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Author: Jon Montagna

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Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is different from other types of personal injuries because damage to brain cells does not heal, unlike broken bones or skin cells. As a result, a TBI, even mild ones, can have a devastating and lasting effect. If you, or a loved one, suffers any type of head injury, no matter how mild it seems, seek professional medical attention immediately. Even if you do not think an injury to the head is serious, it is important to still be seen.

TBIs can be silent and deadly. Any head trauma is cause for serious concern, and the worst part is that people who are injured might not even know they have a traumatic brain injury until it is too late. TBI has long been known as the “silent epidemic” because for decades it was difficult for people to be correctly diagnosed. With modern knowledge and technology, doctors know a lot more about brain injuries now than they even did as recently as the 1990s. The earlier treatment is sought, the better chances are for recovery.

The kind and compassionate Virginia traumatic brain attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden understand the difficulties you might face after sustaining a TBI. Call our law office at 757-622-8100 or contact us online to see how to receive help getting the compensation you deserve after your personal injury.  

Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

TBI can be caused in two different ways: internal or external. External brain injury is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetration through the skull. Internal brain injuries can be caused by birth defects, stroke, or aneurysms. Regardless of the type or cause, brain injury is life-changing and often permanent. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the United States:

  • More than 1.5 million Americans experience TBI
  • 230,000 individuals are hospitalized with TBI and survive
  • Over 50,000 traumatic brain injury cases are fatal
  • Somewhere between 80,000 to 90,000 experience onset of long-term disability

Despite these chilling numbers, there are those who manage to beat the odds. Not only do many survive a traumatic brain injury, but they are able to recover. The personal injury lawyers at Montagna Law want to spread awareness and knowledge about this serious and life-changing condition.

Did You Lose Consciousness in a Serious Accident?

TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate, and severe. About 80% of TBI cases are classified as mild, but do not let the “mild” designation fool you. These injuries—which include concussions—can still cause serious injury or permanent disability.

If a person experiences a loss of consciousness during an accident, it should be taken very seriously. Medical treatment should be sought immediately because the longer a person is unconscious, the more serious the traumatic brain injury might be. Even if the injured person feels dazed or dizzy, symptoms should never be dismissed.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Non-traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by internal health complications. These can be caused by strokes, blood clots, seizures, oxygen deprivation, infection, tumors, or exposure to substances that can lead to brain injury. Medical malpractice or negligence often contributes to non-traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head suffers an injury from an external force, such as impact, shaking (excessive motion), or penetration. Common ways people are injured include car accidents, bike accidents, being struck by an object, slips and falls, gunshots, and other types of violence.

The symptoms of TBI may not surface until weeks, days, months, or longer after the injury, especially if the injured person is a child since their brains are still developing.

What Are the Primary Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

The CDC estimates that 5.3 million Americans currently suffer a permanent TBI-related disability and the latest CDC data indicates numbers are growing. Leading causes of TBI include:

  • Falls – 35.2%
  • Motor vehicle accidents – 17.3%
  • Struck by/against – 16.5%
  • Assault – 10%
  • Unknown/other – 21%

When it comes to traumatic brain injuries, much like no two brains are alike, neither are types of injuries to the brain. Unfortunately, there are several types of TBIs that cause life-altering changes in an instant.

Concussion

A concussion is a mild TBI and is typically caused by a blow, bump, jolt to the head, or rapid shaking to it. There is no such thing as “just a concussion”—concussions should always be taken seriously.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when shearing (tearing) is experienced on the brain’s connecting nerve fibers (axons). This is a serious type of TBI and can lead to a person falling into a vegetative state.

Edema

Edema occurs when the brain (or head) experiences swelling. While swelling is a body’s reaction to an injury, when it occurs in the brain it is serious because the skull cannot accommodate the swelling or interferes with fluid circulation; sometimes surgery is necessary to relieve pressure.

Hematoma 

Hematoma is bleeding occurring in the brain that can lead to the formation of a blood clot, creating a buildup of blood and pressure that can cause brain damage.

Hemorrhage

Hemorrhaging in the brain is when uncontrolled bleeding occurs and can lead to irreversible brain damage.

