Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
A: First, you must have suffered an injury to your person. Second, you should consider whether your injury was someone else's fault. We will fully evaluate your case before we answer the question "Do I have a case?" The question is really, "Do I have a case that has merit and can be successful?" We answer that question through a very careful analysis of the facts, the evidence and the applicable law. A free initial consultation is the first step.
Q: What happens in the initial consultation?
A: An attorney will listen to you describe your problem, what happened, who was involved, what damage or disability has resulted and gather from you the facts of your case. It is helpful if you bring as much information and pertinent documents with you to this meeting. There is no fee for the consultation.
Q: How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?
A: Every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit arising out of an automobile accident. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may lose your legal right to damages for your injury. Consequently, it is important to talk with a lawyer as soon as you suffer or discover an injury.
Q: What should I bring with me for my meeting with Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez?
A: You should provide a lawyer with any documents that might be relevant to your case. Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents, fires, and assaults. Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries. Information about the insurer of the person who caused your injury is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident scene, your property damage, and your injury. The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, however, don't worry; your lawyer will be able to obtain them in his investigation of your claim.
Q: How much will it cost for me to pursue my case?
A: Our fees are paid on a contingency basis. That means that we only receive legal fees if we are successful in representing you either through a settlement or jury trial verdict.
Q: Who will handle my case?
A: Our firm attends to our cases with a team approach. Our team will develop a strategy for your case. A lead attorney will see the case through personally, however, Other attorneys may be assigned to work on the case, sometimes as co-counsel or for specific aspects.
Q: How long will it take to resolve my case?
A: The actual time it will take to finalize a case varies greatly. It depends on the circumstances of the accident, the severity of the injury, the type of insurance coverage available and numerous other factors. We will resolve it as fast as can be done to insure you a fair settlement.
Q: Why do some cases get settled out of court and other cases go to trial?
A: When filing your case, Our mission is to establish that the defendant is responsible for the incident that caused your injury and is responsible for compensating you, the victim, for those injuries. A "just compensation"--a fair evaluation of the injuries sustained and their effects--must also be established. Cases go to trial when the parties do not agree on the responsibility for the incident or do not agree on the case value, or amount of compensation for injuries.
Q: What is a Workers Compensation case?
A: Workers Compensation is a system provided to help you recover benefits for injuries which occur on the job. It is a statutory system, and it is the sole mechanism by which workers gets paid for their job related injuries. Under the Workers' Compensation system, regardless of fault, benefits are available.
Q: Can I opt out of the Workers' Compensation system and proceed to file a lawsuit against my employer?
A: No. Workers' Comp claims are generally your sole remedy. The only exception to this general rule is if there is a claim, provable in court, that the employer engaged in behavior rising to the level of an intentional act, which caused injury or death, or which was substantially certain to cause injury or death. It is only under this very rare exception that you may actually sue your employer in lieu of obtaining benefits under the Workers' Comp system. If someone other than your employer or co-employee causes you to be injured at work, you may have a separate case against that person, in addition to your worker's compensation case.
Q: If I can't sue my employer, why do I need an attorney for a Workers' Compensation claim?
A: The Workers' Compensation system can be quite difficult to navigate. Many injured workers who proceed without a workers compensation attorney feel that they are getting the "run around." If you do not have an advocate on your side who knows the system, you are forced to rely on representations by your employer, or, worse, an insurance company to whom you are just a number. The insurance adjuster is employed to do one thing and that is to limit the benefits you receive. Even if you are not allowed to file a complaint in court, there is a hearing process whereby your employer (or the insurance company) can be ordered to provide benefits.
Q: Under the Workers' Compensation system what am I entitled to?
A: First, and perhaps most importantly, you are entitled to continuous medical treatment for an injury sustained while at work. This includes, and is not limited to, surgery, pain management, prescription medications, and therapy. You are also entitled to receive two-thirds of your gross wages up to the statutory maximum. However, there are distinct time periods for which you may recover lost wages. After reaching maximum medical improvement, you are entitled to be evaluated for permanent impairment and receive a permanent partial disability award which can be substantial. Also if you are unable to return to the job you were doing, you may be entitled to retraining or school under what is called vocational rehabilitation benefits.
Q: Can my employer fire me if I file a Workers' Compensation Claim?
A: No, an employer faces civil liability if they fire you solely for filing a Workers Compensation claim. If they fire you for this reason, you can file suit against them for wrongful termination. It is important to note, however, that if you voluntarily leave your place of employment while receiving medical treatments pursuant to a valid Workers' Compensation claim, you could suffer adverse consequences.
Q: How do I pay for your legal services in pursuing a Worker's Compensation claim?
A: Attorneys' fees are paid by the workers compensation insurance carrier or by the employer in some cases. In other cases the fees are determined by the judge as a percentage of any recovery. If no recovery is made, you will not pay any fee.