Loss of consortium. In personal injury cases, "loss of consortium" damages typically relate to the impact the injuries have on the plaintiff's relationship with their spouse -- the loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship, for example. Some states also consider the separate impact on the relationship between a parent and their child when one is injured. In some cases, loss of consortium damages are awarded directly to the affected family member rather than to the injured plaintiff.
The insurance company's fear of this possibility is the major reason they typically want you to give up your right to sue and accept a settlement. Turning them down and taking the case to court means you could very easily end up being compensated much more than if you had settled out of court and given up your right to sue. In addition, you may be able to win an award for pain and suffering beyond that which was offered initially or even be awarded punitive damages.
While past results don’t guarantee future outcomes, what these verdicts show is that we will fight for you to potentially get the compensation you need to cover your bills and keep you from financial ruin. If you or a loved one were injured, you shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over your head while you recover and get your life back on track.
Many injuries can be minor, at first, and then escalate. Many people avoid getting treatment, or hiring an attorney, because they think their injuries are minor. Then, later, the injuries get worse, and so too does the pain. Many injuries have symptoms masked, due to a rush of adrenaline. As the adrenaline in your body wears off, the symptoms from the injury start appearing. You start feeling the pain, and noticing the injuries. It’s crucial you get medical attention so that you can make sure your ok. Afterwards, it could be beneficial to speak to an attorney to understand what you may be entitled to.
For personal injury cases, The Sawaya Law Firm does not charge clients upfront to get started working on their claims. We will handle your claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning our legal fees will come as a percentage of the compensation you receive at the conclusion of your case. If we do not win compensation for you, we do not charge any fees.
In smaller injury cases, especially when the lawyers know each other, one lawyer will just pick up the phone and talk settlement. The plaintiff’s lawyer may or may not write an actual demand letter. Then, the defense attorney may or may not respond with a counteroffer. If the defense thinks that the demand was too high, he/she may simply ignore the demand or may say that the demand is too high and that the insurer will not make a counteroffer. If the defense does make a counteroffer, then the bargaining begins. Sometimes the lawyers can settle it, sometimes not. If they can’t settle, they will likely go to mediation.
"When everyone else was calling my fight a lost cause, this office jumped in and fought for me like a champion. Both knowledgeable and compassionate, they negotiated intensely on my behalf. I was able to receive the best available care for my injuries, and will now be able to recover from my financial losses as well. This is definitely the team you want on your side." Amanda R.
Unless your injuries were very minor (i.e. very minor soft tissue injury from a 5 MPH fender bender), you should consult with an attorney very soon after your accident. A good personal injury attorney can help you gather key evidence and provide valuable advice on how to document your injuries and damages. Under no circumstances should you talk to an attorney representing the other person in the accident, the other person’s insurance company representative, or sign any documents, before consulting with your own attorney first.
On the opposite end of the tort spectrum, there are scenarios in which defendants will be liable even though they did everything possible to avoid causing the harm. This is referred to as strict liability. The law will hold a defendant strictly liable if someone is hurt while the defendant is engaging in a highly dangerous activity, even if the activity is legal and all precautions are taken. Building demolition and transporting hazardous materials fall into this category.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be requested at any time during the court case. It involves both parties, their attorneys, and a neutral mediator who acts like a referee between the parties. During mediation, both sides present their case and engage in settlement negotiations as facilitated by the mediator. Mediations are non-binding, meaning that the parties can accept or reject the offer.
Good plaintiff’s lawyers don’t want to appear overeager to talk settlement because the defense attorney might interpret that as being desperate. If the defense attorney thinks that the plaintiff is desperate to settle, the defense attorney will usually make lowball offers and try to get the plaintiff to settle for far less than the case is worth. Thus, good plaintiff’s lawyers usually wait until the defense attorney asks them to make a settlement demand.
