. In some states, for example, if the defendant owns property, you may be able to foreclose on it. In others, wage garnishment may be an option. Ask your attorney for your state’s collections policies and options.
There is no rule to go by in deciding whether a particular settlement offer is enough. Some people want to get as much as they possibly can out of a claim no matter how long it takes and are willing to argue and bargain, and other people want just to get a minimum amount of money as quickly as possible. Most people fall somewhere in between. Deciding when a settlement offer is acceptable depends completely on your attitude toward the accident and your injuries, on your tolerance for the claims process, and on your judgment concerning whether more bargaining is likely to produce a higher offer. Once you are within a certain range that you know is reasonable, how much is enough is completely up to you. Your attorney can be of assistance to you in making this judgment.
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