Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer

litiGator

New York, NY

Male, 34

I represent all types of accident victims who have suffered injuries through the fault of others. Whether it's a motor vehicle accident, trip/slip and fall, injured on the job, wrongful death, products liability, toxic torts and many more, I help my clients receive compensation for their medical bills, lost time from work and the pain and suffering they have endured and will continue to endure from their accident.

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Last Answer on April 24, 2013

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How do you determine how much a client gets as a settlement? Is it based on other similar cases or is it determined on a case-by case basis?

Asked by Tiredteacher over 9 years ago

The answer to your question Tiredteacher is both. And ultimately, what determines how much a client settles his/her case for is what the client is wants to take. Most negotiations are based off of prior jury awards for similar type injuries. If you see my answer to the above question, then you know that sometimes, jury awards are just out of whack. So when negotiating, those out of whack awards are not taken into consideration. But there is definitely a range where most jury verdicts fall into for certain injuries, and it's that range where most negotiations take place. Then we take into account the different facts surrounding each particular case (i.e., how good of a recovery they had from their injury, how the accident happened, etc) and that helps us determine if we will be looking for the higher end of the range or the lower end. But again, it's up to the client. If the insurance company makes an offer in the range that we feel is reasonable, but the client doesn't want to take it, then we can't settle. Alternatively, if the insurance company offers what we feel is a low-ball offer, but the client wants it, then we have to take it.

When you're tasked with a case that you think is frivolous, can you refuse it? If not, how do you cope with representing this type of client? (Do you half-ass it?)

Asked by Craig almost 10 years ago

First and foremost, no, I would never half-ass it. Whether I agree with the lawsuit or not, the people who bring them were legitimately injured and deserve the best representation possible. As for picking and choosing my cases, no I can't. The senior partner assigns the cases to each attorney in the office. However, I am lucky to work at a firm that is reputable enough that we don't have to take each and every case that comes through the door. The partners screen every case before being retained, so while every case that we get may not be huge, they are also thankfully not frivolous.

Why do litigators have a say in jury selection? It seems odd that they can dismiss potential jurors simply because they feel it will decrease their chances of winning.

Asked by HannahBanana almost 10 years ago

The purpose of jury selection is to get 6 jurors (12 in criminal cases) that can be fair and impartial and not let their own life experiences, backgrounds, and prejudices affect their decision on the case. So, by law, there are two types of challenges a lawyer can use to dismiss a jury: challenges for cause and peremptory challenges. At jury selection, lawyers get an unlimited number of challenges for cause. This is basically when a juror can't be fair and impartial based on the facts of the case and the jurors own background/life experiences. Then, each lawyer also gets 3 peremptory challenges to use at their discretion to dismiss any juror for any reason (other than race, gender, religion, sexual preference, etc.). These challenges are used by attorneys usually for "gut feelings" that we have about one juror over another. So while it may seem that we are just dismissing jurors at random, we are actually limited to only 3 challenges. The rest of the jurors that are dismissed are because they can't be fair and impartial and won't be able to keep an open mind while they hear the facts of the case.

Are personal injury lawyers compensated with salary only, or is some of the compensation contingent on damages awarded in their cases?

Asked by BillySTL almost 10 years ago

All personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. The client does not have to pay us for our services unless we are successful for them. Most personal injury attorneys' fees are 33% plus our costs and disbursements that we pay up-front. Medical malpractice is a little different as they work on a sliding scale based on the amount of the settlement or verdict. One thing clients need to look out for are personal injury attorneys who take their 33% before being reimbursed for their costs and disbursements. Attorneys are supposed to be reimbursed for their fees and disbursements and then get their 33%. Depending on the amount of the disbursements on the case, that could turn out to be a significant amount of money.

Can you give an example of a time where your client was a heavy underdog but something clever on your part gave him or her the win?

Asked by legalbeagle almost 10 years ago

There are two that I can think of. The first was the first trial that I ever won. My client had a stop sign at an intersection and the Defendant had the right of way with no stop sign. After stopping at the stop sign and looking both ways, my client proceeded and was T-boned by the defendant. By showing the jury photographs of the damage to my client's vehicle as a result of the accident, I was able to successfully argue that the Defendant must have been speeding at the time to cause the type of damage that was done. The second was when my client hit an oil slick in the road way and lost control of his vehicle striking a double parked car. However, I was able to successfully argue that the sole cause of the accident was the double parked car. It is against the law to double park, thus, I was able to prove that since Defendant broke the law, he was completely at fault even though it was my client who lost control of his car. My argument was that despite my client losing control of his vehicle, the accident would not have happened if that double parked vehicle was not there.

What was your biggest "win", dollar-wise?

Asked by Sammy almost 10 years ago

My firm's biggest win was $8.5 million. That was about two years ago. I assisted one of the partners on a mediation that settled for $2.25 million dollars. As for me, my largest that I received alone was a $550,000 verdict I got at trial about two years ago. However, like I tell all my clients, you don't want an injury that's worth this kind of money. There's no amount of money that's worth the pain and suffering endured in these cases. For example, the $8.5 million case involved a nine-year-old boy whose leg was amputated below the knee after scaffolding fell on him.

What case was your most gratifying win?

Asked by SherryLee almost 10 years ago

My most gratifying win was a case I tried about a year ago in Brooklyn. My client was acting as a good Samaritan and was injured while helping a potential rape victim. He was driving his vehicle when he heard a group of teenagers crying for help. Apparently one of their friends, a 17-year-old girl, was accosted by a cab driver who then attempted to rape her in the back of his cab. After hearing the cries for help, my client then took off after the cab in his car and eventually caught up to the cab. He blocked him in and the cab driver continued to proceed and struck my client's car. My client still proceeded to chase after him and eventually the police apprehended the cab driver, who eventually pled guilty and was deported back to his country. In the accident, my client tore his rotator cuff and had to have surgery. The jury awarded him $300,000. I felt very satisfied knowing the money was going to such a good guy.