Frequently Asked Questions
How is the first consultation? What papers will I need?
Your first consultation with the personal injury lawyers at Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP, Attorneys at Law will be totally free of both cost and obligation. Not only do you not have to pay us for the consultation, you do not have to agree with us or follow through on any recommendations we give you.
At the end of this free consultation, we will give you a straightforward evaluation of your claim and a summary of the options you may have. In order for us to be able to do this, you should try to bring as much information about the incident or accident as you can. These include copies of the police, accident or incident reports, hospital and/or physician records, photos of the vehicles involved or the condition(s) which you believe caused your accident, as well as any that depict your injuries.
Since oftentimes, time is of the essence in taking steps to preserve your legal rights to bring a claim for the injuries you suffered, you should not wait until you have all of the above documents to schedule an appointment. We can always obtain whatever documentation we feel is necessary that you don’t currently have as long as we have your authorization.
How much is my case worth?
We don’t know the answer to this question. Neither does anyone else. The answer depends on far too many factors including, but not limited to, the severity of your injuries, how long it will take you to fully recover, who the liability insurance company is and the amount of available coverage, and whether you were partially responsible for the accident or incident in which you were injured. If you are judged to be partly at fault, you may only be allowed to recover a portion of your damages.
You should be aware that it can take years to determine all of the costs your injury will cause, and to what extent you might not be able to fully return to the life you had before the accident. Therefore, a quick settlement is unlikely if you want to recover what you are legally entitled to. We promise to always keep you apprised of the progress being made, and the costs and likelihood of success. And, we promise to effectively and tenaciously advocate on your behalf.
How do I choose an attorney?
The fact that you are reading these FAQ shows that you have figured out at least one possible way to find an attorney. That may have been through researching on the internet, a personal recommendation, or perhaps seeing one of our advertisements. If you are evaluating several attorneys, there are several factors you should look for. These include education, legal skills and experience in the Personal Injury field, past success in resolving cases, and trial experience, if settlement appears to be unlikely. Perhaps most importantly, you need to feel comfortable with your attorney, and feel safe and confident in telling him/her everything associated with the case.
Why should I retain your firm?
At Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP, Attorneys at Law, we have resolved over $!00 Million worth of claims. Therefore, we have the experience to maximize the value of your case. We have a solid and successful track record pressing our clients’ claims both inside and outside of the courtroom, and we are known as being tenacious and unflagging in our push to get you the justice you deserve. Each of our principals has over 30 years of doing just that for clients in New York City and its surrounding suburbs. Because we promise to give each client the full and individual attention they deserve regardless of the size of the potential recovery, we cannot accept each and every case that is offered to us.
We encourage you to call us immediately to set up an appointment to meet with us. If you have a problem coming to our offices, we are more than glad to meet you at your home, office, hospital room, or other location that is convenient and comfortable for you.
When should I call an attorney?
Immediately! The longer you wait to contact an attorney to represent you after you have been injured, the bigger risk you run of not being able to fully pursue your claim. From the viewpoint of the legal system, there are usually deadlines by which actions or claims relating to an incident must be filed. These deadlines, depending on the court, may be measured in years, or perhaps only months, after the incident. If you miss any of those deadlines, your claim could be affected or even totally dismissed by the court. Knowledge of these various deadlines, and a reliable tracking system to ensure they are not missed, is yet another excellent reason why you should use a Personal Injury attorney and not try to represent yourself. Even outside of these stringent deadlines, think of how peoples’ memories fade with time. The same is true with your case. The longer you wait to take action, the more likely it is that witnesses will forget some of the details that may be crucial to your side. Or, even worse, witnesses may move or die, and their beneficial testimony may be lost forever. Always start your potential claim on the right foot by contacting an attorney immediately.
Should I accept an insurance company’s settlement offer?
No! NOT before discussing it with your Personal Injury attorney.
