Один из семи жителей, проживающих в Соединенных Штатах сегодня, родился в другой стране. Это не новость. Именно поэтому Америку часто называют “страной иммигрантов”. Более 500 лет люди не рождённые в Соединенных Штатах помогали строить и формировать Америку. Иммигранты внесли огромный вклад в нашу страну, будь то их руки, которые строили наши железные дороги, или их умы, разработавшие бомбу, которая положила конец Второй мировой войне. Люди со всего мира, живущие в Америке, будь то приветствуемые гости или желающие получить гражданство США, имеют те же права, защиту и привилегии, что и те, кто родился здесь. Это особенно верно для людей, пострадавших в результате несчастного случая, такого как автомобильная авария или падение. Если вы пострадали из-за чьей-то небрежности и безразличия, то, мой друг, вы обратились по адресу.
Вот что вам нужно знать о законах США, Нью-Джерси и Нью-Йорка в области личных травм и о том, как они применяются к вам.
Факт 1: Законы о травмах сложны.
Люди, получившие травму в США, обычно защищены штатными и федеральными законами. Штатные законы применяются к травмам, произошедшим в определенном штате, а федеральные законы применяются ко всем штатам. Каждый штат, а также Соединенные Штаты имеют свой набор правил безопасности, разработанный для защиты людей путем требования от бизнесов обеспечивать безопасность своих товаров и услуг. Например, все строительные компании должны соблюдать строительные нормы, которые регулируют инспекторы зданий. Если все идет хорошо, никто не получает травмы. Верно? Но мы знаем лучше. Подрядчики идут на сокращение затрат. Водители превышают скорость и не соблюдают правила дорожного движения, а владельцы магазинов могут неправильно обучать или нанимать неподходящих людей, чтобы обеспечить безопасность своей собственности. Результатом является получение травмы кем-то. Надеюсь, что это не касается вас, но если это так, вы обратились по адресу, и мы можем вам помочь.
Люди, получившие травму из-за небрежности другого человека или бизнеса, имеют право на компенсацию за причиненные вреды и убытки. Но есть одна загвоздка: им нужно доказать свое дело.
Вот магическая формула. Она выглядит просто, но на самом деле все сложно.
Закон о травмах – это специализация. Поэтому мы рекомендуем вам НЕ нанимать своего адвоката по разводу или недвижимости для представления вас в случае несчастного случая. Поверьте мне… вам не захотелось бы, чтобы мы представляли вас в разводе или сделке с недвижимостью.
Получайте юридический совет только от опытного адвоката по личным травмам и ни от кого другого.
Вы заслуживаете адвокатов, которые понимают, что пострадавшие в авариях не знают и не понимают сложности закона о травмах. Большинство наших клиентов никогда не имели причин и желания изучать закон о травмах. К сожалению, они вынуждены узнать о нем “случайно”.
Адвокат, которого вы нанимаете, должен уважать вас и обучать вас и вашу семью закону, ваши варианты и способы выигрыша дел. Мы гордимся тем, что один из партнеров фирмы написал книгу о законодательстве Нью-Джерси о личных травмах. Позвоните, чтобы получить бесплатную бумажную копию “Руководства потребителя по искам о личных травмах в Нью-Джерси”.
Другой партнер фирмы изменил закон в Нью-Йорке, чтобы предотвратить использование адвокатами страховых компаний юридического или нелегального иммиграционного статуса человека против него. Благодаря Марку С. Саперштейну, нелегальным работникам в Нью-Йорке предоставлено право предъявлять иски по поводу полученных травм, точно так же, как и всем остальным.
Но вот главное. Вам нужен хороший адвокат по травмам. И этот адвокат должен иметь лицензию на осуществление практики. В США люди, желающие заниматься юриспруденцией, должны иметь диплом о высшем юридическом образовании от юридического учебного заведения, признанного Американской адвокатской ассоциацией (ААА). После этого им предстоит сдать двух- или трехдневный экзамен, проводимый в каждом из штатов. В 2019 году экзамен сдало только 58% абитуриентов. В 2021 году проходной балл национально составил 71%. Если выпускник юридического учебного заведения занимается юриспруденцией без сдачи экзамена на право адвокатской практики, он рискует подвергнуться уголовному преследованию за незаконное осуществление практики права. Его даже могут приговорить к тюремному заключению за это правонарушение. Люди, имеющие лицензию штата на осуществление практики права, называются не только адвокатами, но и “консультантами по праву”. И это важно, потому что вам понадобится высококвалифицированный адвокат с большим опытом, чтобы дать вам свои юридические советы в неделях, месяцах и годах после травмы, чтобы вы могли доказать и выиграть свое дело.
