Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I am injured after an accident?
It is important that you seek competent medical care as soon as possible in order to document your physical complaints. If the police are at the scene, make sure that they prepare a police accident report or aided report.
When should I seek legal counsel?
Do not delay in retaining an attorney. Counsel will insure that all rights are legally protected and that the necessary steps are taken promptly to protect the interests of the client.
Who should I speak to after the accident?
Be very careful regarding the giving of information after an injury. Do not give information over the telephone, especially in situations where you are unable to verify the identity of the caller or person inquiring. Be aware that telephone conversations are often recorded. This illustrates the importance of retaining counsel as soon as reasonably possible.
Should I rely on unknown persons to recommend an attorney?
Be cautious when unknown persons at the scene of an accident, or, hospital emergency room employees, recommend an attorney. So-called runners often steer potential injury victims to attorneys for a fee or kick-back. This practice is illegal and violates both New York State law and the ethical standards of the legal profession.
How can I retain a competent, experienced attorney to represent me?
Speak to an attorney to satisfy yourself that you have a viable claim and then make an appointment to meet with the attorney in person. Do not retain an attorney over the telephone. Satisfy yourself that counsel is competent to prosecute your claim. Ask questions. Be satisfied that you are comfortable in the presence of the attorney and that your questions are answered truthfully and honestly. If counsel guarantees the outcome of the case, be suspicious. Take note of the attorneyÃ¢Â�â„¢s office and whether counsel appears to be organized. Organization and discipline are important considerations in deciding to retain counsel.
Do I have a meritorious case?
Only counsel can provide the answer to this question. The attorney must first conduct an interview with the potential client and then commence an investigation to determine the merit of the case. Injury cases require obtaining all relevant medical records and all other reports of the incident. In cases of medical negligence, medical records must be reviewed by expert physicians in order to determine whether departures from good and accepted medical practice occurred in the care of the patient and whether such departures directly contributed to the injury. Delays often occur in securing records and other documentation and in the evaluation of the case. Counsel should always provide either written or telephone updates regarding the progress of the case.
Why are photographs important?
As soon after the incident as possible, have photographs taken of the scene. In ice and snow cases, or, in sidewalk or premises defect accidents, photographs are an invaluable tool in visually documenting the defective or dangerous condition. In automobile accident cases, photographs of the damaged automobiles often serve to establish the relevant points of contact and the relative speed of the vehicles. In construction site accidents, a failure to take photographs will prevent visual proof of the conditions since a changing of the site will occur during continued construction. It is also important to photograph physical injuries such as bruising, swelling, discoloration, scarring, casting or the use of surgical bracing, pins or exterior hardware to secure fractures. Videotaping of the injured patientÃ¢Â�â„¢s rehabilitation is often very helpful in documenting the progress of the patient.
Why do personal injury cases take so long to settle or resolve?
There are literally tens of thousands of personal injury cases pending in the courthouses of all counties in New York City. Pleadings must be prepared and answered, discovery of information and depositions must take place, motions for relief and Court conferences are often necessary to insure forward progress of the case, and, when discovery is finally complete, the case is placed on the Court calendar to await a trial date. Waiting for a trial date after the conclusion of all pre-trial discovery often takes longer than one year.
What if I do not have the financial resources to pay for an attorney?
Our firm takes all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that all court costs and expenses are paid in advance by our firm and then reimbursed from the settlement or judgment. The State of New York oversees contingency fee retainer agreements to insure compliance with state law.
Why is it important to retain an attorney as soon as possible after an injury or loss?
Evidence is often forever lost, or, compromised, if not investigated and pursued promptly. Stale claims are difficult to litigate. As well, statutes of limitation prevent the bringing of claims after the passage of a specific period of time. This firm seldom pursues stale or old claims unless we are convinced of the merits and potential success of the claim. We are better able to represent our clients when claims are current and not memory impaired.
What If I have any further questions regarding my case?
Contact our firm and we will assist you in providing any necessary guidance.