When people think of personal-injury cases or lawyers, their first reaction may not be positive. At Lacy, Katzen, Ryen & Mittleman, LLP, this important area of the law reflects only the highest standards of professionalism and service to clients.
“I have the unique opportunity to help people when they are in the greatest need of legal help — often at the most difficult point of their lives, when their livelihood or good health has been taken away and they need representation to right a wrong,” said Managing Partner Peter T. Rodgers, Esq. “I’ve been practicing law for 27 years, as a trial lawyer. The area where I spend most of my time is in personal injury.”
Rodgers sees personal injury as an arena with both emotional and intellectual rewards: “This is a challenging area of the law,” he said. “Every case is unique and different, and presents new challenges. I enjoy the complexity of each new case, especially medical ones — I often have to learn about something completely new. I enjoy that intellec- tual challenge.”
Over the years, according to Rodgers, the firm has handled more than a thousand personal-injury cases. Some people come to Lacy for help with such cases because they already have retained the firm for their other legal needs; others because they have been referred by friends, clients of the firm and even other lawyers. “A lot of these matters come to us from first-time clients,” Rodgers noted. “An injury is likely to be a rather unusual event in someone’s life.”
The firm handles all types of personal-injury cases. The most common cases involve automobile accidents; injuries on a premise or property; product liability — injuries from unsafe or defective products, including consumer items and drugs; hospital- and medical-negligence; and nursing-home negligence.
“We only take those cases that are meritorious,” noted Rodgers.”There has to be real wrongdoing to the client. We often advise people not to initiate a case, because we will not take frivolous cases.”
The firm looks at what an inci-dent may have cost someone before accepting a case. “The nature of disability, lost earnings, future lost earnings, current and future medical expenses — all of these are factors,” said Rodgers.
The other key player in Lacy, Katzen’s personal-injury practice is Jacqueline M. Thomas, Esq., known as a strong advocate for her clients.
“What I find most rewarding about personal-injury work or cases is helping people who have serious problems in their lives,” said Thomas. “They’ve been hurt, are often unable to work, and don’t know whom to turn to for help. We often are their only port in a storm.”
Thomas brings a unique perspective to the personal-injury practice, because she represented insurance companies in the past. Her knowledge of insurance-coverage issues and how insurance companies handle cases are invaluable tools in helping clients.
Clients may recognize Thomas from a photo in a display at the Rochester International Airport promoting St. John Fisher College. “Fisher wanted to start a society for graduates with legal careers, and asked me to be on a steering committee to get the society off the ground,” she recalled.” A feature on law and justice for a commencement brochure became the airport promotion. “Seeing it was a shock, since it’s ‘larger than life,’ but I’ve gotten lots of compliments from people.”
A new mom, Thomas has found that parenthood has affected her view of the law and the work world by giving her a greater appreciation for the consequences of injuries on an entire family, rather than only the injured person. “It is very rewarding to be able to help people through difficult times in their lives,” she said.
Rodgers and Thomas define personal-injury law in terms of the client: “A person whose life has been changed because of another’s negligence feels a deep sense of injustice. The tort law allows an individual to seek justice in a civilized manner.”
Bringing a personal-injury case
If you are considering a personal-injury case, keep these tips in mind.
- Contact us promptly—don’t let time run out on a legitimate personal-injury claim. We may need to give prompt notice of your claim.
- Collect and organize your records; “the more information you can provide, the easier it is to proceed and the better we can serve you.”
- Don’t talk to others about your case.
Once you contact Lacy, Katzen for help, we will:
- Meet with you to discuss your case.
- Assess the case and its potential for success.
- Help you deal with related insurance issues and paperwork.
As is the standard in the legal profession, Lacy, Katzen handles personal-injury cases on a contingency basis; you only pay for legal services if we win your case.
To talk about a case, call us at (585) 454-5650.