HAVE YOU SUSTAINED AN INJURY FROM AN ACCIDENT?
There are two main types of injuries that a person can sustain in an accident: Physical and Psychological. Physical injuries are the most common and can be minor, severe or catastrophic. Psychological injuries can sometimes coincide with physical injuries, and in some cases be the only injuries sustained. If you believe you have been injured physically and/or psychologically by the carelessness or recklessness or another person, it’s a good idea to have a consultation with a personal injury attorney to find out if you can make a claim.
CALL WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
PHYSICAL INJURIES FROM AN ACCIDENT
PLEASE USE THE “INJURIES” MENU ABOVE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PARTICULAR INJURIES FROM ACCIDENTS, INCLUDING WHAT SUBTLE SYMPTOMS TO LOOK FOR RIGHT AFTER AN ACCIDENT. IF YOU HAVE ANY MEDICAL CONCERNS, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY GO TO A DOCTOR OR HOSPITAL. A PHYSICAL INJURY FROM AN ACCIDENT MAY BE MORE SERIOUS THAN IT SEEMS AT FIRST.
PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR RECKLESSNESS
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR RECKLESSNESS OFTEN DOESN’T SHOW UP RIGHT AWAY. SOME TYPES OF INCIDENTS SUCH AS FALSE ARREST OR SEXUAL HARASSMENT CAUSE A MORE OBVIOUS TYPE OR PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM, WHEREAS A FEAR OF DRIVING OR EVEN BEING IN A CAR CAN ARISE QUITE SOME TIME AFTER A SERIOUS TRAFFIC ACCIDENT.
- CIVIL RIGHTS
- CLIENT RIGHTS AND ETHICS
- CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
- DO I HAVE A CASE?
- FAQ VIDEOS
- LITIGATION & SETTLEMENT
- MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
- PREMISES LIABILITY
- PROFESSIONAL DRIVER
- SLIP AND FALL
- TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS
- WHAT TYPE OF LAWYER DO I NEED?
MOTORCYCLE CRASH LAWYER
If you’ve had a motorcycle accident, you need a motorcycle crash lawyer that knows motorcycle accident law inside and out. Injuries are often severe and deaths are all too common, plus the laws are different for motorcycles than other types of motor vehicles. Adding to the challenges, there is the perception that motorcyclists are daredevils that do not obey traffic laws. Additionally, motorcycle cases are complicated, with some special laws and regulations that apply only to motorcycle accidents. We have been representing motorcyclists for more than 60 years, so we know everything about how to handle your case.
A motorcycle crash attorney can help you get your medical bills paid. Motorcycle accidents are exempt from New York’s no-fault laws, so you can sometimes use your health insurance for treatment, something you cannot do for a car accident. Exemption from the n0-fault law also enables victims of motorcycle crashes to sue the responsible party for injuries that do not meet New York’s threshold for “serious injury.”
If a motorcycle is struck by a truck or a vehicle from out-of-state, it is more complicated. We have been representing cyclists for more than 60 years. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you need a motorcycle crash lawyer with this type of experience.
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The law requires that drivers leave a note with name, address and contact information in a visible location if they hit and damage a parked car. It is considered a hit and run if one damages another’s property and leave without providing identifying information. Unfortunately, in New York it is not usually the case that someone will leave a note after leaving an unattended parked car damaged.
If you find that your parked car is damaged, you have a choice whether or not to report the property damage to your insurance company. If the damage is minor, you might decide to repair it yourself. This would allow you to avoid paying a deductible and decrease the possibility of your rates going up. Should you decide to report the damage to your parked car, follow these steps:
- Call the police to file a report – If you decide to go through insurance to fix your car, they will ask for it. Calling the police is also beneficial because they may know of surveillance cameras in the area that could’ve captured the incident. Make sure to request the accident report and get the name and badge number of the officer.
- Take pictures of the damage – Note the location and time
- Look for any possible witnesses – Look around for any possible witnesses. Maybe there’s someone who saw what happened and could provide you with more information about the incident
- Call your insurance company to report the accident
WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN WILL HELP YOU WHETHER YOU ARE A CITIZEN OR NOT
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
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 email@example.com so we can help you determine what your options are and help you take the next step.
You are wondering, “Can I Sue the City if I fall on the sidewalk?” Yes, you can sue the city if you fall on the sidewalk. The City must have “actual notice” of the defect in the sidewalk, and a claim must be filed with 90 days of the occurrence. It is only worthwhile to sue the City for a fall on the sidewalk is you have sustained a very serious injury. This is because litigation against the City is expensive, and the investment is not merited unless there are enough “damages” to collect. If you sprain your ankle, and do not require medical treatment, it is to sue the City. If your ankle is broken, casted, and you lose time from work, this would make the claim worthwhile.
