Considerations when deciding whether to hire an attorney

In my last article I discussed appropriate steps to take after a person has been injured in a motor vehicle accident lawyer .  The steps that needed to be taken apply to a personal injury accident such as being injured by an omaha huge dumpster rental, and a wrongful death accident.  In this article, I will discuss the considerations when deciding whether to hire an attorney or whether to try to settle a case by yourself.

I often get calls from people who have been injured in accidents and wonder whether they should hire an attorney or whether they should settle the case with the insurance company by themselves.  There is no “blanket” answer for this question that is always correct.  This issue is an important one and should be answered on a case-by-case basis.  I will provide some issues for you to consider:

1. Is the injury serious?  If the injury is a serious one, an experienced attorney can negotiate better than a lay person because the attorney has resolved hundreds of serious injury cases and has a good idea as to value.

2.  Will the injury last for 1-2 months, or is this a long-lasting injury?  If the injury will last for 1-2 months—for example, a bruise or a minor injury—then an attorney may not be able to negotiate a higher settlement than a lay person might be able to negotiate.  Furthermore, the attorney will have to get paid for his or her time, and that takes money away from the injured person.

3.  As a general rule, and there are exceptions, if an injury lasts 6 months or longer, if the injury causes 1-2 months off work, and if the medical bills are thousands of dollars; then this is a case in which a consultation with an attorney is necessary.  Most capable personal injury or wrongful death lawyers give free consultations; therefore, the injured person has nothing to lose by discussing their case with an attorney.

4.  In my opinion, most wrongful death cases require an attorney’s review.  Experienced wrongful death lawyers have resolved hundreds of death cases in their careers.  They also have tried dozens of wrongful death cases in their careers.  This background gives them experience to determine the value of the wrongful death case given the person’s medical bills, funeral expenses, and income loss.  As I said earlier, most wrongful death lawyers give free consultations.  For example, if a family calls me because a family member has been killed in an accident, I will meet with them and discuss whether I can help them or whether it would be better for them to represent themselves.  Usually, wrongful death cases are so complex that a wrongful death attorney is often needed by the grieving family.

Dog Bite Claims

Dangerous dog
If a dog bites you, you may bring a civil action against the dog’s owner for damages.  The Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA) states that the owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack and that liability does not depend on the owner’s fault, negligence or knowledge of the propensity of the dog to bite or attack.

Any individual may also start a court proceeding under Part IX of the Provincial Offenses Act (POA).  In these proceedings, an individual may seek a Court order related to a dog.  This order can provide for the destruction of a dog or require that the dog’s owner take certain measures in relation to the dog such as requiring that the do be muzzled or leashed.

Also, it is important to note the legislation applicable to pit bulls.  Bill 132 was passed as the Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act (2005).  The legislation bans pit bulls in Ontario, places restrictions on existing pit bulls and toughens the penalties for owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public.

4 Examples of Negligence in Personal Injury Accidents

Man on wheelchair in corridorNegligence occurs when a person fails to exercise reasonable care with respect to another person. Under Ontario law, in order to recover damages under a personal injury tort claim, a victim harmed by the negligent conduct of another must prove that the personal injury in question would not have occurred without the defendant’s negligence. Some of the more common examples of negligence in personal injury accidents include:

1. Motor Vehicle Accident

One common example of negligence is a serious injury from a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver’s excessive speed or lack of caution. In these cases, the injured party must prove that the accident and resultant injury would not have occurred but for the negligent conduct of the other driver.

2. Child Injuries

Personal injuries to children frequently occur when they are engaged in play, recreation, or sporting events. Owners of playgrounds, swimming pools, and similar child attractions who fail to correct dangerous conditions may be liable when their negligence results in a child injury. Claims for child injury may also be brought against day care providers or others who undertake supervision other parents’ children, but who fail to exercise reasonable care in the performance of their duties.

3. Nursing Home Negligence

Residents of nursing homes who suffer injuries due to the negligence of nursing home personnel may be entitled to sue for damages. Examples of nursing home negligence include injuries caused by improper patient supervision and training, improper restraint, administration of incorrect medication, and failure to obtain necessary medical care.

