Personal Injury Articles

How Much is My Case Worth?

An honest lawyer should never tell a personal injury or wrongful death client how much a case is worth. That is up to the jury to decide. However, an experienced law firm will be able to give you a ballpark figure, based on what is recoverable in your case.   Lost Wages & Medical Bills Have you lost money from missing work? And can you expect to lose more moving forward? Those are damages that we can calculate. We can also determine how much you’ve spent on medical bills and, using a life care planner, figure out how much you’ll need for the rest of your life.   If you’re paralyzed or have lost a limb, what do you think your medical bills will look like thirty or forty years down the road? We have to look into the future to try and determine the compensation you’ll need.   Pain & Suffering Then we have to account for your emotional state. Your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and permanent scarring can be considered damages in West Virginia. There’s not specific number we can attribute to it, but because of our experience at the Segal Law Firm, we …

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Experience Matters in a Catastrophic Injury Case

Every lawsuit has two parts to it. Liability– what happened and who is at fault? And damages– how badly are you hurt and how will that affect the rest of your life?   If your attorney doesn’t have enough experience with catastrophic injury cases, they won’t get you the amount of damages you need to live the quality of life you deserve.   Liability If you’re dealing with aviation, coal mining, certain train wrecks, or tractor-trailer wrecks, you’re probably going to work with an arm of the federal government. Along with that comes a whole load of complex regulations. You better have lawyer who understands those regulations inside and out.   Who messed up? Was the coalmine being managed improperly? Was the equipment maintained poorly? Was the tractor-trailer that hit you loaded incorrectly? An attorney with experience knows what regulations to use to prove to liability. And your lawyer will have to work with experts from all different types of industries to prove that liability to a jury.   Damages When it comes to damages, you might be thinking how complicated could that be? You’ve got some medical bills and some loss wages to recover. That’s it.   Well, sure, …

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What Qualifies as Negligence?

Legal terms are often thrown around without people knowing exactly what they mean. One of those terms is ‘negligence.’ There are three basic types of negligence that can lead to catastrophic injuries- active, passive and reckless.   Active Active negligence might be the easiest to understand. It’s doing an act that leads to someone being catastrophically injured. If someone passes a school bus that is stopped with its red lights on and runs over a child, this is an act of tragic, active negligence. The person knew what the law was and passed the bus anyway.   But it doesn’t always have to be breaking a law. For instance, a pharmacy might give out the wrong mix of drugs for a prescription that ends up killing or injuring a patient. Well, there’s no law that says the pharmacist has to double-check his or her work, but it’s an industry standard. By breaking that industry standard, the pharmacist committed active negligence.   Passive Passive negligence is not doing something that you know should do and that lack of action leads to a catastrophic injury. Let’s say you’re driving on a road that has a thirty-mile an hour speed limit. Well, what …

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Injured and Think You Can’t Afford a Lawyer? Read This First.

One of the very first questions you should ask a lawyer for a catastrophic injury or wrongful death case is ‘how will I pay for this?’ If your lawyer can’t give you a clear answer, get up and walk out.   At the Segal Law Firm, we use what’s called a ‘contingency fee contract.’ It’s a written document that tells our clients we only get paid if we win them money, whether by settlement or verdict. That’s how we get paid our attorney fee.   We are also allowed to advance all court costs; that includes the money it costs to file the lawsuit to and send the client to expert doctors. It includes deposition fees, expert witnesses, and costs for gathering life care plan information. All of these things are extremely expensive and your average person wouldn’t be able to afford them on their own.   Essentially, this evens the playing field. I think many folks are afraid they won’t be able to afford to fight the big coal companies or the insurance companies. But that’s where we come in. We can upfront those costs for you. And we only get paid back for those expenses if we win …

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What Constitutes a Catastrophic Injury?

When considering whether or not an injury is catastrophic, we’ve got to ask ‘how much will the victim’s life be altered and for how long?’   The most catastrophic injury is obviously one that kills you. Your family losses your source of income, and there is a major loss of emotional support and guidance. But lesser injuries can also be devastating and catastrophic to your future.   Severe Burns If you’ve suffered an accident that led to severe burns, that’s going to affect you for the rest of your life. It will most likely inhibit your ability to earn wages, and you’re going to need ongoing medical care. You’ll need a number of expensive adaptive devices just to live your life normally. This is all a part of your forecasted ‘life care plan.’   Paralysis and Amputation If you’re paralyzed anywhere on your body, you’re going to need a life care plan that protects you for all the mechanical devices you’ll need. Wheelchairs don’t last forever. The same thing applies with amputations. If a hunter loses his leg, he’s going to need more than one type of fake leg. On top of that, those legs will need to be replaced …

