132 FAQs About New York Accidents!

Have a question about personal injury or accidents? Leave a comment below and we’ll answer it.

Contents

General FAQs

Q. What is a personal injury claim?

A.  A personal injury claim is a claim seeking compensation for injuries caused because of the negligence of another person or entity. Since the only way an injured person can be compensated is with money, personal injury claims seek a sum of money from the tortfeasor (the person or company responsible for causing the injury). The tortfeasor’s insurance company pays the money on behalf of the tortfeasor.

Q. What is needed to file a claim for personal injury?

A.  Basically, there are three things personal injury lawyers look for: 1) a person and/or company who was negligent in some way; 2) insurance coverage which can pay for your damages; and 3) one or more injuries which can be documented with medical records.

Q. Are there too many personal injury lawsuits?

A.  The number of personal injury lawsuits has declined over the years. Read about the number of personal injury lawsuits and why they are declining.

Q. What is a claimant?

A.  A claimant is a person who is making a claim against a person or company. Before filing a lawsuit, an attorney will send a claim letter to the defendant and the defendant’s insurance company advising that a claim for damages is being made. If the claim cannot be settled, a lawsuit is filed and the claimant becomes a plaintiff.

Q. What is the difference between a plaintiff and a defendant?

A. The plaintiff is the person or company who starts a lawsuit. The defendant is the person and/or company who is being sued for something. In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant was negligent and is asking to be compensated with money for damages.

Lawsuits have a title listing the names of the plaintiff’s and defendants. The plaintiffs are always listed first and then the defendants. When there are several plaintiffs or defendants, you may see only the name of the first plaintiff and first defendant when written online or in an article.

The names of the plaintiffs and defendants are separated in the captioned and look like this:

Plaintiff 1 and Plaintiff 2 v. Defendant 1 and Defendant 2

The name of the lawsuit appears in a caption which indicates the name of the court, the index number and the date the lawsuit was filed.

Q. What is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?

A. The words lawyer and attorney are commonly used interchangeably. However, the likely distinction is that a lawyer is someone who graduated from law school and an attorney is someone who has passed the bar exam and is permitted to represent clients. See the distinction in the title and degree of a lawyer and attorney in the next FAQ.

Q. What is the title and degree of a lawyer or attorney?

A. Any graduate with a doctorate degree, including a lawyer, is entitled to use Dr. before their name.

The degree designation after a name indicates the type of doctorate degree. Graduates from law school graduate with a doctorate degree called Doctor of Law or Doctor of Laws and may use the Juris Doctor or J.D. designation after their name.

Attorneys can use the title Esq. or Esquire after their name only if they are admitted to the bar which entitles an attorney to represent clients and appear in court.

Q. What is a personal injury lawyer?

A. A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who represents people who have been hurt in an accident or injured by some other cause.

Some lawyers practice in several different fields and thus are really general practice lawyers just like a GP doctor. Lawyers who practice in different fields should not claim to be a personal injury lawyer. We are personal injury lawyers because personal injury is the only field of law we practice.

Personal injury lawyers represent both plaintiffs and defendants for insurance companies. We never have a conflict of interest because we only represent plaintiffs.

Accident lawyers are the same as personal injury lawyers, accident attorneys, and personal injury attorneys.

Q. Do I need a personal injury lawyer near me?

A. Because of the Internet and modern technology, finding a personal injury lawyer near me is no longer necessary. That’s why you see out-of-state lawyers like Morgan and Morgan advertising on TV for New York accident cases. If you’re looking for personal injury lawyers near me in New York with office locations throughout the New York City and Long Island metropolitan area, call us.  You can come to us or we can come to you but you can sign a retainer by email so we can begin working on your case immediately after your accident.

Q. Will my information remain confidential?

A. We cannot release any information about you that you do not want to be released. We certainly will never release any information that you give us about any crimes you may have committed. However, to make a claim for personal injury, we have to release your medical records which are otherwise confidential.

Q. Why are you called the Personal Injury Dream Team™?

A. We are called the Personal Injury Dream Team™ because our clients get the advantage of 2-4 lawyers and two personal injury law firms working on each case. This gives our clients several lawyers, each with various special strengths.

Originally coined from the O.J. Simpson case, his lawyers were called the Dream Team because it was a group of several lawyers, each with their own strengths.

Get the Personal Injury Dream Team™ on your side!
Call 1-800-HURT-911®

After an Accident

Q. Should I take an ambulance to the hospital?

A. Yes. It helps to settle your case quicker at a fair value. Insurance claim reps wrongly believe that if you didn’t take an ambulance to the hospital then you weren’t seriously injured.

You may not want to go to the hospital because you think you’re not hurt but if you are injured, you will not realize it because your adrenaline is covering up the pain of your trauma and swelling has not yet occurred. Often, you won’t realize your insured until hours later or even the next morning.

But don’t worry if you didn’t go to the hospital. Read why going to the hospital after your accident and taking an ambulance will help your case.

Q. Should I go to the hospital if I didn’t go by ambulance?

A. Yes, if it’s still the same day as your accident. It helps to settle your case quicker at a fair value. 1) Insurance claim reps wrongly believe that if you didn’t go to the hospital then you weren’t seriously injured. 2) The insurance claims rep will use your hospital records to increase the value of your case. 3) When you go to the hospital, your complaints of pain will be recorded on your medical records which will be used as evidence later. 3) Additionally, many people don’t realize they have injuries which are found at the hospital.

But don’t worry if you didn’t go to the hospital. Just call us immediately. Read why going to the hospital after your accident and taking an ambulance will help your case.

Q. What should I do if I didn’t go to the hospital?

A. If you’re still in pain and you didn’t go to the hospital, make an appointment with a medical doctor immediately. If you are in a lot of pain and can’t get an appointment immediately, go to the emergency room at a hospital. You can also call us immediately and we will help you.

Call us right now 7 days/nights for a free consultation with no obligation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. Can I go to any doctor I want?

A. If you were injured in a car accident, you can go to any doctor who accepts no-fault insurance and you will not be responsible for any payments. If you were injured in any other kind of accident, you can go to any doctor who accepts your health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance, we can get treatment for you. For more information call us or see the FAQ below “How do I pay for medical bills?”

Q. What if I’m not hurt?

A. Don’t tell any insurance company that you’re not hurt because you might find out a day or two after your accident that you are hurt. If you tell the insurance company that you were not injured, it will make it more difficult to settle your case if you later find you are injured. We have had clients with broken bones that weren’t diagnosed until two days after the accident. Sometimes soft tissue injuries like a torn meniscus, which is a knee injury, are not diagnosed for as long as 4-6 weeks after the accident.

Q. I negotiated a settlement for my injury. Should I sign a release?

A. No. Do not ever sign a release for injuries without having it reviewed by a personal injury lawyer.

We obtained a $45,000 settlement for a woman’s knee sprain without surgery. She and her husband were very happy but several months later her husband broke his hip when he was hit by a car which ran a red light. The insurance company admitted liability and said they would offer him a good settlement. He called us but wanted to save the legal fee and see if he could settle the claim on his own. We asked him to call us before signing a release. We called him every six months to see in a settlement offer was made. More than two years later, he told us that he settled the claim and signed a release for $60,000.

The insurance policy was $250,000. We would have settled the claim much faster for the entire $250,000 insurance policy. Our legal fee would have been $83,333.33 and our client would have received $166,666.66. If he was willing to pay the legal fee, he would have received an additional $106,666.66.

Q. Should I sign a release for collision damage?

A. Do not sign a property damage release without having it reviewed by an attorney. If you have not yet retained a personal injury lawyer, just call us for a free consultation and we will be happy to discuss the release and review it with you for free. If you have retained a personal injury lawyer, do not sign a property damage release without the knowledge of your lawyer.

