California Personal Injury Lawyer In Pasadena
If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney who you can trust and who will fight for every dollar you deserve — you’ve come to the right place.
At the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, PC we treat our clients like family.
We have great empathy and compassion for those who have endured a serious accident and are committed to seeking justice on their behalf.
If you or a family member have been seriously injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses.
You’ve suffered enough. The last thing you need is a heavy financial burden weighing you down.
Medical bills and lost wages can strain your finances, and insurance companies can be extremely difficult to negotiate with. It can all seem so overwhelming.
I’m Donald J. Matson (you can call me Don) founding attorney of the firm. First off, I want to say how sorry I am that you are going through such a difficult time. I became a lawyer because I wanted to help people like you regain their financial footing after unfortunate occurrences in their lives.
My job is to alleviate some of your worry and anxiety — let me deal with the insurance company. I’ve been playing hardball with them for over 10 years and have gotten great results for my clients. As your advocate, I will fight for your rights so you can concentrate on your recovery.
Call me today at (626) 792-1900 for a free, no-obligation consultation!
During your first visit, Don will review the circumstances surrounding your case to determine who may be held liable for your injuries and what damages you may be entitled to.
Potential Recovery for Damages
- past, current and future medical expenses
- any permanent disfigurement or disability
- lost wages and earning potential
- property damage
- pain and suffering
- interference with your family relationships, called loss of consortium
If we are fortunate enough to have you hire us, we will never charge you any fees or costs unless you recover damages.
Legal Expertise In The Following Practice Areas
Attorney Donald J. Matson has over ten years worth of experience handling personal injury cases stemming from:
- Airplane accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Faulty products
- Slip and fall
- Truck accidents
- Brain injury
- Vehicle rollover
What is the time frame to file a claim?
A statute of limitations is a time frame allowed to file a claim.
If you do not file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you will not be able to pursue legal action.
In the state of California, the statute of limitations for most personal injury and product liability lawsuits is two years after the date of the accident. For medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is also two years.
Even though you may have a few years to file a claim, time is of the essence.
Over time, witnesses may have trouble recalling key details of the accident. It’s important to make sure the evidence is still fresh. By waiting too long, you may compromise the opportunity to build the strongest case possible.
After An Accident, Preserve Evidence
To start building a strong claim, it’s important to collect as much information and
evidence as you can after your accident:
- Collect police and accident scene reports
- Gather witness statements
- Photograph the scene, your injuries, and property damage
- Collect medical records
- Paramedic reports
- Emergency room admitting charts
- Doctors’ and nurses’ notes
- Test and exam results
- Your physician’s diagnosis and prognosis
Don’t Trust An Insurance Adjuster
The insurance company is not your friend! Don’t be fooled by a pleasant sounding claims adjuster — they are protecting their own interests, not yours.
The more they can minimize their payout to you, the more money they make.
Many times, insurance companies will offer you a quick settlement hoping you’ll bite on the offer. The problem is, it’s usually a ridiculously low and unfair amount (although you may not know that at the time).
It’s important that you don’t sign anything or make a recorded statement before seeking legal counsel.
They will only try to use your statement against you down the road. You are not legally obligated to engage in a conversation with them.
Do I Have A Legitimate Personal Injury Claim?
In California, many personal injury claims rest on a theory of negligence. In order to recover money in a personal injury case, you must be able to prove that your injury was caused by someone’s negligence.
Negligence is defined as “the absence of, or failure to use reasonable or proper care.”
Reasonable care is the “degree of caution or care that an ordinary or prudent person would use in similar circumstances.”
There are four basic elements to proving negligence:
- You were owed a duty of care — an individual or entity has a duty to conform to a certain standard of conduct to protect others from suffering unreasonable harm
- The duty of care was breached –an individual or entity failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care for your safety
- The breach of care caused your injuries — the breach of care directly caused your injury
- You suffered damages as a result of the injury — medical expenses, lost wages
What Happens If I Am Partially to Blame For The Accident?
According to California’s comparative negligence law, you may still recover compensation even if you were partially to blame for the accident. The amount you recover will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
For example, if you were speeding at the time of the accident, you may be partially at fault even if the other driver made an unsafe lane change and sideswiped you. Your percentage of liability may be determined to be 20%, while the other driver is found to be 80% at fault.
Your monetary recovery would be subsequently reduced by 20%. So, if you have a $100,000 case, you would receive $80,000.
