The Bay Area, which is the second largest city in California, is also the 43rd largest urban area globally. It is home to more than 7 million people who live in a total of 9 counties, each with has a city in it. Like the rest of California, the Bay Area enjoys good weather throughout the year – it has hot and dry summers and cold and wet winters. The area, which is famous for its natural beauty is home to most Fortune 500 greats. The population is diverse and there is a lot of entrepreneurship – in fact, it has the second highest density of college graduates in the United States.
The Bay Area relies mostly on technology for its economy – Silicon Valley is located here. Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and other large technology companies are located there. As you may imagine, there are a lot of rich people in the area and the standard of living is rather high – real estate, for instance, has become so expensive in the last 30 years that some people have been forced to live the Bay Area and seek livelihoods elsewhere. Technology is not the only source of income for the region – the Bay Area is also a leader in sustainable agriculture (Napa Valley is located here) , organic farming as well as alternative energy companies.
As with other places in the United States where individuals and businesses are very wealthy, there is a lot of personal injury litigation in the Bay Area. This also means that there are a lot of personal injury attorneys which makes it difficult to know which one is best. In case you are wondering what a personal injury attorney is, it is a lawyer who represents people who have been harmed by the negligence or wrongful acts of another person, business or even a government entity. They help they get compensation based on the extent of their injury.
What do Bay Area personal injury lawyer do?
Personal injury lawyers can do two things for you – they can help get you an out of court settlement or they can represent you during a trial. Many personal injuries prefer to try and get a settlement because they understand that should the matter get to court, the jury could rule either way – they can decide to award you a settlement (maybe even bigger than what you had been offered by the defendant in the first place) or they could rule against you and you walk away with nothing. In the event that you cannot agree on an out of court settlement your lawyer prepares for trial and collects all the necessary evidence to prove that the defendant is indeed guilty. If they need you to testify they will prepare you so that you can know what to say in court.
Can you represent yourself?
Because Bay Area attorneys are so expensive some people are reluctant to hire personal injury lawyers – they are afraid that they will have to pay them a lot of money. This should not worry you at all; personal injury lawyers are paid through contingency fees – they only get paid if they win your case. They take a commission from the settlement after deducting expenses, usually between 20% and 30% so you still get to walk away with a big chunk of the settlement amount.
It is true that there are some cases where you can represent yourself. if, for example, you have been involved in an accident but were not badly injured, you can go directly to the other driver’s insurance (so long as it is determined they were at fault). Be careful though – insurance companies are famous for delaying payments or reducing them. If you feel like they are giving you the runaround you can always get a personal injury lawyer to get your settlement for you.
The other case you can represent yourself is if the insurance has already offered you the limit of the premium. If you were in an accident and the driver of the other car has an insurance limit of $100,000 dollars, they cannot pay you a dime beyond that so there is no need to involve a personal injury attorney – just take the $100,000 that the insurance company offers you.
If you have been I an accident but don’t feel injured it is best to seek the advice of a doctor before you dismiss hiring a personal injury lawyer. What doesn’t feel like a big injury now could turn into a big problem in the future. Many people, for instance, don’t get immediate back pains after minor auto accidents but will develop them sometime later. The problem is that there is a statute of limitations on personal injury cases – if a certain amount of time lapses you can no longer sue.
Finding a personal injury lawyer in the Bay Area
We earlier mentioned that because there are so many personal lawyers in the Bay Area that it can be hard to choose. There are certain qualities that can tell you whether a lawyer will help you win a settlement. First, they should have experience representing (and winning of course) cases like yours. If you were in a car accident, for instance, you want to get a lawyer who specializes in helping car accident victims. Also, ask them to give you two or three names of the most recent cases they did – when you call ask the referrals if they would hire the same lawyer again. In addition to experience, you need to find a lawyer who is a good communicator – they need to be able to argue convincingly on your behalf. In addition to that, you should feel free to tell them all about your accident, even the embarrassing details.
One of the most highly recommended personal injury attorneys in the Bay Area is Penney and Associates. They have a lot of experience in handling different kinds of personal injury litigation so you can be sure that they will help you get compensation after your accident. You can get more information by calling them on (408) 970-3566 or visiting their website, www.penneylawyers.com.