Face it – the insurance company’s attorney works for the insurance company, not for you. As such, he/she is evaluated on how many claims they can settle, and at the lowest possible cost. The more your claim costs, or the longer it takes to settle, means that the insurance adjuster is not doing the best possible job.
Plus, if you settle too early, that settlement may come before you know all of the current and future expenses resulting from your accident. Once you receive the settlement money, your claim is settled, and you cannot return asking for more if you need more medical treatment or a longer stay in rehabilitation.
Your Personal Injury attorney is the only one who can advise you objectively about the settlement offer, and whether it is best to accept it for make a counteroffer. That attorney works for you and in your best interests, so trust him to give his best guidance.
Will I be able to recover money even if I am partly at fault?
In New York, the answer is “Yes”. In New York State, being partly to blame for an accident doesn’t prevent you from filing a claim for your injuries, or collecting compensation for them. While each case is different from any other, if you are partially at fault the court will generally reduce your maximum possible award by the percentage of your fault. That is, if the severity of your injuries is determined to deserve an award of $1,000,000 and you are 30% at fault, your award will be reduced by 30%, or $300,000. Your net award will be $700,000. Of course, the possibility that you are partially at fault introduces yet another complicating factor to your claim. This is another solid reason why you should hire a Personal Injury attorney at the earliest possible moment, and rely on her for advice every step of the way.
Will I have to go to court? If so, what if I can’t face the defendant?
In general, the majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of the courtroom. While Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP, Attorneys at Law will attempt to settle your claim without needing to go to trial, we always prepare your case with the expectation that it will be settled in the courtroom. That way, we are never caught by surprise or are unprepared. As the plaintiff, you also always have the right to go to trial if you believe an offered settlement is too small. Of course, this carries the risk that the court will rule against you, or will rule for you but award smaller damages than the settlement offer. As always, knowledge of the legal system, precedent cases, and the presiding judge make your Personal Injury attorney invaluable in assessing this risk. And, if you believe that you can’t face the defendant for whatever reason, you must make sure you tell your attorney and no one else. You certainly don’t want the other side to know that you would not be able to testify in court, because they would have no reason to settle with you before trial.
Personal Injury Questions
Do I need a personal injury attorney?
We assume that you have already decided that you need an attorney to represent yourself, and that your question is asking why you need a personal injury attorney instead of another type of attorney. The answer is “Yes – you need a personal injury attorney!” Why? Because, when you are injured, you are in a very specialized set of circumstances. Lawyers have their specialties just like other professionals. You wouldn’t go to a foot doctor if you had a skin rash on your face, or ask a chemical engineer to build a bridge over the Hudson River. When you hire a personal injury attorney, you are also hiring that attorney’s years of experience in understanding specific case law, knowing how to negotiate with insurance companies, knowing which courts prefer to hear what types of arguments, and understanding likely medical costs that may arise over time from a given injury. This specificity cannot be expected of a general practice attorney who, needs to know a little bit about many different legal areas. Don’t take a chance with your future. It will cost you no more to hire a specialist than a generalist. When you are dealing with costs that may be recurring over the rest of your long life, it makes sense to place your trust in the expert for your specific problem.
How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
What should I bring with me when I meet my lawyer?
- Police report relating to the incident
- Hospital report, if you needed to visit one for treatment
- Any medical reports or records of any medical personnel you saw outside of the hospital.
- Any medical or repair bills relating to the incident
- Statements from any eyewitnesses to the incident and their contact information
if an auto accident, all insurance policies for the vehicle you were in, as well for any other vehicles owned by you or any relatives that you live with
- Photographs and/or diagrams of the accident scene
What if the victim dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
Will the person at fault in my personal injury lawsuit be punished?
Your lawsuit is a civil action. The only possible results involve the awarding of monetary damages. The expectation is that monetary awards will serve to deter people from being negligent and creating conditions that allow accidents such as yours to occur. The civil justice system has no power to punish a defendant with jail or even a fine.
How soon after my injury do I need to file a personal injury lawsuit?
