Personal Injury/Workers’ Compensation

Winer and Bennett, LLP personal injury and workers compensation blog.

Invisible Insurance

When you bring suit to recover for injuries caused by someone else, you sue the responsible party. You may not name the responsible party’s insurance company in the suit.  In fact, if reference is made in the presence of the jury to the fact that there was insurance, a mistrial would be declared. The judicial system routinely praises the wisdom …

What is my Personal Injury Case Worth?

A personal injury lawyer is often asked early on what the value of a case is. I sometimes respond by asking the client what a car in our parking lot is worth.  A client naturally asks how old the car is, what shape the body is in, what the make and model are, what the mileage is, whether there are …

Teach a Man to Fish

Sometimes, an injured worker’s most valuable workers’ compensation benefit is vocational rehabilitation. If an injury permanently prevents a worker from doing the work that he or she has always done, and the worker’s residual earning capacity in the jobs he or she can now do is less than the pre-injury wages, services are to be provided to help get the …

DIY’ers

Do it yourselfers. Ya gotta love’em. Self reliance is, after all, a fundamental American trait. Nevertheless, I have to shake my head when a proud but naïve soul brings in a mismanaged vestige of a once promising case, and wonders if we might offer a little advice. Usually, it’s like trying to revive a chronically under-watered and over-exposed house plant. …

Wrongful Death Cases

New Hampshire law, RSA 556:12 [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LVI/556/556-12.htm] entitles the estate of someone whose death was wrongfully caused by another to receive monetary compensation from the responsible party. If there is no family, the estate’s recovery is limited to a maximum of $50,000.00. If the deceased left family, there is no maximum recovery for the estate. The compensation to which an estate …

Why I Practice Personal Injury Law

A frequent question that I get from family, friends and acquaintances is “why did you choose to practice personal injury law?” The answer is simple. My passion is to help people get back on their feet when they need it most. Month after month, many of us spend our hard-earned dollars feeding the machine that is called “insurance.” Don’t be …

Cheapest Health Insurance Around?

When you buy liability insurance for your car in New Hampshire, your coverage will include “medical payments” insurance.  That coverage acts as a mini-health insurance policy.  It pays uncovered medical bills, regardless of who was at fault, for medical care required as a result of a crash in the insured car, a crash in someone else’s car, and for a …

Vehicle Damage

Someone crashed into your car. You need to have a working car. What are you going to do? The first call should be to your car insurance.  You are their customer.  You should find the most cooperative reception there. The other guy may be at fault, but that insurance company may take a while to decide that. The best way …

Subrogation

Subrogation is an unfamiliar word, but it is a concept which it is important to be aware of in a personal injury claim.  Simply put, it means that you have to reimburse your health insurance and Medicare for medical bills they pay, if you receive any money from a party legally responsible for your injury.  You might wonder why in …

Lawyers as Rugby Players

Rugby is a sport for lawyers.  During the game, you hit and scratch and kick to win.  However, when the game is done, the two teams retire to enjoy themselves together.  That is a model for good lawyering. Sure there are lawyers whose mother would not want to have a beer with them.  But, by and large, the most successful …

Confessions of a Personal Injury Lawyer: It’s the Proof Not the Truth

It is not the jury’s job to decide what really happened.  The reality is that they decide what the evidence submitted to them proves.  For that reason, you can’t afford to take comfort in the fact that the truth is on your side.  A winning personal injury case has to be built piece by piece out of the evidence you …

Confessions of a Personal Injury Lawyer: Your Doctor

Frequently, one of the most frustrating challenges in an injury case involves your doctor.  Only someone with a medical background can offer the required evidence about an injury, so your case requires the cooperation of your doctor.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for physicians to have lawsuit phobia.  He or she is happy to treat you, but it is a …

Confessions of a Personal Injury Lawyer: Insurance

As a practical matter, insurance coverage is essential to being able to obtain a recovery in a personal injury case. Without it, there is usually little to no ability to pay. Having to get a verdict and then chasing personal assets to get paid is almost always a losing proposition. Insurance is the business of agreeing to cover the cost …

Confessions of a Personal Injury Lawyer: Small Cases

To properly prepare and try a relatively basic personal injury case involves something in the range of $25,000.00 worth of work.  The means that if the case is worth less than $75,000.00 it will likely cost my office more than we will be paid. Many of our clients have cases which have a value under $75,000.00.  Obviously, there are limits …

Confessions of a Personal Injury Lawyer: The Marketplace

Many clients have an inspiring faith in our system of justice.  Even though their claim may be their first experience with the judicial system, they sometimes nevertheless have a firm conviction that the system will agree with whatever they’ve decided should be a fair outcome. Unfortunately, it is more complicated than that. One factor which clients often aren’t aware of …

Primary Election

What has the Primary Election got to do with the practice of Personal Injury, Criminal or Family law?  Answer: everything.  We in New Hampshire are privileged to experience, once every four years, the hand to hand campaigning that candidates must do to prove themselves as national leaders.  The candidates are evaluated up close in open settings with real people asking questions …

Hot Coffee

The NH Association for Justice recently screened a documentary entitled “Hot Coffee” at the Red River Theater in Concord.  The public was invited.  The attendees were from the legal and legislative communities mostly.  The film’s title refers to the famous McDonalds personal injury case where the Plaintiff was awarded over one million dollars for damages sustained when coffee purchased at …

Workers’ Compensation

WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION? Workers’ Compensation is a system of laws created by our legislature which govern the rights and duties of an employee who suffers a work injury.  With few exceptions, an employer who hires one or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance.  That insurance provides benefits for all injuries arising out of employment.  Injuries for which an …

Legal Issues of a Car Crash

REPORTING THE CRASH A motor vehicle crash should be reported to the police and/or the Department of Safety.  Although injury or vehicle damage may initially seem modest, any crash must be treated seriously.  At the scene, exchange name, address, and insurance company information.  If the police respond, they will make out a report.  That report will be available at the …

Contingent Fees

Most of my personal injury clients hire me on a contingent fee.  That means that I am not paid for my services until and unless I am able to get my client paid for his or her losses. Paying for legal services only if you win is a modern concept.  We frequently hear the argument that being able to hire a lawyer on that …

Premises Injury

Legal Fault for Injury from Dangerous Conditions New Hampshire law requires that owners and occupiers of property use a reasonable amount of care in the way they construct, use, and maintain their property.  They are not responsible for an injury simply because it happened on their property.  Landowners can be legally at fault for an injury only if the injury …

Modernizing Minimum Insurance Coverage

We recently concluded a case for a vehicle crash client who had suffered a broken hip which required surgery to fix.  She had been injured in a crash while she was a passenger on a motorcycle.  Her medical bills alone totaled $75,000.00.  The evidence clearly established that the motorcyclist, after turning right on to a road from an intersecting street, …

Use of Information

One of my favorite quotes of the past ten years is by the author Philip Caputo who wrote “we drink greedily from the salt water of information while our throats are parched for droplets of wisdom.”  So it seems that our world edges ever closer to the inevitable conclusion that all of the information we have is useless because we …

It’s All About Balance

The rights of someone injured at work are often misunderstood by those who haven’t had the misfortune. The way it is supposed to work is that if one can prove that employment activity caused injury, one is eligible to receive:  60% of any resulting income loss, payment of the necessary medical expenses, help returning to work, and a modest payment …

Trend of the Law in New Hampshire

The  trend of New Hampshire law today is to reduce the ability of a person wrongfully injured to recover for his or her losses.  It used to be that if you were a passenger injured in a car crash by the combined negligence of your driver and another driver, you were entitled to be made whole for your losses from …