Posted in Law, Medical Malpractice, Motor Vehicle Incidents, Personal Injury, Products Liability, Workers' Comp, Wrongful Death

Seek Counsel or Wing It? When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

When a person becomes hurt or injured, whether by a defective product, a motor vehicle crash, etcetera, the decision to seek qualified counsel is rarely a simple one to make. Despite the negative perspective commonly shared between defense attorneys, insurance companies and legal system spectators; oftentimes, most people have no interest in becoming a party to a potential lawsuit. Some injured plaintiffs suffer from guilt and uncertainty which can create potentially damaging time delays relative to their claim. 

As creatures of habit, it is human nature for us to grimace at anything that could potentially inconvenience or inhibit our life routines in anyway. The mere thought of continuous medical appointments, insurance company negotiations, recorded statements and legal proceedings is enough to persuade most potential plaintiffs that their injury “isn’t serious enough” to substantiate the necessity of seeking qualified counsel. These types of thoughts have and continue to promote an unfair advantage that benefits guilty parties and insurers nationwide. 

Guilt, Uncertainty and Negative Stigma 

Feelings of guilt and uncertainty are common obstacles faced by the injured and non-represented. Questions and statements such as, “do I even have a case?”; “did I somehow contribute to my injury?” or “I wasn’t injured that bad… it will get better” are examples of plaintiff’s guilt. The injured individual may shame themselves into thinking the injury was in some way or entirely their own fault. Even if that was not the case. 

On the contrary, the negative stigma surrounding plaintiff personal injury attorneys has created a clear contradiction as to the importance of professional specialization. Questions and statements such as, “Is hiring an attorney even worth the time and money?”; or, “I can resolve this claim on my own for free” are examples of a common uncertainty/skepticism relative to the necessity of hiring representation. Attorneys are hired because they possess a thorough understanding of the laws, rules and elements associated with an injured person’s claim. 

Say for example, a child contracts a mysterious illness overnight. Would it be wise for a parent to spend time educating themselves on the illness for free? Or would it be wiser to save time by taking the child to a medical professional who specializes in pediatric infectious disease?  

In the Legal World, Time Truly Waits for No One 

The bottom line is that you simply may not have the time to answer those questions on your own. Dependent upon the type of injury/claim, each state has a statute of limitations which sets maximum limits on the amount of time following an event within which legal proceedings may be pursued. A prime example would be Texas medical malpractice claims which are governed by strict noticing requirements and deadlines. 

Though most of us over-achieving common folk typically consider ourselves skilled at any and all things – including legal procedure and statutes of limitations – it may be best that we trust an attorney who already specializes in personal injury law. 

What Do You Have to Lose?  

Most attorneys provide free consultations and will often work on a contingency fee basis. These attorneys will investigate your claim at no upfront cost to you. The risk factor for the plaintiff is very minimal considering there is no charge if the attorney doesn’t make any money.  

Personal Injury Attorneys and Motor Vehicle Crashes 

Take motor vehicle crashes for example. Though not mandatory, it is critical that the injured party hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury/motor vehicle crashes immediately following the incident. You simply cannot afford to be without counsel at any stage of the claim process.  

Personal injury attorneys who specialize in motor vehicle incidents specialize in handling all (but not limited to) the following: 

  1. Insurance company communications; 
  1. Medical treatment and future medical needs; and 
  1. Record retention and review. 

Insurance Company Communications 

The U.S. insurance industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually as per the S&P Global Market Intelligence, Insurance Information Institute. The primary business model shared across this industry revolves around minimal pay-outs to their policy holders to boost company profitability.  

These companies have entire legal departments staffed with slippery defense attorneys who have far more experience handling insurance claim cases than the average consumer. This makes the retention of specialized counsel even more imperative to obtaining fair resolution on behalf of the injured. There is a reason that both yours and the tortfeasor’s insurers have specialized attorneys in their corners, and you can bet that reason is not benefiting you.  

Medical Treatment 

Depending on the type of injury suffered, continued medical treatment is critical in order to detail, address and hopefully correct the injury sustained during the subject incident. Your attorney’s support staff can assist you with determining which providers to see for immediate treatment and for the evaluation of any and all future medical needs and expected costs. 

