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FAQs

Do you have questions regarding your Pennsylvania injury, accident, or a medical malpractice question? Philadelphia personal injury attorneys Brad Cooper & Associates have put together some of the most frequently asked questions of injured Pennsylvania residents.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your specific situation, contact Brad Cooper & Associates toll-free at 888-545-4755 for free answers and advice.

Am I obligated if I call or email to discuss my case?

All consultations are free. Fees are charged only if your case is accepted and a recovery of money damages is accomplished. If, after discussing your case, you decide not to pursue it or decide to do so with another law firm, there is no obligation on your part. Of course, any information you have given us is protected by the attorney-client privilege and will not be disclosed to anyone without your permission.

How long should I wait before contacting a lawyer?

The sooner your lawyer can get started working for you, the better. Remember, you have only a certain amount of time to go to court, and the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to obtain the evidence you need to support your case. Furthermore, if you have submitted your claim to an insurance company, the insurance adjuster you are dealing with may have settled hundreds of cases in the past year alone. He or she is highly trained at negotiations. It is important to be very careful and cautious when talking with an insurance adjuster; you very well may need a lawyer to help you through the process.

What can I expect at the first consultation?

Your lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a legal claim that has merit. If it does, he or she will likely ask you to sign a retainer agreement. A lawyer cannot represent you without a written retainer agreement. Once that agreement is in effect, your attorney should start gathering the information he or she will need to try your case. No competent lawyer should tell you what your case is worth at the first visit. To arrive at a figure for damages, your lawyer will need to determine the extent of your injuries, including pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, the cost of medical treatment and lost wages.

What documents should I bring with me when I meet with a lawyer?

The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. You should supply any documents that might have a bearing on your case. Accident reports, for example, contain eyewitness accounts and details about auto accidents. Copies of medical reports from doctors and hospitals will describe your injuries. Information about the other driver's insurance is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident or of your injury. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, don't worry - your lawyer will be able to obtain them as well.

What kind of information will a lawyer need from me?

For any kind of claim, a lawyer generally needs information regarding the medical treatment you have been receiving to treat your injury. Usually, the lawyer will need the name and address of your current treating medical provider, as well as any other medical provider you have seen by referral, such as a physical therapist. You should also be prepared to provide the name and address of any medical provider you have seen during the five-year period preceding the injury, because your preinjury medical condition can often affect the value of your claim. If you were injured in a car accident, it is important that you provide information regarding your own automobile insurance coverage as well, so your lawyer can determine whether medical payments coverage or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage affords additional coverage for you.

I am not happy with the lawyer handling my case and want to replace him. Can I simply fire him and retain another lawyer?

Yes, you have a right to replace your lawyer at any time. As a client, you are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times, to have your questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner, and to have telephone calls returned promptly. If you are dissatisfied with the legal representation you are currently receiving, you can withdraw from the attorney-client relationship at any time.

I've been seriously injured - how do I find a lawyer I can trust?

Look for a lawyer who specializes in the area in which you need help. The lawyer will have a better understanding of your situation and can offer more effective representation. Ask your friends and family about lawyers they know or have worked with in the past. The best way to find out if a lawyer is good is to talk to a family member or someone you trust whom they have represented. Ask questions and expect answers, and choose the lawyer you feel most confident about (and comfortable with) to handle your case.

Look for experience. Find out how often the law firm you are thinking of hiring actually goes to court. Lawyers who prepare cases for trial usually obtain better judgments and settlements for their clients. If your case does go to trial, you need a lawyer who has been there and knows what he is doing, a lawyer who has the respect of other lawyers and judges.

What are some common ways to ruin a personal injury case?

