What should I do if I am injured because of someone else’s fault?
If you are injured in an accident, try to get as much information as you can about the identity of the person or company that is at fault, including the name of their insurance company, and the identity of any witnesses. For example, if it is an automobile accident, get the other driver’s name, address, telephone number, insurance policy number, license plate, and driver’s license number. Tell your insurance company about the accident. You are under no obligation to speak with the other party’s insurance company.
What about liability for accidents caused by Uber or Lyft drivers?
We are seeing more and more people injured by drivers working for Lyft or Uber (or any of the delivery companies). Both Uber and Lyft carry insurance covering their drivers when they are logged on to the Uber or Lyft platform.
Should I authorize the release of my medical records to an insurance company?
It is appropriate to release information about your injuries to the other party’s insurance company, on the condition that they provide you with a copy of the records they obtain. Be sure to narrow the scope of the authorization to limit the records released to only the injuries you suffered, and not your entire medical history.
What should I do if I am injured by a defective product?
An important piece of evidence in a product defect case is the defective product. If possible, you should preserve the product, or at least photograph it. For example, if you are injured by a defective household appliance, don’t let anyone throw it away. If you do not own the product, get an agreement from the owner that it will be preserved or, better yet, get permission to store it yourself at home. Then contact an attorney to discuss whether you have a case.
Is there a fee to speak with you about a case?
No. Simply call me to discuss your matter. There is no charge for the initial meeting. I handle all cases on a contingent fee basis (see below).
What is a contingent fee agreement?
I handle all cases on a contingent fee contract. Under this type of fee contract, you do not have to pay any fees until your case is resolved. If I am able to settle your case, or if the case goes to trial and you win a judgment, my fee is a percentage of the settlement or judgment. If you lose your case, there is no fee. Contingent fee agreements are negotiable and must be in writing. I advance costs of litigation. Costs I advance are paid from the settlement or judgment.
How much is my case worth?
Every case is different, and the amount of compensation that can be recovered through legal action depends on many things. Whether liability is clear, how severe your injury is, and whether there is insurance are the three most important factors. The amount of compensation that can be recovered in a case can be greatly reduced by the fault of the other party. Permanent injuries that diminish a person’s ability to enjoy life are seen by insurance companies (and juries) as having much higher value to a person than milder injuries that have fully resolved. The amount of compensation is also limited by the amount of insurance the responsible party has to cover the loss.
Is there something I can do to protect myself against the possibility of not being fully compensated for my injury because the party at fault has too little insurance?
I recommend to all clients that they purchase insurance with high limits so they can also have high limits of uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). This is the only effective way to make sure there will be substantial insurance money available to compensate you (and your family and passengers in your car) if you are injured by a uninsured or under-insured driver. UIM coverage is fairly cheap.
The other driver had no insurance or very little insurance. Do I have a case?
If you have uninsured motorist insurance (UIM) coverage on your own policy, you can be paid by your own insurance company the compensation you could have recovered from the uninsured or under-insured driver, up to the policy limit of your insurance.
I was assaulted by someone. Can I recover damages?
It depends on whether that person has assets, or was in the “course and scope of employment” for a business at the time of the accident. Sometimes the business (bar or restaurant, e.g.) will be responsible for not stopping an assault.
Is it important that I seek prompt medical treatment?
The first thing you need to do if you are injured is take care of yourself by going to the nearest emergency room or by seeing your family doctor. If you think you are hurt, it is usually a good idea to seek medical care right away. Your doctor will recommend the best course of treatment. A delay in seeking treatment may be used by the defense as evidence that you were not really injured in the accident.
Should I give a statement to the other party’s insurance carrier?
You are under no obligation to speak with the other party’s insurance company. You should you speak to a lawyer before giving a statement to the insurance company. Feel free to contact me at no charge even if you plan to handle your claim yourself.
Can I switch attorneys if I am unhappy with my current attorney?
Yes. You are not “stuck” with an attorney you have retained. If your case has merit, another attorney may agree to represent you. In a contingent fee agreement case, the former attorney may have a right to some portion of any attorney fees that are paid in your case , but this should not increase the fees that are paid. The new attorney and the former attorney will share the fee.
Will my case go to trial?
Statistically, about 95% of all civil lawsuits are settled. That does not mean your case won’t go to trial. I prepare every case as if it will go to trial. This maximizes your settlement.
What can I expect to be my time commitment in the case?
Some claims that do not be litigated can settle fairly quickly, within months. A case that is filed in court takes approximately one year to work its way through the court system to a trail date. After a lawsuit is started, you will need to participate in answering written discovery requests, giving your deposition, and possibly be examined by the defense doctor. I help you with all this.
What is the statute of limitations?
A “statute of limitations” is the deadline for filing a lawsuit, after which your legal right to make a claim is lost completely. Most personal injury cases must be filed with the court within two years of the injury. Most medical malpractice cases must be filed within one year from the time malpractice is suspected. If the defendant is a government agency, most claims must be made in six months. There are exceptions to some of these deadlines, and the deadlines for children are different in most cases. You should talk to a lawyer even if you think the statute of limitations in your case may be expired. Don’t wait until the last minute! Retain experienced counsel as soon as possible after the accident.
What do I do if my child has been injured?
Generally, the statutes of limitations for minors (under 18 years old) do not begin until the child turns eighteen years old. However, this is not true in all cases, including professional malpractice cases and government claims
I was hurt at work. Do I have a case?
Usually, workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and a workers’ compensation claim is the only remedy. However there are exceptions. For example, if your injury was caused by a defective product or a “third party” (not your employer or someone working for your employer), you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the defective product, or against the third party.
I am being sued. Can you help me?
I represent injured people (plaintiffs) only. You do have a right to defend yourself in court. Be sure to check with your automobile or homeowners insurance carrier first – usually it will provide you with an attorney.