FAQ PAGE2018-07-01T13:02:26+00:00
Why is my Personal Injury Case Taking SO LONG?2018-07-18T11:40:53+00:00


Your personal injury attorney should fully explain why your case is taking so long.  There are many legitimate reasons why a personal injury case takes the time it takes, but if your attorney cannot explain why your case is still pending, you might want to consider changing lawyers.  Some law firms sign up more cases than they can handle, and it is possible that your case is sitting in a file cabinet overlooked, don’t be shy about requesting an update.

These are the factors that will impact the length of a personal injury case:

  1. Insurance Coverage
  2. Length of Treatment
  3. Policies of the Insurance Company
  4. Liability
  5. Quality of Medical Reports
  6. Seriousness of Injuries
  7. Type of Case
  8. Intangibles


The minimum policy limits for automobile liability insurance coverage in New York are 25/50.  This means that the most that can be paid out is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. So if you were seriously injured, the only person injured in the accident and it was clearly the fault of the other car, your case can be settled very quickly. The insurance company will likely “tender” their policy to you, which means that they will pay out their entire policy.  Under the circumstances, it would be “bad faith” if they did not. Unfortunately, although your case is settled quickly, you will not be able to get very much money.

Let’s say you had the same serious injuries and good liability, but the other vehicle was a truck with $1,000,000 in coverage.  Here’s where you don’t want to rush. Sure, you COULD settle this case quickly, but that wouldn’t be the best way to handle it. With only $25,000 to collect, the case can be settled before you are even finished with treatment, but with more money to collect, it wouldn’t make sense to even try to settle the case before treatment is complete, as medical treatment is “damages” that increase the value of your case.  Here’s where we want to hold out for a good settlement and litigate if one is not offered. This is going to make the case take much longer, but it’s well worth it.


More serious injuries usually mean lengthier treatment.  Client’s sometimes ask why their case is not settled when they are actively getting medical treatment or they are still unable to work.  It’s not possible to know the value of the case until treatment is complete, and trying to settle a case at that point would be selling it short.  For example, if injuries cause you to be out of work for a year and half, your case can’t be settled for at least a year and a half (assuming there is ample insurance coverage.)  On the other hand, a case with minor injuries that requires little treatment can be settled sooner, but will not yield as high a settlement. The important thing to ask an attorney is the reason why the case is taking whatever time it’s taking – you should be sure it’s not just sitting in the file cabinet because they are too busy with other cases.


Some insurance companies have a policy of wanting to make fair settlements quickly.  They have a team of claims representatives that follow up on their caseloads and answer calls from attorneys.  You can send them a medical package which they will review in a timely manner and then they will make an offer in a reasonable amount of time.  If the offer is not acceptable, a lawsuit can be commenced. There actually are companies this good – one of the best has some funny animal commercials.

Other insurance companies don’t want to settle cases.  They have few claims reps and they don’t bother to return calls.  They ask for 60 days to review medical records. They make lousy offers to settle cases.  Attorneys know which companies these are and know that lengthy litigation is going to be necessary.  Some attorneys won’t even accept cases if they know they are with certain insurance companies! If you case takes a long time because it’s with against an insurance company that doesn’t actively settle cases, it’s not your attorney’s fault.  It doesn’t matter is your Aunt Jean got a lot of money really quickly with a case against a “good” insurance company.


If you have a police report that shows says you were hit in the rear by a drunk driver that was texting, there will likely be no dispute about liability.  This speeds up the case as the only discussion is damages. On the other hand, if the other guy went through a light, but is claiming that you went through the light, it might be necessary to litigate the case through depositions before being able to settle it.  This is frustrating when you saw the other guy go through the light, but that’s what courts and judges are for. Depositions cannot be held until both sides have exchanged documents and after several conferences in court. This case is not going to be quick to get full value.


If you treat with high quality medical providers that are knowledgeable about how to produce reports for accident cases this is helpful for a faster settlement.  Medical reports that are scribbled and not comprehensive give claims adjusters little to “hang their hats” on when asking for “authority” to put money on your claim.  That’s when an insurance company may want extensive litigation if you are looking for a large settlement. They will want to hear your testify in a deposition and send you to their doctors for an examination.  Good quality medical reports will speed up a settlement.


Assuming there is coverage, it will take time to build up to an excellent settlement amount on a serious case.  This is the type of case where lengthy litigation can improve the final settlement. You want the insurance company to know that you are willing to go to trial if they don’t come up with enough money.  Even though most cases are eventually settled, with very serious injuries you want to prepare the case for trial, even settle on the eve of trial. This can take years, but it’s worth it.


Auto accident cases have a “serious injury threshold” that must be met.  With smaller cases, it’s important that there is at least enough treatment to meet this threshold, which often means treatment for a minimum of three months.  Other types of cases do not have this threshold. For example, if you fall in a supermarket and go to the doctor and have a sprained ankle that heals quickly, your case might be settled very quickly.  A food poisoning case could be quick because there is little treatment once the problem subsides. Product liability and malpractice cases will always take a long time as experts must be hired and complicated investigations must be carried out.


The insurance company denies payment for your surgery as not “medically necessary,” and the doctor arbitrates this denial.  It can take over a year to get a decision. It is prudent to wait for the decision as the surgery is an important part of the damages in your case and having an arbitration decision that it was indeed medically necessary is important for your case.

The insurance company transfers your claim to a new claims rep who must now review your entire file from scratch.  This can add months to the time it takes to settle the case. The insurance adjuster goes on an extended vacation or family leave and there is nobody to discuss your claim.  Of course, the litigation can continue, but the case cannot be settled unless there is a claims rep to discuss it with.

There are many reasons why cases take the time they do to settle.  The most important thing to remember is that it is your attorney’s job to explain why YOUR case is taking the time it’s taking.  If you are in the dark, you don’t have the right attorney.  If your attorney cannot fully explain why your case is taking so long, consider changing attorneys.

