Car Accident FAQs
1. What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
First, you should seek proper medical attention. If you are able, collect all pertinent information from the other drivers (i.e. driver's license numbers, address, phone number, insurance card information, etc.). Keep a daily journal beginning with the date of the accident to document all physical and mental injuries, as well as document your view of the accident. Finally, contact Epperly & Follis, P.C. who will be your advocate. Epperly & Follis will assist you in making your claim against the other driver.
2. Who pays if I incur an injury due to an auto accident or my car is damaged?
If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy's limits. If you are not at fault, the other driver's liability insurance should pay for your car damage and personal injuries.
3. I received a personal injury as a result of hitting a pothole with my car. Who is responsible?
Damage caused by improper maintenance or repair of roads and highways may be the cause of damage to your vehicle. Generally, responsibility lies with the government agency responsible for this maintenance. If it was a pothole in a city street, the city would be responsible. However, evidence must show that the city knew or should have known of the hazard.
4. My insurance company is offering me a nice settlement. Should I take it?
No. Tell the insurance company that you will get back to them. In the meantime, contact an attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C. immediately. Oftentimes an insurance company will offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you will not sue them. Never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney.
5. What issues will I face in making a claim for my injuries sustained in an auto accident?
A claim for injuries is usually based upon carelessness or negligence. In worst case scenarios, it is based on an intentional or reckless act. The three categories of issues that typically arise in a tort claim after an automobile accident are:
- Liability - who is at fault and to what degree.
- Damages - injuries or losses that were caused by accident.
- Insurance Coverage - what the insurance company will pay for after an accident
6. How will I pay my medical bills?
If you have been injured, you will likely have medical bills from physicians, hospitals, physical therapists, and other health care providers. Those bills will be in your name and will usually be sent to your address. You are primarily responsible for paying your bills, regardless of the cause of your injuries. The at-fault person's liability insurance carrier is responsible for paying you reasonable compensation for damages incurred, which includes medical bills, but the insurance carrier is not responsible for paying your doctors, hospitals, and other providers directly or immediately. Sometimes the amount the insurance company is willing to pay is far less than the actual amount you owe. You need an attorney who will fight for your rights with the insurance companies to ensure that you are fully compensated. Contact Epperly & Follis, P.C. today to discuss your case.
7. How long does a personal injury claim take to resolve?
Personal injury claims can be resolved in a matter of a few weeks or months. However, they make take up to several years depending on the complexity of the case. It is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your specific case.
8. My doctor notified me that I have a permanent injury as a result of my auto accident. What does this mean?
A permanent injury is one that is going to either be with you for the rest of your life or for some period beyond the settlement of the claim. In most cases, the injured party is entitled to compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company for all medical bills incurred to date and into the future for all injuries caused by the accident.
9. Am I at fault if I rear-end another vehicle?
Almost always, yes. The law states that you must maintain a safe distance to be able to stop safely if a car stops in front of you.
10. What should I do if I did not feel hurt at the scene but experienced pain afterwards?
You should immediately consult your medical provider regarding any pain, discomfort or possible injuries from a car accident, even if you think they may be only minor injuries. Even if you did not complain of injuries at the scene of the car accident, if you were injured in the accident from someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, and emotional distress. You should consult an attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C. to discuss whether you need representation on your claim.
Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
1. It breaks my heart to see the care that my husband is receiving in the nursing home. What can I do?
Bring your concerns to the attention of the nursing home. Tell them that you are documenting your concerns about what you have seen and that you will report it. Be sure to follow up on your threat.
2. Who do I make a report to?
The State Department of Health in your area.
3. Is there a special format for reports or complaints?
No, but you should include all of the following information with your complaint:
- Name, address, and telephone
- Your relationship to the resident in the nursing home
- The resident's full name and reason that he/she is in the home
- Times and dates that you observed the problems
- Names of staff who may be involved, including those that you have spoken to about your concerns
- Any medical records relating to the abuse or an autopsy if death occurred
4. Should I contact an attorney about the situation?
If you are not getting satisfactory responses or action from the home, yes, you should contact an attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C. immediately. We will investigate the situation in the nursing home and advise you on the laws surrounding the responsibilities of nursing homes.