I represented a client who thought she was signing a release to settle the collision damage claim on her car. Later, when her injury started getting worse, she came to me to represent her for her injury. When I sent a claim letter to the insurance company, it argued that her claim for both property damage and injuries was released. Apparently, she had signed a general release. She was lucky because I successfully had the release voided.

Don’t let the insurance company trick you into signing a release. Call us for a free consultation.

Q. What NOT to do after an accident?

A. What you should not do after an accident is not as obvious as what you should do.

  • Don’t speak to anyone who contacts you about medical treatment
  • Don’t speak to anyone who contacts you about a lawyer
  • Don’t speak to any insurance company
  • Do not sign a release for property damage or collision damage
  • Do not ever sign any release

Find out more about what not to do after an accident.

Q. Should I take money from someone after my accident?

A. You could be offered money at the accident scene or afterward either by someone who is trying to refer you to a doctor and lawyer or by someone who caused the accident and is trying to settle with you. You should not take money in either of these situations.

At the accident scene or soon after, you may be offered money by someone. Someone who offers you money is called a “Runner”. This is illegal and can cause lots of problems for your case and you. You could be forced to pay the money back and you could even be assaulted. Read more about this and what can happen to you if you take money after your accident.

If someone caused an accident and is offering to pay you to settle, they are obviously worried about themselves and it is not in your best interest to settle your claim quickly. You should call a personal injury lawyer immediately for a free consultation. Read the FAQs here about whether you should sign a release.

Q. What should I do if someone calls me from the hospital?

A. After your car accident or other types of accident, you may receive a call from someone claiming to be from the hospital, doctor’s office or lawyer. Find out how you’re being scammed and how you could ruin your case if you go to a doctor’s office when they call you and you didn’t call them.

Immediately hang up the phone and do not say anything or just say I already have a doctor and hang up. Then call an accident lawyer in New York who doesn’t pay for your information.

Call us right now 7 days/nights for a free consultation with no obligation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. What should I do if a chiropractor or doctor’s office calls me?

A. After your car accident or other types of accident, you may receive a call from a doctor’s office. Hang up the phone to avoid being a victim of medical insurance fraud. Find out how you’re being scammed and how you could ruin your case if you go to a doctor’s office when they call you and you didn’t call them.

Immediately hang up the phone and do not say anything or just say I already have a doctor and hang up. Then call us.

If you want, get the name and phone number of the medical office or doctor and file a complaint with the New York State Department of Health.

Call us right now 7 days/nights for a free consultation with no obligation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. What should I do if an attorney or lawyer’s representative calls me?

A. After your accident, you may receive a call from someone claiming to be a lawyer or claiming to represent a lawyer. This person is not a lawyer. Attorneys in New York DO NOT call accident victims because they are not allowed to.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a lawyer or representing a lawyer, this person is called a “Runner”. This is illegal and can cause lots of problems for your case and you. Read more about this and what can happen to you if you take money after your accident.

If you receive a call, hang up the phone immediately and call us.

Call us right now 7 days/nights for a free consultation with no obligation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. How can I get a police accident report?

A. We will get it for you but if you want to get it yourself, we put together instructions on how you can get a police accident report on Long Island and how you can get a police accident report in New York City (on our motorcycle accident website but we also do car accidents).

Q. Should I use an accident app to send a photo to my insurance company?

A. No. Using an accident app to get a collision damage estimate is designed to help your insurance company save money, not to save you time. Read how an accident app can hurt you and help your insurance company.

Q. Should I take photos of the accident scene?

A. Yes, but give them to us, not your insurance company.

If you had a car or motorcycle accident, try to take pictures of the vehicles where they were in the time of the accident; skid marks; and license plates.

If you had any other type of accident such as a slip and fall or trip and fall, take pictures of the defect which caused your accident.

Q. Should I make a claim against my collision coverage if the other driver was at fault?

A. Yes. If you have collision coverage, your insurance company has legal obligations to you which includes getting an appraiser to the body shop immediately and getting your car fixed quickly. You probably also have coverage for a rental car.

Your insurance company will go after the insurance company for the other car to recoup their money and to get your deductible back for you.

Even if you got hit in the rear, while the insurance company for that car will probably pay you 100%, you are at their mercy because they have no legal obligation to you. Things may not go as fast as you would like and later, they may not want to pay you 100%.

If you do not have collision coverage, let us know and we will deal with the other car’s insurance company for you and we will not charge you a legal fee for that.

Q. Do I have to take my car to an insurance company “approved” repair shop?

A. No. You can have any auto body shop fix your car. Take your car to an auto body shop you want to use. Give them the insurance company’s claim number, the name of the adjuster, and the adjuster’s telephone number or call us and we will do that for you.

Q. Should I talk to the insurance company or give a statement?

A. No. You should never give a statement to the insurance company. The insurance company wants to speak to you to get the information they can use against you so they don’t have to pay any money or will have to pay less.

Don’t forget, when you speak to someone at an insurance company, your conversation is being recorded and can be used against you at trial. The person you will speak with is trained to get the information they want.

See more information about talking to an insurance company and what happens when you speak to an insurance company. Don’t call the insurance company when you get this letter seeming to treat you fairly.

Sometimes, a police officer will come to the hospital to get a written statement from you. You should never give a written statement to a police officer. Just say you want to discuss this with your attorney first.

Q. What if I already spoke to the insurance company or gave a statement?

A. That’s okay. We still want to represent you. You have the right to seek legal advice at any time. We will obtain a copy of your statement and prepare accordingly.

Q. The insurance company asked me to sign a release for medical records. Should I sign it?

A. No, that will allow the insurance company to get copies of all of your medical records including medical records that are not related to the injury from your accident. We send the medical records to the insurance company and have some control over medical record authorizations which have to be sent to defense attorneys.

Q. Is it okay to post on Facebook about my accident?

A. You should never post photos or write about your accident on Facebook or any other social media. Even if your Facebook account is private, the defense attorneys can get a court order to access your account. You should never delete anything on your Facebook or other social media account if you have already posted it.

Many attorneys won’t even take your case unless you close your Facebook account. We do not ask our clients to close their Facebook account but we do ask you not to post anything about your accident.

Q. How long do I have to file a lawsuit for my injury case?

A. Technically, you usually have three years to file a lawsuit if you’re not a minor. However, most attorneys won’t be interested in your case after 2 1/2 years. We had a case that we took just two months before the three-year statute of limitations expired.

Minors under the age of 18 have a longer period of time to file a lawsuit.

For some accidents, you may have a much shorter time of 90 days to file a notice of claim and another one year to file a lawsuit.

There are other claims which may need to be filed within 30-90 days.

It’s best to call a lawyer immediately after your accident.

Call 7 days/nights for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. Why wasn’t the driver arrested when someone was killed?

A. When someone is killed in an accident, a crime may or may not have been committed. Sometimes, it is a violation of NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law without the commission of a crime (for instance, a driver who made a left turn or ran a red light and struck a motorcycle, killing the motorcyclist). But sometimes even in this situation, and arrest may be made.

If a crime was committed, such as DWI, the driver who caused a death will be arrested.

Read about the crazy and confusing state of the law which results in uneven application of the law where arrests are usually not made and situations which can elevate a violation to a criminal offense and when a driver will be arrested for causing a death.

Q. Do I have to notify my insurance company if someone sues me but there was very little damage to my car?

A. Yes. The amount of property damage has nothing to do with injuries. You must notify your insurance company immediately or you can lose your insurance coverage.  See why you need to notify your insurance company after an accident and what else you have to do.

