Practice Areas

Because Fine, Olin & Anderman, LLP (FOA) is committed to working with union members, everything we do is to benefit the worker. Whether you come to FOA because you have been injured on the job and are eligible for Workers’ Compensation, or can no longer work and need Social Security Disability Benefits, have a Personal Injury, or need an attorney for General Legal Services or Veterans Disability Benefits, we will be right there with you every step of the way, no matter how long it takes.
Practice Areas

General Questions About Personal Injury

Are there specific time frames or statues of limitations for filing personal injury cases?
What are the steps of the lawsuit?
What are some of the things needed to support a lawsuit?
What if my personal injury occurred while I was working?   
How long will this personal injury case take?
What will it cost me? 

Are there specific time frames or statues of limitations for filing personal injury cases?
Yes! Statutes of Limitations are restrictions placed on the time in which a lawsuit may be commenced. In other words, there are “deadlines for suing.” Because these time limitations vary according to the subject matter of the lawsuit and who is being sued, it is strongly advised that you call Fine, Olin & Anderman, LLP at (855) 451-5621, or click on the “Do I Have a Case?” button, promptly after sustaining any personal injuries, regardless of who caused them or how. The personal injury attorney will help you determine your rights, and you will learn about the applicable statute of limitations.

What are the steps of the lawsuit?
Summons. The summons gives notice to the people to be sued (the defendants) that you (the plaintiff) are making a legal personal injury claim against them. In the case where a governmental entity is a potential defendant, it may be necessary to serve a Notice of Claim upon that entity even before the summons is served.
Complaint. The “complaint” states, in a general way, how the accident happened, who was involved and where and when it happened. A claim for money must be included in the personal injury complaint. This amount does not indicate how much money you may get or how much your injuries are worth. A claim may be made for $1,000,000 to $5,000,000, but this amount only puts the defendant on notice that you are seeking money damages. It does not relate to how much money your case is worth. You or your spouse verify the accuracy of the complaint by signing it.

Suing on Behalf of Your Spouse. If you are married and living with your spouse both at the time of the accident and the time the complaint is served, a claim for your spouse will be included, if you agree to this. This claim asks for damages that your spouse suffered as a result of your injury. Your spouse may be entitled to money damages for the loss of love, companionship, affection, society and sexual relations that results from your personal injury case. However, if the case is settled, generally all of the money is for the injured person, and not for the spouse.

Answer. The defendant’s insurance company will hire a lawyer for the defendant and will respond to the complaint with an “answer.” In response to the claims made in the personal injury complaint, the defendant’s answer may admit some facts and deny some facts.

Bill of Particulars. After the defendant’s answer is received, your attorney will provide to the defendant’s lawyer a document called the “bill of particulars.” This describes in detail, how the accident happened; the injuries sustained in the accident; which doctors have been treating you and what their findings are; your occupation; how many days you missed from work; how much money in wages you lost; how much money your medical treatments have cost; and any other critical information related to your claim.

Examination Before Trial. At an “examination before trial” (EBT) or “oral deposition,” you will be asked questions, under oath, by the defendant’s insurance company lawyer. If you have called the CSEA Legal Services Program, you can obtain the services of an independent law firm that specializes in Personal Injury cases to represent you at every step. The defendant’s lawyer can ask only relevant questions about the accident and your injuries. Your lawyer will ask the defendant questions, under oath, about how the accident occurred. The EBT is usually held at your attorney’s offices or the defense attorney’s office.

Medical Exam. The defendant’s insurance company is permitted to hire a doctor, for purposes of trial, to examine you. This is also called the “independent medical examination” or “IME.” However, there is nothing independent about it. The insurance doctor’s purpose is to state, on the defendant’s behalf, what injuries you sustained. Frequently, these doctors minimize your injuries. However, you must attend this exam. Your failure to attend can result in the judge dismissing your case. Your personal injury attorney relies upon your treating doctor to state the true severity of your injuries.

Trial. Generally, only 6% of cases are decided by a jury. Since it is not known which cases will settle before a trial, every case must be handled as if it will be one of the cases that a jury will decide. If you lose after your personal injury trial, you will not be charged for legal services.

What are some of the things needed to support a lawsuit?
Authorizations

Determining your medical condition is a critical part of winning your personal injury case. All related medical records for all treatment you received related to your accident must be obtained by your attorney, as well as for treatment related to prior or subsequent similar conditions. In addition, the negligent party’s insurance company is entitled to get all related medical records so they can evaluate your personal injury claims.

To allow your attorney and the negligent party’s insurance company to get the necessary records, you must sign papers (authorizations) allowing the medical care providers to release the records. All medical providers and employers require original, signed, notarized authorizations. As a result, you will sign many authorizations. Authorizations are valid for only 90 days. Therefore, if your attorney has authorizations that are too old to use, you will be asked to sign additional authorizations. The following may require signed authorizations for records at various times during your personal injury case:

  • Hospital(s)
  • Internal Revenue Service    Employer(s)
  • Treating doctors and health care providers (current and prior)
  • No-Fault Insurance Carrier    School(s)
  • Workers’ Compensation

What if my personal injury occurred while I was working?

If you were “in the course of your employment” at the time of your personal injury accident, you should apply for Workers’ Compensation benefits by filing a C-3 Form with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. When you call FOA at (855) 451-5621, or submit your “Do I Have a Case?” evaluation, a Case Information Specialist will respond to your request. Your personal injury case will be reviewed for both workers’ compensation eligibility and a potential personal injury lawsuit. If you receive a monetary award for the personal injury lawsuit, you will have to partially reimburse the workers’ compensation insurance carrier out of the proceeds of your settlement. Your attorney will negotiate this reimbursement for you.

How long will this personal injury case take?
The law firm does not control the length of this process. However, your attorney will not attempt to settle your case until he/she knows the full extent of your injuries. Once your doctors have the results from the necessary tests and have advised you of the full extent of your injuries from the accident, your attorney will try to settle your case by negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.

Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always offer a fair settlement. When they do not, your attorney will start a lawsuit on your behalf. If a lawsuit is started, the time it takes to reach a conclusion will depend greatly upon the part of the state in which it is pending. However, your personal injury attorney will take advantage of every opportunity possible to settle your case fairly, quickly and without a trial.

What will it cost me?

Retainer Agreement

You owe no fee unless FOA is successful in recovering money on your behalf. Please read your retainer agreement carefully. FOA is required to file a “retainer statement” with the New York State Office of Court Administration indicating that the firm is representing you. If the case is favorably resolved, FOA usually receives 1/3 of the net settlement as its fee.

 

Disbursements and Expenses

Disbursements and expenses are monies FOA will pay on your behalf during your case in order to advance your personal injury claim. At the end of the personal injury case, the law firm is reimbursed by deducting these costs from the gross settlement. By doing so, you do not have to pay your disbursements out of your own pocket ahead of time.