Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
Need a Personal Injury Attorney in Long Beach, CA?
Long Beach personal injury lawyers Daniel McGee and Catherine Lerer are a husband and wife attorney team. We (not an answering service!) pick up the phone 24/7 to answer your questions and guide you through this time of uncertainty and stress. You benefit from our 40+ years of combined experience and our singular focus on representing accident victims. Our firm specializes in serious injury and wrongful death cases, and we have a track record of multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
Our accident attorneys serve clients, including Spanish speaking clients, in Long Beach, Carson, Lakewood, Bellflower, Los Alamitos, Paramount, Artesia, Cerritos, Gardena, Norwalk, Downey, South Gate, Lynwood, Buena Park, Compton, Inglewood, Torrance, Hawthorne, San Pedro, Seal Beach, Rossmoor, Signal Hill, Bixby Knolls, Westminster, the South Bay, and neighboring communities.
Want all the latest news or updates? Browse through our blog to read our most recent posts and featured articles.
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Read questions from other visitors, view our attorneys’ responses to these questions or submit your own question. You may find an answer that applies to your situation.
After my car accident, I didn't know what to do. I tried to fix the problem myself, and my insurance ignored me. After speaking with Catherine and her working group Maria and Nick, I have actually been able to achieve what my insurance said would not be po
They were always available to answer my messages and questions. I am very grateful to them. I recommend them.
Thank you McGee Lerer & Associates! Your services went beyond expected. You always kept me updated with calls and emails. I am very satisfied with the facility you sent me to. They were excellent!! Doctors and staff were friendly. Thank you so much, my fam- L.J.
McGee, Lerer and Associates’s, thank you for your help. I highly recommend this firm. Catherine was our lawyer who helped my wife and I out during the whole process of a car accident we were. Denise as well helped us through out the process. Any questions- R.A.
After a bad car accident I was referred to McGee, Lerer and Associates. I closely worked wih Catherine and Rachael, who always had time to answer my questions and were concerned with my wellbeing and healing after the accident. They helped me get the medic- M.J.
I want to thank Catherine and her team for making this process fast and easy for me and my husband. Any questions we had they answered right away.- E.A.
I'm 24 years old and barley understand my car insurance to be honest. When i got into my accident I was easily discouraged and willing to just accept what happened and not do anything. Luckily a close friend of Catherine's is a customer at my restaurant an- M.P.
Excelllent team of attorneys. Changed the bad experience of getting into a accident to a positive outcome. I got all the medical help I needed to recover. very professional customer service and excellent staff.- N.G.
Client TestimonialsWatch videos of our previous clients who have shared their stories with us.
Husband & Wife TeamWe combine our decades of experience to win for our clients.
Have Questions?View our FAQs to learn more about personal injury cases.
We have 5 offices in Southern California - Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Long Beach & Valencia
We can be available nights and weekends and come to you at the hospital or at home.
If we are unsuccessful in our efforts to recover your compensation, you owe nothing. Learn more here.
We take the time to understand all the unique factors of your case to achieve the best results.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
You’ve been in a car accident and you’re wondering if you should hire an attorney. Your family or friends may be telling you to. If you were injured and another driver was at fault, then you have a case. The more serious your injuries, then the more likely you should hire a lawyer.
What are “serious injuries?” Below are some examples. If any sound familiar, then it’s a good idea to run your case by a lawyer and get their opinion.
Examples of “more than minor injuries” are:
- You went by ambulance to the hospital
- Your airbags deployed and you have headaches and feel “out of it”
- You have neck pain, with numbness and tingling down your arm, and maybe into your fingers
- You have low back pain, with sciatica, or numbness and tingling, down into one of your legs
- It’s been three months or more since the accident and you’re still in pain
The reason to hire a lawyer? If you suffered serious injuries, it’s important that the insurance company fairly compensate for what you have suffered, and what you may suffer in the future. The more value your claim has, the more resistant the insurance company will be to pay you what you are owed. Insurance companies don’t like to part with their money. Insurance adjusters are judged in their annual reviews by how much they pay out. If an adjuster places “reserves” on your claim (an estimate of your claim’s true value) at $100,000, but the adjuster gets you to accept $10,000, that adjuster will get high marks in his or her annual review for saving the company money. Your injuries, the bills that you have incurred, and what you have suffered, mean nothing to the insurance company. It sounds harsh, but you need to know that it’s the reality.