Наличие юридического образования обязательно, но на что вам действительно нужно обратить внимание, так это на опыт, экспертизу и подтвержденные победы. И это имеет серьезное значение, потому что “случай”, столкновение или падение были лишь началом вашего дела. Остальная часть вашей истории и требования связаны с тем, что произошло после трагического события. Вы не смогли избежать несчастного случая, но с хорошим, опытным адвокатом по травмам на вашей стороне вы можете избежать дорогостоящих ошибок, которые могут и, без сомнения, испортят ваше дело.
Факт 2: Это не было “случайностью”.
Вероятно, если вы читаете это, вы или кто-то из вашей семьи получил травму из-за чьего-то небрежного поведения. Однако в этой части страны мы называем это “случайностью”. Как приятно. В других частях страны автомобильные аварии называют автомобильными катастрофами или автомобильными столкновениями. Как вы бы никогда не сказали, что попали в “ошибку”, давайте будем ясны, вы не получили травму “случайно”. Чтобы быть ясным, вашу ногу не наступили случайно, вы не упали на черный лед случайно. Вас травмировали из-за небрежности, просто и ясно.
Мы, адвокаты, должны и действительно делаем это во время судебных процессов, называть автомобильные аварии столкновениями транспортных средств. Чтобы доказать небрежность, нам нужно доказать, что другой человек действовал неразумно, создавая опасность, которая причинила вам вред. Но для целей данного контента мы будем использовать термины “случайности”, “столкновения” и “падения” взаимозаменяемо, чтобы быть более разговорчивыми. Мы также будем обсуждать дела с автомобилями и дела о падениях взаимозаменяемо, потому что все они являются делами о небрежности и подпадают под аналогичные законы о личных травмах.
Факт 3: Остерегайтесь быстрых урегулирований.
Быстрые урегулирования обычно приводят к низкокачественным результатам. Некоторые адвокаты любят дела с серьезными травмами и небольшим страховым покрытием, потому что они могут быстро заработать, написав требовательное письмо. Часто они даже не беспокоятся смотреть за пределы первой страховой полисы или исследовать настоящую причину столкновения. Например, возьмем клиента, потерявшего ногу в автомобильной аварии, вызванной небрежным водителем с покрытием ответственности только на сумму $100,000. Ленивый или неопытный адвокат написал бы быстрое требовательное письмо и позвонил страховому агенту для урегулирования дела, вместо того, чтобы провести глубокое расследование и найти ответчика с “глубокими карманами” и большим страховым покрытием. Быстрое урегулирование закрывает дело навсегда. Но если хороший адвокат тщательно исследовал дело, он бы узнал, что небрежный водитель доставлял еду для компании, которая имела дополнительное страхование на сумму $1,000,000 для своих водителей, в дополнение к их собственному нижнему покрытию. Хорошие адвокаты выигрывают хорошие урегулирования. Плохие адвокаты, как правило, получают низкокачественные урегулирования. Если у вас серьезные травмы, наш совет вам – найти правильного адвоката, довериться ему и быть терпеливым. Страховые компании быстро урегулируют дело только если они предчувствуют выгоду.
FACT 4: Watch out for “runners” and people knocking on your door.
Don’t be surprised to learn that in New Jersey and New York, there is corruption in the system. Corruption is usually found at the introducing clients to the lawyers’ stage of the case. People who introduce clients to lawyers for money are called “runners”, and what they are doing is illegal and against the law. More importantly, the lawyer benefiting from runners is unethical, is breaking the law, and potentially committing a crime. You really don’t want to hire a lawyer who is corrupt and who met you only through a cash kickback.
The good news is that the process of settling claims with insurance companies and judges is clean and not corrupt. This may not be the case in other countries, but with very few exceptions there is no corruption in the claim settlement process. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying to you. Run for the hills and hire a respected lawyer who will win your case on its facts to get you the money you deserve.
Ethnic communities are often plagued by runners. These runners may have even been lawyers in their native countries and not allowed to practice here; or they may run a small convenience store helping people with insurance and tax advice, signing documents as notaries, shipping packages to customers’ home countries, and even selling phone cards. Although in other countries the title “Notary” may be important, in America it only means that they can swear to your identity. That’s it. Do not be fooled otherwise.
NJSA 2C:21-22.1. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if that person knowingly acts as a runner or uses, solicits, directs, hires, or employs another to act as a runner.
Likewise, if someone knocks on your door with a police report, they are likely doing that for money which is a crime. Only a lawyer licensed by the State of New Jersey who has been Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney can share a legal fee with another person, and that other person must also be a lawyer licensed to practice law. We suggest that you do your own legal research and hire your own lawyer.
FACT 5: It’s never too early to hire your lawyer. The Insurance Company already hired theirs.