Skull Fracture

Skull fractures are when an external object breaks the bone due to a severe impact that the skull cannot absorb.

Contusions

Contusions are bruises on the brain caused by bleeding—they are often serious and can lead to permanent injury or the necessity of surgery.

Coup-Contrecoup

Coup-contrecoup TBIs are when the brain experiences a hard impact and the brain (or skull) “slams” into the opposite side, causing injury to both halves of the brain.

Brain Stem

Damage to the brain stem can impact heart regulation, body temperature control, eye movement, breathing, blood circulation, swallowing, and consciousness.

What Are Common Causes of TBIs in Virginia?

TBIs can occur in a variety of ways. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury include:

Auto Accidents: Car, Truck, and Motorcycle

In car or truck accidents, the head can strike the dashboard, windshield, side window, or another hard surface, such as being thrown to the ground. Shaking and coup-contrecoup injuries can also occur on impact. Any of these scenarios can lead to a severe brain injury.

Slipping and Falling

A fall down the stairs, slipping on a wet floor or ice, or other causes of tripping can lead to the head suffering a jolt or shock and a TBI.

Medical Negligence

Ways patients suffer TBIs from medical negligence include lack of oxygen to the brain, prolonged surgery, and anesthesia errors. Birth injuries can also lead to TBI due to poor decision-making or delayed action by a medical professional. Sadly, TBIs occurring due to medical negligence are often preventable.

Sports Injuries

Concussions and more severe TBIs are common in sports. Being hit by a ball, tackled and slammed on the ground, or another type of impact can lead to a life-altering TBI.

Physical Attack

Domestic violence and criminal acts against a person often involve altercations where the brain is injured, especially if the victim is hit, pushed, struck by an object, or shot at with a firearm.

Firearms

Firearms can cause either penetrating or perforating TBIs. Penetrating is when a bullet enters the skull but does not exit. Perforating TBI is when the bullet enters and exits the skull.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The long-term effects of TBI will depend on the location of the head injury. It is also unfortunately common for TBI victims to suffer more than one type of TBI which also further impacts their long-term outcome.

For instance, injury to the frontal lobe (including the forehead) can affect reasoning, problem-solving abilities, judgment, impulse control, planning, and other executive functioning skills. Injury to the left side of the brain can lead to problems with speech, comprehension, and logic, while injury to the right side of the brain can result in visual processing deficiencies and the ability to perform routine or familiar tasks.

Balance Issues

Individuals suffering from TBI often have difficulty with motor skills, including balance. The inability to balance oneself puts a person at risk of falling or hitting their head, causing further injury.

Dizziness

The dizziness that can accompany a TBI can lead to everyday problems, causing a decrease in the quality of life.

Eyesight Issues

Traumatic brain injuries causing eyesight issues affect the actual ability to see (including blindness), but they also affect the ability to perform eye movements, such as downgaze or convergence. Eyesight problems can negatively impact everyday activities, ranging from reading the pages in a book to driving.

Fatigue

People suffering TBIs tend to tire easily, and this fatigue affects their stamina, meaning victims often cannot work long days, struggle in the classroom, or suffer from an inability to stay awake for extended periods of time.

Headaches

Recurring and persistent headaches often accompany TBI, causing disruption in everyday life, leading to distress and ongoing suffering.

Long-Term Memory Loss

Long-term memory loss from TBI can be temporary or permanent. In these cases, the person has difficulty remembering past events or people. It can also affect the ability to remember how to perform tasks or remember common words.

Short-Term Memory Loss

Short-term memory loss from TBI occurs when a person forgets events that have recently happened. Essentially, conversations, things seen or heard, and other events are never processed to be stored in short-term memory. For example, injured people may not remember people they have met, whether they have eaten, or where they were going.

Mood Swings

Many people who have a loved one suffering from a TBI describe them as a “different person” from before the injury. Depending on the nature of the injury and where in the brain it occurred, a person may experience unusual mood swings or display behaviors deemed inappropriate in social or professional situations.

Paralysis

Some TBIs result in paralysis because the injury has disrupted the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles. When signals are interrupted, the muscles never receive the brain’s direction.

