Tag: Choosing the Right Lawyer

Figuring the cost of healthcare

Do I Need A Lawyer to Settle a California Accidental Injury Claim?

If you’ve been in an accident recently causing you injury, the last thing you might feel like doing right now is contacting a lawyer you’ve never met to talk about the process of pursuing a legal claim. Many people bristle at the thought of lawyers and lawsuits, which may stem from having a bad experience with the law or a lawyer in the past. Or the whole thing might just seem like a giant headache at the same time you’re dealing with the massive headaches of feeling traumatized, beat-up, and bruised while dealing with work complications and questions of money. And in a lot of cases, the person that injured you and/or their insurer might be offering you an immediate settlement for your injuries with the encouragement that “we don’t need to get lawyers involved.” Continue reading “Do I Need A Lawyer to Settle a California Accidental Injury Claim?”

Choosing the Right Lawyer: Fees and Payment Options

When you consult with your lawyer, ask to see what fees and charges you will be responsible for. The California State Bar requires every lawyer to explain all of their fees, whether it is before or within a reasonable amount of time after he/she starts to represent you. Be sure you understand all of the fees and costs that may incur on your case.

There are a few different types of payment arrangements you can make with your lawyer. Berglund & Johnson operates on a contingency fee (“no recovery, no fee”) basis. This means that our clients can have their legal needs met without paying for an attorney’s time on an hourly basis. Berglund & Johnson will collect their fee as a portion of the settlement and, in most cases, costs incurred in pursuing the case will be paid out of the settlement upon conclusion of the case. If there is no recovery, there are no fees.

You can also pay a flat fee for your lawyer’s services. Many lawyers charge a flat fee for simple, straightforward cases, such as bankruptcy filings or uncontested divorce matters. Make sure you understand all that is included in the flat fee.

Some lawyers charge an hourly rate for the time worked on your case. Hourly rates will vary according to your lawyer’s expertise and experience. Although more experienced lawyers will most likely charge a higher rate, they may complete your case more quickly. Ask for a written estimate on the number of hours that will likely be required to complete your case.

A retainer fee is when you are asked to pay a fee up front. The lawyer can then use this deposit as a down payment for expenses and fees during the case. Be sure to review “your account” in order to see how your money is being used.

If you aren’t satisfied with the way your lawyer has worked on your case, you have the right to fire him or her at any time. As said in Choosing the Right Lawyer: Part 1, if you have already retained a lawyer for a Personal Injury case and are dissatisfied with its progress, Berglund & Johnson will take care of you and respond to your concerns. If you choose to change attorneys and retain Berglund & Johnson, you will not incur any additional attorney fees. Your prior attorney will be compensated for the work he/she has done out of the Berglund & Johnson standard contingency fees. In other words, it will not cost you any more in attorney fees to change lawyers and retain Berglund & Johnson.

What is Character

Wikipedia has several definitions, but we like this one best: an evaluation of a particular individual’s moral qualities.

Character is the constellation of traits that we demonstrate on a consistent basis.

Character is something you show when people aren’t watching.

Your character can be influenced by upbringing, culture, world view, religion and many other factors.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines character in several ways, using words like moral or ethical strength; attributes, traits or abilities; and competency, dependability and reputation.

Today, unfortunately, character is often confused with success. Success seems to be the only thing that counts, and success is often measured by money and possessions. How you acquired that “success” doesn’t seem to be important. That is why there is such turmoil in our society and the world. Character has been forgotten or ignored.

Injured on the Job?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA), work-related accidents and illnesses claim over two million lives every year. Over 250 million accidents in the workplace cause victims to miss up three days of work.

Construction sites are one of the most hazardous job locations in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 350,000 suffered disabling injuries with another 1,000 people dying in 1995. More than 30 percent of injuries and fatalities are due to falls from defective ladders or scaffolds. That’s why construction companies and all contractors and subcontractors must ensure employees work in safe conditions, inform them of inherent job hazards, provide safety training, and enforce compliance with safety regulations.

A construction worker’s safety also depends heavily on the condition of their equipment. Manufacturers are responsible for design and production defects in their equipment. Tools and structures necessary for construction must meet basic safety requirements. Injuries caused by failure of equipment may be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer under laws for defective products.

At time, workers’ compensation alone will not cover all of an injured employee’s expenses, particularly if the injuries were serious and debilitating. In these cases, the personal injury lawyers at Berglund & Johnson will investigate the liability of a negligent third party. Third parties can include manufacturers of defective products, a supervising subcontractor or the owner or others responsible for the jobsite.

Should you require assistance with a job-related injury, please contact us for an immediate free evaluation of your situation. It is critical after a workplace accident that evidence be preserved and the responsible third-party located right away.

‘Rock-N-Roll’ and Ice in Flight

Over 50 years ago in 1959, a small private single engine plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa shortly after 1 a.m. bound for Fargo, N.D. It did not get far. A cold northeasterly wind gave way to heavy snow, reducing visibility to almost whiteout conditions. One wing hit the ground and the plane crashed. The accident claimed the lives of Rock-N-Roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. “Big Popper” Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson.

The cause was most likely pilot error due to inexperience with instrumentation flight. When visibility is lost due to heavy snow and high winds, it is easy to get disoriented and fly into the ground. While some have said that “Rock-N-Roll” died that day, the “Rock-N-Roll” genre of music lives on and has infiltrated country, religious and even classical music!

