Personal Injury – FAQ

This guest blog is from Jim Raz, an NYC personal injury lawyer, who has over 30 years of experience. Personal injury is one of the largest sectors of civil law. Individuals, families, businesses, and large corporations may be involved in a personal injury lawsuit. There are two basic components of a personal injury claim. There is a liable party, the defendant, and damages suffered by the plaintiff. If the personal injury lawyer is able to prove liability and damages, the California courts will award personal injury compensation for the loss.

Here are frequently asked questions about personal injury claims:

What is a Personal Injury?

Almost any sort of injury may be considered as a personal injury. For instance, not all personal injuries seem large at the outset. If an individual slips and falls on the pavement at the shopping center and has a concussion, he or she may not be able to work. Inability to work means lost wages, or quantifiable damages. In that case, the individual suffers physical and legal harm.

If an individual slips and falls but does not need a doctor, and he or she is able to go to work, there are no damages to consider in a court of law.

What Types of Personal Injury Claims Are Filed?

Almost everyone relies upon a car, truck, or motorcycle for business or pleasure. Owners assume that their vehicle is safe and reliable. Drivers also assume that others on the road operate their car, truck, or motorcycle according to the law.

Unfortunately, a vehicle accident can result from faulty parts or another driver’s negligence. At that time, it is important to contact Santa Rosa personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.

The injured party should never speak with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The insurer is typically the opposing party in a personal injury lawsuit. Their goal is to avoid paying a fair amount of compensation to the plaintiff. It is essential to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If the plaintiff cannot hire the personal injury law firm, his or her family may do so.

What Other Personal Injury Claims Are Filed?

In addition to vehicle claims, bicycle and pedestrian accidents may result in personal injury lawsuits. Dog bites may result in serious personal injuries. Slip and fall, landlord and tenant claims, and elder abuse are all types of personal injury claims made by injured victims.

What Does It Cost to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A professional personal injury lawyer offers services on a contingency basis. The lawyer does not get paid unless the law firm wins the case and collects damages for the injured person.

What Happens After a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed?

The injured driver is the plaintiff. The person responsible for injuring the plaintiff is the defendant. The defendant will engage an attorney and the insurance company will also have legal counsel.

The attorneys engaged in the case gather facts through the discovery process. They exchange documents, present interrogatories (questions), and hold depositions. A deposition is a kind of preview of trial. The individual being deposed must answer questions under oath.

What Happens If My Case “Settles?”

Settling the case means that the plaintiff agrees to accept a sum of money in exchange for dropping the action against the liable party. The plaintiff then signs a release to absolve the other party or parties of future liability. An experienced personal injury lawyer assists the client by presenting the settlement offer. He or she can offer professional perspective about whether the claim if pursued in court will succeed.

A settlement offer can be received at any time after a lawsuit is filed. The defendant or insurance company can approach the plaintiff’s counsel before trial or even before a jury verdict is reached. The personal injury attorney cannot decide to accept a settlement offer. That is the client’s responsibility.

Many personal injury lawsuits settle “out of court,” or before a trial. However, the experienced personal injury law firm always proactively prepares for trial.

What Happens After the Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Lawyer Wins the Case?

If the plaintiff wins the case, the judge or seated jury awards him or her money, also known as damages, for suffered injuries. Damages include compensation for lost income and medical bills. Future income or wage losses are likely when the plaintiff is seriously injured. Damages may also compensate the plaintiff for suffering, physical pain, and mental anguish. Disability or disfigurement from the injury may also be part of the compensation awarded at that time.

Is the Defendant Punished If the Case Goes to Trial?

No, the personal injury lawsuit is typically tried in civil court. Defendant(s) in a personal injury lawsuit are not punished with jail time. Occasionally, when a personal injury case involves a liable party with an intention to harm the victim, punitive damages may be awarded. This is an unusual occurrence.

Do Police Have to Read You Your Rights in a DUI Case?

This article is from Janna Uric, a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles.

