FAQs – Personal Injury Q: What is a Personal Injury? A: A personal injury is physical or mental harm to a person caused by some person’s, company’s or other entity’s negligence or harmful conduct. Q: What is negligence? A: Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care. It is conduct that falls below the standards of care established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. It is the unintentional cause of harm. Auto and taxi accidents, and premises slip and fall accidents, typically fall under negligence. Q: What is a Tort? A: A tort is a civil wrong. Tort law requires people to reasonably avoid causing injuries and damage to others. A tort occurs when someone’s actions or inaction causes harm to another person or another person’s property. Personal injury claims fall under tort law. Common torts Some common examples of torts: Auto and taxi accidents Medical malpractice Surgical errors Misdiagnosis Burn injuries Smoke inhalation injuries Slip, trip and fall Lead poisoning Defective medications Negligent security Drowning accidents Assault Police brutality Q: What is Civil Justice? A: The only cases our firm handles are civil cases, as opposed to criminal cases or other types of legal matters. We do not practice in Family Court or Criminal Court. Wrongful death matters do require Surrogate Court involvement, but by and large our practice is devoted solely to New York Supreme Court or Federal Court civil cases. Civil actions deal with private matters, typically disputes that arise between individuals or private businesses. If you prevail in a civil action, you are entitled to recover money damages. What this means is that we do not seek criminal charges against defendants and insurance companies. We only seek money damages to compensate your damages and losses. It is the only thing we do – seek Civil Justice for our clients. Q: What are compensatory damages? A: Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the injured victim. They are designed to place a victim in the position he or she would be in if the injury had never occurred. A monetary value is assigned to what the victim lost as a result of the personal injury. These losses can include actual measurable costs such as medical bills, lost wages or earned sick or vacation time. Other compensatory damages do not have a bill or invoice value, so their value must be estimated. The most typical of these losses is your pain and suffering. Q: What is a Statute of Limitations? A: A statute of limitations is a time period within which legal action must be brought. There are different time frames for different types of cases, specifying the legal requirement for how long you have to file your personal injury case. It is a time limit, or deadline, that governs the period during which you must file your personal injury lawsuit and varies by state. If legal action is not initiated within the specified time period, you lose the right to make any claims. There are different time periods, for example, for a car crash case versus a medical malpractice case. There can be different rules if you are suing a business or individual versus a city or municipality. In cases involving injured children, there is usually an extension of time. In cases involving illnesses caused by chemical exposure or medical malpractice, there may be a delay in the discovery of the injury that allows for an extension. Time is of the essence. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney, as soon as possible, to determine the time period applicable for your case. Q: How do I know if I have a good Personal Injury case? A: You have a valid personal injury case if you have been injured and your injury was caused by another’s wrongdoing or negligence. Q: What if the other person’s insurance company contacts me after an injury and wants my recorded statement? A: Just say no! First, consult with your own personal injury attorney. Do not provide a statement, sign any papers or accept a settlement from an insurance company without consulting your attorney. Your lawyer will be able to guide you as to how, if at all, the statement should be given. When the other side’s insurance company asks you to give a taped statement, they will sound sympathetic to your plight. Actually, the insurance company is hoping to persuade you to give a statement without the benefit of counsel. It is probable that you are not legally obligated to give the statement, and there are legal consequences to giving such a statement. FAQs – Medical Malpractice Q: What is medical malpractice? A: Medical malpractice is sometimes called medical negligence. Medical malpractice or medical negligence takes place when a hospital, doctor, nurse, dentist, medical lab technician or other healthcare provider fails to perform standard duties like those with similar training or experience, resulting in harm to a patient. Medical malpractice can apply to misdiagnosis, surgical errors, mistakes and negligence. Common scenarios that result in a case of medical malpractice include: Mishandling of patient records Misread x-ray, CT scan, or other test result Failure to properly diagnose a condition in a timely fashion Failure to promptly respond to patient symptoms Surgical errors Medication errors A medical malpractice attorney can help review your medical records, explain the legal process and advise whether your situation has legal merit. If you or someone you know has a medical negligence claim, contact the medical malpractice law firm of Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for