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What Am I Entitled To If I’ve Been Injured?

Q. What claims, damages or benefits am I entitled to?

A. Following is a list of benefits to which you may be entitled:

  1. No-Fault benefits include payment for medical expenses, drugs, transportation to doctors, household help and lost wages if you have been injured or death benefit in a car accident.
  2. You may be entitled to uninsured or underinsured coverage in a motor vehicle accident.
  3. New York State disability
  4. Medical expenses (past and future) for doctor bills, hospital bills, surgery expenses, diagnostic charges, physical therapy, nursing, prescription medicines, personal care, etc.
  5. Lost wages, including overtime and/or lost income (past and future)
  6. Diminished earning capacity in the future
  7. Pain and Suffering which is compensation for all of your injuries including scars, emotional distress and loss of consortium (past and future)
  8. Property damage
  9. All out-of-pocket expenses
  10. See what claims for damages you are entitled to for Wrongful Death
  11. New York State crime victims compensation

Q. Can I get money for punitive damages?

A. Probably not. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for egregious conduct, while money awarded for pain and suffering and other damages is intended to make the plaintiff “whole”. We sued for $500 million in punitive damages when two defendants were drag racing and one of them ran a stop sign broad siding our client’s car, injuring him and his son.

Q. Am I entitled to money for funeral bills if a family member was killed?

A. Yes. In any wrongful death action, whoever paid the funeral bills is reimbursed before any other money is distributed. If the accident involved a car or pedestrian, no-fault will pay a $2,000 death benefit.

Q. When someone dies in a car accident, does insurance pay the funeral bills?

A. Partially. The minimum death benefit amount to pay funeral bills paid by New York no-fault insurance is only $2,000. However, additional money to pay funeral bills is available from other sources. See more FAQs about paying for funeral bills after a car accident.

Please call us and we will be happy to let you know how we can get money from other sources to pay for the funeral bills and how we can help you.

1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. What can I do about my lost wages?

A. If you were injured in a car accident, your lost wages will be paid by your No-Fault insurance also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

If you were injured in any other kind of accident, and your employer has coverage, you may file a claim for short-term or long-term disability under your employer’s disability coverage.

You may also be able to use sick time, personal time and vacation time. If you use this time, you are entitled to be reimbursed by the defendant for the value of that time.

The defendant will be responsible to compensate you for all of your lost wages including overtime; sick time; personal time; vacation time; and lost promotions.

If you still need money, you can obtain a cash advance on your settlement.

Q. Is my case worth less if I have a pre-existing injury?

A. If you had a pre-existing injury which was made worse or aggravated because of your accident, the value of your injury is probably more than it would’ve been without the pre-existing injury.

Insurance companies love to deduct the value of your pre-existing injury and many attorneys go along with that. We do not.

Many attorneys forget a first-year law school case which created the eggshell plaintiff principle. That principle says that the defendant is 100% responsible for causing your injury even if a healthy, non-injured person would not have been injured by the accident.

We settled a case for a client who needed neck surgery because of an accident when she was knocked to the floor in a warehouse store. Our client had the same surgery 10 years earlier and the insurance company tried to claim the case was worth less because of her pre-existing injury but we settled the case for $1 million.

We settled another case for $750,000 for a client who had lower back surgery because of a car accident. She saw an orthopedic surgeon two months before her car accident and had been seeing her orthopedic surgeon for 10 years prior to the car accident.

See some of our results for clients with pre-existing injuries.

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Do I Have A Case?

Q. Do I have a case?

A. If you were injured, you may have a case even if you think the accident was your fault. Do not try to decide if anyone else was at fault for causing your injury because sometimes it’s obvious but many times it’s not. We have successfully recovered substantial money for people who have run a red light, ran a stop sign, and were drunk.

Just call us for a free consultation and we will be happy to let you know. Don’t worry that you may be wasting our time – Don’t forget, no question is a stupid question.

Call 7 days/nights for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. Does No-Fault have anything to do with whether I have a case or not?

A. No-Fault has nothing to do with who was at fault for an accident. Think of No-Fault as health insurance and disability insurance when you’re in a car accident. No-fault is available only for people injured in car accidents and pedestrians. No-Fault is also called Personal Injury Protection or “PIP”. Read our page with detailed information about what you should know about No-Fault.

Q. Can I have a case if I was hit by a vehicle without insurance?

A. Yes. There are coverages available on your car, truck or motorcycle insurance policy which will cover you if you are injured by someone who had no insurance or in a hit and run accident. If you were a pedestrian and do not own a car, New York State will provide the same coverage to you.

Uninsured coverage will pay you for your pain and suffering when you are injured because of a driver who fled the scene in a hit and run accident or a driver who did not have insurance.

Underinsured coverage, if your insurance policy has it, will pay you for your pain and suffering when your injury is worth more than the insurance on the vehicle which caused your accident and that vehicle had less liability insurance than your vehicle.

Read about underinsured coverage on our motorcycle accident website.

Q. Can I have a case if I was driving a car without insurance?

A. Yes. In New York, even if your car did not have insurance, you can still file a claim or lawsuit to be compensated for injuries caused by another driver.

Q. Can I have a case if my wife or husband was driving?

A. Yes, if you have supplemental spousal liability coverage on your car insurance policy. Read more about can you sue your husband or wife.

Q. My husband, wife or friend was driving. Will the insurance premium go up?

A. If the accident was someone else’s fault, filing a claim should have no effect on the insurance premium.

If the claim has to be made against your own insurance policy, your premium is not likely to go up if there were no previous claims or tickets.

Even if the insurance premium increases, it will be a very small amount compared to the amount of money we obtain for you. If the insurance premium goes up, it will likely increase somewhere between a few hundred dollars to $1000 per year for three years. If we only obtain $50,000 for you, it will more than cover your premium increase. Just pay your friend’s premium increase. If we settle your case for $100,000 or $300,000, do you really want to think about the cost of a premium increase?

Q. I’m not the type to file a lawsuit. Why should I think about it?

A. Of course, we have clients who have no problem filing a lawsuit but many of our clients were initially very reluctant to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, people are afraid their insurance premiums may go up or they just may not like suing someone else.

First of all, you don’t necessarily have to file a lawsuit. Many of our cases are settled before filing a lawsuit. We represented the mother of a motorcyclist who was killed in a motorcycle accident. His mother is a lawyer and did not want us to file a lawsuit against the driver because she was a retired emergency room trauma nurse. His mother wanted to pursue the claim to use the money for a charitable college fund in her son’s name. We settled the case for the entire $500,000 insurance policy and never had to file a lawsuit.

The reason you should consider calling us is that within months you will realize your injury is both costing you money and seriously changing your lifestyle. You’re entitled to be compensated just the same as if your car or house is damaged. You wouldn’t consider driving a damaged car without getting the money to fix it and you wouldn’t consider living in a house that was damaged by a car that drove into it without getting the money to fix it.

Truck accident with house

You would let this company off the hook just because you don’t like filing lawsuits!

Call us for a free consultation without obligation and we will be happy to discuss your accident without giving you any pressure.

Call 7 days/nights for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. How can I find out if my injury is serious enough before calling a lawyer?

A. If you have been injured, no matter how minor the injury is, call us for a free consultation. Whether your case is big enough for us depends upon many factors which must be decided on a case-by-case basis. We strongly suggest that you call us because we have obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars for injuries which clients did not realize was serious.

We have also obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients who thought they caused the accident. See examples of serious injuries and injuries which may be serious.

Q. Will you take my case if I don’t have a serious injury?

A. There is a good chance we will. We’re known in New York as accident lawyers who get serious money for people injured in accidents, even for injuries which aren’t that serious!

