Injured? You Just May Need A Lawyer

Imagine that you’re stopped at a red light. From your rearview mirror you see a large SUV approaching that doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Suddenly, you’re hit from behind. The first thing you do is make sure you still are in one piece. You seem to be, but when you attempt to move, everything hurts.

The driver who hit you also is traumatized. He is apologetic, so you assume he will be cooperative if your injuries require compensation. You are taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital where doctors discover you’ve suffered several fractures, and begin scheduling tests to rule out traumatic brain injury. There could be permanent damage. This happens every day.

The unfortunate fact is that when you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it can be difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve. Too often, the individual responsible for your injuries ultimately will not admit culpability. You simply cannot count on insurance companies to fulfill their obligations – insurance companies are not in business to compensate you for your suffering; they are in business to make money and save it whenever and wherever they can.

That leaves you with the burden of proving that you
were injured due to someone else’s negligence. Facing this situation without legal counsel puts you at a tremendous disadvantage. You can be certain that the insurance company you seek compensation from has their own attorneys, and their goal is to get away with paying you as little as possible, if at all.

Level The Playing Field
The only way to level the playing field is to find yourself a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. First, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney knows whether you actually have a case. He or she will help you to sort through the details of your accident or injury to determine whether:

  • you have a serious injury;
  • your injury or condition was a result of some- one else’s negligence or your own negli- gence;
  • you have medical substantiation;
  • the responsible party has adequate liability insurance.

Your attorney prosecutes injury cases and negotiates with insurance carriers on a daily basis – that is the nature of this area of law. He or she is in a much better position to obtain a favorable settlement, and guide you through the difficult process of litigation and try your case to verdict, if necessary.

There Are Different Kinds Of PI Attorneys
All personal injury attorneys do not focus on the same areas of the law. For instance, some focus
exclusively on auto and motorcycle accidents; some focus on product liability or construction accidents. Other personal injury attorneys focus solely on medical malpractice, and within that category, there are sub-categories.

Make sure to interview your prospective attorney, obtain references, if possible, and make sure that he or she has experience with your type of injury or condition. After you’ve made your decision, make sure to be absolutely forthright with your attorney, as the details of your case can mean the difference between a successful or unsuccessful resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Lawsuits

All too often, even though our clients are the ones injured and deserving of compensation for their injuries, the thought of beginning a lawsuit is terrifying to them. That is why we’ve put together the following FAQ’s addressing their concerns. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, the last thing you need is additional stress caused merely by the thought of a lawsuit.

Will I have to go to Court? While nearly all cases are settled out of court and before a trial begins, some are settled after the start of the trial but before its conclusion. Sometimes, if we feel that the settlement offered is unfair to you, we will try your case, We will hold your hand every step of the way. The successful results we have achieved with past personal injury cases often give our clients the confidence they need to retain our firm.Our track record proves that we fight hard to get you results, whether your case is resolved before, during or after trial.

Why do you so frequently win favorable settlements? Because we always deal from a position of strength, never from a position of weakness. We’re always prepared to go to trial. Defendants know about our years of experience and, sooner or later, understand how well prepared we are. There is no guarantee, of course, but at just the right point in the process, a favorable settlement becomes more likely.

Why can’t my other lawyers handle my case? The practice of law has become very specialized and complex. The law is constantly changing, so it is important to choose an attorney who focuses on the specific area of law you need. Our firm focuses entirely on personal injury law; that’s why we’re successful. The Noll Law Firm devotes our entire practice to recovering damages for people who are harmed because of someone else’s negligence. Other attorneys practicing family law or estate law, for example, focus entirely on those areas. Additionally, other lawyers know our reputation and our record of success. They have the confidence that we will serve you well, and often look to us to handle their personal injury cases.