a free medical negligence consultation. Q: If I signed a waiver or consent form, have I waived my rights? A: All medical treatment must be provided with the patient’s informed consent, except in cases of extreme emergency. Patients sign a general consent form upon hospital admission and a more specific consent form prior to an invasive procedure or operation. These forms indicate that the doctor has fully explained the medical problem, treatment and risks to the patient, and that the patient had an opportunity to ask questions. However, if a doctor fails to provide the appropriate standard of care, a signed consent form does not waive a patient’s right to bring a medical malpractice claim. Q: How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case? A: Far too often, doctors and other medical providers fail or refuse to answer legitimate questions from a patient or the patient’s family about what went wrong with a procedure, medication or diagnosis. One way to get the answers you deserve is to consult a law firm experienced in medical care and procedures. There are many different indicators of medical malpractice, but one of the most common is a dramatically different or unexpected result of medical treatment. One major warning sign can be the medical provider failing to provide a good explanation when the patient’s condition worsens. Because medical malpractice claims are so complex, you should consult an experienced attorney to determine whether your specific situation merits legal action. You have a right to have your medical questions answered. Q: What should I do if I suspect that malpractice has occurred? A: If the treatment is ongoing, consider requesting a transfer to another hospital or physician to secure quality medical treatment. Avoid accusing or insulting the health care providers. Document everything. Consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help review your medical records, explain the legal process, and advise you. Q: If I have been misdiagnosed is that considered malpractice A: A misdiagnosis may be considered malpractice if your doctor neglects to: Get a medical history; Recognize the symptoms of an illness; Order all appropriate tests for your symptoms; or Properly read, or fully take into account test results. Some of the medical conditions that are most often misdiagnosed include cancer, fetal distress, heart attacks, pulmonary embolism, and meningitis in a young child. Q: Is there a statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit? A: Yes, often quite limited. You should contact an experienced malpractice law firm as soon as you suspect medical malpractice in order to protect your rights. Q: Can I find out if my doctor has had any medical malpractice claims? A: Yes. New York State has created an on-line database with medical malpractice information for the public to access, if you want to find out if a physician has any malpractice suits on file. This search would be one of the steps our firm would take during the handling of your medical malpractice case. Q: What type of settlement can I expect if I have been a victim of medical malpractice? A: Damages for medical malpractice vary depending on the individual, the injury and circumstances. Compensation may cover medical bills, pain & suffering, lost wages, lost earning potential in the case of permanent disability or wrongful death, lifetime care benefits, and other expenses that result from the malpractice. There are many factors that affect a settlement/compensation amount. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help protect your interests in a malpractice claim. FAQs – Car, Taxi and Hit-and-Run Accidents Q: Should I contact my car insurance company after the crash? A: Yes, and we can help you with this if you promptly retain us. You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company. Most insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every auto accident so that they can gather basic information. We can help you with the paperwork and communications with your insurance company. Q: Should I talk to the other drivers insurance company? What if they call me? A: No. If you are contacted, politely decline to talk. Insurance companies’ claims adjusters are professional negotiators with extensive experience and are well trained to ask questions in a manner designed to hurt your claim. You should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney, who can determine the best way to proceed. Q: What if I think my car accident was partly my fault? A: Despite your honorable intentions, you are probably not in the best position to figure out precisely how or why the accident happened. There are many possible causes for an accident. New York law allows you to pursue a personal injury claim even if the accident was partially your fault. This concept is known as Contributory Negligence or Comparative Negligence. Contributory negligence occurs when your actions merely contributed to, but did not solely cause, the accident. Under comparative negligence, each person involved is held accountable for the amount of damage that their negligence caused, subject to specific statutes and rules. So your actions and the actions of anyone else involved are compared to determine how much responsibility each party owes and then your financial damages are awarded based upon how much each party contributed to the happening of the accident. Talk to a lawyer who can expertly investigate and evaluate your case. Q: Do I need experienced Personal Injury Lawyers for my