For reasons unknown, some people like to hold off hiring their injury lawyer. They may not want to appear too aggressive or to seem to only be in it for the money. But by wasting valuable time, they instead lose credibility by creating a gap in medical treatment and allowing critical evidence to disappear. In our experience as lawyers, we have never seen anyone hurt by hiring the right injury lawyer immediately. The hiring process and date you hire a lawyer are subject to attorney-client confidentiality and cannot be used by the insurance company against you. In fact, if you wait too long, you may completely ruin your case. For example, if you were negligently injured by a city, county, or state employee working for one of its departments or bureaus such as the Board of Education; or even their police department or their rail operators such as the NY MTA or New Jersey Transit, or even a city’s garbage truck, you may have only 90 days to file a tort claim by completing a specific form and sending a special “Torts Claim Notice” to a specific address. If you do that on the 91st day, you will likely be completely out of luck.
Our legal advice is to hire an experienced injury lawyer now! If you wait too long, valuable evidence may be lost or destroyed. That evidence may help prove how a crash or slip and fall occurred. Investigators working for lawyers often find valuable video recordings from Ring doorbell cameras or intersection cameras. Don’t count on your insurance company to gather evidence to help you win a personal injury case. The evidence they gather is to either justify payments they make or evidence to blame the accident on someone else, including you.
There is also an English language expression that says, “Anybody who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client.” Insurance adjusters love talking to people skeptical of lawyers and convincing them to sign away their valuable cases for pennies.
You should never negotiate your own injury claim with insurance company adjusters because they are looking to pay you money in exchange for you signing a Release promising that you will never sue them.
Insurance companies are in business to pay dividends to their company shareholders—not to pay losses to injured people like you. Talk with an experienced injury lawyer now. Their advice and initial consultation are always free.
FACT 6: Pain speaks every language.
Injuries usually result in pain. Everybody understands pain. Nobody ever prays for pain. The fact that you may not speak, read, or understand English does not affect how you feel pain or what medical care you will need. You deserve doctors and nurses who understand your pain and injuries and are serious about treating and healing you. You deserve doctors who go out of their way to learn your medical history and respect that you suffered serious injuries and need their care. Good doctors do this through interpreters and medical tests such as MRIs and nerve tests.
FACT 7: Speaking a foreign language is not a handicap.
Too often insensitive people look down on others who do not speak English. Some highly intelligent people may not be good with their other languages and struggle to communicate in English. The same holds true with the ability to read and write sheet music. Many of the Beatles and other musicians, such as Prince, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and even Elvis Presley could not read music. Did that make their music any worse? Hardly. Does the inability to fully communicate in English make your pain any better? I doubt it. Does that make the value of your pain any less? The answer is and should be NO. You deserve the right amount of money for your injuries no matter what language you speak. The amount of your settlement should not depend upon your fluency in the English language. A personal injury case is not an English grammar examination. In fact, your inability to speak English may make your claim worth even more money. Let me explain further.
As lawyers, we often meet foreign-born clients who work as waiters, cooks, Uber or Lyft drivers, mechanics, or clerks. Often, we learn that back in their country, the waiter may have been a judge, the cook may have owned a hotel, the taxicab driver may have worked for their government, the mechanic may have been an engineer, and the clerk may have been a respected accountant or banker. Jewelers were often dentists in their home country. Just because they had to start over in the USA does not mean they are any less intelligent. Your lawyer needs to understand this and more importantly, understand your personal journey and story, because your own story is what makes your personal injury case personal to you. Never let a lawyer disrespect or talk down to you because you struggle with English.
FACT 8: Your foreign-born back may be worth more than a US-born banker’s back.
Making matters even worse, some lazy lawyers seem to think that because you are foreign-born, or not US-educated, or work as a laborer your injuries are worth less. They are wrong and you should find a new lawyer. Your neck or back injuries should be worth more money because your neck, back and knees are used to support yourself and your family. These body parts are the tools of your trade. So, in our opinion, your foreign-born neck, back, or knees should be worth more money to you than the same injuries to a lawyer or banker’s neck, back, or knees.
FACT 9: You deserve lawyers who have your back!
We often hear people say that they need to hire a lawyer to “defend” them in an injury case. We immediately correct them. Only people that did something wrong need to be “defended.”
We, as your lawyers are hired to hold the business or people who injured you responsible for their careless acts. They are the ones that need to be defended. The lawyers that defend those people are usually insurance company lawyers who are paid to protect insurance companies such as Allstate, Geico, New Jersey Manufacturers, USAA Insurance State Farm, Hanover, Travelers, Liberty, Progressive, Plymouth Rock, Chubb, Esurance, Farmers, NJ Cure, Warsaw, and others. You deserve lawyers who have a history of winning cases against some of the biggest and most powerful American Insurance companies. You deserve lawyers who stand in front of you to protect your rights, next to you to win your case in Court, and behind you to have your back and protect you from the aggressive insurance company lawyers.