What do they have to pay you for?
- The repair of your vehicle, or its total loss value
- A rental vehicle
- Diminished value of your vehicle (if it is repaired)
- Medical bills – those incurred to date and those that you will incur in the future
- Lost wages – up to the present and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
The Value of Bringing in an Attorney
Our job is to get you as much money as possible. We do that by making sure that all of your injuries are documented, and getting you all the medical treatment you need. With an attorney representing you, you will avoid pitfalls that could lower the value of your claim, for example:
- Not locking in witness statements right after an accident
- Not discovering all insurance policies that could apply to your claim
- Delay or gap in getting medical treatment
- Failure to document and work up a concussion
- Not seeing the appropriate medical specialists
- Being willing to accept a settlement that is less than the full of your claim
Do you still need a lawyer if the other driver admitted fault?
Admitting fault is just part of the battle. The real battle is over the value of your claim. So yes, even if the other driver’s insurance company accepts fault, you should hire a lawyer if your injuries are serious. The insurance adjuster may move quickly to make you a settlement offer on your injury claim within days of the accident. The adjuster’s goal is to get the claim settled before you hire an attorney. The adjuster knows that if you hire an attorney, the insurance company will have to pay substantially more money.
If you’re not sure whether you need a lawyer, call our firm for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. We’ll be straight with you on whether we think you should be hire a lawyer. You make the decision. If you do hire us, it costs you nothing up front. Read more about how we’re paid here.
What Is My Case Worth?
No law firm can tell you the value of your case right after an accident. If they do, that suggests the firm is telling you what they think you want to hear so that you’ll hire the firm. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we don’t do that. We will be honest, and that is why clients hire our firm – they want attorneys who they can trust to be straight with them.
If you hire us right after an accident, there are too many unknowns to predict the value of your case. The factors that will affect your case value include:
- Does the other side accept fault?
- How serious are your injuries?
- After you receive all of the treatment you need, what will your medical bills total?
- What will your lost wages total?
- Will you completely recover from your injuries, or will you suffer chronic pain and limitations for the rest of your life?
- What is the other driver’s policy limit?
- Do you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and what is the policy limit?
At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we prioritize maximizing case value. We accomplish that by making sure that all of your injuries are documented and fully worked up. We refer you to the appropriate specialists to get you the medical treatment that you need.
I Can’t Afford Medical Treatment
Are you worried that you won’t be able to get the medical care you need after an accident because you can’t afford it? Our attorneys are here to help you explore all your options, including medical liens that allow you to receive treatments without paying anything upfront.
Below are answers to common questions from accident victims:
- Will the other driver’s insurance company assist in getting me medical treatment and pay for the bills as I incur them? No they will not. Do not be lulled into thinking they will. In an effort to dissuade you from hiring an attorney, the adjuster may try to lead you down the primrose path, suggesting they’ll help you get treatment and cover the bills. You need to know that the adjuster will not help you get medical treatment. You are on your own to get medical treatment. You should also know that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not pay for medical bills as you incur them. They will only cut you a check after you sign a release, agreeing to a final settlement amount. Once you sign that release, you can never go back to them for more money, even if you need more medical treatment due to the accident.
