Personal Injury And The Car Accident: 8 Things To Keep In Mind

57280364Ranging from minor fender benders to catastrophic collisions, car accidents are frustrating, damaging and burdensome for all parties involved — regardless of who’s to blame.

So while they’re not fun to think about, you should know what to do ahead of time in the unfortunate case that you do become the victim of a motor-vehicle disaster.

Here’s a list of things to keep in mind right after the collision occurs and you’ve taken a few seconds to gather yourself.

Four things TO GET:

1.    Critical Information 

  • Get the other driver’s license plate number and driver’s license information.
  • Take pictures of the accident from multiple angles.
  • Jot down names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • File a claim right away with your insurance company, even if you’re not at fault. Also, make sure you record the claim number.
    • If you’re hit by a driver who leaves the scene (in other words, a “hit-and-run”), immediately report it to the police. If you fail to do so, you may not be able to collect uninsured driver benefits.

2.   Critical Care

If you’ve been injured, or you think you may be injured, seek medical attention right away if possible, but definitely within the first 72 hours of the accident. You may feel fine right after the collision, but most people experience significant increases in pain within 24 hours of the accident.

Getting the medical attention you need is crucial for your health, but it also affects your personal injury compensation. If you don’t get immediate treatment, the opposing insurance company may argue you’re exaggerating or faking your injuries.

Get evaluated at the hospital, at your primary doctor’s office or even at your chiropractor’s/physical therapist’s office if you have one.

3.   Critical Estimates

Get car-damage estimates from at least three auto repair shops. It’s also wise to go to a dealer consistent with the make of your car.

4.   Critical Legal Help

Personal injury litigation and mitigation is a complicated and stressful world to face on your own. Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through the complex processes, clarify legal ambiguities and fight for the compensation you deserve.

For tips on what to look for in a personal injury attorney, check out our last blog post on finding the best personal injury lawyer for your case. Another relevant article to reference: Personal Injury Follow Up: Do I Really Have To Go To The Doctor?

Four things NOT TO DO:

1.    DO NOT sign any waivers/releases or accept payments from insurance companies until you’ve been fully evaluated by a medical professional. If you sign or accept anything before being medically assessed, you run the risk of severe under compensation.  

2.   DO NOT give a statement to anyone but the police until you speak with an attorney.

3.   DO NOT move your car before police arrive, unless you are creating a traffic hazard.

4.   DO NOT leave the scene until police arrive — unless, of course, the need for medical attention requires you to do so.

Need help with your motor vehicle accident? Click the button below to request a free consultation with Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Howard B. Segal and he’ll help you get everything straightened out.

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The Personal Injury Lawyer: Finding The Best For Your Case

why-choose-howardIt would be unrealistic to say that going through a personal injury case is simple. Even describing it as a bit challenging would be an understatement. However, you can make your experience significantly less draining and a lot less complex with the right personal injury lawyer.

Make your personal injury case much more manageable by choosing an attorney who offers the perfect balance of clearheaded expertise, levelheaded aggression and genuine compassion, along with the right convenience factor and appropriate practice-area experience for your specific situation.

Interested? Good. Here’s how you do just that:

1.    LOOK LOCAL

You definitely want an attorney whose office is nearby. If that isn’t possible, make sure he or she is willing to travel to you or meet at a convenient location so you’re not burdened with travel time on top of everything else going on.

If your friends and family members have experience with personal injury lawyers, get their input! The people closest to you are the ones you can trust most with referrals.

If a referral from a friend or family member isn’t available, head to the internet.

Most local Bar associations have referral services that list lawyers by legal specialty. But use discretion: Some of these services simply list any attorney in good standing who maintains liability insurance without carefully screening qualifications and experience. If you want to use a lawyer referral service, make sure you investigate the screening process first.

2.   EXAMINE EXPERTISE

You want a personal injury lawyer with a high level of experience in the intricacies of personal injury litigation, so don’t skimp on your background investigation. Find out the following:

  • How long the lawyer has been in practice
  • The percentage of his or her practice that involves personal injury litigation
  • If he or she has special expertise in the specific category that your personal injury falls into: slip and fall, motor accident, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc.
  • If the attorney you’re consulting is actually the attorney who will personally handle every aspect of your personal injury case, or if a clerk or other member of the firm is going to take over once your initial assessment is finished
  • The quality and diversity of expertise the attorney has in his or her network to help support your case
    • This includes engineers, accident reconstruction analysts, forensics specialists, mechanics, trauma doctors and other medical experts to give your testimonials professional credence.