Records Retention and Review 

Medical records are the primary source of evidence in a personal injury claim. Your attorney’s support staff will request and review your medical records in order to summarize your injuries as they relate to the subject incident. 

There are many other tasks involved in resolving personal injury cases. The medical treatment and records are used to build strong demand letters that will lead to settled claims pre-trial. The strategies used to execute these tasks will vary greatly depending on the attorney and their specialized area of practice.  

Conclusion 

The decision to hire a personal injury attorney is difficult due to obstacles such as plaintiff guilt, uncertainty and negative stigmas surrounding the legal profession. Plaintiffs receive many helpful benefits upon retaining qualified counsel. With free consultations and a low up-front risk factor, injured plaintiffs have nothing to lose! 

So, seek counsel or wing it? When should a potential plaintiff hire a personal injury attorney? Seek qualified counsel as soon as possible! There is no specific timeframe for hiring an attorney. However, it is imperative you understand that in the legal world, time is literally of the essence!  

If you or your loved one have been injured, do not attempt to determine whether you have a compensable case.  Contact Patrick Daniel Law for a free case evaluation and let us help you! Schedule a consultation in person, over the phone or online immediately. 

Posted in Personal Injury, Privacy, Security Settings

Protecting your privacy during a personal injury case

www.patrickdaniellaw.com

The way we communicate with each other every day has revolutionized social media. We can share our thoughts, behaviors, places, desires, and feelings with everyone every minute of the day by clicking a button. While such connections can be helpful, duplication is a common problem. Not only can sharing too much information about yourself have serious implications for your personal and professional life, it can also have a negative impact on your application for personal injury. Ensure that you are protecting your privacy to avoid complications.

Who can view posts, pictures, and videos on your social media?

Each web-based life stage has an element called privacy settings, in which clients can restrain who can see their profile, posts, and photographs. As a rule, these settings are concealed, hard to get to, and can change at regular intervals. Numerous clients are ignorant that they exist in any case. Past securing the respectability of your damage guarantee, fixing your privacy settings can shield you from outsiders who you don’t need jabbing around in your business in any case.

Something imperative to recollect is even secretly posted data on interpersonal organizations might be utilized in individual damage cases. Don’t simply depend on a firmly private, secured online life account. When changing your privacy settings, make certain to deny access to your substance by individuals outside of your associations and don’t enable your connections to impart your substance to their companions or family. After a mishap or recording of individual damage guarantee, abstain from “friending” or including extra connections, as these could be agents from the insurance agency or contradicting counsel.

Protecting your privacy during a personal injury case

Before you post something on the web, recall that it can’t be totally evacuated regardless of whether you have erased it from your own record. Notwithstanding, this rapidly advancing piece of the law may enable legitimate access to any online life activities that can be utilized as allowable proof against you for the situation, including an image of you getting a charge out of an evening in the recreation center with family or companions. The contention behind these disclosures can be as straightforward as how might you be having a ton of fun on the off chance that you are in so much agony? How are you getting a charge out of the majority of life’s normal exercises on the off chance that you are too harmed to even consider working?

Raise Your Security Settings

Raise your security settings to the most significant level yet don’t allow your to protect down. The insurance agency could at present discover a route into your posts. The courts may even give them consent to get to your record disregarding your earnest attempts. Your way to deal with utilizing online networking ought to be a blend of preventive measures. Continuously consider the most dire outcome imaginable and what it could cost you.

Internet based life is one spot where appearances matter more than truth. Despite the fact that you realize that your wounds are as serious as you asserted, no one can tell when something you state or do will give the presence of extortion. When a mix-up is made, there is little your own damage lawyer can do to turn your case around. Aversion is consistently the better way to deal with ensuring your case until your case is settled.

Alter your privacy settings.

Ensure the majority of your social media presents are determined to “companions just” or “private” and not “open.” This will shield your posts from being seen by anybody and everybody that finds you. Once in a while even the private posts can be gotten to and utilized, yet modifying the settings will limit the probability.

Set your privacy settings to “private.”