Motor Vehicle Claims
To prevail in a motor vehicle negligence lawsuit, you must prove that the alleged negligent party did not meet the standard of care that was owed to you, and the breach of this care directly led to your injuries.
Here are some common examples of negligent behavior:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue/drowsiness
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Texting and driving
California’s Insurance Laws
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in the state of California, you have three options available to you to pursue compensation for your losses:
- file a claim under your own insurance policy
- pursue a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
- file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver directly
Under California law, every driver is required to carry liability insurance to cover costs related to damages or injuries in the event of an accident.
The policy minimum for liability insurance is:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
What if the driver who hit me in the accident was not insured?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured motorist, there are still ways in which you can recover your losses.
- The first way is to seek additional coverage through your own auto insurance policy or the policy of someone in your household. Check to see if you have collision coverage, medical payments coverage, and uninsured or underinsured coverage. You may also seek coverage under your health insurance policy.
- If the other driver has insurance but it is not enough to cover the damages in full, your insurance may cover the difference depending on the amount you have available through your policy.
Slip And Fall, Premise Liability Claims
All property owners, whether it’s your neighbor or the owner of your local grocery, must keep their premises safe and free from any dangerous or hazardous conditions.
The biggest misconception regarding slip and fall cases is that if you fall on someone else’s property the owner is automatically liable for your injuries.
To win a slip and fall case, you have to prove:
- that the condition that existed on the property was dangerous or hazardous
- the owner knew or should have known about the defect
- the owner did nothing to fix the defect
If there is a spill in a store that caused your injury, you must prove that the substance was on the floor for a long enough period of time that the store should have discovered the danger and cleaned it up, but failed to do so.
After the accident, make sure to:
- report the accident to the property owner
- get the name of any witnesses for future testimony
- take photos of the area
- find out if there is any video surveillance available
Wrongful Death Claims
There is nothing more tragic than the death of a loved one, especially when that death occurred because of someone else’s negligent actions.
Common causes of wrongful death include:
- Medical malpractice (incorrect diagnosis, failure to treat, improper treatment, delay in treatment, prescription errors, surgical errors, etc.)
- Automobile accidents
- Product defects
- Criminal acts
Under the California Wrongful Death Act, you can file a wrongful death suit if you are a personal representative of the deceased’s estate or one of the survivors left behind.
Survivors who are eligible to file a claim include (in order of eligibility)
- Spouse, children, and issue of any deceased children
- Parents, followed by siblings
- Children of deceased siblings
- Grandparents, followed by their lineal descendants
If you do not categorize yourself as either a survivor or representative of the estate but were financially dependent on the deceased, you may file a wrongful death claim. This includes common-law spouses, their children, and stepchildren.
Survivors may recover damages for:
- Lost support and services
- Loss of decedent’s companionship and protection
- Mental pain and suffering
- Lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
- Medical or funeral expenses when paid by a survivor
The estate may recover damages only for:
- Loss of net accumulations (deceased’s expected net business or salary income, including pension benefits, that the decedent probably would have retained as savings and left as part of his estate if he had lived his normal life expectancy)
- Decedent’s lost earnings
- Decedent’s medical and funeral expenses
Product Liability Claims
A product liability lawsuit can be brought against anyone participating in the chain of distribution for a product — including the manufacturer, designer, wholesaler or the retailer.
All parties owe a duty to consumers to ensure the products they sell are safe and functional. If they fail to meet this duty, and as a result someone is injured or killed, any or all can be held liable for damages.
Defective product claims in California fall into three categories:
- Products that have been defectively manufactured, resulting in a faulty product
- Products that have been defectively designed and are dangerous even if correctly manufactured
- Failure to provide good warning or instructions for proper use of product
If the defective product came in packaging, save it. Also keep the purchase receipt, warranty and instruction manuals.
“Strict” Liability for Dog Bite/Attack Cases
California statutes declare that a dog owner is “strictly liable” if their dog bites another person, even if the dog has no history of being aggressive. The only thing you need to prove is that you were bitten in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
Contact Us Today
In a personal injury case, the first step is typically working to negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to both parties. If a negotiation is unable to be reached, Attorney Matson will fight your case in court to increase the chances that the maximum restitution available is awarded to you.
Call us at (626) 792-1900 to schedule a free initial consultation.
In this day and age, it’s completely refreshing to hire someone who delivers exactly what he promises. That person is Don Matson. There are a lot of lawyers out there. Some good, some bad, some complete nightmares. But if you want the best, call Don. You won’t regret it. – M.B.