Debra F. Bogaards

Top rated Personal Injury attorney in San Francisco, California

Bogaards Law
Debra F. Bogaards
Bogaards Law

Practice Areas: Personal Injury, Employment & Labor; view more

Licensed in California since: 1983

Education: University of California College of the Law, San Francisco

Languages Spoken: Dutch, English, Hebrew, Spanish

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2023
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Bogaards Law

48 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133 Visit website


A personal injury, catastrophic injury, wrongful death,  employment, tenants' rights, and elder abuse trial attorney with Bogaards Law, Debra F. Bogaards represents clients in the state of California with an emphasis on the Bay Area. She has been named as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers and really helps her clients by developing a close relationship to guide them through the litigation practice. She works directly with her clients, one on one, often meeting them in their homes.  She has a strong sense of ethics and honesty, and coupled with her 40 years of experience, she has earned an excellent reputation amongst her peers.  Before starting Bogaards Law,  she managed an insurance defense firm, which gives her a balanced  understanding of both sides of the case as well as an upper hand in strategy. Ms. Bogaards handles matters of wrongful death, accident and injury.

Ms. Bogaards is admitted to practice in the state courts of California, before the United States Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In 1978, she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree  with a major in accounting and finance from the University of California at Berkeley.  She then attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where in 1981 she graduated with her Juris Doctor.

In 1983, Ms. Bogaards certified with the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in International Legal Studies.  She has also was accepted into and  completed Harvard’s Advanced Mediation Training in June of 2019. Since 2009 she has been on the Board of Trustees for the University of California, Hastings College of the Law Foundation and is currently the President of the Board.  She is a member of the board of directors of AJC , Haifa-SF and CHC Hydro. She is also former president of the Marin County Women Lawyers and a former member of the board of directors for the Marin County Bar Association and Legal Aid of Marin.

A member of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Ms. Bogaards is also involved with the Consumer Attorneys of California. Ms. Bogaards is also a member of the Marin Bicycle Coalition Association, the Lawyers Friends of Wine and was formerly involved with the Business Leaders Council of the Jewish Community Foundation.  She is active with Hillel, FIDF and AJC.

Practice areas

Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff, Employment & Labor: Employee

Focus areas

Animal Bites, Brain Injury, Employment Law - Employee, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Sexual Abuse - Plaintiff, Sexual Harassment, Slip and Fall, Whistleblower, Wrongful Death

  • 70% Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
  • 30% Employment & Labor: Employee

First Admitted: 1983, California

Professional Webpage:

Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Advanced Mediation Training, Harvard, 2019
  • McGeorge School of Law's Certificate in International Legal Studies, 1983
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers, 2007
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow, 2007 – present
  • Chosen to be Top 50 Northern California Women SuperLawyers, 2007
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005 – present
  • Chosen to be included in Best Lawyers of America list., Best Lawyer, 2016
  • Chosen to be top 5% of nationwide lawyers for Litigation Counsel of America, Liltigation Counsel of America, 2016
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • I successfully created and put on an elegant gala for UC Hastings Board of Trustees at the Asian Art Museum on 4.18.18 that 325 guests attended and raised over $150,000., 2018
  • Sixth Century ride as part of Pacific Coast Century  from Carmel to Big Sur to San Simeon with 150 lawyers and other riders., 2017
  • Eigth Century ride as part of  Pacific Coast Century from Carmel to Big Sur to San Simeon, 2018
  • seventh century ride as part of the Pacific Coast Century from Carmel to Big Sur to San Simeon, 2018
  • First Metric Century from Big Sur to San Simeon for Audi Best Buddies Challenge, 2011
  • Top 50 Northern California SuperLawyer Women, 2007
  • I finished the six day cycling ride in 95-100 degree heat in the desert in Israel with FIDF. We rode from Eilat to Jerusalem with wounded soldiers and veterans., 2017
Representative Clients:
  • Individual plaintiffs, 2018
  • Individual plaintiffs, 2020
  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and Mercury Insurance., 2018
  • Meltwater News (Netherlands), 2009
  • Individual plaintiffs, 2019
  • State Farm Automobile Insurance Company, Mercury Insurance Company, and Bimbo Bakeries, Inc., 2016
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • My article appeared in Plaintiff's Magazine with helpful tips on how to successfully conduct a zoom mediation during the pandemic., Forget the pants and stillettos--zoom mediations, Plaintiff's Magazine, Plaintiff's Attorneys, 2020
  • Expert Depositions, Continuing Education of the Bar, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Sterling Education
  • I wrote about being a new mediator., author, Stillettos in Mediation, Plaintiff's Magazine, Plaintiff's Lawyers, 2019
  • I wrote about best practices in mediation., author, What I learned at Harvard, Plaintiff's Magazine, Plaintiff's Lawyers, 2019
  • I spoke about being a new mediator., Lecturer, Mediation, W.T.L.A., Plaintiff's Lawyers, 2019
  • I was the featured speaker at C.E.B. both in Sacramento and in San Francisco on case highlights for 2018., Lecturer, Highlights of Cases for 2018, C.E.B., Lawyers, 2018
  • Effective Approaches to Opening Statements and Closing Arguments (with Kevin Morrison), Continuing Education of the Bar
  •  Lecturer, National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)
  • Voir Dire, Continuing Education of the Bar, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Sterling Education Lecturer, UC Hastings College of the Law College of Trial Advocacy
  • Guest editor, C.E.B. Insurance and Uninsured Motorist Guides, 2016
  • Basic Civil Procedure for Medical Experts, Private Client Seminars
  • The Basics: Personal Injury – Trial (with Miles Cooper) CA Continuing Education of the Bar
  • Using Deposition Experts at Mediation, Western Trial Lawyers Association
  • Moderator, Taking Expert Witness Depositions, C.E.B., 2011
  • My 8 y.o. client with ADHD and impulsivity put his finger into the blade of an impeller on a working engine at an aerospace museum.  His mother was far away, looking at another exhibit.  Liability was a huge issue.  I had to figure out how to make the 8 y.o. comfortable enough to talk to an attorney about a horrific tragedy and to show up at the mediation.  I also had a mother experiencing huge guilt that cried before our initial client meeting, at the inspection, at the meeting at her house and at the mediation.  I brought in a psychologist to help both mother and son.  I also retained a phenomenal accident reconstruction expert who focused on the unpredictability of children at this museum and found a similar engine at The Smithsonian with the gold standard of encasing the entire engine in a plexiglass box, so that this accident could never happen.  With great caring for my clients, I was able to guide them through a 2 and 1/2 month pre-litigation process culminating in a successful one day mediation.  We settled the case for twice what most attorneys and jury verdicts indicated, without accepting any comparative fault by either client.  Justice was done., Getting to Know Your Client, W.T.L.A. Seminar In Steamboat Springs, 2016
  • I was a speaker for young attorneys concerning civil procedure re expert witnesses.  This covered the Demand for Expert Disclosure, Expert Disclosure, Expert Writings and Expert Depositions., Speaker, Civil Procedure re Expert Witnesses, Boot Camp For Young Lawyers At B.A.S.F., 2015
  • I used the Director of Nursing from a Skilled Nursing Facility's videotaped deposition excerpts to show how they can be used successfully at mediation.  The example was taken from an elder abuse case that settled in mediation because of the videotape., Using Excerpts of Videotaped Depositions at Mediation Successfully, W.T.L.A. Seminar In Tahoe, 2015
  • My client was riding her bicycle when she was hit by a taxi who blew a stop sign. She suffered a concussion with cognitive impairment.  Fortunately, it was a mild concussion.  She also had depression and P.T.S.D.  She failed the Test of Memory Malingering.  So, we shifted the focus in her case from her continuing cognitive impairment, where her test scores invalidated her subjective symptoms about 1 and 1/2 years later, to her depression, anxiety and P.T.S.D., which her psychological test scores validated.  By shifting the focus in our mediation brief, we successfully settled her case., speaker, Shift the Focus, W.TL.A. Seminar In Tahoe, 2014
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • President of UC Hastings Law Board of Trustees, 2020
  • Member, Marin Bicycle Coalition Association, 2011 – present
  • A.J.C. Board, 2019 – present