car accident? A: Yes, experienced car accident lawyers can inform you of, and help you with, the rules and procedures associated with filing your insurance claim. There are many guidelines to be followed after an auto accident. We understand that you want to focus on your medical recovery, and not on insurance claims. The other side’s insurance company, quite frankly, will not take your claim seriously unless you are properly represented. The car and taxi accident law firm of Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. will handle your claim with energy, passion, experience and understanding. Q: Who pays for my car accident medical bills and lost income? A: There are different insurance coverage issues involved in motor vehicle crash cases. If you or any members of your household have an auto insurance policy, more likely then not, you will be covered under the No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection benefits. Additional losses will be a component of damages in your accident case. Q: Can I recover even if the liable party has no insurance? A: Yes, you can probably recover under New York laws, including those concerning uninsured/under-insured motorist protection coverage. If you or a family member has been injured and would like to know more about your rights, contact the personal injury attorneys at Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for a free case evaluation. Q: What damages can I recover for my car or taxi accident? A: When you are hurt in a car, auto or taxi accident, you are entitled to recover damages for your injuries, as well as, as applicable: Medical Expenses General Damages Household Services Lost Wages Future Medical Expenses Loss of Earning Capacity Disfigurement Loss of Enjoyment of Life Loss of Consortium Loss of Society and Companionship. Q: Will you help me with my No-Fault Insurance claim? A: Yes we will. No-Fault insurance pays for various expenses for people injured in New York car accidents. It applies to the occupants of a car (including taxis, cabs, livery cars, pickups, SUVs, and most vehicles), and also to pedestrians and bicyclists who are hit by a car. We help you submit medical expenses and lost wages to the No-Fault insurance company, which is the insurance company for the car you were in (or the car that hit you if you were a pedestrian or bicyclist). The No-Fault application must be filed in a timely fashion, and we will do so if you promptly contact us. We also notify your doctors and health care providers that their bills should be submitted through No-Fault. Our firm will provide them with the required insurance company billing information, such as the policy number and/or claim number. FAQs – Premises Liability Q: What is premises liability? A: If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, you might have a personal injury claim. In general, a property owner has a duty to reasonably protect the public from injury on his or her property. If you suffer an injury because the premises owner failed to meet that duty, you have a case. Businesses and shopping malls are responsible for reasonable security, such as adequate lighting and security staff. If other crimes were committed, this could demonstrate a pattern of criminal activity that the owner would have been aware of and should have provided additional security to counteract. If the injury victim is a child, the property owner’s responsibility is often greater than if an adult were injured. Sometimes, more than one person may be at fault, and more than one law may be involved. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should contact the firm of Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for a free premises liability consultation. Q: What is a slip and fall action? A: A slip and fall action is a personal injury lawsuit filed by someone who has been injured by a slip and fall accident, usually on the defendant’s property. An example would be if you slipped on the wet floor of a grocery store and fell, causing an injury. You may recover damages if the property owner was aware of the condition that caused the slip and failed to correct it within a reasonable amount of time. You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether your claim merits legal action. Q: Can building code violations be used to win a slip and fall case? A: Yes, a plaintiff can sometimes prove negligence by showing that a property owner or management company violated a relevant statute or code. Buildings must comply with applicable building codes. For example, building codes often dictate when and where handrails and other similar features must be installed. If you fall on a stairway that lacked appropriate handrails, and the lack of the handrail caused your injuries, you have a valid claim based on building code violations. Q: Who can be held responsible in a slip and fall case? A: In slip and fall cases, there are often a number of people or entities in control of the premises that may be held responsible for someone’s injuries. For instance, if a business rents space from a property owner, both the property owner and the tenant (the business) may be named as defendants, as well as a management company. They had a duty to use reasonable care to prevent your injury. Q: Can I sue City Hall? A: Municipalities, such as the City of New York and its various agencies and departments, can be sued if certain facts and conditions exist. A common example is if someone falls on a broken, uneven or defective city sidewalk. An injured person may have a case