Practice Areas Overview

The Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel provides high-quality, effective legal representation in Oakland and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, bankruptcy, and general civil litigation. We believe that every client deserves the best representation, and our goal is to achieve the best result in every case.

Auto & Trucking Accidents

The Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel represents the victims of car accidents and their families throughout the Bay Area, including serious accidents resulting in catastrophic brain and spinal injuries and wrongful death. Visit our personal injury page for more information on related practice areas, including motorcycle and bicycle accidents, as well as pedestrian accidents.

Auto Accidents

For every client’s case, we perform a full, independent investigation of your auto accident to identify the precise cause(s) of the accident, including motorist error, defective parts, or a dangerous road condition. Using our extensive trial experience and skill at negotiating with insurance companies, we aggressively advocate on your behalf to obtain the recovery you deserve.

Our primary objective is to obtain compensation for the financial costs of your injuries, particularly when you require expensive medical care that prevents you from working. In addition to helping you seek recovery through settlement negotiations or a lawsuit, we can provide guidance in seeking financial assistance from other possible sources. Health insurance through your employer will typically cover some of your medical treatment, and you may also be able to access any personal injury coverage included in your own car insurance policy.

Many auto accident cases involve direct communication and negotiation with an insurance company, either your own, or that of the other driver. Insurance companies are motivated by profit and consequently have one goal: to pay out as little as possible. As an attorney with a proven record of successful trial verdicts, Mr. Drexel can dramatically increase your chances of obtaining a fair settlement. Most car accident cases are resolved through settlement, and the opposing party is more likely to offer a fair amount if it knows your attorney has the ability to take the case to trial.

Trucking Accidents

We have extensive experience assisting auto drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck or tractor-trailer. Due to the disparity in size and weight between commercial trucks and the other vehicles on the road, accidents involving trucks often result in serious and catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and wrongful deaths. In addition, the risk of serious injury is greater because many trucking accidents occur on highways at high speeds.

Trucking accident cases are typically more complex than other types of auto accident cases because trucks and other commercial carriers must comply with extensive federal regulations. These regulations address every aspect of trucking, including loading methods, driving restrictions, inspections, and maintenance. Of particular importance are the regulations that require drivers and trucking companies to keep detailed documentation of maintenance history, trip duration, and related activity. When an accident occurs, these records can prove critical to determining liability — we can obtain these logbooks, examine them to expose any violations, and consult with experts to determine whether the logbooks may have been forged or altered after the accident.

Many trucking accidents are the result of multiple causes, including driver error, defective parts, poor maintenance, and dangerous weather conditions. Large trucks typically have decreased or obstructed fields of vision, limited mobility, and require greater braking distance. Accidents can be caused by a trucker speeding, driving under the influence, driving while fatigued or sleep-deprived, or driving without proper training and experience. In other situations, equipment and parts fail because of a poor maintenance, or even a design or manufacturing defect despite proper maintenance. We conduct a thorough investigation to determine all potential sources of recovery, assessing the potential liability of the driver, the trucking company, and manufacturers of the vehicle and its parts.

Seek Experienced Personal Injury Representation

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an automobile or trucking accident, you need to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to begin investigating the incident, examining the accident scene, contacting witnesses, and preserving all relevant evidence. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel today.

Bankruptcy Practice

At the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel, we are committed to helping people in the San Francisco Bay Area find effective solutions to their legal and financial troubles, including finding relief through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The major portion of a bankruptcy is administrative in nature and managed outside of the courthouse, there are still times when litigation is required to resolve an important piece of the bankruptcy proceeding. In those cases, it is important to be represented by a lawyer with bankruptcy experience who understands the similarities and the important distinctions between a regular civil trial matter and litigation in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Attorney Baron Drexel has 25 years of civil trial experience, including 15 years in bankruptcy practice. Our office can ably represent your interests in any adversary proceeding, contested matter, or other form of bankruptcy litigation, including issues involving preferences, fraudulent transfers, and nondischargeability actions. We can represent you in any of the following:

Adversary Proceedings

Adversary proceedings are described in Rule 7001 of the Bankruptcy Code, which basically includes:

  1. a proceeding to recover money or property;
  2. a proceeding to determine the validity, priority, or extent of a lien or other interest in property;
  3. a proceeding to obtain approval for the sale of both the interest of the estate and of a co-owner in property;
  4. a proceeding to object to or revoke a discharge;
  5. a proceeding to revoke an order of confirmation of a chapter 11, chapter 12, or chapter 13 plan;
  6. a proceeding to determine the dischargeability of a debt;
  7. a proceeding to obtain an injunction or other equitable relief;
  8. a proceeding to subordinate any allowed claim or interest;
  9. a proceeding to obtain a declaratory judgment; or
  10. a proceeding to determine a claim or cause of action removed to another court.