Will I have to take the witness stand? Will the other lawyer attack me and try to break me down in cross examination? Understand, you are the victim in this case, and we will represent you. The process of winning compensation for what has been done to you should not be painful, and, for the vast majority of plaintiffs, it is not. Courtroom scenes on television are not real life. They are exaggerated for dramatic effect. Even actual televised trials are most often selected because they are sensational. In reality, there is a plaintiff, a defendant, a judge and usually a jury in the courtroom. If the case is tried, the judge and jury are sworn to do what is right. Jurors are people like you, and they do not like lawyers abusing witnesses.

What Is Tort Law – An Overview

There are constantly demands from some politicians for “tort reform.” The main objective of which is to limit the amount of monetary compensation an individual can receive when suing for personal injury. Usually, the individuals or entities in favor of such reform are insurance carriers and large corporations who often are the ones held accountable in personal injury lawsuits. However, the law says that if you are harmed by someone else’s actions
– whether intentional or unintentional – you are entitled to seek monetary damages.

To understand tort law, first we should examine its different categories. The most common is negligence. This includes automobile or motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, and “slip and fall” accidents. In these instances, typically there is no intent to cause personal injury. However, if you are harmed as the result of someone else failing to act with reasonable care, the individual or entity responsible for driving that car or motorcycle, owning that construction site or company; performing that medical procedure; or owning that property may be held responsible in a court of law.

Strict Liability
Strict liability, is a subcategory within tort law, and some attorneys focus only on this area. A strict liability lawsuit can be brought against a company if their product (such as an infant’s car seat, for example) fails to work properly and causes personal injury, regardless of the injured person’s contributory actions. Strict liability may also apply to construction site accidents.

Intentional Tort
An intentional tort is a deliberate action on the part of an individual or entity to do harm. For example, two neighbors have a heated argument, and one assaults (punches him in the nose) the other. Criminal charges often follow, and may support a personal injury civil case.

Intentional tort also may include harassment and emotional distress. Recently, we’ve seen many examples of bullying in the news. It has been estimated that nearly 30% of school-age children either are the victims of bullying or are bullies, themselves. And, this is not just “kids’ stuff” any more. Sometimes the victims can become so isolated and depressed that they contemplate suicide or actually follow through with it.

While most of us think of bullying as a schoolyard fight, bullying also includes emotional intimidation and is not limited only to children. Adults can be bullied in the workplace; neighbors can be bullied by their neighbors.

Finally . . .
Tort law is a complicated and highly specialized field of law. If you find yourself the victim of a personal injury, be it as a result of negligence, medical malpractice, or product malfunction; or, if you are injured because someone else intended to do you harm, be certain to do your research and select an attorney who focuses on your specific problem. When an attorney focuses on specific areas of the law, he or she has the experience you need to achieve a successful outcome.

Carriers Keep Away!

After you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you might very well receive a friendly phone call from the liability insurance carrier (the carrier that covers the individual or entity that caused your injury). The voice on the other end of the phone undoubtedly will be pleasant, understanding, and eager to help you. Do not be fooled. The only interest that insurance carrier has is to protect its OWN interests, not yours.

I always tell my clients, the insurance carrier is not on your side. Their only “responsibility” is to minimize the chance that you will sue – nothing more. They and their representatives work tirelessly to avoid risks and avoid paying out damages to those who have been victims of negligence. Insurance carriers will go to great lengths to prevent you from seeking compensation; and then once you proceed with a lawsuit, they will seek to prove you are not seriously injured.

Time and time again, liability carriers will press you for information that they can eventually use against you in court. They might ask you for something in writing or to sign a release. Never do it. Ever. Always seek experienced counsel, and let him or her handle the
insurance carrier. Your attorney can protect you from yourself; from saying or doing something that the insurance carrier can twist to their own advantage.

The fact that you must be on your guard after you’ve been seriously injured is unfortunate, but it also is true. Remember, you need to focus on recovering. Let your attorney handle the rest.

Can Anything Stop Drunk Driving?

