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Do I Have Grounds for a Brain Injury Claim?

Do I Have Grounds for a Brain Injury Claim?Because the brain plays a role in almost every physical and psychological function, head trauma has the potential to cause catastrophic damage. Even a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have a wide-ranging—and lasting—impact on everyday life.

If you were forced to adapt to life with TBI because someone failed to act with reasonable care, you may be entitled to compensation for the associated damages. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if you may have grounds for a brain injury claim:

1. Did Another Party Breach the Duty of Care?

Negligence, which is characterized by a breach of the duty of care, is the basis of most successful brain injury claims. If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless driver, for example, you may have grounds for a claim because all motorists have a duty to follow the rules of the road.

Intentional harm could also warrant legal action. If you were violently attacked, you may be able to sue the perpetrator—and/or the owner or occupier of the property where the incident occurred—for damages. Sometimes, a brain injury claim can be brought on the basis of strict liability, which means a finding of negligence or intent is not necessary to impose liability.

2. Did I Sustain a TBI as a Direct Result of the Other Party’s Breach of the Duty of Care?

There must be a direct link between the liable party’s actions (or inaction) and the injury you suffered. If you slipped and fell on a wet floor at the grocery store, for example, but surveillance footage indicates that you never actually hit your head, it will be hard to prove liability for traumatic brain injury.

Proving causation could also pose a challenge if you happen to have a history of concussions. If you played football in high school and college, for example, and you later sustained TBI in a motor-vehicle collision, the other driver’s insurer may assert that your symptoms existed before the crash. In this scenario, a seasoned brain injury lawyer may still be able to establish causation using your medical records and medical expert deposition.

3. Did I Suffer Actual Damages?

It is sometimes possible to recover from a mild TBI, or concussion, with no permanent damage in a matter of days. In order to have grounds for a brain injury claim, you must have incurred measurable damages, which might include the costs associated with:

  • Emergency medical care;
  • Ongoing rehabilitation;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Property repairs;
  • Alternative transportation;
  • Home and vehicle modifications;
  • Household services; and
  • Child care.

Under some circumstances, New York also allows for the recovery of non-economic damages like mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, physical impairment, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

Discuss Your Claim with a Brain Injury Attorney in Long Island

If you sustained a TBI through no fault of your own, contact WeitzPascale to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our firm has earned a 10.0 rating from Avvo and an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

We will use all the resources at our disposal to help you pursue a fair recovery. Call 516-280-4716 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a brain injury lawyer in Long Island.

Can I File a Bicycle Accident Claim If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Can I File a Bicycle Accident Claim If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?Because cycling alongside moving traffic is inherently dangerous, it’s advisable to don a helmet before doing so. That does not mean, however, that people who opt to forgo head protection and end up sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are barred from recovering compensation.

If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise negligent motorist while cycling without a helmet and you sustained a TBI in the process, you may still file a claim. Whether it will actually yield a payout, though, will depend on the circumstances.

Under New York’s pure comparative fault rule, the defendant’s liability is offset by the plaintiff’s own liability. If the defendant can prove that your injury and the resulting damages would not be as severe had you been wearing a helmet, they may be able to shift at least a percentage of fault to you.

There are a number of strategies your attorney can use to counter the comparative negligence defense. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, you should still schedule a free consultation with a lawyer to discuss your options.

How Can I Strengthen My Brain Injury Claim If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

After evaluating the situation, a strategic brain injury attorney can help you gather the evidence needed to strengthen your claim. Such evidence may include:

  • Dash cam footage of the accident;
  • The official police report;
  • Toxicology reports;
  • Cell phone records;
  • Eyewitness deposition;
  • Deposition from accident reconstruction experts;
  • Diagnostic images; and
  • Other medical records.

Your lawyer may also consult with various medical specialists such as neurologists, psychologists, and physiatrists when building your case. These experts can provide deposition regarding whether a standard bike helmet would have actually reduced the severity of your injury and its associated symptoms.

There are a number of studies that might be referenced to bolster your case. In one study, for example, helmets appeared to reduce the risk of head injury by between 63 and 88 percent. While such statistics are promising, they highlight the fact even CPSC-certified bicycle helmets are not foolproof.

Seeking prompt medical care and following your doctor’s orders will also contribute to the strength of your case. Living with TBI can be challenging and typically calls for ongoing treatment.

Regardless of how busy you are, make sure to attend all follow-up appointments and rehabilitative sessions. Otherwise, the defense may assert that you have failed to mitigate damages, which is another way to shift liability to you.

Speak with a Long Island Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

If you sustained a traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident, turn to WeitzPascale to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our law firm has earned a 10.0 rating from Avvo and an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

We will use cutting-edge technology, first-rate experts, and proven legal strategies to represent your best interests while helping you pursue the compensation you need to move on with life. Call 516-280-4716 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Long Island.