  1. Failing to notify the police after the accident.

  2. Failing to take photographs to document the damage to your property or condition that caused your injury.

  3. Hiding injuries from your doctor or failing to cooperate with your doctor.

  4. Believing the insurance company is nice and cares about you.

  5. Giving a statement to the insurance company before speaking with a lawyer.

  6. Signing insurance company documents before speaking with a lawyer.

  7. Allowing the insurance company to get your medical records before speaking with a lawyer.

  8. Exaggerating your injuries or inability to work.

  9. Waiting too long to hire a lawyer.

  10. Believing you can handle your own claim without a lawyer.

  11. Failing to document injuries.

  12. Failing to take pictures of visible injuries such as scars and bruising.

 

What exactly is a slip and fall claim?

“Slip and fall” isn’t a term that most of us use in our everyday vocabulary. This legal phrase is just what it implies – an accident where something causes you to slip and you fall as a result. A personal injury claim may arise if there was a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property that led to the accident.

Not every slip and fall accident involves the property owner’s negligence; sometimes we are injured due to our own carelessness. However, when a slip and fall accident occurs on commercial, industrial or residential property, which could have been prevented by the property owner, you could have a claim.

For more information, contact an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorney at our law firm by calling 888-545-4755 or filling out our online form. We have offices conveniently located in Philadelphia.

I was hurt in a car accident in Jenkintown. Now, the insurance company is asking me to sign some papers. Is it okay to sign something before talking with a lawyer?

The answer is “no.” You should not sign anything until talking with an experienced car accident attorney. If the accident just occurred, you might not know the full extent of your injuries and the treatment that will be required. Agreeing to an early settlement offer or signing something could impact your chances of recovering the compensation needed for your medical expenses and more.

Keep in mind that if the insurance company is pressuring you to sign something fast, it is a pretty good indication that you need a lawyer.

For more information, contact our law firm by calling 888-545-4755 or filling out our online form. We have an office conveniently located in Philadelphia.

Do I have to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster?

Some insurance contracts do have cooperation clauses. However, you may not be obligated to give a recorded statement, and if you do, it may later be used against you. If you do choose to give a recorded statement, be sure to ask for a copy of the transcript.

What are punitive damages, and when are such damages awarded?

In addition to compensating victims for injuries, lost wages and future considerations, punitive damages can be awarded to penalize a defendant whose conduct is deemed to be particularly outrageous. In cases of negligence, punitive damages are typically awarded only when the defendant's conduct proved to be "reckless" or "willful and wanton".

How can I get in touch with my local court?

What does it mean to settle a case?

Settling a case means that you agree to accept money in return for dismissing your claim against the person who injured you. You'll actually sign documents releasing the other side of any further liability. To help you decide whether to accept the settlement offer, your lawyer will be able to provide a realistic assessment of whether a lawsuit based on your claim will be successful, a range of possible verdict amounts and how long it will take to get through trial. Settlement also can take place at any point in a lawsuit once it is filed, including before trial or even after a case has been tried but before a jury reaches a verdict and after trial while the case is on appeal.

What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is a witness in a court case who is called because he or she has specific knowledge of a particular field that is generally beyond what is known by an average layperson. An expert is usually permitted to testify to his/her opinion. A layperson can testify only as to the facts in question. In medical malpractice, doctors are typically called to testify as experts. In an accident case, an accident reconstruction expert may be called to testify as to what and how the accident occurred.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is a statement given under oath, usually done in a lawyer's office, before a court reporter. Witnesses called to testify in a deposition answer questions posed by the attorneys representing both parties in a case. The court reporter produces a written transcript of everything said at the deposition and the witnesses read and sign the transcript, swearing it to be an accurate rendition of the evidence given under oath.

What is the next step in preparing my case?

Your lawyer will provide an estimate of your damages to the other party's insurer. If the insurer considers it a valid claim, the case is likely to be resolved early on and won't have to be tried in court. We always assume that the case will be tried, and we begin every case by preparing it for trial. Being ready and willing to go to court, and having the reputation of being successful in the courtroom, is the only way to get top dollar in settlement negotiations.

Will the insurer pay scar treatments after a Pennsylvania accident?