The term "reasonable" often comes up in settlement negotiations and at other key stages of slip and fall cases. That's because, in order to be held "negligent" and therefore liable for damages in a slip and fall case, a property owner (or the owner's agent or employee) must have failed to act as a reasonably prudent person would have acted under circumstances similar to those leading up to the accident. In trying to assess whether the defendant acted reasonably, here are some factors that plaintiffs should consider:
A plaintiff must prove four elements to prevail in a slip and fall case. The elements are the same for any tort, and are duty, breach of duty, causation and injury. The defendant (usually the property owner) must have a legal duty to prevent injury to the victim. The court will generally hold the defendant to the standard of what a reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances, There is a legal duty to prevent predictable harm to another individual. Once a duty is established, the plaintiff must show that the duty was breached, meaning the defendant violated his or her legal obligation to ensure the safety of the plaintiff. Next, causation must be shown; that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury. The defendant (property owner) does not have to directly cause the plaintiff’s injury by committing an action to be held liable. If a defendant’s inaction or failure to create a safe environment caused the injury, the defendant can also be held responsible. Lastly, the plaintiff must prove to the court that an injury occurred. In the case of a slip and fall, the injury will be physical in nature.
One of the most common defenses to a slip and fall accident is that the plaintiff was not exercising reasonable care. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, a plaintiff's recovery is reduced by his or her percentage of fault for the accident. For example, in the example above involving a grocery store slip and fall, if there was a yellow cone that said "warning" next to the spill, but you were distracted while looking up at a sale sign and slipped anyway, you may be found partially or wholly responsible for your fall. In a state that adheres to the doctrine of contributory negligence, even if a jury finds you only 1% at fault for not noticing the spill, you cannot recover anything.
A property owner or occupant cannot prevent every fall on the premises. They usually are not required to ensure a visitor's safety. Even when a property owner uses diligent care, it is possible for somebody to slip on black ice in front of an apartment complex or trip on a paver on the front lawn of a hospital. All visitors to someone else's property are required to use reasonable care, such as by watching where they are going, to avoid getting hurt.
The third situation is the most common, but is also less clear-cut than the first two because of those pesky words "should have known." Liability in these cases is often decided by common sense. Judges and juries determine whether the owner or occupier of property was careful by deciding if the steps the owner or occupier took to keep the property safe were reasonable.
If your slip and fall happened at work or because of the negligence of a property owner, you have certain legal rights. An experienced New York personal injury lawyer at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. can help you pursue a claim and understand your options. We encourage you to reach out to our office to find out more about the options available to you.
Formal Lawsuit - Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, a formal personal injury case typically starts when a private individual (the "plaintiff") files a civil complaint against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the "defendant"), alleging that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm. This action is known as "filing a lawsuit". Our discussion on negligence and proof is especially helpful.
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, the first step, after getting medical treatment, is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to get a professional opinion as to whether you have a valid claim. Bring any supporting documentation, medical records, and notes you’ve taken about your situation. Most personal injury lawyers provide free consultations, so steer clear of lawyers who charge fees just to meet with you.
^ Lawyers Cooperative Publishing. New York Jurisprudence. Automobiles and Other Vehicles. Miamisburg, OH: LEXIS Publishing. p. § 720. OCLC 321177421. It is negligence as a matter of law to drive a motor vehicle at such a rate of speed that it cannot be stopped in time to avoid an obstruction discernible within the driver's length of vision ahead of him. This rule is known generally as the `assured clear distance ahead' rule * * * In application, the rule constantly changes as the motorist proceeds, and is measured at any moment by the distance between the motorist's vehicle and the limit of his vision ahead, or by the distance between the vehicle and any intermediate discernible static or forward-moving object in the street or highway ahead constituting an obstruction in his path. Such rule requires a motorist in the exercise of due care at all times to see, or to know from having seen, that the road is clear or apparently clear and safe for travel, a sufficient distance ahead to make it apparently safe to advance at the speed employed.
Please note that we cannot guarantee the results or outcome of your particular procedure. For instance, the government may reject a trademark application for legal reasons beyond the scope of LegalZoom's service. In some cases, a government backlog can lead to long delays before your process is complete. Similarly, LegalZoom does not guarantee the results or outcomes of the services rendered by our legal plan attorneys or attorney-assisted products. Problems like these are beyond our control and are not covered by this guarantee.