You should consider hiring a personal injury attorney if you have experienced severe injuries or the death of a loved one because someone else was negligent. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on how relative fault affects your compensation, when you can expect compensation and how long your case will take.
Mitchell Proner and the legal team at Proner & Proner are dedicated to providing vigorous, client-centered advocacy to protect the best interests of our injured clients throughout New York State.
What Kind of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
- Wrongful death
- Catastrophic injuries
- Construction accidents
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workers’ compensation claims
- Premises liability
Why do I need a personal injury lawyer?
Personal injury cases are complex and require specialized knowledge and access to resources that most individuals do not have.
Legal Knowledge and Skills
Effective handling of a personal injury case requires a deep and thorough knowledge of the law that only an experienced personal injury lawyer possesses. State law governs numerous aspects of personal injury cases, including the following:
- Length of time to file
- The types of damages available
- Your rights and responsibilities
You will need the skills necessary to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement. Before you can begin this process, you must know how to determine how much compensation would be fair and reasonable.
If you cannot negotiate a sufficient settlement, litigation skills and knowledge about how to file your case will be required.
You must also be able to retrieve your medical records in their entirety and review the data. This requires knowledge of medical terminology and familiarity with how to read medical records.
Retrieving medical records can be a difficult process that is best left to experienced personal injury attorneys. It’s important to know how to legally request these records and determine whether the records you receive are complete. In many cases, an incomplete record is sent.
Medical experts are often inaccessible to unrepresented individuals, but they are crucial for corroborating your doctor’s claims and refuting claims by the opposing party.
The opposing party will invariably attempt to escape liability, even to the point of blaming you for your injuries. You will need access to forensic investigators who can gather definitive evidence to support your claim. In some cases, these investigations can reveal additional liable parties.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Most personal injury claims are paid by insurance companies with multiple years of experience handling injury claims, but most injured individuals are handling a claim for the first time.
In addition to lacking experience, being in an injured state can compromise your ability to advocate for yourself and make it difficult to appear objective.
A personal injury lawyer at Proner & Proner can ensure your rights are protected. Insurance companies have representation, and so should you.
When you are severely injured because of the careless conduct of others, insurance companies will often resort to sneaky tactics in an effort to minimize compensation. No matter what they tell you, they are not acting on your behalf. Here are five common tricks that insurance companies use to get out of giving you the compensation you deserve:
1. They pretend to be your friend.
After an accident, an insurance company’s representative, usually an adjuster, will contact you. The adjuster may seem sympathetic and helpful. They may work to gain your trust and ask you to provide a recorded statement to “help” the claim.
No matter what they say, every communication the insurance company initiates is an attempt to serve its own interests, not yours. The representative’s friendliness is a tactic to minimize your payout. This tactic has been used to induce trusting accident victims to admit fault or sign paperwork that forfeits their rights.
Insurance companies invest heavily in legal representation to protect their interests, and you should have the same protection. Ethically, insurance companies and their lawyers can no longer contact you directly once you have a lawyer.
2. They may admit their insured was at fault.
Admitting their liability in an informal conversation does not bind the insurance company to taking responsibility and offering a fair settlement. In many cases, it is a ruse to bring your guard down and get you to accept a lowball offer or make statements that harm your case.
No matter what the insurance company tells you outside of court, they may change inside the courtroom. For example, they may refuse to admit fault at all in court. They may admit fault but claim you were also at fault. They may claim you are exaggerating your injuries or that you are not injured at all.
When you hire a skilled accident lawyer, the insurance companies already know these tactics are ineffective. Even if they do attempt to employ such measures, they will be quickly shut down.
3. They take as long as possible to pay fair money on big cases.
The law requires insurance companies to set funds aside to pay out claims. These funds are known as “reserves.” These reserves are typically placed in investment accounts that accumulate value. Thus, the insurance company increases profits the longer it holds onto the reserves.
Even when they know they are liable, insurance companies pay their attorneys to stall cases by employing such maneuvers as the following:
- Claim the accident was someone else’s fault
- Claim your injuries came from a prior accident
- Claim your health issues pre-existed
- Claim you are exaggerating your symptoms
- Hire their own doctors to minimize your injuries and pay you based on these reports
You need an accident lawyer with adequate staff to move your case as quickly as possible.
4. They hire outside investigators to spy and record video.
When facing a large payout, insurance companies spy on injured plaintiffs for weeks in hopes of catching them in activities that suggest their injuries are less severe. You may have good days during which you can do more than on most days. The insurance company is hoping to capture you on video during one of these days.
Their investigators may also follow your social media in hopes of finding pictures and statements that could help their case. This information can then be used against you in settlement negotiations or court in an effort to prove that you are healthy and able to work.
The best accident lawyers encourage clients to be honest about what they can and cannot do.
5. They will make low initial offers on the claim.
Insurance companies know that people who are severely injured need money quickly. In addition to incurring significant medical expenses, many injured people are unable to work, which can threaten their living situation and create severe emotional distress.
It is not in the insurance company’s interest to make a fair first offer. They count on the injured party’s desperation and hope the party will not have the stomach to wait or keep working to get a fair offer.
The best accident lawyers explain all options to clients each time an offer is presented.
Is it worth hiring a personal injury attorney?
Recovering from a personal injury is already stressful without having to navigate the legal system and deal with the insurance company. Having a strong personal injury law firm on your side imparts peace of mind while you recover.
A study by the Insurance Research Council suggests that people injured in an automobile accident caused by the negligence of others obtain 3.5 times larger settlements when they are represented by an attorney.
How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer
When selecting a personal injury lawyer, it is important to select an attorney with experience handling your case type and a verifiable record of success. You need an attorney who will remain in close contact with you throughout the duration of your case rather than handing you off to a paralegal.
Most importantly, you need an attorney who will fight for you, even in court if that is what it takes to win you the compensation you need and deserve.
You can count on the personal injury attorneys at Proner & Proner to fight vigorously and skillfully to recover as much compensation for you as possible and as quickly as possible.
A. Stanley Proner established our firm in 1958 as a client-centered practice, and his son Mitchell Proner has continued his tradition of compassionate, fearless representation. Our attorneys are available to clients 24/7, and clients receive Mitchell Proner’s personal cell phone number. At Proner & Proner, clients are family.
Mitchell Proner knows how it feels to be severely injured because of someone else’s negligence, having suffered severe injuries himself in a motorcycle accident in 1990. This has only strengthened his resolve to provide every client with the highest caliber of representation.
The firm’s client-first policy has resulted in remarkable victories for our deserving clients, such as the following:
- $6.9 million in a lawsuit arising from a hotel fire
- $3.5 million for a client who suffered permanent injuries after falling from a New York subway
- $750,000 in a workers’ compensation case
- $315,000 for a client who fell in a supermarket
Mitchell Proner has served as president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is director emeritus of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He regularly appears as a guest legal analyst on news networks nationally and throughout the world.
When should I contact an attorney?
The New York statute of limitations can vary from two to three years depending on your type of case, but it is crucial that you do not wait until this deadline is looming before you contact an attorney.
Contacting an attorney immediately after you become injured also ensures your attorney has access to important case evidence as early as possible. Eyewitnesses can forget important details over time, and physical evidence can fade, become degraded, or go missing.
How to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You can hire an accident attorney at Proner & Proner by scheduling a free, no-obligation case review. During the consultation, we will review your evidence and determine whether your case has merit.
If we accept your case, we will advance the associated costs, and you will owe us nothing until we recover financial compensation. If we do not win, you do not pay. Contact us today to get started.