But there are some cases even we won’t take. See a case we declined to take and how much money we got for our clients who didn’t have very serious injuries.

Never be afraid to call us to find out if we’ll take your case. It’s always worth calling to find out and we’re friendly!

Call 7 days/nights for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. Other personal injury lawyers don’t want my case. Should I call you?

A. Yes, there is a good chance we will take your case. We represent many clients who could not find a lawyer willing to take their case. Read more about what we did for clients who could not find a lawyer to take their accident case.

Never be afraid to call us to find out if we’ll take your case. It’s always worth calling to find out and we’re friendly!

Call 7 days/nights for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. My personal injury lawyer dropped my case. Should I call you?

A. Yes, there is a good chance we will take your case. We represented many clients who were dropped by their accident lawyer.

Never be afraid to call us to find out if we’ll take your case. It’s always worth calling to find out and we’re friendly!

Call 7 days/nights for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Q. I was hit by a car or truck that left the accident in a hit and run. Do I still have a case?

A. Yes. If you were driving a car, motorcycle or truck and was injured because of a hit-and-run accident and the identity of the vehicle which left the accident scene is unknown, you still can obtain money to compensate you for your injuries. The money will be paid to you by your uninsured coverage on your motor vehicle insurance policy.

These cases are typically settled or resolved by arbitration much faster than when you have a claim against someone else.

Q. I was a pedestrian in a hit and run accident. Do I still have a case?

A. Yes. If you own a car or live with a relative who owns a car, you can obtain money to compensate you for your injuries. The money will be paid to you by your uninsured coverage on your motor vehicle insurance policy.

If you do not own a car and do not live with a relative who owns a car, you can still be compensated for your injuries by filing a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) which is a New York State agency providing insurance coverage for hit and run accidents where the injured pedestrian has no insurance coverage.

Q. If the police report is wrong, can I still have a case?

A. Yes. Police reports are frequently wrong because they are taken with a superficial investigation. We have many cases with police accident reports that are obviously wrong. Sometimes, the incorrect information is not important but even where the information seems important, it does not matter.

Q. If the police report says I caused the car accident, can I still bring a personal injury claim?

A. Yes. Police reports frequently blame the accident on the wrong person for the wrong reasons. We usually don’t have a problem proving that the police accident report was wrong.

Even if the accident was your fault, we have settled many cases for the entire insurance policy where our clients caused the accident. See the next 2 FAQs.

Q. If a witness says the accident was my fault, can I have a case?

A. Yes. Witnesses rarely ever see what they thought they saw and its usually very easy to discredit a witness. For instance, a witness may say that you ran a red light and caused the accident but what really happened was that the witness probably heard the accident and then looked up at the light and saw that it was red. At that moment in time between hearing the accident and looking at the light, the light could have changed from green to red. We can easily prove that and now the witness’ testimony is worthless.

Q. If the accident really was my fault, can I have a case?

A. Yes. You may still have a case even if you think the accident was your fault!

We settled a case for a bicyclist who went through a red light for the entire $100,000 insurance policy!

We settled a case for a motorcyclist who admitted to the police officer that he ran a stop sign and we got the entire $25,000 insurance policy!

Sometimes people think the accident was their fault when it was only partially their fault or wasn’t their fault at all.

New York is a true comparative fault state which means that even if you are partially at fault for causing your accident, you are still entitled to be compensated for your injury.

The way this works is that if you are 50% at fault for causing the accident and your injury is worth $250,000, you are entitled to receive $125,000. If the defendant has a $100,000 insurance policy, we would demand payment of the entire insurance policy because the value of your case is more than the $100,000 insurance policy.

Injuries can be worth far more than you think. We obtained a jury verdict of $465,000 for a torn meniscus which the defense claimed was not torn. See some of our results.

Q. If I was drinking or drunk, can I have a case?

A.  You might have been drunk but not at fault or only partially at fault. We settled a case for a drunk motorcyclist for $155,000.

This motorcyclist had a BAC of 0.203
Settlement above insurance policy recognized by Jury Verdict Review

Q. Can I have a personal injury case if I didn’t have a drivers license?

A. Yes! The accident was not caused because you did not have a license. It has no relevance to your case. Additionally, filing a claim for your injuries will not cause any problems for you.

Q. Can I have a personal injury case if I was driving and wasn’t wearing glasses?

A. Yes! We obtained Summary Judgment (a court order ruling that the defendant was 100% at fault) even though our client testified that he was not wearing glasses at the time of the accident even though his license required him to wear glasses.

Q. Can I have a case if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?

A.  Yes. It might reduce the value of your case slightly but it might not have any effect at all.

Q. Can I have a case if I was injured while working?

A. Yes! If you were injured while working, you will have a workers compensation case and you may also have a personal injury case. Workers compensation will pay for medical treatment and will also give you money for your injuries. In some situations, you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries.

If your injury was caused because of a person or company which is not your employer, you can have a personal injury case in addition to your worker’s compensation case.

Almost all workers injured in an accident at a construction site can file both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury claim because there is almost always a company other than the worker’s employer that can be sued.

One example is where you are working in a warehouse and a delivery person, employed by another company, drops merchandise on you. Because you were working, you will have a workers compensation case but because you weren’t injured by someone working for another company, you can also have a personal injury case.

A common example is when you are injured in a car accident while you were working. Again, you will have eight workers compensation case because you were working that you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and owner of the car which caused the accident. For instance, police officers can file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers compensation case when injured in an accident while issuing a ticket.

Q. Can I have a case if I was injured in a fire which was my fault?

A. Yes! Even if you caused the fire, you may be entitled to substantial compensation, especially if you are a tenant and have a landlord. Burn and smoke injuries can be worth millions of dollars. Read more about injuries from fires and what we can do to help you.

Q. I’m not interested in settling unless I get what I want. Can you still help me?

A. Yes. We have several ways to put a lot of pressure on the insurance company to settle for the entire insurance policy but sometimes the insurance company just won’t offer a reasonable settlement.

When that happens and you don’t want to accept the insurance company offer, we are more than happy to take your case to trial. We may be able to win summary judgment which entitles you to 9% interest when you go to trial.

Please look at some of our settlements and trial verdicts.

Q. I want to settle and don’t want my case to go to court. Can you still help me?

A. Yes. Sometimes, a client doesn’t want to go to court and wants to settle the case. We have several ways to put a lot of pressure on the insurance company to settle.

If you don’t want to go to court, it’s likely that you don’t mind if a lawsuit is started but you don’t want to have a trial.

We had one client who did not even want us to start a lawsuit. We were still able to settle the case in 14 months for the entire insurance policy of $500,000.

Please look at some of our settlements and trial verdicts.

Q. Do I still have a case if the defendant died?

A. It doesn’t matter! You can still get money from the insurance company and/or the estate. We simply file a claim against the estate and the insurance company will pay the claim. If there is no estate, we will have the court appoint an administrator and create an estate.

Q. Do I still have a case if the defendant company went out of business?

A. It doesn’t matter! You can still get money and your case just got better if the company we are suing went out of business after your accident.

Q. If I get Medicaid, Medicare or SSI, can I have a case?

A. Yes. While you cannot receive settlement money from your case if you have Medicaid or SSI, your settlement money can be put into a special needs trust which protects your settlement money and allows you to spend it on almost anything you want while you continue receiving your benefits.

For more information, see Is a Lawsuit Worthwhile If I’m on Medicaid?

Q. If I am not in the US legally, can I have a case?

A. Yes. Your legal status does not have to be disclosed. Neither the defendant nor the defendant’s insurance company or attorney is entitled to ask for proof of your legal status.