Seizures

Seizures, or abnormal electrical activity in the brain, are common with TBIs, and it is difficult to predict when and if they will occur. Many brain injury victims are considered to forever be at high risk of seizures. The severity of a seizure is also unpredictable—some are barely noticeable while others result in grand mal seizures.

Speech and Language Problems

Depending on the area of the brain injured, some people struggle with the ability to speak, pronounce sounds, or cannot extract the words to speak even if they know what they want to say; this disconnect can dramatically impact the ability to engage in everyday conversations.

The long-term effects of TBI are often difficult to assess; most people will find their injury changes at various stages of their life, either for better or worse. TBI victims often struggle with permanent physical, behavioral, or cognitive changes—all of which can affect their ability to do tasks or negatively impact their relationships and other interactions requiring social skills.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia

In Virginia, the Commonwealth places a two-year statute of limitations from the date of an accident. This means the clock “starts ticking” when the injury occurs. This is why it is very important to seek treatment as soon as possible to ensure the injury is well-documented.

How Does an Attorney Help TBI Victims?

Having an attorney by your side is important when any type of personal injury occurs. When TBI occurs, you will want an attorney experienced in brain injury cases who understand the long-term effects. Proving seen—and not yet seen—deficiencies and impairments can be challenging. TBI victims will also benefit from a law firm that can help them deal with insurance companies to help them obtain compensation.

Sensitive and Professional Personal Injury Attorneys in Virginia

If you or a family member have suffered any kind of head injury or wrongful death, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Virginia brain injury lawyers at Montagna Law are ready to fight on your behalf to help you or a loved one regain health and recovery. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Our sensitive and professional attorneys can help you to obtain the compensation needed to pay for medical bills, surgeries, loss of wages, rehabilitation, and other medical care expenses to help you make the best recovery possible.

To request a free consultation from a Virginia traumatic brain injury lawyer, call our legal team at (757)-622-8100.

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How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

In the last two decades, the advent of the internet has changed a lot of things. Technology and the internet have made it possible for people in one area to reach out to hundreds of people across the world. The changes introduced by the internet continue to shape the way people live and interact with one another. Social media platforms allow even more people to reach out, relate, and keep themselves updated with the latest events and happenings. However, according to any experienced personal injury attorney, the use of social media can make or mar a legal action, for example, a personal injury claim.

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Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

Every time we get behind the wheel, we know there is some risk involved. All it takes is a single mistake to turn our lives upside down.

A lot of the time, the error was not our own. It was someone else who happened to be texting while driving or had one too many alcoholic drinks and made the wrong choice to get behind the wheel. Before we know it, we are facing months, or even years, of recovery, battling insurance companies, paperwork, and even court cases. Should you hire a personal injury attorney? If so, when is the right time to do it?

The reality is, not every case is so open and shut, even if you believe you are in the right. You can be 100% sure that the other party caused the accident, leaving you injured and buried in hospital bills, but there are always two sides to every story. Insurance companies often will want to investigate the claims further, holding out from paying as long as possible. Even if they do agree to a settlement, it is certainly not going to be a generous offer.

Let us look at why you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney and when you should do it:

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

The law is complicated. Most of the time, you are going to face an uphill battle to receive the settlement you think you deserve. So many variabilities exist that, unless you know your way around the law, it is going to be nearly impossible to navigate your way to victory. Hiring a lawyer does not guarantee a win, even if they have a great track record.

So, you might be thinking about what the value of hiring a personal injury lawyer might be. What you may not expect is that the other party’s insurance company will probably hire a defense attorney to challenge your claims. In this situation, you would certainly be at a disadvantage at a time when you are still recovering from a major accident. Are you up to subjecting yourself to months or even years of paperwork and stress on top of what you are already going through?

The main benefit of hiring a personal injury attorney is the fact that you get to sit back, relax, and leave the work to someone who knows what they are doing. The casework will be completely on their shoulders. At the very least, you should seek out a consultation with a local attorney to see what the possibilities are. It may be a simple case you can settle in court or see if it is worth holding out for a larger settlement with their help.

