Personal Injury F.A.Q.

Personal injury law is the aspect of law that deals with injuries that are a direct result of carelessness, recklessness, or negligence. Fortunately, in the United States, victims of accidents have the right to pursue financial compensation from the legally liable party. An experienced personal injury attorney from The Law Offices of Jason B. Kessler can file a claim for you and negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company to make sure that you receive the maximum monetary compensation possible for your physical injuries and emotional suffering. We don’t get paid unless you get paid. 

If you would like further information, call us at 914-220-1088 for a free consultation.

Below, we have compiled some frequently asked questions to help people better understand what is involved in a personal injury case.

Q. What is negligence?

A. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care when it comes to the safety of others.  Reckless driving, not moping up a spill in a store, and removing the wrong tooth are some examples of negligence. In cases such as these, and many others, if someone else was injured due to the negligent actions of another, they may be entitled to compensation for their damages.

Q. How am I supposed to pay my medical bills?

A. If you have been hurt, you will need to receive the necessary medical care to treat your injuries. You will receive medical bills from the ambulance company, the physician, hospital, chiropractors, physical therapists and other health care providers. Those bills will be placed in your name and you are ultimately responsible for paying them. However, the insurance carrier for the party who is at fault is responsible for paying you fair compensation for any damages incurred. Keep in mind that there are physicians out there who work on a “lien basis,” meaning they don’t expect payment until your case is finalized.

Q.  If I was injured on someone else’s property, can I expect to receive monetary compensation?

A. Under premises liability law, both residential and commercial property owners have a duty to maintain their property in order to prevent injuries to visitors. When a property owner fails in that duty and a person is hurt, then the injured person may be legally entitled to compensation for their economic losses and other damages, such as emotional distress. Swimming pool accidents, slip and fall accidents and many other personal injury claims fall under the category of premises liability law.

Q. Is there a time limit for when I can file a personal injury claim?

A. Depending on the facts surrounding the case and the type of accident, there is a statute of limitations (fixed time frame) for when you can file a claim. This means that if you fail to file a claim within a certain period of time, then you lose your right to file permanently. The time period during which you are allowed to file a claim depends upon the type of injury you have. Therefore, if you have sustained an injury in an accident, or due to the negligence of others, it’s wise to secure legal representation as soon as possible. Please call us to find out if you are within the time limit to file your personal injury claim.

Q. How much money is my personal injury claim worth?

A. Upon reviewing the specific details of your case, we will be able to give you a monetary range of what your case may be worth. The amount of compensation you ultimately receive will vary depending upon a variety of factors such as the extent of your injuries, the limits of the insurance policy of the party who is at fault, and any other losses that you have incurred or are likely to incur.

Q. Is filing a personal injury claim a smooth and easy process?

A. Most personal injury cases require a lot of time and effort on the attorney’s part in order to get a favorable monetary settlement. It is a fight against the insurance company. Insurance companies are businesses and they want to spend as little money as possible to settle claims. That is why it is critical get a personal injury attorney anytime you have been hurt. An experienced attorney at The Law Offices of Jason B. Kessler will fight for your legal rights and get you the best possible settlement for your case.

Q. Do most personal injury cases settle before a trial?

A. While most personal injury cases do settle before trial, it can take years for the case to settle.  One reason why it can take a long time to settle a case is that the insurance companies want to determine the nature of your injury claim, plan their defense and use that length of time to negotiate a settlement. If negotiation of a fair monetary settlement is not possible, a case can go to trial.

Whether or not your case settles before trial has to do with many factors including the insurance company for the defendant. Some insurance companies are known for settling early, some are known for settling on the eve of trial and others are known for rarely settling any cases.

 It is important to note that if a case does go to trial, the New York City metropolitan area courts are backlogged. There are shortages of judges and court personnel due to budget cuts and the judicial system moves very slowly. For this reason, it is preferable to settle a case without going to trial, if possible.

The attorney’s background and record also matters. The more successful verdicts and settlements the attorney has, the more likely the insurance company would want to settle your case. In general, insurance companies tend to pay more money if the attorney representing you has a reputation for higher verdicts and settlements. Attorney Jason Kessler has had many successful verdicts and settlements, and is quite often able to settle cases before they go to trial.

Q. How long do personal injury cases typically take to be resolved?

A. The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on a variety of factors:

            1. The complexity of the case. For example, medical malpractice cases tend to be more complicated than automobile cases.

            2. The jurisdiction where the accident took place. For example, New York City metropolitan area cases take longer than cases where the accident happened in the suburbs

            3. The injuries that the person has sustained. In general, cases with more significant injuries may take longer to resolve.

Considering all those factors, it usually takes approximately two to three years to resolve a personal injury case. Every case is different and injured parties should seek the advice of a skilled lawyer about their specific case.

Q. What makes a personal injury claim successful?

A. There are three components that make a personal injury case successful:

1. The accident must be completely or mostly the fault of someone else, so that the liability or culpability would be on the potential defendant.

2. The potential defendant would have to have an insurance policy and/ or assets to make the case worth pursuing. The more assets the person at fault has and the higher the insurance policy they have, the more likely a lawsuit would garner a significant settlement or that a significant verdict would be reached if the case went to trial.

3. The physical and emotional damages would have to be real and they would have to be quantifiable. For example, if there was an injury to the shoulder and a knee, then there would have to be some proof of broken bones or soft tissue muscle tearing. If it was an injury of the back, then there would have to be an indication of a herniated disc or broken vertebrae. There would have to be a real and significant injury that was quantifiable by objective medicine such as diagnostic tests, x-rays and or MRI or CT scans. Often, surgery could also help measure the seriousness of someone’s case. If the person elected to have surgery, that would usually show the insurance company or a potential jury or a judge that this was a serious case. People tend to not go through surgeries, with all the risks involved, unless they are seriously injured.

Q. How important is evidence in a personal injury claim?

A. Evidence is the most important aspect of a personal injury claim. A person must show evidence they had an accident and sustained a serious injury that was a result of that accident. A person also needs to show that they are a compliant patient, obtaining all the necessary medical care and treatment for their injuries. In addition, the person who was injured needs to provide evidence that the accident was the other side’s fault. A skilled attorney can  put together your case to show all of the above evidence in your favor.

Q. What should I do if the other party’s insurance adjuster wants a statement?

A. The injured party should never give a statement. People sometimes give statements because they think the insurance company is being “nice” when in fact the insurance adjuster is trying to obtain evidence to use against the injured party for settlement or trial purposes. The insurance adjuster also might be recording or transcribing the conversation, which is why people who have been injured should never talk to the other party’s insurance company. Anything they say could be used against them.

Insurance adjusters often promise early settlements, but the downside is that they offer a very small monetary amount. The smart advice would be for the person who was injured to never talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster and to get a lawyer to handle all the details of the case.

Q. Should people keep a diary of the accident and treatment they receive?

A. It is important to note that while keeping a diary is a good way of documenting what a person went through from their accident to their recovery, this written account would be discoverable, meaning that the defense attorney on the other side would get to see it. Whether or not someone should maintain a diary depends on the case. It also depends on what the injured person has been through, and whether the pain and suffering is so significant that it needs to be documented. You need to be very careful when documenting your accident. If you decide to keep a diary, you should keep in mind that whatever you write down can be seen by the other side.

For more information on how to build your personal injury case and get maximum monetary compensation for your pain and suffering, call the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason B. Kessler at (914) 220-1088 for free consultation.