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San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys Motivated to Care

“The most important thing is that you care about what you do. As an attorney I care about what I do and I’ll do my very best for the client, not necessarily chasing the money, but because I care about what I do,” says Deon Goldschmidt, Esq., Principal at San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys.
Goldschmidt’s firm employs four attorneys serving clients throughout the State of California. Practice areas include auto, truck and motorcycle accidents; pedestrian accidents; fractures and surgeries; medical malpractice; elder abuse; workplace accidents; e-cig explosions; TCE exposure; and other accidents. San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys has achieved milliondollar settlements and jury awards since opening in 2010. “I enjoy the challenge of helping clients who come into the office without any ray of hope in the situations in which they find themselves. I enjoy working on the file, working with the client, helping the client in the treatment progression, watching the client improve in their health, and ultimately seeking just compensation. Just compensation—that’s the cherry on the top,” he says.
The firm has plans to open a new office in San Jose this year and is exploring the possibility of other locations in other California cities.

Deon Goldschmidt Esq.Motivated to Help Others
Goldschmidt is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa. His motivation to enter the practice area of personal injury law came when he was 17 years old. A close friend was badly injured in a car accident. No one would help the injured young man obtain compensation until an attorney became involved. “That sparked my interest, and already having an interest in debate and law I felt that was something I wanted to do. I felt a call to help the consumer more than businesses and the like in the unequal world of the insurance companies versus the little guy.” During his college years he attended court sessions where he observed first-hand the power of persuasion at work. Those observations served to enhance his drive to help others through a career in law. He earned his law degree in 1992 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He practiced in South Africa for 16 years.
The decision to move to the United States was motivated by a desire to protect his family. In 2008 he was participating in a bike riding competition in Cape Town. While he was away his parents and his three children were carjacked. His father was assaulted and the abductors put guns to his children’s heads and threatened to shoot them. They decided to leave South Africa and because his wife had family in San Diego, California became their destination. Within a year they were residing in the U.S.

Motivated to Succeed
Motivated by the immediate needs of a family staring anew, Goldschmidt spent the first year and a half in his new country employed in the day spa industry in California and Arizona. But his desire to help personal injury clients found him rebuilding a new career in his old profession. “I was bored with the spa business rather quickly and decided I wanted to get back into personal injury law,” he says.
In some ways the transition was easy, but in other ways he faced numerous challenges. He says, “There was a challenge in terms of procedure, process and to some degree the law I had to adapt to. I practiced law in South Africa for 16 years and was fairly accomplished there so it was difficult to come here as somebody who knew nothing about the U.S. legal system, who had no network, and as somebody at age 40 who had to re-establish himself. That was a challenge.”
Goldschmidt entered practice in the U.S. on his own, so all of his learning curve was traversed on-the-job. Another factor in deciding to go it alone was knowing his own personality. He says, “I have always been a person who has steadfast ideas and as such I would not be a good employee. I like the challenge that goes with running a business and having the ability to run trials and practice law.”
The case of an indigent man indicates the type of case his firm handles. The accident victim was injured while pushing a shopping cart across the road. He was hit and severely injured by a vehicle. He tried to get help from numerous attorneys, but no one would help him until he found Goldschmidt’s firm. Because of his indigent status he was not able to get proper treatment, which included a need for surgery and follow-up care. The attorneys took him personally to an orthopedic surgeon whose staff helped get him the emergency medical care he needed. Once this was arranged they transported him to the hospital where he had surgery and a recovery. The insurance company has now offered policy limits and the firm is in the process of negotiating a waiver of the medical lien so that their client can have a chance at rebuilding his life.
Goldschmidt says, “The satisfaction that we get knowing we can help people in the recovery and watching them slowly heal month after month, getting to know them as people and finally getting them compensation for their injuries leaves me and my staff with a deep sense of satisfaction. There is no better feeling.”

