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Must Know Info: Foster Care

New York City personal injury Michael Rose has written a new article for our Must Know Info page.

The post is about the rights of children who are living in foster care. As the foster care system becomes increasingly privatized, child abuse within them has become an increasingly prevalent issue. Click here to read the article.


Must Know Info: Injured Out-of-State

New York City personal injury attorney Michael Rose has written a new article about jurisdiction for out-of-state injuries. Individuals who sustain injuries in New York generally have to resolve any related issues in New York, including visitors. This means that if you are visiting the state of New York and are hurt, it may be wise to consider hiring an attorney who practices in the state, as they will have greater familiarity with the state’s practices.

Click here to read the new post.


Personal Injury Timeline

The Accident

Accidents and injuries are, at the very least, inconvenient. Causes of accidents vary vastly, as do their injuries. Even with a seemingly minor injury there is always the unfortunate chance that it could develop into something much more debilitating. The time of a personal injury case rests on this uncertainty, but can also be prolonged by the other party’s cooperation (or lack thereof). The process generally takes anywhere from six months to two years, give or take.

Seek Medical Attention

You should always seek medical attention immediately after an accident or injury. Regardless of how slight you think your injury is, it could always be more serious. After an accident, you may go into a state of shock, preventing you from immediately feeling pain. Or you may ignore a bruise that is in fact indicative of internal bleeding. Not only does this put your health at risk, but the longer you wait to seek medical attention, the harder it will be to later prove that the accident actually caused your injury. Even if you are able to prove that the accident was the initial cause of your injury, failing to seek medical attention immediately may prevent you from being fully compensated for neglecting to promptly treat the initial injury. It is therefore vital you seek medical attention immediately to increase your chances of a full recovery.

Consult with an Attorney

While calling the insurance company may seem like the next logical step, you should consult with a personal injury attorney first. Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and will assess whether you have a viable personal injury case, advise you on your options, and estimate your case value. The majority of people who choose to independently settle their claim with an insurance adjuster receive a much lower settlement than those working with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney will not only deal with insurance adjusters for you, but will negotiate the highest settlement amount. If an attorney believes you are entitled to a larger settlement, they will give you the option to accept the settlement amount or file a lawsuit to pursue the full value of your case. Once you decide to retain an attorney it will be on a contingent fee arrangement.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

To more accurately determine your case value and thus the compensation you deserve, attorneys refer to a legal concept called Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is defined as “the point when a condition cannot be improved any further or when a plateau in a person’s healing process is reached.” Basically, this means that you should wait six months before you consider settling your claim. Documented complaints lasting six months can establish a permanent impairment, which plays an important role in establishing a comprehensive case value (future medical needs, lost wages, pain and suffering). You should also be aware that if you settle your case before undergoing a related surgery, you will not be compensated for that surgery – settling your case prevents you from asking for additional compensation.

File an Insurance Claim or Demand Settlement

Generally, claims are filed against the at fault-party’s insurance company. After doing so, a claims adjuster will be assigned to investigate the claim and try to negotiate the settlement. In some instances, your attorney will send a demand letter to the other party demanding a settlement for your injuries. This generally happens when the other party does not have insurance, or an insurance company is not involved.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a settlement cannot be reached, the next option is filing a lawsuit. Under New York Statute, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within three years of your injury or accident. Filing a lawsuit can motivate the other party to increase their settlement offer to avoid the costs of litigation or a hefty jury verdict. Your attorney will file a complaint on your behalf. The other party will then file an answer to the complaint, along with any counterclaims they may have (which your attorney will to respond to). For more information on whether you should go to trial click here.

Discovery

Discovery is the pre-trial process where the parties exchange evidence and information. This will help both parties form their arguments and predict their chances of attaining a favorable outcome at trial. This will often motivate the parties to settle before trial as it will expose the weaknesses and strengths of their cases and provides a more inclusive expectation of what the actual value of the case is. Discovery includes interrogatories, depositions and independent medical examinations (IME). Interrogatories are written questions submitted to opposing parties and require a response. Depositions are essentially interviews under oath which deposes both parties and witnesses. An IME is a medical evaluation given by the other party’s doctor of choice to assess your injuries. The discovery process is a lengthy one.

Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration are two approaches to attaining a pre-trial settlement. Mediation is where the parties agree upon a neutral third-party to help the parties come to a settlement. The settlement will only be binding if both parties agree to written terms and is signed by both parties. Arbitration, on the other hand, is always binding. Arbitration is a hearing conducted by a neutral third-party (who is often a retired judge or esteemed lawyer). Mediation is never required, but judges may suggest it if they believe a settlement is within reach.

Trial

If no settlement can be reached, then the case goes to trial. However, the parties are able to settle any time up until the final judgment is rendered. The length of trials vary vastly, ranging from hours to months. Trials can be unpredictable, but the best way to protect your best interests is by choosing an experienced attorney to represent you.


How to Choose a Personal Injury Attorney

Whether you settle your case or take it to trial, your choice of representation will dictate how much compensation you receive. Choosing the first attorney who takes your case is simply not enough to achieve the results you deserve. You must take into consideration things like experience, fields of specialization, past results, and even the size of the firm.

The Right Experience

This is pretty self-explanatory but worth mentioning. Do not just choose an attorney with the most years of experience; choose one who has the most relevant experience. Choosing an attorney with 30 years of experience primarily in Corporate Law to represent your Personal Injury case clearly is not the best choice. Use the attorney’s or law firm’s website to research whether they have experience handling cases similar to yours. You can also use their website to reveal whether they have trial experience. While many cases settle, choosing a respected trial lawyer not only increases your chances of a favorable outcome if your case does end up going to court, but also encourages the opposing party to offer a fair settlement to avoid the courtroom altogether.

Playing the Fields

As mentioned above, years of experience is only helpful if it is relevant to your case. Some law firms will advertise they take cases in many fields which essentially means they specialize in none. Choosing a firm that specializes in a certain field means you are not getting the player but the entire team. Attorneys in a firm are invaluable resources to each other and collaboration between knowledgeable attorneys leads to better results and helps expedite the road to recovery. Specializing in a certain field enables attorneys to estimate your case value based on personal knowledge, pursue the best course of action to get your full recovery, and can avoid endless negotiations with uncooperative opposition. They will also have the groundwork laid out for you even before walking in the door since they will already have the resources and legal knowledge relevant to your case.

Don’t Settle

Results are usually listed on an attorney’s or law firm’s website. If they are not listed, this could be an indication that they have none worth listing. Results pages may demonstrate how many cases a firm has taken and the financial successes of those cases. Looking at listed results will also help you form an idea of how much you may be due, and help you realize the law firm that encourages you to settle for a fraction of what you think you deserve is probably not the right law firm for you. This is not to say settling is never a good idea, but choosing a law firm that does not prepare their cases for trial will settle for lower amounts in order to avoid the litigation process. Successful litigation firms receive both higher settlements as well as higher verdicts. While settling your case may be the smartest move, settling for a law firm never is.


New Video FAQ: How does the location of the courthouse where I bring my lawsuit affect the value of my case?

If you have been injured in an accident, you may wonder about the effect that the location of the courthouse where you file your claim may have on the value of your claim. Attorney and partner Michael Rose answers this question in the video FAQ above. For more information and for assistance with your injury case, contact Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 today.


NYC court holds city liable for neglecting to implement ‘traffic calming measures’

A statement issued by the New York City-based non-profit organization Transportation Alternatives said, “The New York high court just ruled that the city can be held liable for failing to study and implement traffic calming measures, which the jury determined were a major contributing factor to the crash. In a 2004 incident, the driver was traveling at 54 miles per hour on Gerritsen Avenue, which had a speed limit of 30 mph.”

Experts testified during the trial that it was known among traffic engineers that straight, wide roads that lack pedestrian-friendly features encourage speeding because drivers feel more comfortable on roadways with those characteristics. New York’s highest court said “the design characteristics of a roadway influence driver speed, and that people generally drive faster on wide, straight roadways, regardless of the posted speed limit.

If you were hurt in a personal injury accident case in New York, our attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can be counted on for legal help. Call our offices today at (212) 779-0057 to have your call answered promptly and receive an honest, straightforward assessment of your case.