against the city in such a situation, because municipalities have a duty to keep crosswalks, sidewalks and curbs in reasonably good repair. There are important time deadlines and proof requirements, including written notice of such claims. An attorney should advise you. Q: Can I sue because my child got hurt at school? A: Schools can be held responsible for various types of accidents, incidents and injuries. Premises liability cases are one type. Assault causes are another example, such as where a school had previous evidence that a certain student was potentially dangerous. Often, such previous reports of violence are disregarded or ignored, and it is possible the school will be held civilly liable for the injury that was caused to your child. This is especially true if the school knew of the violence and did not take steps to stop it or to reasonably protect your child. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who has worked with school injury victims. FAQs – Dog Bites Q: Do I need an attorney if my child was bitten by a dog? A: Dog bites are one of the most common injuries to children. The question of liability varies. An experienced personal injury attorney can help identify the animal`s owners and establish if the dog has a history of attacks. This information is important for your child’s safety regardless of whether you wish to pursue a claim. Having an experienced lawyer will help you to decide if legal action is required, and what type of damages might be appropriate for your case. When your family is recovering from a traumatic attack, it helps to understand your options. It is important to contact an attorney to advise you on your rights concerning injuries to children, especially such serious injuries as dog bites. The cost of medical care should not necessarily fall on the shoulders of the dog bite victim or his/her family. Q: I don’t know how serious my dog bit injuries are, so should I wait to contact an attorney? A: First, seek medical attention immediately. Bites, whether big or small, require prompt medical treatment. Even if you don’t think you’ll need stitches, there may be a risk of infection. Since dog bite wounds often create significant scarring, consultation with a credible plastic surgeon is also advised. There is a statue of limitations on dog bite injury claims just as with any type of personal injury case, so the best course of action is to contact an attorney now. Pertinent information can be gathered while your medical condition is being evaluated. Most cities require pets to be properly restrained and supervised. So if the dog escaped from its owner’s property and attacked you, the owner is typically held responsible for your injuries. If you are contacted by the dog owner or insurance company, do not sign or provide an official statement. Consult an attorney with experience in dog bite cases, who can provide advice on any legal action and appropriate next steps. Q: I was bitten by a dog. I want to make sure it doesn’t bite anyone else, but I hate to think I will be responsible for having it put down. If I hire an attorney, what will happen to the animal? A: Reporting the attack will not automatically result in the dog’s demise. The court can review the facts of your attack as well as any other activities to determine if the animal is potentially dangerous or vicious. This determination will help guide what happens to the animal. The owner may be required to build a fence or pen to keep it restrained. An experienced attorney will not take any action you haven’t requested, so simply hiring a lawyer does not make it more likely that the dog will be put down – an attorney will simply help see that your rights are protected. FAQs – Workers’ Compensation Q: If I’m entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, do I need a personal injury lawyer? A: Maybe, because an on-the-job accident often involves tort liability. New York’s Workers’ Compensation Laws does often limit the ability of an employee to sue his or her employer or co-workers when an accident happens on the job. An experienced personal injury attorney can review the details of your accident to determine if any party besides your employer was responsible for your accident. If so, you may also be able to bring a claim for personal injury money damages. Also, it could be that a property manager or owner could be strictly liable to a construction worker, such as when a laborer falls off a scaffold during a construction project. An experienced attorney can review the details of your accident to provide specific advice about your available legal rights in this situation, which often include both a Workers’ Compensation claim and a personal injury case. Q: What’s OSHA? A: OSHA stands for the Occupational and Safety Health Administration – which is a Federal agency that sets guidelines to ensure workplace safety. When those rules are not met, there may be a case of negligence and an attorney can provide advice on whether the situation requires legal action. FAQs – Police Brutality and False Arrest Q: What should I do if I am injured by the police? A: You should call a law firm that represents victims of police brutality and false arrest cases. Often, people who are injured by the police already have a criminal lawyer representing them in the criminal charges which gave rise to the contact with police. It is natural to discuss the police brutality with that criminal defense lawyer. But a criminal defense lawyer usually does not practice personal injury law, and may not know much