From left to right: Michel Scenovda, Deon Goldschmidt, Kevin Covan and Kevin RetorianoMotivation by Communication
The mantra at San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys is “Communication Makes a Happy Client.” It’s a goal requiring constant care and attention. “My key goal is to make sure my clients are happy and satisfied with the quality of our work. Making sure that all my staff communicates adequately with all our clients is probably the biggest challenge we face.”
Goldschmidt believes in a team approach and in treating people the way they want to be treated by others. He believes it’s important to make staff personnel feel like part of a team and that their everyday contribution is worthwhile. The collaborative approach gives responsibility to and expects responsibility from all members of the team.
“My success is their success. Communication is everything, we communicate with our clients regularly. I have been on the other end of the table and there is nothing more frustrating than not being informed. If a client knows what is going on with the matter, 99 percent of the job is done,” Goldschmidt says.
The firm’s commitment to genuine communication is reflected in their corporate motto: Big Enough to Help; Small Enough to Care.

Motivated to Manage
Attorneys who are also managers of their own firms sometimes find one “hat” in conflict with the other, but Goldschmidt says the only real challenge is managing to devote enough time to each aspect of the organization.
“We do pretty well in personal injury, but part of my job is to make sure that we don’t get too comfortable with what we do, too complacent. Both the management area and the legal area require an inordinate amount of time, so the challenge is spending enough time on both to make sure that all the wheels work well all the time.”
A key element of the firm’s success is their ability to deliver on handling the often complex challenges of personal injury cases while still delivering service that is personal. Goldschmidt manages those challenges by being readily available to staff and clients. “If someone on staff isn’t doing the job quite as well as a client might expect, I want to know about it. I get to hear about it and make sure that it doesn’t happen.”
His self-described personality is aggressive. However, he prefers non-confrontational approaches to opposing counsel, adjusters, clients, and situations.
“Kindness earns you more rewards than acting like a bully. I try to deal in a cordial manner and resolve issues on an amical basis before we go to court. Naturally, if the matter becomes adversarial we will hold nothing back, insuring that we obtain justice for the client in the courtroom,” he says.
Proper, in-touch, and open management earns success and a genuine sense of accomplishment in helping others. His team gets something more than just a win out of helping others and seeing them grow, Goldschmidt says. “We have a great team at San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys for two reasons. I believe in training my staff such that they know everything I know, in essence training them so they are capable of leaving and starting on their own, but treating them in such a manner that they don’t want to. Second, if you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. I can’t take credit for this philosophy. It is something I came across in reading an autobiography of Richard Branson. It stuck with me and has governed my business philosophy.”
His least favorite part of the job is the sometimes inability to do more for a client due to existing limitations placed on the legal situation. For example, some clients suffering from severe injuries can only be helped a limited amount because the insurance policies on the other side prevent adequate compensation. The funds just aren’t available.
Often those cases are handled anyway. Goldschmidt says, “We do a fair amount of pro bono work, but not in any groups in particular, on a case-by-case basis. For example, when there’s a small policy involved we’ll assist them in getting damages without charging them at all because the injuries are so devastating. My feelings are that it just wouldn’t be fair to take what little is there and cut it up among attorney’s fees. If we’ve got severe injuries and only a small policy involved we’ll do it for the client, get the money for the client, and not charge a fee.”
Goldschmidt says his growth philosophy is basic. “Always remember where you came from, serve your clients passionately and success will follow. I am also motivated in my business success by two comments that were made by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame, namely, ‘Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.’” He says, “I have always wanted to fight for the “little guy.” Big insurance companies have deep pockets and try to deny claims or under settle claims and try to take advantage of their ability to intimidate “Joe Public” into accepting low settlements. It gives me great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment in helping clients obtain justice.”

» EDUCATION

  • University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa – Bachelor of Arts, 1987-1989
  • University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa – Bachelor of Laws, 1990-1992
  • Candidate Attorney, 1992-1994
  • Admitted to practice in Republic of South Africa, 1994

» PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS

  • Johannesburg Attorneys Association (largest legal Association in South Africa), Committee member, 2004
  • Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, Member
  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Member

» BAR ADMISSIONS

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California

» OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Cited in various South African Law Reports on reported cases
  • Bar Exam, California, 2009 (Member of California Bar)
  • Founder, San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys (2010)
  • Founder, San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys (opening October 1, 2017)

Contact
Deon Goldschmidt Esq.
San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys
4350 Executive Drive #320
San Diego, CCA 92121
619.931.1650
deon@calawinjury.com
SanDiegoPersonalInjuryAttorneys.com

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