Why Can’t I Get a Personal Injury Lawyer to Take My Case?2018-07-18T11:01:22+00:00


Most personal injury cases are handled with a contingency fee.  This means that the personal injury lawyer is laying out the money to prosecute the case, only getting paid when there is a settlement or a verdict.   For example, if you are involved in a car accident where the other car went through the light, but the other driver is lying and saying you went through the light.  If you are seriously injured, an attorney is likely to be willing to take your case and fight to prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault, but if you have minor injuries and little medical treatment, it wouldn’t be worth it.  On the other hand, if you are hit in the rear by a drunk driver and your injuries don’t seem serious at first, a lawyer might take this case and follow your treatment to see how quickly you heal as it is likely you will be able to collect something with full liability.  That said, it’s always worth it to get a free consultation from a personal injury lawyer to see if they will take the case.  At Wittenstein & Wittenstein we will always take the time to speak with you, and if we can’t take your case, you will completely understand exactly why.


Some types of personal injury cases require a very large investment in time and money, so these cases need to be a “slam dunk” on both liability and damages before an attorney will be willing to make an investment.  The most frustrating scenario for clients is usually with medical malpractice cases, especially when there is ample evidence that the doctors did something wrong.  For example, the doctors did not use the proper procedures at the hospital for a 100-year-old woman, and the woman sadly passed away as a result.  It would still be necessary to hire medical experts (doctors) to prepare testimony, which can cost $10,000-$20,000 at a minimum.  The life expectancy of a person that is 100 hundred years old is zero, and there are obviously no lost earnings, etc.  The problem is that it would cost more to prosecute the case than what can be collected in damages.  Another example of a situation where there are not enough damages to prosecute a medical malpractice case is a young healthy person has a procedure that the doctors does wrong, but a second procedure can fix the problem, and the person recovers completely.  Here, even if it easy to prove that the doctor’s fault, there is not enough money to collect to make back the investment.  If a medical error is egregious and it is not practical to bring a malpractice case, there are sometimes other ways of getting justice.  A complaint can be filed with the Department of Health or the Human Rights Commission.  These non-profit governmental organizations have funding to prosecute in the public interest and can prosecute health care providers, taking away licenses and issuing fines.


Another type of case that is very expensive to prosecute is defamation.  Let’s say a small daycare provider to harassed by somebody calling them a “child molester” which is clearly injurious to their reputation.  Defamation cases are usually not taken on a contingency fee, so it would cost the claimant $300-$400 an hour to pay an attorney to represent them.  It would take years to prosecute this case and meanwhile there is little that could be done to protect the reputation of the daycare.  It would be necessary to prove “damages” in the form of lost earning to the daycare, and a small daycare might not be able to survive this loss long enough for the case to be resolved.  A more effective way to handle this might be to file a criminal complaint for harassment.  If the perpetrator is arrested and convicted of harassment, parents can be advised that the allegations were baseless and in fact, the person making them was arrested for harassment.  This would be a more practical way to put a stop to the defamation and protect the business.


Housing discrimination is another area where public interest organizations can be more effective than a private lawsuit.  New York City’s anti-discrimination laws are very strong, actions can be brought under Federal Law, New York State Law and New York Law.  For example, if you are discriminated against because of race and not shown an apartment by a real estate agent, but you find another apartment the next day.  Even if you can prove the discrimination, there are no damages because you like the apartment that you rented, it’s just as nice as the one you were not shown.  No attorney would take this case on contingency as there is little to no money to collect and nobody’s going to lay out $300-$400 an hour which they will not get back just to make a point.  The solution here is to file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, where the lawyers are paid with tax dollars and donations to prosecute discrimination even if there is no money to collect.   There is great protection against many types of discrimination including “families with children,” and transgender persons.


There are many more examples of situations where the cost of the case outweighs what is likely to be collected, but it’s not necessary for you to make this determination yourself.  If it’s always worth it to have a free consultation with a personal injury attorney any time you suspect you might have a case.  The personal injury attorney might be able to suggest another remedy, such as a public interest organization or the police.  At Wittenstein & Wittenstein we will go out of our way to help you even if don’t have a case that we can handle for you, so don’t be shy about contacting us.  Call 718-261-8114 for a free consultation any time you think you might have a case.

What Happens If I Get Into an Accident While Driving a Company Car?2018-07-17T16:22:19+00:00

Although you should generally always follow these steps after a car accident, if you get into a car accident while driving a company car, what happens next largely depends on whether or not you were driving the car while in the course of employment. It is important to note that commuting to and from work typically is not considered as being in the course of employment.

Regardless of who may be at fault, as long as you were not involved in reckless or criminal behavior while operating the company vehicle, you should be able to process a worker’s compensation claim. Worker’s compensation will pay for your medical bills, lost earnings, and will reimburse for any other costs related to getting medical treatment.

If the accident is caused by a negligent driver you will be able to process a bodily injury claim against that driver’s liability insurance. This will account for pain and suffering you went through as a result of the accident. If you are at fault for the accident, you and your employer typically is seen as liable under the legal doctrines of respondeat superior. The commercial liability policy held by the employer would pay out third party damages and will also offer protection if any personal lawsuits are brought against you.

If you are not in the scope of employment at the time of an accident in a company vehicle, the commercial insurance policy may not come into play. This can be particularly challenging if you are at fault for the accident.

If involved in an accident in a company car due to another’s negligence, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help see to it that you receive fair recovery for your bodily injury claim, and that your workers compensation claim proceeds smoothly. Having an attorney can especially be helpful when trying to understand the implications of a contract you may have signed regarding use of the company vehicle, prior to the accident.

What Should I Do If I Get Into an Accident While Out-of-State?2018-07-17T15:39:31+00:00

If you get into an accident while out-of-state, follow the same steps you would take if you were involved in a car accident in your home state. Your insurance coverage follows you wherever you go within the United States, so you can be assured that your New York State No-Fault Benefits will cover your medical bills regardless of who is at fault.