5. What constitutes abuse or neglect?
Any of the following types of behavior on the part of the nursing home constitute abuse or neglect:
- Improper diet
- Willful desertion
- Physical abuse of any kind
- Failing to clean dressings or bed clothes
- Bed sores from failing to turn the patient
- Restraining the resident
- Any other treatment that has, or could, result in physical harm, pain or mental suffering
6. How can I find a good nursing home?Talk to any and everyone that you know, so that you can get a referral. Be sure to talk with the medical personnel (doctors, nurses, social workers, etc.) who were involved in the care of your loved one. Be sure, once you have the facilities narrowed, that you request inspection reports for your review. You can get the latest report from the nursing home director. Finally, be sure to visit the home and take note of the cleanliness, staff interactions with residents, activities available, complaints logged and a number of staff on duty.
Brain Injuries FAQs
1. What is traumatic brain injury?
Traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain caused by an external physical force. This force may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, resulting in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.
2. What are the most common causes of brain injury?
- Motor vehicle crashes - roughly 1/2 of all injuries
- Firearm-related incidents
- Slips and falls
- Violence-related injuries - abuse, Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Recreational Accidents - bicycle falls, playground equipment falls, all-terrain vehicle accidents
3. What are some of the effects of brain injury?
- Short term memory loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty with communication
- Spatial disorientation
- Impaired judgment
- Unable to do more than one thing at a time
- Muscle spasticity
- Double vision or blindness
- Loss of smell or taste
- Speech impairments
- Balance problems
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Increased anxiety
- Mood swings
- Impulsive behavior
4. Who is most at risk for sustaining a brain injury?
Anyone can incur a brain injury. However, statistics show that males are two times more likely than females to sustain a brain injury. The highest rates of brain injury typically occur in males ages 15-24. Individuals who have already sustained a brain injury are also at an increased risk of sustaining another brain injury.
5. How is brain injury diagnosed?
If there is evidence of gross damage to the brain, such as hemorrhaging, swelling or contusions, these physical findings are detected by CT scan or MRI. Where the damage is minimal, a diagnosis is made by obtaining a history from the patient, the symptoms reported by the patient and the results of neuropsychological testing.
6. What happens after a brain injury?
After a brain injury, a variety of other damages may occur including:
- Hematoma (epidural, subdural and/or intracerebral)
- Brain swelling/edema
- Increased intracranial pressure
- Cerebral vasospasm
- Intracranial infection
7. What types of medical exams are conducted to determine a brain injury?
Patients with brain injury require frequent assessments and diagnostic tests. These include:
- Neurological Exam: A series of questions and simple commands to see if the patient can open their eyes, move, speak, and understand what is going on around them.
- X-ray: A picture that looks at bones to see if they are broken (fractured).
- CT scan (CAT scan): An X-ray that takes pictures of the brain or other parts of the body.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan: A large magnet and radio waves are used, instead of X-rays, to take pictures of the tissues of the body.
- Angiogram: A test to look at the blood vessels in the brain. Using a catheter, dye is put into an artery that supplies blood to the brain. This test can tell if the blood vessels are damaged.
8. What are cerebral contusions?
Cerebral contusions are bruises on the brain caused by the brain striking the wall of the skull. A severe contusion will involve swelling of the brain. If swelling is severe, these injuries can cause a severe headache, dizziness, and vomiting. One pupil may be larger than the other. Depending on which area of the brain is damaged, the ability to think, control emotions, move, feel, speak, see, hear, and remember may be impaired. The person may become irritable, restless, or agitated.
9. How many people suffer a brain injury each year?It is estimated that 8 million people sustain brain injuries each year in the United States. At least 2 million of those injured will be permanently impaired. After a brain injury, things that once were easy and familiar become strange and difficult. The injured party often becomes less efficient at their job and their livelihood is jeopardized.