Often when you fall on the sidewalk, the owner of the adjacent property is responsible. If a property owner, with insurance, is responsible for the condition that caused you to fall, you can make a claim even if your injuries are not that serious. It is always worthwhile to speak to an attorney that handled “premises liability” and “slip and fall” cases to find out if you have a claim that is worth pursuing. The personal injury attorney can apply the law to the specific facts of your case to determine whether is it worth suing. An experienced personal injury attorney will know exactly what questions to ask to evaluate your claim. You lose nothing by making the call, and even if you cannot sue for your injuries, it is a worthwhile step to get closure.
These are some examples of defects on a sidewalk that a property owner may be responsible for:
- Raised areas
- Uneven pavement
- Ice and Snow
At Wittenstein & Wittenstein, we take pride in our service to the community, and we will patiently answer all your questions and address all your concerns. Call us at 718-261-8114 for a free consultation. You can stop wondering, “Can I Sue the City If I Fall on the Sidewalk,?” and find out now if you can make a case.
DEFINING AMBULANCE CHASER
You should avoid at all costs becoming the victim of ambulance chasing. Ambulance chasing is illegal in the United States and most of the World. In England is also called “barratry,” an offense committed by people who are “overly officious in instigating or encouraging prosecution of groundless litigation” or who bring “repeated or persistent acts of litigation” for the purposes of profit or harassment. It’s well known as an insult to personal injury attorneys, implying that they “chase ambulances” to the emergency room to find clients. An astute client can tell the difference between a reputable personal injury attorney and an “ambulance chaser.”
HOW CAN YOU SPOT THEM?
So how can you tell if your attorney is an ambulance chaser? Ambulance chasers use illicit means to solicit clients that have had an accident. For example, if you are treated in an emergency room, an ambulance chaser may get this data and begin calling you to ask if you would like to sue for your injuries. You might get 10, 20 or 30 calls like this. The attorneys that engage is this harassing and illegal activity hope to convince you to trust them with your case, but why should you trust an attorney that is unethical?
Ambulance chasers also employ what’s known as “runners.” These employees of unethical attorneys use radio scanners to intercept police calls to the scene of an accident. They show up with the attorney’s cards, trying to solicit business from injured victims who are presently concerned about their health and well being. They sometimes even bring forms to sign to retain the attorneys they work for. After an accident, people are often in a state of shock, both glad to be alive and concerned about their injuries and the damage to their vehicles. To solicit clients at this time is reprehensible.
Another tactic is to use “runners” from medical offices that lure clients into treating for their injuries “for free,” with the no-fault insurance from the accident. The no-fault insurance would cover their treatment at any provider that accepts this insurance, and they are numerous, but the false impression is given that they are getting something “for free.” The patient is given a stack of forms to fill out, and sometimes those forms include a retainer for a law firm! I have had clients come to my office that did not even know that they had already retained any attorney. Aside from being illegal and unethical, ambulance chasers often run “mills” with thousands of cases that all get little or no attention. I have heard horror stories from clients that have worked with this type of firm – calls not returned, filing deadlines missed, and settlements proposed without breakdowns explaining how much money the client will receive.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR ATTORNEY AT ANY TIME DURING YOUR CASE
What can you do if you made the mistake of retaining an ambulance chaser? It’s easy to fix! Clients have a right to change attorneys at any time during their case. The reputable attorney can have you sign a “Consent to Change Attorney” form that will end your relationship with the ambulance chaser and retain the legitimate attorney. There are very good reasons why you should end such a relationship, including the fact that the District Attorney’s Office is constantly investigating these illicit operations and you could get swept up in the fraud prosecutions and come under scrutiny yourself.
CHOOSE A REPUTABLE FIRM
At Wittenstein & Wittenstein, clients seek out our services through referrals and searches that lead to our transparent and informational website. Our goal is to provide excellent service to clients needing representation for injuries sustained through the fault of others. There is no shame in seeking compensation for your pain and suffering when somebody has done you wrong, and this can best be accomplished with the assistance of a reputable personal injury firm. The reputation of the law firm that represents you is known by the insurance companies and defense law firms. The largest settlements are made to firms that they take seriously. If your attorney is an ambulance chaser, your claim will not strong. If you don’t have faith in your lawyer, you should consider changing attorneys.
WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN
SPECIALIZING IN HELPING INJURED CHILDREN
DIFFERENT RULES FOR DIFFERENT CASES
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:
- A Traffic Accident – pedestrian, passenger or bicyclist
- Using an unsafe product – a dangerous toy, a harsh soap, etc.
- An unsafe condition – poor lighting, a crack in the sidewalk, a swimming pool with no lifeguard or a poorly trained guard.
- Medical Malpractice – The care received did not help the child, worsened the child’s condition or failure to correctly diagnose the child.
- Other types of negligence
LIABILITY SITUATIONS SPECIFIC TO CHILDREN
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.