Dave Berglund, Senior Litigation Attorney at Berglund & Johnson is an instrument-rated pilot and understands the significant weather conditions and how the pilot’s experience can make for a safe flight. Berglund & Johnson has handled several aviation accident cases from single engine light airplanes to commercial passenger airliners, such as Southwest flight #1455, which over-shot the runway at Burbank Airport and crashed into a gas station. Berglund & Johnson’s experience as seasoned litigators, combined with having a licensed instrument rated pilot on board, makes for the right combination to represent aviation accident victims and/or their families.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of an aviation accident, call us at 1-800-4-IF-HURT (1-800-443-4878) for a free, no-obligation evaluation.

Protecting Victims from Unethical Legal Practices

As in any profession, there are those who give others a bad name. For those who practice personal injury law, it’s the unscrupulous attorneys who improperly and aggressively solicit the representation of victims of major accidents.

In 2008, before the dust even settled from the Metrolink Train 111 crash, some attorneys found the names of victims and pursued them right away, even going into hospitals looking for potential clients- a practice that is illegal in California.

“Any unsolicited contact with a potential client, either in person or by telephone (and perhaps even by mail), by an attorney or someone acting on his or her behalf is both illegal and unethical,” warned the California State Bar’s chief trial counsel, Scott J. Drexel, in a letter to area hospitals.

He also cautioned potential claimants against agreeing to unsolicited representation or quick settlements, as many victims and families may not be thinking clearly in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy.

If you need a reputable attorney, look for one the same way you would a good doctor or dentist- ask for recommendations from trusted friends or associates. Here at Berglund & Johnson, we are thankful that many of our referrals come from past clients, other practicing attorneys, judges and church pastors.

What to bring when you meet with your lawyer

When you meet with Berglund & Johnson, it is important to gather all written documentation that pertains to your case. This will make it easier to determine the strength and merit of your case. In addition, your paperwork will help answer many questions that will be presented by our lawyers. Most personal injury cases rely on testimony and written/documentary evidence. Therefore, it is very important to gather all evidence as early as possible to avoid its loss or destruction.

If your case involves an automobile accident, you should have received a copy of the police report or a card or other writing from the police officers at the scene with the number of the report that will be completed. It is important to bring the police report or police report information to your first meeting because it contains valuable information that will be used in your case, such as:

  • Names and addresses of all persons involved in the accident
  • Identity of the parties’ insurance company and policy number
  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Description of how the accident occurred
  • Investigating police officer’s allocation of fault for the accident

You should also bring a copy of your own automobile insurance policy to your first meeting with our attorney so we can help determine what coverage may apply to your claim. The adverse party insurance information should also be brought to our offices if you have it. If you received medical attention, bring any medical records and bills to your first meeting in your possession. If you do not have this paperwork in time for your meeting, you should bring the names and addresses of the healthcare providers with the date(s) of treatment to enable our offices to obtain all medical records.

Compile a list of all witnesses’ names, addresses and phone numbers. These witnesses should not only be those who saw the accident, but also those who can document and testify to wage losses, limitations on your daily activities and pain and suffering.

You should, also, bring any photographs of the scene of the incident, the vehicles involved and injuries suffered if you have them.

For other types of cases, obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers and all other contact information of all potential parties involved in the accident. Photographs (digital or print) of the scene of the incident and personal injuries, witness information, objects or instrumentalities involved in the incident should also be provided if you have them available before the meeting.

For more information on what to bring when you meet with Berglund & Johnson for other types of cases, please call our offices at 1-800-4-IF-HURT.

Choosing the Right Lawyer

If you are looking to choose the right lawyer, it is important to meet with the lawyer in person before you make a decision. When you meet with Berglund & Johnson, we will provide a free consultation and answer any questions you may have. If you have already retained a lawyer for a Personal Injury case and are dissatisfied with its progress, Berglund & Johnson will take care of you and respond to your concerns. If you choose to change attorneys and retain Berglund & Johnson, you will not incur any additional attorney fees. Your prior attorney will be compensated for the work he/she has done out of the Berglund & Johnson standard contingency fees. In other words, it will not cost you any more in attorney fees to change lawyers and retain Berglund & Johnson.

Be prepared to describe your case in a clear, simple manner, and ask questions about fees, experience, options and what the timeline of your case will be like. Berglund & Johnson is always willing to help and answer any questions that you may have regarding your case.

By the time you hire a lawyer, always make sure what you have agreed to. You will, most likely, need to provide information and various paper work. If you provide original documents, make copies for your own files and reference. Also, ask for copies of any case-related documents that you, otherwise, do not have. Here are some questions you might want to ask in your effort to retain the right lawyer for you and your situation:

  • Is there any information that I will be required to provide?
  • How often will you update me on information relevant to my case?
  • What will the total cost be? (See Choosing the Right Lawyer: Fees and Payment Arrangements)
  • How long do you think this case will take before it is settled?
  • What is your experience with cases similar to mine?
  • What is your track record in Trial?
  • Have you gone to Trial in cases similar to mine?
  • Do you work alone or have a Team that works with you in preparation of cases?
  • Do you have the financial resources to hire the best experts to help win my case?

You want to have a communicative relationship with your lawyer, so you know the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Berglund & Johnson will cover all the details and essentials during your free consultation. Do not hesitate to ask for clarification on certain issues, facts and legal procedures that may affect your case. Simply ask! Berglund & Johnson attorneys and staff are always available via telephone and/or email to respond to your questions and needs!