about the complexities of bringing a claim for police brutality and/or false arrest. Contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for your free case evaluation. Q: Can I file a police brutality claim directly against the police department? A: It depends on the circumstances. If your Federal or State constitutional rights have been violated, you can file a lawsuit against the officers who violated your rights. The State, County or City that employs the officer will usually defend and pay the settlement or verdict. If there has been a constitutional violation to which the police department’s policies, procedures, or practices contributed, you can sue the State, County or City directly. To determine the type of claim you have, and against whom it can be filed, contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for your free case evaluation. Q: Are there time limits for filing my police brutality claim? A: Most jurisdictions have notice requirements, requiring you to put the municipality (State, County, City, Town, Village, etc.) on notice of your intent to file a claim. These notice requirements are usually much shorter than the standard statute of limitations, so it is important that you consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, to ensure that you preserve your claim. Q: Can I have a police brutality claim even if I broke the law? A: Possibly. The police have an obligation to treat each of us with dignity and respect, and to honor our constitutional rights. Our constitutional rights include being free from excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment. So even if you broke the law, you might have a claim. Contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. to discuss the facts and circumstances of your claim. The consultation is free. FAQs – Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Q: Should I Deal with Insurance Companies on My Own? A: Victims should not go it alone. It is important to retain an accomplished personal injury law firm that will fight for you. Insurance companies are businesses. The insurance company, as a business, collects as many premiums as possible and pays out as few claims as possible. Insurance companies have teams of experts, lawyers and claim adjustors who are trained to minimize and deny your claim. Dealing with insurance companies can be intimidating – they may inundate you with a lot of questions and pressure you into accepting a settlement when you’re still trying to recover from your injuries. Remember that the claims adjustor – and the company he or she works for – has an interest that differs from yours. They want to pay you the minimal amount of damages, regardless of how much compensation you may need. Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. knows how to work with and against insurance companies, and we hope to successfully settle your personal injury case. Q: Why should I use your firm instead of my family lawyer? A: Your personal injury case should be properly handled. You should employ an experienced personal injury attorney who exclusively handles these kinds of cases. Your family attorney may not have the expertise and the resources to handle these types of cases. Our firm has the experience to get you the money you deserve. Q: Why choose a firm that concentrates only in personal injury law? A: We live in an age of specialization. Lawyers who concentrate on only personal injury law are able to focus on new developments and technology specific to the needs of their clients. Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. devotes 100% of our professional activities to all of the many types of cases involving personal injury. Q: What should I do if a lawyer I don’t know approaches me? A: You should carefully decide who to trust with your case. We caution against hiring an unknown lawyer who approaches or contacts you, including anyone claiming to be acting on some unknown lawyer’s behalf. You want to select a firm that has experience in personal injury litigation. The firm of Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. was founded in 1983. Since then, we only handle cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, accidents, medical malpractice, torts and negligence. Q: Why should I hire experienced Personal Injury Lawyer? A: You want your own lawyer to protect your rights and maximize your claim. Victims benefit from having an experienced personal injury law firm on their side. Like it or not, the other side’s insurance company is your adversary, trained at minimizing your claim. Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. will deal with the insurance company and all legal matters, allowing you to concentrate on getting your health and life back in shape. We go the “extra mile” to make certain that you obtain all the compensation to which you are entitled for your injuries. If you or a family member has been injured and would like to know more about your rights, contact the personal injury attorneys at Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for a free case evaluation. Q: How can I afford to pay for an attorney? A: The Law Office of Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney fee and case expenses are deducted from the settlement or award at the conclusion of your case. There are no hidden costs. We invest our time and money in pursuing your case, because we believe in our clients and our ability to win cases. If we agree to handle your case, you pay us absolutely nothing until you are awarded a settlement, and