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Following are some of the most frequently asked questions our clients have posed to us about personal injury cases and the legal process in general.
 
We welcome new questions and will continuously update and expand this list. To submit a question of your own, just click here.

QuestionAnswer
When does COBRA apply?COBRA applies when:
  1. an employee or dependent qualifies under COBRA if coverage is lost because employment is terminated or there is a reduction in the number of hours of employment (for reasons other than gross misconduct);
  2. the employee dies;
  3. a spouse divorces or is legally separated from the employees;
  4. an employee becomes eligible for Medicare
What would be the timeline on each course of action- settle vs. sue- so that I mentally prepare for the length of this case, overall?Our job is to handle all legal aspects of your case and to monitor, track and assist in getting the medical attention you need. You should do all that is necessary to make recovery from your injuries possible (known as mitigating your damages). A high-quality plaintiff does not exaggerate his problems, but also, does not try to minimize. You have every right to bring to light EVERY aspect of your life that has been impacted by this accident. We will do our part in helping you achieve that. The insurance company will respect a meritorious claim that is seriously and firmly presented as true and proper. From a time-frame aspect, do not rush yourself or your treatment. Reaching MMI is the triggering point to prepare a settlement package and present it in its complete form. A settlement can usually be effected within 90 days after that.
 
What should I do in those situations when COBRA does not apply?If you do lose your health insurance because COBRA does not apply, there are steps you can take to protect yourself until you find another job:

First, find out exactly how long - or if - your insurance will continue after your last day or work. It may be until the end of the month or possibly longer depending upon your employer's policy. If you are married and your spouse is employed, see if you are able to obtain coverage through his or her employer.

If converting your group coverage is not for you, if you are healthy, not yet eligible for Medicare and want more complete protection, you might consider an interim or short-term policy. Some companies will write interim coverage that will run until you are again eligible for group coverage through a new employer.

Interim or short-term policies are written for two to six months and typically will include payments toward hospitalization, intensive care treatment, doctors' in-hospital visits, surgical expenses and sometimes nursing home care. Outpatient diagnostic X-rays or laboratory procedures and ambulance coverage also can be included.

Most interim policies are effective immediately or within 30 days of purchase and many may be renewed once during a 12-month period.

It may be wise to take the interim policy in which you absorb smaller medical bills while your insurance handles the bigger ones. For instance, some interim policies require you to pay the first $500, then the insurance company pays 80 percent of the next $5,000 and 100 percent of all additional medical expenses up to a maximum benefit of $1 million.
What is a deposition? The following is a list of considerations and areas of discussion that are important to the preparation for a deposition. We will discuss these with you in our preparation of you for your deposition in your case. It is important that you be comfortable in giving your deposition with the fact that you have been properly prepared, that you will be telling the absolute truth, that you have nothing to hide and that you will be protected by your lawyer during the deposition.
 