3.   THE THINGS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE

While these things aren’t technically necessary to getting through personal injury litigation, the following factors are what promote your peace of mind and ensure your lawyer’s genuine commitment to both you and your case.

Look for a lawyer who does the following:

  • Produces authentic and helpful content to help clarify personal injury law, either through a blog, on his or her website or via email or social campaigns
    • NOTE: This does not include promotional content, which is neither authentic nor helpful.
  • Truly listens to you and engages in a conversation with youWorks on a contingent agreement, meaning he or she gets paid only when your case is resolved
    • NOTE: If you think this sounds a bit emotional, you’re right. Personal injury litigation is emotional: Your rights, your health and your serenity are at stake. Your attorney should make you feel comfortable, calm and fully supported.

Look for a lawyer who does not do the following:

  • Overwhelms and confuses you with legal jargon, perhaps to showboat expertise that may only be surface deep
  • Dominates the discussion by boasting about the multimillion-dollar verdicts and legal resolutions he or she has won for past clients

Your personal injury lawyer should be more than just an attorney. He or she should be a  knowledgeable guide, a trustworthy confidante, a source of stability and, while it may be rare in the legal field, this person should become a comforting companion.

For a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer who has all of the positive qualities mentioned in this post, and none of the negative ones, look no further than Howard B. Segal. Click the button below to get a conversation started with him and start resolving your personal injury situation. 

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Revisiting Auto Insurance: Don’t Skimp On Your Coverage

86531211We recently posted an article describing the difference between “full coverage automobile insurance” and “full automobile insurance coverage.” More than just a rearrangement of words, these two types of coverage provide very different levels of protection.

This post expands on automobile insurance to help you make informed motor vehicle coverage choices and get the best benefits for your specific situation.

From Standard To Optional

In the 1980s, Pennsylvania required uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to come standard with every motor vehicle insurance policy. However, this changed in the 1990s when PA legislation made uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage optional.

Uninsured motorist insured coverage protects you and your family if a motor vehicle accident occurs and the person/entity responsible either:

  • Does not have insurance, or
  • Resides in a state with minimal limits lower than those of Pennsylvania

Uninsured Versus Underinsured

For uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, Pennsylvania’s minimal insurance limits for bodily injury are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.

  • Uninsured motorist benefits are only activated if you’re struck by an out-of-state motor vehicle hailing from a state that requires minimal liability insurance limits less than $15,000/person and $30,000/accident.
  • Underinsured motorist benefits come into play when the person/entity responsibly for the accident has insufficient liability insurance policy limits to fully compensate you or your family for any sustained injuries and damages. This time, let’s say the responsible party maintains minimal policy limits in the amount of $15,000/person and $30,000/accident and your personal injuries are worth more than $15,000. You can then make a claim against your own insurance company for underinsured motorist benefits.

Bodily Injury Coverage

Bodily injury coverage protects other persons injured in a motor vehicle accident as the result of your negligence.  PA personal injury law dictates that if you don’t specifically elect to reduce your uninsured/underinsured motorist benefit limits, then those benefit limits will be equal to those limits selected for bodily injury coverage.

What does this mean? Let’s say you elect liability insurance limits in the amount of $50,000/person and $100,000/accident, but you don’t specifically elect to reduce those benefits as it pertains to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This means that your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage policy limits will be $50,000/person and $100,000/accident.

More Than One Vehicle: Benefit Stacking Privilege

You automatically get stacking privileges for each vehicle in your household that is insured by the same company. If you don’t elect to reject the stacking of your uninsured and/or underinsured motorist benefits, then the coverage will be multiplied by the number of vehicles insured in your household.

Here’s an example: If you maintain uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits in the amount of $50,000/person and $100,000/accident, and you have two vehicles in your household for which you have not rejected benefit stacking, then your uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits are now $100,000/person and $200,000/accident.

In other words, your insurance coverage will increase twofold if you maintain two vehicles in your household that are insured by the same company — provided you have not specifically rejected the stacking privilege.