When Is the Right Time to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

When looking at whether you should hire a personal injury attorney, you must look at your opposition. The odds are good that the other party and/or their insurance company, which has deep pockets, will also have personal representation on their side. Unless you have your own experience and dedicated knowledge of the law yourself, hiring an attorney is a good idea. In order to win the case, there are a lot of factors that need to be worked out.

Every moment counts and whether you realize it or not, the other side is already preparing their defense. They are looking at the facts, interviewing witnesses, and even have their own copy of the police report. Their job is to put a spin on the details of the case to ensure the judgment is ruled in their favor. That means you have little time to spare to even out the odds. They will have experience on their side, having fought the same battle hundreds or even thousands of times before. Insurance companies do not make money by paying out large settlements and will use every trick in the book to keep from paying you a dime.

Once you decide you need a heavy hitter on your team, you should call them immediately. In fact, it is best to call a personal injury attorney right after the accident happens. That means your memory of the incident is still fresh in your mind and your lawyer can get right to work representing your interests. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to recall every detail.

Are There Any Other Benefits to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding yes! There are plenty of additional benefits you probably will not think of at the time you need to make the decision. One of those is a lawyer’s ability to investigate the accident.

The police will have their own investigation, as well as the insurance company. But lawyers have their own personal investigators, detectives, and even employees of the court who can help put your case together. You will truly have a team at your side to guide you.

Another benefit to hiring a personal injury attorney is how the insurance company often reacts to the news that you have representation. It is a fact that they will often offer higher settlements than they would if you didn’t. They usually think they can pull the wool over your inexperienced eyes, but if you have seasoned representation by your side, they know you are not playing any games and will shell out more money to make the situation go away. You may choose to accept the higher settlement if it means you get paid, the bills get taken care of, and you don’t have to battle in court.

Really, hiring an attorney to help you through this difficult time in your life is a personal one. Unless you know your way around the law and a courtroom, it is advisable to hire someone who is battle-tested and ready to represent your interests. You shouldn’t face the insurance company on your own. To learn more about hiring representation or to schedule a free consultation contact us through online form or call (757) 622-8100 today.

Montagna Law
425 Monticello Ave
Norfolk VA 23510
(757) 622-8100

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When To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer

When To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve sustained an injury during an accident, you may be wondering whether you should handle the case yourself or hire a personal injury lawyer. Filing a personal injury lawsuit requires a comprehensive knowledge of the complex legal system and specialized skills and training that a personal injury lawyer can offer you. 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen many individuals attempt to handle their own personal injury lawsuits and fail. There are countless studies proving that a plaintiff represented by legal counsel will net more than three times the money than had they handled their own claim. A claimant generally lacks the knowledge to prove liability and truly validate the severity of the injuries they’ve sustained. 

If you’ve been involved in any of the following situations or suffered very serious injuries as a result of an accident, you should get in contact with us right away. 

You’ve Suffered Long-Term or Permanently Disabling Injuries

If you’ve sustained injuries in an accident that will require long-term care, have left you permanently disabled, or significantly affect your physical abilities or appearance require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. It can be difficult in these situations to calculate how much the injuries you’ve sustained are worth and furthermore, it’s challenging to determine how your injuries will affect your earning capabilities over time. You need a lawyer with an extensive knowledge of this process to pursue all applicable forms of compensation for your injuries and loss.

You’ve Suffered Significant Injuries

The amount of compensation you ultimately receive is largely dependent upon the severity of your injuries which is measured by the dollar amount of your medical bills, the type of injuries sustained, and the length of your recovery. The higher your potential compensation amount, the more likely you are to surpass the policy limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy, which means that the insurance company may only pay you a fraction of what you deserve. Hiring a personal injury lawyer ensures that you will receive the total amount of compensation that is owed to you.

Several Parties Are Involved or Fault Is Not Clear

If you were involved in an accident where several parties could potentially be liable for the injuries you sustained, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. When multiple parties with multiple insurance companies are involved, it can become very complicated to juggle. Several people may have been injured during the accident which means there won’t be as much settlement money when split between the involved parties or you could ultimately have your settlement reduced due to your proportional fault in the accident. 