Q. Can I get money for my injury if I’m homeless?

A. Yes. If you’re homeless, we can get money for you and we want to represent you. Just because you’re homeless it doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to get money when you’re injured because of someone’s negligence. Your injury could be worth as much as $1 million or more, even if you’re homeless.

If you receive public benefits, we can protect your public benefits by putting your settlement money in a trust so you can receive both your settlement money and your public benefits. You can use the money in the trust to buy almost anything you want such as clothes, restaurants, a TV, a car and vacations. You can even get a credit card or debit card for your trust.

We can provide you with transportation when needed and even arrange to get you monthly cash advances on your case.

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Hiring an Attorney

Q. Do I need a  lawyer?

A. Yes.

  • If you don’t hire a lawyer quickly, you may lose many benefits you are entitled to.
  • If you try to settle with the insurance company because they said they will be fair with you, you will likely get no more than 5-10% of what your injury is worth.
  • People who came to us after trying to settle their case had no idea what their injury was worth.
  • People who came to us after trying to settle their case had injuries they didn’t even know about.

We recommend that you hire a lawyer who only does personal injury and not other types of cases in addition to personal injury.

Q. Why do I need an attorney?

A. Because the insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible. You will likely have several claims for several different benefits but the insurance company probably won’t tell you about all the benefits you are entitled to. Quite simply, insurance companies make more money when they pay less money.

Q. When should I hire a lawyer?

A. Immediately after an accident and preferably within 10 days of the accident. However, no matter how long after the accident it is you should always call a lawyer for a free consultation. We have represented clients who called us almost 3 years after the accident. Read about the statute of limitations for accidents.

Q. How to hire a personal injury lawyer

A. See the 12 questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer

Q. How do I know if I can trust my personal injury lawyer?

A. It’s difficult to determine if a prospective personal injury lawyer should not be trusted but we tell you two different ways including a search on the New York attorney search page and checking the attorney’s credit score, in this article Can You Trust Your Personal Injury Lawyer?

Q. Should I Use a Legal Plan Lawyer for My Accident?

A. Legal plans provide a lot of legal services at cut-rate prices and for some people and some legal issues, that’s good. But find out why you should never use a legal plan when you have been injured in an accident.

Q. Should I Use a Union Lawyer for My Construction Accident?

A. Workers injured on a worksite in a construction accident are usually referred to a construction accident lawyer recommended by the union. But is that a good idea?

Find out why you might not want to use a union lawyer for your construction accident.

Q. Can I settle my own case or do I need a personal injury lawyer?

A. We obtained a $1 million jury verdict for our client who had a concussion in a motorcycle accident. He also broke four ribs and was trying to settle the case himself for three months and probably would’ve been happy if he got $40,000 but the insurance company wouldn’t pay him. When he came to us three months later, we realized that he had a much more serious injury. The insurance company offered only $150,000 to settle but we got $1 million.

As Abraham Lincoln stated, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client”. You can settle your own case but at best you just won’t get much money. At worst, the insurance company could trick you into signing a release for a fraction of what your injury is worth or a property damage release which could prevent you from getting any money for your injury. Read the FAQ Should You Sign a Property Damage Release to see what happened to one of our clients.

Even a lawyer can’t represent him or herself. I broke my nose in a hit and run accident and tried to represent myself. This was an easy case! But even though the insurance company knew I was a personal injury lawyer and I had many similar cases, I could not get a fair settlement! I hired a friend who charged me a legal fee.

We have always been able to get many times more money than what the insurance companies offered our clients! Take a look at some of our trial verdicts, arbitration awards, and settlements.

Beware of letters like this one boasting about a computer program called Colossus created for insurance companies to evaluate your injuries.

Consider this information from a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council which conducted the study to help insurance companies stop people from calling lawyers:

1) According to the Insurance Research Council, just speaking to a lawyer about your rights can get you almost 40% more money than not talking to a lawyer.

2) According to the Insurance Research Council, if you have a lawyer, you could get 3 1/2 times more money on average from your insurance settlement than without a lawyer when comparing gross settlement amounts. We have many cases where we got hundreds of thousands more than what the insurance company offered. In one case, we got $465,000 when GEICO offered only $10,000!

Q. Will it cost me anything to call a personal injury lawyer?

A. Personal injury lawyers usually do not charge for a consultation. You can speak with us for free for as long as you want, as often as you want before you decide to hire a lawyer. If you prefer, you can meet with us, also for free.

Just call 1-800-487-8911 and speak with Accident Attorneys Rob Plevy and Phil Franckel right now!

Q. How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?

A. New York personal injury lawyers charge a 1/3 contingency fee of the amount of money they recover for you. We charge the same 1/3 fee. It is called a contingency fee because it is contingent on obtaining money for you so you are charged only if money is recovered for you and nothing if no money is recovered for you. There is “No Fee Unless You Win”.

However, some accident lawyers may make you responsible for case expenses if your case is not successful. We do not make you responsible for any money, even case expenses, if we do not get money for you.

The legal fee is charged at the end of the case.

The similarity of the legal fees which other lawyers charge stops there. Many lawyers charge a lot of other fees and expenses which we do not charge.

See our detailed but easy to read article about how much it costs to hire a personal injury attorney and the difference between other attorneys and us. See what is included in our legal fee and what we do not charge you for.

Q. What is a retainer?

A. The retainer is the agreement between the client and lawyer which sets forth the amount of the legal fee, case expenses, and other conditions.

Personal injury lawyers in New York State are required to have clients sign a retainer before the lawyer can begin work on an accident case.

Q. How to choose or compare personal injury lawyers in New York

A. It’s not easy for someone who isn’t a lawyer to figure out how to choose a personal injury lawyer or compare one personal injury lawyer to another. This article gives you some guidelines and questions to answer which will help you decide which personal injury lawyer to choose.

Q. Do I need to get my medical records before speaking with a lawyer?

A. No. We will get all of your medical records for you. After an accident, you don’t need to be burdened with doing our work. We try to make things easy for you. In fact, we will even help you for free with medical billing problems.

Q. Do I need to stay out of work for my accident case?

A. No! That’s between you and your doctor. While staying out of work will make your case more valuable and can be very important when you are injured in a car accident, we never ask our clients to stay out of work. Call us for a free consultation and we can discuss this with you. Find out why we never tell our clients to stay out of work.

Q. Should I pay any money up front to an accident lawyer?

A. No! Find out why you should never pay money to your personal injury lawyer.

Q. Do I need to pay any money for case expenses?

A. No, you do not need any money. We will advance the money necessary to prosecute your claim for injuries. We will be paid back out of the money we get for you and you are not responsible if we don’t get any money for you – if we do not get money for you, you pay nothing!

See our fees and services.

Q. How do I know which lawyer to hire?

A. Compare the websites of lawyers you are considering. Take a look at most if not all of the pages on the lawyer’s website and decide if that lawyer appears knowledgeable about accident law and whether you will get the attention and service you want.

Philip L. Franckel, Esq. wrote every page on New York Serious Injury Attorneys. We are proud of our website and think that you’ll be confident in our knowledge and how much we really care about our clients.

Read some of our client reviews to see what they think about us.

Do we know the law? A Supreme Court Judge thanked me for clearing up confusion with my article How Not To Serve Notice of Entry by eFiling.

Q. If I’m not happy with my personal injury lawyer, can I change lawyers?

A. Yes. You can change your lawyer any time during your case. If you’re not happy with your current personal injury lawyer, you should look for a new personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The further along your case goes the more difficult it will be to find a new lawyer who is willing to take your case.

The more that has been done on your case the greater is the possibility that mistakes have been made. If depositions have already been held, your new lawyer may want to see the deposition transcripts to see if there is a problem that can ruin your case.

