When it comes to personal injury claims, they all require you to have an experienced attorney who is well familiar with the process and knows the differences from cases involving auto accidents, nursing home abuse or neglect. But what are the main burning questions when it comes to personal injury law?
Is your personal injury claim valid?
If you want to pursue a successful personal injury claim, you need to be able to prove that your injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence. Extensive medical treatments are usually part of every personal injury case. However, not all personal injury claims have physical injuries. Some have non-physical harms or losses. A good example is if someone attacks your professional reputation or invade your privacy. These can all be good grounds for a personal injury claim.
How soon can you file a lawsuit?
This depends from one state to another. To be more precise, on the states ‘statute of limitations’. This statute basically determines how much time you have to file a personal injury claim. Of course the statute of limitation differs from case to case. Some states have a statute of limitation of 4 years for a personal injury lawsuit, but for medical malpractice this statute is only two years.
The best thing you can do is to pursue the lawsuit as soon as possible after your injury. This is because preservation of evidence is very important in these cases. Furthermore, a standard procedure involved in a personal injury case is investigation done by your personal injury attorney, which can take some time.
What is negligence exactly?
Negligence concerns actions taken in a specific situation by a ‘reasonable person’. For example, you would expect a truck driver (or basically any driver) to obey the traffic rules and to drive at full attention in order to avoid putting themselves and others at risk. In the event that they cause a car accident because they didn’t pay enough attention while driving, they can be liable for the accident.
So basically, someone is negligent if he/she fails to act in a way an ‘ordinary reasonable person would’ in a specific situation. Personal injury cases are generally found on negligence.
Will the person at fault be punished?
Personal injury cases are NOT criminal actions. They are civil actions. Jail terms cannot be sentenced to defendants in personal injury cases. The same goes for criminal fines. This is because there was no real malicious intent that caused the injury. The cause of the injury is negligence.
Nonetheless, in some rare cases, there can be punitive damages. Punitive damages have a goal to punish the defendants that were reckless OR didn’t act in the best interest of the public. The end result of punitive damages is to discourage defendants to behave in such way.
If you think that you have a valid personal injury case, because someone else’s negligence caused you harm, contact us today and let’s review your case together!
When someone gets injured due to someone else’s negligence, they assume that they are entitled to receive compensations for the medical bills. And they are right. However, that’s not the only damage available to you.
Sometimes, injuries will prevent you from working so naturally, you can pursue that your lost income be compensated as well. You will be able to get more information from your personal injury lawyer. He/she will provide more details on how to determine lost wages and what is the reasonable amount you should expect in a fair settlement. But before you speak to a personal injury lawyer, here are some tips on how you can calculate the approximate lost wages.
The calculation process starts with you collecting documents that will serve as proof to your claim and support the claim that your injuries are preventing you from working. The most common documents include:
- Tax returns
- Paycheck stubs or paycheck forms
- Settlement sheet for three years prior and every pay period since the accident (if you’re a trucking owner or operator)
- Business records or documents (even CPA letters) if you’re a business owner
- Other documents depending on your unique circumstanced
In order to document that you need to take time off from work, you need to ask your doctor to issue a statement that will describe in detail, how much time you have to take off from work until you are fully recovered from your injuries. This is important as it will act as medical support to justify your absence from work. Your personal injury lawyer can help you secure this information through various reports or depositions.
In addition to all these documents stated above, you should also ask your employer to give you copies of your most recent checks or pay stubs. This will show how much did you earn before you got injured. And as the final document, you need to ask your employer to write you a statement that will confirm the information about your employment.
Calculating your lost wages
Calculating your lost wages, mainly depends on how you’re paid. It will be different if you’re paid by the hour, you receive a salary or you’re paid by some other basis.
When you’re paid by the hour, you will multiple your hourly wage with the total number of hours you missed because of your injuries.
So for example, if you’re paid $20 per hour and you work 8 hours a day and you missed 22 days of work, your lost wages will be:
20 x (8 x 22) = $3,520
In other cases, where you’re paid on a salary basis, the calculation is a bit different. Your annual salary gets divided by 2,080 (the number of working hours in a year). Then you will take that number and multiply it with the number of working hours in a day (so 8) and with the number of days you didn’t work because of your injury (let’s keep it 22 as before). If we assume that your annual salary is $50,000 the calculation will look like this:
$50,000 / 2,080 = 24.04
24.04 x (8 x 22) = $4,231 in lost wages
Of course, lost wages aren’t the only income that you can recover. If you receive other forms of income such as regular overtime, commissions, bonuses etc. these can be recovered too. Your personal injury lawyer will ask you about those as well and he/she will provide more information.
