If you or someone you love was injured in a personal injury accident caused by another party’s negligence, you might be searching for a lawyer. When you search online, you may enter the search term, “personal injury lawyer near me.” However, do you really need to hire a lawyer that is close to where you live? The answer is not as black and white as you may assume. While you probably shouldn’t hire an attorney that is hundreds of miles away, you shouldn’t necessarily hire the closest option either. Deciding When You Need an Attorney The first thing to consider is whether you need an attorney or not. If your personal injury accident happened in California, your case would be subject to California law. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means you can collect a portion of your damages even if you are partially at fault in the accident. In fact, you can collect some compensation even if you are primarily at fault. For example, if you are determined to be 25% at fault, you will receive 75% of your damages. If you are found to be 75% at fault, you could collect up to 25% in damages. Why is this important? With pure comparative negligence, the defendants will be doing their best to place the maximum blame on you. Their goal is to pay the least amount of money possible. That means you need a qualified California personal injury attorney on your side. You should choose an attorney who can protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Choose a Qualified Attorney One of the biggest mistakes people make when hiring a personal injury lawyer is hiring the attorney that is closest to their home. Just because they are a five- or ten-minute drive doesn’t make them the most qualified to handle your case. If you have a medical malpractice claim, you need an attorney specializing in these types of cases who has the experience necessary to take your case to trial. The personal injury law firm closest to you may primarily handle car accident cases. Choose an Attorney You Feel Comfortable With Don’t choose an attorney simply because they are the closest option. What if you don’t like their personality or you don’t feel completely comfortable with them? Finding the right attorney whom you trust and feel comfortable with is crucial. You will be working closely with this person. If you don’t like them, how will they come across to a jury if the case goes to trial? You want an attorney who is relatable and who will make a good impression on a jury. By only searching attorneys close to you, you could miss out on the right lawyer for your case. Choosing an Attorney with the Necessary Financial Resources Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means they don’t get paid unless they recover compensation in your case. The usual fee agreement is a percentage of your overall settlement. If your case goes to trial, the attorney needs to handle all the legal costs and fees to present a strong case. If the attorneys near you won’t have the financial means to take on your case, or perhaps they are busy, they may need to transfer your case to another law firm anyway. Rather than start all over with a new lawyer, why not find the right one for you from the start? Hiring the San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart If you need a personal injury lawyer to help you, look no further than the San Francisco personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart. We have years of experience helping injured victims like you. We aren’t afraid to stand up to big corporations. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, so there is no risk to meet with us. We can help you decide what the best course of action is for your particular case. Contact the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart today to learn more about how we can help you fight for the compensation you are owed.Keep Reading
San Francisco Personal Injury Attorney
When you choose Chuck Geerhart, you're choosing to be represented by one of the finest trial lawyers in California. You're choosing personal attention from start to finish. And, you're choosing to never be passed off to a paralegal or junior lawyer.
- A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation.
As a British journalist, recently based in San Francisco and without medical insurance, things seemed pretty messy after I found myself in an airport shuttle, driven by a lunatic, who struck a parked cab. I had to go to hospital, who diagnosed a head injury – as, later, did a neurologist – but the shuttle company’s insurance company continually balked at paying the bills.
A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation. He was a great lawyer to have on my side, persistent in his battles with the insurance company, supportive of his client and a pleasure to work with, resolving the claim with the minimum of fuss.Susan
- Chuck made sure I was fairly compensated for this life altering injury.
I was working as an air traffic controller at SFO when a notoriously faulty elevator slammed to a stop between floors, throwing me against the wall and rupturing discs in my neck. I had to have major surgery on my neck. The City and the elevator maintenance company denied liability, until Chuck Geerhart obtained copies of all prior repair records which showed the elevator was continually resetting due to a power supply issue.
During the discovery phase of the case, to protect my privacy rights, he filed a motion with court to block a subpoena issued by the defense that sought to obtain my complete confidential employment file and complete health history in violation of the law. We ultimately settled the case for $1,000,000 after mediation.