Last month, in what should have been a night of making fond memories, four young women were killed when a drunk driver plowed into their limousine. The women were touring the North Fork of Long Island celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of their friends.

Four other young women, including the bride-to-be, also were in the limo and survived. But, the tragic loss of these young women, all in their early 20’s, not only devastated their families and friends, but also devastated their community.

The girls had wisely hired a limousine to drive them around. But their smart choice didn’t stop someone else from doing the wrong thing. A local business owner, was arraigned in his hospital bed for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Regardless of public service announcements, warnings by the police, and the efforts of committed citizens, individuals continue to drink alcohol and drive. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there were 364 drunk driving fatalities last year, representing over 30% of all traffic deaths on our nation’s roadways. There were 8,386 alcohol crash related injuries. This cost taxpayers roughly $2.5 billion.

Although most victims in these accidents do survive, many of them can be left with devastating impairments that change their entire quality of life. Those injured parties may be entitled to file personal injury lawsuits to cover such things as medical bills, lost wages, and in some cases, personal injury damages.

New York personal injury law states that you have a right to be compensated for personal injuries if you are able to prove those injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence.

In the case of drunk driving, often negligence can be determined at the scene or shortly thereafter. However, to pursue damages, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

You will need an attorney you can trust to protect your interests, stand up for what you rightfully deserve, and help you recover the money damages you are entitled to receive from your personal injury claim. If you have been injured as a result of a drunk driver, contact The Noll Law Firm at: (516)252-3496 for a free case evaluation.

Jurors Want To Know – Do You Really Need A Doctor?

There are many injuries, particularly head injuries, that are not obvious when an individual first is hurt due to negligence. However, that is precisely why the proper protocol is to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. The hope always is that the patient is fine, save perhaps a few bruises, and can be released from the hospital. But there are times when that is not the case, and further treatment is required.

Typically, victims of personal injury follow up with their primary care physicians, who, in turn refer them to specialists – neurologists, orthopedists, physiatrists, for example.

Once a diagnosis has been determined, the treating doctor (or doctors) prescribe a treatment regimen. Good doctors will prescribe exactly what is needed and follow the case along the way. However, there are some medical professionals who prescribe much more than is medically necessary which is inconvenient for the patient, and may adversely affect a personal injury case, if it exists.

That may be counter-intuitive, but keep in mind that nothing is cut and dry about a personal injury claim. The outcome hinges as much on perspective as it does on the actual injuries an individual has suffered.

Insurance carriers (who are not in the business to pay claims, anyway), judges, and jurors who may hear your case may frown upon someone who is “over-treating.” In other words, if your knee has been injured, you probably don’t need massage therapy on your neck. That would be
over-treating, and it will not serve you well in the in the long run.

Another example of over-treating is going for unnecessary diagnostic
tests. For example, if your neurologist sends you for an MRI of your lumbar spine, your orthopedist also should be able to refer to that same MRI during treatment. If he or she sends you for another MRI in the exact location as the first, that is a colossal waste of your time, insurance money, and will stand out as unnecessary, should your case go to trial. These are details that a jury of your peers will pay attention to.

Again, much is perspective. So, conceivably, you could be severely injured, but if your case does not settle and goes to trial, you could still lose if the jury perceives that you and your doctors are embellishing your condition.

The IME Doctor Is Not Your Friend

If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, most often that person or entity’s insurance carrier will compel you to present to a doctor of their choosing for an Independent Medical Exam (IME). The word to zero in on here is “independent,” as there really is nothing independent about the doctor they send you to.

After all, how can any physician who works directly for or is contracted by an insurance carrier be independent or impartial? The answer – they can’t. These medical professionals have nothing to gain and everything to lose by finding you disabled or severely impaired. They have every reason to write their reports on your condition in a manner that is favorable to their employers, i.e., the carriers. Why? Because insurance carriers, as we have discussed many times, are not in business to pay you compensation for your injuries; they are in business to make more money for their shareholders. Therefore, a doctor who consistently and honestly finds claimants to be injured, is not supportive of the carrier’s position. That will cost the carrier money time and again – not a good business plan for the carrier.