Yes, inmates are entitled to rights while in prison which can be asserted as claims for compensation. A New York inmate abuse and neglect attorney can be hired to represent you. If you have been a victim of abuse by prison staff or other prisoners, it’s worth investigating whether you have a claim. If you have been denied proper medical care, disability accommodation, mental health treatment, you may have a compensatable claim. You assert these rights, you will need the help of a New York inmate abuse and neglect attorney.
The United States has more people incarcerated that any other country in the World, with conditions much worse than any other developed country. This is despite the prohibition in the United States Constitution against “cruel and unusual punishment” which prohibits abuse and neglect in prisons. A New York inmate abuse and neglect attorney is well aware of all the laws that protect inmates and will fight for your rights.
PERSONAL INJURY CASE TIME FACTORS
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:
- Insurance Coverage
- Length of Treatment
- Policies of the Insurance Company
- Quality of Medical Reports
- Seriousness of Injuries
- Type of Case
INSURANCE COVERAGE AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
LENGTH OF TREATMENT AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
INSURANCE COMPANY POLICIES AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
LIABILITY AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
QUALITY OF THE MEDICAL REPORTS AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
SERIOUSNESS OF INJURIES AND YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY CASES, TAKE DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF TIME
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.
INTANGIBLES IMPACTING THE LENGTH OF A PERSONAL INJURY CASE
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.
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
NO WIN, NO FEE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONTINGENCY FEES WHEN FILING A LAWSUIT
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 firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you discuss your options and figure out the next best step.
CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT LAWSUITS – BEYOND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY
If you are wondering, “Is Workers Compensation the exclusive remedy for constructions accidents,?” the answer is that sometimes there are additional ways to collect compensation.
EXCEPTIONS TO WORKERS COMPENSATION
- Grave Injuries – Applies to catastrophic injuries sustained in an accident. This provision has been interpreted very narrowly by the New York Courts, denying a lawsuit to a worker that lost part of all the fingers of one hand, ruling that it must be the “entire finger,” to qualify as an exception to exclusive remedy.
- permanent and total loss of use or amputation of an arm, leg, hand or foot;
- loss of multiple fingers;
- loss of multiple toes;
- paraplegia or quadriplegia;
- total and permanent blindness;
- total and permanent deafness;
- loss of nose;
- loss of ear;
- permanent and severe facial disfigurement;
- loss of an index finger; or
- an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in permanent total disability.
- Intentional Conduct – The employer does something to intentionally harm the worker. The New York courts have interpreted this exception narrowly as well. The employer must have actually wanted the worker to be hurt and did something to hurt this particular worker. No degree of recklessness would suffice. There are provisions under the Labor Law that would apply to unsafe conditions.
- The Scaffold Law, limited to construction workers, allows lawsuits against employers when injured was caused by a defect in a safety device, “at an elevation.” This doesn’t mean that you need to be 1,000 feet up in the air. Courts have upheld the use of a ladder for meeting the requirement of “at an elevation,” but it must be a problem with the ladder that caused the fall. It’s not enough just to be high up, the fall must be “caused by gravity.” The right to sue was denied to a worker who hurt is back to due to the design of a harness used at the top of a skyscraper, because the injury was not from falling. You could sue if you were hit by debris caused by malfunctioning devices “at an elevation, but not because your co-workers dropped their water bottle on you.
- Labor law will also allow some suits based on an unsafe work site
- If the injury was caused, at least in part, by the acts or omissions of somebody not employed by the company, such a delivery person, a lawsuit can commence against that person and/or entity.
- If the injury was caused, at least in part, by a defect in a product, a product liability claim would be allowable.
I doubt you’re still wondering, “Is Worker’s Compensation the Exclusive Remedy for Construction Accidents,” but you might have some follow-up questions. Feel free to give us a call at 718-261-8114.
Disability discrimination occurs when an entity under the scope of the American Disability Act (ADA) , treats a person less favorably than others because of their disability. Discrimination of this kind also occurs if unfavorable treatment is also directed to someone who has a relationship with a person with a disability. An example of this would be denying a husband a job because he has a wife with cerebral palsy.
A disability as defined by the ADA is a physical or mental impairment that significantly hinders an individual’s major life activities, record or history of said impairment, or the belief by other individuals that a person has those impairments. Someone who has an illness that is expected to last 6 months or less, would not be considered disabled.
One of the most common areas where disability discrimination comes up is in the workforce. For a practice to be discriminatory, an individual must be otherwise qualified for the applicable position. Disability discrimination can occur during the hiring process, at the start of employment or even after one has been with a company for a while. During the actual course of employment it can occur when it comes to promotions, getting approved for time off and/or retirement. Employers from both the private and public sector, with companies of 15 or more employees are required to follow the rules under Title I of the ADA.
