Frequently Asked Questions
All of our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay an attorney's fee unless we obtain compensation for you. The fee is based upon a percentage of the amount recovered. New Jersey Court Rules determine the percentage of legal fees in personal inury cases.
It is difficult to estimate, since the length of time it takes to process a case depends on a number of factors. Mintz & Geftic's philosophy is to obtain full compensation for our clients. In order to accomplish this, we put substantial time and effort into every case. The time will vary with every case depending on the facts, complexity of legal issues, the parties involved, and the damages.
In selecting an attorney or law firm, choose a firm that has extensive experience in handling cases that are similar to yours. The law firm should have highly qualified attorneys who are capable of handling the trial, appeals, and other procedural matters in order to obtain the most beneficial result. You should pay particular attention to the firm’s reputation. Most importantly, you want a firm that will place your interests above all else and fight to obtain full compensation for you.
A great number of cases that our New Jersey and New York attorneys handle do settle, but our approach is to treat every case as if it will be tried. We are very careful in selecting the cases that we file and we turn down many potential cases. By carefully selecting cases and investing significant time and resources into all cases, our clients are usually presented with very reasonable settlement offers without having to go through a trial.
Yes, In New Jersey, claims for damages against public entities and public employees are subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (TCA) at N.J.S.A. 59:1-1, et seq.
Under the TCA, you must file a “notice of claim” against a public entity or public employee within 90 days of the accrual of the cause of action in order to preserve the ability to initiate later litigation. Six months after the notice of claim is filed, the claimant may then file formal suit in a court of law. So, if you even suspect that you have a potential claim against a public entity, you should contact an attorney immediately to protect your rights.
Workers' compensation is a “no fault” insurance program that provides the monetary benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. It also provides death benefits to dependents of workers who have died as a result of their employment.
An injured employee will receive benefits regardless of who was at fault. In exchange for these benefits, the worker cannot file a lawsuit against the employer for pain and suffering or other damages, except in cases of intentional acts.
You should notify your employer as soon as possible. The notice may be given to your supervisor, personnel office, or anyone in authority at your place of business. Notice does not have to be in writing. If you need medical treatment, a request should be made to your employer as soon as possible. Under the New Jersey's workers' compensation law, the employer and/or their insurance carrier can select the doctor to treat injured workers for work related injuries. Get emergency treatment if you need it. Your employer may tell you where to go for treatment. Make sure to tell the health care provider who treats you that your injury or illness is job-related and relay all of your complaints to the doctor so that everything is documented in the medical records.
Workers' compensation insurance provides the following benefits:
Medical care: Paid for by your employer to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work. You must, however, go to a medical facility or doctor authorized by your employer or worker's compensation insurance carrier.
Temporary disability benefits: Payments if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering.
Permanent disability benefits: Payments if you don't recover completely.
Death benefits: Payments to your spouse, children or other dependents if you die from a job injury or illness.
To ensure that you have an opportunity to obtain the above benefits, a formal worker's compensation claim must be filed within two years from the date of the accident, or within two years after your last authorized benefit from the employer or insurance carrier.
Visit the Department of Labor website: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/wc_index.html
In cases of dispute between an injured worker and the employer and/or insurance carrier over entitlement to benefits, the worker may file either a formal Claim Petition or an Application for an Informal Hearing with the Division of Workers' Compensation.
Disputed issues may include whether the injury/illness was considered work-related, the type and extent of medical treatment, and/or the payment of temporary disability benefits.
Medical malpractice is a departure from accepted medical practice by a physician, surgeon, nurse or hospital, which is a substantial cause of injury to the patient.
No. A consent form can be an indication that you were informed of certain risks associated with the treatment, but it does not give the doctor or hospital a license to commit malpractice or to otherwise act in a negligent manner.
Expert witnesses are required in virtually all medical malpractice cases, but not necessarily in all negligence cases.
Yes, there are physicians who are willing to speak out and testify in court against care that departs from the standards of good and accepted practice.
Birth injuries may be caused by medical negligence during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or immediately after birth. Birth injuries can include brain injury or Erb's Palsy. Brain injury to children during these periods can take many forms, including cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia, seizure disorders, mental retardation or learning disabilities. If you believe your child may have such an injury, our New York and New Jersey birth injury attorneys for an evaluation.
Yes, these are known as statutes of limitations. In New York, you have 2 ½ years from the date of the malpractice or from the end of continuous treatment rendered by the party or entity you intend to sue. In New Jersey, a patient has up to two years to file a lawsuit against a healthcare provider for medical malpractice. This two-year countdown begins when the doctor breaches the standard of care.
