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Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. FAQs

What is a settlement, and what is my case worth?

The value of your case is bound up in many factors beyond the extent of your injuries and the responsibility a defendant holds for your accident, including, for example, how much insurance the defendant carries. A settlement - a payment of money by the defendants or their insurance company - is reached taking into account numerous factors.

A case can be settled at any time: at the beginning of the case, after a trial has begun, after a verdict has been reached, or even after an appeal. In addition, insurance companies may make offers to resolve a claim in what is called “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” a voluntary mediation or arbitration, which is an alternative to Court and trial before an agreed-upon judge.

Parties settle cases for many reasons, not all of which involve the responsibility of the defendant or the severity of a plaintiff’s injury.

The defendant may have a small insurance policy and the defendant himself may have no assets to satisfy a judgment. In New York, many people only carry $25,000 worth of automobile insurance, which means no matter how hurt you are, you may only obtain $25,000.

  • The defendant may have a small insurance policy and the defendant himself may have no assets to satisfy a judgment. In New York, many people only carry $25,000 worth of automobile insurance, which means no matter how hurt you are, you may only obtain $25,000.
  • There may be many victims of an accident all making claims against a limited insurance policy, which could result in no one particular claimant receiving a share that fully compensates their injuries.
  • The defendant may offer a smaller amount of money than your case deserves, but make the offer so far in advance of trial that it is worth your while to settle.
  • Sometimes, when you balance the expense of trial---perhaps there are many experts---with the settlement offer, the settlement offer is a good one.
  • Sometimes, the insurance company is in bankruptcy and your settlement will be limited and delayed.
  • Numerous factors determine the actual value of a case. The number of surgeries, hospitalizations, and the amount of medical treatment and bills are considered, as are the nature and extent of the injuries, their permanency, and whether or not they are disabling. Juries can consider how long the plaintiff was out of work or school and whether the plaintiff’s life changed in concrete ways due to the accident. The liability of each of the parties is also considered. Did the plaintiff’s conduct contribute to the accident? Is the plaintiff a completely innocent victim of circumstances? By law in New York, the share of responsibility the plaintiff bears for the accident reduces the plaintiff’s jury verdict, and thus settlement value, proportionately.

Other more indescribable factors also determine the value of a case and whether or not a settlement is advantageous. The trial judge affects the value of your case. Some judges lean toward plaintiffs and some toward defendants. The kind of defendant you are suing can influence a settlement. A jury may be more sympathetic to a charitable organization than to a gambling hall, for example.

What are the differences between one personal injury lawsuit and another?

Type of Case
The applicable law is different in a medical malpractice case as compared to a slip and fall case, as compared to a construction case, as compared to a motor vehicle case. This will affect what a plaintiff will be required to prove in order to win his or her case and produce during the lawsuit. Some cases are complex, requiring multiple experts and physical and oral exams. Some are simple, with only two parties, and no experts at all. In addition, depending upon the type of case you have, you may be assigned to a specific part in Court or be required to bring your case in a specific Court. For example, all cases involving New York State must be brought in the Court of Claims.

Value of Case
Numerous factors determine the settlement value of a case, from the Court a case is pending in to the amount of insurance coverage the defendant may have. Generally, however, the value of a case is determined by the severity of the injuries, judged in light of the degree of responsibility of the defendant. The more seriously someone is hurt, the higher the monetary value of their injury. This is offset by the amount an injured plaintiff contributed to his or her account. So, for example, if a jury awards a plaintiff $1 million, but finds that the plaintiff is 20% responsible for the accident, the plaintiff will receive $800,000. Many people believe that the time it takes for a lawsuit to be completed should factor into the value of a case and increase it. It doesn’t. Likewise, you don‘t get interest on an award until a judgment is entered and attorneys' fees, as well as the expense of a lawsuit, come out of the settlement or verdict.

Client Compliance
If you and the defendants are prompt in the delivery of all information requested, your case will proceed more quickly than if you or the defendants are slow or miss appointments.

Court Delays
Each judge works at his or her own pace. One judge could take years to complete paperwork before assigning your case to the calendar; another could schedule your hearings six months in advance and leave it to your attorneys to collect the relevant paperwork. It’s the luck of the draw - you have no control over the judge assigned to your case, how many other cases the judge is handling, or the speed at which the cases ahead of yours will be disposed of.