 
The following are some facts about depositions and our suggestions for making them better.
Facts About Depositions:
  1. Your lawyer, one of us, will be there with you at all times.
  2. Depositions are usually done at our office in one of our conference rooms.
  3. The court reporter will swear you in (put you under oath).
  4. The court reporter will take down everything you say.
Suggestions for Depositions:
  1. Tell the Truth. If you do not have the answer say you don't know, because that is the truth.
  2. It is important to make a good impression.
  3. No smoking.
  4. No gum chewing.
  5. No "chit-chat" nor small talk.
  6. No snide remarks.
  7. Do not expect the insurance company lawyer to like you (even if he does, he probably won't show it). But be likeable so the insurance company lawyer realizes the jury (or judge) will like you.
  8. Answer the questions that are asked.
  9. Listen to the questions.
  10. Take your time.
  11. Make sure you understand.
  12. If you do not understand say so and ask for the question to be repeated.
  13. Say what you have to say to answer the question and no more.
  14. "Yes", "no", "maybe", "I don't know" and/or "I don't remember" are perfectly good answers.
  15. Do not try to out-think the lawyer - Tell the truth.
  16. Let us fix any problems that the case may have. Do not feel as if you have to fix them with your testimony.
  17. Do not guess.
  18. Do not argue with the other lawyer.
  19. He asks the questions - you answer them.
  20. Do not get mad.
  21. Since you do not get to answer the other lawyer, it will not seem fair, but don't worry about it.
  22. Remember - be likeable.
  23. Watch out for questions that restate your earlier testimony. Sometimes the other lawyer says it wrong. Sometimes the other lawyer says it wrong on purpose to trick you.
  24. Watch out for questions with:
    1. "Always"
    2. "Never"
    3. If you are asked whether you "always" wear your seat belt, I can assure you that there will be an occasion when you didn't and this will come out and make you look like you are either a liar or don't know what you are talking about.
  25. It is okay (though not necessarily smart) to talk about your case - it does not mean you made it up.
  26. It is okay to prepare for your deposition with your lawyer. It would be dumb not to.
  27. We do not recommend that you talk about the case with other people, but it is legal to do so.
  28. If your lawyer objects - listen because he will be telling you something during the course of his objection. Listen carefully, because we are in some dangerous waters.
  29. If you make an error or mistake, tell your lawyer immediately (or as soon as you realize it) so that we can fix it during the deposition. After the deposition it is usually too late.
  30. If you need to take a break, say so. To go to the rest room. Get something to drink or move around to get more comfortable. To smoke a cigarette. If your lawyer needs to take a break, believe me, he will say so.
We will prepare you for your deposition by:
  1. Showing you a videotape on how to give a good deposition.
  2. Giving you parts of your file to review. Not all of the file, since the other lawyers get to see whatever you looked at to prepare for the deposition, and we don't want him to see the whole file.
  3. We sit with you to advise how the deposition will be conducted, what our strengths and weaknesses are and what to be careful of.
We prepare you again, in a slightly different, somewhat more complete way for the trial, after you have given your deposition.
If giving your deposition raises any questions in your mind, let your lawyer know. They will be glad to discuss these in detail with you.
What happens to my health insurance if I lose my job?Losing your job usually means you and your family also lose any group health insurance coverage you received as a benefit of your employment. However, under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), group health plans sponsored by employees with 20 or more employees are required to offer continuation of coverage under the group plan for terminated and laid-off workers and their dependents for a period of up to 18 or 36 months.
If we go to trial and lose, do I have to pay anything?Yes. All case expenses, including but not limited to court costs, investigation expenses, expert fees and jury costs are the responsibility of the client.
If my car has little or no damage from a collision, can I still recover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages from the at-fault defendant?Yes. Often in an automobile collision, the human body will sustain serious injury with little or no damage to the vehicle. For instance, many newer vehicles have parts that bend and snap right back into place after a collision, while the person inside of the vehicle has lasting bodily damage.
 
If I accept a settlement offer from the other side, can I ever go back against them for unforeseen injuries and medical expenses resulting from this accident?No
Does the other side have to pay your lawyer fee if I win?No. It comes out of the total amount of recovery.
 
Do we pursue my case and enter into litigation, or do we settle?If, by "pursue the case" you mean take it to trial, please note that we open all of our client's cases with the mind-set that we will have to go to trial. All of our case management and file administration is geared toward that end. Showing the other side that we are prepared, from the outset, to take the matter to the ultimate forum, the courtroom, is an invaluable tool to reach settlement. Settling a case is the better outcome, especially when the fact situation is good (such as a rear-end collision = gut cinch liability) so that the only real area of argument is what the damages are. Our job is to leave no stone uncovered in listing, enumerating and assigning a just value to every aspect of the damages you have incurred. A case must be taken to trial only because one, or both sides just have grossly different ideas about the level of damages, or because liability is very unclear. Going to trial is an expensive exercise, especially if a jury is used. The risk of an unfavorable judgment or award is always possible.
 
As I approach recovery from injuries, where do we go from here?The prime directive in a personal injury matter is to give the plaintiff every opportunity to reach maximum medical improvement. We will only proceed to settlement negotiations when you, and your treating physicians, feel that you have either fully recovered, or you are as good as you are going to get.