The Takeaway

It’s crucial that you seriously consider purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with stacking privileges, if applicable, to protect yourself and your family in the case of a catastrophic loss due to a motor accident.

Once again, if you want full motor vehicle insurance coverage to protect yourself, your family and any passengers you carry, make sure your plan includes uninsured and underinsured coverage.

I know insurance issues are complicated, frustrating and often a source of unease … but they don’t have to be. For more clarification on motor vehicle insurance and personal injury litigation in general, contact me, Personal Injury Lawyer Howard B. Segal, by clicking the button below.

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Tort Reform: Guns, Defective Toys & Injury Compensation Cutback

personal-injuryYou’ve probably heard a lot about tort reform. Debate about this issue has been going on for a while now, but since the Republicans won control of the House in 2010, the talk on tort reform at the federal level has certainly increased. But while it’s increased in volume, the same can’t be said of its quality. Most of the heated discussions are filled with empty claims, ambiguous language and conflicted chatter. And the whole issue has been tainted by jibes from both sides: the opponents referring to it as tort deform and frustrated supporters besmirching it as tort “reform” because they doubt that proposed laws will actually reform the system.

Enough with the jib jab. Let’s set the story straight: What is tort reform and what it effects in personal injury law?

The Story On Tort Reform, Minus The Jib Jab
First of all, what’s a tort? Basically, a tort is a civil crime — it’s illegal, but not criminal. Think car accidents, slip and fall mishaps and medical malpractice. As for tort reform: It isn’t a single idea or law. It’s a group of proposed changes that seeks to reduce tort litigation or damages. In other words, it’s an attempt to limit one’s right to full compensation for noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering and mental anguish, when injured by another’s wrongdoing.

Each tort reform law is different, but they all share one or two of the following goals:

  1. Make it more difficult for injured people to file a lawsuit
  2. Make it more difficult for injured people to get a jury trial
  3. Limit the amount of monetary damages that injured people can obtain in a lawsuit

What Happened To “Underdog Nation”?
Our nation is often thought of as a land of “underdog supporters,” so it’s hard to believe that many people are siding up with big corporations and their bottom lines. But what these supporters are trying to combat, so they say, is “runaway verdicts” and “politically motivated, frivolous lawsuits.” They generally base their claims on an “explosion” in the costs of tort litigation, referencing studies by major insurance industry consultant Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, Inc.

Here’s an example: In 2005, the U.S. Congress proposed a bill that would immunize gun manufacturers for most negligence and product liability actions. This was in response to lawsuits filed against gun manufacturers by several municipalities. The bill also threatened to prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from revoking a dealer’s license, even if the dealer is identified as selling a relatively high number of guns that are used in violent crimes.

President George W. Bush signed the bill into law. This was the birth of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, more commonly known as the “Gun Protection Act” and making members of the National Rifle Association very happy … and upsetting many, many others who strongly disagree that there’s anything “frivolous” about the behavior of gun dealers.

The recent Newtown tragedy has bitterly revived the gun violence issue, especially since the same type of gun used in that horrible school shooting was also used by the 2002 Washington, D.C., snipers to shoot more than a dozen people.

There’s More To Tort Reform Than Guns And Explosives
It’s not just gun laws that tort reform is targeting. There are countless bills being put before the Senate that seek to immunize some very reckless companies — not just gun manufacturers, but also those that make dangerous children’s toys and fireworks — from financial responsibility.

Another proposal is aiming to put a cap on punitive damage burdens for companies with less than 25 employees and five million dollars in revenue. Many deduce that a company with so few employees and such substantial revenue may be doing something that blurs the line between legal and illegal.

There’s even talk of putting a cap on all awards for injury, and if this goes through, our nation’s children will be the victims. With no real claim for lost wages, health benefits, insurance and pensions, children are very vulnerable when it comes to tort reform — especially when it comes to the toy manufacturing industry.

Here are some tangible numbers to help you understand the gravity of the issue: With a $250,000 monetary cap on damages, a two-year-old child who has been blinded by a defective toy or who has suffered trauma due to medical malpractice would only receive about $3,650/year. Does this seem fair? No, not in the least.

