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FAQ

What are the optimal steps to take if I’m involved in a car accident?

First and foremost, you should check to see if have been injured. Call emergency responders if you are able to and wait for them to arrive before exiting your vehicle. If you are able to, gather all the information from the individual or individuals involved in the accident. Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than the police officers in furtherance of their investigation. Take photographs of the vehicles and the location of the accident if possible. You should notify your insurance carrier immediately.

What is No-Fault insurance?

No-Fault insurance is insurance that covers you for medical expenses that were a result of the accident without evaluating the fault of the parties involved.

Should I see a doctor?

Any individual who is injured in an accident should see a doctor immediately to rule out any life threatening injuries. It is also important to receive treatment for any injuries sustained during an accident as they may affect your everyday life.

How is a lawsuit started?

A lawsuit is commenced after you have retained an attorney and the requisite investigation has been conducted. Your attorney will draft a Summons and Complaint after their investigation and consulting with you and then file said Summons and Complaint with the proper court. Once the Summons and Complaint are filed with the court your attorney will have the Summons and Complaint served on the Defendant.

Will I need to be present in Court?

Every case is unique and there is no bright line rule as to whether you will have to appear in Court. Your attorneys will do everything within their power to settle your case for a fair amount in a reasonable amount of time. However, if a settlement is not within reach and the case progresses to trial it may be necessary for you to appear in Court.

What is a wage and overtime claim?

Generally, a wage and overtime claim is a claim asserted by a worker that has not been properly compensated. These claims usually fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (also known as the FLSA) and State Labor Laws.

What am I entitled to as a worker?

The FLSA and State Labor Laws establish minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards for covered workers. Covered workers are entitled to be paid at the minimum wage set by law for all hours worked up to 40 hours per workweek. Covered workers must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours per workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.

What is overtime?

Generally, overtime means all time actually worked over 40 hours per work week.

Does it matter that a worker did not put his/her time in for the time spent doing work activities?

Probably not. Failure to put your time in is not a defense for an employer in an FLSA case. 

How do I prove I spent time off-the-clock doing work-related activities?

The employer has a duty to maintain accurate records of the time spent by its workers performing work-related activities. The employer also has a duty to control and supervise the work of its employees. If an employer does not maintain accurate records, the worker is entitled to recover.

How long do I have after my accident to bring a case?

Cases must be filed within a specific time frame dictated by law, or otherwise known as the Statute of Limitations. In a typical injury case, you are required by law to bring your case within three (3) years from the date of the accident; however, this does vary according to the particulars of the case, so it is important to always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer for an explanation of these time limits and their conditions. For example, Statutes of Limitations may be extended in certain situations, such as when an injured person is an infant; or they may be considerably shortened, such as a claim against a municipality, which must normally be made within 90 days of the date of the injury. Every case is different with its own set of facts. You should consult with an attorney to know the specific Statute of Limitations for your individual case.

If my injury may have been partly my fault, can I still sue?

Yes. Even if you were partially at fault for an accident, under New York’s comparative negligence rules you may still have a viable case.

If an attorney thinks I do not have a case, should I get a second opinion?

Yes. It is always advisable to seek a second opinion, as law firms vary greatly in their level of experience and expertise in different types of cases. Different attorneys may look at liability and/or a claim differently.

Do I still need a lawyer if I have been told I don’t need one by an insurance adjuster offering to settle?

An insurance adjuster’s primary loyalty is to the insurance company. Naturally, their goal is to settle and/or conclude your case for the lowest possible amount of money, if any. It is paramount to consult with an attorney about your claim as most people have no basis for determining whether or not the offer made to them is a fair one without the advice of a professional.

Important Terms

Plaintiff

The person suing, and/or bringing the claim.

Defendant

The person being sued, a corporation or an individual.

Summons & Complaint

The start of the lawsuit whereby the plaintiff generalizes allegations of wrongdoing against the defendant.

Answer

The document served by the defendant to plaintiffs attorney denying or admitting the general allegations in the complaint.

Bill of Particulars

Plaintiffs amplification of pleadings setting forth his/her damages, injuries, specifics of the accident or issue and what he/she will prove at trial.

Tort

A civil wrong, having various subtopics.

Negligence

The lack of due care or failure to act reasonably on the part of the person or corporation.

Product Liability

A branch of negligence law which governs suits against those who manufacture or are in the chain of distribution of a product.

Breach of Warranty

Sellers make promises through their conduct and sometimes in writing. If broken, a right to sue may arise.

Wrongful Death

If a person dies due to the fault of another, suit may be brought to collect damages. These damages generally include both the pain and suffering the person had prior to death, the financial loss of beneficiaries, etc. The law is very complex as to who may bring the suit and the people to whom the recovery goes. Often an estate must be set up by a court, if not provided for in a Last Will & Testament by the decedent.

Damages

General damages: Your pain and suffering, mental and physical and your general disability. Special damages: Out-of-pocket losses, lost earnings and treatment bills. Punitive damages: Juries in some states can add extra money to the above damages to punish especially bad conduct.

Statute of Limitations:

The period of time within which you must sue, or otherwise you will be barred from suit. No two states have the same rules and often it depends upon the legal theory of your suit. Sometimes the issue is so complex that a court must resolve it.

Notice of Claim

Many governmental bodies (municipalities, public corporations and New York State) need to have notice of a claim before the suit is brought. This is generally a very short period of time, which varies according to state law and the particular governmental body. Don’t let the time elapse! (Failure to do so may preclude you from the right to sue).

Proximate Cause

The need for there to be a substantial link between the conduct of the defendant and your injury.

Loss of Services

A person other than the person who is actually injured can bring a derivative suit. For example, the uninjured spouse can seek damages for the loss of the injured spouse’s services, mother and/or father in some cases

Court, Judge and Jury

You have to select the court and/or venue where you sue, which state and whether in the federal or state system. A judge is assigned to supervise the discovery phase and then to try the case. Generally you are entitled to a jury to decide the fact questions, depending on the type of case. The judge deals with the law issues, and instructs the jury on the law.