Things can get a bit tricky when it comes to pursuing recovery through a bodily injury claim when in an out-of-state accident. Your personal insurance will adjust to at least meet the minimum coverage requirements of the state where the accident occurred. For example, if you’re a New York resident and have the minimum coverage (25/50/10) and are then involved in an accident in Maine, your policy would adjust to Maine’s minimum of 50/100/25.  This is great for the other driver/pedestrian if you are at fault for the accident. However if you’re pursuing a bodily injury claim because of the other driver’s negligence, your claim can be limited by that person’s insurance coverage which can be drastically lower than New York’s minimum (New Jersey’s minimum is 15/30/5). You are also subject to that state’s law, including their statute of limitations and must meet the threshold set by that state. A New York State attorney can still represent you but only an attorney from the state in which the crash occurred can file a suit if a settlement cannot be reached.

If you find yourself if an accident while out-of-state, contact NYC Personal Injury Attorney, Wittenstein & Wittenstein right away. We have over 60 years of experience in dealing with these types of cases. Call 718-261-8114 to schedule a free consultation today.


What Should I Do If I Get Into an Accident in a Rental Car?2018-07-17T14:09:33+00:00

If you are involved in a car accident with a rental car, you should follow the same initial steps as you would if involved in an accident with your own car:

  • Get your bearings and check to see if everyone is okay- If possible pull over safely to move out of the way of oncoming traffic. Confirm that all of your passengers are generally okay. If someone is badly injured do not attempt to move them, as this can result in further injury. Instead, wait for emergency medical services to arrive to the scene.
  • Call 911-this is especially necessary if someone is seriously injured, if there is significant property damage, and/or if there is a death.
  • Get the information of all other drivers involved- Make sure to get the name, address, number, insurance company and license plates of all of the other driver. If possible, take pictures of all of this information.
  • Write down names and numbers of witnesses- this can be especially helpful later on if you decide to pursue a claim
  • Gather all other information pertaining to accident- Note the weather and traffic condition and make sure to take pictures the scene and of all property damage
  • Take the ambulance to the hospital it is best to make sure everything is okay- though you may not feel pain right away it does not mean that you’re not injured

In addition, you must contact the rental company to report the accident. Most rental companies have a phone number to call in the case of an emergency- typically left in an easily accessible location like the glove department.

Figuring how to file a claim with insurance can be quite confusing when dealing with a rental company.  To better understand all options available to you and know the  proper course of action to take, it is best to contact a NYC personal injury attorney. 

How Do My Medical Bills Get Paid If I am Hit by a Car?2018-07-10T18:41:36+00:00

New York City No-Fault Lawyers know how to get your bills paid when you are hit by a car.   If you have insurance information for the car that hit you, your medical bills will usually be paid by the insurance company for that vehicle under their “no-fault” coverage.  If you were working when you were hit, you might be covered under workers compensation insurance.  If you are not working, and the accident was a “hit and run,” you will be covered under your own insurance policy, or the policy or a car owner in your household.  Your own insurance or household insurance will also cover you if the car that hit you does not have valid insurance.




New York City No-Fault Lawyers – Helping People Hit by Cars

What Do I Do If They Tow My Car To a Shop After an Accident?2018-07-10T18:00:27+00:00

Queens Property Damage Attorneys know that you need to get your car out of storage as soon as possible.  The shop doesn’t care why your car is there, they will charge you storage for every day it stays there.  If you have full coverage on your vehicle, you might be able to get it inspected and repaired at the shop quickly.  If you don’t have full coverage, you still might be able to get it inspected and repaired quickly, if the police report clearly gives all the fault to the other vehicle.

If you don’t have full coverage and/or the police report does not attribute 100% liability to the other vehicle, you need to get your car out of storage.  If it’s drivable, get it right out.  If it’s not drivable and probably totalled, you should get an estimate, take pictures and junk it.

Queens Property Damage Attorneys will help you get money to get your car fixed.   For more information about property damage and car accidents, see below:


Should I Call the Insurance Company After an Accident?2018-07-09T16:46:38+00:00

If you are wondering, “Should I call the insurance company after an accident,?” the answer is yes and no.

You are required to notify your insurance company after an accident.  If you hire an attorney, the attorney can report the accident for you.  Failure to report an accident to your own insurance is a policy violation, putting your coverage at risk.

You do not have, and generally should not contact the other driver’s insurance company.  NEVER give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.  This is much better handled by an attorney, especially if you are injured.

For more information, read the articles below:

Car Accidents

When you’re injured in a car accident – don’t refuse the ambulance!


What Should I Do If I Have a Bicycle Accident2018-07-09T13:32:06+00:00

Bicycle Accidents are complex.  Insurance coverage for bicyclists is tricky.  Your no-fault benefits should be paid by the car that hit you.  If that vehicle was uninsured, and you have a “car in your household,” the no-fault benefits will be paid by your insurance company (who is not allowed to raise your rates due to this type of claim.)  If there is no insurance at all, there is a state fund called MVAIC that will pay benefits. Your bodily injury claim will be against the vehicle that hit you, and the same scheme will apply if they have no insurance.  You will have an uninsured motorist claim against your own company. If there’s no insurance, MVAIC will cover the loss.

For more information, see our article on Bicycle Accidents.


Alyce Wittenstein has been working on personal injury law cases for over 30 years. She began working as a paralegal for my father, Frederick M. Wittenstein, Esq. in 1988. In 1995 I went to CUNY Law School and was admitted to practice in 1999. In 2000 the name of the firm was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs as it is today. Now she works with a staff of wonderful paralegals and of-counsel attorneys to bring clients not only the best outcomes, but also the best experience possible during the process.