There Is Power In Your Voice, So Let’s Make It Heard
We must make sure that the legal system affords all persons, including children, the right to full compensation for injuries as determined by a judge or jury. As a firm believer in the compensation rights of all people, regardless of age, race and gender, I hope that you join me in fighting tort reform … for children’s sake, for justice’s sake and for the sake of this country.

To contact me, Personal Injury Lawyer Howard B. Segal, about your personal injury case and fighting tort reform, click the button below. There is power in your voice, so let’s make it heard. 

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Don’t Make A “Moo Shu” Mistake With Automobile Insurance

57280364If you like Chinese food, you’ll appreciate the following metaphor that helps clarify the story on automobile insurance and compensation for pain and suffering.

In Pennsylvania, auto insurance is a lot like ordering at a Chinese restaurant. “I’ll take liability, property damage, collision/comprehensive and medical coverage under column A, the chef’s special selection under column B and a cup of egg drop soup. Oh, and throw in an egg roll. Actually, make that two egg rolls, and extra duck sauce.”

Hope you get a few good fortune cookies out of that meal. If you’re lucky, one of those fortunes will explain the difference between those two coverage columns: A and B. It’ll also let you in on another policy distinction secret: full tort vs. limited tort.

Column A vs. Column B
Column A is commonly referred to as “full coverage,” while column B gets you “full insurance coverage.” What does that one-word difference mean? Generally, column B includes uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage and the stacking of these overages if you insure more than one vehicle.

The Takeout Order: If you want full automobile insurance coverage and not just full coverage automobile insurance, you need to order from column B.

Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Another thing necessary to full automobile insurance coverage is a “full tort” insurance policy. This means you recover money for pain and suffering regardless of the extent to which you are injured in a car accident. This is important because in Pennsylvania, there’s another type of insurance policy called “limited tort.”

The limited tort policy eliminates your constitutional right to recover money for pain and suffering unless you suffer a “serious injury.”  An injury doesn’t have to be permanent for it to be deemed “serious,” but it does have to prevent you from taking part in normal, daily activities for an extended period of time.

The Takeout Order: A limited tort policy gets you full coverage automobile insurance, but it does not provide full automobile insurance coverage.

You wouldn’t order the stir-fry Kung Pao chicken with diced veggies and peanuts in light, hot and spicy sauce when you really want the battered, deep-fried, veggie-free General Tso’s bathed in sweet, sticky sauce … right? Kung Pao, an authentic Chinese dish, is quite different than General Tso, which actually originated in Chinese restaurants on the U.S. East Coast.

…and full coverage automobile insurance does not equal full automobile insurance coverage.

Your Extra Egg Roll: If you want the real full coverage, you need the Full Tort policy plus the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from column B.

Get smart about your auto insurance policy. Know what’s covered, what’s not and what options are best for your specific situation.

Click the button below to speak with Howard B. Segal directly and get the complete, updated and clarified menu on insurance coverage and personal injury litigation.

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Bad Drug Lawsuit? What You Need To Know About Your Case

hbs_05You experienced a serious side effect of a drug. Do you have a so-called “bad drug” lawsuit? Is the drug defective?

Today, almost half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug and many are injured by severe side effects of dangerous drugs.

Serious injuries caused by dangerous and defective drugs are on the rise regardless of the actions (or, in some cases, inactions) of federal agencies charged with keeping consumers healthy and safe.

As recent recalls have shown, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval doesn’t guarantee that a drug is safe. Anyone who suffered a blood clot while taking the birth control pill Yaz can attest to that.

We’ve all seen the commercials:

“Rare but serious side effects include …”
“Tell your doctor if you experience …”
“Stomach upset”
“Liver failure”
“Suicidal tendencies”
Etc.

When we pick up our medication, a veritable encyclopedia of possible side effects is stapled to — or shoved into — the bag. Should consumers consider themselves adequately warned? Do you have no case simply because you were made aware of possible side effects? Not necessarily. A legal resolution including compensation for your pain and suffering is still possible.

The FDA tests drugs and approves them prior to becoming available on the market but some drug side effects — particularly long-term effects — can be difficult to determine.  Unfortunately, the rush to get a product on the market as soon as possible often comes at the expense of safety. This is reflected by an increase in the number of recalled drugs in recent years.