then your payment only comes out of that settlement award. We receive no attorney fee unless and until your case monies are received. Q: Is there any charge or fee to discuss my case with a lawyer? A: No. The first consultation with our law firm, whether by phone or in person, is always free. Then, we will be speaking with you throughout the progress of your case. Our fee is never affected by how many times we talk, or by how long we spend talking with you. Q: What are your fees? A: We get paid only after we obtain compensation for you for your injuries. Our fee is deducted from the case proceeds after your case successfully ends. This is called a contingency fee, because our fee is contingent upon getting money for you. If there is no recovery, there is no lawyer fee. Your initial consultation is always free. Contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for your free case evaluation. Q: Me pueden ayudar si solamente hablo Español? Can you help me if I speak only Spanish? A: Sí, nuestro personal profesional habla Español. Yes, our professional staff speaks Spanish. Q: Can you help me if I do not speak legalese? A: Yes, we avoid legalese. Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. understands that we owe to you, at all times, a full and clear explanation of your case. Q: When is the best time to hire an attorney? A: The best time to hire an attorney is as soon as possible. If your attorney can promptly start gathering evidence, such as accident reports and witness statements, the likelihood of success is improved. The other side’s insurance company lawyers and claims staff do not wait to start working to defeat your case. In car crash cases, the other side’s insurance company might send over an adjuster to take pictures that do not show the full extent of the damage to a vehicle. Our investigator will take photographs that properly document the extent of your damages. In addition, there are time limits such as Statutes of Limitations, with very short time limits for filing a notice of claim for cases against a city or municipality. You must act quickly to preserve your rights. You do not need to complete medical treatment before contacting a lawyer. You do not need to complete any paperwork before contacting a lawyer. You do not need to get the police report before contacting a lawyer. The sooner you call us … the sooner we can help you. Q: What if my injury prevents me from coming to your office? A: Our Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island, NY offices are located near public transportation. But, if you are unable to come to us, we can meet you at your home, hospital or rehabilitation facility. Q: How much is my case worth? A: All injury cases are different. There are many factors that are involved in determining the value of a case. These would include: the severity of your injuries; scarring; broken bones; the length of time of your total and/or partial disability; how much time was missed from work; how much time was missed from school; the amount of your medical bills; whether or not there are permanent injuries; whether additional or future surgery is expected; expected future medical expenses and/or life support costs; emotional and psychological trauma; loss of consortium; loss of services, which is a derivative cause of action belonging to the spouse of an injured or incapacitated accident victim. Juries evaluating cases also look at other factors. Skilled personal injury attorneys can minimize unfair award reductions by dealing with matters beginning with jury selection all the way through closing arguments, reminding jurors of their sworn obligation to give fair compensation. A case’s worth often correlates to how much you are willing to trust your attorney. Most personal injury lawsuits settle. Some cases go to trial. You need to feel confident that your personal injury attorney can achieve the right settlement or decision from a judge or jury; otherwise you may never feel that you obtained what your case is worth. So, the value of your case depends on many factors, such as those listed above. Which is why you should probably avoid a lawyer who will tell you during an early discussion what your case is worth. Such an attorney could not have possibly given adequate consideration to all of the factors that can drastically change the value of a claim. Q: Why do bad things sometimes happen to good people? A: We cannot answer this question, because we really don’t know why. We do believe that it is important that you choose the right law firm. We offer compassionate, energetic and knowledgeable representation. Contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. for a free consultation. The sooner you call us … the sooner we can help you reset the scales of justice. Q: Do I have to spend a lot of time working on my case? A: The good news about hiring an experienced personal injury law firm is that you won’t spend a lot of time working on your case. The attorneys take care of your case while you focus on your medical recovery. Keep us updated on any changes in status, and forward to us any relevant paperwork you receive. Your personal injury attorney handles all communications with the insurance companies, as well as most of the litigation activity such as court appearances. If your presence is necessary for depositions or insurance company medical exams, those appearances can be scheduled at your convenience. We understand that you want to focus on living your life as normally as possible. Q: Will I be kept informed about my