Here are some practices that can be considered discriminatory:
- Request that you take an aptitude or a medical test- This will not be seen as discriminatory if everyone else in the company has to take the same test. If you are ‘singled out’ to take an exam, that is when it is an issue
- Ask about a disability, or if someone close to you has a disability- An employer is only allowed to ask you about a disability if they’re doing so to better meet any accommodations you may need. On many applications you may also see questions regarding veteran status and any associated disabilities- this is an exception as it is required by federal law. An employer generally should not be asking you about the nature of your disability or the duration of your disability.
- Refuse to make reasonable accommodations- If you need accommodations, your employer will need to know about your disability. Otherwise, how can they address your request? Individuals need to be qualified for the position. The employer does not need to provide the accommodation if it will result with the employer experiencing “undue hardship.”
WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN
QUEENS NYC PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS HELP YOU GET YOUR MEDICAL BILLS PAID
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:
- 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.”
- 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.
OTHER TYPES OF ACCIDENTS AND ACTIONS
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.
Wondering whether you should call a NYC Medical Malpractice Attorney? If you suspect that a doctor’s mistake has caused you or a loved one harm, you should investigate whether there is a medical malpractice case. There are many different types of cases that a NYC Medical Malpractice Attorney can handle, for example:
A New York City Medical Malpractice Attorney works on a contingency fee, which means that they must invest a tremendous amount of money in a case, and only get paid when there is a verdict or settlement. There must be another doctor that is willing to testify that the original doctor made a mistake and substantial harm that was caused by the error.
A NYC MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY MUST PROVE LIABILITY AND DAMAGES
It is not uncommon for a person to be worse off or even die after a medical procedure. This might not be the doctor’s fault. There are risks associated with procedures that are expected, and as long as the patient was fully informed of the risk, and the doctor did the procedure correctly, there is no malpractice. A doctor may negligently fail to diagnose a condition, which a doctor picks up, but if the delay in treatment did not cause any harm, there are no damages. Sadly, once somebody is above a certain age, and there is limited life expectancy, it is very difficult to prove damages, so even if a mistake shortens or ends their life, it is usually not financially feasible to bring a claim.
MAKE SURE THE NYC MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY YOU CHOOSE HAS THE RESOURCES TO INVEST IN YOUR CASE
Sometimes inexperienced attorneys will sign up your medical malpractice case thinking they can settle without substantial litigation, as they might be able to do with a car accident or slip and fall case. As soon as they find out that they will have to lay out $50,000-$100,000 to litigate the case to trial, or at least to jury selection, you get a letter in the mail dropping your case. By this time the Statute of Limitations may be close, and you will have a very hard time finding a medical malpractice attorney to take your case. Ask how many medical malpractice cases they have handled, and if they have the resources to invest.
DON’T LET THE ODDS DISCOURAGE YOU FROM CALLING A NYC MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY
Just because it’s not always possible to bring a lawsuit, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call a Medical Malpractice Attorney for a consultation.
NEW YORK CITY ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
QUEENS, BROOKLYN, MANHATTAN, STATEN ISLAND AND THE BRONX ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
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 counseling 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 accident attorney and personal injury lawyers if you have any questions. Always remember JUSTICE IS SWEET.
CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
If you have been seriously injured while working at a construction site, the laws are complicated. You are entitled to Workers Compensation, but you may also meet an exception to the law that bars lawsuits by employees against employers and you may also have a claim against a third party. This is why you would benefit from hiring a Construction Accident Attorney to help you obtain compensation.
There are many claims to file for benefits, and possibly lawsuits to file against several entities. Once a settlement is proposed you will also benefit from the advice of an experienced Construction Accident Attorney that knows how much your case is worth. You should also know that a Construction Accident Attorney usually works on a contingency fee, so you don’t have to pay any money up front. You certainly have nothing to lose by having a free consultation.
CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
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:
SHOULD I FILE A LAWSUIT IN NEW YORK?
LET WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN HELP YOU DECIDE
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 email@example.com so that we can assist you in determining your options and taking the next step.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AND CONTINGENCY FEES
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.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER WILL NOT TAKE YOUR CASE
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.
Parents are very concerned when they ask, “My child is being bullied at school – what can I do?” There is very much now that can be done, even when a school does not co-operate. When you tell the school, “My child is being bullied at school,” you may not get much action. It could be that the school is not aware of their responsibility – they may need to be educated! There are strong Federal Laws and even stronger New York Laws that require schools to monitor for and eliminate bullying. It is well-established that bullying can cause depression, anxiety and eating disorders – it can even lead to suicide.
The burden on schools to prevent, notice and eliminate bullying has become very high. A safe learning environment for all students is now a very high priority in New York, and throughout the country. Despite the efforts of legislators to put pressure on schools to prevent bullying, it is still up to parents to hold schools responsible when they are lax in eliminating bullying.
There are some factors to consider when you suspect your child is being bullied:
- Physical abuse is when there is an injury to a child’s a child’s body or to their property
- Verbal abuse is when there “namecalling” or other types of verbal attacks, out loud or in writing.
