If you sustain a personal injury due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled (1) to compensation for medical expenses incurred in the treatment of your injuries, (2) to recover damages for your lost wages or loss of earning capacity, (3) to a monetary amount for the pain and suffering incurred as a result of the injury, (4) to an award for the loss of consortium with your spouse or children, or (5) an award for the loss of homemaker services if you do not have a job out of the home but lose the ability to complete household responsibilities.
The insurance adjuster representing the person responsible for the injuries wants to pay you as little as possible to save the insurance company money and increase the insurance company's earnings. The adjuster will not protect your interests. We will work for you. For example, while an adjuster may tell you that you must be evaluated by their doctor, we advise against that, unless your insurance policy requires you attend such an examination. Your physician's opinion is just as valid. We will evaluate the facts surrounding your injury, obtain statements from witnesses, obtain and review all your medical reports and explain the legal theories and the process to you while we evaluate your case.
What to do if you are in an Auto Accident
- The first thing to do if you are in an accident is to stop. There is no excuse for not stopping after an accident. Check each person involved to see if anyone is injured. Call the Police, and an ambulance, if necessary.
- If a person is seriously injured, do not attempt to move him or her unless absolutely necessary. Wait for trained personnel.
- You and the other driver will need to exchange information, including names, addresses, insurance carrier and policy number, and the insurance agent's name and number. Get driver license numbers and license plate numbers.
- Take photographs of the accident scene and, if possible, the location of the cars at the accident site. Get photos of the skid marks, stop signs, and obstructions. If there is a convenience store or drug store nearby, get a disposable camera. If you cannot get a camera at the scene of the accident, take pictures of the vehicles as soon after the accident as possible. Take pictures of the injuries anyone sustained (especially bruises which may not be visible a week or so after the accident).
- If you believe that the other driver was drinking, tell the investigating officer of your suspicions. Also ask the investigating officer to list the names of the witnesses on the Police Report.
- Before they leave, obtain witnesses' names, addresses and telephone numbers. If you don't do that, it will be almost impossible to find witnesses later.
- Make a diagram of the accident, indicating the direction of travel of all cars. Put in the location and length of skid marks. Record the road conditions (light, dark, wet pavement, weather conditions).
- Obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible - check it over; if you want to clarify or correct anything in the report, go to the Police Department and insist that they allow you to make further comments on the record.
- If you have been injured, no matter how slight you think it may be at the scene of the accident, have it checked out through a qualified medical examination as soon as possible after the accident. Don't forget that the excitement and anxiety at the scene of the accident may mask some of the injuries that you sustain. And certain injuries do not show up immediately. Take a few moments to carefully assess your physical condition.
- Call your insurance agent/company and put them on notice of the accident.
- Call Mr. Hirsch to guide and represent you through this difficult time. We will help right the wrong.
- An insurance agent may contact you in the hope that you will give them a statement or settle your claim when they offer you some money at an early stage. Tell them to contact us once you have retained us, so that you won't have to deal with an expert insurance adjustor trained to twist your words and limit their payouts.
- Keep a diary containing a description of your pain, the type and amount of medication you take, the changes in your daily routine (Do you miss work? Are you unable to do household chores? Changes in socializing routines? Need household help?).
- Last of all, you may need to file a report with the Department of Transportation.
- Keep an Accident Scene Form in your car to help you in the unfortunate event of an accident. Click here to download an Accident Scene Report form, print a copy and store it in the glove compartment of your vehicle.
The purpose of the Worker's Comp Act is to provide medical care and a flow of income to people disabled at work. An injury received by the employee in the course of and arising out of the employment relationship triggers the right to receive three types of benefits: weekly indemnity payments to replace the loss of income, medical care benefits to pay the medical bills related to the injury and specific benefits for scarring, disfigurement or loss of use of a limb.
The receipt of monetary benefits is not the sole goal when we represent you. We also insist that the correct paperwork be completed and filed with the Department of Labor to insure that your employer has accepted the liability for your injury, today and into the future.
Which doctors can I treat with? Can I switch doctors? Are there benefits for disfigurement and loss of use? Can I be reimbursed for the purchase of a special bed prescribed by my doctor? What about a health club for exercise? Am I entitled to rehabilitation? Will I get my job back when I recover? All these questions may be answered depending on the facts of your case. Mr. Hirsch can answer these questions for you and advise you of your rights and obligations under the Workers' Comp Act. And in most cases, the employer, or its insurance carrier, pays our fee.
How much will I receive?
For full time employees, the amount of weekly benefits you receive is based upon your earnings during the 13 weeks immediately before you are disabled or injured, plus the overtime that you may have earned during the 52 weeks before your injury . Your rate will be 75% of your "spendable base wages, earnings or salary" during that time period. The "spendable base" changes each year, is dependent upon the number of dependents that you have, and it is intended to be similar to your net income. The amount that you receive will therefore be less that your prior take home pay.
For part time employees, the period used to determine your rate is 26 weeks instead of 13 weeks.
Do I get benefits for my dependents?
While your are considered totally disabled, you are entitled to $15.00 per week for each dependent.
Will my benefits increase?
For those who are totally disabled for more than a year, a Cost of Living Adjustment may increase your benefits annually as of May 1 of each year.
Are there any obligations that I have?
Yes - For example, your must attend each medical examination scheduled by your employer / insurer. You must report all earnings, including wages or salary for all services you perform while receiving worker's comp benefits. Failure to do so may be grounds for termination of benefits as well as possible criminal liability. Under certain conditions, one may have an obligation to return to work at a lighter position, or even seek alternate employment.
Am I entitled to other Benefits besides weekly payments?
Yes. Your employer / insurer must pay for all reasonable and related medical expenses including medication. If you have a scar or other disfigurement from an injury, you are also entitled to additional benefits. An employer / insurer must also reimburse an employee for transportation costs to and from the office of any medical examiner requested by the employer or an impartial examiner appointed by the Court.
When I recover, can I return to my regular job?
Yes, within certain time frames and subject to certain conditions, an injured employee does have a right to reinstatement to his/her former position of employment upon demand for reinstatement. An employee's right ends 10 days after he/she has been notified by the employer / insurer that the treating doctor has allowed the employee to return to work, or 52 weeks after the anniversary of the date of injury.
Social Security Disability/SSI
For those persons who are totally disabled, benefits are available from the Social Security Administration. One must be unable to perform any substantial gainful activity in the regional or national economy unless one is over the age of 55 when the regulations focus on an inability to perform past work. There are several methods to prove this.
Mr. Hirsch will obtain a full history from you including all of the different types of work performed within the past 15 years and we will obtain and review your medical records in preparation for your hearing.
There are two types of benefits available from the Administration. If you have worked and paid into the system through FICA withholdings, then you may be eligible for SSDI benefits; however, if you have not worked the sufficient period of time (5 out of the past 10 years), then you may be eligible for SSI benefits if you also meet the financial guidelines.
In order to obtain benefits, one's claim is evaluated by a state agency and if the claim is denied twice, a hearing is scheduled.
How do I pay for my lawyer?
No recovery, no fee. It's that simple.
We do not charge a fee for representing you unless we are successful. Personal Injury cases are customarily handled on a contingency fee basis. Workers' Compensation fees are established by the Court and usually paid by the employer/insurer; if there is a full settlement, then the Workers' Compensation Act allows a fee of up to twenty percent (20%) of the settlement, which must be approved by the Court. For Social Security and SSI claims our fee must be approved by the Social Security Administration and is twenty-five (25%) percent of the back due benefits you are awarded, with a maximum of $5300. In all cases, costs incurred by us while prosecuting any matter on your behalf are to be reimbursed by you.