  • Member, Business Leaders Council, Jewish Community Foundation, 2011 – 2012
  • Board of Directors, Lawyers Friends of Wine, 1995 – 1997
  • Legal Aid of Marin, Board of Directors, 2000 – 2015
  • Vice President, Hastings College of the Law Foundation, 2015-present
  • Soiree Gala chair, University of California, Hastings College of the Law Foundation, 2017 to present
  • Chair, Nominating Committee, University of California, Hastings College of the Law Foundation, 2013-2016
  • Alumni Advisor, HJLSA, 2014-present
  • Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Marin, Business Leadership Council of JCF, Fundraiser for YEARUP!, Board of Trustees of UC Hastings , 2011
  • Vice President, Board of Trustees, U.C. Hastings College of the Law
  • Gala Co-Chair of U.C. Hastings Board of Trustees, 2016
  • Represent clients for Legal Aid of Marin., 2010
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Alumni advisor to HJLSA at UC Hastings Law., 2020
  • Haifa-SF Committee Member through Israeli Consulate, 2020
  • Ms. Bogaards reached a confidential settlement for a female client who fell when leaving the doctor's office. She suffered a significant ankle injury with surgery.  The case settled for $460,000., 2019
  • Co-alumni advisor to UC Hastings Rowing Team, 2020
  • Participant on the FIDF Cycling in Israel mission, 2019
  • Board of Director of CHC Hydro, 2020
  • Member, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, 1995 – present
  • Spring Soiree Chair of U.C. Hastings Board of Trustees , 2019
  • President of U.C. Hastings Board of Trustees, 2020
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2009 -present
  • The U.S. Supreme Court
  • Board of Director of AJC, 2020
  • U.S.District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S.Federal Courts
  • California
  • Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Marin,Member of SFTLA and ADC, 2016
  • Member of Lawyers Friends of Wine, 2018
  • Past President of Marin Women Lawyers, 2016
  • Executive Officer and Nominating Committee Chair of U.C. Hastings Board of Trustees, 2016
  • Alumni Advisor to U.C. Hastings' Cycling Team, 2016
  • President of Marin Women Lawyers, 2000
  • Business Leadership Council for the JCF, and Fundraiser for YEARUP!, 2011
  • Speaker at W.T.L.A. Seminar in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 2017
  • Member of C.O.A.C., 2018
  • Board of Directors of the Marin County Bar Association, 2000
  •  V.P. of the Board of Trustees for Hastings College of the Law, 2018
  • Board of Marin County Bar Association, 1994
  • Alumni Advisor to H.J.L.S.A. at U.C. Hastings, 2018
  • Motorcyclist hit by van making a left turn, thereby cutting him off.  Motorcyclist suffered a below knee amputation.  Case venued in Santa Cruz.  Ms. Bogaards took 1 deposition and defended 3 depositions.  Ms. Bogaards retained 4 experts, a prostheticist, economist for present value of the prosethetics, a PM&R and a vocational rehabilitation expert.  Ms. Bogaards settled  for her client in a zoom mediation during Covid, within six months of the accident, for $8,350,000., 2020
  • Marie Baca fell as she was walking to her car in a parking garage near Westfield Shopping Center.  She suffered a trimalleolar fracture which required surgery.  Liability was hotly contested.  Ms. Bogaards settled the case for $500,000 at mediation., 2020
  • Ms. Bogaards reached a confidential settlement on behalf of an employee of an international tech start up company who was a whistleblower of misuse of the Facebook manager and other trade secrets.  The case settled at mediation for $460,000., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards reached a confidential settlement of $600,000 for an employee who was a whistleblower involving sales of a scam product. The case was settled at mediation, since an arbitration was coming up with a more employer biased arbitrator,  Ms. Bogaards had plaintiff's expert make a presentation during the zoom mediation., 2020
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a wrongful death case on behalf of her client, the 26 y.o son of the 40 y.o. decedent, who died when a eucalyptus tree limb fell on her in a desolate area of Rodeo, CA.  The 26 y.o., Jason Hunt, and his mother, the decedent, both used drugs and had a hard life.  Counsel for the other brother realized he had a conflict of interest, and brought Ms. Bogaards into the case.  Ms. Bogaards was very involved in getting both brothers appropriate clothes to wear to deposition and mediation, as well as hair cuts.  The case settled for both brothers at mediation for $750,000., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the case of a bike mechanic who flopped over with his dog in his basket because a Lyft driver intentionally was trying to cut him off.  It was a hit and run, and the bike mechanic had only one doctor's visit.  It settled for $10,000., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a case on behalf of a tenant who had spent two years in litigation with two top law firms, just two weeks before trial. She was able to both prepare for trial and settle the highly contentious case in 8 days., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards settled with the last defendant, who was not involved in any way, with a fatal multi-party car crash, for $20,000., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards settled an employment case with one phone call for $51,000 for a worker who was laid off after missing a lot of time from work., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the first party case of Pete Lavaroni, who suffered only soft tissue injuries and emotional distress in a roll over accident for $300,000 solely on the basis of her settlement demand letter, exhibits and telephone negotiations with the claims adjuster., 2019