FACT 10: Your immigration status does not affect your right to sue.
Foreign-born people have the same rights and access to the US courts as US citizens. There are no laws permitting a business, a driver, or a property owner to be irresponsible, negligent, or careless to non-citizens, whether here legally or not. Non-citizens injured by dangerous conditions or careless drivers have the same rights to recover the same amount of money as people with Green Cards or US citizenship. If your lawyer knows what they are doing, your immigration status should never be an issue.
Foreign-born people often fear that if they file a lawsuit, they may be taken by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported. But in all our years of experience representing foreign-born people, that has not happened in New Jersey. People, including non-citizens, are protected by the Constitution of the United States of America which reads:
“Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
FACT 11: Not all lawyers are the same.
As far back as 1980, few New Jersey law firms were larger than six lawyers. Many of those lawyers were “general practitioners” who did a little bit of everything. Few lawyers advertised and none were allowed to advertise their specialty or expertise. That all changed in 1977 when lawyers were once again allowed to advertise. Since then, advertising for legal services has boomed—in fact, it is estimated that between 2017 and 2021, the total amount spent by lawyers on advertising exceeded $6.8 billion.
But not all lawyers are the same, and not all law firms are the same. Just because you see a name on a billboard or a lawyer’s fancy TV commercial, does not guarantee anything. In fact, some lawyers only advertise to sign up cases to transfer to other law firms for a commission. Some of the names on billboards do not go to court or ever try cases and would likely need WAZE to find their way to the courthouse.
If you are escorted to a lawyer on “top of a drug store” run for the hills. Also, don’t use the “doctor’s” recommended lawyer because that lawyer will feel obligated to protect the doctor as much as he or she feels obligated to protect you. Do your own research and don’t be afraid to hire a lawyer that does not necessarily speak your language. Here are some useful hints about hiring the right lawyer for your case.
How to Hire the Right Lawyer for Your Case
Not all lawyers have the necessary knowledge or experience to handle a personal injury claim. For years, New Jersey did not permit lawyers to advertise themselves as “specialists.” However, they may now promote themselves as experts in a field of law if they have that special expertise.
One important exception to that rule dates to 1980 when the Supreme Court of New Jersey began the practice of certifying trial attorneys. The reason you need to know about this is that you want to hire a lawyer who is certified or has the same trial experience as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney.
Surprisingly, in New Jersey, less than 2 percent of all licensed lawyers are Certified Civil Trial Attorneys. Not all states certify lawyers as civil trial attorneys. New York, for example, does not certify their attorneys. You need to know if your attorney is certified because the insurance company adjusters certainly know who they are. It should never cost you more to hire the best lawyer for your case. The contingency fee percentage always remains the same. Unless you know about your attorney’s trial experience firsthand, hire only Certified Civil Trial Attorneys, or lawyers working in a firm with Certified Civil Trial Attorneys mentoring them.
In New Jersey, to become Certified as a Civil Trial Attorney, he or she must have practiced law for a minimum of 5 years, was the trial attorney in 10 or more trials, and must have over 30 days of courtroom trial experience.
All judges who presided over those trials, as well as the other attorneys, are called upon to evaluate the applicant. The applicant’s attorney must have an unblemished reputation, undergo a new background check, and be free of ethics violations. The applicant’s attorney must also supply the names of individuals for recommendations and must further prove that he or she participated in a minimum of thirty credit hours of continuing legal education programs during the three-year period prior to applying for certification.
After the application is approved, the candidate must travel to Trenton to take a full-day written examination, parts of which require the candidate to analyze video courtroom scenarios. Only after passing the examination can a lawyer proudly designate him or herself as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney. There are many lawyers qualified to try cases who never qualified for the exam or never took the test, but the consumer has no way of knowing that other than taking the attorney’s word that he or she is qualified to try a case. The lawyer who handled your divorce or real estate closing may not be the right lawyer for your case. Most qualified personal injury lawyers practice in groups as law firms that devote their entire resources to representing injured people.
Injury lawyers who are certified understand the complexities of the body of law commonly known as “tort law.” They have experience with experts in the field and have developed a good level of respect from insurance adjusters and their defense attorneys. Although 95 percent of all cases settle at or before trial, you still need to hire a lawyer who has built his or her reputation in the courtroom. Insurance companies know which lawyers are certified and which lawyers will go the distance and try a case. They also know which lawyers will always take the easy way out and settle with minimum effort and expense. If an insurance company believes that your lawyer represents a threat to them in the courtroom, they will more than likely try to enter into a settlement that will be more favorable to you.