Lost income of Self-employed people
Let’s assume that you’re a self-employed person, maybe a web designer working from home. Even through you’re technically not employed by anyone, you can still claim your lost income. What’s different in this scenario is that your lost income consists of your earning AND profit that you would make if you weren’t injured. In this case, you have to gather documents and records that will prove the earning that you expected from the day you were in an accident until the date of judgement or settlement. Useful documents are: 1099 forms, invoices you issue to your clients / customers, records from your bookkeeper or accountant, receipt, communication between you and your clients/customers and so on.
Other income losses
Aside from your past income that you lose because of your injury, you might also be entitled to claim certain future income losses and your lost earning capacity. This will require your personal injury lawyer to work with an economist or vocational expert to establish your lost opportunities in the labor market.
Even through determining lost wages might seem like a pretty straightforward process, it can be rather difficult and complicated in some cases. That’s why you should work with a personal injury who is well informed about this and who can really help you. You can of course do some calculations on your own, but it’s best to let the attorney do the real math and negotiate on your behalf.
In our previous blog posts we’ve summarized that car accident are life-changing events that can occur out of nowhere. One moment driving down the motor way listening to the radio, and in the next your car is totaled, your body is aching with pain and you’re trying to grasp what has happened.
We also talked about what insurance companies usually do, how they want to deny or minimize your claim payment and what reasons (or tricks) they use to deny your claim. Today we will be focusing on the tips on settling a car accident claim.
Contacting the authorities
If you wish to successfully settle your car accident claim, there are several things you need to do immediately after the accident.
First and foremost, you need to contact the authorities and wait until the police arrives at the scene. Once the police arrive, make sure to tell them exactly what happened and seek medical attention if you need to. You might not feel that you need help from a doctor, but that can be a result of the shock your body went through. So make sure that you get examined by the doctor. Once the effects of the shock settle down, you will feel the effects of the accident. This can take a few hours.
Once the doctor establishes that you’re safe and not injured, take photographs of both damaged vehicles and make sure that the license plates are clearly visible. You should also make notes about the other car e.g. the make, model, color and exchange information with the owner of the other vehicle. Taking photos of the scene and location is also a good idea because this will provide useful information on the weather, traffic signs and even skid marks.
Doing this, you’re starting the car accident settlement the right way. Also, you need to keep in mind that you might not be settling the claim directly with the owner of the other vehicle, but rather with his insurance company.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Not all accidents will lead to a totaled car. Some will just end up with minor property damage, for which you don’t heel to have an attorney. It’s easy to settle this.
But if the accident caused severe damage to your vehicle and caused significant injuries to you, you should really consider getting help from a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. It might help your claim.
Experienced personal injury lawyers are well informed about the process to come and can anticipate the strategies that the other side will implement so he/she can be well prepared.
The goal of the insurance company is to protect the bottom line and their self-interest. They do this by offering you very low settlements and they might even try to dispute the entire claim. But having a good personal injury lawyer in these cases can help you a lot because he/she will be negotiating on your behalf.
Recorded statements and documents
It’s not uncommon practice, that insurance company representatives will contact you as soon as they learn about the accident. The representative might sound reasonable, friendly, polite and helpful but keep in mind one thing…they work for the insurance company, not you. The goal is to minimize the value of the claim. And since many car owners aren’t exactly skilled in these matters, the insurance representatives will even try to use some rather questionable methods to get what they need/want.
One of the things they might use are recorded statements. If you get asked to give a statement, politely decline and tell the insurance representative that you will be speaking with an attorney first. This is your right before giving any statements. You might as well use it.
Another thing that insurance companies also do, is send you documents like a medical authorization or similar. The strongly advise that you DO NOT sign any type of authorization that comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Why? Well because then the insurance company can then dig through your medical history looking for a way to prove that some of your previous injuries were the cause of the accident.
So when settling a car accident claim, it’s imperative that you speak to a personal injury lawyer. He will be negotiating with the insurance company, he will release any medical records and advise you on giving statements.
Mesa, Arizona is a great place for dog owners. There are dog-friendly hiking trails within a 20-mile radius like Shaw Butte, North Mountain, Lookout Mountain and many more.
However, according to CDCP (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about four and a half million people are victims of dog bites annually and nearly 20% require medical attention. The two highest risk groups for a dog bite are children and adult males.
In order to protect you and your family from potential dog bite-related injuries, here’s a list of useful tips on how to prevent dog bites.
- If you see a dog without its owner, don’t approach it.
- If you don’t know the dog, don’t approach it. You never know how long has the dog been on the street and whether he is regularly vaccinated or not.