- Social abuse is damage to a child’s relationships or reputation, such as rumors or the intentional exclusion from a group
- The bullying is more actionable the more often it happens
- The bullying is more serious if there is a real or perceived power imbalance such as a difference in strength or popularity
- The bullying causes severe harm, including physical, emotional or psychological harm that requires treatment by a professional
FILING A COMPLAINT WITH THE SCHOOL
When you file a bullying complaint with your child’s school, be sure to include the following information:
- What you believe the basis of the bullying is, for example, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, lifestyle, etc.
- Include a description of the type of bullying, such as verbal, physical, sexual, rumors, social exclusion, cyberbullying (online,) etc.
- List every person that is involved in the bullying. Is it teachers, students or other personnel.
- State where the bullying occurs, is it in school, in the schoolyard, after school or on the bus.
- State how long it’s been happening
- Explain the harm that this has caused to your child, physical, emotional or psychological
- List the names of all the people that the child has complained to.
EXAMPLES OF BULLYING THAT ARE ACTIONABLE UNDER FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS
Racial: When racial slurs, threatening taunts or other actions are based on the race of a student.
National Origin: When the harassment is based on a real or perceived belief about where the child or their families members were born.
Sexual Harassment: When students, usually girls, are taunted about the size of their breasts or other sexually related characteristics.
Disability: When a student is harassed about a real or perceived disability and called things such as “retard” or “cripple.”
If you know or suspect that your child is being bullied at school, the first step is to speak to the parents of the likely bully and the school. If nothing is being done to eliminate the bullying, you may need an experienced Child Injury Attorney to help you. See our blog article on bullying at school and call us for FREE CONSULTATION.
Our Accident Lawyer Blog
Here you will find a wealth of useful information for victims of negligence, property owners, and safety buffs. Negligence is carelessness, and when that carelessness causes an injury, a cause of action for compensation can arise. Learn what you can for yourself and when an accident lawyer can help you. We respond quickly to all comments, and will gladly take your phone call if you have any questions. Our phone is answered by a real live human being who will let you know when an attorney is available to speak to you, not just bleep you over to voicemail. (Occasionally, if we are very, very busy, our voicemail might pick up, but we’ll call you right back.)
Learn how a top accident lawyer can show compassion for your situation and clearly explain all the options. Please explore our blog and feel free to CONTACT US.
PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
SERVING NEW YORK CITY, QUEENS, BROOKLYN, THE BRONX, STATEN ISLAND AND LONG ISLAND
FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS
MY CHILD IS BEING BULLIED AT SCHOOL?
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
TAKE ACTION NOW
CALL WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID
Attorneys always sue for much more than they are likely to settle for, as they want to keep the stakes high with the threat of a potential jury verdict. So the answer to the question, “How much should I sue for?” is “some ridiculous arbitrary amount that is much more than your case is actually worth.” That’s why people hit the ceiling when they are served with a summons and complaint after a fender bender and see that they are being sued for $50,000,000! When people ask how much they should sue for, what they really want to know is how much their case is worth. That’s a complicated analysis that usually requires the assistance of an attorney, as there are many factors to consider. That would seem simple, except that ethical attorney loathe to make promises about outcomes for their clients, and sometimes judges and juries do not live up to their expectations. Here are some factors to consider to understand how much it might be reasonable to collect in damage (a money judgment or settlement) for an injury case.
The most important limitation on how much money can be collected in a lawsuit is the amount of insurance coverage. A lawsuit is not limited by the amount of insurance coverage, but as a practical matter is it not generally possible to collect more money than the applicable insurance coverage. So when an attorney (and he shouldn’t be doing this) makes any promise about how much a case is worth, you should always ask how much insurance coverage there is. For automobile accidents, the minimum coverage required in New York is 25/50, which covered $25,000 dollars for an individual claimant and $50,000 per incident. This is the minimum amount required, but many drivers carry more, especially if they own their residence. Taxis must have 100/300 coverage and commercial vehicles can sometimes have upward of a million dollars in coverage.
Once it’s established how much coverage is available, the next step is to analyze the negligence claim itself. This is easy if you were hit in the rear by a drunk texting driver that is clearly 100% at fault. An intersection collision is more complicated, as you and the other driver may have different stories to tell. There are usually no witnesses to traffic accidents and it is quite common to see police reports that have both drivers claiming the other driver went through the light. It is very difficult to prove who actually went through the light – it might require retaining very expensive accident reconstruction experts, which would not be worth it unless the injuries sustained are very severe. For slip and falls, it is necessary to prove “notice” of the which can be “reasonable” or “actual” dependent on who is being sued. Reasonable notice means that the property owner “knew or should have known about the dangerous condition.” For example, when you slip and fall on water in a supermarket, it is often very difficult to prove reasonable notice because it’s impossible to know how long the water was on the floor before you fell. It could have been dropped by another patron moments before you fell, and it would not be reasonable to expect a store to notice things this quickly. This is a difficult pill to swallow for claimants that are seriously injured in such falls, that the amount of recovery for settlement can be much less than they expected for their injuries because of the settlement “discount” for the difficulty of proving notice. Attorneys do not want to litigate cases with a “notice problem,” because the case could be dismissed! These are many other examples, but it’s important to remember that how strong the claim for negligence is will impact the value of the case overall.
