Answering Your Questions About Serious Injuries
We are the Hawaii-based injury law firm of Law Offices of Jan M. Weinberg. We have represented clients injured by others’ negligence for over 35 years. Our well-established track record of outstanding success speaks for itself. Our peers consider us one of the top personal injury firms in Hawaii. If you want to talk with us about a personal injury case, contact Law Offices of Jan M. Weinberg for a FREE consultation.
1. Do I need to call a lawyer?
If you’ve asked yourself that question, then the answer is probably “yes.” If you have suffered injury from an accident, you should consult with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
You should contact our law firm to discuss your case. The initial consultation is FREE.
2. How long can I wait to file suit before losing some or all of my rights?
In Hawaii, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident has two years from the date of the accident or two years from the date of the last no-fault payment made on the injured person’s behalf, to file suit.
This statute of limitations for claims against the state of Hawaii is two years. If the injury is the result of negligence by the city and county of Honolulu, or against the neighbor island counties, an injured person has two years in which to file suit.
The statute of limitations for negligence actions in Hawaii is two years. This includes injuries occurring at construction sites and slip/trip-and-fall injuries.
Under the Jones Act, seamen injured in the course of their duties have a three-year period in which to file suit. There is also a statute of limitations of three years on claims that a vessel was “unseaworthy.” Passengers on recreational boats also have three years in which to file suit under general maritime law.
Victims of medical malpractice have two years in which to file an administrative claim with the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. This period may be extended for up to six years if the injured person neither knew nor should have known that the negligence of a health care professional resulted in injury. Minors injured by medical malpractice have a greater period of time before the statute of limitations runs out.
Anyone injured by the negligence of another should consult with a personal injury lawyer. Do not talk to the insurance company for the opposing party or its representative. Insurance companies like to take recorded statements that frequently catch the injured victim unprepared, perhaps in pain or on pain medications. You need to be careful to protect your legal rights. If you have significant injuries, do not speak with an insurance company before consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer. As a strong law firm, we know how to protect your legal rights.
3. What does it cost for you to represent me?
The Law Offices of Jan M. Weinberg charges contingency fees on personal injury cases. The fee is a percentage of the compensation obtained for the client. The contingency fee depends upon the complexity of the case. The Law Offices of Jan M. Weinberg advances all costs of the case. Costs are reimbursed only at the conclusion of the case when the clients recover compensation. The clients do not owe any legal fees or costs unless and until they recover compensation.
4. Will it be necessary to file suit in my personal injury case?
It depends upon the case. Smaller injury cases can frequently be settled without suit being filed if liability against the other party is clear. In cases involving serious injuries, it is usually best to consider filing a suit sooner rather than later. The scheduling of a trial date provides a deadline in case of a delay. The insurance company must decide whether to settle or risk a jury verdict and judgment. In the meantime, we will have referred you to qualified medical specialists and other expert consultants to evaluate your injuries and your future care needs, as well as lost earnings and other economic consequences of your injuries.
5. Will my case need to go to trial?
Statistically, the answer is “no.” Only a very small minority of cases result in a trial. Most frequently, after suit is filed and discovery conducted (depositions, subpoenaing of records, expert evaluations), cases are mediated or settled prior to trial in a settlement conference with the judge.
However, unless a case is thoroughly prepared for trial by an experienced trial lawyer, the settlement value of the case will be significantly reduced. Insurance companies settle cases when they are forced to recognize the consequences of allowing a jury to decide the case.
6. What is mediation?
Mediation is a process where the parties voluntarily attempt to settle cases. On occasion, a judge may order the parties to mediate, but most often mediation occurs when the parties want to attempt settlement of the case. The parties appoint a mediator, whose fees are shared by the parties. The mediation is confidential and cannot be used at trial. If mediation is successful, it means that the parties have agreed to a dollar amount of the settlement. The settlement is then reduced to a written agreement that is binding on the parties.
7. What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a procedure that substitutes for trial by a jury or judge. The parties may agree to arbitrate, or arbitration may be the result of a contractual provision. One arbitrator is selected by the parties and, where the parties cannot agree, by the court. Three-member arbitration panels are also used.
Arbitration is considered to be faster and less expensive than jury trials. This is not necessarily true. Also, the decision of the arbitrator is essentially unappealable except on narrow grounds. The arbitrator’s decision is filed as a judgment and can be enforced as any other judgment.
8. What is my case worth?
Any lawyer who answers this question too early in the representation of a client should be considered suspect. There are many factors that need to be answered before the value of a case can be determined. Until the facts have been established as to liability and damages, attorneys should avoid guessing about the potential value of a case. Your case is important. You should be represented by experienced, competent and ethical counsel.
Ask More Questions In A Free Consultation
There are many more questions you may have about the areas discussed as well as other issues. Contact Law Offices of Jan M. Weinberg by phone at 808-796-5706 or by email any time, night or day. Your call will be promptly returned, and your concerns will be addressed.