What Damages Might Be Recoverable After an SCI?

What Damages Might Be Recoverable After an SCI?Because of their catastrophic nature, spinal cord injuries (SCIs) tend to cost a veritable fortune in both direct and indirect expenses. If you suffer high tetraplegia, for example, which is characterized by at least some loss of function in all four limbs, you can expect to incur more than $1 million in medical care and living expenses during the first 12 months alone.

While injuries that occur lower on the spinal cord typically cost less to treat, the resulting losses are still enough to threaten the average family’s financial security. If another party caused your injury and you can gather sufficient evidence of liability, however, you may be entitled to compensation for the following damages:

1. Healthcare Expenses

Spinal cord injuries are inherently expensive to treat because they require ongoing care. In addition to the costs associated with life-saving interventions, like ambulance fees and emergency department bills, injured parties usually require extensive rehabilitation, daily physical therapy, prescription medication, mobility aids, and medical equipment.

2. Lost Income

Minor spinal cord damage can keep you out of work for several months, while extensive damage can keep you from returning to work at all. Fortunately, New York allows for the recovery of lost wages, lost benefits, and loss of earning capacity. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to recover compensation for vocational training for a new career that accommodates any permanent limitations.

3. Property Damage

If the cause of injury damaged your personal property—if you were hurt in a motor-vehicle collision, for example—you may seek funds for all associated property repairs or replacement.

4. Other Objectively Verifiable Damages

While recovering from your spinal cord injury—and perhaps even after reaching maximum medical improvement—you may need help with housekeeping, meal preparation, child care, pet care, errands, and transportation. If you sustained permanent paralysis, you may also need to modify your home and vehicle to make everyday life more manageable. Thankfully, all such expenses might be recoverable in the state of New York.

5. Pain and Suffering

Non-economic damages like pain and suffering may not be tangible, but for injured parties, they’re every bit as real as the economic damages listed above. Regardless of the severity of your SCI, you will likely experience physical pain, emotional suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life, all of which may be recoverable as non-economic damages in successful personal injury claims.

6. Punitive Damages

You may be entitled to a punitive award if the liable party’s conduct constituted wanton recklessness, willful negligence, maliciousness, fraud, a high degree of immorality, a criminal indifference to civil obligations, or a conscious disregard for your rights, health, or safety.

Call 516-280-4716 for a Free Consultation with a Long Island Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love sustained an SCI because another party failed to act with reasonable care, turn to WeitzPascale. Our compassionate team takes great pride in helping accident victims and their families pursue the compensation they need to move on with life. Call 516-280-4716 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a spinal cord injury lawyer in Long Island.

What Damages Might Be Recoverable After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

What Damages Might Be Recoverable After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Everyone bumps their head on occasion. Most of the time, such accidents cause little more than soft tissue damage like superficial bruising at the site. If you experienced a forceful impact, violent jolt, or penetrating wound, however, you may be living with traumatic brain injury (TBI). While mild TBI like concussions rarely cause permanent damage, moderate to severe trauma can result in lasting issues, including both physical disabilities and cognitive impairment.

In extreme cases, injured parties aren’t even able to earn a living wage. What’s more, they incur hefty medical bills year after year, making it virtually impossible to regain their financial footing.

If another party is to blame for your TBI, though, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. And if your claim proves successful, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages:

1. Economic Damages

Because TBI patients typically require ongoing care in the form of intensive rehabilitation, their healthcare expenses tend to add up fast. The indirect costs that stem from getting hurt, such as lost wages, can also be substantial. As such, settlements and verdicts in brain injury cases are usually significant.

Fortunately, a variety of economic damages are recoverable under tort law. Depending on the circumstances, you may seek compensation for the following TBI-related damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Occupational, speech, and physical therapy;
  • Psychological counseling;
  • Replacement services;
  • Home care;
  • Lost income and benefits;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Vocational training;
  • Home and/or vehicle modifications needed to accommodate any permanent disabilities;
  • Property repairs; and
  • Legal fees.

2. Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are losses that, while intangible, are every bit as real as the economic losses incurred by injured parties. In brain injury cases, non-economic damages can be so significant that they make up the bulk of the settlement or verdict.

A resourceful personal injury attorney can ensure your claim accounts for all applicable non-economic damages, which may include:

  • Emotional distress;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Loss of enjoyment in life;
  • Scarring and disfigurement; and
  • Pain and suffering.

3. Punitive Damages

In some scenarios, personal injury claimants are entitled to punitive damages in addition to the standard compensatory damages. You may be able to recover a punitive award if the party responsible for your TBI acted with complete disregard for your health or safety; however, you’ll have to present clear evidence of willful and wanton negligence in order to make a case for punitive damages.  