If you wait until just before your trial, any lawyer may not have time to prepare your case for trial.

When you change lawyers, your new lawyer and your old lawyer will have to share the legal fee so as your case progresses, there is less incentive for a new lawyer (read the next FAQ for more about this).

It’s better to choose your personal injury lawyer carefully in the beginning or to change lawyers as early on in your case as possible.

Q. If I change my personal injury lawyer, will I have to pay more?

A. No, if you change lawyers, it will not cost you any more money and your legal fee will not go up. Your legal fee will remain the same 1/3 of what your new lawyer gets for you. Your previous lawyer and your new lawyer will share the legal fee in some proportion without you paying any extra.

Usually, your previous lawyer and your new lawyer will come to an agreement as to how to share the legal fee but when both lawyers cannot agree, the matter is submitted to the court to decide how to split the legal fee.

If you change lawyers soon after your accident and your first lawyer didn’t really do anything, your first lawyer will probably not be entitled to any part of the legal fee. The further along your case is, the more work your previous lawyer did. That entitles your previous lawyer to more of a legal. But this should not concern you.

Q. Why Do I Want the HURT911® Personal Injury Dream Team™ On My Case?

A. There are many reasons but here are three of them:

  • First, because you can speak with an attorney (Phil Franckel or Rob Plevy) 7 days/nights. With other lawyers, you’ll just get to speak with a secretary or paralegal. Why will you get to speak directly with us? Because we care about our clients and because your case is important to us. See what some of our clients say about us.
  • Second, because we are good at what we do and we are out-of-the-box thinkers. We know how to deal with problems such as pre-existing injuries and we have unique tactics to force the insurance company to pay the entire policy and to do it sooner. Sometimes, we make them pay more than the insurance policy. See some of our results.
  • Third, while other law firms charge legal fees for a lot of additional services, we only charge 1/3 of the money we get for your pain and suffering. We don’t charge for a lot of expenses, which we list on our homepage, which other law firms charge for.

Q. Ok, I’d like to hire you, what’s next?

A. Just call 1-800-487-8911 and speak with Injury Attorneys Rob Plevy and Phil Franckel right now for a free consultation. If you want us to represent you and we think you have a good case, you will need to sign a retainer which allows us to represent you and states that at the end of your case you will be charged 1/3 of the amount of money we recover for you and that you will not be responsible to pay any money unless we get money for you.

We can meet with you at our office or your place or a hospital. We can even email you a retainer which you can sign electronically on your computer or smartphone which will let us begin working on your case in minutes.

We will get the police accident report, hospital records, and other medical records. We will also fill out and file many forms and claim forms that will need to be filled out. You won’t have to do anything. Read the other questions on this page to find out more about the next steps.

Q. Do I need a motorcycle accident lawyer if I had a motorcycle accident?

A. Yes, you should be represented by a motorcycle accident lawyer because motorcycle accidents are very different than car accidents.

Because there are so many fewer motorcycle accidents than car accidents and because most personal injury lawyers don’t like motorcycle accident cases, the number of lawyers advertising for motorcycle accidents can be counted on one hand. We’re one of the two NY motorcycle lawyers advertising in Full Throttle NY Magazine, New York’s only motorcycle magazine.

Why don’t other lawyers like motorcycle accidents? There are many reasons but the biggest reason is Injury lawyers have frequently lost motorcycle cases because juries are not sympathetic to motorcyclists.

Why are FRANCKEL & PLEVY, LLP the best motorcycle accident lawyers in New York?

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How Do I Pay For Medical and Other Bills?

Q. Will the insurance company, for the person who caused my injury, pay my medical bills?

A. That depends upon the type of accident and the insurance policy. We will be happy to discuss that with you during a free consultation.

Q. How do I pay for medical bills?

A. This question has many different answers depending upon the type of accident you had and other factors.

In a car accident, No-Fault insurance will pay your medical bills and lost wages. No-Fault does not require referrals, co-payments or deductibles. An application must be completed and filed within 30 days from your accident (we will do this for you).

If you are injured in a trip and fall or slip and fall accident, there may be “med pay” insurance coverage through the homeowner or business insurance policy to pay your medical bills.

If you are injured while working, New York workers’ compensation insurance will pay your medical bills and does not require you to pay deductibles. Workers’ compensation is also required to reimburse you for transportation expenses (taxi, mileage, parking, and tolls) for travel to and from your medical appointments. If you work “off the books,” you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

In car and motorcycle accidents, there may be “med pay” coverage which can reimburse you for the money you pay out-of-pocket for medical bills not covered by no-fault or health insurance.

The people or companies responsible for your injury will be responsible to pay your past and future medical bills but that will be paid at the end of your case.

Your health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare will pay your medical bills.

If there isn’t any insurance to pay for your medical treatment and you don’t have health insurance, we can give you the names of doctors who will treat you on a lien without you having to pay up front. The doctors will be paid at the end of your case from your settlement money.

If you receive medical treatment on a lien, the person or company responsible for causing your injury is responsible to pay for your treatment.

For instance, we obtained $16,000 of dental treatment on a lien for a client. The dentist was paid at the end of the case from the settlement and the defendant had to include money in the settlement for the dental lien and future dental treatment.

Medical liens are paid to the doctor for the principal amount owed without interest.

We can answer your questions if you call for a free consultation. Just call 1-800-487-8911 and speak with Accident Attorneys Rob Plevy and Phil Franckel right now.

Q. Should I use my health insurance or no-fault?

A. If you were injured in a car accident or even getting into or out of a parked car, New York State law says that No-Fault is primary, so your medical bills MUST be submitted to No-Fault, not to your health insurance or Medicare.

Read more about No-Fault insurance and why your medical bills must be paid by No-Fault and not your health insurance or Medicare.

Q. What is the difference between No-Fault, PIP and Med Pay?

A. No-Fault and PIP are the same. PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection which is the coverage on your automobile insurance policy pursuant to New York State no-fault law. No-Fault/PIP pays for your medical treatment, lost wages and provides some other benefits when you have an injury which was caused by the use or occupation of a car.

Med Pay or Medical Payments is optional coverage available on a car, motorcycle or other insurance policy which can be used to be reimbursed for medical bills you choose to use it for such as deductibles, co-pays, and treatment or pharmaceuticals not covered by your health insurance.

Med Pay is a little tricky because insurance company claims representatives do not understand the difference between Med Pay and No-Fault so they usually pay the money out immediately to the first bills that come in. We send a letter to the insurance company warning them not to pay any money from Med Pay without our authorization will we will sue them.

Q. I was in a car accident and my doctor wants me to sign an assignment. Should I sign it?

A. Yes. The assignment allows your doctor to get paid directly by the no-fault insurance company. Doctors want assignments so they don’t have to chase after patients who received the check from no-fault for medical treatment. The advantage to you is that you will not be responsible for the medical bill. If the doctor bills $1,100 and is paid $185, the doctor is not allowed to bill you for the difference if you signed an assignment.

Q. I need to see a dentist who doesn’t take no-fault. What do I do?

A. We can get your dentist to agree to accept no-fault insurance. Please call us immediately.

Q. I need to see a plastic surgeon who doesn’t take no-fault. What do I do?

A. We can get your plastic surgeon to agree to accept no-fault insurance. If you need any kind of plastic surgery such as for a scar, broken nose, breast implant leak, please call us immediately so you won’t have to pay your plastic surgeon cash out-of-pocket. Read more about plastic surgery and how to get insurance to pay for plastic surgery.