- Will my health insurance pay for medical treatment related to an accident? Yes, your health insurance will pay for medical treatment, regardless of whether the treatment is related to an accident. It is not uncommon for a primary care physician’s office to inform a patient that health insurance will not pay for the treatment because it is due to an accident. That is incorrect and if the doctor’s office tells you that, they are misinformed. The significance of the medical treatment being related to an accident is this: if you pursue an injury claim against the at-fault party and receive a settlement, then you must reimburse your health insurance carrier for the accident-related medical treatment that the insurance company paid for. The health insurance carrier’s right to reimbursement is only triggered by you collecting money from the at-fault party. When your case settles, one of the services that we provide, at no charge, is this: we negotiate with your health insurance carrier to obtain a reduction of their reimbursement claim. Any reduction we obtain goes 100% to our client.
- I have health insurance, but I cannot afford the co-pays or deductible. We can refer you to a medical provider who will provide treatment on a “lien” basis. A lien means that the medical provider agrees to wait to be paid until your claim resolves.
- I don’t have health insurance. We can set you up with a doctor who takes liens, which means the doctor gets paid at the end of your case, out of the settlement. We have relationships with top doctors, including specialists, who take liens, and can usually get you seen right away, at a location that is convenient for you.
- If I treat with a lien doctor, but don’t receive a settlement, do I still have to pay the lien doctor? It is important to understand that a medical lien effectively delays payment to a medical provider rather than waiving those payments. If your injury claim does not yield a verdict or a settlement in your favor, then you will still owe payment to the lien medical providers. We would never want our clients to be stuck with medical bills they can’t pay, so we are always careful when reviewing a claim and recommending the use of medical liens. If we have concerns about proving fault on the other party, then we may suggest not treating on a lien. In that situation, we may recommend treating through your health insurance, if you have it.
If you are struggling with what to do about medical treatment after an accident, call our firm for a free consultation. We are happy to give you advice at no charge. If you hire us, there is no upfront fee. We only get paid if we win your case. Read more about our no fee promise here.
Should I Go To My Own Doctor?
You’ve been injured in an accident and don’t know what to do about medical treatment. Should you go to the ER? Should you go to your primary care physician? Will the other driver’s insurance company arrange for medial treatment? If you hire a lawyer, will the lawyer arrange for medical treatment? Below are answers to your commonly asked questions.
Will the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier help me find a doctor? Absolutely not. You are on your own to get medical treatment. The adjuster may say things to suggest they’ll help you, but don’t be misled.
Is seeing my own doctor a good idea? Sure. If you have a doctor and your doctor can get you in right away, that’s a good option. Just make certain the doctor notes in the chart notes that you were hurt in a car accident, and make sure the doctor notes all of the symptoms you’ve experienced. An important symptom you want noted, if you’ve experienced it - concussion symptoms, which include: headaches, dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears, confusion, sensitivity to light or sound, of difficulty finding the right word.
Should I have my attorney refer me to a doctor? Going to an attorney-referred medical provider has many benefits:
- An attorney-referred doctor will work on a “lien” basis, which means the doctor agrees to wait to be paid until your case settles.
- An attorney-referred medical provider can usually get you in right away. You want to avoid a delay because the insurance company for the at-fault party will use any delay against you, taking the position that a delay in getting treatment means you weren’t really hurt.
- Your attorney can find a doctor who is close to your home or work, so it’s convenient for you.
- We have relationships with some of the best specialists who treat car accident victims, including: orthopedists, neurologists, pain management doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, psychologists, and plastic surgeons.
- The doctors we work with know how to write medical reports that will be useful in your personal injury case. They also know the importance of documenting all injuries for your claim. As needed, they will refer you for medical tests which help diagnosis your injuries, which will increase the value of your claim.
After a car accident, you should be taken to the emergency room if first responders suggest it. For follow-up care, we can help guide you. Schedule a free initial consultation with our team to discuss treatment options.
How Long Will It Take?
If you have been injured in an accident, you are likely wondering how long it will take until your case resolves. You may need money to buy a replacement car because the money you received from the insurance company is not enough. You may be unable to work due to your injuries, and don’t know when you can return to work. You have medical bills to pay, and do not want your credit affected. You need to feed your family and pay the rent.