The value of an injury depends to a large extent on how well it heals. Sometimes there are injuries that are very painful for the first couple of weeks, but heal completely. With that happens, and there is little to no lost time from work, the value of the case is small, even if the person was hit in the rear by a drunk driver! On the other hand, some injuries will take longer to heal and will result in a great deal of time lost from work, and may be worth more than what would be expected for that type of injuries. The “egg shell” skull theory that attorneys learn about in law school, explains that when somebody has a pre-existing condition that makes the injuries heal more slowly, the negligent person is responsible for these damages. Even with fractures and surgery, most cases are not worth more than several hundred thousand dollars. For catastrophic injuries, such as blindness or paralysis, the damages can be in the millions.
I hope this FAQ answer gives you some good questions to ask your lawyer!
DO I NEED TO HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN NY?
LET WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN HELP YOU DECIDE
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.
WHEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY REFUSES TO PAY OR LOWBALLS YOUR CLAIM
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.
WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR CASE
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.
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”
Personal Injury Attorneys call this type of scenario “delayed injuries.” It happens all the time. Right after the shock of an accident, and the police come to the scene and you tell them you’re fine, but then you go home and realize that everything is hurting. Of course, it is always better for an injury lawsuit if you notice your injuries right away, but it’s not too late to seek medical treatment for “delayed injuries” at any time after the accident when you realize you were hurt. Even though they are “delayed injuries,” its still “the sooner the better,” so as you soon as you notice you’re hurt, you should go to the emergency room to get checked out. Follow the instructions on the discharge sheet for follow-up and call a personal injury attorney for a consultation. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to make a case for your delayed injuries.
After the tragic limousine accident on October 7th, resulting in the death of 20 people in upstate New York, the safety of stretch limos have come to the forefront. This is especially so, following the limousine accident 3 years prior where 4 women, including a bride-to-be, died. So what is it about stretch limousines that render them a potential safety hazard?
Here are some safety concerns pertaining to stretch limousines:
- Many stretch limousines are not originally manufactured as stretch limousines– they are instead cars that have been modified to become limousines. The front and rear of the original car is first removed. The body of the car is then extended. The front and rear is then added to the extended body. This modification is not done through the manufacturer but rather by a third party company that has acquired the car sometime down the line. The process that the original car had to go through before being released for purchase (crash experiments, tests, etc) no longer ensure the safety of the limousine since the dimensions of the original car has drastically changed. The stretch limousine that crashed, killing 20 people on October 7th, was a 2001 Ford Excursion meant to sit 9 people. Nearly 20 years later, it seated 18.
- When modified, many safety features are removed/no longer apply- When ‘stretching’ a car, features such as side roller over pillars and even airbags are removed, or are no longer able to offer protection.
- There are not enough seat belts for each passenger- in addition, because of the culture of drinking and having ‘fun’ in the limousine, people tend to not want to put on seat belts. Seat belts are often seen as ‘too restrictive’ in such a setting. This creates a huge hazard should an accident occur
WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN – HELPING VICTIMS OF NEGLIGENCE FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS
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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Forest Hills Accident Injury Lawyer.
ARE YOU WONDERING WHEN TO CALL A CRASH CRASH LAWYER?
You should call a car crash lawyer if you are injured in an accident. It might not be clear how serious your injuries are right after an accident, but an experienced car crash attorney can advise you about steps to take to preserve your rights. For example, a car crash lawyer is likely to suggest that you take the ambulance to the hospital to be checked out – you could be in a state of shock and the injuries might be worse than you think. A car crash attorney will also suggest that you file for “no-fault benefits” so your medical bills will be paid, because a car crash lawyer knows that the deadlines are short. A car crash attorney will also recommend how to best handle your property damage claim, should there be damage to a vehicle.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE CALLING A CAR CRASH ATTORNEY
There are so many reasons to call an experienced car crash lawyer after an accident. Here is the list of recommended steps to take:
- Check the physical condition of yourself and others in the car
- Get out of the car, if possible. and help others if necessary
- Call 911 for the police and ambulance
- Call your car crash lawyer for more advice
A call to your car crash attorney is always a good idea. Car crash lawyers recommend calling as soon as possible so that they can provide the best advice for your particular situation.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A GREAT CAR CRASH LAWYER?
Car Crash Lawyers, Wittenstein & Wittenstein, will give you free advice from the scene of the accident, so you don’t have to guess at what to do. There’s no reason not to call a car crash attorney after an accident, and the sooner the better.