Contested Matters

Contested Matters are outlined in Rule 9014, and may include:

  1. dismissal or conversion of a case;
  2. objections to confirmation of a plan;
  3. relief from the automatic stay;
  4. the use of cash collateral;
  5. avoidance of certain liens; or
  6. the assumption or rejection of executory contracts or unexpired leases.

Skilled and Experienced Courtroom Representation

Our firm possesses the knowledge and ability to handle the most complex litigation which may arise in the course of a Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. Whether or not litigation will be required in your case, you can rest assured that your bankruptcy matter will be dealt with ably and effectively. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in the Oakland or San Francisco area, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel for immediate assistance.

Client Intake Form

In order to better serve you, please download and complete this form.

We are a federal debt relief agent.

Catastrophic Injuries Burns

The Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel provides comprehensive personal injury representation for victims of catastrophic burn injuries in the California Bay Area. Like traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, catastrophic burns can result in long-term or permanent disability, requiring years of rehabilitation and medical care. We help clients not only recover their past medical expenses, but also seek compensation for future care that will be required to treat your burns. We understand how painful these injuries can be and will pursue a damage award that fully compensates you for the pain and suffering you have endured.

Causes of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can occur in numerous ways. Burns can result from auto and trucking accidents, as well as accidents involving buses or motorcycles. Burn injuries may also be sustained in industrial and construction site accidents. Defective products can also cause burn injuries. A burn can range from a first degree burn, where only the outer layer of skin is damaged, to a third degree burn, where the damage reaches through the full depth of the skin to the underlying tissue. Some victims even suffer fourth degree burns, where not only is the skin damaged or destroyed, but the underlying tendons, bones, and fat and muscle tissue are damaged as well.

Oil and gas are a leading cause of fire-related burns because they are extremely flammable and susceptible to explosion if subjected to great pressure. Along with exposure to fires, burn injuries can be caused by chemicals, electricity, radiation, and scalding liquids. Besides the damage done by the burn itself, burn victims are at further risk of other serious medical conditions, such as infection, scarring, dehydration, hypothermia, and permanent internal organ damage. Burn injury victims can also suffer from smoke inhalation, which can cause asphyxiation or severe injury and inflammation of lung tissues. Severe emotional trauma is also common following a serious burn, either due to the event itself or from the scarring, disfigurement, and lingering pain that follows.

Treatment of Burn Injuries

For burn victims, immediate medical attention is crucial to receiving proper care and treatment and minimizing the lasting impact of the injury. Initial treatment for a severe burn may require up to a year of hospitalization, followed by years of further treatment, including multiple surgeries, wound care therapy, and psychological counseling. Due to the intensive care required, burn injuries can be particularly costly in terms of medical care and related expenses. Also, victims are likely to miss significant time away from work and may not be able to return to their jobs. We understand the financial damages these victims suffer and work tirelessly to obtain the compensation they deserve.

Seek Experienced Personal Injury Representation

If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic burn injury as a result of another’s negligent or reckless conduct, or as a result of a dangerous or defective product, you need a personal injury attorney with trial experience specific to burn cases. Contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel today for a free initial consultation.

Catastrophic Injuries Brain & Spinal

The Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel provides personal injury representation for Bay Area victims of catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries. These injuries are among the most severe and traumatizing that people may suffer, and are often the result of serious auto or trucking accidents. In especially severe cases, these injuries can lead to a wrongful death. We understand not only the serious financial consequences of these injuries, but the emotional trauma endured by the victims. We can help you recover for your injuries and obtain the medical care you need.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

We help clients with the many financial difficulties associated with catastrophic brain injuries. Brain injuries are among the leading causes of death in high-impact accidents. These injuries often cause serious problems for a victim’s personal and professional life, sometimes disrupting the ability to work or function independently. Common causes of brain injuries include vehicle accidents (including rollovers), construction site accidents, slip and falls, and birth trauma.