- If you see an injured dog, instead of trying to help him yourself, call a professional that will assess the injuries and provide the help he/she needs.
- Don’t approach dogs that are sleeping, eating or nursing. Remember, dogs can be very territorial and when spooked, they can charge.
- Don’t run from a dog or chase a dog
In Mesa, AZ if a dog injures a human, it’s the dog’s owner who is responsible, no matter if he was aware of the aggressive nature of the dog or not. That is if the victim didn’t provoke the dog in any way.
How can you tell if the dog is aggressive?
Even though there are no foolproof ways to prevent a dog bite, there are telltale signs that you can learn to recognize and that will surely help you to determine whether a dog is aggressive or agitated. These are just a few signs and the most common ones:
- Baring teeth
- Intense stare
- Ears positioned flat or straight up (depending on the breed)
- The scruff – bristling hair around the neck
Even though these are the most common signs that the dog is aggressive, some don’t show any signs before attacking. So it’s best to keep your distance if you come across a dog that you don’t know.
What to do after a dog bite?
After a dog bit, first and foremost you should see medical attention, even if the wounds seem superficial. Like we mentioned before, you might now the full vaccination history of the dog so it’s best to seek professional medical help to have the wound looked at and thoroughly cleaned.
Once you’ve been cleared from the emergency room or hospital, you should research and hire a personal injury lawyer. Even though there is a two-year statute of limitations on dog bit related injuries, most victims lose protection if they haven’t reported the attack within the first year.
Often, the dog owners claim that the victim provoked the dog somehow, which can further complicate the case. So that’s why it’s essential that you seek professional counsel.
In Part 1 we briefly discussed what are your rights and what should you do in case your injury at work wasn’t taken seriously enough. Today, we will be digging further to see what other benefits are you entitled to if you suffer an injury at work.
Covering your medical bills
If you suffered an injury at work so severe, that it requires you to undergo surgery and the company’s / employer’s compensation isn’t enough to cover the medical bills, it’s your legal right to have the employer take care of the bills for you.
You shouldn’t be accountable if you got injured at work because of less than favorable work conditions. Said conditions allowed the accident to happen, so you should be reimbursed for any medical bills.
An injury at work will certainly leave a toll. That is why, you should be properly compensated, and not just in the amount that is sufficient enough to cover the necessary treatments. The monetary compensation should also cover the toll the accident has taken on you.
Sometimes, injuries at work might cause you to permanently stop doing that specific job. In those situations, the compensation should handsomely cover your disability. These compensations could be weekly, monthly or a one-time sum. It all depends on the court’s ruling and how good was the deal of your legal time was able to negotiate.
Special treatments after injury at work
Depending on the severity of your injury, it’s highly likely that you won’t be able to work as fast and as efficiently as before when you return to work that is. If that occurs, the employer is obligated to accommodate your needs and make things easier for you. This can be in the form of a separate parking spot just for you, installing a ramp that will help you move in a wheelchair or other things that will make your job easier.
Post-injury incentives and legal issues
Some employers use this tactic in order to avoid getting a claim from their employment or to avoid going to court. These ‘persuasion tactics’, both illegal and immoral are quite often used, where your employer offers you incentives in the form of money or benefits. And unfortunately, most victims that suffer an injury at work fall for them.
To be clear, the only monetary compensation you should be getting is through your insurance, and there should be nothing stopping you to claim your legal rights. Agreeing to side deals is NOT a good idea and we strongly recommend that you first speak to your lawyer before agreeing to anything.
Settling for less than you deserve or nothing at all, is NOT in your best interest. However, that happens very often. Most employees that got injured at work don’t know what to agree to and what not to agree to. They just don’t know how the system works. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled personal injury lawyer by your side, who knows the system inside and out and can counsel you in the decision-making process.
If the court’s ruling is not applicable, turn it down and file for an appeal. If the insurance company is offering you a bad deal, turn it down and negotiate a better one that you feel good about.
Fully understand that you deserve to be properly compensated for what you’ve been through, all the physical and emotional difficulties and that you SHOULDN’T settle for less.
Employees should do their best to make the workspace safe in order to avoid accidents. Regrettably, no matter how hard they try, an accident will happen from time to time. And if an employee gets injured at work, he/she deserves proper compensation.
On the other hand, employees should also take all the necessary precautions in the workplace to avoid accidents. No matter what, the accident will happen an in those situations you should be fully aware of your rights and compensated for your injury.
It’s unfortunate if you suffer an injury, and even more so when it happens in the workplace where you’re trying to make a living.
