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Helping Clients Navigate Injury Claims

We’re ready to help with a variety of case-types, here’s just a small example of how we can help:

Large Firm Results & Representation with Small Firm Personalized Attention & Care

Michael is determined to provide each of his clients with personal, one-on-one legal attention. With the Beliz Law Firm, you’re not a number. Each case is important to us, and we promise to treat our clients with respect. We firmly believe in providing you with a voice in your time of need. At the same time, our Long Beach Injury Lawyers focus on maximizing the value of your case - we’re ready to handle tough negotiations with the insurance company. Finally, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if that’s what’s needed.

I would highly recommend The Beliz Law Firm and should I need legal counsel or a personal injury lawyer in the future, Michael Beliz has become my new go-to guy.

- M.M.
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Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Michael Beliz

Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Results

Michael A. Beliz, Esq., established The Beliz Law Firm in the spring of 2011. Michael has been a practicing attorney since 2006 and worked for two of the most prominent plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in Southern California. He has extensive experience with personal injury claims and has worked on and handled hundreds of cases as an attorney in all types of accident and injury cases, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents and dog bites, and successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients.

At the University of San Diego School of Law, Michael was a multiple-year recipient of the Delroy Richardson Endowed Law Scholarship and attained the high pass in Negotiation. In addition, he was a semi-finalist in the ATLA Intramural Mock Trial Competition. Prior to graduating from law school, Michael earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics. Michael A. Beliz is admitted to the State Bar of California and United States District Court, Central District of California.

Client Testimonials

  • "I was referred to the Beliz Law Firm by a family friend and was not disappointed. I was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver and when I needed the services of an attorney, Michael Beliz came to my work to discuss my options. He is very friendly and explains everything in effectively and in detail. He recommended a great chiropractor whom I then sought treatment from and who helped me recover from my injuries. Michael created an excellent report used in my case which allowed me to receive the maximum return in my settlement. I have already referred a family friend and recommended another long time friend to seek his services. God forbid I ever get in another serious accident, but if I do I will for sure contact Michael again to seek his help. He’s a great guy who does great work!"

    Y.R.

  • Long beach personal injury lawyer Michael Beliz represented my personal injury case this year and I’m glad I found them. In summation Michael Beliz came across as intelligent, effective, friendly, and genuine. An excellent people person and well versed attorney is a hard combination to find. Michael walked us through everything; spoke to me like a person and not a case number. He just pretty much made the whole ordeal so much easier. Michael was extremely helpful, patient and responsive with my family and me the entire time. Michael regularly checked in on me during my recovery and kept me up to date on the status of the case and conversations with the other parties’ insurance company. My case wasn’t large but he treated me as if I was one of his only cases. I would highly recommend the Beliz firm to family and friends as the highest recommendation I could offer.”

    M.G.

  • "No one wants to involve an attorney in an auto claim, but sometimes you have no choice. Michael made an unpleasant situation so much easier. He really took the time to understand everything that was going on and always gave me prompt and personal attention. He was involved immediately and took over all the interactions with the insurance companies. He became the only one I had to deal with and there were never any games with him, only sound advice. My only mistake was not calling Michael sooner. I now recommend an attorney anytime an injury is involved in an auto accident, if only so they can deal with the insurance companies’ games, and you would be hard pressed to find someone better than Michael Beliz."

    T.V.

Recent Results & Settlements

Michael has a long history of getting his clients the compensation they deserve. Here are a few of his recent results:

Recent Blog Posts

Attorney Portrait

What Should I Do If I Was Hit By a Company Vehicle?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Pursuing a personal injury claim for compensation following a car accident can be complicated, especially one involving a company vehicle. A company vehicle is any vehicle owned by a business and driven by an employee or other “agent” of the business. The vehicle could transport equipment or goods or be an employee’s assigned company car. Understandably, prospective clients come to us to find out, “What should I do if I was hit by a company vehicle?” If you suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact the Beliz Law Firm. We can help you determine the best course of legal action when a negligent driver in a company vehicle causes an accident. What To Do Immediately Following the Accident The steps you take immediately following an accident can impact your injury claim later. Here are some helpful things to remember following an accident with a company-owned vehicle in California. Contact the Police It’s crucial to contact the police following an accident with injuries, especially when a company vehicle is involved. In a traffic collision report, it usually states the driver’s name and the owner’s name. An officer may determine that the vehicle being driven was a company vehicle. In addition, the report will state the insurance information like company and policy number.  This insurance information may also lead to the finding of the vehicle and/or the insurance being with a company.   Exchange Contact Information Be sure to exchange all information with the other driver. Exchanging information will get you details on insurance and the owner of the vehicle. The insurance information will lead to the value of the policy limits. If the other driver was in the course and scope of employment and driving under their employer’s insurance plan, the policy limits may be higher. Most company insurance is higher than the average personal auto insurance limits.    Further, remember to gather information on independent witnesses. Witnesses are essential in these collisions because the insurance adjuster will strongly argue that the company representative was not at fault. Take Scene Photos If you can do so safely and not further injure yourself, take photos of the damage and surrounding scene. You don’t need a professional camera; cell phone images are fine. Try to get pictures of all vehicle damage, debris on the ground, skid marks, or any element of the scene that might be important to your claim. Most importantly take photos of the other vehicles. There may be a decal that shows it was a company vehicle. Don’t forget other factors like weather conditions, road hazards, a broken or blocked traffic sign, or any other relevant detail. Seek Medical Treatment Right Away If you do not require emergency medical transport from the scene, you still need to seek medical treatment right away. Even if you do not think you are severely injured, it’s crucial to get checked out. You could have internal injuries or soft tissue injuries that are not visible. If you delay treatment, the defendant’s representatives will likely use that fact to say that you weren’t that injured. Or they might suggest that another intervening event—that happened after the crash but before seeking treatment—caused your injuries. Contact an Attorney The other driver’s insurance will try to dissuade you, but it’s best to hire a lawyer right away. The sooner you have legal representation, the more your rights are protected. Having a legal advocate from the start will allow your attorney to do your talking for you, thereby keeping you from saying something that could harm your case. Determining Liability in a California Car Accident California follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that you can still collect compensation if you share fault for the accident. However, your award or settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So someone who is 20% liable would not receive more than 80% of their total damages. Claims involving company vehicles differ from other common accidents in several ways. Company vehicles can be commercial vehicles, but it doesn’t only mean 18-wheeler trucks. It could be a delivery van, shuttle, courier, etc. The driver could also drive a company car because they do outside sales, conduct inspections, attend meetings, and more.   If the other driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the crash, the company would likely be responsible for the driver’s actions. Company vehicles typically have commercial insurance policies with higher limits than a personal auto insurance policy. That could be important if you sustained severe injuries. However, if the driver was on personal time, their personal insurance policy might be responsible for your damages.     Speak with Our Lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm You might be thinking, What should I do if I was hit by a company vehicle? If so, contact the Beliz Law Firm to discuss your case and your options. No two accidents involving a company-owned vehicle are alike, so it’s best to speak with a car accident lawyer to help you make sense of the confusing legal process in California. The legal team at the Beliz Law Firm has years of experience assisting injured victims just like you. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help.

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I Was Hit by a Car in the Crosswalk. Now What?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

As a pedestrian, you should feel safe crossing the street while walking in the crosswalk. Drivers must wait for a pedestrian to finish crossing before they continue driving. However, some drivers do not pay attention and strike a pedestrian who is lawfully crossing the street. If you were hit by a car in the crosswalk, you have legal rights in California. Contact the Long Beach car accident lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm today to learn more. What Should You Do Following a Pedestrian-Car Accident Immediately following an accident, the steps you take are essential and can impact your injury claim for compensation. Try to remain calm, so you remember everything you need to do. Contact the Police Start by contacting the police if no one else already has. It’s important to let the 911 dispatcher know a driver struck you as a pedestrian in the crosswalk. You want medical personnel to respond and assess your injuries. Be very cautious about what you say at the scene of the accident. The driver might take something you say out of context, and the insurance adjuster might use these statements against you in a liability investigation. Exchange Contact Information Hopefully, the driver of the vehicle did not flee the scene. You will need to exchange contact information and get their insurance information. Did anyone else witness the accident? If so, you will need to obtain contact information for each witness. Don’t assume that the witnesses will still be there when the police arrive. Someone may not be able to wait, so get their information before they have a chance to drive away. Take Photos If you are physically able, you can also try to take photos of the accident scene. Include pictures of the driver’s vehicle and any debris on the ground. Are there skid marks before the crosswalk? Is it raining? Be sure to capture this information as well. If you can get photos of your injuries, that’s also helpful evidence.  Seek Medical Treatment If you do not require transport to the emergency room following the accident, be sure to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters will use any delay in treatment to their advantage. They could allege you were not seriously injured or that another event after the accident caused your pain. Contact an Attorney Pursuing a pedestrian accident claim is complicated, and you will need an advocate on your side who can help you navigate the legal challenges. Anything you say to the insurance company can be used against you, so it’s best to get an attorney right away. Let them talk to the insurance adjuster for you so you don’t accidentally say something you regret later. Determining Liability in a Pedestrian Accident The driver’s insurance company will be looking for any option possible to place some liability onto you—thereby lessening their exposure. California follows the legal theory of negligence known as pure comparative negligence. With pure comparative negligence, you could be partially responsible for the accident and still collect compensation for your injuries. However, your percentage of liability would reduce your overall award or settlement. For instance, if a court found you to be 20% at fault and your total damages were $100,000, you would likely end up getting $80,000 in compensation. Who Pays for Your Injuries? Determining who pays for your injuries and damages depends on who is legally responsible. Potentially liable defendants include: The driver of the vehicle, The vehicle owner if different than the driver, A company if the driver was in a company-owned vehicle, or A government agency if the person was driving a city or county vehicle. The driver might allege a vehicle defect contributed to the accident, such as brake failure. If there is a verifiable defect, an additional defendant could be an auto manufacturer or mechanic. Hire Our Lawyer Working with an attorney after a pedestrian accident is crucial. It is best to have a legal advocate on your side who will protect your rights after being hit by a car in the crosswalk. Your lawyer will help you determine all liable parties and handle communication and settlement negotiations with the defendants and their legal representatives. Getting the maximum compensation for your injuries requires strong evidence and an understanding of insurance company tactics aimed at lowering your recovery. At the Beliz Law Firm, we know every trick the insurance companies will try to use to avoid paying you the money you deserve—and we know how to hold their feet to the fire until they make a reasonable offer. Don’t risk getting less money than you should receive. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you hold the liable parties responsible for the harm they caused you.