4. Premises Liability

A plaintiff who is injured due to a property owner’s negligent act or failure to maintain property open to the public may be entitled to damages under Ontario law. For example, failing to keep walkways clear of accumulated ice or snow could result in liability for injuries caused if someone falls. Slip-and-fall accidents are the most common premises liability claims.

What Does it Take to Qualify for Long-Term Disability in Ontario?

 Disability Leave
Are you a resident of Ontario whose ability to work has been hindered by an injury you sustained on the job, in a car accident, or in any other situation? Just because you have been informed by your employer or insurance company that you are ineligible to receive long-term disability benefits does not mean that you do not qualify. If your employer offers long-term disability insurance and you meet one or more of the following criteria, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you receive the long-term disability benefits you deserve.

Debilitating Injury

Recovering from a debilitating injury may require you to stay at home, or even on bed rest, for months. If an injury you sustained makes it difficult or impossible for you to work and a long-term disability package is part of your company’s group injury plan, you may qualify to receive compensatory benefits for as long as you are unable to work.

Mental Illness

Depression and other mental health disorders make it difficult for some individuals to work. If your ability to work has been impeded by a mental health condition that you are dealing with, taking several months off of work may be your best shot at recovery. Depending on the disability package included in your insurance plan, you may qualify for long-term disability benefits.

Chronic Illness

Chronic illnesses are a leading cause of death and disability, and individuals who are afflicted by them are often entitled to receive long-term disability benefits in Ontario. If you have spoken with an insurance representative who claims that you are ineligible to receive long-term disability benefits for a chronic illness that compromises your ability to work, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who will work hard to defend your rights.

Why Saturday Is the Most Dangerous Day to Drive

Reckless driving

When most people think of dangerous and frustrating road situations, they picture weekday traffic jams. Even though weekday streets may be crowded, traveling on a Saturday morning may be even more dangerous. Here’s a look at the types of Saturday drivers who can increase your chances of suffering an auto accident:

Drunk Drivers

In the early morning hours, the roads are more likely to be crowded with intoxicated drivers trying to make their way home. Also dangerous are the drivers who decide to wait a few hours after drinking before taking to the road at 7 a.m. Drivers who wait a handful of hours to drive home may still be intoxicated from the night before or may be feeling sick behind the wheel. Some signs that a driver is impaired include driving slowly or failing to obey basic traffic laws.

Inexperienced Drivers

People who are nervous about driving in weekday traffic may feel more comfortable getting behind the wheel on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the inexperience of these drivers may cause them to still feel nervous and tense when sharing the road with more experienced motorists. As a result, you may notice inexperienced drivers travelling slowly, failing to obey traffic rules, or abruptly changing lanes.

Parent Drivers

For both parents and kids, Saturday is usually a day off. This makes it the perfect opportunity for shopping, running errands, and planning family activities. As a result, you may notice more minivans on the roads on weekends. Behind the wheels of these minivans are often stressed, exhausted, and distracted parents attempting to entertain and manage their children.

The Benefits of Contingency Arrangements

Financial planning consultation

A personal injury victim who works out a contingency arrangement with his lawyer is not responsible for paying his attorney unless the case is won. Instead, the lawyer’s fees are a percentage of the settlement or trial earnings. This arrangement benefits both the lawyer and the client, as it helps make it easier for a client to afford legal representation.

The cost of pursuing a trial includes court fees, lawyer fees, expert witness fees, and medical record fees. Most personal injury victims have difficulty paying all of these expenses on their own. As a result, they may decide to take an insurance company’s offer when their claims are actually more valuable. Lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis are dedicated to helping their clients receive maximum compensation, because a portion of their fees will come from this settlement.

3 Common Car Accident Injuries

Car accidentIf you are involved in a car accident, you can potentially sustain an injury to virtually any part of your body. The location and severity of your injuries will depend on the circumstances of your auto accident. Though most areas of your body are vulnerable during an auto accident, there are certain injuries that occur more frequently than others:

Brain and Head Injuries

Closed head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries, are among the most common sustained by drivers and passengers. These injuries occur when the force of collision causes the brain to move around inside the skull, potentially causing it to bruise. People involved in auto accidents may not initially notice that they have suffered a closed head injury, because there may not be any physical signs of trauma.