Different types of claims have different statutes of limitation, or maximum time frames within which you must start your lawsuit. Also, some types of claims require you file a claim or take some other specified legal action almost immediately after being involved in an accident. If these deadlines are missed, you might unintentionally waive any claim you might have or forfeit other benefits to which you might be entitled. Because these deadlines are numerous and set in stone, it’s important to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as you sustain or discover an injury or damage.
What if negligence cannot be proven? Is there any other basis for personal injury liability?
As is often the answer in law, it depends. For example, an owner or a general contractor can often be held responsible for incidents resulting in personal injury that occur at construction sites, even if they were not negligent or even actively involved in the project or the specific task resulting in the injury. The law holds that there is a presumption that those authorizing or in charge of a project have made the site hazard-free. At other times, someone injured by a defective product could recover financial compensation from the manufacturer or seller of that product even if neither the manufacturer nor seller were negligent. In fact, this stance may even hold if the product that caused the injury was used for a purpose for which it was not designed. Even if you were the sole cause of a motor vehicle accident, you are still entitled to have the insurance company for the car you were in pay for your medical expenses and lost earnings under the “no fault” statutes.
Medical Malpractice Questions
What is Medical Malpractice?
What constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can take many forms. The most important factor is that medical malpractice is the failure on a medical professional’s part to provide adequate care for a patient. It is that simple. Here are some examples:
- If a doctor does not provide his or her patient with the correct information about a given operation and performs that operation under dangerous circumstances that create a significant injury, then the patient or patient’s family has the authority to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- If a doctor mis-prescribes or over or under-prescribes a certain medication and puts the patient’s well-being in jeopardy, the patient and/or the patient’s family have the right to sue for medical malpractice.
- If a medical professional fails to diagnosis, misdiagnoses, or does not diagnose in a timely manner a disease or medical condition, the patient has the right to sue for medical malpractice. And if a wrongful death occurred due to a medical professional’s negligence, the patient’s family has the right to hire a lawyer and sue for malpractice.
Accidents happen, of course, in medicine as everywhere else in life. But an accident caused by a medical professional’s failure to adhere to the standards of the medical profession for any number of reasons, accidentally or not can cause terrible damage to patients and their families. These consequences are tragic for all those afflicted, both physically and emotionally. If you or someone close to you has suffered from medical malpractice, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help determine whether or not you have the grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
You should call us if you have sustained an injury or damage of any kind, and it was due to the fault or negligence of another party. Many attorneys will tell you that they are not interested in handling a case if the injuries were not severe enough (i.e. there was no fracture). However, injuries take many forms and sometimes it takes many months for symptoms to appear or be diagnosed. If you have any doubt about whether you have a case, call us immediately. We will sit down with you, go over all of the facts, and give you our best opinion about the merits of your case. We successfully resolved cases that other attorneys thought were not winnable or not worth their time to pursue more times than we can count.
Accident Lawsuit Questions
What should I do if I am in a car accident?
No matter how minor or severe the accident seems to be, you should report it to the police immediately. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident, or the circumstances preceding it. Also, ask the police officer who responds to your call for a copy of the driver exchange information form. Make no statements to anyone at the accident scene except for the police officer. Anything you say could be used in a lawsuit if you or the other party decides to initiate one. It’s also vital that, if there was property damage or if you or someone else suffered a personal injury, you call your insurance agent and/or insurance company right away. A failure to report your accident could result in your insurance company denying payment on your claims. If you feel you have been injured as a result, even if just a “minor” injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If the injury or discomfort caused by the accident persists, contact a personal injury lawyer right away to make sure that the strict time limits that paperwork must be filed with the appropriate insurance company or companies are complied with.
I suffered an injury on someone else’s property. What are my options?
Could I still have a viable lawsuit if I received a traffic citation stating that I was the cause of the accident?
Depending on circumstances, you may still have grounds to file a lawsuit. Since New York State is a comparative liability state, as long as the accident was not 100% your fault, it’s still possible to recover damages from the other party for the portion of the accident that was not your fault.