When Medical Malpractice Is Involved

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to unprofessional, incompetent, or negligent conduct at the hands of any medical care provider, you will find yourself overwhelmed taking into account both the medical and legal laws in your particular case. We do not recommend attempting a medical malpractice case on your own as they can become very complex.

When You’ve Sustained Toxic Exposure

It can be difficult to prove that you’ve fallen ill due to exposure to contaminants in products, food, or in the air, soil, or water. These claims often require complex scientific data and evidence that can be very hard to come by, particularly because the chemical and other similar industries have protected themselves so diligently from legal trouble. This is yet another situation where we strongly recommend against going it alone.

When the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay

In some circumstances, insurance companies simply refuse to make a settlement offer or one that is fair. If you find yourself in this situation with the at-fault party’s insurance company or negotiations with said insurance company have broken down, contact a personal injury lawyer right away. 

If you have been involved in any of the situations described above or find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney, contact us right away. We will represent your best interests in settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company and will do so in court if that is determined to be the best course of action.

How Preexisting Injuries Affect Personal Injury Claims

How Pre-existing Injuries Affect Personal Injury Claims

A preexisting injury or medical condition refers to injury or condition that you suffered prior to the injury for which you are currently filing a lawsuit. In this situation, you are required to disclose the presence of any preexisting injury. Having a preexisting injury or condition won’t keep you from recovering damages when you file a personal injury claim in Norfolk but it is considered when calculating an award for damages and may impact the value of your claim. 

What is considered a preexisting injury or condition?

While any injury or condition that existed before you sustained new injuries can be considered a preexisting medical condition, the most important in a personal injury case are those that affect or interact with the new injuries. These are a few common examples of preexisting injuries:

  • Injuries that have not healed properly or are still in the process of healing
  • Injuries you have sustained from a previous, unrelated accident
  • Medical conditions that surface only during times of stress
  • Birth defects or congenital abnormalities

Preexisting injuries can be aggravated by a new injury to the same part of the body and that aggravation can increase resulting pain and suffering and delay your recovery. 

Why you need a personal injury attorney

Without an attorney, you have to defend your medical history and prove that your current injuries are largely due to the accident and not your preexisting medical condition. In order for your previous injuries to significantly impact your personal injury claim, you have the burden of proving that your preexisting injuries have a causal relationship with your current injuries. An attorney is able to defend your medical history and prove that your current injuries are primarily due to your recent incident and not your prior medical condition. 

In order for an attorney to properly prepare for your particular situation, it is imperative that you disclose your prior medical history, no matter how unrelated your current injuries may seem. An attorney can then employ past medical records and diagnostic tests and compare them with past records and tests to determine how the accident worsened the preexisting condition. The attorney can also use clinical records to compare the plaintiff’s extent of necessary care, degree of pain, or disability before and after the incident. 

If you or a loved one is pursuing a personal injury claim and has a preexisting condition, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Montagna Law for assistance. We’ll help you to understand how your preexisting condition may impact your claim, why the defendant might use it to discredit your new injuries, and how you can help us to present the most effective case under your particular circumstances.

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When to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

When to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you are in need of Social Security benefits, money is likely a concern if you are unable to work, which can make you reluctant to hire a Social Security lawyer to pursue your claim. However, there are benefits associated with hiring a Social Security lawyer and deferment of costs that you would otherwise miss out on. We break down below the potential benefits and costs of hiring a Social Security lawyer in order to help you make the best decision for your situation. 

Costs

The costs of hiring a Social Security lawyer are relatively straightforward: disability lawyers charge a fee that is regulated by federal law and is generally the lesser of 25% of your disability backpay or $6,000.

-Jon Montagna

Note that this figure does not include costs that may be associated with your claim such as transcript fees, postage, making copies, etc. Usually, there is little to no money required up-front and you are only required to pay if your lawyer wins your case. 