Can I Sue My Boss For Asking Me Out on a Date?2018-07-02T13:07:10+00:00

Sue your boss for harassment? If your boss asks you out on a date, you say “no,” and that’s the end of it, probably not.  There is no law prohibiting your boss from simply asking you out on a date.  On the other hand, if your boss asks you out on a date, you say “no,” and things change in the workplace, then it might be sexual harassment.  Let’s say that after you turn him down for the date, you notice that you are being overlooked for overtime and promotions.  That’s against the law, and action should be taken.  With the same scenario, he doesn’t take no for an answer and keeps asking you out after you’ve clearly and decisively turned him down.  That’s sexual harassment.  It’s a “hostile work environment” when you are constantly plied with requests for dates!  What must be established is that there is a “pattern” of treatment that creates a “hostile work environment.”

Let’s say this boss that asks you out is your manager at a large company.  If isn’t taking no for an answer, the next step is to report the situation to upper management or to the Human Resources Department.  This complaint should be in writing.  Upper management is responsible for making sure that there is not a hostile work environment for employees.  They should reach out to your boss about the complaint and make sure it never happens again.  If, after you’ve made the complaint, the behavior continues, there is an actionable claim against the business.

For more information, see our articles:

Call us for a FREE CONSULTATION at 718-261-8114 – you’ll be glad you did!


What is No-Fault Insurance?2018-07-02T11:55:40+00:00

No-Fault insurance is a term that is commonly used to refer to “first party” benefits that are available to pay for medical bills, lost earnings and some out-pocket-expenses for traffic accidents in New York.  New York is a mandatory “no-fault” state so there is always some type of coverage if you are in a traffic accident, (unless you were working for an employer, then Worker’s Compensation will pay similar benefits.)  In most cases, an application for no-fault insurance coverage must be filed within thirty days of the accident, but there are some exceptions.  You cannot choose to use your health insurance instead, and you must treat with medical providers that accept no-fault rates.  There are no co-payments, so that’s a plus over using health insurance that people like.  You will need to attend Independent Medical Examinations (IME’s) with the insurance company and eventually the benefits will be cut off.  Many doctors are willing to hire lawyers to arbitrate these cut-offs so that you can treat longer if necessary.

If you are a driver or passenger in a vehicle, the no-fault insurance for the car you are in will be primary for no-fault benefits.  If there is no insurance on the car, the passenger can apply through their own car or a car “in their household,” or with MVAIC, but the driver is “out of luck” when driving a car with no insurance.  For pedestrians and bicyclists  the car that hit you is primary, then your own insurance or household insurance, then MVAIC.  There is no no-fault insurance coverage for motorcycle riders.

For more information see our article, “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about No-Fault”

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?2018-07-02T00:32:33+00:00

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

If you are wondering “what should I do after a car accident,?” here are some simple steps:

  1. Check the medical condition for yourself and all occupants of the vehicle.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Use your phone to take a photo of the other driver’s identification, insurance information and phone number.
  4. Get the names and numbers for witnesses, if any.
  5. Take pictures of the scene and both vehicles.
  6. Take the ambulance to the hospital with all occupants.
  7. Call Wittenstein & Wittenstein at 718-261-8114.  It’s a good idea to keep your lawyer’s card in your wallet in case you have an accident.

At Wittenstein & Wittenstein we are experienced in handling all types of Traffic Accidents: Drivers and Passengers, Taxi, Uber and Lyft Drivers and Passengers, Pedestrians, Bicyclists, Motorcycles, Trucks, Boats, Planes, Busses, etc.

We Serve all of NYC – Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island, plus Nassau County, Long Island and Westchester.


Are Women Attorneys Better for Personal Injury Cases?2018-07-01T12:28:35+00:00

are women lawyers better for personal injury cases


If you are wondering, “Are women attorneys better for personal injury cases,?” the answer is yes.  Most women (and men) feel more comfortable discussing their injuries and health concerns with women, who tend to listen more carefully and be more empathetic.  Woman are also better negotiators because they are not as belligerent.  Women tend to be more patient with client concerns and litigation, and more grounded when discussing settlements.

Working in New York City or any other city in the world comes with its own benefits and advantages as well as with its risks and problems. One thing that is easily (and sometimes not-so-easily) noticeable is that when it comes to the ratio of benefits to risks and problems, men have more benefits and are likely to suffer from fewer problems than women. This can be accredited to the fact in most organizations, men are more revered and hold more prestigious positions than women. Women have to swim through rivers and seas to get the amount of respect and opportunities which men don’t even have to jump over puddles for.

Apart from being denied equal respect and promotion opportunities solely because of their gender, a lot of women also receive less human rights compensation at their places of work. When women are victims of accidents at work and get inflicted with a personal injury, they aren’t always well compensated. They are given less than they deserve and it takes the threat of a lawsuit, or an actual lawsuit and trial, before a woman is awarded the compensation which she deserves.

Also, too many times, women are regarded as objects of sexual satisfaction and far too often, they are victims of sexual harassment. Many instances of sexual harassment are not explicitly violent. In this case, they can be as subtle as some sexist comments, or mildly physical like a tap on the butt or grabbing of sensitive body parts. Actions like this cause woman to fear for their safety. When they go and lodge a complaint at the Human Resource Management department, they are usually shushed or told to overlook it.

When the sexual harassment does get physical and leads to situations like rape, women are usually paid “hush money”, and are bullied into silence. This does not have to go on, as women also deserve justice for unfair treatment. If and when women finally decide to take these cases to court to demand justice for sexual harassment or for compensation for work accidents and a personal injury, they have a very important decision to make. This decision is choosing an attorney, and most women have found out, their best bet is to go with a woman attorney.

A woman lawyer is better at handling cases like this and an array of other cases for a number of reasons. For one, women are compassionate and highly emphatic. Women everywhere go through almost the same thing (in the case of sexual harassment and being denied equal employment opportunities), so it is very easy for a female attorney to sympathize with your cause and know how well to handle and ultimately win the case. She won’t be as unreasonable or abrasive as a male attorney would be. She isn’t just in it for the short term win or personal interest, she will take the time to listen to your issues, and note what your needs are.

