General Personal Injury FAQs

What is the first thing that a person should do when they get injured?

The first thing that a person should do when they are injured on the job is to seek the necessary medical treatment, and, if appropriate, make a report to the police.

Many people injured at work believe they are limited to worker’s compensation, however under many circumstances a building owner or contractor may be responsible for the condition that caused injury. Consulting with both a Worker’s Compensation and a Personal Injury Attorney to be certain your rights are fully protected.

What are the most important things that a person should do after they are injured?

When a person is injured in a construction or work related accident it is important to get proper medical treatment immediately. This is important not only medically, but also as a record of what caused the injuries and when they happened. If a person is injured as the result of an accident they should make a police report, and they should get the names of any witnesses to the accident. This applies to any potentially serious accident including construction accidents, elevator accidents, trip and fall, workplace accidents and other accidents where investigation may be necessary.

What are the things that a person should not do when they get injured?

Do not sign anything without having an attorney review it first. Do not give out any statements without having an attorney present. Do not put off seeking medical treatment. Often when people are injured they put off treatment or fail to report an accident because they feel they will get better quickly. Unfortunately the severity of many injuries is not immediately clear, which is why it is important to get checked out medically.

If medical attention is needed, is there specific information and/or paperwork that should be obtained from the hospital or attending physician?

This depends on the type of accident. If you have been in a work related accident your medical treatment should be covered under worker’s compensation. In the event that you have been in a car accident, no fault would cover medicals in New York State. You must file your no fault application immediately, as there is a 30 day time limitation for filing on no fault benefits.

Usually when you get hospital or emergency room treatment you are given instructions upon discharge. It is important to read and follow the doctor’s instructions carefully.

Should you take pictures of the injury or unsafe condition?

Absolutely. Pictures of a dangerous condition that prove was it was like at the time of the accident can be key pieces of evidence. Taking photos of the position of cars and the damage to vehicles ia also important.

Documenting your injuries with photos is important as well. If you are unable to take photos because of your injuries you should ask someone to take the pictures for you.

At what point should an injured party consider hiring an attorney?

It is best to hire an attorney as early as possible. The cases that have the best results are the cases that start with a complete and detailed investigation. This can best be accomplished when your attorney has the opportunity to examine a condition or a piece of machinery before it has been altered or repaired, and when he or she can interview witnesses while their recollection of events is fresh.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

Most attorneys who work on accident and injury cases are hired on a contingent fee basis. What this means is that they will not be entitled to a fee unless they are successful. In New York State attorneys may charge 331/3 percent of the amount recovered in non medical malpractice cases, and in medical malpractice cases they may take fees based on a sliding scale retainer.

What type of damages can someone expect if they are injured in a serious accident?

This varies from case to case depending on both liability and damages. The liability refers to the plaintiff’s ability to prove the defendant’s responsibility. Damages refers to the actual injury and the affect that the injury has had on an individual’s life. A broken arm to a 10 year old will have a different value than a broken arm to Aaron Judge.

How long does a person have to make a claim? How long does it take to resolve the claim?

The time a person has to make a claim depends both on who they are suing and what they are suing about. In claims against the City of New York there is a 90 day time limit for filing a notice of claim, and a lawsuit must be started within 1 year and 90 days. In cases against the State of New York, if a notice of intention is filed within 90 days, then you have 2 years to start a lawsuit.

Where you are making an injury claim against private individuals or entities there is a 3 year statute of limitations on negligence and product liability claims, and a 2 years and 6 month statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims.

Because it is sometimes difficult to know whether a hospital or clinic is run by the city or state it is important to contact an attorney early on so your rights can be protected.

At Bonina and Bonina, P.C. most cases are concluded within 2 to 5 years, depending on their complexity. Medical malpractice cases with multiple defendants take longer to get to trial than automobile or accident cases because of the amount of discovery needed. The Wait time to get a trial varies from county to county, and can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.

What key questions should someone ask when hiring an attorney for a serious injury claim?

From a practical point of view, I would ask how long the average case takes to conclude at that office and where I could get information on past results. From a personal view, I would establish what the best method of communicating with the office is and who they will be communicating with most. If you are seriously injured you are going to want someone who is going to listen to you and address your concerns.

The number one complaint most people have about attorneys is that their phone calls are not returned. At Bonina and Bonina, P.C. we pride ourselves on our excellent communication with clients. In this regard, each case is handled by a team that includes an attorney, a paralegal and a secretary, and each team is overseen by a partner. If the attorney is in court, the phone call will be returned by a paralegal or secretary, who will either be able to address the client’s concerns or contact the attorney if it is urgent.

We also encourage our clients to email us. Email is checked frequently, even on weekends, by the firm’s partners. Many of our client’s find a written response to a question that they can refer back to reassuring.




  1. Lynda January 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Very interesting subject , thanks for putting up.

  2. Coy Drown March 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Very nice post. What a shame I did not find it earlier.

Leave A Comment