New York appeals court rules in favor of elderly care transportation provider

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division dismissed a personal injury lawsuit on Tuesday, December 6, against elderly care transportation provider Senior Care Emergency Medical Services and its associated entity, Senior Ride, ruling that the companies did not possess any reason to have knowledge that a driver employed with them would hurt a patient.

Reversing a lower court’s ruling, the appeals court nixed the lawsuit lodged by plaintiff Holly Shiebl, who claimed that a driver for Senior Care physically assaulted her in an elevator at New York Presbyterian Hospital, noting, “The affidavits of both managers from both companies and the personnel file established that, at most, the employee had been disciplined in the past for rudeness and verbal abuse toward clients, and the companies had no notice of any physically violent propensities.”

Senior Care made the argument that they did not actually employ the driver and that the driver was actually employed by Senior Ride; Senior Care also contended that they are a totally different company from Senior Ride.

Please call our New York City personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP by dialing (212) 779-0057 or fill out our online contact form today to speak with a qualified member of our legal team. We handle cases in nursing home abuse as well as other areas of personal injury.


Waivers of liability mostly unenforceable in New York

The goal of waivers of liability is to make it impossible for accident injury victims to file a lawsuit if they incur an injury that resulted from the negligent actions of someone else. By signing a waiver of liability, it is possible to lose some of your legal rights by signing your name to the conditions included in the fine print.

However, under New York General Obligations Law 5-326, liability waivers are not enforceable if the person who signed the clause did so in conjunction with some sort of payment. These payments can include paying for a ticket, membership, or some other kind of fee, such as to participate in recreational activities at gymnasiums, amusement parks, swimming pools, or similar places. Also, liability waivers for minors are unenforceable in New York.

Our attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP provide legal services in the state of New York, handle personal injury accident cases such as car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and wrongful death cases, among others. Call our offices today at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your situation today.


Amtrak to pay $265M to settle claims for train that derailed in Philadelphia

On Thursday, October 27, Amtrak promised to pay $265 million to settle claims relating to a derailment in Philadelphia of an Amtrak train. The train, which was headed for New York, caused the death of eight individuals and caused injury to more than 200 other people last year.

Victims will be given the chance to testify at hearings or submit their testimony to the court so the company can determine how to distribute the settlement. Among those injured in the deadly accident were chef Eli Kulp – who will no longer be able to use his hands for cooking – a United States Naval Academy midshipman, a college dean, and an Associated Press video software architect.

Benedict Morelli, Kulp’s legal counsel, communicated Kulp’s dilemma, saying, “His life has been immeasurably altered and will never be any different from the way it is now.” According to federal investigators, the engineer who was operating the train, Brandon Bostian, did not realize the speed of the train had accelerated to 106 miles per hour instead of slowing down to match the curve’s 50 mph speed limit. He was suspended without pay after the crash.

If you are hurt in a personal injury accident due to the negligence of another party in the state of New York, we at Hach & Rose, LLP can help you pursue financial compensation from the people responsible for your plight. Get in touch with our attorneys today by calling our offices at (212) 779-0057.


Court rules NYC transit agency misled plaintiff

According to an appeals court, the New York City Transit Authority misled plaintiff Lori Jo Konner in her personal injury lawsuit. Namely, they made her believe that serving a notice of claim on an affiliated yet different entity would not have detrimental effects on her case when it would. Konner was injured on January 1, 2012 when the doors of a subway train on the F line at the Coney Island station in Brooklyn allegedly closed on her hand, causing her to fracture a bone.

Konner’s legal counsel served a notice of claim on Joseph Lhota, the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, within the 90-day window after the alleged injury to serve a timely notice on the municipal agency. The NYCTA, which manages bus and subway train operations within the city, is connected with the MTA and is also known as the MTA New York City Transit.

On Wednesday, October 12, a panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department ruled the NYCTA and the MTA are separate entities, citing cases in which the plaintiff lost after filing a lawsuit against the wrong entity. It further found the NYCTA “wrongfully or negligently engaged in conduct that misled the plaintiff to justifiably believe that service of the notice of claim upon the MTA was of no consequence, and lulled her into sleeping on her rights to her detriment.”

If you are hurt due to a personal injury accident that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party in the state of New York, our attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can represent you. Schedule an initial appointment with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (212) 779-0057.


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