Many employers have precautions and safety measures set to protect their employees and even despite those, accidents tend to happen. This is inevitable and employees should be familiar with the benefits and compensations they are entitled to when they get injured at work.
Report the accident to protect your rights
The easiest way to protect your rights is to report the injury at work as soon as possible. We recommend reporting to your manager or employer immediately, on the same day or within a few days after the injury at work has occurred. This works in your favor.
In some cases, the injury is just too severe so you won’t be able to report it yourself. In that case, you must have someone to do it for you. A good option would be one of your colleagues or a member of your family. In most states, employers are obligated to cover an employee’s insurance if he/she suffers an injury at work. Make sure that this is taken care of and that you get coverage.
File a claim if needed
If your injury at work report wasn’t taken seriously, and you didn’t hear back from your employer or Human Resource department, the next step would be to file a claim in your industrial/compensational court. We at Schenk Podolsky always emphasize that workers are entitled to their benefits if they get injured at work. In case that your employer hasn’t compensated you enough, hire a lawyer to represent you.
Learn about your rights
Most workers are completely unaware of their rights or what are they entitled to in case they suffer an injury at work. Be aware that employee’s benefits include reimbursement for medical bills and even belongings that were damaged in the accident. Furthermore, you can also be entitled to monetary compensation, disability payments, accessibility tools (in case you’re handicapped) and coverage for rehabilitation. And in most severe situations, where death has occurred, the employee’s family is entitled to have the burial costs covered.
Some of these rights differ depending on where you live, but they all include sufficient compensation or coverage for your insurance. Seeking medical treatment and consulting with a doctor is #1 on your priority list after you suffer an injury at work. As long as your doctor advises you to be on sick leave, you legally qualify for paid sick leave. Furthermore, you are allowed to return back to work once the doctor signs an approval and releases you back to work.
Accidents at work that result in permanent injury and thus prevent you from working anymore, have a substantial disability compensation. And your employer is legally obligated to pay it. In the event that you don’t feel the insurance company paid you enough for medical treatment, you have the right to appeal to these decisions.
When the weather is beautiful, a lot of people like to spend time outdoors. And some of them also want to bring their dogs with them. It’s well established that children generally like dogs, but we can’t always say that dogs like children. Your child can sustain serious injuries or diseases from a dog bite. There are even cases where surgery might be necessary. That’s why you must look for a Mesa personal injury lawyer with extensive experience.
According to some research, over 4 million people suffer injuries related to dog bites, and only 17% of those 4 million cases get reported. And over 50% of dog bite-related injuries involve children. This is seriously troublesome information, especially if you’re a parent. Some places, for example, George, treat dog bites as a public health concern.
There’s only so much you can do to make sure that your child is safe from dog bites. But it can never be foolproof. And if you’re a dog owner, you have to take all the necessary steps in socially training your dog. Don’t miss any vaccinations and also make sure that your dog is trained in restraint, both when in the house and outside.
Furthermore, you should never leave a child alone with the dog. This also goes for family dogs as well, as they are no stranger to biting too.
Dog owners need to be certain that their dog is properly trained on how to interact with strangers. They (the owners) need to take necessary measures when they train and socialize their dogs. And even then, they might still be liable under Georgia’s law, in case the attack happens on their property.
In order for a Georgian dog owner to be liable for a dog bite, the parents of the injured child must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was negligence. The victim’s parents must prove that the down owner knew about the aggressive nature of the dog and didn’t do anything in order to restrain the dog and avoid the bite. In cases where the victim provoked the dog, the claim won’t be valid.
There is some flexibility when it comes to Georgia laws. In cases involving dog bites, victims can have trouble proving that there was negligence. Suffering a dog bite is not sufficient enough for you to claim compensation for your injuries. However, if the bite happened in circumstances when a leash was involved, the claim could be determined in the victim’s favor. Various laws require dogs to be restrained in certain areas. So in case of injuries, when the dog should have been restrained, the owner will be responsible for the damages.
The owners may also be liable if they were familiar with past attacks by the same dog, but did very little to prevent those types of attacks from occurring again. Furthermore, the owners might also be liable if the dog attacks someone on their own property.
When your child suffers a dog bite, the first and foremost thing you need to do is to make sure that they get the necessary medical attention. Reach out to your doctor and make sure that you get all the information on the dog’s vaccination, including the last rabies shot. It’s up to the owner to provide the name and contact information.
Contacting Animal Control
The incident also has to be reported to your local municipality’s animal control department. A timely report will ensure that the down owner is taking the necessary steps to quarantine the animal if it represents a danger to the community. Reporting the incident is also important if you’ll be pursuing a personal injury claim. The animal control report could be valuable evidence that will support your claim.