Women are seen generally as being more reasonable, less combative, and fairer than men. It is for this reason that their delivery has the ability to effectively sway the jury, judges, and even the opposing counsel in a way that a man’s delivery can’t. A woman lawyer is also skilled at maximizing the perception of the juror to the advantage of their clients. They do this by appearing trustworthy and warm, thereby reminding the jurors of the women they have in their own lives.  In the eyes of the juror, a female attorney’s drive for justice is capable of forming a special connection, and this can’t be gotten with male attorneys.

A woman attorney, as earlier stated, is the best option for you when it comes to harassment and personal injury issues in the workplace. During the course of the trial, as you watch how she carries herself with so much poise and composure, you will be inspired and learn a thing or two about not being pushed around. Be sure to keep an eye out for an attorney with good reviews and impeccable recommendations, and watch her squash the case, and get you the money, justice, and compensation you deserve.

What is an Accident Attorney?2018-07-01T12:07:53+00:00


what is an accident lawyer

If you are wondering “What is an accident attorney,?” the answer is not so simple as there are many titles used for lawyers handling accident cases.  An accident attorney is a type of personal injury lawyer, representing people that claim to have been injured, physically or psychologically, from the negligence or fault of a person, a company, a government agency. Even though personal injury lawyers are trained and licensed to practice virtually any field of law (as all lawyers are,) they choose to specialize in cases that fall under “tort law” including work injuries, automobile and other traffic accidents, defective products, medical mistakes, and slip and fall accidents.

The expression “trial lawyers” can refer to personal injury lawyers because even though most cases handled by personal injury lawyers settle rather than going to trial, personal injury attorneys pursue litigation to position their cases for settlement, whereas some other types of lawyers never step foot in court such as most corporate lawyers, contracts lawyers and real estate lawyers.  Personal Injury/Accident lawyer have various duties in serving their clients. These obligations include professional and ethical rules put forward by state bar associations where the attorneys are authorized.  Once they are authorized by their state bar association, legal advisors are legitimately allowed to offer counselling and guidance and to file lawsuit on behalf of their clients in state courts.  Personal Injury attorneys can also be licensed to handle matters for clients in Federal Court.

Sometimes personal injury lawyer called Plaintiff’s Attorneys, even though there are also attorneys that do defense work, representing those that are sued for personal injuries.  Those attorneys usually work for insurance companies.  Many personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation to decide whether or not they want to take on a new matter.  Most personal injury attorneys work on a “contingency retainer,” which means that the client pays nothing unless money is collected.  This is, of course, a risk for the attorney who might end up investing cash and resources for a case and will have a loss if nothing can be collected.  That’s why a smart personal injury lawyer will be very selective about what they take on.  Personal injury lawyers must follow strict ethical rules.  The guidelines do vary from State to State, but what is always paramount is that lawyers owe a duty of loyalty and confidentiality and must zealously prosecute cases for their clients.

In order to practice personal injury/accident law in the United State, a lawyer must sit for and pass at least one State Bar Examination.  Most States also require four years of college and three years of law school.  There are also graduate degrees in various legal specialties that some personal injury/accident attorneys might also have obtained.  Ask your personal injury/accident attorney about his or her qualifications.  Sometimes personal injury/accident attorney will have very narrow specialties such as a malpractice attorney that focuses their practice on a specific disease.  Other examples of narrow personal injury/accident attorney specialties include maritime law (laws of the sea), railroad or aviation accidents.

If you are injured in an accident or in some other way by the fault of another, it is always in your best interests to consult with a personal injury.  Ask the lawyer how much of their practice is devoted to personal injury and accident law.  You wouldn’t want your gynecologist doing your root canal, so probably you don’t want a divorce lawyer to handle your accident cases.

Call Wittenstein & Wittenstein 718-261-8114, experienced professional personal injury and accident lawyers if you have any questions.  Always remember JUSTICE IS SWEET.

Can I Sue In New York If I’m Not a Citizen?2018-07-01T11:33:55+00:00

Can I sue in New York if I'm not a citizen?


If you are wondering, “Can I sue in New York if I’m not a citizen,?” the answer is yes.  TOURISTS AND IMMIGRANTS CAN TAKE A STAND, TOO!  So, if you are a tourist or an immigrant, and in need of legal assistance in the United States, don’t be afraid to fight for your rights! Even if you are in the country illegally, you still have a right to sue.  Attorneys and insurance companies are not required to report immigration status.  Wittenstein & Wittenstein can help you seek compensation for any injustices done to you, just like anybody else.

Non-native residents and tourists in the United States are hesitant to file lawsuits because they are afraid they do not have the same rights as citizens. But you need not feel fear: let an experienced and highly qualified attorney from Wittenstein & Wittenstein decide the merits of your case. We understand that immigrants face special challenges when filing a lawsuit in the United States. The laws of your home country may not be the same as the laws here. You may not speak English very well, so the idea of sorting through legal jargon—which is difficult even for Americans to understand—is scary. But Wittenstein & Wittenstein is dedicated to helping. With our small size, we are able to give you the individual attention you need to feel comfortable with your litigation. Additionally, we are prepared with translators on staff to assist you in making decisions. This kind of special attention cannot be found at a large firm, which is why Wittenstein & Wittenstein takes pride in its size.

It is not true that you must be a citizen to file a lawsuit in the United States. Common examples of people who are eligible to file suit are:

  • Students on Student Visas
  • Workers with Work Visas
  • Green Card holders
  • Non-citizen residents
  • Illegal immigrants
  • Tourists

If you are not from the United States but believe you have a case to file in this country, please call Wittenstein & Wittenstein at 718-261-8114 or email at law@wittenstein.com so we can help you determine what your options are and help you take the next step.

