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Month: January 2015

What to Keep In Mind If You Have Suffered a Personal Injury

What to Keep In Mind If You Have Suffered a Personal Injury

If you have suffered an injury and it was someone else’s fault then chances are, you are entitled to damages and you can win them in court. However, in order to win you must prove certain things in the court to prove that you are entitled to the damages. There is also a time period in which you must file the lawsuit. This is a statutory limitation and must be taken into account.

Not Just a Complaint, but Also a Summons

Let’s begin with where you can sue the person at fault. You can do so in the state where the accident took place or in the state that has some type of connection to the defendant. What is a summons? A summons is a legal document that the defendant receives and it tells he/she that they should appear in court on a given day. On the other hand, the complaint serves as a description of your case in more detail. Both of these documents are delivered to the defendant by a state official or process server. After they have been delivered, the defendant must respond in writing within the given period of time. It is the court’s obligation to set a date when the first hearing will take place.

Things You Must Prove

Any personal injury case usually involves intentional tort, negligence or strict liability. If the accident arose because of a negligent behavior, you must be able to prove in court that the person at fault did not manage to do something he/she was obligated to do, that this negligent behavior caused the accident, and that your injury arose during the accident. Strict liability applies in cases when someone has been injured by a defective product. Last but not least, an intentional tort might be proven by showing that the defendant intended to harm you, for example, by proving that he/she punched you in the nose.

Winning a Personal Injury Case

When there is a criminal proceeding, the evidence must be up to the legal standard. In other words, the guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” On the other hand, in personal injury law, the legal standard is called “preponderance of evidence.” This means you must be able to prove that the odds that the defendant caused the accident are at least 50%. This explains why people who often win in the criminal proceedings might not be as likely to win in personal injury lawsuits.

Damages Go Beyond the Medical Bills

Medical bills are not the only type of damages you can demand. You can also ask for compensation for lost work time and pain and suffering. Damages for medical bills are usually a few times smaller than the damages for pain and suffering. In cases based on negligence, if you caused the accident at least in part, then the damages might be decreased accordingly. Furthermore, in some state jurisdictions, if you caused the accident by at least 1%, you might not be entitled to any damages, whatsoever. Last but not least, while the standard legal proceeding is a certainty that you can always rely on, most personal injury cases tend to be resolved through private settlements.

If you have suffered an injury, a personal injury lawyer can help because he/she will know all the important information and will be able to assist you with the legal proceedings.

Is It a Good Idea to Join a Class Action Lawsuit against Volkswagen?

Is It a Good Idea to Join a Class Action Lawsuit against Volkswagen?

There is news all over the place about Volkswagen cheating on emissions tests. However, this has left millions of buyers feeling betrayed, angry and cheated. Some of the consumers are even considering taking legal action. The question is then whether it is a good idea to join a class action lawsuit against VW.

At the time of this article, at least 34 distinguished class action lawsuits were being resolved against Volkswagen. VW admitted that they cheated during the emissions tests using a device which was built into the diesel engines of their vehicles. A few hours later, legal actions were taken against the company. The lawsuits began all across the United States and were typically filed in federal courts.

This has happened in the past, too. For example, in 2012, Toyota agreed to to pay $1.1 billion for unintended acceleration cases.

When you are considering bringing your case to court, you must take into consideration why you are doing it, what it will actually cost you, and what you want to get if you do join the class action. It is of equal importance to understand what the phrase “class action lawsuit” actually stands for. In such a lawsuit, the group of people stand as representatives of a much larger group of plaintiffs who are suing either one or a number of defendants. The interests of the various members of the class should be almost the same so that they have a chance to be awarded similar recoveries. This is a good way to go about it if a larger group of people have suffered similarly.

Many people do not know whether the government will have a say in the case and press criminal charges. Of course, that could happen and many members of the class lawsuit would welcome it, as the government tends to have stronger techniques and greater resources available than private litigants usually do. It is very often the case that government intervention occurs simultaneously with civil actions and this is nothing to be afraid of, as it usually leads to the case being resolved much faster.

