General Claim FAQs

How do I know if I have a case?

There are many factors that are considered when determining whether an injured person has right to sue for money damages.

The first factor that must be evaluated is how the accident occurred. Someone must be at fault for causing the accident. One may be at fault for an accident under a variety of theories such as the failure to use reasonable care when driving or violating a safety law or defectively designing a product or failing to provide a safe premises. In order to determine whether someone is at fault for the accident, we must investigate the case which may involve visiting the scene, obtaining witness statements, hiring and consulting with expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists, engineers, architects and doctors, and researching the applicable law.

After we consider how the accident occurred and determine if someone can be held accountable for causing the accident, we must evaluate your damages. Damages fall into two basic categories – economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include items like medical expenses, lost wages, lost fringe benefits and out of pocket expenses such as the cost of hiring someone to perform services in your place. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life such as the loss of the ability to perform daily tasks, to participate in the activities which were part of your life before the injury and to experience the pleasures of life. All these items must be reviewed in order to determine if an injured person has a case and whether it should be pursued.

If you would like to discuss your potential case, the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP:

– Is available 24 hours a day.

– Offers free case evaluations.

– Will visit you at home or in the hospital.

Call us toll free at 1800LAW1010 (1-800-529-1010) or use the form on the right to email us and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Disclaimer: Prior Results Cannot and Do Not Guarantee or Predict a Similar Outcome With Respect to Any Future Matter, Including Yours, In Which a Lawyer or Law Firm May Be Retained.

How do I receive compensation for my injuries?

Once you hire Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP, we go to work for you to make a claim for the injuries and damages you suffered as a result of the accident. The claim may be resolved by reaching a settlement with the negligent party’s insurance company. If a settlement is not reached, then a jury will decide who caused the accident and the amount of compensation that you deserve.

Either way, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP only gets paid if we are successful in recovering money for you. Our legal fee is contingent, which means we only earn a fee if we are able to collect money damages for you. Our one-third contingency fee (33 1/3%) is calculated after deduction of the costs associated with pursuing your case.  If there is no recovery, no legal fee will be charged for our services.

Disclaimer: In The Absence of a Recovery, No Legal Fee Will Be Charged. Contingent Fee Rate is Computed After Deduction of Costs, Disbursements and Other Expenses of Litigation.

Why do I need a lawyer?

If you have been involved in an accident and suffered personal injuries, you should retain a lawyer to protect your legal rights. All personal injury cases have filing deadlines known as statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations acts as an expiration date. A lawsuit must be commenced before the statute of limitations expires or the injured person forever loses their right to sue. In some cases, there is an additional requirement that a notice of claim be served shortly after the accident. This notice must be served to preserve an injured person’s right to commence a lawsuit in the future.

Applications for benefits such as medical expense coverage and lost wage reimbursement may also have short filing deadlines. Some deadlines are 30 days or less. Since there are so many deadlines that may apply to a personal injury case, each claim must be individually evaluated to ensure that the injured person’s right to make a claim is protected.

Most insurance policies require that the insurance company be given notice of the injury claim. Therefore, it is important to identify all of the possible insurance policies that may cover a claim so that timely notice may be given.

For all of these reasons, you should retain a lawyer to protect your legal rights. We at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP are dedicated to helping those injured as a result of negligence.

If you have been injured, contact us and we will immediately begin working for you to protect your legal rights.

  • We are available 24 hours a day.
  • We offer free case evaluations.
  • We will visit you at home or in the hospital.

Call us toll free at 1800LAW1010 (1-800-529-1010).

Who pays my medical bills and lost wages?

The answer to this question depends on the type of accident that caused your injuries and which insurance policies may be available to pay your expenses. There are many different types of insurance policies that may provide benefits in the event of an accident. For example, no-fault insurance covers medical expenses and pays a lost wage benefit if someone is injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Workers’ compensation insurance is available if someone is injured during the course of their employment. New York State disability insurance provides a lost wage benefit under certain circumstances. There are other types of disability policies which may also cover an injured person. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Some liability policies provide coverage to pay for medical expenses. There are also other benefit plans such as private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid which may provide coverage under certain circumstances.

Each case must be carefully evaluated to determine which benefits are available to an injured person. Once you retain Martin, Harding & Mazzotti LLP, we will assist you in determining which insurance policies are available to pay your medical bills and lost wages, and we will help you apply for those benefits.

Can I recover money damages for pain and suffering?

The law in the State New York permits you to make a claim for money damages for conscious pain and suffering. However, there may be many elements that you need to prove in order to establish that you are entitled to compensation. For example, in a motor vehicle accident case, you need to prove that you suffered an injury that is “serious” as defined by the New York State Insurance Law. This is why it is important to hire an attorney to pursue the case on your behalf.

How long will my case take?