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Despite New York’s passage of more stringent construction worker safety laws, lack of employer compliance still leads to an alarming amount of avoidable accidents. The NYC Department of Buildings reports that last August, a worker was seriously injured when a piece of plywood was used to conceal a hole, instead of repairing it. This happened 56 floors above the ground, and the worker is lucky to be alive. Sadly, this is happening all the time as employers fail to implement safety protocols. Construction safety in New York City can only be improved with both laws and enforcement.
In October, 2017 Local Law 196 was passed, but the City is not doing an adequate job with enforcement. The most important aspect of the new law was training, but the Department of Buildings keeps delaying the date requiring full compliance. This destroys the entire intent of the bill as people are still dying because they do not know how to put on a harness correctly!
The Mayor’s “management report” states that there are two construction accidents a day in New York City – 744 a year! This includes both small injuries and fatalities such as the worker that was killed in a building collapse accident last September. The total number of injuries keeps increasing steadily. There were only 212 injuries reported for the entire year just five years ago.
This increase is being attributed to fraud and inadequate training. Another ploy is the extensive use of “fake OSHA certifications,” that was reported on by the Daily News, NBC, and other media. The 10-hour training class costs more than $100 and a day without working is a big hit from a worker, and with fake certificates widely available, the temptation is huge. Another ruse is “online training,” as it is widely known that office workers often take the training for an entire crew.
Hopefully, the Mayor will improve construction safety in New York City with more enforcement to protect workers.
Not all serious injuries show up on X-rays, and a follow-up with a specialist, including testing such as an MRI might indeed show a serious injury.
Section 5102(d) of the New York State Insurance Law gives guidance for what is legally considered a “serious injury.”
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- A permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- A permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- A significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- A “medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”
In order to make a claim for pain and suffering in New York, an injured person must legally prove that they have a serious. Let’s look at each of the categories:
- When somebody is killed in an accident, they will have a “wrongful death” claim, with its own rules and regulations.
- Dismemberment is when a part of the body is lost, such as losing a finger or arm. This is obviously “serious.”
- Significant disfigurement can take many forms, but often it is a scar in a prominent place. This can happen when a laceration does not heal well, and is an injury that might not show up on an x-ray.
- Fractures show up on X-rays and even the smallest fracture will meet the “serious injury” threshold.
- It must be proven that the loss of the fetus was caused by the accident, and did not happen spontaneously or for some other reason.
- This item can apply to a serious “soft-tissue” back injury, neck injury or other injuries that cause a permanent loss of use of a body part – such an nerve damage that causes paralysis, which might not show up on an x-ray.
- When a body part sustains a permanent “limited range of motion,” it is considered a serious injury.
- Very similar to number 7, but referring to different parts of the body
- When a person loses time from work or other activities for 90 days during the first 180 days after an accident, it is considered a “serious injury” even if there is a full recovery.
If you are feeling pain after an accident, you should see a doctor for a follow-up and consult a personal injury attorney, even if all your x-rays at the emergency room are negative.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?
If you are wondering, “What should I do if I have a bicycle accident,?” you should call a bicycle accident attorney for advice for your particular circumstances. Bicycle Accidents are complex. Insurance coverage for bicyclists is tricky.
BICYCLE ACCIDENT MEDICAL BILLS
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.
BICYCLE ACCIDENT INJURY CLAIMS
Your primary bodily injury claim will be against the vehicle that hit you. If that car has no insurance, you will have an uninsured motorist claim against your own company (car in the household.) If there’s no car in the household, MVAIC will cover the loss.
For more information, see our article on Bicycle Accidents.
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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.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY ATTORNEY?
This woman speaks out “loud and clear” about what she expects from an attorney. The “me too” movement has empowered women to let their wishes be known and to refuse to tolerate disrespectful and inappropriate behavior. Back in “the day,” expectations for the personality of a professional were very low. Doctors could lord over patients, telling them what to do, not answering questions – just telling them to do what they are told. People would put up with this, and comment that he “doesn’t have a great bedside manner.” Well, that’s unacceptable now for any type of professional.
So, if you’re asking “What should I expect from my attorney?” – the answer is that you should hold an attorney, and any other professional to a high standard. The client is the consumer, and the client is “the boss,” and they should receive nothing less than excellent service. Phone calls should be returned, and questions answered. A client should never be “in the dark.” Attorneys that don’t get that, will be losing all their clients to firms that know how to treat their clients.
You should expect your attorney to answer your questions honestly, and clients should be skeptical about “too good to be true claims.” The attorney that tells you that you sore back case is worth a million dollars is LYING – and if you stopped a minute to think, you’d realize that right away. How long will my case take? If the answer is that it will be “very quick,” that attorney is either planning to sell your case short or isn’t being sincere, because there are so many factors that can delay a case, that that type of promise should never be made. How about just explaining general timetables and things that might come up that could cause a delay?