Speak with a Long Island Brain Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one sustained a TBI, and the aftermath is threatening your family’s financial security, turn to WeitzPascale. Our compassionate team understands the devastating toll that brain damage can take on both injured parties and their loved ones. Call 516-280-4716 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a brain injury lawyer in Long Island.

How to Help a Loved One Cope with a Spinal Cord Injury

How to Help a Loved One Cope with a Spinal Cord Injury

When a loved one sustains a catastrophic injury like spinal cord damage, witnessing the aftermath isn’t easy. Of course, actually living with the injury is even harder, so family members are usually inclined to help however they can. 

If your relative is recovering from a spinal cord injury (SCI), you may be eager to do your part. Upon learning about the uphill battle he or she faces, though, it’s natural to feel powerless. This is especially true when the prognosis includes permanent paralysis.

Regardless of your loved one’s odds of making a full recovery, there are a number of ways you can help him or her cope with both the physical limitations and psychological ramifications of his or her condition. If you’re unsure how to start, here are some of the most effective strategies for offering assistance:

1. Arrange for Counseling

Virtually everyone who sustains a life-changing injury can benefit from counseling. Even if your family member appears to be handling the situation fairly well, he or she may be struggling with loneliness, hopelessness, anxiety, or depression, all of which are perfectly normal—and relatively common—in the wake of catastrophe. Fortunately, after determining the extent of any psychological issues, a licensed professional can offer various techniques for overcoming them.

Should your loved one be resistant to seeing someone, eliminate all the hurdles of doing so. For example, you can take it upon yourself to find a specialist who will accept his or her insurance, schedule the appointments, and then provide transportation to and from the sessions.  

2. Get out of the House

Once your relative’s condition stabilizes, don’t let him or her stay cooped up in the house all day. With the right mobility devices, you can take him or her on all kinds of outings. Even something as simple as spending time in nature could provide a host of benefits, from relieving stress to combatting depression.

3. Set a Series of Goals

Help your family member set both small and large goals, and then track his or her progress in regard to achieving them. This is one of the surest ways to maintain the motivation to keep going, especially on days when even the best possible outcome looks bleak or the situation in general feels unbearable. Upon reaching each milestone, help your loved one identify a new goal so he or she will always have something to work toward.

Discuss Your Case with a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in Long Island

If your loved one sustained an SCI because another party failed to act with reasonable care, contact WeitzPascale to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our resourceful team will help you identify all responsible parties, gather evidence of liability, and fight for a fair settlement.

Our law firm has earned a 10.0 rating from Avvo and an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Call 516-280-4716 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a spinal cord injury lawyer in Long Island.

How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

If you were hurt at the hands of someone else, you’re probably wondering whether taking legal action is even worth your time. While there’s no way to guarantee that any given claim will yield compensation, a knowledgeable attorney can help you approximate a fair settlement amount based on the facts of your case.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that could impact the potential recovery in a personal injury claim:

1. Liability

If you contributed to the accident in which you were hurt, you may have to settle for a reduced payout. New York has a pure comparative fault rule, which means the total compensation to which a plaintiff is entitled is reduced by his or her own liability.

If you were struck by a distracted driver and seriously injured, for example, but you were speeding at the time, the pure comparative fault rule could apply, depending on the circumstances. If you were deemed 25 percent liable, you would be entitled to compensation for no more than 75 percent of your damages. If you end up incurring $50,000 in losses, that means you could only recover up to $37,500.

2. Damages

Naturally, the total damages you incur will have a major influence on the potential value of your case. For injured parties in New York, recoverable damages might include:

  • Medical bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Replacement services;
  • Home and vehicle modifications; and
  • Property repairs.

Personal injury claimants may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment in life. Generally speaking, more severe injuries warrant higher compensation for these kinds of damages because such injuries have a greater impact on overall quality of life.

3. Available Coverage

It’s an unfortunate truth that personal injury payouts are often limited by the liable party’s insurance coverage. If you slipped and fell at the grocery store, for example, the insurance policy of the property owner or occupier would likely limit the amount of compensation available to you.

The insurance policy limits might not matter if the damages are relatively minor, but they can cause significant issues for claimants who incur major losses. If you have suffered significant damages, a seasoned attorney can conduct an investigation to look for other potentially liable parties from whom you can seek damages.

Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Long Island

If you sustained serious injuries because another party failed to act with reasonable care, contact WeitzPascale. We are committed to protecting the physical, emotional, and economic wellbeing of our clients.

There’s no charge for the consultation, and we accept personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. In other words, no attorneys’ fees will be charged unless we win your case through a settlement or trial verdict. Call 516-280-4716 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Long Island.