Check your privacy settings. Your social media records should all be set to “Private.” Set your record to require your endorsement in the event that anybody labels you or attempts to put something on your “divider.” In the wake of recording individual damage guarantee, think about turning on your account’s privacy settings, in the event that you have not done so as of now.

By changing your account’s privacy settings, you will have the option to control who can get to your social media profiles. This will empower you to limit who sees the substance you post, including your photos and recordings.

Despite the fact that this may keep a great many people from freely seeing your social media profile, it doesn’t totally counteract access to your record. A back up plan may demand that its agents or lawyers approach your record and view the data you have posted, paying little heed to whether your privacy settings are turned on.

Please do not attempt to determine if you have a compensable case. You must consult a relevant liability attorney who has the expertise and extensive knowledge necessary to determine who ultimately caused the harm and injuries you or a loved one suffered. Contact us for a free case evaluation here.

Posted in Law, Maritime, Medical Malpractice, Motor Vehicle Incidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Products Liability, Workers' Comp, Wrongful Death

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury claims – or tort lawsuits – arise whenever a plaintiff has suffered injury to their body or mind as opposed to damages relative to their property. Tort law allows a plaintiff to seek legal remedies in civil court for all damages caused because of a particular incident.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims arise when a health care provider, such as a nurse or doctor, fails to provide the appropriate level of care to a patient. In the legal context, this is often referred to as violating the standard of care—what the doctor or nurse is expected to do under the same or similar circumstances. Laws relative to medical malpractice claims vary from state to state.

Wrongful Death

When a person is killed because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, wrongful death lawsuits are filed. These claims allow plaintiffs to seek remedies and recover damages that are different from those sought for non-fatal injuries. Most wrongful death suits stem from incidents such as medical malpractice, motor vehicle crashes, construction/commercial incidents or the use of a defective product.

Motor Vehicle Incidents

Car crashes are a major public health concern in the United States. On average, about six million car accidents occur every single year in the USA as per the CDC. Half of those individuals involved in car accidents become injured as a result. The insurance companies have teams of attorneys and adjusters on their sides with the sole mission of paying injured plaintiff’s as little as possible. Therefore, it is common for injured plaintiffs to hire a well-informed personal injury attorney to be in their corner.

Workers’ Compensation

Injuries that occur while under the scope of employment are filed as workers’ compensation claims as opposed to bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. The laws relative to workers’ comp claims vary from state to state.

Premises Liability

Premises liability cases arise when dangerous conditions on someone’s property results in an injury to someone else. A common example would be a customer slipping in a store that failed to display a “wet floor” sign. Any injury caused by an owner’s carelessness or failure to maintain their property could result in a premises liability lawsuit.

Products Liability

Any individual, business or government entity who sold, designed, marketed or distributed a dangerous or defective product that causes injury could be held liable in a court of law. The four elements a plaintiff must prove are defect, causation, injury and duty. The three theories for which a plaintiff is entitled to sue are negligence – whether the manufacturer has a duty to provide a safe product; strict liability – plaintiff can sue regardless of whether the seller was negligent or not; and breach of warranty – when products have warranties that fail or cause injury.

Maritime

There are two types of maritime workers: those who meet the legal definition of “seamen” and those who work on or near the water. Unlike their non-maritime peers, seamen are not afforded workers’ compensation benefits under state or federal law. Instead, a seamen is able to pursue other remedies, including suing their employer under the Jones Act for the injuries sustained while at work. Additionally, a seaman is allowed to pursue damages against the owner of the vessel on which he was injured, as well as receive maintenance and cure.

The Jones Act, the federal law that allows a seaman to sue his employer, requires maritime employers to provide a seaman with a reasonably safe place to work and use ordinary care to maintain and keep the vessel on which the seaman works in a reasonably safe condition. Unlike most negligence cases, the legal burden an injured seaman must prove to recover under the Jones Act is much lower. That is, an injured seaman, under the Jones Act, must only demonstrate that the employer’s negligence played a part, no matter how small, in the seaman’s injuries.