What Is Negligence?2018-06-30T14:21:35+00:00


Queens Slip and Fall Attorney NYC

If you are wondering, “What is Negligence,?” you should know that it is when somebody caused harm accidentally, by not being careful enough, not taking proper precautions or by breaking rules and regulations.

Wittenstein & Wittenstein knows from extensive legal experience that life-changing injuries can happen in a split second.  Our Personal Injury Attorneys at our Queens office are experts at helping victims of negligence.  An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve, and a Personal Injury Attorney that knows the turf can get even better results.  Wittenstein & Wittenstein has been handling negligence cases in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island and Nassau County for over 60 years.  The grandchildren of our clients come to us because we get them great verdicts and settlements, and also because they know we really care.

Here’s an example of negligence, and there are many more.  Jane lives in an apartment where steam heat pipes are used to warm the building in the winter. These pipes are placed in every room of the apartment in lieu of regular radiators. However, this type of steam heat piping – which can reach scalding temperatures and cannot be controlled by the tenants – is often justify uncovered by property managers. On this particular morning, Jane stepped out of the shower and put on a towel just like she does every day. But this time she had the misfortune of grazing her arm against the pipe as she wrapped the towel around her to dry off, and the pipe instantaneously justify a large second-degree burn near her elbow that is both disfiguring and painful, so much so that the range of motion in her arm is limited until it heals. But still after it heals, it will scar, leaving behind an ugly blemish that will last the rest of her life. And she realizes that no, the property manager did not push her into the pipe, nor did he intentionally hold Jane’s arm against it. However, the property manager is still at fault for neglecting to do his job by preventing these kinds of horrible and completely avoidable accidents from happening. This pipe needed only to have an inexpensive protective cover to have saved Jane from suffering.

And this is only a mild example of the kinds of neglect that cause serious harm to people. If you believe you or someone you love has incurred an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation, and Wittenstein & Wittenstein wants to come to the rescue. While we do regret your loss, we also hope you will call us at 718-261-8114 to find out what your options are and figure out the best next step in seeking justice.

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What Are The Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in New York?2018-06-30T13:39:32+00:00



It is not a wise decision to wait when you think you have a case: Act now!  If you are wondering “What are the time limits for filing a lawsuit in New York,?” the best thing to do is immediately contact an attorney who can apply the law to your situation.  That said, here’s an overview of the time limitations for various types of situations.

Unfortunately, the law does not have infinite patience. Lawsuits cannot be filed whenever it is most convenient to the litigant (you). According to the law, suits must be filed within a certain amount of time after the date of the incident in question. The statute of limitations is a guideline that determines whether your case is still valid or if you have waited too long to file. Its purpose is to set a calendar deadline for litigation based on a given event.
The start date for the statute of limitations is almost always the date when the incident occurred. There are two exceptions:

  • Date of Discovery: When a person could not have known they were injured, like if a surgical instrument was left inside them after surgery and was not discovered until complications arose, it would be unfair to use the date of the surgery (when the accident took place) as the start date for the statute of limitations. In these cases, the start date is the date of discovery.
  • Delaying (“Tolling”): When the person who incurred the loss is unable to file suit right away because they are (most commonly) a minor, mentally incompetent, or bankrupt, then the statute of limitations is delayed or “tolled.” To cite a common example, if the litigant was a minor on the date of loss and the statute of limitations is two years, then the statute of limitations is delayed until that person can file as an adult. The start date for the two years will then be the day he or she turns eighteen.

In New York State, the statute of limitations laws are as follows:

  • Defective Products or Devices: An action must be brought within 3 years of the date the injury occurred.
  • Personal Injury & Negligence: An action must be brought within 3 years.
    • Toxic substance exposure is counted under Date of Discovery.
  • Personal Property Damage: An action must be brought within 3 years of date of incident.
  • Professional Malpractice: An action must be brought within 2 ½ years.
    • This statute is delayed when there is a foreign object that may have been left in someone’s body or if there was continuous treatment of the plaintiff. The statute of limitations runs from the time when the foreign object is discovered (up to 1 year) or the last date of the continuous treatment.
    • If it is discovered that the medical practitioner withheld the truth about the malpractice, the statute of limitations runs for 6 years from the date when the fraud occurred or should have been discovered.
    • If an infant is the victim of malpractice, the statute of limitations can be extended by up to 10 years from the date of the act or omission that caused the injury.
  • Wrongful Death: An action must be brought within 2 years of date of death.

Those whose death came as a result of complications from involvement on September 11th have 2 ½ years from date of death.

As indicated above, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of case you have. This is why it is of the utmost importance to pursue litigation as soon as possible after you have incurred a loss of any kind. If you have any questions regarding this matter or believe you may have a case that may expire under the statute of limitations, please feel free to contact us at 718-261-8114 or law@wittenstein.com. We are ready to help you figure out your best options and take the next step.

What Should I Do If My Child is Injured?2018-06-30T13:27:47+00:00





If you are wondering “What should I do if my child is injured, ” the first thing to do is get your child medical care.  You must figure which insurance will apply so that your child can get care immediately.  Once the injuries are being addressed, its time to consider whether the injuries were preventable had proper care been taken.  Consider whether the child was injured in:

  1. A Traffic Accident – pedestrian, passenger or bicyclist
  2. Using an unsafe product – a dangerous toy, a harsh soap, etc.
  3. An unsafe condition – poor lighting, a crack in the sidewalk, a swimming pool with no lifeguard or a poorly trained guard.
  4. Medical Malpractice – The care received did not help the child, worsened the child’s condition or failure to correctly diagnose the child.
  5. Other types of negligence


The best way to know for sure if you can sue to recover damages for your child’s injuries is to call an experienced personal injury lawyer and discuss the facts of the case.   When a child is involved, things that seem like the child’s fault may actually be something an adult should be responsible for preventing.  For example, New York Law requires a four-foot fence around pools.  If a homeowner doesn’t have a fence the law calls this an “attractive nuisance,” and the owner is responsible if a child trespasses on their property and hurts themselves in their pool.  Another example is a child crossing the street between cars on their way to school, (along with 100 other kids going to that school at that time.)  A driver would be expected to notice that the streets are full of kids and take extra care.  So, if you are wondering, “What should I do if my child is injured,” a good start is to consult with an attorney that specializes in injuries to children.  There may be more that can be done than you think.