Why you should hire a social security disability lawyer

Most people agree that the benefits of hiring a Social Security disability lawyer far outweigh the costs listed above. This is primarily because a lawyer is a professional who offers an advanced education in law and a daily working knowledge of Social Security laws. He or she will greatly improve your chances of a positive outcome by helping you to avoid pitfalls that you may not even be aware of. While some people who file a Social Security disability case on their own are approved, statistics show that applicants represented by legal counsel are far more likely to be approved for benefits, and more of them.

From submitting the initial application to the hearing and aftermath, Social Security lawyers understand how to present the case in a manner that will yield success for the client. It can be helpful to determine your need for legal counsel by answering a few questions and being honest with yourself: 

  • Do you know how to write with proper legal citations?
  • Are you familiar with the rules of evidence? 
  • Do you know and understand every step in the process of submitting a Social Security disability claim?
  • Do you know who you will be dealing with during the claims process?
  • Do you have any experience with Social Security disability law?

If you found yourself answering no to any of those questions, it may be in your best interest to pursue the services of experienced legal counsel to improve your chances of the best possible outcome. 

When should you hire a social security disability lawyer?

The general rule here is the sooner, the better. Many in this situation will try to get the ball rolling on their case and then contact a lawyer after running into problems in the process. This option is not always unsuccessful, but it certainly isn’t the recommended course of action. Often times, getting a lawyer involved halfway through the process forces the lawyer to spend extra time correcting potential mishaps that may have been made and then trying to minimize the damage done. 

Instead, it’s best to consult a lawyer as early in the process as possible to gain an understanding of the process, what is required of you, and to identify potential holes in your case. If at that time you decide you can handle it on your own, you can proceed without legal counsel and you will sleep better at night knowing you’ve done everything you could.

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What to Expect in a Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

What to Expect in a Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been wrongfully injured and are looking to file a personal injury claim, you probably have hundreds of questions about the process of hiring a personal injury lawyer, preparing for your settlement or trial, and the aftermath of the case. We are here to take the guesswork out of what you can expect in a consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.

Your first meeting with a personal injury attorney is important because it gives you a chance to learn more about the process of filing personal injury claims and it also allows you to evaluate the lawyer’s level of expertise in a case such as yours.

-Jon Montagna

You can expect to have an open discussion with your attorney about the following topics:

Understanding the legal process

An experienced lawyer is aware that the legal process can be difficult to understand for the common citizen so they will take the time to explain how best to proceed with your case for a favorable outcome. Your attorney should walk you through the legal process step-by-step and give you a look into the behind-the-scenes action that leads up to the culmination of your trial and the aftermath. 

Filling out documents, legal briefs, and requests for replies can be time-consuming and your attorney should discuss these steps with you.

Examining your case

It’s important that you are completely open and honest with the personal injury lawyer you are meeting with in order for him or her to decide how best to proceed with legal action. They will ask you the who, what, when, where, and why of your case, which will lead to a detailed discussion of the specifics surrounding your case. It’s important to remember that the lawyer is not making you relive what was potentially a traumatic event for any other reason but to get you the best results possible.

Setting expectations for your role in the case

You play a significant role in the outcome of your case. At your first consultation, the personal injury lawyer should walk you through the steps you need to take in order to ensure success. This may include never missing doctor appointments and being completely open and honest through every step of the process. 

Discuss fees and communications

Whether you’ve decided to move forward with the personal injury lawyer or not, he or she should explain the next steps and everyone’s responsibilities as you proceed, including fees. They should explain to you the fee agreement which includes what services the law firm will perform and how and when they should be paid. Make sure you understand all aspects of the costs and ask for an estimate of what you will be required to pay. 

Once you understand all money-related aspects, your lawyer should discuss how the case will proceed. They should understand the goals for your claim and explain how they will help you achieve them.

How to decide if the personal injury lawyer is right for you

You should not feel like you have to commit after the first consultation. It’s wise to shop around to find someone you feel comfortable with and someone you feel can get you the best possible outcome. In this case, it’s important to remember that the lawyer is not the only one that should be asking questions. It’s a good idea to treat this like an interview to determine if he or she is right for you. 