Having defective drugs on the market can lead to significant health risks including serious personal injury, disabilities, birth defects and hospitalization.

In simple legal terms, a defective drug means that its potential risks outweigh its possible benefits to the consumer.

Negligence by drug makers has led to some high-profile legal claims in recent years. Too often, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of consumers are injured by a drug before it is recalled. It usually takes several lawsuits and consumer complaints to the FDA to bring attention to a product’s potential downsides and dangers. There have been countless bad drug lawsuits where plaintiffs have been awarded sizable sums of money for their pain and suffering.

Some drugs that are currently (or have been) involved in litigation are:

  • Accutane
  • Fosamax
  • Pradaxa
  • Vioxx
  • Yaz

The list of bad drug lawsuits goes on … into the hundreds, if not thousands. All for the risk of serious personal injury ranging from blood clots or birth defects to internal bleeding or stroke.

Even if a drug is not defective, there are other factors at play when it comes to determining whether or not you have a case against your doctor or drug manufacturer.

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications for off-label purposes. For example, the FDA might approve a drug for minimizing cancer pain, but doctors prescribe it for other types of pain. This practice often has unpredictable results and may result in serious personal injury, pain and suffering.

Not surprisingly, drug companies sometimes market drugs in unethical ways. They may tell doctors the drugs are safer than they are or are safe to use for off-label purposes. The FDA doesn’t have the time or manpower to oversee all marketing efforts.

When performing clinical trials, the FDA may not consider interactions between a drug and over-the-counter drugs, which could result in significant side effects or serious injury.

If you think you were injured by a defective drug, it is important you find an experienced personal injury lawyer like Howard B. Segal to handle your case.

Don’t take on a powerful drug company alone! Experienced personal injury lawyer Howard B. Segal will handle your case, protect your rights and help you get the settlement you deserve.

If you or a loved one has experienced personal injury, pain and suffering from a medication-related mishap, call 484-450-9660 to contact Howard B. Segal or click the button below to schedule a free consultation.

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How To Prevent Slip And Fall Accidents And Serious Injuries

148160476Anyone who has slipped on an icy or snowy sidewalk knows it’s embarrassing but also very painful. Serious injuries can occur and represent a significant cost to home and business owners as well as their insurance companies. In other words, if someone falls and gets hurt, they can file a lawsuit against the owner of the property.

Slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of injuries in the United States — accounting for thousands of serious injuries and even deaths. Often these incidents are caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property: a home, business or place of work. An injury or death from a fall that is caused by a hazardous condition on another person’s property may entitle the victim or the victim’s family to compensation for pain and suffering.

Minimizing risk is essential whether you own a home, business or frequently traverse icy or snowy streets, sidewalks and parking lots.

What’s At Stake

Slip and fall accidents are a primary source of risk for businesses — resulting in millions of dollars in liability losses annually.

In addition to direct liability payouts, slip and fall accidents lead to needless increases in insurance premiums as well as in hidden costs like lost productivity, increased administrative work and negative publicity.

The bad news is all of these costs negatively impact an organization’s bottom line. The good news is they are largely preventable.

Best Accident Prevention Practices

Businesses must provide adequate snow and ice removal outside but it goes much further than that.

Walkways must be smooth without being slippery. Walkways may crack due to settling surfaces, storm damage or the movement of tree roots so maintaining these areas on a regular basis is essential. A coating of snow may hide potential dangers during winter and early spring.

Slip and fall accidents commonly occur on ramps, which have proliferated since 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Wheelchairs can navigate a slope of 7° or less without excessive effort but ramps with a slope of less than 4° may be hard to see and can surprise a pedestrian — especially when handrails are absent or snow is present. That’s why it’s so important to take extra care when it comes to maintaining these required surfaces.

Parking lots can be treacherous during the winter and early spring when even a scant coating of snow might make walking dangerous. Speed bumps present a potential slip and fall risk, especially during the winter months. They should be painted a bright color but, again, they may be obscured by snow or ice, so regular snow removal and de-icing is necessary.

The dangers do not end when you enter a home or business. It is the obligation of the home or business owner to warn people entering the area about the slipping hazards and to manually mop any excess water that accumulates.