Q. I received a No-Fault Denial of Claim Form. Do I have to pay my doctor?

A. It is unlikely that you have to pay your doctor. The No-Fault Denial of Claim Form is always used even when your doctor is paid. See our article about the No-Fault Insurance Denial of Claim Form for more information to find out why you received this form and whether you are responsible to pay your doctor.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to call us at 1-800-487-8911 and we will be happy to help you for free.

Q. My doctor says my No-Fault file was closed. Can I reopen my no-fault file?

A. This is a common unscrupulous trick that insurance companies use to prevent you from getting medical treatment!

If you have been told your No-Fault file was closed, it probably is not closed. Read how this trick works, why insurance companies close your no-fault file and how you can reopen your no-fault file.

Q. What do I do for money while I am out of work?

A. You may be entitled to payment for lost wages or lost income while you are recovering from your injuries from

  • No-fault
  • Workers compensation
  • Disability insurance, and/or
  • NYS Disability

Even if you were injured when not working but had a job, you can file a claim for New York State disability. The New York State disability claim form is a DB-450. We do not charge a legal fee to process your lost wage or lost income claim.

The defendant’s insurance company can be made to pay for your lost wages or lost income at the time of trial.

If you need additional money to pay bills, rent or mortgage, car payments, etc. you can also obtain a lawsuit funding advance “loan” against your case (see the next question).

Q. Can I get a lawsuit loan or borrow money on my accident case?

A. Yes. Accident lawyers are not allowed to loan money to clients but there are companies that will advance money to you.

The lawsuit funding company is paid back with interest from the settlement proceeds of your case. You only have to pay the money back if you get money from your case. If your case loses, you owe nothing.

Your lawyer will provide a copy of the police accident report, medical records and other records to the lawsuit funding company so they can decide how much they will loan you.

Typical interest rates charged by lawsuit funding companies range from 3% to 4% per month. We have an agreement with a lawsuit funding company to provide a lawsuit advance for you usually at 2.75% per month.

We are a LawCash VIP law firm which allows us to get money to you faster!

law cash loans

For more information about lawsuit loans, see Can I get a loan or borrow money against my lawsuit?

Q. What can I do if I am getting bills from debt collectors?

A. We can send a letter to debt collection agencies telling them not to contact you anymore. If you are receiving letters from a debt collection agency trying to collect money for medical bills, we may be able to get the medical facility or doctor to agree to get paid at the end of your case.

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Your Accident Case & Lawsuit

Q. Who will work on my accident case?

A. Both partners Attorney Phil Franckel and Attorney Rob Plevy will work on your case and if your case goes to trial, you’ll have 3-4 partners working on your case. Unlike other firms such as Cellino and Barnes where cases are assigned to one attorney, we have a system where the two main partners work on every case and other lawyers work on less important aspects.

Q. Cellino and Barnes say they may get me many times more than the insurance company offer. Can you?

A. Yes. We almost always get many times more than the insurance company offer. Take a look at some of our results. Insurance company offers are usually very low. For example, we got a $465,000 trial verdict when GEICO offered only $10,000. That’s more than 46 times the insurance company offer!

Q. Should I include my spouse in my lawsuit?

A. This is not a simple question for an FAQ section but we provided an easy to read article to help you decide whether you want to include your spouse in your lawsuit. Of course, we’ll be happy to discuss this with you and give you our opinion.

Q. What are the chances my case will lose?

A. We have lost only one case since 1990. According to the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 1/3 of personal injury cases lose. Most large law firms have lost more than a few cases. Of course, your case can only be lost if it is not settled and goes to trial.

Q. What are the chances my case will be settled or go to trial?

A. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before trial. If your case cannot be settled, we can participate in alternative dispute resolution involving either mediation or arbitration instead of a trial. However, we no longer agree to arbitrate cases unless you insist. Read Hon. Larry Schnachner arbitration decision shows why we won’t arbitrate personal injury cases anymore.

Mediation is where both sides attempt to settle the case with the assistance of a mediator. We always use a retired Supreme Court judge as a mediator. Arbitration is where an award is made by the arbitrator. This is similar to a trial but done without a jury. Arbitration can save you $15,000 in trial expenses and a lot of time because arbitration can be done within 2-3 hours instead of one or two weeks.

In some cases, the insurance company just refuses to offer a fair settlement until the time of trial are not at all. For instance, GEICO offered only $10,000 to our client who had a torn meniscus in his knee. Much later, they increased the offer to $20,000 and on the first day of the trial, they increased the offer to $100,000. We declined the offer and after a trial, the jury awarded $465,000.

Q. How much of my time will I have to devote to my case?

A. Not much of your time is needed for your case. If your case is settled before a lawsuit is started, almost none of your time will be needed.

We can save you a lot of time by filling out many forms and taking care of many problems you will encounter if you don’t have a lawyer after an accident.

If a lawsuit is started, you will likely have to appear at a deposition and physical exams. We prepare our clients several days before the deposition. Preparation for your deposition takes approximately 3 hours. Your deposition will take approximately 3-4 hours.

Your physical exam will occur one or two months later and typically takes five minutes +30 minutes waiting and travel time. We will be with you at your physical exam.

Most cases are settled before trial but if your case has to proceed to trial, you can expect approximately one week for the trial but you may not have to attend the entire trial.

Q. Other than at trial, do I have to go to court?

A. No. There are many court conferences at which your lawyer and the defense attorney have to appear but clients do not go to these court appearances. In fact, there could be a dozen or more conferences in court which the lawyers must go to. Fortunately for you, clients do not go to any of these court conferences.

If your case has not been settled and a lawsuit is started, you will have to appear at a deposition (see the questions below) but that is in an office, not in court.

Q. Will I have to testify?

A. In most personal injury cases, there are two times when you might have to testify. The first time is at a deposition, also called an examination before trial, and the second time is at trial.  If your claim for injuries is settled prior to starting a lawsuit, you will not have to testify at all.

If a lawsuit has been started, your case may still be settled before your deposition. But if your case is not settled, you will have to testify at a deposition.

There still is a good chance that your case will be settled after your deposition.  But if your case goes to trial, you will testify again at trial.

In cases against a government, you will have to testify at a 50 H hearing before your deposition. In some car accident cases, the no-fault insurance company will sometimes require you to testify but that’s not usual.

Be sure to read the next two questions and answers about what a deposition is and how we will prepare you to testify.

Q. What is a deposition?

A. If a lawsuit was filed, you will testify at a deposition, also known as an examination before trial, where you will be asked questions by the insurance company attorney about how the accident happened, your injuries, and medical treatment.

A court reporter will transcribe (record) the questions and your answers. Your answers are given under sworn oath and can be used against you at trial.

After your deposition, the defendant will have to testify at a deposition where we will ask questions about how the accident happened.

Q. Will you prepare me for my deposition?

A. Preparing you for your deposition is one of the most important parts of your case. That’s why we spend 3-4 hours to prepare you. Most lawyers will meet you for 30-60 minutes before your testimony to prepare you. This is totally inadequate.

During your preparation, you will watch a video of a deposition so you can see and hear questions answered the wrong way and then the right way. After we finish preparing you, you will no longer be nervous and you should testify like a lawyer. See how we will prepare you for your deposition.

Q. Will I have to be examined by an insurance company doctor?

A. After your deposition, you will be examined by one or more insurance company doctors. This is also one of the most important parts of your case. Insurance company doctors are paid a lot of money (as much as $2 million per year) and while I don’t want to say that they lie, I will say that they have a lot of financial pressure to strongly twist reality and will likely testify that there is nothing wrong with you or that your injuries were not caused by your accident.

We have caught insurance company doctors outright lying. Just read this article about defense doctors who lied. This is why we go to the medical exam with you and we bring an independent medical doctor with us to observe the exam and write a report about what was done. Most lawyers will send you to your medical exams alone.  See what we do and what the insurance company doctors do.