Please feel free to call us for a FREE CONSULTATION to find out if you have a case for injuries to your child.  Call 718-261-8114 for an appointment.

What are Contingency Fees?2018-06-30T13:14:01+00:00


What are contingency fees?

Like anyone with financial concerns, you may be wondering if it is even worth it to file a lawsuit. You may be worried that it is too costly to try to fight for your rights, even if you think you likely have a strong case. It seems unfair: How can you try to take a stand when it costs so much money? How will you come up with the finances to file a civil litigation? What if you lose the case and can’t pay the attorney fees? When you choose to work with Wittenstein & Wittenstein, you need not be concerned about such things, because we work on contingency.

Contingency is an agreement between the attorney and the client wherein the former agrees to be paid only if the client is awarded a sum. If the client gets a favorable verdict or a settlement, then the lawyer will take a normal fee. However, if no money is granted to the plaintiff, then the attorney does not get money, either. By working on contingency, Wittenstein & Wittenstein puts itself at financial risk in order to help you seek justice.

When you decide to accept a settlement or a verdict comes in from a jury, the expenses of the case are deducted from the total award.  For example, if the settlement or verdict is $100,000 and there are $1000 in expenses, there is $99,000 left.  You would receive $66,000 and the attorney would receive $33,000.  You should always receive a breakdown before signing a release which itemizes the expenses (filing fees, medical reports, experts, etc.).  You should know exactly what you will be receiving before you sign.

Contingency fee arrangements can vary for different types of cases such as car accidents and medical malpractice.  They are regulated by laws that govern contingency fees.  Contingency fees are a way for people that cannot afford to pay an hourly fee to an attorney to have a way to get justice if they are injured.

If you believe you have a case and are worried about the financial implications of taking legal action, contact us at 718-261-8114 or law@wittenstein.com so we can help you discuss your options and figure out the next best step.

Do I Need to Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?2018-06-30T12:38:19+00:00



Queens Woman Personal Injury Attorney

Knowing that most cases are settled with insurance companies without litigation, people wonder whether they really need to hire a personal injury lawyer.  In some cases, it might not be necessary.  For example, if you are hit in the rear by another vehicle, and have a police report that indicates that the accident was completely the other driver’s fault, you could probably settle the claim for your property damage on your own.  All you would need to do is send an estimate for the damages to the driver’s insurance company and they will likely pay your claim without much hassle.  They might want to inspect your car, but that’s no big deal either.  The advantage of doing this yourself is that you get to keep all the money and don’t have to share it with a lawyer.

Sometimes it’s trickier, even with a simple car accident.    You saw the other driver blazing through a solid red light while texting, but when the police arrive, he tells them that YOU went through the light.  There are no witnesses and the police did not observe the accident, so they have no choice but to say that both drivers accuse the other of going through the light.  Now, if you send the estimate for your car to the insurance company with the police report, they will tell you that they will only pay you for 50% of the damage, or, even worse, that they are sticking by “their insured’s” version and will not offer to pay you anything.  Hopefully, you have full-coverage on your car in case this happens!

In the scenarios above there are “no injuries,” but already it’s complicated.  If you are injured, not only will the insurance company not be willing to pay the full value based on the conflicting stories, but they will also discount the value of your injuries.   You need an attorney to prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault. If there is a dispute over liability, this is when you should hire a personal injury attorney.  It might be necessary to bring in accident reconstruction experts as well as other methods of proving fault – not something easily done on your own.

Let’s say now that the police report gives all the fault to the other driver, and the insurance company pays you in full for the damage to your car, but you are injured.   When you finish with your treatment, you send your medical reports to the insurance company and they assign a claims representative to your case.  You send the medical reports to the claims representative, who reviews them and tells you that they are not paying you anything because you don’t have a “serious injury.”  You need an attorney.

What may seem simple in theory is much more complicated in practice.  They are filing deadlines, and statutory limitations, as well as a host of regulations that personal injury lawyers know how to handle, so the value added by a good attorney is well worth the fee,  especially if you have severe injuries or have lost time from work.


If your injuries are severe and you have lost time from work, this is something to take very seriously.  It might not be possible at the onset to know how long it will take to heal or when you will be able to return to work.  In such cases, it is important to ensure that your claim is being handled properly from the very beginning.   An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance companies to get you the services you need for a complete recovery and to make sure that you get the maximum compensation down the line.


This is the kind of case that it is virtually impossible for an indiviaul to handle on their own.  The cost of prosecuting a malpractice case is enormous as doctors must be hired to testify, and spending that kind of money without knowing what you are doing (and risking the case getting dismissed,) makes no sense at all.  Malpractice insurance carriers never settle cases in the early stages, so it’s not like you can just pick up a phone.  Litigation will be necessary.


Some insurance companies are easier to settle with than others.  There are insurance companies that will not settle claims at all unless there is some litigation done.  Personal injury attorneys know the insurance companies and what has to be done with each one to maximize a claim.  A good lawyer will make a jury case to a jury if necessary.


It is difficult to make a decision to settle your case if you don’t understand it’s value.  Personal injury attorneys have seen similar sets of facts before and have a good sense of what a case is worth.  You may think you case is worth $100,000, but it’s really only worth $50,000.  You may have a $200,000 and settle for only $10,000.  You need a legal expert to guide you in these decisions.

If you have any questions please feel free to request a FREE CONSULTATION with WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN.  Call 718-261-8114 to make an appointment.