case? A: You will be informed about the ongoing case status. We encourage our clients to speak with us whenever they would like an update regarding their case. Q: What should I do when I have a question? A: We are interested in your questions and want to hear from you. If we are in court when you call, you will first speak to a member of our professional staff. If you still have a question, a lawyer — usually the firm’s founding member, Paul Oliveri — will contact you to answer all of your questions. Q: Will my case be settled without my approval? A: No. We will discuss valid settlement offers with you, and no settlement offer will be accepted without your approval. Q: Will my case go to trial? A: Your leverage against an insurance company is your right to take your case to a jury, but most cases do not go to trial. Sometimes it is necessary to exercise that leverage in order to get the insurance companies to take your claim seriously. If necessary and in your best interest, Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. will bring your case to trial. We litigate and prepare your case as if it is going to trial, so that the other side understands our belief in your case and our commitment to obtaining the full compensation you deserve. This strategic approach usually results in your case being settled without the additional cost and time of a trial. When the time is right, we meet with you to discuss the available options. We look out for your best interests, and never settle without your consent. Q: How long will my case take? A: We aggressively pursue your case, fighting for the full compensation you deserve. The time it takes to bring your case to a successful conclusion depends on many circumstances. Since we do not collect our fee until the end of the case, we are always aiming to resolve your case as soon as possible. At the same time, of course, we must balance this with the goal of maximizing the amount of your financial compensation. It is important to allow injuries to stabilize before beginning serious settlement negotiations, so that the consequences of a serious injury are taken into account. Examples include the need for future surgery and medical treatment, permanent scarring and ongoing rehabilitation. Some cases are resolved more quickly through alternative forms of dispute resolution such as Mediation. We will discuss all available options with you. Q: What if I already have a lawyer for my case? A: If you are unhappy with your current attorney for any reason and want Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. to be your lawyers, it is very easy to do so. We are often honored by clients who justifiably want Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. to take over their case. Our Civil Justice system gives everyone the right to have legal representation of their choosing, permitting our firm to step in and take over at almost any stage of your case. In most cases, we take over the case and promptly reimburse your current lawyer for expenses; and, after the successful conclusion of your case, the old law firm receives a portion of the attorney fee in recognition of the work performed before Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. came into the picture. This apportion does not involve your percentage of the award. Only one contingency attorney fee is paid. Changing attorneys does not change the amount of the attorney fee, and the amount will be the same as if you had originally hired Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. You incur no extra costs or additional fee for exercising your right to change attorneys. The process of changing attorneys has been compared to the way you can change banks or change doctors. Your records will be transferred from your present lawyer to our firm. We do not suggest that you switch to a new law if you are satisfied with your current lawyer. If you are not happy, however, contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. to discuss the facts and circumstances of your claim. The consultation is free. The sooner you call us … the sooner we can help you. Q: What if I don’t live in New York? A: This is not a problem. Many of our clients are from out of state, including Canada and other countries. This usually happens because our client was injured as a New York visitor or suffered a tourist accident. We can communicate by e-mail, postal mail, fax and phone. You are, of course, invited to visit us; but we can often handle your case without you having to return to New York. If you do need to return, for depositions or for trial, we can arrange things with your convenience in mind. Q: Why OLIVERI & SCHWARTZ, P.C. A: Because: You deserve experienced, compassionate counsel. You deserve an aggressive law firm that stands up for your rights, consistently move your case forward towards a successful conclusion. You deserve lawyers who will treat you like family. You deserve a law firm that has been recognized by MARTINDALE-HUBBELL as PREEMINENT LAWYERS in the practice of Medical Malpractice Law, Premises Liability Law and Personal Injury Law, an honor bestowed upon only 5% of our nation’s lawyers. You deserve a law firm that – since 1983 and going strong – has proven results. You deserve a law firm that is respected, trusted and available to you throughout the litigation of your case, honestly discussing the possible options and outcomes of your personal injury suit. Call us today at 800-427-9546 for help and let us put over 34 years of New York personal injury experience in your corner.