How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Sonoma County CAWhen you've been hurt physically, financially or emotionally, you may be entitled to compensation. Similarly, when someone has hurt someone else, they may need insurance defense lawyers in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa to protect them if they're sued. But finding good personal injury attorneys in Sonoma County can be difficult. The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County and issues related to hiring them.
Updated March 17, 2013
Top 10 Personal Injury Lawyers in Sonoma County
|Mittleman & Pritel|
281 2nd St E
Sonoma, CA 95476
|Fluss Skelton & Williams|
4038 Montgomery Dr
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
|Herbert L Terreri Law Offices|
132 Mill St # 210
Healdsburg, CA 95448
|Daniel B Beck Law Offices|
2681 Cleveland Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
|McMillan & Shureen|
50 Santa Rosa Ave # 5
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
|Kneisler Schondel & Hubbs|
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
|Hinton Cochran Borba & Beckwith LLP|
50 Old Courthouse Sq # 601
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Areas Served: Sonoma, Petaluma, Penngrove, Santa Rosa CA, Healdsburg, Cotati, Rohnert Park
|O'Brien Watters & Davis LLP|
3510 Unocal Pl # 200
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Areas Served: Santa Rosa CA, Cloverdale, Sonoma, Petaluma, Penngrove, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park
|David R Silva Law Offices|
1180 Holm Rd # F
Petaluma, CA 94954
Whether you know you need Sonoma County personal injury attorneys, aren't sure if your damages for personal injury are compensable, or aren't sure if you're at-fault, you'll want to know a few things about the world of personal injury lawyers in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa and wider Sonoma County.
First, let's get familiar with the realm of personal injury suits. The language of personal injury law uses many terms that are unfamiliar to most people. Sometimes it uses everyday words, but in the context of the law, those words may have different definitions. Adding to the confusion is the misuse of legal terminology by huge segments of the population.
Basically, personal injury law is a part of civil law. It deals with righting wrongs between citizens (specifically, this area is called tort law). This may seem obvious, but many people confuse this arena with criminal law. Remember that criminal law deals with righting wrongs between citizens and "The People." Virtually all kinds of harms that aren't the result of criminal activity are handled in the civil realm.
Good Personal Injury Lawyers in Sonoma County
In the world of civil litigation, there are always at least two parties (often many more than that). Basically, the hurt, injured or wronged party is the Plaintiff. The wrong-doer is the Defendant. This is true even if the wrong-doer only accidentally caused harm. Both parties in a personal injury matter are usually represented by their legal advisers or attorneys.
Licensed personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County are controlled by several governing bodies. The largest is the American Bar Association (ABA), which oversees all state Bar Associations. In California, licensed personal injury attorneys are regulated by the ABA, and the California Bar Association (CBA). Additionally, many personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County are members of local Bar Associations, although they are not required to be part of these smaller, regional associations.
Plaintiff's and Defendant's Personal Injury Attorneys in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
If you are in the Plaintiff's situation (the injured or wronged party), you will begin narrowing your search by looking for Plaintiff's personal injury attorneys in Sonoma County, sometimes called Plaintiff's PI.
If you are in the Defendant's situation, you will begin narrowing your search by looking for personal injury defense attorneys, sometimes called civil litigation attorneys or insurance defense.
Knowing which side you are on is usually pretty easy to figure out (but not always). If you aren't sure whether you are a Plaintiff or Defendant, or suspect that you may be both, feel free to call personal injury attorneys and ask. For that matter, feel free to call a chapter of the State or local Bar Association and ask for assistance.
Legal Counsel Options for Plaintiffs and Defendants in Personal Injury Lawsuits in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa
There is a remarkably varied selection of personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County, so it can be difficult to know where to turn. When you have determined a few things about your case, it can still be difficult to choose which Sonoma County personal injury attorneys will be best for you. That's why we've listed above some of the best personal injury laywers in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County: O'Brien Watters & Davis LLP, Hinton Cochran Borba & Beckwith LLP, Daniel B Beck Law Offices, Kneisler Schondel & Hubbs, McMillan & Shureen, Fluss Skelton & Williams, Mittleman & Pritel, David R Silva Law Offices, Herbert L Terreri Law Offices. Other Sonoma County personal injury attorneys that might still serve Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa include: .
Look for Good Personal Injury Attorneys in Sonoma County That Do More Than the Bare Minimum
When hiring good personal injury attorneys in Sonoma County, look for those that have been mentioned favorably in legal industry publications or have high consumer ratings from such organizations as the Better Business Bureau.
The Prime Buyer's Report has compiled a list of reputable publications, associations and Internet resources. To view these links, see the article, "Key Consumer Resources for Personal Injury Lawyers in Sonoma County."
Use the list of questions below to help narrow your search for a good personal injury attorney:
• How long have the attorneys been personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County?
• What are the law firms' recovery rate for personal injury damages?
• Do the Sonoma County personal injury attorneys require retainers?
• Or will the Sonoma County personal injury lawyers take your case on a contingency fee basis with fees to be paid only from the final personal injury damage recovery you are awarded?
• What are the Sonoma County personal injury attorneys' hourly rates for personal injury cases?
• What are the Sonoma County personal injury attorneys' case loads like?
• How many people from the personal injury law firms will work on your personal injury lawsuit (associate attorneys, paralegals, investigators, legal assistants, secretaries, etc)?
It's very important that you find the personal injury lawyers that you feel you can trust and make you feel comfortable. Consider your first impression, beginning with the first phone call. Did you get a person, or an answering service? Was your initial impression that you were dealing with competent professionals in personal injury law? Did you feel respected and accommodated? If you were offered a consultation, did you feel at-ease with the personal injury attorney? Did you feel he or she had confidence in your case? Are you able to speak freely with him or her?