  • Ms. Bogaards successfully defended Mercury Ins. against a claimant who sued for suffering Peyronie's disease following an automobile accident.  The binding arbitration award was only $17,500 for the unrelated soft tissue injuries., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards represented two families who were harrassed by their new landlord in the Mission for $350,000 at mediation.  Later, she officiated the wedding of the son and his girlfriend.  The families onlly spoke Spanish.  They were very pleased with the outcome., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards represented Ms. Hall in negotiating a potential severance agreement., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards represented Jeremy Crawford, who was sued by a former co-worker for sexual misconduct.  The case resolved at mediation., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a contentious landlord/tenant case involving failure to properly do asbestos abatement while undertaking a seismic retrofit. Her client, one of two tenants, is himself a lawyer, Joshua Ridless.  The case settled for the over $50,000 in attorneys fees as well as over $20,000 in emotional distress., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a soft tissue injury to plaintiff's ankle who was hit as a pedestrian for $75,000., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the case of Claudia Wilson whose foot was run over by a commuter bus when she was walking to her car after work. She suffered a Lisfranc injury to her midfoot, but didn't have surgery.  The case settled at mediation for $675,000., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the case of her 16 y.o. client, Daniel Burstein, who was hit while riding his bicycle against traffic in the crosswalk.  Liability was disputed.  At mediation, the case settled for $150,000., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the case of pedestrian Pedro Avila for $210,000, who injured his leg and required surgery.  Ms. Bogaards obtained the policy limits and a modest cash contribution from the defendant., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a disputed liability case---red light/green light-- of a pro cyclist who injured her leg, requiring at least one surgery, for $675,000.   The plaintiff's accident reconstruction expert thought the pro cyclist probably was speeding so he was not helpful.  After assisting the client with clothing to wear to deposition, the bike inspection, and mediation, as well as preparing her for all three, the case settled for a very high amount.  Ms. Jordan was pleased with the outcome., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the case of an elderly passenger on the MUNI who was not yet seated when the bus driver began to accelerate, causing Ms. Suarez to fall.  She had a lumbar surgery, which also was related to a prior surgery.  The case settled at mediation for $90,000., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the a roll over auto accident case for policy limits for Pete Lavaroni who suffered soft tissue neck and back injuries., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a pedestrian case where her client was hit by the MUNI bus.  The City and County of SF settled directly with the claims adjustor for $35,000., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards settled the case of a minor at  the JCC museum who injured his hand on an exhibit with just her settlement demand letter, and the petition for minor's compromise was granted immediately., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards successfully settled a plaintiff's case involving a taxi cab driver with soft tissue injuries., 2018
  • Ms. Bogaards successfully tried this moderate motor home/pickup truck with camper rear end freeway accident in the Marin County Superior Court in September 2011. Plaintiffs claimed the need for cervical and lumbar surgeries. Plaintiffs' medical bills were $50,000 and $84,000 respectively. The jury awarded $10,000 to one plaintiff, and $22,500 to the other plaintiff. The judge awarded Ms. Bogaards 100% of her costs, of $60,000!, 2011
  • Ms. Bogaards settled a cyclist v. taxi case at mediation for $175,000. The cyclist claimed post-concussive symptoms lasting more than 1 and 1/2 years as well as depression. Unfortunately, the client failed the Test of Memory Malingering. So, Ms. Bogaards simply shifted the focus at mediation to her depression, anxiety and P.T.S.D. Her medical specials were under $15,000. , 2015
  • Ms. Bogaards successfully tried a case in the San Francisco Superior Court in August 2011. In this moderate rear end automobile accident, plaintiff claimed the need for a cervical surgery.Ms. Bogaards disputed causation of injury due to a lack of significant forces. She got a stunning defense verdict (unanimous) in just 34 minutes, and the judge awarded her 100% of her costs ($42,000). Plaintiff compromised payment of costs to $40,000, by cashier's check, paid within 3 business days., 2011
  • Ms. Bogaards settled pre-litigation with merely a settlement demand letter, some investigation and phone calls the wrongful death of a 94 y.o. jaywalker who crossed in the middle of the block between parked cars against a red light. Her accident reconstruction expert couldn't find even 1% liability against the hapless driver who hit her. The case settled for $150,000., 2015
  • Ms. Bogaards obtained a unanimous defense verdict on Dugard v. Morton, a jury trial in Marin County. Her client, a 94 y.o. gentleman, was driving a motor home and rear ended another motor home on the freeway. Plaintiffs complained of neck and back pain.  Treatment consisted of physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and injections. Both claimed the need for future surgery., 2013
  • Ms. Bogaards obtained a $100,000 settlement after the deposition of her client who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from a heater in a motel.  After being rushed to the hospital and given oxygen for 8 hours, her client had some fatigue and anxiety for the rest of the week.  However, she continued on with her family vacation and work., 2016
Educational Background:
  • Member of SFTLA, 2020
  • Completion of Harvard's Advanced Mediation Training, 2019
  • Certificate in Advanced International Legal Studies from McGeorge School of Law, 1983
  • U.C. Hastings Law, 1981
  • U.C. Berkeley - B.S. in Business Administration, 1978

Office location for Debra F. Bogaards

48 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133

Phone: 415-886-6384


18 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2023

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Top 50: Women Northern California Super Lawyers: 2007

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