Q. How long will my accident case or lawsuit take?

A. How long your personal injury case takes depends on many details about your case. Cases involving obvious injuries such as a broken bone or surgery usually go faster. The quickest we have ever settled a case was 7 weeks (for the entire policy).

Some cases take 6-12 months while others can take as long as 2-5 years. See more about the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit, what can speed up your case or delay it, and what we can do to speed it up.

Q. Can I trust an online personal injury settlement calculator?

A. No. Online personal injury settlement calculators only look at a half a dozen factors while there are hundreds of factors that affect the value of every case. These calculators are completely worthless are only designed to get personal injury leads to sell to lawyers.

Years ago, there was a good personal injury settlement calculator software program which looked at several hundred factors but even that software provided values that were usually 50% to 70% less than what we settled cases for. That software is no longer maintained by the company.

Q. What is a High/Low Agreement and should I agree?

A. A High/Low agreement is made between the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant (with the client’s approval) either at arbitration or trial  which guarantees a minimum amount of money to you if you lose your case and a maximum amount of money you can receive even if you obtain a verdict for more than the agreed amount. For more information and a more detailed explanation see Should I Agree to a High/Low Agreement.

Q. Can I Get Money for an Accident If I Am an Illegal Immigrant?

A. Yes! You do not need to show any legal documents to prove you are in the US legally for a personal injury case. Your legal status will not be disclosed to anyone. If you’re concerned, we can even keep your case out of court. Read more about how illegal immigrants can get money for a personal injury case.

Q. Do I need a lawyer if I am being sued for an accident?

A. You probably do not need to pay for your own defense lawyer because your insurance company will provide you with a lawyer to defend you. However, read this article about what you need to do to make sure you get a free lawyer to defend you and when you need to pay for your own lawyer.

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Settlement Money

Q. How much is my accident case worth?

A. No accident lawyer can tell you exactly what your accident or injury case is worth without knowing many details about your injuries and treatment; how the accident occurred; and many other factors which will become known within 12-18 months after your case is started. However, we may be able to give you a good idea during your free consultation. See a few of our settlements.

You are entitled to recover money for your pain and suffering from the time of your accident and for the duration of your life expectancy; past and future medical bills; past and future lost wages or income; and other losses.

The insurance company will try to make you believe that they will give you a fair offer and that you will get more money because you won’t have to pay legal fees. Never, ever believe the insurance company. We can always get you many more times what the insurance company will offer you. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you what your case is worth.

See the FAQ below and read our article How much you can sue for.

Q. Is my accident case worth more if I get surgery?

A. It is much easier to settle your case for a lot more money when you get surgery. Insurance companies wrongly believe your case is not worth anywhere near as much without surgery.

However, the reality is that surgery does not make your injury a more serious injury than it would be without surgery. At trial, we may be able to get the jury to give you a verdict as much or even more than if you get surgery.

See why an injury without surgery is just as serious as an injury with surgery.

Q. Do I have to keep seeing my doctor, he never does anything and I’m still in pain?

A. If you’re still in pain, you should continue to see your medical doctor because every time you go to the doctor, you tell the doctor what hurts and your doctor writes that in your medical records. It’s important for your case that your doctor monitors your condition continually until your case is settled or goes to trial (it’s also important for you from a medical standpoint). Your medical records are admissible evidence at trial and will result in a substantially higher jury verdict. Since insurance companies know this, it will help you to settle for a lot more money because they won’t want to go to trial.

Q. How much can I sue for my injury?

A. There is no limit to the amount of money you can ask a jury to award you at trial. However, under New York law, lawyers are no longer allowed to demand a specific amount of money in a personal injury complaint which is the document starting a personal injury lawsuit.

New York personal injury lawyers must wait until trial to demand a specific amount of money unless the defense attorney requests the amount we are seeking.

Immediately after starting your lawsuit, some defense attorneys will serve a written demand upon us to disclose the amount of money we will demand in payment for your injuries. When requested by the defense attorney, we always demand at least $50 million and sometimes much more. Read our article if you’re interested in more information about how much you can sue for.

Q. Can I get more money than the insurance policy limit?

A. Yes, it’s possible.

1) If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you might have underinsured coverage on your own insurance policy which will pay you more money above the other person’s insurance policy. Read our article about underinsured coverage on our motorcycle accident website.

2) It’s also possible to get money either personally from the defendant in addition to the money from the defendant’s insurance policy or from the insurance company. If the insurance company pays money above the policy, it comes from insurance company profits. It’s difficult to do but we have done it several times.

There are three times when you may be able to get more money than the insurance policy limit:

  1. When we win Summary Judgment.
  2. When a settlement is reached where the insurance company agrees to pay above the policy limit.
  3. When a jury awards more money than the insurance policy limit.

We often win Summary Judgment which means we get the court to rule, long before trial, that the defendant was 100% at fault. When we win Summary Judgment, you are entitled to 9% interest and that interest must be paid even if it exceeds the insurance policy limit.

It is difficult to get more money than the insurance policy through a settlement or after trial but we have done that several times. See our article Can you get more money than the insurance policy. You can also seek to recover money awarded by a judgment after trial from the defendant’s personal assets and/or wages or income.

We make insurance companies pay your court costs when they offer the entire insurance policy after we file a lawsuit.

Q. Can my lawyer settle my accident case without my permission?

A. No. Your lawyer has an ethical obligation to advise you of all settlement offers even if the offer was $1. To settle your personal injury case, the insurance company will require that you sign a release, releasing the defendant from further liability. If you do not want to settle your case, do not sign the release.

Q. If I get Medicaid or Medicare will they get money from my settlement?

A. Maybe yes, maybe no. Whether Medicaid or Medicare is entitled to a lien on your case depends on various factors such as the type of accident. Even if Medicaid or Medicare is entitled to a lien on your case, the lien can usually be negotiated to a very small amount or even nothing at all.

Q. Is there income tax on my settlement money?

A. Usually no. Money paid for pain and suffering is not taxable. However, any part of your settlement paid for emotional or psychological injuries and lost income is taxable. If your case is settled before trial, the settlement is usually only for pain and suffering. At trial, a jury will consider how much money to award for pain and suffering and how much to award for past and future lost income. You should consult your accountant about tax implications.

Q. How long does it take to get my settlement check?

A. Your lawyer should usually receive your settlement check within 1-3 weeks after the insurance company receives your signed release. We fax releases to insurance companies and the checks are usually processed within one day.

You should usually receive your settlement check within 5-10 days after your accident lawyer receives the settlement check from the insurance company or within 2-5 weeks after the insurance company receives your signed release.

For more detailed information, see our article How long does it take to get my settlement check after settling my accident case?

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Q. Can a police officer sue for injuries on the job?

A. It depends on how the injury was caused. Police officers can now sue people or companies responsible for causing the injury. Police officers can file a personal injury claim and a Worker’s Compensation claim.

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Q. What kind of accidents do you take?

A. We represent people injured in any type of accident including the following:
Wrongful Death Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents and scooters
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrian Accidents
Hit-and-Run Accidents
Ambulance Accidents
Trip & Fall, Slip & Fall (Premises)
Elevator Accidents
Escalator Accidents
Electrical – electric shock
Fire
Forklift Accidents
Hot water scalding burns
Construction Accidents
Workplace Accidents
Crime Victims including Sexual Assault
Police Officer Line of Duty Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence
Children Injured in Accidents

Get the HURT911® Personal Injury Dream Team™ on your side!
Call Attorneys Rob Plevy & Phil Franckel days/nights/weekends for a free consultation
1-800-HURT-911

1-800-487-8911

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