Unfortunately, many brain injuries are irreversible. While full functionality may be not be restored in some cases, surgery and other procedures may be used to stabilize the patient and prevent further damage. Further treatment and rehabilitation can be used to help recover lost motor or cognitive function. Brain injury victims often face months or even years of rehabilitation.

Due to the extensive medical costs associated with traumatic brain injuries, as well as the prevalence of severe pain and suffering, we aggressively pursue the parties responsible for these injuries to ensure our clients receive the compensation to which they are entitled. Our goal is not only to pay for your existing medical bills, but to allow you to afford the potentially significant medical costs that lay ahead.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries, like many brain injuries, are a tragic occurrence that can cause you to lose your independence and place a heavy burden on your family. These injuries have many causes and occur in varying degrees, but quite often they are catastrophic. A spinal injury can be particularly severe when temporary or permanent paralysis results, necessitating life-altering treatment and care.

Since they are very expensive to treat and most families cannot afford to pay for a loved one’s cost of care, spinal injuries present significant financial hardship. Many people with spinal cord injuries require lifetime care that will be very expensive, requiring constant care, treatment, and rehabilitation. We can help you seek compensation that not only pays for past medical bills, but provides for future expenses.

We have experience handling cases involving brain injury cases and cases involving severe spinal cord injuries, including quadriplegia and paraplegia. We have handled cases ranging from mild to severe brain and spinal cord injuries, and have been successful in obtaining favorable results for our clients. Unlike some personal injury attorneys, Mr. Drexel is willing and able to take a case to trial if the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company does not offer a fair settlement amount.

Seek Experienced Personal Injury Representation

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury to the brain or spinal cord, you need an attorney with extensive experience representing clients in this specific type of personal injury claim. We have decades of experience representing victims of brain or spinal cord injuries and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel today for a free consultation.

Chapter 7

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and are faced with a large amount of unsecured debt that you cannot repay, the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel may be able to help you get rid of that debt and make a fresh start through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Our firm works everyday to help people find a new beginning with the help of a Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 provides a means for discharging debts that the debtor cannot repay. It does not require any type of payment plan. Once all non-exempt assets have been sold and applied toward existing debts, any remaining debts are discharged by the bankruptcy court, meaning that the debtor is no longer responsible to repay them.

Although a Chapter 7 "liquidation" requires the debtor to sell off certain assets as part of the process, the law automatically exempts many types of assets from this requirement. It is important to understand that it is possible and very common to have a "no asset" bankruptcy discharge. This means that you are able to eliminate your debt without having to sell any assets at all.

It is true that the bankruptcy court may not be able to discharge all of your debt. If you have domestic support obligations (child support, spousal support), certain student loans or tax debts, you may still be required to meet those obligations. Also, if you have debts which are secured by collateral, receiving a discharge of those debts may require you to relinquish the collateral.

A capable and experienced bankruptcy attorney will be able to review your assets and debts and let you know which assets are exempt from sale and which debts can be discharged in the bankruptcy. Based on these factors, you will know whether Chapter 7 is right for you. If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, or if it is not the right method for your circumstances, Chapter 13 may prove to be a better fit. A qualified bankruptcy lawyer will be able to advise you on which proceeding best meets your needs.

Baron Drexel is an AV-rated attorney with 15 years of experience in bankruptcy law. He can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you and whether you should choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Mr. Drexel can prepare your petition and shepherd your case through the entire court proceeding, including handling any bankruptcy litigation matters which may arise. For quality advice and effective representation in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy matter, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel, and get started on a second chance at a sound financial footing.

We are a federal debt relief agent.

Chapter 13

In Oakland and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel helps people save their home from foreclosure and regain their financial footing through the assistance of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Unlike Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not require the debtor to sell off any assets in order to receive a discharge of debts. Instead, the debtor, with input from a creditors’ committee and the help of a bankruptcy trustee, devises a plan to make monthly payments over a three or five year period. At the end of the plan period, any remaining debt is discharged by the bankruptcy court.