From what has been said, it is clear that there are both pros and cons of joining a class action lawsuit. How is that different than being alone in the case? If you file a lawsuit on your own, you will enjoy the benefit of having only your individual circumstances be considered in the case. As a result, rather than just a generalized relief, an individual litigant may be able to be awarded all of the damages that he/she asked for.

However, this benefit also comes with a price. All of the involved costs of investigation, litigation and the pursuit of recovery will be up to the individual person and his/her lawyer to pay. This could cost a lot, the lawsuit could be delayed, and the case might be less tactically powerful in comparison to lawsuits which involve a great number of attorneys and claimants. Yet, it is also true that most lawyers will be happy to take your case and bring it to court on a contingency basis, meaning you do not need to pay anything up front and the attorney will only get paid if you win.

It can be difficult to decide what to do. If you are one of those people who purchased a Volkswagen vehicle, you might not be able to re-sell it later because of the defect that the car has. In addition, some other claims could be made such as fraud, and that could result in punitive damages, in which case the dollar amount obtained may be greater.

Goldberg Weisman Cairo understands that class action lawsuits can be complicated and hopes this articles has been helpful.

Can You Sue a Doctor Who Has Treated You Badly?

Can You Sue a Doctor Who Has Treated You Badly?

Patients usually trust their doctors because they need to share with them some very private information in order to get proper treatment. However, some patients might feel that his/her doctor has treated him/her badly. Sometimes, a patient might sue the doctor.

Medical Malpractice

The most common legal claim against doctors is called medical malpractice. A medical malpractice claim can be enforced in court when the doctor behaved in a way that deviated from the accepted medical standards of care and as a result, the patient was injured. A medical standard of care can be understood as the care that another doctor in a similar situation and in the same kind of field would have provided.

Among the most common reasons why a doctor may be sued for medical malpractice is because of a poor diagnosis. This may occur when the patient has suffered for a prolonged period of time because of the doctor’s failure to properly assess the diagnosis tests. Among some other examples of medical malpractice is the misdiagnosis of a medical condition, causation of an unreasonable delay, failure to provide appropriate treatment, violating HIPAA laws, and performing surgery the wrong way or on the wrong patient.

The proper standard of care must be proven by other medical experts who will needs to testify that the standard of care has been violated. These should be doctors who work in the same type of medicine as the defendant. These doctors are required to explain that the defendant is guilty of deviating from the standard of care, and not only that, they must also prove that the deviation led to the patient’s suffering.

Assault

Assault is a civil tort that arises when a person says something or does something that is considered an implication that he/she is going to contact the victim in a harmful or offensive way and that the victim has reasonable apprehension that the contact is going to occur. For this type of claim, the contact does not need to actually occur, the only thing that is required is that the victim has the apprehension that the contact will occur. Within the medical framework, assault may occur if a physician threatens to take an action against the patient’s will.

If the patient is under anesthesia when contact is made, the claim may not apply. That is because assault is generally based on the fact that the patient is conscious and aware of the contact. If he/she is not conscious, he/she will probably not be aware of the threatened act, either.

On top of that, it is required that the assault be immediate and impending. It does not suffice when a doctor threatens weeks or even years down the road. The unwanted contact must occur very soon.

Battery

Battery is somewhat similar to assault, but the difference is that it only occurs when a person intentionally touches or contacts another physically in an unwanted way and that contact is made in an offensive or harmful manner. Battery is committed when patients are physically or sexually abused by their physicians. Also, battery occurs when an incorrect surgery is performed by the doctor on the patient. Last but not least, battery can occur when the doctor does something to his/her patient without the patient’s consent.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is another common medical malpractice claim. It occurs when a doctor behaves in an outrageous way that actually causes the patient to suffer severe emotional distress. In the past, common law required that there had to be some type of physical manifestation of injury, however, this element is no longer required by most jurisdictions. Patients have successfully sued their doctors for intentional infliction of emotional distress when the doctors mocked or ridiculed the patient to a great degree.

In some jurisdictions, it is also possible to inflict emotional distress negligently. In that case, the same standard as recklessness or intent is not required, however, other elements are required. In other words, the person who takes a legal action must prove that emotional distress was caused by negligent actions of the defendant.

Goldberg Weisman Cairo believes the above information can serve as basic guidelines if you have been mistreated by your doctor.