Will I be responsible for anything if I hire you to represent me in my personal injury case?

Yes. You will be responsible for telling me the truth, in confidence, and for providing me any documents that may be in your possession. We advance all reasonable costs (such as court fees, copying, telephone calls, etc.) and when the case is settled or litigated, the costs will be deducted from the settlement or award, after you have reviewed and approved the costs.


First, every potential client is offered a free initial consultation. Then, if you decide to hire us, our legal fees are a percentage (typically 25% for minors under 18 years of age) and 33.3% to 40% depending on the status of the case. Such an arrangement is called a “contingency fee,” where our fees are contingent on you receiving a recovery. We do not get paid unless you get paid. Our fees and scope of our legal duties are clearly defined in a Legal Services Fee Agreement that both Attorney and Client sign.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

It depends on several factors, for example, how long it will take for you to heal or recover from your injuries and the complexity of the case. It is ill-advised to settle any case before you are fully recovered, as settlements are final. Some insurance companies may try to encourage you to settle early. Don’t do this without first consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Why shouldn't I just settle my personal injury case on my own?

The best course of action is to consult with an attorney soon after the incident, and certainly before the insurance company starts calling you, so that you are advised of your rights and steps you should take to protect yourself. Personal injury law is complex and involves certain strategies, concepts and deadlines. For example, if you are injured, you should be aware of certain “deadlines” or “statutes of limitations.” If the party who caused the injury is a governmental entity, like the federal or state government, county or city, then you must file a claim with the governmental entity within six months of the injury. If you are injured by a “private party,” in California you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit or you are forever barred. (A medical malpractice claim may have a shorter statute of limitations – one year from the discovery of the injury).

I am having trouble finding a job and renting a home due to a past criminal conviction. Can my criminal background be cleared?

It depends on the charge. If the criminal charge is a misdemeanor, or a “wobbler,” which is a charge that can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, then it may be expungeable, or eligible to be cleared. The Law Office of Debra A. Newby offers a free initial consultation to determine whether your past criminal convictions would qualify for an expungement, or dismissal of the charges, if granted by the Judge. To be eligible, you must have successfully completed all the terms of your sentence, such as probation, the payment of fines, and restitution. We charge a flat fee for this legal service, which includes all costs and filing fees. We only represent clients whose criminal charges were filed in Sonoma, Lake or Marin Counties.