There are many types of injuries that people suffer each day. Whether it’s a Philadelphia car accident, New Jersey slip and fall accident or fire, an injury can leave you with a serious scar.

 

Treatments for Scars
There are various treatment options available for scar victims. Many over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments and gels can be used to treat scars. Other victims may have scars surgically removed or treated. Doctors may also use steroid injections, as a form of treatment.

 

Will the Insurance Company Pay?
No matter the treatment, you may be wondering if the insurance company will cover the expenses associated with treating your scars. The answer will depend on the impact that the scarring has had on your life.

If your accident has left you with a scar that has physically impaired you in any way, such as a burn scar, the insurance company may cover your treatment. However, you might be required to provide a letter from your doctor detailing your case.

 

Where to Get the Help You Need
Proving that your scar has left you physically impaired can be difficult. If your scar is the result of someone else’s negligence, an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help advise you on whether you can hold the negligent party liable.

What exactly are medical errors and do they affect Pennsylvania patients?

Are you or someone you love scheduled for a procedure in a local hospital? If so, you should become familiar with the dangers of medical errors.

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine shows that as many as 98,000 people become fatally injured annually as a result of medical errors in American hospitals. That is more than the amount of fatalities resulting from car accidents, breast cancer and AIDS.

Medical errors can involve:



    • Being prescribed the wrong type and dosage of medicine. Not being prescribed the right medicine can leave you essentially untreated. Your illness can continue to ravage your body with nothing to fight it. The wrong dosage can leave you addicted unnecessarily to a painkiller.

 

    • When a surgery goes bad you can be left in worst shape than when you went into surgery. In some cases, victims have had the wrong procedure performed on them as well as had body parts mistakenly removed.

 

    • The wrong diagnosis can be disastrous. Perhaps the doctor failed to diagnose that you have cancer. The cancer will continue to take your life while you are untreated.

 

    • Other medical errors can occur when faulty equipment is being used and or with mistakes with lab reports.

 

How serious are scaffolding accidents?

Construction workers understand the inherent risks associated with working in the construction injury. A construction accident can happen at any time leading to a serious or deadly accident.

Of the many dangers that exist in the construction industry, scaffolding accidents hover at the top of the list. The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reports that in 2008, there were 88 deaths associated with scaffolding accidents.

As a construction worker, you should be familiar with some of the most common factors involving scaffolding accidents. They include:



    • Slip and falls

 

    • Poor maintenance

 

    • Collapses

 

    • Defective parts

 

    • Improper assembly

 

    • Falling objects



In many instances, the accident was a result of the negligence on the part of another person on the worksite or perhaps the manufacturer. Imagine finding yourself unable to work and experiencing a loss of wages due to the mistake of another person.

What is a no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce is designed for those cases where the couple agrees that they need to end the marriage. No-fault divorce provides a way for couples to separate in a dignified manner with a simplified divorce process.

When is personal injury considered to be caused by negligence?

The law is clear that where a party walks into an obvious, clearly visible defect in his path in broad daylight he must shoulder the burden of proof of conditions outside himself which prevented him from seeing the defect or excuse his failure to observe it. This rule does not apply if there is some external condition which prevented him seeing the defect.

How factual should I be with my doctor about my auto-related injuries?

The best approach is to be factual and complete. This gives your doctor the best and most reliable information. Your description of the car accident will be written down by your doctor and/or his/her assistant. That writing will follow your case from start to finish. 

Is a landowner responsible for my injuries as a result of a small/trivial defect?

Even where the defect on the premises is small, the landowner may still be held responsible for the injuries that result.

Will I be denied compensation for injuries from an auto-related accident that wasn't my fault?

The Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law requires that all insureds in Pennsylvania sign a document acknowledging that they were advised of their options for selecting either "limited tort" or "full tort" on their insurance policies. If you select the limited tort you are subject to a minimally lower premium. In other words, if you select limited tort and you are in an accident you may be barred from recovering money damages in a motor vehicle accident even where the accident is not your fault.