If you or a loved one suspects you may have a personal injury claim, it is vital that you hire a personal injury attorney who has a history of representing clients in this area. The attorneys at Patrick Daniel Law provide the expertise you need to evaluate your potential case. Our attorneys are ready to get justice for you, so visit http://www.patrickdaniellaw.com.

Posted in Career Advice, Job Duties, Law, Paralegal, Personal Injury, Top Paralegals

Personal Injury Law: Job Duties of Top Paralegals

By: Sheena Foley, PHP

There are many different avenues of specialty available for paralegals to build solid job experience and strong resumes. This article will focus on the job duties of a personal injury paralegal. Depending on the size of the firm and the actual job duties assigned to a paralegal by the handling attorney, the following responsibilities must be mastered by any top paralegal.

Intake and Client Contact

Paralegals must possess the ability to properly screen and interview potential new clients (PNCs). This means knowing what questions to ask during the initial intake and with which tone to ask them in. A useful paralegal will already have a questionnaire on hand to ensure that no information is omitted. It is the paralegal’s job to be as patient and thorough as possible in order to gain all information required for the attorney to review the claim effectively.

Medical Records

Personal injury paralegals understand the importance of medical and billing records being organized, on file and admissible in court. As a paralegal, you may be required to order, summarize, supplement and produce medical records to opposing counsel, insurance adjusters, experts, etc. throughout the case. A useful paralegal understands what to look for within the medical records and how to determine whether they are insufficient.

Ordering and receiving is only a small portion of the overall goal in reviewing a client’s medical records. Familiarity of medical terminology is critical to a paralegal’s ability to identify various injury types and any long-term effects those injuries may cause. This data is critical in the process of effectively moving personal injury cases along. A paralegal must understand medical jargon and have the ability to follow treatment recommendations and orders from treating physicians. I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding medical terminology in order to determine whether surgery or future medical care and expenses are required.

Non-Medical Records

In addition to mastering the art of ordering medical records, a paralegal must also understand what non-medical records may be required to move a case along. Depending on the initial intake, some of these record types may include employment records, academic records, financial records or a declaration page from an insurance adjuster. Useful paralegals also understand FOIA requests and the importance of performing legal, scientific, technical and medical research relative to the claim.

Legal Drafting

The primary purpose of a paralegal is to make their attorney’s job easier and to assist in the process of effectively moving a case along to resolution. Therefore, it is a paralegal’s job to prepare legal motions/pleadings, demands, settlement proposals and discovery for attorney review. Top paralegals can equally draft discovery and discovery responses, inclusive of all relative objections, for their attorney’s final review and modification. Most importantly, top performing paralegals will have these items already drafted, prepared and saved to the file for the attorney’s review based primarily on staying current with the pleadings thereby staying ahead of the game. Always overachieve.

Docket Control and Calendaring

Regardless of the area of specialty, it is understood that a litigation paralegal is responsible for monitoring all deadlines and calendaring all items of importance. This item was included based only on its general importance to any paralegal’s job duties.

Expert Retention and Medical Scheduling

Upon review of a client’s medical records from treating providers, a paralegal may be required to retain and thoroughly vet a medical expert as assigned by the attorney. This will also involve obtaining dates, scheduling treatment and arranging transportation if required. This will be required for any defendant medical examinations (DMEs) as well.

Trial Preparation and Trial

Paralegals organize exhibits, trial documents and evidence into trial binders to prepare for trial. Many paralegals are responsible for setting up any peripherals and exhibits in the courtroom and they assist attorneys in preparing witnesses, submitting bench books, issuing subpoenas and assisting with voir doir. Top paralegals may also be required to assist the attorney during trial by controlling the flow of exhibits, usually with a trial software like Trial Pad. Trial paralegals are the primary intermediaries between the clients, witnesses, attorneys and court staff throughout trial.

Regardless of your current job duties or responsibilities at this stage in your career, there should never come a time when you stop learning and striving to be a better paralegal. Always utilize your peers and share information that will lead to the growth of your team. I have worked with some amazing paralegals during my career and from them all; I have gained something substantial, inspiring, thought provoking or informative at the very least. Being trainable, approachable, flexible and self-starting are all traits which will lead to a successful paralegal career.