Use the conversation to gauge if this particular personal injury lawyer has experience with your situation. For example, if you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury, you want a lawyer who has experience with proving these injuries and obtaining fair compensation – someone who has connections with experts who can testify how your injuries will impact your future. The more experienced the lawyer is with the specifics of your case, the more likely they are to obtain a favorable outcome. 

While many lawyers will offer online consultations, we don’t recommend proceeding with someone until you’ve met them in person. 

If you’ve been through a traumatic experience, the most important thing to focus on is healing from the situation. The last thing you’ll want to do is spend all of your time fighting to be compensated for it. At Montagna Law, we will support you and do all the difficult legal work for you so that you can focus on recovery. If you’ve been injured, meeting with one of our personal injury lawyers will help take the stress of the case out of your hands and place the task on someone with the expertise to achieve the compensation you deserve.

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Dangerous Machinery in the Workplace Accident Claim

Dangerous Machinery in the Workplace Accident Claim

Workplace accidents are a fairly common occurrence and are some of the most common personal injury cases filed each year by employees seeking workers’ comp.

While it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure a safe working environment and provide adequate training and safety gear to employees operating the machinery, there is also a responsibility that falls on the employee requiring that they act in accordance with their safety training.

There is also a duty of care that the machinery manufacturer gives to their customer providing machinery that is not defective. There are a number of situations where the party at fault can become confusing and they are as follows. 

Product Liability Claims

Many work-related injuries are a result of operating equipment and machinery so one avenue that many people involved in personal injuries at work take is filing against the company that is responsible for the design, installation, maintenance, and safe use of the machinery. Claims based on the theory that a machine or product is dangerous and causes injury are product liability claims. Such a claim has to follow at least one of the following three liabilities:

Negligence

A negligence claim makes the manufacturer responsible for knowing that there is a fault in the product and taking measures to identify or correct the problem to produce a safe product and that as a result of them failing to do so, a worker was injured through the use of the product.

Strict Liability

Under strict liability, a product manufacturer is held liable for injuries that result from the use of a product deemed unreasonably dangerous. Depending on state law, the company that sells or distributes the product may share liability with the manufacturer.

Breach of Warranty

A warranty claim is based upon an implied warranty of maintenance and alleges that a product was not safe for use as intended. 

 

State law, the statute of limitations, and specifics of how the injury occurred all factor into a liability claim which is why it’s so important to have the counsel of a lawyer when bringing such a case.

Dangerous Product Design

Liability may fall upon the manufacturer of the equipment or machinery for ensuring that its design is not only suitable for use but also accommodates the probability that the equipment will be misused or used without the proper safety gear. Employees will often take shortcuts thinking that they are familiar enough with the product to bypass these safety measures. When a problem that is reasonably foreseeable is not detected in the product design and manufacturing process or is detected but neglected, the manufacturer may be liable for injuries that occur as a result.

When appropriate, the manufacturer should build safeguards into the equipment so that it cannot be operated without the applicable safety equipment and guards in place. The design should also take relevant safety codes into account which reduces the chance of a product being dangerous. While this is a required measure to take, simply doing this is not a sufficient measure in eliminating the possibility of a product liability claim. 

Manufacturing Defects

This occurs when the product is properly designed but a mistake is made during the manufacturing process the renders the product dangerous for use. 

Duty to Warn

A manufacturer has a duty to warn the people who will be using its products of the potential dangers associated with its use. Even in situations where the risk is obvious, such as with a simple tool like a ladder, a failure to provide sufficient instruction and warning may result in liability. 

For some machinery, product warning labels are adequate while more complicated machinery and equipment need further warning than labels which may result in confusion about how to safely operate the equipment. 

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do and 7 Benefits of Hiring One

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

The aftermath of an accident or an injury on the job can be a stressful time. Not only are you likely in pain, but you may be dealing with insurance and getting the compensation you deserve, which can be complicated and time-consuming. 

Hiring a personal injury attorney can take away some of the anxiety and help get you the payout you deserve. If you find a firm like Montagna Law, who works on a contingency basis, there’s literally nothing to lose. 

Here’s why you should hire a personal injury lawyer:

You have knowledge and experience on your side 

After an accident your focus should be on getting better, not figuring out finances and fighting insurance companies.