Here are some questions you need to ask your lawyers:
What percentage of your practice involves representing injured people?
You can get a good idea about your lawyer’s qualifications and commitment to the interests of injured claimants by his or her answer to this question. I believe that if more than half of an attorney’s practice is devoted to representing plaintiffs, he or she may have sufficient knowledge to represent you. However, there are other factors to consider, as further discussed below. Also, lawyers who substantially work on a contingency fee basis have a need to move their cases along to get paid. You would not want your file to sit aside while your lawyer is busy doing someone else’s real estate closing or divorce.
Are you or any members of your firm certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of NJ?
As discussed above, even if your prospective attorney answers that he or she is certified, you will still need to ask if he or she tried plaintiffs’ personal injury cases as part of that certification process. Not all civil trials are personal injury cases. The attorney may have received trial certification litigating business disputes.
Tell me about some of the last cases you or members of your firm have taken to Court.
Again, if you want a good out-of-court settlement the insurance company needs to know that you mean business and have hired lawyers that pose a threat to them. Don’t be afraid to ask about the law firm’s past trials and results. The insurance companies surely will know this information so why shouldn’t you know it too before you hire your law firm?
Have you ever handled a case like mine before?
This is a fair question. While most of an injury lawyer’s practice will consist of motor vehicle accidents, not all injury lawyers have experience in handling workers’ compensation claims, injuries from dangerous machines and products, or medical malpractice claims. Some lawyers have a deep understanding of motorcycle, bus, and train wrecks, while others never had an opportunity to work on such cases. That’s why you deserve to hire an experienced lawyer from an experienced law firm with a proven track record.
Who, aside from you, will be working on my file?
You want your lawyer to have sufficient backup coverage, in case of illness or a lengthy trial engagement, so that the resolution of your case will not be unreasonably delayed. By way of example, larger offices may have various legal teams responsible for each client’s case. For strategic reasons, they may decide which qualified member of the legal team will handle certain aspects of a client’s case. The entire team of lawyers may meet regularly to discuss various aspects of their client’s case. Rather than delay a case they may arrange for a lawyer to cover an event such as an arbitration or deposition so that a client’s case will move closer toward settlement or trial.
It is routine in our office to have over twenty lawyers at a time on a ZOOM call reviewing a case to arrive at a winning strategy. All clients deserve that type of attention. Just think, would you want only your doctor alone in the operating room, or would you rather have a team of four other doctors in the room at the same time? We know the answer to that. Why not hire a team of experienced and qualified lawyers for the same price? You also know the answer to that question.
Does your lawyer participate in continuing legal education offered by the NJ Association for Justice?
In New Jersey, all lawyers must attend twenty-four hours of continuing legal education every two years. The New Jersey Association for Justice provides continuing legal education to more than 2,000 injury lawyers. While general practitioners need to stay current in all areas of the law, personal injury lawyers devote almost all their hours to staying current in the ever-changing area of personal injury law. You deserve to hire the lawyers who teach those classes.
Does your firm have the financial resources to pay all costs on my case and what will those costs be?
It is expensive to process a personal injury case. A lot of money gets spent behind the scenes on experts that you don’t even know about. For example, no case can go forward without an expert report from a qualified doctor. In those reports, a doctor as an expert in the field of medicine must give their opinion about the cause of the injury, future medical care, and permanency. Medical doctors usually charge between $750 and $1,500 for writing a medical report, even on a routine case. Medical records, which also cost money, alone are not enough to resolve an injury case. The insurance company lawyers are entitled to advance notice of the opinions of expert witnesses. Without those reports, a Judge will throw out the case and you will never get your day in Court or the money you deserve.
Once a case is put into suit, additional expenses will be required for court fees, deposition costs, and trial costs. You need to know that your lawyer will advance all of these costs and that cash flow issues will not delay your case. Keep in mind, that any litigation costs advanced by a lawyer will be deducted from the gross settlement amount before your lawyer’s percentage.
Cases involving catastrophic injuries require several other expert witnesses. Other experts may include accident reconstruction experts, life care planners, psychologists, vocational rehabilitation experts, safety engineers, and economists. When hired early, these non-medical expert witnesses also serve as consultants to the lawyers to advise them on what documents to get and what to look for to win your case. They often conduct their own investigation and do their own research. Later, the insurance company lawyers often will question the experts in an oral deposition. The expert witness gets paid by your lawyer to prepare for that meeting. Expert witnesses can be very expensive but are necessary to prove certain parts of your case. For this reason, you need to know that your lawyer will carefully select your expert witnesses and have the ability to promptly pay their bills.
What is your experience with the defendant’s insurance company?
