I WAS INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT.
WHAT DO I DO NOW? FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
LAW OFFICE OF FRANK J. CASSISI, P.C.
(516) 294-5050 155 First Street, Ste 101 Mineola, New York 11501
1. Q. What is a negligence case?
A. Negligence occurs when someone does an unintentional act which results in hurting someone.
2. Q. How serious does my injury have to be in order to make a "negligence claim"?
A. The severity of the injury depends under what circumstances the injury occurs and what laws you are relying on to claim recovery. For instance, different levels of injuries are specified in the NYS Insurance Law that will allow you to recover money if the accident arose through the use or operation of a car. However, those same injuries may be insufficient to allow for a recovery under the Workman's Compensation Law. Sometimes the case can fall under both the NYS Insurance Law and Workers Compensation law and then you may be able to claim recovery under both laws. It is always a good idea to consult with a law firm concentrating in personal injury cases and see what advice they give and what their thoughts are in terms of what you should do to preserve your rights just in case an injury turns up later on well after the date of the accident
3. Q. What if my body doesn't hurt until two days after the accident and then I seek medical attention?
A. You should immediately seek out an attorney to advise you as to the Statute of Limitations affecting your claim. For example, you only have 30 days from the date of the accident to submit a No-Fault application to the insurance company for the car you were travelling in to perfect your rights to have your medical bills paid for by the No-Fault insurance carrier for that car. Workers Compensation Law provides you 30 days to notify your employer of the incident. Thereafter, you have up to two years to file a C-3 form with your employer to perfect your rights to have your employer's workers compensation carrier cover your medical expenses. However, it is advisable to file a C-3 as soon after the incident as possible.
4. Q. Does it matter if I wait to seek medical attention because I'm too busy to go to a hospital?
A. The quicker you document your injuries the better it is for your claim. But if you can't take the time to go to a hospital, there are many other medical service providers that provide immediate medical attention for those people injured in auto accidents. As long as the facility agrees to accept your No-Fault insurance coverage as primary then going to such a facility is equally as good as waiting around a hospital for hours.
5. Q. Who pays my medical bills if I trip and fall while in store or someone's house?
A. Very often your private health insurance carrier will pay your medical bills. In some instances, stores and private homes may have Med-pay coverage which will afford a certain amount of coverage for injuries sustained on their insured's property up to a limit of $4,000.00. If you do not have either of those forms of insurance then usually Medicaid insurance will cover the bills for medical treatment that is if your medical service provider is willing to accept Medicaid: Be careful because, while all Hospitals accept Medicaid as a form of coverage, many private medical service providers are unwilling to accept Medicaid. As a last resort, some medical service providers will accept a lien against your recovery in exchange for providing medical treatment. These lien agreement situations should be carefully reviewed by your attorney.
6. Q. What if the Insurance company says I will not need a lawyer to settle the case.?
A. There are many unscrupulous insurance techniques that are used by claims adjusters to save their carrier money. Rest assured if they are telling you not to seek an attorney's advice then they don't intend or paying you fair value for your injuries and you wouldn't even be able to tell what is fair value for the injuries without a personal injury lawyer. Suffice it to say that the insurance claims adjuster is not your friend and is being paid to save his carrier money not to make adverse claimants happy.
7. Q. How do I know if my lawyer is the right lawyer for the case?
A. Selecting a lawyer is based on a combination of factors. Of course, trial skills and legal competence are at the top of the list and this usually can be verified by prior clients. Equally important is if the lawyers' support staff is also competent and helpful. Ease of communicating with the attorney in charge of your case as well as the head of the firm, if need be, is extremely important. You have the right to have your question answered as soon as possible. Many times, basic questions can be quickly fielded by a paralegal. If the office does not appear to be running like a well "oiled machine" then beware. If the Paralegals are rude then definitely beware because their attitude may be indicative or reflective of their attorney's attitude towards clients' concerns.
8. Q. Can I receive money without having to go to trial?
A. Yes Very often the attorneys can negotiate many different types of claims without having to go to trial. It's up to the client and the lawyer whether the case should even be placed into suit. Sometimes the attorney will not put the case in suit and it will still settle without having to go into litigation. The attorney will advise you of what is opinion or recommendation is regarding litigation.
9. Q. Do I have to go to court every time my attorney goes to court on my case?
A. No. Basically, you usually have to go to court for an examination before trial, a physical exam that's usually held in the defendant's doctor's office and for the trial. Some judges may require the client to appear for a settlement conference but that's usually rare today. In fact, today many court appointments are held virtually, so the client has options.
10. Q. What if I am unhappy with my present attorney's services?
A. You should always try to keep the communication lines open but if your getting the sense that he is too busy for you or doesn't care about giving your case good service then your allowed to substitute him with another attorney and you will only pay the original one third of your recovery to your new attorney, who will satisfy any claim by the former attorney from that one third fee that he receives from you.