Personal Injury

A personal injury claim seeks compensation for injuries caused by another’s negligence. These injuries can arise out of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, work site accidents, construction accidents, defective or dangerous products, assaults, accidents at home, dangerous property conditions, medical malpractice and nursing home negligence.

No. Lacy Katzen LLP’s litigation attorneys offer free consultations.

Motor vehicle accident cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney receiving a fee is “contingent” upon you getting a recovery in the case. In other words, the attorney only gets paid if you win or settle your case. If you are successful in your claim, the attorney will be paid a percentage of what you recover. This type of fee arrangement eliminates the risk to the client that they will have a large legal bill to pay if they do not recover on the case. Motor vehicle accident clients have already suffered a loss. They may have unpaid medical bills or be out of work due to their injuries. Most would not be able to bring a claim if they had to pay an attorney by the hour. This type of fee arrangement enables all injured people, regardless of their financial means, to be represented by highly skilled attorneys.

You should hire a personal injury attorney to maximize your recovery. Perhaps you think that you should negotiate directly with the insurance company. The insurance adjuster for the person who caused your injury may try to convince you that you should not hire an attorney. But should you really take advice from the insurance company that represents the other side?

Before you even consider attempting to handle your own claim, there are some things you should know. First, an experienced personal injury lawyer knows when to resolve your claim. If you settle your claim too early, you may be barred from receiving compensation for new injuries that arise after the case is settled.

Second, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate any offer that you might receive so that you know whether you are getting fair compensation for your injuries. The insurance company is a business. It maximizes its profits by paying as little as possible on every claim.

Third, anything you say can be used against you should your case proceed to trial. Insurance adjusters or private investigators may be sent to take a written or recorded statement. You will be asked to provide authorizations so that the insurance company can obtain information about you. It may ask for information to which it is not entitled. The insurance company might make promises to you that it will settle your claim if you provide all of this information. After you have provided the information, the insurance company may tell you that it does not wish to make you an offer of settlement or may make an unreasonably low offer. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure your claim is resolved fairly.

Fourth, preparation often needs to be done to put your case in a position to receive a reasonable settlement offer. The attorney may need to gather physical evidence, witness statements and even expert reports to put your case in the best position to settle. When you are not represented by an attorney, you do not have the leverage that a lawsuit will be the response to an unreasonable settlement offer. Insurance companies keep records about attorneys. They know which attorneys are serious about pursuing their claims and which attorneys settle almost all their claims. Any settlement offer that you receive may very well reflect your lawyer’s experience and reputation. You have no experience or reputation with the insurance company.

Finally, if you represent yourself, you may make a mistake. You may settle your claim too early, only to find out that you have additional injuries and may have significant additional medical costs which were not considered when you accepted your settlement. You may miss a filing deadline and be barred from bringing a claim at all. You may fail to identify all available insurance coverage. There may be claims against your settlement. If you settle your claim without addressing the claims against your settlement, you may be liable for reimbursement, fines and penalties. Just as an experienced accountant may pay for himself by getting you a bigger refund on your tax return, an experienced personal injury lawyer is a valuable resource that is essential to the proper handling of your claim. At Lacy Katzen LLP, our personal injury lawyers have been helping injured people and their families for over 60 years.

The vast majority of personal injury cases settle without ever going to trial. Our careful selection of claims and our meticulous case preparation makes it even more likely that your case will not go to trial. Our willingness to try your case, if necessary, makes it more likely that you will receive a fair settlement offer.

If your loved one has died as a result of someone’s negligence, there are two types of claims. A wrongful death claim is brought by the survivors to recover their economic losses. A survival claim is brought on behalf of the deceased to recover any pain and suffering that occurred prior to death. These claims can arise from many situations such as car, truck and motorcycle accidents, medical negligence, nursing home negligence, work site injuries and defective products cases.

A person must be appointed by the court to pursue a wrongful death claim. Parents, spouses, children, other family members or legal dependents may be eligible to file a claim. Minors will need an adult guardian to bring a claim on their behalf. Often, more than one person is eligible to bring the claim. If family members disagree about who should pursue the claim, proceeding promptly may become important.

Yes. In fact, there are several different time limits that apply in any death claim. The rules in applying these time limits can be tricky. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to apply these time limits. Lacy Katzen LLP’s personal injury attorneys can help you determine if you have time to file one of these claims.

Unfortunately, the law in New York does not permit recovery for emotional injury except in special circumstances where an immediate family member witnesses a serious injury or death. There can be recovery for pain and suffering your loved one endured before death, as well as damages for economic loss to his or her family or dependents. Economic losses include lost earnings and other services provided by your loved one that have an “economic value” such as household chores and even parental guidance.

Property owners have an obligation to keep property reasonably safe and free from dangerous conditions. Dangerous conditions on property may result from the failure to comply with municipal building or fire codes, to provide adequate lighting, to provide safe railings, to clear ice and snow in a timely manner, to eliminate tripping hazards, to fill potholes, and to level uneven surfaces. If you fell due to the negligence of another, you may have a claim. Lacy Katzen LLP’s personal injury attorneys can help you determine whether you have a claim by considering where you fell, when you fell, what caused your fall, and your injuries.

The general rule in New York is that workers injured at work are limited to compensation from their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier even when an employee or co-worker is negligent. However, an injured worker can file a personal injury claim when the injury was caused by the negligence of a third party (someone other than the employer or co-worker). For example, an injury might be caused by the negligent design of a piece of equipment or machinery, or the negligence of someone employed by another company. It is important to determine if the person who caused your injury is really a co-worker as that person may be an independent contractor or employed by someone else. Lacy Katzen LLP’s personal injury attorneys can help determine if you have a personal injury claim arising from a work related injury.

Yes. There are time limitations that apply to bringing a claim, some as short as 90 days. There are also time limits to claims for insurance benefits, some as short as 30 days. There may be information or evidence that needs to be preserved. We may want to photograph the scene of your injury before it changes. You may need to file a claim for insurance benefits.

Special time limits apply to claims brought on behalf of children, including those injured at birth. Because these time limits may not be as long as one might expect, it is important to act quickly. Lacy Katzen LLP’s personal injury attorneys can help you determine if you have time to file a personal injury claim.

Report the incident to your local dog warden or police right away. They can help you gather information about the dog and determine if it has been vaccinated. Call an attorney as soon as possible. Dog bites need to be investigated quickly. There may be a vicious dog hearing if the owner was issued a ticket. The animal may be relocated or even euthanized, making it difficult to investigate its behavior.

Under New York law, a dog owner will be held responsible for your damages if he or she was aware of the dog’s propensity for the bad behavior that caused your injury. In the case of a bite, we must demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s tendencies towards this behavior. It used to be said that a dog got “one free bite” before its owner was on notice of a problem. This is not quite true. Other behavior can demonstrate vicious propensities under the law such as growling, baring of teeth, lunging and even a “Beware of Dog” sign. A dog owner can also be held responsible for injuries caused by other behaviors of which he was aware such as chasing and jumping.

A manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, processor of materials, or maker of a component part that sells a product in a defective condition may be liable for injury that results from use of the product when the product is used for its intended or reasonably foreseeable purpose. A product may be defective as a result of a manufacturing flaw, a defective design or inadequate warnings or instructions. Lacy Katzen LLP’s personal injury attorneys can help you determine if you have a claim.