Since they deal with this on a daily basis, personal injury attorneys know the ways around the legal technicalities that insurance companies use to take advantage of vulnerable clients. 

We know which documents to file, can help you fill out forms correctly, and educate you on certain statutes of limitation. A great personal injury lawyer knows when to pass up an offer and hold out for the compensation you deserve.

Many entities work against underrepresented folks 

There are so many ways someone without an attorney is taken advantage of in court. Insurance companies might offer smaller settlements to encourage early signing or force you into litigation if they claim you weren’t injured. Access to medical care might be less available since unrepresented claimants and care payments aren’t guaranteed. 

Fighting back against product defects or large companies is nearly impossible without an attorney. Having someone with experience on your side is important and necessary in many cases.

No consequences if you lose your case 

When it comes to complicated laws within the Offers of Judgement, the opposite side might be able to get attorney fees and costs from you. At Montagna Law, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t owe us any payment if we don’t win your case.  

An unbiased, clear-headed partner is important 

With the stress of being in an accident or hurt on the job, having someone who has experience with these fields takes much of the burden off you. Objectivity is crucial in winning a personal injury case, and emotions such as pain, anger, and frustration usually felt after an accident can cloud your judgment. A personal injury lawyer has both the cognitive dissonance and consideration of your best interest to wait for a better offer.

They can help you make an informed decision 

Sometimes a personal injury claim might not even be worth pursuing if the chances of winning the case are slim. No attorney wants to waste your time or money and will be honest about what you should do. In some cases, a settlement can be negotiated instead of going to trial. If the settlement isn’t good enough, personal injury lawyers will fight for you as long as it takes. Either way, they have the knowledge and experience to know what you should do next.

They can negotiate and minimize financial consequences 

There are ways you can determine how much you’re owed, such as using online personal injury calculators. However, each case has so many nuances, such as future medical care, severity of injuries, and more. A personal injury lawyer will comb through every detail to make sure all your bases are covered. 

A team of investigators creates added support 

Your personal injury lawyer is your partner and wants to win just as much as you do. That’s why they usually come with backup in the form of an investigation team to comb through all the evidence and use every tool to your advantage. Anything you can remember from your incident helps, such as any witnesses you might recall, any medical providers who helped your injuries, or how your life has changed since the injury.

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Learning the Basics of Personal Injury Law

Learning the Basics of Personal Injury Law

When put simply, a personal injury is an injury that does not involve issues with property and is, therefore, involving a person’s body and/or mind. It allows the injured person to go to civil court seeking compensation for losses stemming from an accident that occurred as a result of someone else’s carelessness or intentional misconduct. If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of someone else, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer like Montagna Law. 

How Does a Personal Injury Case Work?

Because no two accidents are the exact same, no two personal injury cases will be the same. This makes it difficult to develop a standard across all personal injury cases, which makes it that much more important to consult with a legal professional who can work with the nuances of your case. However, there is a typical timeline that most personal injury cases follow when you look at the bigger picture:

The Defendant Injures the Plaintiff

As you can imagine, there are many different ways that the plaintiff can be injured by the defendant. The only exceptions that still fall under personal injury are contractual breaches, which are handled under a separate body of law called “contract law.”

The Plaintiff Establishes That The Defendant Breached a Legal Duty

The specific measure of legal duty is going to be completely dependent upon the situation in which the plaintiff sustained the injury. For example, manufacturers have a duty to produce a product that is not defective or unreasonably dangerous. Employers have the duty of understanding those products and teaching their employees how to operate it properly to avoid injury. 

Settlement Outside of Court May Occur

If it is clear that the defendant has breached a legal duty, they may choose to settle outside of court. This would mean they, or the insurance company representing him or her, offer monetary compensation to the injured party in exchange for the injured person’s promise to not file a lawsuit. 

The Case Ends

If the plaintiff accepts the settlement, that is the end of the case. If the plaintiff does not accept, the plaintiff may go to court and file a personal injury lawsuit. Settlement negotiations may continue beyond this point and can be reached at any time prior to the civil case being handed to the jury. 

 


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