The Do’s and Don’ts After a Car Accident: Important Tips for Winning your Injury Claim

If you have been injured in a car accident, you can receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and related expenses from either your car insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, depending on who was at fault. Solid evidence makes your claim stronger. You want to prepare as much documentation as possible when submitting a claim to the car insurance company. Here’s how to get the most out of your personal injury claim after an accident.


  • Make a police report after an accident.
  • Get the following information from the other driver: his/ her name, address, driver’s license number, home phone, work phone, cell phone, vehicle license plate, insurance company’s name and policy number. (Look at his/ her driver’s license for verification).
  • Get contact information from all witnesses at the scene.
  • Take photos of the damage to your car and of the accident scene.
  • Notify the DMV. In California, the DMV must be notified of any accident where there has been (1) an injury (no matter how small), (2) death, or (3) property damage in excess of $750.
  • If you were injured, it is extremely important that you see a medical provider
  • A checkup may be a good idea for both you and your passengers if any of you have concerns about your health. You could be injured and not know it.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident even if the other party is at fault.
  • Keep a diary of all your injuries, pain, and emotional feelings. Make notes, on weather and road conditions. Be sure to record the exact time, date and place the accident happened.
  • In California you are entitled to recover lost wages for the time you were off work, even if you used your sick pay or received other disability benefits.
  • Keep all records, physical evidence or photos, and submit them to your personal injury attorney.


  • Do not give a statement to the police about the accident if you are disoriented, injured, or shaken up. Advise the police officer of your condition.
  • Do not give an oral or written statement to the other driver’s insurance company, until you consult with attorney.
  • Do not sign any authorizations sent to you by the other driver’s insurance.
  • Do not settle your property damage claim until all repairs have been done to your satisfaction.
  • Do not enter into any settlement of your personal injury claim until you have recovered from your injuries and know the full extent of your injuries.
  • Do not exaggerate your injuries.
  • Do not discuss the accident with anyone, including all social media, such as Facebook.

If you plan to sue, do not delay. There are time limits for filing various types of claims—so act quickly. Contact the experts at Sisneros Graziani LLP for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve!

California Personal Injury Law: An Overview

Unlike other areas of the law that find their rules in statutes (such as penal codes in criminal cases), the development of personal injury law has taken place mostly through court decisions, and in treatises written by legal scholars. Many states have taken steps to summarize the development of personal injury law in written statutes, but for practical purposes court decisions remain the main source of the law in any legal case arising from an accident or injury. However, the State of California has its own set of personal injury statutes. Here is a brief overview of California statutes governing some areas of personal injury law:

  • Statute of limitations
    • In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit against those who could be responsible.
    • There is a time limit of six months from the date of injury to file an injury claim against a government entity, and claimants must adhere to a strict set of procedural rules.
    • In medical malpractice cases, the injured party generally has one year from the date she discovered a negligently caused injury to file a lawsuit, but in no event more than 3 years from the date of injury.  Further, a claimant must provide the malpractice defendant with a 90 day letter of intent to sue (and wait 90 days) prior to filing a lawsuit.  Much like governmental claims, the rules governing statute of limitations in medical malpractice are intricate and must be strictly adhered to or you risk losing your case.
  • Comparative negligence
    • In shared fault injury cases, California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule. In basic terms, the amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault for the accident.
    • If there is a dispute about fault, ultimately it would be a jury that would render a decision allocating fault between the parties.  However, in any settlement phase of a claim, this area is always an area for argument.
  • Dog attacks
    • In many states, dog owners are protected (to some degree) from injury liability the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. This is often called a “one bite” rule.
    • In California, however, a specific statute makes the owner “strictly liable,” meaning the dog owner is legally responsible in most situations where their dog bites someone, regardless of fault or negligence.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the fault of another, contact the experts at Sisneros Graziani LLP. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation for more information about what we can do for you.

Preparation and Information: Meeting with a Personal Injury Attorney

It can be intimidating when first contacting an attorney after an injury—but it shouldn’t be! Here are some things to do and consider as you begin the process. First, come to the appointment prepared. Bring copies of all records and other documentation related to the underlying incident. You can also prepare a list of questions to take with you to your first meeting. Here are some great questions for your attorney.

    • How many personal injury claims have you handled? Have any of those claims gone to trial? Of those, how many were decided in favor of the plaintiff?
    • What percentage of your practice is devoted to personal injury cases like mine?
    • How long have you been in practice?
    • Do you usually represent injured people or people who are being sued?
    • What problems do you foresee with my case?
    • What are my options as far as insurance claim versus lawsuit?
    • How long will it take to bring the matter to a conclusion?
    • How does the law firm/lawyer charge for services?
    • What types of experts would the lawyer use to help bolster your case?
    • What is the time limit (set by a law called a “statute of limitations”) by which you must have the case settled/the lawsuit filed?
    • Would the lawyer handle the case personally or would it be passed on to someone else in the firm? If other lawyers or staff may do some of the work, can you meet them?

Accident lawsuits are often complex affairs, involving evidence gathering, expert witnesses, and a detailed knowledge of law. As a result, it’s important for accident victims to find an attorney who is experienced in injury cases in particular. If you are in the San Francisco area and want to learn more about your claim at no cost to you, contact Sisneros Graziani LLP for a free case evaluation.

Assault and Battery in California

Most personal injury lawsuits are filed over accidents — like a slip and fall or a car crash. However, in some cases, the action that caused the harm was intentional rather than accidental.