Whenever my clients are forced to go to an IME, I let them know that the doctors who examine them are not their friends. IME doctors provide a cursory examination, at best. That means in many instances they cannot comprehensively diagnose the patient. Many of my clients find this experience to be stressful and almost confrontational. They dislike going on their own. That is why my firm has a registered nurse on staff who accompanies my clients to their exams and stays in the room!

If you need to go to an IME, and you must go alone, remember not to engage in too much conversation; simply answer the questions directly. Do not underplay or overplay your injuries – be honest. And, most of all, do not stress out about the result. That is why you have hired an experienced attorney.

The World Of Acupuncture

Interview with Susan Dembo, Acupuncturist

What is acupuncture and how does it work to treat injuries or as a method of well care?

Acupuncture is based on the principles of Chinese Medicine and it is believed to be about 5,000 years old. This ancient medical system is practiced in most parts of the world and is now one of the fastest growing health care fields in the United States. The goal of acupuncture is to restore and maintain health by activating the body’s innate capacity to heal.

Acupuncture relies on the insertion of extremely thin, flexible needles into specific points on the body in order to regulate the flow of energy (Qi) and establish a balanced state.

Although acupuncture is recognized for pain management and stress reduction, it has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. It is an effective therapy for treating headaches, migraines, depression, asthma, sinusitis, allergies, fatigue, arthritis, low back pain, sciatica, muscle spasms, sports injuries, joint pain, TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, menstrual disorders, infertility, hot flashes, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, nausea, tinnitus, dizziness, post-stroke paralysis, hypertension, substance abuse and addictions. Acupuncture helps regulate the nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system. It increases blood flow and microcirculation bringing oxygen and nutrients to all the cells, tissues, and organs. It strengthens the immune system, regulates hormone levels, enhances sleep, increases energy and vitality, reduces inflammation, releases natural pain-killing hormones, and activates the relaxation response.

Since acupuncture boosts the immune system, it can be used as part of a wellness program to prevent the occurrence of future disease and maintain optimal health.

How do you explain the essence of acupuncture to potential patients who may be nervous about undergoing treatment?

Acupuncture views each person as a unique individual with their own unique set of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors that affect their state of health. Acupuncture examines all of these aspects to create a tailored treatment plan that meets the specific needs of each person.

Acupuncture is a gentle and safe healing experience and it is important for the patient to feel safe and comfortable during the treatment. In addition to explaining the procedures and techniques that will be used, I try to educate the patient about some of the underlying principles of Chinese Medicine. Many people are hesitant to try acupuncture because they have a fear of needles and assume that the treatment will be painful. Typically a slight pinch or prick is felt when the needles are inserted, but the sensation is not painful or uncomfortable. Once the needles are inserted, most people are pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they feel.

The needles usually remain in place for 20-30 minutes, and since acupuncture calms the brain waves, many patients feel quite relaxed during the session and may even fall asleep with the needles in place. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative so a typical treatment plan usually calls for a series of 6 to 12 weekly sessions.

For people with chronic pain who cannot obtain enough relief from prescription pain medications, acupuncture is an effective treatment that can alleviate pain and reduce the need for medication.

Describe the different modalities of Chinese medicine that you use in treating your patients.

There are several different modalities that can be used when treating a patient however needle therapy is the primary method. Acupuncture needles are ultra-thin and flexible with a diameter no bigger than a piece of thread. The needles come in sterile packaging for one-time use only. There are a wide variety of acupuncture needles making it easy to find a good match for each patient.