A Chapter 13 debt adjustment is commonly referred to as a wage earner’s plan, because it is best suited to a consumer with a steady paycheck and some amount of disposable income. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy has many advantages. First of all, payments under the plan are limited to the amount of disposable income available, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to meet your monthly obligation. Also, your creditors are bound to accept the terms of an approved plan and cannot harass you or try to collect the debt some other way. In fact, you will not have to deal with your creditors at all but will make your monthly payment to the bankruptcy trustee, who distributes payments to the creditors according to the plan.

Probably the biggest advantage of Chapter 13 to many people is its ability to stop a home foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure because you have missed several mortgage payments, Chapter 13 allows you to "catch up" those late or missed payments by rolling them into the plan. As long as you are complying with the plan and staying current on your mortgage payments, the bank will not be able to foreclose.

If you are considering bankruptcy, the first step is to meet with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can help you determine whether bankruptcy is the right option for you, and whether you should file for Chapter 13, Chapter 7, or another provision of the Bankruptcy Code. Baron Drexel has been practicing bankruptcy law in the Bay Area for 15 years and can provide you with the assistance you need to turn your financial situation around. Contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel and make a fresh start today.

We are a federal debt relief agent.

Dog Bites

The Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel represents individuals who have been injured by dog bites or animal attacks in Oakland and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Dog bites and animal attacks are traumatizing events with lasting physical and psychological damage. While an attack by an animal can result in serious and permanent injuries, or even death, the impact of such an attack on a child can be devastating. Small children are especially vulnerable to animal attacks due to their size and their limited capacity to appreciate the risk involved when around an animal. Regardless of the age or sophistication of the victim, the animal’s owner owes a strict duty to prevent the animal from injuring others.

Dog bites frequently occur when an owner has failed to secure the dog in a fenced yard, or otherwise allows the dog to walk or roam while unleashed. Dog bites also commonly occur when the owner walks the dog on a harness or on a retractable leash which offers little control over a larger animal, attempts to walk two or more dogs at the same time, or lacks the physical strength and capability to control the animal.

Physical Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

Physical injuries can be much worse than lacerations and puncture wounds. Large animals can inflict serious bone fractures, permanent nerve damage, or deep lacerations that result in loss of limbs. Brain and spinal cord injuries can occur from the force of being knocked down to the pavement by a large animal. Depending upon the size of the animal and the size of the victim, death can result as well, particularly when the encounter is between small child and vicious dog. Even where the physical injury initially appears to be relatively minor, the risk of serious infections requires that the injury be taken very seriously and followed up with the appropriate medical treatment.

Emotional Trauma Caused by Dog Bites

Severe and lasting psychological trauma can result from a dog or animal attack. Facial scarring or other disfigurement can result in long-term or permanent humiliation, as well as causing life-long pain or physical disability. Victims can become afraid of dogs after an attack, hampering their ability to interact in social situations and interfering with their ability to be outdoors without fear of further attacks. This fear, or accompanying depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may take long-term psychological therapy or psychiatric care to resolve. These effects can be even more pronounced, and more tragic, when the victim is a small child.

California Law Regarding Dog Bites

California is a strict liability state, meaning that if a dog attacks someone, the dog owner is liable for the injuries, even if the owner did not know the dog was vicious and the dog had never attacked anyone previously. The injured victim does not have to prove that the owner was negligent or at fault. However, the bite or attack must have occurred either in a public place or while the victim was lawfully present in a private place (such as the dog owner’s property).

Recoverable Damages in a Dog Bite Case

If you have been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages to compensate you for your injuries, including medical bills and pain and suffering. If you suffered from any kind of disfigurement, you may be entitled to reimbursement for plastic or reconstructive surgery. 

Experienced Legal Representation in Dog Bite Cases

If you or a loved one has suffered from a bite from a pit bull or any breed of dog, or from an attack by any type of animal, seek advice from a personal injury lawyer with experience handling dog and animal attack cases. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel today.

General Litigation

At the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel, we believe that the law was created for people, and we strive to make the law work for our clients, whether in the case of a personal injury, bankruptcy, or any general civil litigation matter. Below are just some of the areas of general litigation in which we provide efficient, effective representation for clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area:

Contracts

The contract is one of the most basic features of our legal system and our economy. Some form of oral or written contract underlies countless transactions everyday among businesses and their customers, employees, vendors, suppliers, etc. A breach of contract may be litigated in state or federal court, depending upon the parties involved and the nature of the subject matter. The law of contracts includes a rich and dynamic history, and matters can range from the straightforward to the most complex.