We understand the financial pressure an injury victim suffers after an accident. An important part of our role as your attorneys is to move your case forward as expeditiously as possible, towards settlement.
The length of time between the date you hire us and the date of settlement depends on many factors. The general timeline is this: you get all the medical treatment you need. When you’re done treating, we collect your medical records and bills. If you missed time from work, we also get documentation of your lost wages. We then submit a settlement demand package to the defendant’s insurance company. They respond with an offer in about 30 days.
Some of the factors which will affect the timeline include:
- How long you treat with doctors.
- The severity of your injury. If you suffered serious injuries (broken bones, bulging disks in your spine, brain injury, surgery required, etc.), then the timeline may be longer. We don’t want to settle your case until we have a good handle on what your long-term prognosis is and what the cost of any future medical care you will be.
- Whether there is a dispute about fault. If the other side is blaming you for all or a percentage of the accident, then a lawsuit may need to be filed, which means that the timeline will be lengthened.
- The defendant’s insurance policy limit. If your injuries are serious and the other driver has a minimal policy ($15,000 per person is the lowest it can be in California), then we may demand and receive a policy limit offer right away.
- Whether you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and the amount.
- The total number of injury claimants. If it was a multi-car accident, and all the claimants are making a claim on one driver’s policy, that could lengthen the timeline. The defendant’s insurance company will likely wait until all settlement demand letters have been received before the insurance company will make offers to any one individual.
The timeline is also framed by our client’s needs. If you tell us that you need money as soon as possible, then we will prioritize that goal as we move your case forward. If a quick settlement is not imperative, and you are more concerned about getting all of the medical treatment that you need and not being on the hook for medical treatment you may need in the future, then we will prioritize getting you to the proper specialists.
From the outset, it’s important that you share with us your needs and concerns, as they will help guide decisions we make in working up your case. Our goal is to get you the medical treatment you need and get you the maximum amount of money in your pocket.
Our lawyers are available 24/7 for a free consultation. In our initial phone call, we want to hear about your needs and concerns, and we’ll do our best to ballpark the length of time until settlement. If there are too many unknowns to even ballpark a time length, we’ll be honest with you and tell you so.
I Have a Lawyer, But I’m Not Happy with the Firm
Okay, you already have a lawyer, but you’re not happy with how your case is being handled. Can you change attorneys? Will it cost more?
If any of these complaints sounds familiar, you should call McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free second opinion:
- Whenever you call the firm, you speak with a case manager, office assistant, or maybe a paralegal, but not an attorney.
- You leave a voicemail but wait days or weeks for a return call, if any.
- Your own lawyer doesn’t seem to remember your case until you explain it again in detail.
- You have no idea what’s going on with your case.
- It’s been weeks since the car accident, and you’re still without transportation because your property damage hasn’t been handled.
- Your lawyer is not setting you up with a doctor, or maybe your lawyer set you up with a doctor that’s an hour away.
- The insurance company is offering a lowball settlement and your attorney is recommending you accept it.
Get a second opinion from McGee, Lerer & Associates for free. We’re familiar with the complaints accident victims have because they call us, fed up with their current lawyer, and asking if there is anything they can do at this point. The answer is: Yes. We can provide a second opinion on your case, at no charge. We’ll review your file, and then give you our honest assessment as to whether your attorney is handling the case appropriately. If we think your lawyer is not providing good service, we’ll tell you that. If we think your lawyer is doing a good job, and you should stick with the firm, we’ll tell you that too.
What’s the process to review your file? Often, we don’t need to actually see your entire file. We’ll have enough information to give you a second opinion just based on you telling us about the accident, and you emailing us a few documents (photos of your car, the police report, MRI report, surgery recommendation report, etc.). If we feel we need to see the actual entire file, the process is still easy because the vast majority of law firms store their files electronically. You simply ask your attorney to send you a Dropbox link to your file, and then you forward the link to us.