However, sometimes a patient does not realize he or she has been injured until well after the incident of medical negligence occurs. In these situations, New Jersey law says the statute of limitations does not begin counting down until the point when the patient should be reasonably aware that the injury has occurred.
Keep in mind that these statutes of limitations are very strict. Also, there are very strict 90-day deadlines on filing actions against public entities. Some hospitals may be considered public entities.
Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, or a failure to use the same degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would use under the same circumstances. Evidence of negligence is the basis for liability in most personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Yes, there are extremely important deadlines called “statutes of limitations” for filing negligence lawsuits in New Jersey and New York. The deadlines are different in both states. Since proper investigation must take place before the filing of any lawsuit, you should not delay in contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. To be sure that a statute of limitations will not keep you from filing a lawsuit, you should immediately contact a New Jersey and New York personal injury attorney.
Under a “no-fault” car insurance policy, the policyholder does not need to show that the other driver was at fault in an accident to have his/her medical bills paid. In fact, even if you are at fault for the accident, your insurance will pay for your medical bills. New Jersey has personal injury protection, or PIP, which requires at least $15,000 worth of coverage at the minimum in a basic policy. No-fault insurance does not cover property damage to your vehicle.
A. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - This is the coverage that pays the doctors if you are injured in an accident. PIP pays your medical bills even if you caused the accident (sometimes called "No Fault").
B. Liability - This covers damages suffered by others in accidents you cause, and also provides for a lawyer to defend you if you are sued. Liability coverage includes both bodily injury and property damage.
C. Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) - This pays you for property or bodily injuries if you are injured in an accident caused by someone without insurance.
D. Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) - This pays you for property or bodily injuries that you suffer in an accident caused by an insured driver that has less coverage than your UIM coverage.
E. Collision - This pays for the damage to your car from the accident.
A. Standard Policy - Provides lots of options on coverages and the opportunity to buy additional protection.
B. Basic Policy - Provides just enough coverage to meet the legal minimum insurance coverage that allows you to drive. This provides no coverage for your assets, no coverage for medical treatment for any injuries you suffer in an accident, and no compensation that you may need if you are seriously injured. If you suffer one of the common back injuries seen in auto accidents, like a herniated disc, you will have difficulty finding a surgeon who will perform surgery if you have less than $100,000 in PIP (keep in mind, the MRIs, chiropractors, physical therapists, and pain management doctors will likely be the first line of treatment before any surgery).
Be very careful on this one. If you decide to use your own health insurance as your primary source of coverage for your medical treatment for an automobile accident, you can save money on your automobile insurance. Most insurance companies will not pay for medical treatment arising out of an automobile accident, and Medicare and Medicaid cannot be used for the health care primary option. Sometimes insurance agents or people buying insurance online have selected the health care primary option without checking with their insurance company, or worse, when they are on Medicare or Medicaid. If this happens to you, and you suffer injuries in an accident, be prepared for mountains of medical bills and possibly personal bankruptcy.
This coverage is sold together and is available up to the amount of your liability coverage. Since most of the drivers on the road have no insurance or barely any insurance, purchasing the highest amounts of UM/UIM coverage is the best way to protect you and your loved ones in case you are injured.
If you select "No Limitation on Lawsuit Option", you can sue the person who caused the accident for pain and suffering for any injury. If you select, "Limitation on Lawsuit" then you agree to not sue the person who caused the accident for pain and suffering unless you lose a body part, have disfigurement or significant scarring, suffer a lost fetus, displaced fracture, permanent injury, or death. Most of the controversy comes from individuals who select "Limitation on Lawsuit" and then sue for a permanent injury.
If your after-school babysitter is driving her car and someone rear ends her, and your kids are injured, who's insurance pays for your children's medical bills? The primary insurance in this situation for payment of medical bills would be the parents' automobile insurance policy. The parents' automobile insurance would also determine the right to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering. If your friend (who has his own insurance) borrows your car and crashes into someone else causing injuries in the accident, can you be sued? Yes, your liability insurance would be primary.
If you are in an automobile accident during work hours, you can file a workers' compensation claim and also sue the driver who caused the accident subject to the "Limitation of Lawsuit" selection on your own automobile policy.
Yes, you have the right to cancel or change your coverages and policy limits at any time, even if you are not near your renewal date. If you make changes or cancel, you have a right to receive a refund of unused premiums. Changes are not retroactive.
Yes, most attorneys that represent victims of automobile accidents welcome the opportunity to help individuals understand their insurance policies before they are in an accident. Very often, attorneys only look at the insurance policy after the accident and are forced to advise clients that they don't have enough medical coverage to get treatment and cannot file a lawsuit for their injuries.