Number of Parties Involved
The more parties (and lawyers involved) the longer time it takes to get everyone to comply and to set Court appointments. Some parties, typically New York City and State agencies, are very slow at complying with Court orders, setting appointments and forwarding settlement checks.

What is a default judgment?

If one of the defendants fails to answer your complaint, we can make a motion to the Court to declare the defendant in default and request that your case be set down for a trial. The defendant's failure to answer, however, does not necessarily mean you automatically get paid. It may mean the defendant did not forward the complaint to the insurance company, the defendant has no insurance to cover your accident, or, possibly the insurance company has failed to act appropriately. There is no guarantee that because a default is entered you will receive money. The defendant may later be allowed to vacate the judgment, or the defendant may be judgment-proof - that is, he or she may have no assets and no insurance to pay your judgment.

Can I appeal my case?

A trial may not be the end of the line. The defendant may be dissatisfied with the verdict and appeal, or you may believe there are legal grounds to appeal a decision against you. At this point, a notice of appeal is filed, records and briefs are prepared, and an Appellate Court will hear and decide the issues. A multitude of factors go into deciding whether an appeal is the right thing to do, including the likelihood of winning, as against the expense to you of the appeal.

What happens if the party I’m suing has no insurance?

If the party you are suing has no insurance, in all likelihood they will not answer your summons and complaint and we will proceed to take a default judgment against them. After an inquest and entry of a judgment, in the case of accidents on property, your judgment will be filed against the property. Investigation can also be made into any assets the owner may have, and if any are discovered, your judgment can be sent to the Marshall to see whether any assets can be collected.

If you are in an auto accident with an uninsured or hit and run vehicle in New York, you may be compensated from uninsured motorist coverage, belonging to you, a household member, or the vehicle you were in, or by the New York State Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation. Uninsured motorist coverage means your own car insurance, if you own a car, provides medical and lost wages and compensates personal injuries with a maximum to the limit of the insurance you purchased or your host vehicle purchased.

Some motor vehicle owners wisely purchase extra uninsured motorist coverage and under-insured motorist coverage. This means that if you, your passengers, or anyone in your household is involved in an accident with someone with no coverage or less coverage than you, you will nonetheless be protected. Bring in your insurance policy so we can determine if you have this valuable protection.

If the vehicle that struck you (if you were a pedestrian or bicyclist) or that you were in (if you were a passenger) is uninsured, and certain other criteria are met, the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation, a New York state agency, may cover your medical bills and lost earnings to a maximum of $50,000 and your injuries to a maximum of $25,000.

Can I get my medical bills paid or get other assistance, if I am in an accident?

Many people injured in accidents have medical insurance coverage of their own, through their jobs or from the government to pay their medical bills and cover their loss of income. These may include private medical and disability insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, disability insurance from your job, or union coverage.

In addition, some property owners purchase insurance that covers medical bills regardless of whose fault an accident is. However, these benefits are typically low, from $1,000 to $10,000, and the bills usually must be presented to the insurance company within 1 year of the accident.

If you are the victim of a crime, the Crime Victims Board may help you with up to $25,000 if you qualify.

If you are injured on the job, under New York State Workers’ Compensation law, your employer’s workers' compensation insurance can provide you with lost earnings and pay medical bills.

Doctors and hospitals may sometimes provide medical treatment subject to a lien against your recovery in your lawsuit, so you can get your medical treatment and then, at the conclusion of your lawsuit, pay your doctors and hospital from your verdict or settlement.

Under the “No Fault” law, people involved in most motor vehicle accidents in New York have their medical bills covered by motor vehicle insurance.

What does a motor vehicle “No Fault” case mean?