Changing attorneys doesn’t cost you more money. If you do decide to change attorneys, it will not cost you more money. You still only pay one attorney’s fee. At the end of the case, that one attorney’s fee is divided between your first lawyer and your second lawyer, depending on how much work they each did. The two law firms work out that division.
What’s the process if you decide to change attorneys? It’s a simple procedure to change attorneys. You sign a letter that says “I have changed attorneys to McGee, Lerer & Associates.” We then get the file from your first law firm, inform the insurance company that we now represent you, and we go from there. It will not slow down your case to change attorneys. In fact, if your current attorney is doing a lousy job, changing attorneys will likely speed up resolution of your case.
If you suffered severe injuries in an accident, it’s all the more important that you get full compensation on your case. This is your one opportunity. Once the case settles, you can’t go back and get more money. You need to know that you are getting the best legal representation you can. If you’re not sure whether your current lawyer is handling your case correctly, schedule a consultation now for a FREE second opinion.
What If My Injuries Affect Me for the Rest of My Life?
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you are likely worried about your future. You may be asking yourself:
- Will my life ever feel like it is “normal” again?
- What happens if I need more surgeries later because of my injuries?
- How will I find the money to pay for future medical care?
- What happens if I can’t go back to work? Or I need to enter a new position because of new disabilities?
The more serious your injuries, the more important it is for you to team up with the right law firm to represent you for the accident. You need an experienced personal injury attorney who has the knowledge and the resources to fight for the compensation you are entitled to. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we specialize in serious injury and wrongful death cases. Our expertise is in building your case to achieve maximum value.
Importance of Documenting Cost of Future Needs
We achieve maximum value by making sure that all of your injuries are documented. That means making sure you are seen by the appropriate medical specialists, which can include orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, pain management doctors, plastic surgeons, and psychologists. We have relationships with some of the top specialists in Los Angeles and Orange County. If appropriate, we bring in a life care planner, who will outline the costs of your future medical needs. If your injuries prevent you from returning to your prior job, we bring in an economist to quantify your future lost earnings. We may hire a vocational rehabilitation specialist to figure out what job you can do, given your physical limitations.
The truth is that a serious injury will change your life in many ways, some of which you have probably not even thought about. Our team anticipates your future needs and puts a dollar value on them.
The law entitles you to be paid for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Once you settle with the insurance company – that’s it. There is no going back for more money. That’s why it is so important to make sure the settlement covers your future financial needs.
What if a Doctor says You May Need a Future Surgery?
Insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible. If a doctor says you may need a future surgery (back surgery, shoulder surgery, knee surgery, etc.), the insurance company will take the position that they will not factor into the settlement money for a surgery you may never have. That is why is it so important that you have the right law firm representing you. If it is more likely than not that you will need that surgery, we will make sure the doctor’s opinion about future medical needs is documented, and we will demand that the defendant’s insurance carrier pay for the future medical care.
Injury victims who hire McGee, Lerer & Associates can trust that we are looking out for their future. The way your case is handled from the start will lay the groundwork for obtaining maximum compensation. Hiring the right attorney, who knows which medical specialists and experts to bring in so that your future needs are documented, is critical. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in an accident, we are here to help. Call us for a free consultation.
The Police Report Isn’t Ready
Did the police come to the scene of your car accident? If they did, they should have made a traffic collision report. You are going to want a copy of this report, especially if the police kept you away from the other driver, stopping you from getting their contact and insurance information.
The police report contains information you will need to make a claim, including:
- Insurance and ID info about all drivers involved
- Contact information from eyewitnesses
- Who the police officer thinks is at fault for the crash
If any of these situations apply to you, you need the police report right away:
- The police officer separated you and the other driver at the scene, so you have no information on that driver.
- Your car was towed to an impound yard. You can’t get it out of impound because you have no collision coverage under your own policy, and you can’t afford the hundreds of dollars the impound yard is demanding to release your car.
- You need a rental car, but have no rental coverage under your policy, so you need the other driver’s insurance information.