Probably one or two names will rise to the top of your list after you have considered these things.
First Impression of the Personal Injury Attorneys in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa & Sonoma County
Good personal injury lawyers in Sonoma County will listen carefully to what you're saying and will ask relevant questions about your personal injury case. If the personal injury attorneys seem to only want to get you in the door, or try to make you sign a retainer agreement without hearing something about your potential personal injury lawsuit, consider choosing some different local personal injury attorneys. You are not obligated to hire the first personal injury attorneys in Sonoma County that you talk to.
When you've selected what seems to be the most suitable personal injury lawyer in Sonoma County for you, make sure you understand the terms of your agreement. Check for any consumer complaints from the Better Business Bureau, and check to see if there are legitimate complaints lodged with the State and Local chapters of the Bar Association.
Once you have retained good personal injury attorneys, keep in contact with them, but be aware that your legal case is rarely the only priority in the office. Throughout your personal injury suit, you will surely have questions for your personal injury attorney. Write them down, and try to consolidate your questioning. That is, instead of calling every time you have a question, call once a week, with all your questions ready.
Dealing with Personal Injury Lawyers in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa & Sonoma CountyHave a Plan for Choosing Personal Injury Attorneys in Sonoma County.
When you find yourself in the market for a personal injury lawyer in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa, it's a good idea to know what you need representation for. Know what you hope to accomplish with the aid of your personal injury legal representation. Ask yourself if you need a big personal injury team, with a phalanx of personal injury attorneys and support staff, or if you really need a law firm partner to work closely with you and devote a significant portion of his or her time to you and your personal injury case alone. Choosing between the big personal injury law firm experience and a small personal injury law firm or solo attorney or law practitioner is a major first step. Know the advantages and disadvantages of each to your personal injury lawsuit and plan accordingly.
Write Down The Details of Your Legal Claim for Personal Injury Damages.
Think through your personal injury case. It is important to understand that personal injury lawyers are trained to understand personal injury legal disputes dispassionately. This does not mean they don't care about you or your personal injury case. To the contrary, many personal injury lawyers are dedicated to righting wrongs and finding equitable solutions to your personal injury case. It does mean, however, that your emotions are secondary to their job. You are hiring a personal injury attorney to get results. Help them do their job by providing clear, factual, chronological information. Names, dates, receipts, reports and any other document that you think might be relevant to your case are great to bring with you when you are looking for a personal injury attorney, and in your first meeting with any lawyers you retain. Writing down these pertinent details of your personal injury case can help you and your personal injury attorney immeasurably in the first stages of your case.
Get Several Separate Opinions From Several Personal Injury Law Firms in Sonoma County.
If you can, try to get a few opinions about the viability or possible outcomes of your personal injury case. One personal injury attorney may feel strongly that a matter is well-settled personal injury law, and there is nothing to be done. Do not let this deter you from contacting another, or several other personal injury lawyers to get their opinions. Another personal injury lawyer may feel that the current personal injury law is changing, or that your personal injury case fits an exception that the other personal injury lawyer didn't see or didn't know about.
It's Called "The Practice of Law" for a Reason.
Remember, personal injury law is always changing. There is seldom a single answer to any question of legal dispute about damage recovery for personal injuries. Personal injury attorneys and counselors at law are working with this ever-changing material, and they are imperfect human beings. This reality means that personal injury law is truly practice and not art or mastery.
Choose Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Sonoma County.
This may not mean hiring the oldest personal injury lawyer you can find. In fact, it may mean hiring that newly minted attorney, just setting up shop. You might feel that by hiring an practiced lawyer you are getting the most experienced and reputable personal injury attorney that a retainer affords. But lawyers who have been in personal injury law for years may have gotten calcified, stuck in a rut. Due to the ever-changing nature of personal injury law, that bright young attorney may have the most cutting edge information and may know about the latest trends in personal injury law. He or she may also have some experience in the newest and best information acquired through an internship during law school with special attention to personal injury cases. Internships in law school are called clerkships generally, and are a law student's opportunity to practice personal injury law with a safety net. Thus, a newly licensed personal injury attorney may actually have more experience than you realize.
These generalizations are just that: generalizations. There are exceptions to every rule. Use your judgment and choose the best personal injury lawyers with the experience you need.
Ask Your Attorney Questions About Possible Outcomes of your Personal Injury Case.
Knowing what to expect is always the best way to feel comfortable. Be sure to announce what you'd like to see, and be prepared for the range of responses. There is never a guaranteed outcome in a legal dispute for personal injury damage recovery: never. In fact, a personal injury attorney who promises any particular result is probably acting beyond his or her ethical responsibilities. Ideally, your personal injury attorney can describe some possibilities. For instance, if you are seeking monetary compensation, your personal injury attorney ought to be able to tell you (assuming that you prevail in your case-again-no guarantee) what range you can likely expect to recover. Conversely, if you are an at-fault party, your personal injury attorney ought to be able to tell you the ceiling for which you, or your insurance, could be on-the-hook.
Know Your Rights Withr Personal Injury Lawyers in Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Santa Rosa & Sonoma County.
Although it can be difficult to know whether or not a personal injury attorney has acted in bad faith, or committed malpractice, there are resources available if you feel a personal injury lawyer has acted unethically. Reference the California State Bar Association Web site to learn more. (See our article, "Key Consumer Resources for Personal Injury Attorneys in Sonoma County.")