San Jose has become one of the most populous, affluent, and technology-centric cities in America over the last several decades. The personal injury law firm Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger started in 1959, and has grown alongside this gem of a city. From the foothills of Mount Hamilton to Silicon Valley and beyond, our firm enjoys a long and storied history with the Bay Area city of San Jose.
Unfortunately, with great expansion and a populous city- the third largest in California to be exact- means increased chances of serious personal injuries.
When road rage causes an accident on the congested I-680 to I-280 commute, an industrial equipment explosion kills someone in the “Innovation Triangle,” or a helpless child drowns in an unfenced neighborhood pool, locals contact the San Jose personal injury lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger.
Over the decades, we have built a reputation for success that resonates throughout the Bay Area legal community. We’ve secured more multi-million dollar outcomes than any other personal injury law firm in Northern California. When a preventable accident leads to serious injury, you can trust us as your dedicated personal injury legal counsel.
Why Choose Our Firm?
If you have sustained an injury caused by another individual, business, or entity, you need to have an attorney by your side who has experience handling complex personal injury cases in the San Jose area. Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is standing by to help.
- Our attorneys have the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the case in order to determine liability.
- Our team has an unmatched record of success and securing multimillion-dollar results for our clients, and we are not afraid to take a case all the way to trial if necessary.
- Our team utilizes trusted medical professionals so that we can understand the complexity of your medical needs and help prove your injuries to the insurance carrier or two a jury.
San Jose Personal Injury Resources
Types of San Jose Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury lawsuits cover a range of diverse accidents and injuries. As your San Jose injury attorney, we defend plaintiffs in cases involving:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Nursing home abuse lawsuits
- Wrongful death claims
- Medical malpractice
- School abuse
- Product liability
- Catastrophic injury claims
We have decades of experience handling third-party claims in workplace accidents and delicate claims involving young children and the elderly.
Many law firms practice in the San Jose area, but none offers the same level of support as Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. Over the last decade, we have helped 98% of our clients secure fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
Our personal injury settlements and awards include many six and seven-figure outcomes. We successfully secured a $52 million verdict in a propane explosion case that led to wrongful death in San Jose. Our lawyers negotiated an $8 million settlement in a clergy abuse case. The firm fought for a $17 million jury verdict in a product liability claim that resulted in a severe brain injury. These results speak for themselves. When we represent clients in San Jose and throughout the Bay Area, we bring our A-game to secure the financial support our clients deserve.
Most importantly, the plaintiffs we help defend owe us no payments unless we secure compensation for their lawsuit. Our San Jose injury lawyers work on a contingency fee bases which simply means you pay no fees unless we win! We owe our clients a duty of care to defend in court and fight for maximum compensation without having to worry about the cost of litigation.
How Evidence is Retrieved to Fight Your Case
In order to secure compensation in a personal injury case, victims and their attorneys have to prove the liability of the other parties involved. However, this is easier said than done. Proving liability for a personal injury case involves conducting extensive investigations in order to uncover as much evidence as possible. This evidence begins to disappear as soon as an incident occurs, so the evidence gathering process needs to begin quickly. Injury victims, if they are able to do so and if they are not severely injured, can gather evidence at the scene of an incident. This can include:
- Using a phone to take photographs of the scene, including causes of the incident, injuries, and any other relevant factors that insurance carrier or jury may need.
- Gathering the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the incident.
- Ensuring the incident is reported to the appropriate officials (police officer, property owner, etc.).
Even after the initial incident is over, the evidence-gathering process is not complete. A San Jose personal injury lawyer can use their resources and legal expertise to gather even more evidence. This could include determining whether or not any surveillance cameras were nearby and caught the incident on their footage. An attorney can also use the court system to gather additional evidence (which will vary depending on the type of incident), including the following:
- Cell phone data records
- Vehicle “black box” data
- Company safety records
- Inspection and maintenance records
Frequently Asked Questions on San Jose Personal Injury Claims
Our San Jose personal injury attorneys have decades of experience in the practice of law. For the rest of us, legal matters often seem complicated and they are an area we fortunately may need to deal with only a few times in our lives. Clearing up some common questions on the subject can help make the process more understandable.
Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
First, there must be some kind of injury. Many bad things almost happen to us, but unless you have suffered an injury, you cannot make a personal injury claim. Second, that injury must have resulted in economic damages. This means your injury must have cost you money. This is typically in the form of medical expenses, damage to property, and lost wages due to missed time at work.
Finally, someone else’s negligence must have caused your injury. If you are on a deserted road and nod off causing your car to crash into a telephone pole, you have suffered an injury, but it is not due to anyone else’s negligence. In a personal injury claim, you are seeking compensation for your injury and the costs associated with it that was the result of someone’s negligence.
Q: How long is a settlement versus a trial?
It is often easy to reach a very quick settlement – if you are willing to accept a low offer that will leave you with medical expenses and other bills long after the settlement check has run out. Getting fair compensation often takes time- and the guidance of an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney.
One of the chief benefits of reaching a settlement is that it is faster than going to trial. How long it takes depends on how much evidence is in your favor, how determined the insurance company is to keep their settlement lower, and how willing you are to wait for a fair settlement. Reaching a settlement can often take months, depending on the amount of money involved, and a trial can be expected to take much longer. Unfortunately, there are too many factors to make a general statement about how long the process will take in any particular case.
Q: How are personal injury settlements paid out?
If your case reaches a settlement, the insurance company or lawyers for the other side will prepare a release. This document specifies the terms of the settlement and may have some items your attorney will object to. Eventually, you and your attorney will reach an agreement and you will sign the release. You may generally expect a settlement check within 30 days of the signing.
In the case of a trial, the other side may appeal the decision after their loss. The appeals court may uphold your win, may reverse it, or may send your case back for a new trial. A new trial will take more time, after which the other side may appeal once again. Once you finally have a confirmed verdict, you can pursue getting the money awarded in your case.
Q: What factors affect compensation?
There are various factors that could affect how much compensation you receive after sustaining an injury caused by another party. A qualified San Jose personal injury attorney will examine the facts of your case and work with various experts to help properly calculate the total compensation you are entitled to. Some of the main factors that can affect compensation in these cases include the following:
- The severity of the injuries. Without an injury, there will be no forthcoming personal injury settlement. That said, the more severe the injury, the more likely it is that the settlement will be substantial. Relatively minor injuries may not result in a large settlement, but injuries that lead to scarring and disfigurement, temporary or permanent disability, and a lowered quality of life or generally likely to result in higher settlement amounts.
- Whether there is any shared liability. If you sustain an injury that was completely caused by another individual or entity, you will likely be entitled to the full compensation amount that is calculated for your claim. However, there are times when injury victims contribute to their own injuries in some way. This shared fault could reduce the amount of compensation the victim receives. California operates under a pure comparative negligence system, which allows injury victims to recover compensation even if they are partially at fault (up to 99% at fault). However, the total amount of compensation awarded will be reduced based on the percentage of fault the injury victim shared for the incident.
- Insurance limitations. The compensation an injury victim receives is often capped by the insurance policy coverage limits of the at-fault party. Insurance carriers will do everything they can to not pay large settlements, but there are times when they do have to pay up to their policy limit. However, the insurance carrier is not going to pay more than the policy says they have to pay. If an injury victim’s total losses exceed the insurance policy limits, it may be necessary for the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover any additional compensation.
Q: How long does it take to receive a settlement check?
There is no set amount of time that it takes for an injury victim to receive a settlement check in these cases. Much of this will depend on whether or not your case is resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers, resolved through negotiations after a lawsuit has been filed, or resolved by a personal injury jury.