Active personal injury attorneys know which insurance companies settle or force cases to trial. Insurance carriers consider many things before deciding whether they will deny payment on a claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer generally uses different case resolution strategies for each insurance company he or she goes up against. If your New Jersey defendant is insured by Allstate, State Farm, Geico, Liberty Mutual, New Jersey Manufacturers (NJM), or Progressive Insurance, you better make sure your lawyer knows their way around the courtroom.
Have you been selected or honored for your accomplishments as an attorney?
Lawyers within their community recognize accomplished personal injury lawyers for their achievements. Martindale-Hubbell is an independent lawyer rating agency. The highest rating they can give to a lawyer or law firm is an “AV” rating. Another group that rates lawyers is Law and Politics Magazine. Each year throughout America and in New Jersey, they poll lawyers to determine the top 5 percent of the practitioners in each area of the law. They recognize these lawyers as “SuperLawyers.” Many highly successful lawyers will hold positions as officers or trustees of a state bar association, trial lawyer association such as the New Jersey Association for Justice, (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America-NJ), or a local county bar association. If your lawyer is an officer or serves on the board of governors of such an association, he or she probably has earned the respect of other lawyers within the practice area. The best advice we can give is to follow what the New Jersey Supreme Court says:
Before making your choice of attorney, you should give this matter careful thought. The selection of an attorney is an important decision.
FACT 12: You should not pay anything to a lawyer unless and until you win your case.
In America, most injury lawyers get paid a percentage of the settlement at the end of a case. The higher the settlement, the more money a lawyer gets paid. If a case is lost, the lawyer does not get paid. This is called a contingency fee arrangement. Payment is contingent upon the outcome.
When a lawyer is hired under a contingency fee arrangement, no money is paid upfront to the lawyer. The lawyer advances all costs and at the end of the case, gets paid back those payments together with their percentage. People always have the right to hire a lawyer by the hour, but that arrangement can be quite expensive and can require an upfront retainer payment to the lawyer which he or she keeps win, lose, or draw. For that reason, 99.9 % of people hire their lawyer on a contingency fee arrangement. The risk is on the lawyer and not on the client.
This makes perfect sense, but what will your decision be? Since your lawyer will work on a percentage basis, you can and should hire the best lawyer for your case. If you had to choose between two realtors to sell your home, who took the same percentage of the sale but one ended up costing you more money, which one would you hire? The obvious answer is the one who cost you more because they got you the best price and put more money in your pocket.
And by the way, if you ask a lawyer to cut their percentage to get your case and they agree, you should pack up and go home. If a lawyer cannot defend the percentage they charge as their legal fee, don’t count on them to stand up for you to get the full amount of money you deserve from an insurance company. Weak lawyers earn weak results.
FACT 13: You should worry about getting the right medical treatment and not worry about paying your medical bills.
When a person is injured and rushed by ambulance to a hospital, they rarely ask how much this ride is costing and who is paying for it. Those may be good questions, but the need for medical care is more important than their answer. The same should hold true when it comes to getting the medical care you deserve and need. The truth of the matter is that after a motor vehicle accident, medical bills are often paid by your own household family member’s car insurance, the car you were in, and in some states the car that caused the crash. If car insurance does not pay, a good lawyer’s signature guaranteeing payment from the settlement should give you the quality medical treatment and care you deserve. Hopefully, by that time, your experienced injury lawyer will have found out how much insurance coverage is available and will try to make sure that there will be enough money at the end of the case to both pay your medical bills and put money in your pocket for your pain and suffering.
FACT 14: You should not pay a legal fee on the money you receive for property damage.
In general, Injury Lawyers should only get paid their percentage on the injury part of your case and not the property damage money you may need to buy a new car or fix your damaged car. The injury part includes your economic losses, medical bills, and your past, present, and future pain and suffering. Also, in New Jersey and New York people injured in car accidents have Personal Injury Benefits (PIP) paying some or all their medical bills. Money received from PIP payments are not subject to a legal fee. Those benefits are available to you regardless of fault.
FACT 15: It is 100% ethical for your lawyer to refer you to a qualified treating doctor.
People bringing personal injury claims should expect to be referred to a qualified physician for medical treatment. There are many reasons why injury lawyers make medical referrals. The main goal is establishing a physician/patient relationship with a qualified treating doctor who will also be available to testify as the required expert witness. The doctor will write a report discussing the patient’s diagnosis and medical treatment, as well as his or her opinions regarding the cause of the injuries, the prognosis for future treatment, and the likelihood of permanent disability. These physicians are familiar with Court deadlines, the correct medical and legal terminology required by law to prove a case, and certain Court rules that apply exclusively to expert witnesses.