Often times, car accidents at night are caused by people driving under the influence. When facing a DUI charge, many drivers want to know what their rights are to ensure that they don’t incriminate themselves or make the state’s case harder to fight. One of the often asked questions regarding DUI offenses is whether police officers are required to read Miranda rights to a person they are charging. The answer is yes and no, which leaves many people confused.

What are Miranda Rights?
Miranda rights essentially protect a person in custody from incriminating themselves by making statements that are not in their best interest. It’s for this reason that the Miranda statement includes a sentence about hiring a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer the state will appoint one at no cost.

When Do Police Read You Your Rights?
Miranda rights can be read at any time, either at the time of arrest or once the person is already in custody at the police station. Police officials only have to read you your rights if they are going to ask you questions that pertain to the DUI arrest. Therefore, if a police officer simply arrests a person for DUI and has no intention of talking about the events, they are not required to read Miranda rights. Most police officers read Miranda rights at the moment of arrest just in case the person in custody begins talking about the case. Once at the police station, a person can be booked or held without having heard their rights. It’s only if officials decide to question them that the reading of rights is required.

What Do Miranda Rights Protect?
The only thing that Miranda rights protect are your verbal statements, not your actions or anything else regarding the case. If police do not read you your rights, nothing that you say can be used against you in filing charges or in a court of law. Once your rights are read, every word you say from that moment on can be included as part of the state’s case against you. Additionally, if you decide to answer questions the police offer will require a written or video waiver of Miranda rights.

Can a Case Be Dismissed If Rights Aren’t Read?
Many DUI defendants mistakenly believe that if a police officer does not read them their rights that their case has to be dismissed. That simply isn’t true. Police can arrest and charge an individual with DUI based on a breathalyzer test, field sobriety test and impaired driving. They never have to ask any questions, which means that they do not have to read the person their Miranda rights. However, if the officer will be asking any questions relevant to the DUI offense, the Miranda must be read.

NYC Seal Juvenile Records Lawyers

Most people recognize that children are not as mentally developed as adults are. Therefore, they are given leeway as to how they are treated after being charged or convicted with a crime. When a minor is convicted of a crime, the goal is to rehabilitate and focus on ensuring that a mistake made while a child won’t have lingering consequences into adulthood.

When Does the State Seal Juvenile Records?

Generally the charge and a conviction are sealed as soon as the minor gets out of jail or otherwise has his or her case resolved. The case may still remain confidential even if a minor remains in custody after his or her 18th birthday. The same may be true if a minor violates probation or other terms of his or her release related to a case that occurred before that person’s 18th birthday.

What Does Sealing Records Accomplish?

When a record is sealed, it means that a school cannot see that the person was charged with a crime as a minor. This makes it more likely that someone who has successfully been rehabilitated is able to get an education and make the most of their life after serving their sentence. Employers are unlikely to see that an individual committed a crime as a minor, which means that he or she can get a job to pay rent or otherwise cover expenses while in school.

A Charge and a Conviction Are Two Separate Items

It is important to recognize that being charged with a crime and being convicted of a crime are two separate things. A charge simply means that there is evidence a crime has been committed. A conviction means that an unbiased judge or jury reviewed that evidence and decided that the crime had been committed. As a charge may not be sealed automatically even if a defendant is acquitted, someone could be judged differently even though he or she may not have done anything wrong.

Mercy Is Part of a Good Legal System

A child may not be able to express his or her emotions as well as an adult may be able to. Therefore, instead of talking out a problem, that person may resort to fighting or other violent acts. A child who is hungry or otherwise doesn’t know that stealing is wrong may decide to take money from a parent or food from a store because he or she believes its the best way to resolve the situation. Through the sealing of juvenile records, children can learn the error of their ways and become productive adults instead of spending many years or decades in a jail cell learning how to become a better criminal.

Anyone who has been charged or convicted with a crime has the right to talk with an attorney if they want to. If an individual cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for them in a criminal case. Therefore, no one should feel as if they are forced to represent themselves or make any decisions about their case without first seeking out competent legal counsel.

Want to learn more? Visit Raiser & Kenniff, PC’s website. We have a Criminal Defense division, and a team of NYC divorce lawyers.