New York State law permits you to sue in Court to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and injuries from a motor vehicle accident. At the same time, regardless of your lawsuit or who is at fault for your accident, in a separate proceeding, your medical bills and lost earnings are paid by motor vehicle insurance according to a variety of rules and conditions. This is called “No Fault:” It ensures that, with exceptions, medical bills and lost earnings are covered, no matter what happens with your lawsuit, to a usual maximum of $50,000. No Fault does not mean you automatically get money for your injuries, pain, and suffering - that is what your lawsuit is about. No Fault means your medical bills and lost earnings related to your motor vehicle accident are payable by one of the motor vehicle insurance companies involved, pursuant to particular rules. Provided the applicable rules are followed, no fault will cover:

Medical Expenses: Related doctors, hospitals and X-rays, medicines, physical therapy, and medical and surgical supplies, supported by a doctor’s prescription.

Lost Earnings: Minus 20% to the usual maximum amount of $2,000 per month for up to 3 years. You may be entitled to more money under your insurance policy under a special clause called “Additional Personal Injury Protection.” Examine your policy carefully for this clause.

Other Expenses: Up to $25 per day for up to 1 year for expenses caused by the injury, such as transportation to and from doctor visits, childcare, and household help, supported by a doctor’s prescription and receipts marked “paid” by the provider.

In order to obtain no fault payments, you must file an application within 30 days from your accident with the applicable insurance company. Your doctors and hospitals must timely bill and document their bills with the applicable insurance company. You may have to submit to a hearing and physical exams requested by the insurance company. Issues of medical bills and lost earnings payments are dealt with in a distinct arbitration or lawsuit directly against the insurance company, while you pursue a separate lawsuit for your pain, suffering, and injuries.

Awards & Accolades

Client Testimonials

  • A most exceptional attorney. Trustworthy and competent attorney who goes above and beyond to help clients who have been injured in accidents. Ms. Mirman's tenacious and dynamic ... - Carol

  • Will work to get the best settlement for case. She has the knowledge and experience to help get the best settlement amount. I was kept informed about the process and the status of my case. - Karen

  • Exceptional attorney. Ms. Mirman and her team are exceptional professionals that made a difficult time after my car accident manageable. Ms Mirman was thorough yet ... - Stacey

  • Trustworthy, Compassionate & Effective Finding the right attorney when you are in crisis is not an easy task. You need help because your world has been turned upside down; you require ... - Anonymous

  • Michele Mirman Truly Cares Michele Mirman truly cares about people and will tirelessly fight for them to be compensated for their pain and suffering. - Alexandra

  • Exceptional Lawyer! Ms. Mirman is an exceptional personal injury lawyer--smart, professional, experienced, hardworking and compassionate. Following my accident, she gave ... - Janet

  • Very Professional and Competent Very professional and competent, she also raised the amount of the settlement and won my case, I would recommend her to everybody who has an injury. - Florence

  • Excellent Personal Injury Attorney Michele Mirman represented me in a personal injury case against a Manhattan restaurant, where my hand was severely lacerated and required surgery. I ... - Ron

  • Attention to Detail and Quick Responsiveness As President of a local law enforcement union, I have had the privilege of working with Mr. Moore on many cases involving employment/labor issues. Mr. ... - Roberto

  • The Best Legal Representation I'm writing for those who are searching for the best legal representation for a personal injury case. I first used Mirman, Markovits and Landau twenty ... - Gee

  • The Firm Settled My Case and I Was Compensated Fairly I received excellent counsel from Ms. Mirman and Mr. Landau. I was injured at a restaurant and required hand surgery. Prompt action by their ... - Ronda

  • I Would Recommend This Law Firm I had a case that 4 other law firms refused to take however when I called for a consultation not only was Ronald Landau patient but he was the one who ... - Raymond

  • I Would Highly Recommend This Firm I had a case with this firm that recently came to an end. I had an excellent result and I am very pleased with the outcome. Mr. Landau was extremely ... - Rosa

  • This Law Firm is AWESOME! This law firm is AWESOME!!!! Ronald Landau handled my case with the city a few year ago and I'm certain I received a fair settlement. When I called ... - Crystal

  • I am thankful that I let them represent me. I hired Mirman, Markovits & Landau for a slip and fall accident in Manhattan. I fell on an ice laden sidewalk and severely injured my leg. I was ... - Maria

  • I have and will always continue to recommend them to everyone. I have employed this law firm twice in my lifetime and they have come through with flying colors both times. The first time was for myself. I stepped ... - Lou

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