A number of factors determine how long a case takes. Before your case can be resolved, we must know the full extent of your damages. This cannot be determined until you have completed your medical treatment and reached maximum medical improvement. We need to know from your doctors how much and how long the injuries will affect you. Only then can we evaluate your case and try to resolve it. If the case cannot be settled, then the case will be presented to a jury to determine who is at fault for the accident and the amount of your monetary damages.

How much should I settle for? Will my case go to trial?

We will advise you whether we believe a settlement offer is fair or if we recommend proceeding to trial. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to accept a settlement offer including the amount of the offer, the likelihood of obtaining a lower or higher award at trial, the expenses that will be incurred if the case goes to trial, and any reductions that may be made by the Court to the jury verdict. Only after all of these factors are considered can you determine whether to accept a settlement offer. Whether you settle your case is your call. Only you, the client, can approve and accept a settlement.

How much of my time is involved in pursuing my claim?

Once you retain Martin, Harding & Mazzotti LLP, we will pursue the claim for you. However, you will still be involved your case. We will be in frequent contact with you to discuss your medical care and treatment. Your presence may be required for meetings, medical examinations, hearings and court appearances. Of course, we will guide you through each part of the process, and keep you advised of the progress of your case.

 

Big Truck FAQs

What is a "commercial truck?"

A commercial truck, also known as a big rig, is a vehicle used by many businesses for the transport of goods and other services. Some examples of commercial trucks are eighteen-wheeler tractor trailers, tanker trucks, delivery vehicles, and other large freight trucks which all require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate. This does not include RVs.

How common are truck accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 8% of all fatal crashes and 3% of all injury and property related crashes can be attributed to commercial trucks or big rigs. To put this into perspective, in 2012, 3,921 people were killed in commercial truck collisions and another 104,000 people were injured. That is approximately 29 commercial truck accidents for every 100,000 cars on the road.

Why is an accident involving a commercial truck more likely to cause injury than one involving passenger cars?

A commercial truck is more likely to cause serious injury in an accident with a passenger car because of the significant differential in weight and size between the two vehicles.  A commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons while a passenger car weighs on average 3,000 pounds or 1.5 tons. A typical commercial truck or, big rig, is 53 feet long, 8 and a half feet wide and over 13 feet high, significantly larger than the average passenger vehicle. Due to this difference in weight and size, collisions with big rigs often have more serious outcomes.

What are the most common factors in accidents between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles?

Accidents involving commercial trucks are frequently caused by a combination of factors including; the truck’s attributes, performance capabilities, and/or driver error. Acceleration, braking, and visibility are all major factors that play into commercial truck accidents. Big rigs, tend to have much larger blind spots than a normal pickup truck or passenger car, these blind spots impede the driver’s ability to identify obstacles on the road. Passenger vehicles should not linger in a commercial truck’s blind spot or “no-zone.” Additionally, the truck driver’s overall mental and physical condition can play a factor in the accident as well. Driver inexperience, fatigue, failure to yield the right-of-way, and reckless driving can all be contributing factors.

Can I sue the truck driver's trucking company for my injuries sustained in the accident?

This depends on the employment relationship established between the truck driver and the trucking company. If this relationship is displayed, the trucking company can be held legally liable for the driver’s negligence under a legal doctrine known as “respondent superior”. However, if the truck driver is an independent contractor of a company, demonstrating the company’s liability may become more difficult. In this situation, the factor that becomes most crucial is the amount of supervision the company exercises over the driver.

Are there special laws and regulations that apply to truck drivers and their companies?

Yes, there are many federal and state regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must adhere to. For drivers, this includes traffic and civil laws such as speed limit, weight and height maximums on roadways. Also included are Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Department of Transportation regulations, which define how many hours a driver can be on the road, as well as the training and licensing requirements for drivers.

The trucking company’s insurance company contacted me. What should I do?

The first step, before talking to the insurance company, is to make sure you are protected. Contact an attorney immediately. The priority of the insurance company is to protect the interests of their company or client, not yours. Do not speak with the trucking company’s insurance company or claims adjustor without consulting an attorney. Do not sign anything without talking to your attorney.

What kind of damages can I recover?

Parties injured in a commercial truck accident as the result of a truck driver’s or other party’s negligence may recover damages for; medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, as well as compensation for disfigurement, physical impairment, and/or pain and suffering. In addition, family members of individuals killed in a commercial truck accidents are entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim seeking all of the above, as well as damages for the loss of care, companionship, services of the deceased family member and funeral expenses.

Why not just accept the insurance settlement offered by the insurance company?

Severe, life-altering or fatal injuries are common in accidents involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. A trucking company’s insurer is going to offer what they feel is the lowest reasonable amount, which often isn’t enough to cover medical expenses, lost wages, possible funeral expenses and/or pain and suffering. Consulting with an attorney can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.