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Irene H Gabo Joins Andrey Laskatelev & Veronika Litvinova at RUSA Radio’s “Almost Home”

 In Irene H Gabo, Law, Radio Show, Rusa Radio

Irene H Gabo joined Andrey Laskatelev & Veronika Litvinova on their popular show “Almost Home” on RUSA radio.

Listen to the Broadcast:

Q&A Transcript

5 mistakes to avoid when you have a personal injury case

1. Not making all complaints known to the doctor or going to wrong doctors

One of the biggest arguments I hear from the insurance company, when the client presents a new pain complaint 6 months later, is that its not related to the present accident or took place after the accident. The insurance company carefully reviews your initial complaints at the hospital and then uses that as an argument against you that no other body parts are injured. Granted, at the hospital the body part that hurts the most will be the one highlighted, but most of the time the hospital will refer the patient for a follow up, which will happen few days later. At that point, one should be able to verbalize the extent of the injuries sustained in the accident. Don’t be a martyr, if something hurts, even If it doesn’t hurt as much, mention it.

Another issue is going to the wrong doctors, those who cannot address your injuries. Please don’t go to your internist for a follow up when your wrist is fractured. They won’t be able to properly treat you. Go to the orthopedist. If you feel numbness in the wrist radiating to the fingers, verbalize this to your orthopedist who will likely refer you to a neurologist to test for nerve damage. Attend PT as recommended. I don’t want to hear an excuse that there was no time. Many are now open on weekends and evening and not treating will jeopardize the case.

2. Not keeping your attorney up to date on your treatment

First, I want to mention that if you were hurt in the past in an accident or at work, especially if it’s the same body part as now, mention it to your attorney at the sign up. Also mention it to the doctor, if they ask. Not only does it help both doctor and lawyer keep a proper history, it prevents future problems with insurance companies. Because they have a way to check your prior accidents, going back many years, and if you lied or withheld information from your lawyer or doctor, it will reflect negatively on your case later.

Also, if you changed doctors, or changed the amount of times you go for PT, please notify your attorney. If your no fault benefits have been discontinued, do not automatically stop treatment, consult your attorney for other treatment options and payment options that may be available.

3. Not taking time from work when you really needed it

One of the ways to prove a serious injury in the State of New York is being unable to work 90 day following the occurrence, or within 180 days. I understand that financially that may be impossible for many of you, but remember, no fault, in motor vehicle accidents does pay up to 2000 a month for lost wages.

Not taking any time off work at all, indicates to the insurance companies that you are not seriously injured. Later on, when you have to testify in your case, the question will come up about the number of hours you work, whether the job is of sedentary nature or physical, and how were you able to perform it after the accident. Taking little or no time out of work, and then testifying I have difficulties sitting for prolonged period of time, doesn’t sound believable and will lessen the value of your claim.

4. Not testifying clearly about where and how the accident happened

Biggest mistake made is not being prepared well enough for your testimony under oath, as this is the most important and closely watched part of your case. This is where the defense counsel learns about you, your injuries, how the accident happened and your treatment, from your own words.

In many trip and fall accident, they will produce their own photos for identification, and if you are not clear about where and how you fell, or what direction you were heading prior to the accident, or unable to identify the defect that caused your fall, this may be fatal to the case, and lead to defense counsel moving to dismiss your case.

Thorough prep, reviewing photos your attorney has as well as general scene photos, discussing the mechanics of the fall, and other details if vital to the case.

Remember, many buildings and business now have video surveillance, so your testimony must closely match what will be show on that video. Don’t assume there is no video because it wasn’t produced prior to your testimony, don’t assume there is no video at all, always be prepared as thoroughly as possible.

5. Video surveillance from defense

Many people forget that if they allege serious and permanent injuries, which affect their ability to work, especially in cases involving worker’s compensation, the defendant’s insurance company, or even their own workers compensation carrier may want proof of that. Therefore, there are many instances where they hire investigators, usually before trial, to tail the client for few days to see what he or she is doing during the days she is not working.

And many times this is done after client’s testimony where she testifies that she cannot lift, carry packages, sit for prolonged period of times or go up the steps. And many times what does the video show: clients in supermarkets carrying heavy shopping bags, clients doing yard work, client’s swimming in the ocean, client’s exercising in the gym.

While the case is pending, and especially after depositions, I advise my clients to be very mindful of activities they do.

Also, no social networking where you are shown partying, parasailing, jumping, dancing, if you are claiming serious and disabling injuries.