- You don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to pay for medical treatment. You need to know who the officer put at fault, and whether the other driver has insurance.
- You have collision coverage, but can’t afford your $1,000 deductible, so you need the other driver’s insurance information.
- The other driver claims you were at fault.
- You drive for Lyft and can’t afford Lyft’s $2,500 collision deductible, so you need the police report to learn who the other driver’s insurance company is.
Consider if these situations apply to you because a police report could help:
- Your car was towed, and you don’t have collision coverage to pay for it.
- You can’t afford the deductible, but you didn’t get the other driver’s insurance information.
- You can’t afford Uber’s or Lyft’s deductible as a rideshare driver, and you don’t know the contact info of the other driver.
- You can’t afford to rent a car using your own policy or money.
- You were separated from the scene because the officer thought there could be further issues if you tried to interact with the other driver then.
- The other driver is blaming you for the crash, and you are saying they are at fault.
If you were injured in a car accident, and have questions about the police report, call McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free consultation. We are a husband and wife attorney team. All we do is represent accident victims, and we are available 24/7 to answer your questions.
What Is the Process If I Hire You?
If you choose to hire us on your accident, it usually goes like this:
- Contact our Firm. You contact us by phone or email. One of staff members gets preliminary information, then passes you over to one of our lawyers, who will do a deeper dive, asking you questions about how the accident happened and your injuries. If you want to hire us, we email you the retainer package to sign electronically. You are also welcome to come in and meet with us, or we come to you. You can read about how we charge here. There is no up-front fee.
- Get Your Property Damage Taken Care Of. If your car is totaled or needs repairs, you need that handled right away, and you likely need a rental car. We prioritize getting your property damage claim handled pronto. We charge nothing for assisting with your property damage claim.
- Get Treatment for Your Injuries. It’s important that you start treating right away for your injuries. We can refer you to a medical provider near your home or work. The doctor will treat you on a lien basis – that means the doctor agrees to wait to be paid until your case resolves.
- Gather Evidence. We move quickly to gather important evidence, such as a police report, witness statements, and any video of your accident.
- Send A Settlement Demand to the Defendant’s Carrier. As soon as you’ve completed treating, or we have enough medical documentation of your injuries, we send a settlement demand package to the defendant’s insurance carrier. We include documentation of the injuries you suffered, the bills you’ve incurred, any lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
- Negotiate Settlement with the Defense Adjuster. The defendant’s insurance carrier will make a settlement offer. We use our experience (our team includes three ex-insurance adjusters!) to get you maximum value.
- Settle your Injury Claim. Once you sign a settlement release, you will usually receive your settlement proceeds within 30 days (though if Medicare or Medi-Cal are involved, it will take longer).
What If My Claim's Value Exceeds The Defendant's Policy Limit?
The most common policy limit that drivers have is $15,000. If you were seriously injured, $15,000 is not enough.
You may already know the defendant’s policy limit. Maybe the driver told you at the scene, or the driver’s adjuster has already disclosed the limit to you.
If you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries, the reason you should hire McGee, Lerer & Associates is that we may be able to get you more than the policy limit. How do we do that? Our law firm has developed an expertise in opening policy limits. We do that by: (1) providing the defendant’s insurance company with evidence of the claim’s value, (2) demanding the policy limit, and (3) giving them a deadline to accept our offer. If your claim is worth more than the policy limit, and the insurance company does not properly accept our offer to settle for the policy limit, complying with our settlement offer’s terms and deadline, we may have the argument that the policy is open. If the policy is open, that means that the insurance company is now on the hook for the full value of the claim, regardless of the policy limit. The cap is now off the policy.
In the event that your claim is worth substantially in excess of the defendant’s policy limit, and we are unable to “open the policy,” then under certain circumstances, our firm will waive a fee entirely, so that all of the money goes to you. Why would we do that? Because it’s the right thing to do. We put our clients’ interests first.
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