Should I File a Lawsuit?2018-06-30T12:25:22+00:00



Should I File a Lawsuit

When you ask “Should I file a lawsuit?”, you have lots of factors to consider. There is the money, the time, the energy, and of course, the case itself. How can you determine whether you have a legitimate lawsuit on your hands? Wittenstein & Wittenstein, with our highly qualified attorneys and years of experience, can help you decide whether filing a suit is the right choice for you to make.

Here are a few things to consider before deciding whether to file a lawsuit:

  • Many people are under the impression that trials are only about determining guilt vs. innocence. This is not always the case. Lawsuits are not about differentiating the good guy from the bad guy; they are about determining what has been lost and what if any compensation is deserved for these losses.
  • When an incident occurs, there may be a dispute between the parties involved. This is where litigation comes in: Lawsuits are a way to get an impartial assessment of damages and fault.
  • Lawsuits are often lengthy. Wittenstein & Wittenstein is confident we have the patience and experience to see you through. Make sure this is something you, too, are willing to commit to.
  • Lawsuits filed through Wittenstein & Wittenstein are done on a contingency basis.
  • You do not need to be a citizen [link to filing w/green card, visa, etc] to file a lawsuit.
  • Wittenstein & Wittenstein will always prepare for the full trial, but keep in mind that 99% of all lawsuits we have dealt with have ended in a settlement and have not gone to trial.

If you believe you may be eligible to file a lawsuit, we hope you will contact us at 718-261-8114 or law@wittenstein.com so that we can assist you in determining your options and taking the next step.

Do I Have a Case?2018-06-29T12:17:58+00:00


When you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, you have lots of factors to consider. There is the money, the time, the energy, and of course, the case itself. How can you determine whether you have a legitimate lawsuit on your hands? Wittenstein & Wittenstein, with our highly qualified attorneys and years of experience, can help you decide whether filing a suit is the right choice for you to make.

Here are a few things to consider before deciding to file a lawsuit:

  • Many people are under the impression that trials are only about determining guilt vs. innocence. This is not always the case. Lawsuits are not about differentiating the good guy from the bad guy; they are about determining what has been lost and what if any compensation is deserved for these losses.
  • When an incident occurs, there may be a dispute between the parties involved. This is where litigation comes in: Lawsuits are a way to get an impartial assessment of damages and fault.
  • Lawsuits are often lengthy. Wittenstein & Wittenstein is confident we have the patience and experience to see you through. Make sure this is something you, too, are willing to commit to.
  • Lawsuits filed through Wittenstein & Wittenstein are done on a contingency fee basis.
  • You do not need to be a citizen [link to filing w/green card, visa, etc] to file a lawsuit.
  • Wittenstein & Wittenstein will always prepare for the full trial, but keep in mind that 99% of all lawsuits we have dealt with have ended in a settlement and have not gone to trial.

If you believe you may be eligible to file a lawsuit, we hope you will contact us at 718-261-8114 or law@wittenstein.com so that we can assist you in determining your options and taking the next step.

How Do I Get My Medical Bills Paid?2018-06-29T12:38:16+00:00




One of the first questions people have after an accident is “How do I get my medical bills paid?” How medical bills get paid in New York depends on the type of case you have.  Here’s a summary of some different types of cases and how the medical bills can get paid:


  1. If you are a driver or a passenger, your medical bills are usually paid by the insurance for the car you are in.  If you are a bicyclist or pedestrian, the medical bills should be paid by the offending vehicle, but problems could come up if they deny involvement in the accident, in which case you might need to file with a “car in your household” or with MVAIC.  You have 30 days to file this application.  You must treat with doctors that accept “no-fault” insurance rates.  Your health insurance will not cover you for medical bills from a car accident.  You will be required to appear for the insurance company at Independent Medical Exams (IME’s) and failure to attend could jeopardize your benefits.  Sometimes the insurance company will refuse to pay for a medical service, deeming it “not medically necessary,” and your doctor can arbitrate this decision.  Most policies provide for $50,000 per person coverage, which can sometimes be expended, especially since the coverage is also for “lost earnings.”  For more information on this topic, see our blog post, “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About No-Fault.”
  2. If you are working at the time of the accident, your bills are usually covered by worker’s compensation insurance, but there are exceptions, especially for certain types of professional drivers (see TAXI DRIVERS.)  With worker’s compensation insurance many tests and procedures must be “pre-approved,” so there can be a long wait for testing such as MRI’s, but with persistence, you should be able to get the testing and treatment you need.  Workers Compensation will only be entitled to a lien on your case if your medical bills, lost earnings and out-of-pocket expenses total more than $50,000.  It is a good idea to have a Worker’s Compensation Attorney in addition to a Personal Injury Attorney in these cases.  For more information, see our article on Workers Compensation.


In New York, you generally cannot sue your employer and a limited to collecting Workers Compensation.  There are exceptions especially for Construction Accidents and when a third party is responsible.  In these cases the medical bills and lost earnings are paid by Workers Compensation while the claim proceeds against the third party.  For example, you are working as a receptionist and are injured when a delivery service drops a package on your foot.  Workers Compensation will pay medical bills while the claim proceeds against the delivery service.


There is no automatic coverage for medical bills for accidents other that traffic accidents.  Sometimes the owner’s insurance will have “med pay,” but that will only be paid once they accept responsibility for the accident, which they are not generally willing to do early on when the treatment is needed.  If you have health insurance, you can use it for these cases.  If you do not have any coverage your attorney will try their best to get you treatment by promising a “lien” on your case where the doctors get paid out of the final settlement.

If you are concerned about how your bills will be paid, please call Wittenstein & Wittenstein for a free consultation.  We can apply the law to your specific situation and get you answers.  You can come to our beautiful townhouse office in Forest Hills or we can go to you.  Call 718-261-8114 to make an appointment.