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How California Law Treats Dangerous Dogs

| Read Time: 4 minutes

If you suffered injuries after being bitten by a dog, you likely have many questions, including who will pay for your damages. You might also wonder what happens to the dog after an attack. California has multiple laws dealing with dog bites and what the state defines as a vicious dog. You may hear dogs get “one free bite,” but that isn’t necessarily true as owners can be liable for every bite. The California dangerous dog law defines potentially dangerous or vicious dogs, but the law is not breed-specific. Understanding the laws surrounding vicious dogs in California can be confusing. You need a California dog bite attorney to help you pursue a claim against the responsible parties. Definition of Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dogs in California The dangerous dog law in California spans several different sections, including the California Food and Agriculture Code. Division 14, Chapter 9, Section 31602 defines a “potentially dangerous dog” as: A dog that acts in a way that requires a person to take defensive action to prevent injury when the dog and person are not on the property of the dog’s keeper or owner—the dog must act this way when unprovoked at two different times within the previous 36 months; An unprovoked dog that bites someone, causing injuries more minor than a severe injury; Any dog that has seriously bitten, killed, inflicted an injury, or otherwise caused injuries by attacking a domestic animal while away from the dog’s keeper or owner’s property—the dog must have been unprovoked, and this must have happened at least two different times within the prior 36 months. As you can see, the law defines more than what happens when a dog bites a person. This statute also means that if a dog bites another dog, the law in California will declare it a potentially dangerous dog. But an attack on another animal must be unprovoked and happen twice in 36 months. Section 31603 of the same code also defines a vicious dog as being one that either: Acts in an aggressive manner when unprovoked, and inflicts severe injury to or kills a person; or Was previously declared to be and is currently defined as a potentially dangerous dog—and after the owner was notified, the dog continues behavior as described in Section 31602, or the owners maintain it in a manner that violates Section 31641, 31642, or 31643 of the code. If you sustained injuries from a dog bite, don’t worry about trying to determine if the dog was already declared a potentially dangerous or vicious dog. Let an experienced dog bite lawyer in California help you. At the Beliz Law Firm, we have years of experience dealing with dangerous dog claims and can help protect your rights. What Do Owners Need to Do for Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Dogs? Under the California Food and Agriculture Code, owners must take specific actions with a potentially dangerous dog. A potentially dangerous dog must be registered, vaccinated, and the owners could pay an additional licensing fee. The dog must be kept inside the owner’s home or behind a secure fence where the dog cannot escape, and children cannot trespass. If the dog is not on the owner’s property, they must have it restrained by a substantial leash of appropriate length and controlled by an adult. The owner must notify animal control in writing if the dog is sold, transferred, dies, or permanently removed from the city or county where the owner resides. They must notify animal control about the dog’s new location within two working days of the change.   If the court declares the dog vicious, animal control departments have rights under the dangerous dog bite law. Euthanasia might possibly be ordered by the court in this situation. If animal control does not destroy the dog, owners will be subject to additional conditions to protect others from potentially being attacked. The dog owner may be subject to additional rules and restrictions depending on their city. Various cities and counties in California have provisions for controlling dangerous or vicious dogs. The caveat is that these programs cannot be restrictive as to breed. What Happens if an Owner Violates the California Dangerous Dog Law? As stated, a victim may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner. But the owner could also face criminal prosecution for violating the dangerous dog law in California. California Penal Code 399 can impose criminal charges for failure to control a dangerous animal. This statute applies when the keeper or owner fails to use ordinary care to confine a dangerous or vicious animal, and someone else suffers severe injuries. Depending on the circumstances, the dog’s owner or keeper might be facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Both offenses could result in jail and fines. Contact Beliz Law Firm Today If you suffered injuries due to a dog bite in California, let the skilled legal team at the Beliz Law Firm assist you. Dog bites can result in severe physical and emotional injuries. You could be entitled to compensation for your damages. We understand what a stressful and traumatic time this is for you and can help you pursue compensation from the responsible parties. Call today to learn more about how we can help. You only have a limited amount of time to bring a claim for damages related to a dog bite. Schedule an appointment today to ensure you don’t miss the filing deadline.

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