Workplace Injuries FAQs
1. My spouse was killed on the job. Is that a workers' compensation claim or a wrongful death claim?
This would likely fall under workers' compensation laws, as the benefits paid would be from the worker's compensation insurance afforded by your spouse's employer. Contact Epperly & Follis, P.C. to discuss the specific facts of your case.
2. What should I do if I suffer a workplace injury?
Those who suffer work related injuries should report them as soon as possible to their employer using the proper forms. A physician should also investigate work-related injuries. Evidence of work related injuries allows the victim to qualify for worker's compensation and associated benefits. In addition, you may wish to pursue your legal rights with an experienced workplace injury attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C.
3. Are there any laws governing work injuries?
Workers' Compensation law provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job or who suffer an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment. The problem with Workers' Compensation benefits is that the compensation is often not sufficient to address the extent of the injuries. In this situation, an attorney can advise you on how to obtain the compensation you need to cover your medical costs.
4. What benefits am I entitled to under workers’ compensation law?
The benefits under Workers' Compensation include weekly payments based on a percentage of the employee's average weekly wage. These payments cover temporary total disability, partial disability, permanent and total disability, and permanent loss of function and disfigurement. Other benefits include:
- Medical bills
- Vocational rehabilitation/training
- Death benefits
- Lost wages
5. What is a third party lawsuit?
Third-party lawsuits involve another party, other than the employer. For example, if you are injured by a saw, there may be a product liability case against the manufacturer of the saw. In addition, if a worker was injured on a construction site, another contractor could be liable. These cases require immediate attention and expertise of an attorney because the responsible third party is often difficult to locate and the evidence may need to be preserved.
6. What is repetitive stress injury?
Repetitive stress injury is the name given to a group of conditions that are caused when too much stress is placed on a joint. Repetitive stress injury happens when the same action is performed repeatedly. Performing the same action over and over can cause pain and swelling in the muscles and tendons. The two most common types of repetitive stress injury are tendinitis and bursitis.
7. Do I need an attorney to represent me if I am injured on the job?
You have the right to be represented by an attorney concerning your work-related injury. Your Epperly & Follis, P.C. attorney will assist you in seeing that your benefits are properly protected. Your employer or your employer's insurance company will be advised and represented by individuals experienced in Workers' Compensation cases and you should have an attorney experienced in handling Workers' Compensation representing you. Contact us online today.
8. How am I paid when temporarily unable to return to work?
If you are temporarily totally disabled, without interruption for more than seven days from an on the job injury, weekly benefits should be paid to you at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage.
9. What are the most common work injuries claims?
Some of the most common work injuries involve:
- Employee death
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Skin disease
- Neck Injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Lung disorders
- Lung Cancer
Wrongful Death FAQs
1. What is a wrongful death claim?
In general terms, a wrongful death claim refers to a cause of action that may be brought by certain family members of someone who died as a result of someone else’s wrongful conduct. The wrongful act that resulted in death may have been intentional, reckless, or negligent. In cases where a dangerous product caused the death, it may not be necessary to show wrongful conduct in order to recover.
2. Who may file a wrongful death case?
A surviving spouse may bring a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the children may bring the death claim. If there is neither a surviving spouse or surviving children, the parents of the decedent may pursue the wrongful death claim. In any case, an administrator of the estate must be appointed, and the administrator can sue on behalf of the estate.
3. Can I bring a wrongful death action if the deceased never held a job?
Yes, even if the decedent never held a job, they may have contributed in some other way to the family. A good example of such a decedent is a housewife, who contributes services, guidance and nurturing to her family. These contributions are quantifiable as "pecuniary losses" in a wrongful death action.
4. Can someone sue for the pain and suffering of a decedent?
Yes, in addition to the wrongful death, a decedent's family may recover damages for the pain and suffering that the decedent endured prior to death.
5. What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
It depends on whether a person dies as a result of the injuries or from unrelated causes. If a person injured in an accident subsequently dies because of those injuries, that person's heirs may recover money through a lawsuit. If a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, the claim survives in most cases and may be brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person's estate.