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Real Cases- A Hunting Accident

I’ve mentioned in many previous posts that one of the best ways to get to know us here at the Segal Law Firm is by visiting our website and meeting some of our past clients. These folks aren’t actors or actresses; they’re real people, with real stories to tell about how we’ve helped them return back to a quality of life they enjoyed previous to their accidents and injuries.   One of the people you’ll find there is a young man who was injured in a hunting accident. His case is one of the most fascinating we’ve had the honor of working on. He was working as a hunting guide in a very remote part of Utah. He took a shot at an elk, but didn’t down him on the first shot. He took several more shots and missed. During a reload, he turned and rammed the bolt into the newly loaded shell, which passed through his lower leg.   The young man was bleeding out from the injury and there was no way to get immediate help. He eventually alerted someone via cell phone and was picked up by a helicopter. Unfortunately, he was not able to save his …

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Can I Call The Segal Law Firm on Behalf of My Injured Loved One?

Many of our clients are completely incapacitated for weeks or even months after an accident, so there’s no way they themselves can call us at The Segal Law Firm. And you know from reading previous posts that my recommendation is to call an experienced law firm right away. That’s why we make it easy on the families by allowing any friend or loved one of the victims to call on his or her behalf.   Sometimes people in really serious accidents are in a coma and simply cannot communicate at all with us. But the family knows what happened to them and can get us involved sooner than later. We can answer their questions, explain to them what legal rights the person has, and, in many instances, the wife or husband can hire us to begin the legal proceedings and investigation immediately. We’ve got to make sure that evidence doesn’t disappear, as that tends to happen in accident cases.   When the accident victim does recover, they’ll be able to see what we’ve done and hire us to continue on with their case. If the injury leads to death, we can then explain to the family who can go to …

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How Soon Should I Call a Lawyer After an Accident?

The simplest answer to that question is as soon as possible. If you are in an accident, my advice is to call us as soon as you are released from the hospital. If you are going to be in the hospital for an extended period, have a family member call for you.   Evidence Disappears I tell my young lawyers in the office all the time that evidence doesn’t get better, it disappears. The sooner we investigate your case, the less likely it is that this will happen.   We recently had a woman come to us who had been paralyzed in a car accident. She first contacted another law firm and they didn’t really do much. When she called us I asked her where her car was and she said she didn’t know. We found out later that the car was just two days from being permanently destroyed when we found and purchased it. Had we not gotten that vehicle, our client would have no proof of how she was paralyzed in that car accident.   Getting Involved in the Investigation Coal mining accidents, railroad accidents, airplane and helicopter accidents, and many more will involve investigations by the federal …

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Who You Should and Should NOT Speak to After an Accident

We deal with accident cases every single day at The Segal Law Firm of all different types and in all different industries. The thing that they all have in common is who you should and should not be speaking to.   Who you should be speaking to is pretty simple: me. You need to call me right away to get all of your questions answered about your case, even if you’re not sure you have one. I can come to your hospital, rehab center, your home or we can have that conversation over the phone. We also always welcome you to our offices where we can sit down and discuss your accident over a cup of coffee.   You want to talk to a lawyer immediately so that evidence that may be critical to your case doesn’t disappear. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to protect your family’s rights.   You should also be talking to your doctors, therapists and other medical providers. In some instances, you should also talk to state and federal investigators. If you’re in a car wreck and you are still conscious afterward, you’ll have a duty to cooperate with state and city police. For …

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What are My First Steps if I’ve Been Hurt in a Railroad Accident?

A railroad accident case is going to be one of two scenarios. Either you are a worker who got hurt on the railroad or a civilian hurt because of a derailment or explosion. In both cases, we’re going to start by meeting with you to get to know your case and explain your legal rights.     Our first meeting can be in our office, your home, or in the hospital or rehab center in which you’re recovering. You need to get your questions answered at this time. Ask us about experience with cases like yours. Make sure we know what we are doing and how to use the legal system to protect you.   You’ll also see a contingency fee contract make its first appearance at this meeting. If you decide that I’m the right lawyer for your case, then we’ll both sign this contract that says that I only get paid attorney’s fees if I win you a settlement or jury verdict. You’ve got to make sure you hire a lawyer who has those agreements in writing. As for where we’ll file your case, that depends a bit more on the circumstances of the accident. If you are …

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