Another reason why you should consider treating with your attorney’s recommendation is that certain physicians do not like participating in the legal system and make themselves unavailable and uncooperative. Some even cause harm by billing the wrong insurance, ignoring subpoenas, and not showing up for Court hearings. The law recognizes the importance of the expert/attorney relationship and the attorney/client relationship by protecting a client from disclosing private conversations with their attorney as a referral source. If ever asked about who referred you to a particular physician, you can say, “I discussed this confidentially with my attorney” and the Judge will protect that conversation.
FACT 16: Even if you work off the books you can claim a loss of income.
In America, a person can earn up to $12,550 per year without being legally obligated to report their income or file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). And, if you are self-employed, a gig worker, or an independent contractor, you can report your full off-the-books income, subtract your expenses, and still pay no federal taxes. Another alternative is to waive your economic loss and put in a claim only for the pain and suffering from your injuries.
FACT 17: You deserve lawyers who earned their good reviews, settlements, and verdicts.
Don’t be fooled by lawyers with hundreds of reviews. Some or many may have been paid for or from cases they referred out to other lawyers. Make sure their reviews are backed up by true content. Also, understand that many large settlements are subject to confidentiality agreements so the names and amounts cannot be disclosed. We are proud of our testimonials and results and need to promote our services to compete against those lawyers who are less than genuine.
FACT 18: Never hire out-of-state lawyers for your case.
Recently, it has become popular for Florida and other out-of-state lawyers to advertise in New Jersey and New York for clients. Out-of-state accident victims often hire lawyers in the state where they live for convenience purposes. Since many of these lawyers are not licensed to practice law in NY or NJ, they will often try to settle a case out of court. Insurance companies know this and understand that they can save money by negotiating with this lawyer because he or she does not want to give the case and the legal fee to an in-state licensed lawyer. Unfortunately, the delay often causes out-of-state lawyers unfamiliar with New Jersey or New York laws to make costly mistakes, miss deadlines, and hire expert witnesses who do not understand the New York and New Jersey legal systems. You deserve the right lawyer, in the right state, that knows the county Judges and understands the mindset of local jurors to win your case.
FACT 19: You deserve lawyers who understand your injuries and medical treatment.
A good injury lawyer needs to be a bit of a physician who understands trauma medicine. Good injury lawyers know and understand not only human anatomy, but also what happens when each bone, cartilage, ligament, and tendon are damaged and injured. They need to understand that injuries to soft tissue can be far worse than broken bones and other orthopedic injuries. After all, isn’t a person’s heart, lungs, and brain, “soft tissue”?
A good injury lawyer understands the body’s “electrical system,” or what doctors call the nervous system, which includes the brain, spine, and all nerves. That is the pathway your body uses for your brain to recognize pain. A qualified injury lawyer needs to understand all diagnostic and imaging tools, treatments, therapies, and surgeries, and even the cost of future medical care. Your injury lawyer needs to read and understand medical charts and records written by and for the benefit of other doctors and nurses. Good injury lawyers take this information and simplify it to make it understandable to insurance adjusters, judges, and jurors who may ultimately decide the amount of money you get paid.
FACT 20: You deserve lawyers who are educational and don’t talk down to you.
This is probably the first time and hopefully the last time you’ll need to hire a lawyer for an injury case. It is your lawyer’s obligation to make you feel comfortable with what is going to happen as your case progresses. Your lawyers should educate you about being a compliant client and injury patient. Legal and medical terminology should be explained to you and how it applies to your case. You should never think that a lawyer’s recognition of bad facts in your case means that he or she favors the other side. A good lawyer is skilled and trained in identifying all the good facts, and yes, all the bad facts. That way they can figure out how to handle any bad facts before an insurance company uses them against you. As your case progresses, the law firm will ask you to sign documents and appear for depositions and proceedings. Never be afraid to ask your lawyer or their staff to define any term or explain it to you.
FACT 21: You deserve high-tech lawyers who use technology to win and prove your case.
Good law firms invest a lot of money in technology. We use technology to communicate with our clients and the Courts. We use technology to conduct online investigations and legal research. We can now even bring live witnesses to court remotely through technology. But most importantly, smart lawyers and law firms invest in technology to tell and “sell” your story to an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury. You deserve lawyers that have the software, talent, and resources to tell your story visually. This means they own their own equipment and make it available without additional cost for your case should it go to trial. In today’s world, injury lawyers earn a jury’s interest by showing your story visually with photos, animations, virtual reality accident reconstruction, as well as medical illustrations that come alive. If you suffered major injuries and there is sufficient insurance coverage, then smart lawyers will make certain your story is preserved digitally and is repurposed to help a jury understand the impact of your loss. This may even include capturing video of hospital or surgical procedures. Our legal advice is to take and save plenty of video footage. There is an English expression that says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” We say a video can be worth more than a million words. That is why you deserve a lawyer and law firm that embraces technology.