Can You Sue If You’re Partially at Fault for a Personal Injury?

It’s not uncommon for injured parties to have played a role in the accident in which they were hurt. Pedestrians often get struck while jaywalking, for example, and shoppers often slip and fall despite “Wet Floor” signs because they’re not paying attention to their surroundings.

Thankfully, shouldering a portion of fault for your injuries doesn’t automatically bar you from recovering compensation for your damages—in most states. Unless you intend to take legal action in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, or Virginia, you may be entitled to damages even if you were partially liable for the accident; however, some states bar recovery if the plaintiff’s liability reaches a certain threshold—usually 50 percent or 51 percent. These are called “modified comparative fault” states.

Fortunately, under New York’s pure comparative fault system, a plaintiff is not barred from recovery even if they were more at fault for the accident than the defendant. In fact, even if you were 99 percent at fault, you could still pursue compensation for the 1 percent of your damages for which the defendant was liable.

When a personal injury plaintiff is partially liable for their own damages, their financial recovery is reduced by their own percentage of fault. For example, if you were hurt in a slip and fall and you are deemed 25 percent liable, you can seek compensation for only 75 percent of the associated losses from the defendant. If you end up incurring $50,000 in damages, that means you could recover up to $37,500.

When Might Punitive Damages Be Available in a Personal Injury Case?

The pure comparative fault rule applies to compensatory damages, which essentially aim to make the plaintiff whole again. Such damages are composed of the economic and non-economic damages that the plaintiff incurred. Examples include:

  • Medical bills;
  • Home care;
  • Child care;
  • Domestic help;
  • Lost wages;
  • Lost earning capacity;
  • Property damage;
  • Alternative transportation;
  • Home and vehicle modifications;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Physical impairment and disfigurement; and
  • Loss of enjoyment in life.

In some cases, plaintiffs are entitled to more than just the standard compensatory damages. If the defendant’s conduct constituted malice; wanton recklessness; willful negligence; fraud; a high degree of immorality; or a conscious disregard for the plaintiff’s health, rights, or safety, the case may warrant a punitive award. Instead of reimbursing the plaintiff for his or her losses, punitive damages aim to punish the defendant and to deter such conduct in the future. If you can provide clear and convincing evidence that your injuries were caused by more than ordinary negligence, you may be entitled to a punitive award.

Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Attorney in Long Island

If you were seriously hurt because another party failed to act with reasonable care, contact WeitzPascale. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your accident, gather evidence, and help you pursue the highest payout possible. Call 516-280-4716 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Long Island.

Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

 Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?Serious injuries can make it challenging if not impossible to complete even the simplest tasks. From driving to the store to cooking for your family, errands and chores that you used to perform without a second thought can be entirely unmanageable after getting hurt.

When daily tasks are a struggle, the thought of filing a personal injury lawsuit and going to court can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the vast majority of personal injury cases do not go all the way to trial.

If you have the ability to prove liability, causation, and damages, your attorney may be able to secure a settlement through negotiations with the opposing party. If the insurance company or defendant is uncooperative, though, it might be in your best interests to file a lawsuit.

Even if a lawsuit is filed, it is still possible to reach a settlement in the early stages of litigation—before the case reaches trial. But if disputes persist through discovery and alternative dispute resolution, going to court might be the best option.

Here are a few common disputes that might send a case to trial:

1. Liability Disputes

The opposing party might refuse to accept fault, or they may challenge the percentage of liability imposed on them. This dispute is more likely to arise if you, the claimant, were partially liable, or if multiple defendants share fault.

2. Causation Disputes

If you had a preexisting medical condition that was aggravated or exacerbated by the accident, a dispute might arise regarding causation. In other words, the defense might assert that the damages you are claiming were not caused by the accident but rather by your preexisting condition.

3. Damages Disputes

The insurance company or defendant might dispute your attorney’s settlement calculations. They may argue, for example, that your lawyer has overestimated the cost of future medical care or lost wages. Your lawyer can try to mitigate and avoid such disputes by basing the settlement calculations on the relevant statutes, case law, and the facts surrounding the accident, and by gathering all available evidence of the damages you have incurred.

4. Other Disputes

You might face a dispute if you make a mistake during the proceedings. For instance, if you delay seeking medical care or disobey your doctor’s orders, the opposing party might say that you have failed to mitigate damages and, as a result, should not be compensated for 100 percent of your losses or even at all. If you post on social media, the content you publish is likely to be used against you during the course of litigation.

Call 516-280-4716 to Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney in Long Island

If you intend to file a personal injury claim in New York, turn to WeitzPascale to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our consistently superior results and excellent client testimonials demonstrate the dedication we bring to every case we handle. Call 516-280-4716 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Long Island.