Gathering all the evidence you can find is necessary in order to determine who is liable for the dog injury. Probably the most important evidence is the one gathered at the scene. The strongest piece of evidence is your children’s clothing, which is most likely tattered and bloody. Don’t wash the clothes so that you don’t remove the stains. Instead, put them in a bag, label it properly, including information on time and date when the attack occurred. Taking photos and videos can also serve as strong evidence for the case.
If you can interview eyewitnesses that will improve the credibility, even better. Eyewitnesses have no financial gain for telling the truth. Statements from witnesses are very important and can potentially increase the chances of the case being ruled in your favor. Also, make sure that you get the names and addresses of the witnesses because they might be called in to testify.
Child Injury Claims – Complications
Settling an injury claim for an underage is not without complications. It requires court approval. Even when the child can recover after just a few weeks, there are long-term effects of the attack e.g., trauma or the child might even develop fear from dogs.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Contact Schenk Podolsky to determine if you have a solid case for a personal injury claim. Assuming that the owner is not liable just because you know each other or you are next-door neighbors, is wrong. Settling a personal injury case is not easy. Especially when there’s a minor involved. You’ll need an experienced attorney to help you out.
Injuries Seen After a Car Accident
There are a variety of injuries that can occur after a car accident. These injuries can range from minor injuries, to more severe injuries that require hospital stays, time off work, and more.
Because there are so many factors that come into play when an accident occurs, and such a wide variety of injuries and costs associated, it is in your best interest to get a lawyer who wants to help see that you, or anyone involved on your side, is taken care of adequately.
The following are some of the most recognized injuries that can occur during and after a care accident.
One of the most common car-accident related injuries that people experience afterwards is whiplash. This type of neck injury occurs when the head and neck are jerked forward when a car is suddenly stopped from the impact of a car accident.
The normal symptoms of whiplash may not show up for around 12 hours, to sometimes a few days, after the accident has taken place. The whiplash may heal within the weeks following the accident, on it’s own. Some cases may require further treatment, such as physical therapy, to heal completely and correctly.
Whiplash can cause pain in the neck and back, as well as an overextension to the nerves, muscles and joints.
Some of the typical symptoms of whiplash include headache, pain, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, trouble sleeping, and dizziness.
Another type of injury that is seen a lot in car accidents is a concussion, which is a type of injury that occurs from suffering a blow to the head. Think, when the impact of your vehicle during the accident is so forceful, that it causes your brain to ram against the inner part of your skull. During a car accident, victims often suffer a concussion when the blow forces their brain to slam against the inside of their skull.
There are several symptoms that can be signs of a concussion, both physical and mental. Some of these include; mood swings severe headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, trouble with eating or sleeping, and disorientation.
It is important to seek medical attention after an accident, as soon as possible, because some signs of a concussion may be misread as something else, and vice versa.
Soft Tissue Damage
Torn muscles, bruising, strains, and sprains all fit under the category of soft tissue damage. These, while seeming minor, may not cause any further or worse symptoms for up to a week after the accident has occurred.
Some of the things you may notice with these injuries include sharp pains, swelling or inflammation, stiffness in or at the area, and noticeable color changes.
In accidents that are rear-ended or side-impact situations, back injuries are a common injury. Adrenaline can hide the symptoms of a more serious injury that has occurred due to the accident, namely when it comes to back injuries.
There are a few symptoms that you should be on the lookout for pertaining to back injuries:
- Noticeable pain in the neck, back, or shoulder area
- A limited range of motion in any of these areas
- Unusual or extensive bruising
- Weakness in the affected area
- Difficulty breathing or balancing, or pain with these motions
Car accidents are many times traumatic and violent, because they happen so quickly and can be devastating. Due to this, many of the people in them suffer from things like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other types of emotional distress.
This type of injury, while not necessarily physical, can have many negative impacts on the victims life.
It may manifest in many different ways. Some of the more common ones include anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Others may have flashbacks of when the accident happened, or nightmares of the event. All of these can spiral into mood swings, hopelessness, and potentially a cycle of reckless behavior due to that.
Many of those who suffer from this type of injury may not realize or want to accept that that is this case. This may cause their symptoms to get worse, as they do not want to get help. If you or someone you know suffers from any type of emotional distress such as PTSD, please do not be afraid to ask for help and to seek treatment.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you believe you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, do not hesitate to consult with our office and speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, so that we can discuss your claim.
Contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one of our skilled attorneys to find out if you have a case against the at-fault party. We work on a contingency fee basis and will only charge you if we recover compensation for your claim.