Irene Gabo on the Morning Show at Davidzon Radio – May 16, 2021
What do you after a personal injury accident?
Take photos of the accident scene, if you are physically able to do so.
Preserving evidence and gathering witness information is very important to almost every case.
If you had a car accident, take photos of the other car’s license plate, of the damage to your vehicle, their vehicle and the point of impact. I have seen cases where the vehicle that hit my client runs away or leaves the scene of the accident, so if you can, at least take a photo of the license plate on the front of the back of the car. Your attorney will be able to find that vehilce’s owner through the license plate search.
If you had a trip and fall or slip and fall, take a photo of the condition that caused you to fall, or ask someone nearby to do it. If you spilled on some liquid in a store chances are someone will come and clean it few minutes later and that evidence is gone. If you tripped over a raised and uneven sidewalk and the building superintendent or security guard saw you, chances are that defect will be fixed a day or two later. Therefore, especially on the cases involving sidewalks, I strongly suggest hiring an attorney sooner rather than later so an investigator can be sent to the scene to photograph the defect and measure it, before it is fixed.
Will my case go to trial?
Most of the cases do not go to trial, and in my office over 95% of the cases are settled, and those that are not settled, usually get settled once we pick a jury or see a judge. I understand covid restrictions are easing and courts are supposed to begin opening up May 24th, and we will start having trials, but the past year has allowed a lot of electronic transmission of documents, depositions by zoom, medical consultations by telemedicine and other things we never did online before, so a lot of cases are moving faster than before, because we are now able to exchange information much quicker with the other side, and they with us. My practice has a lot of elderly clients so for them making sure the cases settle quickly without having to wait 2-3 years for a trial is very important and we try our best to make it happen by using mediations and arbitrations instead of trial if needed. Its cheaper and much less time consuming.
What happens if I am partially at fault for the accident?
If this is a car accident and you were hurt, your fault does not matter for the purposes of getting your medical bills paid and your lost wages pages. Of course, if the terms of the policy were violated (for example you live in New York, but say you live in Pennsylvania to get cheaper insurance) and during the investigation your insurance company can prove that you are not a PA resident they may ask for you to pay back what they paid for your medical treatment. In terms of the case, New York applies what is called comparative negligence, meaning you can still have a case, even if you are partially at fault and recover that percentage that you are not at fault for. For example the jury says you were 30% at fault for the accident and gives you $100,000.00, you will collect 70% or $70,000.00.
Does it matter where I treat after the accident?
It doesn’t matter in terms of locations. Many people want to treat close to their home or close to their work, and some can only go evenings and others can only go weekends. What’s important is that the doctor will be able to provide you with the good treatment and our office with thorough reports of your treatments and injuries. Also, remember, if the case goes to trial, your doctor is the one that will likely be your expert witness, so you need to make sure that he testifies in court, before starting the treatment, especially if the case is difficult, or the injury is very serious and there is a strong chance, trial will be necessary.
How long does the personal injury case take to settle??
This is a difficult question to answer because every case is different. If I have a case where my client’s car was rear ended, and he had lets say a fracture or another serious injury, and the other car only had $25,000.00 coverage, chances are very quickly after the other side gets all the records they will call to settle the case. However, once you have numerous defendants in the case, or one of the defendants is not insured, or one of them dies, or there is a bankruptcy, the case proceeds much slower and longer. For example to do a deposition of a client, where I have 3 defendants, I need to make sure all 4 attorneys including me are available on one particular day and time to depose my client. That doesn’t always happen. My advice is to keep in close contact with the attorney’s office, throughout your litigation, so there is some pressure on the attorney to move the case quicker, plus don’t forget we don’t get paid until you win, so for us, we have a natural incentive.