I feel that Chuck did a great job making sure I was fairly compensated for this life-altering injury.Denise
- Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine.
I was fortunate to have been referred to Chuck Geerhart when I was dealing with a very painful and tragic case of abuse by religious leadership, which was stretched over five years.Frank
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine. He was intelligent and strategic in his approach, always very communicative; an attentive ear, fearless and confident support for someone who was very confused and seeking answers where there were only walls. He always involved me in the process, sharing crucial information with me and allowing me the time and space to decide and move forward. He treated me like a partner, which helped me recover the power that was taken away from me.
At the same time he provided the professional expertise which I needed in order to win the case. The process of winning this case was as empowering as the actual outcome. It was a healing experience in itself. I am very happy with the support and guidance I got from Chuck as well as with the monetary result from such a serious injury. It has truly helped me move on in a good way.
Meet Chuck Geerhart
Chuck Geerhart was admitted to the California bar in 1989, and is a graduate of Cornell University and the UCLA Law School. He has tried 16 cases to jury verdict. He has also sat as a juror in three cases in San Francisco County. Chuck is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA), and will be SFTLA President in 2022. Chuck is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an invitation-only organization of premier trial lawyers who have tried at least 10 jury cases to verdict.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What should I do if I am injured because of someone else's fault?
Q. Should I give a statement to the other party's insurance carrier?
Q. What is a contingent fee agreement?
Q. Is it important that I seek prompt medical treatment?
Q. Is there a fee to speak with you about a case?
Q. Should I authorize the release of my medical records to an insurance company?
From the Blog
One of the questions most often asked by clients is “How long will it take to get my case settled?” Good question! Most people who have been injured want to get their claim settled and move on with their lives. The answer varies depending on the severity of injury, whether liability is clear, and whether there is an insurance carrier or company with adequate assets to pay for the damage caused. When you are injured through the fault of another, you first go through the claims stage. If you can get your case resolved in the claims stage, you’re fortunate, because that’s not the norm in major injury cases. Most insurance carriers want to drag things out so they can hold on to their money longer. Also, they rarely want to pay fair (i.e., full) value right off the bat. They have found that dragging claims out tends to help them settle more cheaply. This is especially true for people without lawyers. Carriers know they can settle those cases far more cheaply, because a lay person has no idea how to value a claim. In building a claim, it is my job to obtain all your medical records and bills. This can take a few months, since health care providers (especially SF General Hospital) do not make us their priority. It can also take months to get records of Medi-Cal and Medicare payments. I have settled many cases in the claims stage, but it usually takes at least three to four months. A major exception to the rule that cases rarely settle quickly in the claims stage is where there are low insurance policy limits, such as a $15,000 state minimum policy in an auto accident case. It does not take much of an injury to max out a $15K policy. But even major injury cases can settle quickly if there is the right policy limit. Example: a broken tibia with surgery, and the driver has a $100K policy. That claim should settle quickly for the policy limit, unless the driver has lots of monetary assets. (In general, chasing after the negligent person’s personal assets is a waste of time, because he doesn’t want to pay, and he can declare bankruptcy if you get an above limits judgment.) If you have been seriously injured and had surgery, you will take many months to recover. Your level of recovery dictates when the case is ready to settle. You never want to settle prematurely, because when you do settle, you will sign a release of all claims forever and for all time. So if there is any possibility you might need more surgery, you cannot settle until you know your prognosis accurately. If your case cannot settle at the claims stage, either because of liability issues or the carrier is being cheap, the only way to get justice is to move on to litigation. Then you truly have a case, i.e., a filed lawsuit. In most California counties, it will take about a year and a half to actually commence a jury trial. Fortunately for you, 97% of all civil cases settle, some early, some on the eve of trial. It is not uncommon for a filed lawsuit to settle within about six months after the carrier realizes you’re serious. The takeaway: if you want to maximize your settlement, you need to be patient and prepared to have your claim take several months to a year or more to resolve.Keep Reading