In the context of personal injury law, “assault” and “battery” are intentional torts that can form the basis of a lawsuit in civil court. In a typical case, the victim of an assault and/or battery sues the offender, seeking compensation for injuries and other damages stemming from the incident.

People often use the phrase “assault and battery,” when in fact, assault and battery are two distinct crimes. In California civil assault is defined as the intent to cause fear in another of the harmful or offensive contact. Battery, on the other hand, is defined as the intentional harmful or offensive contact to another.

When it comes to injuries, civil cases involving assault and battery can run the gamut of seriousness. Remember, no actual physical injury is required in most states, including California, so lawsuits for assault and battery can vary widely in terms of damage awards. Often, when an assault and battery incident requires hospitalization and extensive medical attention, a personal injury lawsuit may be the best way for the victim to get reimbursement for medical bills and compensation for things like pain and suffering.

In these cases, damages include physical injuries, psychological damages, wage loss, medical bills, and punitive damages. In some instances, assault can even result in damage to property. If you sustain an injury due to assault, you may be entitled to recover both economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

Additionally, if you are assaulted or battered by a person working in the course and scope of their employment (such as a bouncer at a nightclub), the employer may be held liable for the intentional misconduct of its employee.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of assault and/or battery in the San Francisco area, you need a team of expert personal injury attorneys by your side. Schedule a consultation with Sisneros Graziani LLP to speak with one of our experienced lawyers. Call (415) 966-0748.

Warning Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury: Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common and serious injury that occurs in accidents involving an impact to the head. In many cases, the victim is not aware of the extent of their injuries until it’s too late, and the case is settled. Following a serious accident it is possible that TBI may be overlooked, only to have signs and symptoms surface later. Although fragile bones can mend, a TBI can leave a victim’s life irrevocably changed, permanently damaging their relationships, work, mental capacity, and quality of life.

Here are some signs that may let you know if you are suffering from a traumatic brain injury and steps you can take to protect your rights to compensation.

Signs and symptoms of neurological impairment caused by TBI depend on which structures in the brain are damaged.

Common symptoms of traumatic brain injury include:

  • Anxiety, nervousness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Difficulty finding words or understanding the speech of others (aphasia)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of balance; difficulty walking or sitting
  • Loss of memory
  • Muscle stiffness and/or spasms
  • Seizures
  • Sleep difficulties (more or less sleep than pre-injury)
  • Slurred and/or slowed speech
  • Tingling, numbness, pain, or other sensations
  • Sense of spinning (vertigo)
  • Weakness in one or more limbs, facial muscles, or on an entire side of the body

Although not physically seen, the effects of brain injuries are far reaching. If you were injured in an accident and believe that you may have sustained a brain injury, it’s important to maintain medical records and document the effects of the injury on your daily life. Talk to an injury attorney after an accident, because calculating damages for these types of injuries is tricky. To learn more about your options for pursuing a personal injury claim, contact us at Sisneros Graziani LLP. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Read more on TBI here.

Construction Site Injuries in California

Regardless of the work you do, there is always a risk of being injured on the job. However, some industries are more dangerous than others. Construction can be one of those industries, and safety has to be a priority at all times.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has laid down guidelines for construction site safety and described compensation processes in detail. It is always important to seek legal advice from experienced California construction accident attorneys in California before providing statements to insurers, and others.

There are several steps to take for people who have been injured on the job. One of the first would be to make a report to management. As an employer is required to provide medical treatment for any injuries received on the job, regardless of how the injury happened, there should be no worries about the cost of care. Even if no work is missed because of the injury, the employee has the right to expect that their employer will pay all medical bills.  If a person does not recognize an injury right away, an incident should still be reported as soon as it happens. There are a host of benefits that an employed California resident has a right to receive after being injured at work. A professional in the area of workers’ compensation would be able to give details on coverage that is available.

If you’ve been injured on the job, you may also have a claim against a liable third party (e.g. a third party automobile, construction company, property owner, insurance company, or governmental agency) in addition to having a worker’s compensation claim. This happens when you have been injured while on the job by someone who does not work with you.  A simple example of this would be a taxi driver who gets rear-ended by a third party while driving his taxi on the job.  In such a situation, he would be able to receive worker’s compensation benefits as he was injured while on the job.  But in addition to that, he may be able to receive additional compensation by asserting a personal injury claim against the driver that caused the injury. 

Whether you’ve been hurt on the job as a result of poor building site maintenance, faulty equipment, employee negligence, or even by a third party, the personal injury and California construction accident attorneys at Sisneros Graziani LLP can help get you recover the compensation you deserve.

Biking the City Safely

While bicycle accidents often happen because drivers are careless or negligent, the proliferation of bicyclists has made drivers more conscious of bikes on the road. Unfortunately, many bicycle-related crashes resulting in injury or death are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, but the good news is that there are simple ways to prevent a San Francisco bike accident.

To maximize safety while riding a bicycle, always remember to:

  • Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. Protect your brain; save your life.
  • Adjust your bicycle to fit. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back. The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
  • Check your equipment. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
  • See and be seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, poor weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective clothing, tape, markings, or flashing lights.
  • Control your bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Watch for and avoid road hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards such as cable car grooves, potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.
  • Obey all traffic laws. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
  • Stay alert at all times. Use your eyes AND ears. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; wearing a headset decreases your ability to perceive potential hazards.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident due to the fault of another, contact the experts at Sisneros Graziani LLP for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve. Read more about bicycle safety on the SF Muni website.