Business Litigation

Breach of contract disputes make up a large part of business litigation, however there are also many tort-based claims as well. Unfair business practices, deceptive trade practices, fraud and representation are some of the actions which may be dealt with in court, regardless of the existence of any contractual relationship between the parties. Business disputes can also occur between partners or business owners; among corporate officers, directors, and shareholders; or between competitors, such as in an intellectual property dispute over copyright or trademark infringement.

Section 1983 Claims

A Section 1983 claim is an action brought to remedy a deprivation of civil rights inflicted by a government employee or a person acting under color of law. Section 1983 is a federal statute (42 U.S.C. 1983), so these cases are brought in federal court. However, 1983 claims can apply to actions by state or local government officials. Section 1983 can therefore be a powerful tool against police brutality or prosecutorial misconduct. While it may be difficult to obtain justice at the state or local level in these situations, a federal case can provide the access to justice and relief that someone who has been wronged by government conduct needs. Money damages may be awarded to remedy a section 1983 violation.

Punitive Damages

We seek punitive damages whenever they are applicable and appropriate to the case. The general rule is that punitive damages are only available if they have been specifically authorized by law, such as by a specific state statute. California’s general rule, found in Civil Code Section 3294, is that exemplary (punitive) damages are available when the plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with oppression, fraud, or malice in causing harm to the plaintiff. This section does not apply to breach of contract cases.

Actual damages are always available in any civil case. Actual damages are meant to compensate people for the actual loss they have suffered. Actual damages may be medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering in a personal injury matter, or the amount contracted for or business lost in a breach of contract dispute. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are designed to punish the defendant for especially bad behavior which caused the injuries or damage in the case. Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages, because their purpose is also to serve as an example to others of the consequences of malicious or particularly egregious wrongful conduct.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

Regardless of the nature of your dispute, our office has the experience and judgment to handle your matter expertly and efficiently. Attorney Baron Drexel has been practicing law for 25 years, with courtroom experience in corporate law, personal injury, bankruptcy, and across the field of civil litigation. In Oakland and throughout the Bay Area, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel for your general litigation needs.

Premises Liability

Under California law, property owners owe a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for the sake of others. When people are injured in a slip and fall or other accident in the Bay Area, the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel helps those injured to hold the property owner responsible for their negligence in causing this personal injury.

In order to keep their premises reasonably safe, property owners should inspect and maintain their property on a reasonable basis. If any dangerous conditions become known, they should either be promptly repaired, or a notice provided to warn of the danger.

Timing is Everything

Businesses which are open to the public and which invite the public onto their premises in order for the business to thrive owe a duty to keep their premises safe at all times, to the extent that it is possible to do so. In the case of restaurants and grocery stores, for instance, food or liquid spills are not uncommon, and my be caused by other patrons or customers as well as employees. If one person slips and falls on a spill made by another, it becomes a critical question whether the property owner knew or should have known of the spill and corrected the situation before the accident happened. These issues can be complex and may involve eyewitness testimony as well as expert witness testimony regarding the standards in the industry for making routine inspections and cleaning up spills promptly. At the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel, we understand the inherent challenges presented by premises liability cases and prepare a thorough and convincing case for an effective settlement or positive jury verdict.

Independent Contractor/Third-Party Claims

An accident may not always be the fault of the property owner. For instance, there may be an independent contractor or other person on the premises who directly causes the injury. This may be true even in the workplace. A vendor or supplier driving onto the property, or a manufacturer of defective equipment, can be the primary entity responsible for a workplace injury. While workers’ compensation is normally the employee’s exclusive recourse for an on-the-job injury, in the case of third-party liability a personal injury negligence lawsuit may be pursued regardless of whether a workers’ compensation claim is also appropriate.

Hold Others Accountable for Their Actions

With nearly 20 years invested into representing victims of slips and falls and other personal injury cases, our firm possesses the practical know-how and legal skill to prepare your case for the best possible outcome. It is important to hold property owners accountable for their negligence, not just to compensate you for your injuries, but to ensure that they change their practices and prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. If you or a loved one has been injured on another’s unsafe or dangerous premises, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel for a free consultation.

1 2