6. What kinds of damages are recoverable in these cases?
Normally, the following are recoverable:
- Expenses associated with the death (medical & funeral)
- Loss of victim's anticipated earnings
- Loss of victim's benefits (pension, medical coverage, etc.)
- Loss of inheritance
- Pain and suffering of the survivors and
- The loss of care, protection, companionship to the survivors.
7. When someone dies, what is the difference between the civil and criminal cases that can be brought regarding the death?
A criminal case arises when the government seeks to punish an individual for an act that has been classified as a crime. A civil case, on the other hand, usually has to do with a dispute over the rights and duties that individuals and organizations legally owe to each other. The burden of proof is higher in a criminal case, and the penalty imposed is a criminal sanction, whereas, in a civil case, the defendant will typically have a monetary judgment entered against him/her.
8. What is the first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim?
Given that wrongful death claims and survival actions generally involve a variety of complex legal issues, the first step is to contact an attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C. immediately. An attorney should be consulted as soon as reasonably possible because there are statutes of limitations and possibly other critical deadlines that may impact the case.
9. What about the costs involved in pursuing a case?
The attorneys at Epperly & Follis, P.C. handle wrongful death cases and survival actions on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the attorney will not charge an hourly rate for his or her services, but instead will be paid a percentage of the recovery in the event of a settlement or judgment.
10. How long will my wrongful death case last?The vast majority of all cases, including wrongful death cases, are settled prior to trial. Some cases are settled prior to the filing of a lawsuit, while others are settled during litigation or even on the "steps of the courthouse" just before trial. A wrongful death case, if litigated to trial, could last a number of years. One who pursues a wrongful death case should understand from the outset that a quick resolution cannot be guaranteed.
Lead Paint Injuries FAQs
1. How is a person exposed to lead paint?
Many old houses throughout the country are contaminated with lead-based paint, a poisonous substance that is harmful to the development of young children. People are exposed to lead by breathing in or swallowing microscopic lead dust from the paint while in their homes and yards. Children are the highest at risk for lead paint exposure through ingestion.
2. Is lead paint exposure harmful?
Exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, including brain damage, learning disabilities, behavior problems, stunted growth, and reduced attention span and intelligence.
3. What are the symptoms of lead paint exposure?
Most children with lead poisoning do not show any outward symptoms unless levels are extremely high. Therefore, most cases are undiagnosed. Children may show symptoms such as:
- Stomach aches
Adult symptoms are much more pronounced:
- Mood swings
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of motor coordination
4. How is lead paint poisoning treated?
The most common treatment for lead poisoning is called chelation therapy. Chelating agents are administered to the body either orally or intravenously. These agents bind themselves to the lead in the body's soft tissues, reducing the toxicity level. This process usually requires hospitalization for approximately one week. Side effects such as decreased appetite are quite common.
5. Who can be sued in a lead paint lawsuit?
Lead paint lawsuits can be filed against landlords, lenders, or paint manufacturers. From a legal standpoint, a lead expert must be retained to determine the source of the lead. The sources to be tested include residences, or other places where the individual may have been exposed. In addition, a doctor should be consulted for testing purposes to determine the level of lead-related injuries. Contact Epperly & Follis, P.C. today to discuss your specific case.
6. How do I know if my home has lead-based paint?
About two-thirds of the homes built before 1940, and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960, contain lead paint. Some homes built after 1960 also contain lead paint. It may be on both interior and exterior surfaces, particularly on woodwork, such as doors and windows. If you rent, your landlord should provide you with a lead paint letter notifying you if lead paint was used on the premises and whether or not it has been removed.
7. Why is lead poisoning called the "Silent Disease"?
Lead poisoning has been called the silent disease because its effects occur gradually, often showing no obvious symptoms. Very low blood lead levels have been associated with learning disabilities, growth impairments, permanent hearing and visual impairment, and other damage to the brain and nervous systems. In large doses, lead exposure can cause brain damage, convulsions, and even death. Lead exposure before or during pregnancy can also alter fetal development and cause miscarriages.