What Happens If You Fall

If you slip and fall, the first step is to notify the property owner immediately — even before seeking treatment if possible — so they can take the necessary steps to prevent someone else from sustaining an injury. After notifying the property owner, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your pain and suffering.

If you have sustained an injury as a result of a slip and fall accident, you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Legal expert Howard B. Segal will handle your case, protect your rights and help you get what you deserve.

To learn more about slip and fall accidents and what you may be entitled to, call 484.450.9660 or click on the button below to contact Howard B. Segal online and schedule your free slip and fall consultation. 

 

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Pain And Suffering: The Waiver And Consent Form Conundrum

101807662-resized-600A waiver is the intentional act of relinquishing a known right, claim or privilege such as the right to sue an organization if you are hurt. The term usually refers to an express or written agreement. A waiver removes the potential liability from the party that could be held responsible for harm. In the most basic sense, you are waving your right to a lawsuit.

However, liability waivers are only valid if the person enters into the agreement knowingly and voluntarily and if the person waiving certain rights receives something in exchange.

Courts often find waivers are not voluntary when they are between an individual and an organization because of unequal bargaining power. Courts also often invalidate waivers on the grounds that a participant did not fully appreciate the rights being waived or the waiver did not specifically indicate it included the organization’s liability for negligence. In other words, if you are confused by the waiver you signed, you might be able to get the waiver invalidated with the help of an experienced attorney specializing in personal injury who can guide you through that tricky legal maze.

“Assumption Of Risk”

The organization that made you sign a waiver or consent will assert that you proceeded with the activity despite being aware of the risks — and therefore you are not entitled to receive damages. However, often such waivers do not absolutely absolve them from liability for injuries directly caused by their negligence. Furthermore, courts do not consider waivers an appropriate substitute for careful supervision and due diligence.

“Before The Fact”

The timing of the waiver also determines whether a court will enforce a waiver. If the individual has no practical choice but to sign the waiver, it is unlikely the court will uphold it and you have a good chance of winning your lawsuit.

“After The Fact”

Waivers signed after an injury are different because the value of the exchange is obvious. Injured persons often sign such a waiver as part of a settlement arrangement. Do not sign any settlement agreements without consulting an experienced attorney like Howard B. Segal!

Informed Consent

An informed consent form does not excuse an organization from responsibility for its own negligence. It simply relieves the organization from liability for the inherent risks of an activity itself. It is imperative to note there is no protection for risks not clearly identified in the consent form. Therefore, the form must inform the participant in detail of all specific and inherent risks involved in the activity.

An inherent risk is one that is essential to the nature of the activity. For example, skiing includes the inherent dangers of avalanche, obstacles such as trees and rocks, falls from a ski lift, etc. An iron-clad consent form would list these and any other recognized inherent risks of the activity.

If the form does not identify a specific risk, the injured person has the legal right to seek damages for pain and suffering caused by the unidentified risk.

It’s also important to note that most courts invalidate waivers and consents signed by a minor because minors do not have the legal capacity to sign contracts.

If you have sustained an injury after signing a waiver or consent form, you still may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Legal expert Howard B. Segal will handle your case, protect your rights and help you get what you deserve.

To learn more about the legalities surrounding waivers and consents, call 484-450-9660 to speak with legal expert Howard B. Segal or click the button below to schedule a free consultation.

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Carpal Tunnel Workers’ Compensation: How To Get What You Deserve

87646791It started off as little tingling. Then your fingers felt tight and swollen — even though they looked normal. You occasionally experience sharp pain shooting all the way up your arm. Performing your job duties has become painful and difficult. Sound familiar?

At first you probably just shrugged it off as “wrist pain” but it could be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a debilitating medical condition that occurs when the nerve that runs through the forearm into the hand is pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Left untreated, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can lead to permanent damage. If your carpal tunnel is job-related, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including time off, medical care and monetary compensation.

A wrist injury such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be difficult to see and diagnose, which makes it hard for you to do your job — and even harder for you to get the full extent of workers’ comp benefits you deserve.