If you receive anything less than excellent service, you should know that you have the right to change attorneys at any time during your case. This right to change attorneys can be used easily, all you need to do is contact another attorney and they will take care of transferring your file. Don’t just complain under your breath, take action!
Construction Accidents are becoming more frequent as laws and regulations protecting workers are being abolished so that real estate developers can put more money in their pockets. Sadly, this is causing an increase in the rate of accidents, with serious injuries and fatalities increasing. If you have been the victim of a construction accident, here are the reasons to hire a construction accident attorney:
- Get Workers Compensation Benefits Quickly – an experienced construction accident attorney will know how to process your claim quickly so money is coming into your family as soon as possible.
- Investigation of All Exceptions to Workers Compensation that May Allow You to Sue Your Employer – New York State does not allow employees to sue their employers, but there are many exceptions that often apply to construction accidents such as “grave injuries,” falling from a height and failure to employ certain safety standards.
- Investigate Applicable Product Liability Claims – If the accident was caused, even partially, by malfunctioning equipment, the manufacturer of the equipment can be held liable.
- Investigate Third-Parties – There are often employees of other companies working on a site that may have contributed to the accident.
- Public Policy – Trump era deregulation is abolishing laws and regulations that protect worker safety, causing serious injuries and fatalities among construction workers to skyrocket. Making a claim will hold employers accountable, and could reduce future accidents.
- Peace of Mind – Knowing that you have top lawyers at your side will allow you to focus on your recovery/
- Money Can’t Buy Happiness, but it Can Help – Collecting a substantial amount of money will help you to rebuild your life financially after the accident.
Yellow taxi drivers are suffering from competition from ride-hailing apps, and joining their ranks in droves. Drivers for ride-hailing services don’t have to pay a fleet on a weekly or daily basis to rent a cab, but they do have to lay out substantial amounts of money to lease, clean and insure late model vehicles. So, drivers are asking, “How can I make the most money as a ride-hailing driver? CNBC’S Jaden Urbi suggests, “The more apps they’re on, the more money on the table.” Ride-hailing driver/blogger Harry Campbell recommends that drivers “sign up for at least two different apps.” (Check out “The Rideshare Guy” Blog.)
Since ride-share drivers are independent contractors, they can sign up for as many apps as they want, but fumbling between apps while driving is dangerous and can cause accidents. But since we live in a world where there’s an “app for everything,” there’s now an app called Mystro that is marketed as a “personal assistant for ride-share drivers and automates the process of comparing rides from different companies, turning off all the apps while a ride is in progress. Seems like a must have for ride-share drivers!
Drivers that remain with yellow taxis are still moving into the 21st Century, accepting credit cards and using an app called Curb which hails taxis in much the same way as Uber and Lyft. Great news for current ride-share drivers in New York City is the City’s plan to cap the amount of ride-share cars on the road, and this will also help yellow taxis from further erosion of their business. There are long lines to sign up for new livery licenses before the cap goes into effect. When ride-share drivers have accidents, the insurance scheme can be complicated, so they should always go to a lawyer that specializes in handling cases for taxi and rideshare drivers to make sure everything is done properly. An experienced taxi driver attorney will keep up on all the laws and regulations that apply.
SPORTS INJURIES LAWYER
- When you play sports you “assume the risk” that you may be injured by the “inherent risks of the sport.” A sports injuries lawyer can explain how this relates to your particular sport.
- In order to sue for a sports injuries, it is necessary to prove that somebody else’s negligence or recklessness caused the injury. An experienced sports injuries lawyer will know right away based on the facts at hand.
- For children, it could be that the coach, school or camp did not provide proper safety equipment, this claim would be more difficult for an adult, who would have to prove that they were not aware of the need for the equipment.
- Improper supervision is a claim for a child, but not an adult.
- For beginners of a sport at any age, lack of safety advice and improper coaching can give rise to a claim. A sports injuries lawyer knows what types of advice and coaching are appropriate for various sports.
- A manufacturing defect in safety can give rise to a claim for product liability for a child or an adult. An experienced sports injuries lawyer can research recalls and defects in equipment for you.
- Premises liability rests with owners of sporting fields and schools, who are liable for unsafe playing areas and for the conduct of their staff.
If you suspect that your sports injury may have been caused by negligence or recklessness, a free consultation with a sports injuries lawyer will help you sort this out. At Sports Injuries Lawyer, Wittenstein & Wittenstein, we’ve been helping injured people for more than 60 years. Please don’t hesitate to call if you think you might have a claim.
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:
- Check the medical condition for yourself and all occupants of the vehicle.
- Call 911.
- Use your phone to take a photo of the other driver’s identification, insurance information and phone number.
- Get the names and numbers for witnesses, if any.
- Take pictures of the scene and both vehicles.
- Take the ambulance to the hospital with all occupants.
- 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.
MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT:
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.
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.