8. Is it difficult to prove a lead paint injury?
Yes, it can be difficult to prove injury in a toxic exposure case like lead paint, particularly if you have developed a subtle injury or a slowly developing disease due to low dose exposure. To win your case, your attorney will prove that the toxic exposure was a substantial factor in causing your injury or damage. Your case will be aided if it can be proven that there was enough exposure to lead paint to activate your disease and that a demonstrable relationship between the lead paint and the biological disease exists in science.
9. Do I need an expert witness to prove a lead paint injury case?
Expert testimony will be necessary to establish that the lead paint was wrongfully released into the environment. The expert will then establish a relationship between the toxin and your injury and, establish the extent of your injury and damages. A number of experts can testify in toxic tort cases including toxicologists, epidemiologists, statisticians and occupational health experts.
10. Is injury from lead paint a toxic tort?
Yes. A toxic tort is a personal injury caused by contact with a toxic substance. Some of the toxic substances that have caused significant injury are:
- Lead-based paint (brain damage, especially in children)
- Asbestos (lung cancer, restrictive lung disease)
- Dry cleaning and other solvents (brain damage, major organ damage)
- Pesticides (birth injuries)
- Electro-magnetic fields from utility wires or major appliances (suspected cancer)
- Toxic landfill waste (leukemia, other syndromes)
Investor Fraud FAQs
1. What is Securities Law?
Securities Law involves the rules and regulations that regulate the issuance and the sales of securities. The Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are major aspects of this type of law. Securities Fraud occurs when an individual or entity attempt to illegally manipulate the investment market. Securities fraud may be committed by brokers, financial advisors, corporations, and private investors.
2. What is insider trading?
If a person buys or sells stock in a publicly traded company based on non-public information that they have about that company, it is considered "insider trading" and is illegal.
3. How does a securities broker get paid?
The broker will earn his income based on a commission.
4. What are the duties of a broker?
Brokers provide financial background of a company, the rate of commission, and other important facts that a client should know before they buy or sell stock.
5. How do I know if I have been defrauded?
Suspicious activity on the part of a broker may include:
- Several account statements showing transactions that you did not make
- Unidentifiable debits or credits on monthly statements
- Losing money when the market is up
- Loss of money in the majority of investments recommended by your broker
If you believe you have been defrauded, contact Epperly & Follis, P.C. today.
6. What can I do if I think I have been defrauded?
The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and various state securities divisions offer a formal complaint process to investors, with the filing of a complaint triggering an investigation of the broker. If the investigation proves that the broker has engaged in any unlawful practice, the broker will be subject to formal disciplinary action.
Disputes between investors and their brokers are generally subject to the arbitration process because most brokerage firms use an arbitration agreement when you sign up for their services. Don't let this prevent you from contacting an attorney or thinking you can't file a lawsuit because this is not always the case.
7. How much can I expect to recover if I go to arbitration?
Investors may be awarded out-of-pocket losses, reasonable attorney fees, interest on the losses, and punitive damages. The exact amount that you recover varies in each case.
8. How much will it cost to hire an attorney?
Most attorneys are hired on a contingency-fee basis, which means that the attorney recovers fees only if you recover a judgment in the case. The fees that they recover are usually a percentage of your award.
9. What is corporate fraud?
When a corporation deliberately conceals information to appear healthy and successful before its shareholders, it has committed corporate or shareholder fraud. Corporate fraud may involve a few individuals or many, depending on the extent to which employees are informed of their company's financial practices. Fraud committed by corporations can be devastating, not only for outside investors who have made share purchases based on false information but for employees who, through 401ks, have invested their retirement savings in company stock.
10. What is investment fraud?
Investment brokers may commit fraud in an effort to control the market or lure more business in. The following activities are considered investment fraud when done intentionally:
- giving biased investment advice
- giving unfounded advice
- offering separate clients contradicting advice
- advising clients to continue an imprudent risk
- advising out of a conflict of interest