FACT 22: 95% of all cases settle favorably before trial because insurance companies know we are ready, willing, and able to win at trial.
We get it. We understand that you did not ask to be involved in an “accident” so you can get to experience a jury trial. But the truth of the matter is that insurance companies do not voluntarily hand out good settlements. To win a good settlement, your injury lawyer and law firm must be “locked and loaded” and ready, willing, and able to go to trial. Insurance companies know which lawyers will take your case all the way to court.
If our work was proper, your best and final offer usually comes on the eve of trial. We know and understand that our clients have waited patiently for justice and expect a fair settlement offer. This offer will usually be brokered by a judge in chambers and communicated before jury selection. If not, then your case will proceed to jury selection and trial. If your case gets that far, you will have been fully prepared by us in advance in our “in-house” courtroom to testify at your trial. We built that courtroom to help prepare and comfort you for the actual trial.
But be aware, if your case goes to trial, anything can happen and anything can go wrong for either side. Insurance companies recognize and understand this and that is why they settle cases. You also should recognize the same thing can happen to you. A settled case is a certainty. There are no appeals, and your case is over. The only thing to follow is a check made payable to you and your injury law firm hopefully for a lot of money. Trying jury cases should not be confused with gambling. If you like gambling, I suggest that you take some of your settlement to Atlantic City and gamble there. You may have better odds.
For that reason, all fair, just, and reasonable offers need to be seriously considered.
But let’s not worry about that now….
Required Disclosure: Because the facts and circumstances of every injury case differ, the information you obtain from this site is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should consult with one of our attorneys for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us to learn more about your rights. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship until an attorney and client enter into a written fee agreement.
You deserve Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC as your advocate and lawyers!
At this point, if you read this content, at least I hope you have decided to interview us to have the privilege to represent you in your personal injury claim. Here is my closing argument for why you should hire us now. I rest my case. I am now ready to take on yours.
- We are experts in Personal Injury Law and handle all types of personal injury cases
- All consultations are free and confidential
- We answer your questions and are an education-based law firm
- We help you recover from your injuries by providing direction
- We do not get paid unless we win
- We advance all costs and expenses
- We use good, honest, and respected expert witnesses
- Over 35 years in business serving and satisfying over 30,000 clients and their families
- Over $800 million in settlements or verdicts
- 15 years of firm name partners recognized as SuperLawyers*
- Several partners recognized as Top 100 NJ lawyers by National Trial Lawyers
- Several partners are AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell*
- 28 lawyers, of which 15 are NJ Certified Civil trial attorneys
- We speak over 12 languages and can arrange to communicate in your language
- Offices located in NY and NJ and 9 other convenient meeting places
- Highly trained support staff of over 70 legal assistants, paralegals, and admins.
- Instant appointments available through Zoom, Teams, Skype, and Facetime.
- Internal workers’ compensation department
- Medical physician on staff to answer medical questions
- State-of-the-art digital and case management technology
- Partners include past and future Presidents of the New Jersey Trial Association (NJAJ)
- Dozens of settlements and verdicts reported by the media
- Groundbreaking cases resulting in national Tobacco and Diet Drug settlements
- All name partners are active trial attorneys
- Partners active in passing life-saving laws preventing DUI deaths.
- Partners invited as keynote speakers at international brain injury conferences
- Several Partners honored for their charitable contributions
- All attorneys participate in diversity training and actively fight discrimination
- Judges and adversaries respect our lawyers
- We urge our legislators to pass laws to keep NJ consumers safe and protected
- We are here 4 You! We put our clients’ interests ahead of ours
*For selection process, see below:
Selection Process Detail (superlawyers.com)
AV Peer Review Ratings & Client Review Awards | Martindale-Hubbell®
A Purely Peer Review™ Methodology | Best Lawyers
FAQ | The National Trial Lawyers
Types of Cases We Handle
- Rideshare, Uber, Taxi & Lyft
- Pedestrian Injuries
- Injuries from Products
- Fire and Explosion Cases
- Fire and Chemical Burn Cases
Slip Trip & Falls:
- Parking Lot
- Stairway Falls
- Broken Sidewalks
- Falls Due to Ice & Snow
- Injuries in Stores & Malls
- On-the-job Workers’ Compensation Claims
- Dog/Animal Bite and Attacks
- Police Brutality and Civil Rights Cases
- Medical Negligence Cases
- Nursing Home Negligence
- Brain Injuries
- Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers
- False Imprisonment
- Assaults Caused by Negligent Security
- Boating Accidents
- Electrocution and Suffocation cases
- Toxic Mold Exposure
- Food Poisoning
- Patent Infringements
- Boating Collisions and Accidents
- Breach of and Invasion of Privacy
- Criminal and Municipal Court Matters