Click on a category to the right to view frequently asked questions or scroll down to review all questions.
If you have any questions, feel free to call our firm at (661) 747-9100. Thank you!
What types of damages could I be entitled to?
If you suffered injuries due to a car accident caused by another’s negligence, there are two main types of damages that you may recover. The first is compensatory damages. Compensatory damages, also known as monetary damages, are the most common form of damages in a personal injury claim.
Compensatory damages can include:
- Property damage
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional duress
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What if there are multiple injured people in my accident?Your Bodily Injury (BI) Policy displays two numbers, which are respective of the amounts that can be recovered following an accident – the first being the number of damages that can be claimed per person, the second being the total paid per accident if more than one injured party is making a claim. For example, if your bodily injury policy is $25,000/$50,000, then one injured party can recover up to $25,000, while all of the people injured in the accident can recover up to $50,000 collectively. If there are four injured people in the crash, they will be required to divide the $50,000 provided by your insurance.
What should I do after an accident?Your immediate course of action following an accident should be to ensure your health and wellness. Check for injuries and even if they’re not immediately visible, visit a doctor. Injuries such as whiplash and herniated discs may be present but not instantly felt, especially as your body is experiencing a rush of adrenaline following the accident. Once you address your injuries, dial 911 to report the accident to the police. As police, medical personnel, and roadside assistance arrive at the scene of the accident, try to attain photos of the circumstances of the accident. Items such as road conditions, traffic signs, and any damages to the vehicles should be documented. It is important to keep documentation of these factors in order to build a factual personal injury claim. After an accident, refrain from giving a statement to the insurance company of the at-fault individual. They could use your words against you. Instead, call a qualified attorney to discuss your options.
What kinds of mistakes can amount to medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed because a doctor (or other medical professionals) failed to perform competently under accepted standards of medical care. In order to prove medical malpractice, it must be shown that the doctor was negligent in some way -- that is, not reasonably skillful and careful in treating the patient.
A doctor's negligence might be established by proof that the doctor:
- failed to diagnose (or misdiagnosed) an illness or condition
- did not follow the proper medical procedure in treating a patient, or
- forgot to warn a patient of known risks of a procedure or prescription drug.
There are other elements that must be established in a medical malpractice claim -- including the existence of a doctor-patient relationship and damages linked to a resulting injury.
I was injured because a nurse gave me the wrong drug. Who can I sue?
Nursing malpractice happens when a nurse does not fulfill duties in a way that a normally competent nurse in the same situation would -- and that negligence injures the patient. As in medical malpractice, however, not every mistake or mishap rises to the level of negligence.
If a nurse commits malpractice while caring for a patient, hospitals are often (but not always) on the hook. A hospital may be legally and financially responsible for a nurse's negligence if:
- the nurse was an employee of the hospital
- the nurse was fulfilling a job duty when the patient was injured, and
- a non-employee doctor did not maintain proper control over the nurse.
An attending doctor may also be responsible for the nurse's actions if:
- the doctor was present, and
- the doctor had control to prevent the nurse's negligence.
To learn more about what types of actions constitute nursing negligence, and when the hospital or attending doctor is responsible, call Piper & Piper: Trial Lawyers today.
If I had known the risks associated with my surgery, I wouldn't have agreed to the procedure. Can I sue my doctor?
It depends on what those risks were. Doctors must fully inform their patients about serious risks involved in any proposed medical procedure or treatment so that the patient can decide whether to go forward, in light of the danger. In both medical and legal terminology, this is called "informed consent." However, doctors don't have to inform patients about every single risk involved in a procedure, only the important ones.
In determining what a doctor must disclose in terms of the risk linked to a certain treatment, states generally use one of two standards:
- Would another competent doctor have disclosed the risk?
- Would a normal patient have made a different decision if the risk was disclosed?
In some situations (like emergencies), a doctor is not required to get informed consent before treating a patient.
What is not covered by Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation insurance can help protect your business and employees in the event of a covered loss, but some situations take place on the job that is not covered by workman's comp insurance. These vary from state to state and are typically determined by different state laws.
Here are a few examples of what most workers’ compensation plans do not cover:
- Injuries received by a fight that an employee started
- Injuries an employee sustains due to being intoxicated in the workplace
- Injuries an employee gets intentionally
- Emotional injuries that are not accompanied by a physical workplace trauma
What does Workers’ Compensation cover?Another frequently asked question includes the coverage of workers’ compensation insurance. Hartford’s workers’ compensation insurance helps cover medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing care costs, as well as funeral expenses if an employee is hurt, becomes sick, or dies as a result of a work-related accident or illness.
What is Workers’ Compensation?Workers' compensation insurance helps protect businesses and their employees from financial loss when an employee is hurt on the job or gets sick from a work-related cause. Workers’ compensation is also known as workman’s comp, workman’s compensation, and workers’ comp. These terms all mean the same thing and help protect workers from potentially devastating costs of work-related injuries. It also helps protect employers from potential damages that could cripple a business based on workers’ comp claims. Learn more about what is workers’ compensation insurance.
Who determines how assets are divided in a divorce?Generally, spouses are free to divide their property as they see fit in what is called a "marital settlement agreement," which is a contract between the husband and the wife that divides property and debts and resolves other issues of the divorce. Although many divorces begin with a high level of acrimony, a substantial majority are settled without the need for a judge to decide property or other issues. However, if the division of property cannot be settled, then the court must make the determination. Laws vary from state to state. As a starting point, many states allow both parties to keep their "nonmarital" or "separate" property.
What are the legal grounds for obtaining a divorce?The grounds for divorce depend on the state and may be based on no-fault or fault. A no-fault divorce is available in some form in all 50 states; many states also have fault-based grounds as an additional option. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither the husband nor the wife officially blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Common bases for no-fault divorce are "irreconcilable differences," "irretrievable breakdown" or "incompatibility." Another common basis for no-fault divorce is that the parties have lived separately for a certain period of time (varies from state to state) with the intent that the separation is permanent. The list of grounds for a fault-based divorce may include adultery, physical cruelty, mental cruelty, attempted murder, desertion, habitual drunkenness, use of addictive drugs, insanity, impotency, and infection of one’s spouse with venereal disease.
I am getting divorced. Do I need an attorney?It ordinarily is a good idea to consult with a lawyer about major life events or changes, such as divorce. S/he will protect your rights, as well as the rights of your children. S/he keeps current with the laws in your state concerning marriage, divorce, marital property, child custody and visitation, and family support.
Do grandparents have visitation rights to their children?
Traditionally, the common law denied grandparents visitation with a child over a parent's objections. But since 1965, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation enabling grandparents to petition the courts for visitation rights with grandchildren. The laws do not make granting of visitation rights automatic—they merely give grandparents the right to ask for a visitation order. Many states permit only grandparents to petition for visitation, but some have extended the right to other relatives, such as great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings, stepparents, and even non-relatives with whom the child has a close relationship. In these and other areas, state law governs.
Most commonly, a grandparent (or other permitted third party) may petition for visitation after the death of a parent or upon divorce of the parents. Some statutes allow petitions when a parent is incarcerated when a child is born out of wedlock, and when the child has previously lived with the grandparent.
How do courts determine who gets custody of children in a divorce?If the parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the courts decide custody based on "the best interests of the child." Determining the child’s best interests involves many factors, no one of which is the most important factor.