Moxibustion is another therapeutic technique that I frequently use. During moxibustion, heat is applied to specific parts of the body by burning the herb mugwort (moxa). When moxa is burned, its radiant heat penetrates into the body to relieve pain, expel cold and damp, increase blood circulation, relax muscles, stimulate the flow of Qi (energy), regulate digestive system function, and boost the immune system. It is believed that regular moxa treatments are helpful in preventing disease. Patients receiving moxibustion generally enjoy the feeling of penetrating warmth and find it very relaxing.

Cupping is a technique that involves placing glass or plastic cups on the skin at strategic places. A vacuum is created in the cups causing the skin to be pulled upwards. The cups are left in place for about 10 minutes and then removed. Cupping is used to stimulate the circulation of blood, relieve muscular pain, and ease respiratory disorders such as asthma and the common cold.

Electro acupuncture is a modality that is used to relieve pain. Needles are inserted and then stimulated with a low level of electric current.

There is even a pediatric modality called Shonishin. This is a non-insertive technique utilizing a variety of instruments that are pressed, rubbed, tapped or scraped on the skin to give different kinds of gentle stimulation.

Falling Accidents Crowd Emergency Rooms Across U.S.

According to the National Safety Council, falling accidents in the U.S. account for nearly 8.9 million emergency room visits annually. And, as you age, the chances of you falling increases.

Although often the cause of an individual falling is his or her own carelessness, or a result of a physical limitation, there are those times when a serious fall is the fault of someone else. That could include a landlord, a building owner, or the city or state you live in. If you fall as a result of another party’s negligence, you could recover damages and you should speak with an attorney who focuses on personal injury.

What To Do After A Fall

You do what you would do after a serious car accident or motorcycle accident – seek medical care immediately. If you cannot drive yourself or are too injured to be moved, make certain you or someone else calls an ambulance. If you are able, take photographs of the scene of the accident, particularly if there is an obvious object that caused you to fall. Also, if you can, make some notes as to what led up to the accident – if you cannot do this at the scene, then make notes as soon as you are physically able.

Look around you for any witnesses, and try to get their names. Again, if you are unable to do this, and someone you know is with you, have him or her ask witnesses for their names. Should this accident lead to litigation, eyewitnesses may help your case.

After you have been medically treated, make sure you follow the doctor’s advice, AND make sure to follow-up with your doctor, per his or her instructions. I will say this again: medical follow-up can mean the difference between winning or losing your personal injury case.

Proving Your Case

Proving negligence is rarely a slam-dunk. Unfortunately, the burden of proof is on you, the injured party. To begin with, you must prove that you were injured due to a hazardous condition. Then, you must prove that the landlord, owner, city or state government was aware of that hazard and chose to ignore it, rather than fix it. You also will have to prove that the hazard was something you could not have anticipated. For example, a faulty piece of pavement sticking out of the sideway caused your fall. Reasonably, you could not be expected to anticipate that.

The Other Driver Has No Insurance

Everyone’s worst nightmare is being involved in a car accident when the driver at fault is underinsured or not insured at all. In this unfortunate circumstance, and provided you can prove that the other driver was negligent, you may file a lawsuit against him or her, but you may not be able to obtain any compensation.

Normally, if you are involved in a car accident, both you and the other driver will notify your insurance companies. Your compensation is paid by an insurance company, and not by the person who caused the accident. However, if the person who caused the accident has no car insurance, the only way to obtain compensation is to sue that person, directly.

The problem, of course, is that individual may not have the financial wherewithal to hire his or her own attorney, no less to pay you for damages. And, if those damages are accompanied by costly medical bills and lost wages, you may not be compensated at all. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.

It stands to reason that an individual who cannot afford car insurance likely cannot afford to pay you compensation to cover your injuries or damage to your vehicle.

What To Do

If you have Underinsured Motorist Coverage, your best and only option might be to file a claim with your own insurance company. In that event, you will receive compensation up to the limitations of your own coverage. Although you might want to pursue a lawsuit against the driver who hit you, chances are you would be wasting your time, and possibly, more of your money.