Generally speaking, in order to have a valid worker’s compensation claim, your injury needs to have taken place at your current place of employment. Repetitive stress injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have traditionally afflicted:

  • Clerical Workers
  • Plant, Assembly and Factory Workers
  • Beauticians
  • Grocery Store Workers
  • Waiters and Waitresses
  • Butchers

But in today’s day and age where people are increasingly plugged into laptops and mobile devices, almost anyone is susceptible to a wrist injury due to repetitive motion. Constant computer and phone use has resulted in workers from sales people to graphic designers developing repetitive motion injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

So, wrist pain is becoming more commonplace … does that mean carpal tunnel workers’ compensation is a “done deal”?

In a word: no.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Unlike in the past, it’s no longer enough for an injured worker to simply show a doctor has diagnosed him or her with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Instead, injured workers must prove their Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is work-related — using both medical and factual evidence.

Whether you opt for a splint, surgery or a “watch-and-wait” approach, it is imperative to document all of your medical treatment so you are fully prepared for your workers’ compensation hearing.

Your employer may try and prove your carpal tunnel syndrome did not develop as a result of your job. If you talked to — or received treatment from — your own doctor at some point, your employer/insurer may argue that’s proof your carpal tunnel injury is NOT work related.

Do not let this prevent you from getting the full extent of carpal tunnel workers’ compensation benefits you deserve!

You don’t necessarily need an attorney to file a claim but you should have legal representation if the case goes to a hearing. Otherwise it’s you against your employer (and their insurer) and they may use their considerable clout and legal expertise to influence the judgment. Injured workers are therefore strongly encouraged to hire an injury compensation attorney that knows the system and can defend your interests.

If you have sustained a wrist injury as a result of your daily duties, you deserve maximum compensation for your pain and suffering. Let legal expert Howard B. Segal handle your case, protect your rights and help you reach a fair settlement.

To learn more about carpal tunnel workers’ compensation and what you may be entitled to, visit Howard B. Segal online or click the button below for a free consultation.

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The Car Was Full And Four Are Injured … How To Manage Multiple Cases

57280364-1With more cars and trucks on the road than ever before, multiple vehicle crashes are becoming more common. Everything from a straightforward rear-ending involving two cars to a tractor-trailer accident leading to four car injuries in different vehicles is considered a multiple vehicle accident.

Anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to maximum compensation but how is that money spread around if there are multiple victims and injuries? If the case goes to trial how does the money get spread around in a settlement or a judgment? Is it spread equally? Is it based on how injured someone is? How much time they took off work?

The short answer is … it depends.

In the event the driver at fault has adequate insurance, each claimant is paid based on his or her claim amount, which is usually the sum of:

  1. Medical bills.
  2. Lost income.
  3. Pain and suffering damages.

That would, of course, only apply in a perfect world where every driver carries adequate insurance and no one is ever seriously injured. 

What if there are several seriously injured victims but not enough insurance to cover all the claims? In other words, what happens in the real world?

To decide the obligations of the insurer to the insured when a car accident occurs in which several persons suffer significant injuries and the policy limits are insufficient to resolve all of the claims, the courts often employ one of three different approaches:

The Pro Rata Rule

When there are multiple claims and not enough insurance money to go around, the court will distribute the policy proceeds based upon the amount of damages suffered by each claimant.

This is a fancy way of saying your claim will be pro-rated. But that’s not fair, you say! Think of it this way: each claimant will receive an equally unfair settlement. But everyone gets paid — which is not necessarily the case with the other two approaches.

First To Judgment Rule

In this case, the early bird really does get the worm. The first claimant to secure a judgment is entitled to be paid first — often the full amount of their claim. This method is employed to avoid tying up the courts with lengthy litigation. 

First To Settle Rule

This is similar in principle to the First to Judgment Rule but here claimants who accept settlement will be paid in the order of settlement. You may not receive the full amount of your claim but the longer you wait to accept, the less money there will be to go around.

Both the First to Judgment Rule and the First to Settle Rule recognize that insurers should be able to settle with any one or several of multiple claimants — even though such settlement(s) may deplete the policy monies. That means exactly what it sounds like it means: some claimants may be left with nothing.

Don’t get stuck with nothing! If you have been seriously injured in a multi-car, tractor-trailer, or chain-reaction accident, you deserve maximum compensation. Legal expert Howard B. Segal will handle your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries and putting your life back together.

To learn more about how personal injury cases involving multiple victims are handled in an ever-changing and complex legal system, visit Howard B. Segal online or click the button below for a free consultation.

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