Neck and Back Injuries

The force of impact in a car accident can cause a passenger’s head to jerk forward and then quickly jerk backward. This motion can cause a painful neck injury such as whiplash or neck strain. The force from a car accident can also damage the delicate discs separating each vertebra in a person’s spine. Both back and neck injuries are soft tissue injuries, which means that the symptoms may not appear until several hours or days following the accident.

Face Injuries

During a car accident, a driver’s face can come into contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, side window, or even shattered glass. This impact can cause a range of injuries from minor scrapes and bruises to painful lacerations and fractures. In some cases, auto accident victims experience temporomandibular disorders of the jaw, which can lead to painful dental problems.

Examining The Legal Process For Accident Claims

Road accident. Cyclist and a car If you’ve been involved in an accident, then you may be entitled to accident benefits, regardless of who was at fault. By consulting with a personal injury lawyer, you can file your accident benefits claim with the confidence of having experienced legal help at your side. Here’s an overview of the process of filing accident claims:

  1. Preparing to File
    In order to qualify for compensation, you mu  st not delay in getting your application and forms filled out and submitted. Get in touch with your insurance company right after the accident to report it. You will need to include information about your income and medical treatment that will be confirmed with your employer and physician, respectively.
  2. Discovery and Deposition
    As a continuation of the first stage, information will be gathered by all sides in the accident case. Medical documents, medical histories, and witness testimonies will all be reviewed by the injury lawyers and insurance providers involved. Both parties will likely be asked to answer questions under oath as part of the deposition—this record will assist during the settlement process or trial.
  3. Settlement or Trial
    If a settlement is reached between the personal injury lawyers and insurance companies, then the claim will be settled and closed. If no settlement is reached, then the trial phase will begin, where it will proceed as a conventional legal hearing. Personal injury trials usually last no longer than ten days.

When is A Product Considered Defective?

Medicine PillsFood, furniture, clothing—we deal with hundreds of products every day. Naturally, we count on these products to perform properly, and we certainly don’t expect them to cause us injury. Nonetheless, one out of every few million products will be defective and pose significant risks to consumers. Here’s a brief overview of defective products and what they could mean for you:

  • Noticeable Defect

If a product seems defective to you, then it probably is. For example, if you notice that one of your pharmaceutical pills is a different color or shape than the others, then you should refrain from taking it just to be safe. The same goes with any other product—if it seems defective or dangerous in any way, then do not use it and immediately inform the manufacturer.

  • Serious Injury or Death

Unfortunately, defects aren’t always readily apparent. For example, a pill could look fine from the outside when it’s completely unsafe for consumption, or electronic equipment could have faulty wiring and give the user a dangerous shock. Products are designed to make our lives better, not cause us harm.

  • What You Should Do

If you or a loved one comes into contact with a defective product, then contact the manufacturer immediately so that they can initiate a recall, as other people could have products with the same defect and the same potential for disaster. If you or a loved one receives an injury from a defective product, then it’s important to call an experienced lawyer as soon as you can, as you may be entitled to compensation for damages.

Bad Robot Lawsuit Put Doctor Training in the Spotlight

davinci robot lawsuitThe main issue in the Washington da Vinci lawsuit was doctor training, with the Plaintiffs alleging Intuitive reduced its training protocols in order to convince more doctors to use the da Vinci. According to Bloomberg.com, the evidence presented at trial included emails that the Plaintiffs claimed showed Intuitive managers encouraged sales reps to work to prevent training issues from getting in the way of meeting their goals.

The doctor who performed the patient’s prostate removal surgery also testified that he was told by the company that he only needed to attend a one -day training session and two assisted surgeries to gain proficiency on the robot, and that he would not have opted to use the robot had he known it had a longer learning curve.

For its part, Intuitive strongly contested that it ever altered training in any way in order to meet sales goals. Instead, it blamed the surgeon for his patient’s complications, and asserted, among other things, that the doctor should have known that the morbidly obese man wasn’t an appropriate candidate for robotic surgery.

Intuitive is still facing at least 25 other robot surgery lawsuits involving the da Vinci, many of which also allege Intuitive was negligent in training doctors. Others claim a defect in the technology led to patient injuries.

In April, Intuitive disclosed that it had reached tolling agreements – which waive statute of limitations requirements – in order to give parties more time to evaluate the claims, and to determine if they have merit and “whether they can be resolved without litigation.”