If your case, like most injury cases, is handled through insurance carriers without the need for a personal injury lawsuit, then there is a possibility you could receive your settlement in as little as a few weeks to a month. However, there are times when insurance carriers delay claims while they conduct further investigations into the incident. Additionally, there are often delays as both sides negotiate back and forth with one another. All this could push a settlement into the months-long time frame.
If an insurance carrier refuses to offer a settlement or even denies the claim, then it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. This will significantly add to the length of the time it takes for a settlement check to arrive if the injury victim is successful with their claim. Personal injury lawsuits have several phases, including investigation, discovery, mediation, and a trial. Attorneys from both sides will continue to attempt to reach a negotiated settlement before a trial occurs, but this could still take many months or even years. Finally, if a jury trial is necessary, the case may not even be heard until years after the injury occurs.
Regardless of which route you believe will be necessary for your case to reach a successful conclusion, we strongly encourage you to work with a skilled San Jose personal injury lawyer who can handle every aspect of your case. An attorney will be able to guide you towards not only the quickest path possible, but also the path that will ensure you receive maximum compensation for your claim. In these cases, faster is not always better.
Q: How are personal injury awards calculated?
There are three kinds of compensation you may pursue in a personal injury claim – economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are compensation for financial losses you suffered including medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of damage to property. These are the simplest to calculate. Your personal injury attorney in San Jose will add up all these expenses to reach the economic damage total.
Non-economic damages are damages for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment or affection. It is not possible to objectively determine the cost of these damages, but testimony from experts, amounts in cases similar to yours, and the judgment of the jury or judge affects how your case is decided. In order to reach a proper calculation for non-economic damages, an attorney will not merely be able to add up bills or receipts. Often, they will use a “multiplier method.” This involves taking the total reached for the economic damages and multiplying that by a set number (usually 1.5 to 5). For example, if the total economic damages reached $200,000, an attorney may use a multiplier of “3” to reach a non-economic compensation total of $600,000.
Punitive damages are awarded as compensation when the negligence was so egregious that it merits punishment in the form of money paid to the victim. The amount would depend on the severity of the egregious negligence as well as the injury suffered.
Q: Do you have to pay taxes on compensation?
In general, you owe no taxes on compensation from a personal injury settlement. While there are exceptions –punitive damages are taxable – your settlement money comes with no tax obligations. You should consult your tax accountant for the specifics of your settlement.
Q: How much does a San Jose personal injury lawyer cost?
Affording a personal injury attorney may not be as difficult as you think. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we understand that injury victims are often placed into precarious financial situations. With incoming medical bills and countless out-of-pocket expenses to contend with, it can seem impossible to even think about affording an attorney. However, our attorneys take San Jose personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.
This means that our clients will pay no upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to their case. We will only collect legal fees after we obtain the compensation that our clients are entitled to. This means that if we do not win your case, you will not pay anything. This type of fee arrangement allows injury victims to stand up to the person that caused their injury, regardless of their financial resources.
Personal Injury Support for San Jose Residents
Injury claims in San Jose involve many moving parts. Our attorneys understand the local, state, and federal laws that impact claims in Santa Clara County courts. We have spent our careers honing our insurance negotiation skills and building networks of experts who help us build airtight cases against at-fault drivers, property owners, businesses, licensed professionals, and product manufacturers.
Contact us the moment you suspect someone else needlessly caused or contributed to your injury. A helpful Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger attorney will guide you through the legal process and give you straightforward feedback about the merits of a personal injury claim. If you hire our San Jose personal injury lawyers to protect your right to compensation under California’s laws, we will begin representing you immediately on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay any attorney fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf.
Choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger
Anyone injured in a preventable incident has the right to compensation. Partner with a firm you can count on to fight for maximum damages and settlement values. With access to cutting edge case resources and a reputation for success, we will do everything in our power to give you the best possible quality of life after an injury.
If you experience a serious injury in San Jose, remember the team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. Contact us for a free case evaluation online or by calling (415) 981-7210.