PERSONAL INJURY FAQS
When do I need a lawyer?
Certain situations require a skilled attorney almost immediately, while others may never require one. Every situation is unique. Pinpointing the exact time you should seek legal representation is difficult. It has been our experience that the best time to contact a lawyer is soon after an accident, before an insurer begins calling and mailing you forms to fill out. It’s no secret that the legal system can be complicated, and having the guidance of an experienced lawyer will only help you. The best part of calling our office is that you have nothing to lose. Initial consultations are always free. One quick call, made at the first sign of trouble could prevent a lot of future headaches down the road. Call us at (413) 781-0000.
What types of questions should I be asking a lawyer?
It’s important that you trust the lawyer that you choose to represent your interests. Injury cases take time to resolve and you need to be comfortable with the lawyer you choose. Not all lawyers are alike. The initial meeting can give you a good sense of who the lawyer is and how the entire process will go; because of this the best way to approach this meeting is like a job interview. By the end of this “interview” you need to be absolutely confident that this is the right lawyer to fight for your rights. In this video Robert DiTusa describes the process we use here at Alekman DiTusa, LLC.
Every case is different and thus the initial meeting can vary, but here are some basic questions you may want to consider asking potential lawyers.
During the meeting you should be asking:
- Does your attorney have trial experience? Although most cases do not go to trial, all cases have the potential of going to trial. It is essential that you hire a lawyer that has experience going to court. You may be surprised that some lawyers avoid courtrooms. Insurance companies know which lawyers are willing to “go the distance” for their clients, and which are not. The attorneys at Alekman DiTusa, LLC have extensive trial experience in both civil and criminal cases.
- Does your lawyer have experience with the legal issues surrounding your case? Make sure you choose the right lawyer for the job at hand. Some lawyers claim to handle personal injury cases, but they really specialize in real estate, divorce or bankruptcy. You want to be sure your lawyer is an expert in handling the matters surrounding your case.
- How will your lawyer handle your case? Make sure you get an understanding of the lawyer’s intended course of action specific to your case.
- How long will your case take to resolve? Ask for a time frame for your case (time from the initial contact to when you receive a settlement check). Although every case is different, you should leave the first meeting with an understanding of what to expect.
- How you can help your case? Defining your role or participation in the case itself. It is important the your lawyer know every medical provider you see. If you don’t keep your lawyer informed, he may not be able to get you full compensation for your injury.
- How will your lawyer keep you informed? Look for an explanation of how your lawyer will keep you informed during the entire process.
- How much will it cost? Ask how and when the lawyer gets paid for his services. Ask if the lawyer will provide you with a fee agreement that details everything including fees, expenses, billing, and payment.
After the meeting ask yourself:
- Will I be comfortable working closely with this person?
- Do I trust this lawyer?
- Am I confident that this lawyer has the experience and skill to handle my case?
- Do I clearly understand the lawyer’s explanation of what my case will involve?
- Do I understand the proposed fee agreement?
What if I’ve been hurt and need an attorney but can’t afford one?
We get paid only after you win your injury case. Our firm operates exclusively on a contingent basis, when handling injury cases, which means our fees are calculated with a predetermined percentage of the settlement or verdict. By using this method we can ensure that all of our clients’ cases are handled with the respect and urgency that they deserve.
Why should I choose Alekman DiTusa, LLC?
People choose Alekman DiTusa, LLC because we aren’t your everyday law firm. Having worked in the legal industry for a combined 30 years, our firm has come to realize that we just don’t fit the mold that’s used to define a typical firm. We are easy to talk to and we develop relationships with all of our clients. But don’t be fooled by our good nature. We believe in our clients and we fight hard for them.
Call us idealists, but we believe that people who are in need shouldn’t be taken advantage of, or flat out ignored… they should just be helped. That’s why we work hard to ensure that our clients overcome their legal troubles. Over the years, we have been able to help thousands of families get back on track. Maybe that’s why past clients have dubbed us the “lawyers you can talk to,” and are willing to share their success stories.
In order to ensure our ability to provide clients with the highest possible level of service, our firm has chosen to focus on a few areas of the law. As a result our attorneys and staff have been able to hone their skills. If you’re facing legal trouble, or have found yourself injured in an accident, please call us at 413-781-0000. One call could be all it takes to get your life back on track.
What is Liability?
Liability is generally referred to as an individual’s level of responsibility (or fault) for their actions. Whether or not a person is “liable” for an accident is largely determined by the level of their involvement in the act that has caused the accident and whether it was foreseeable that an injury would occur from that act.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is defined as the “commission of a civil wrong, or tort, that accidentally causes injury to somebody by reason of failure to perform an expected duty with the care that a reasonably prudent person would use with regard to the safety of others in a particular circumstance.” In layman’s terms, it is the failure to act with ordinary care or reasonable care.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
Massachusetts state law sets very specific time frames in which personal injury claims can be filed. This period of time is known as the statute of limitations. In Massachusetts, most tort claims have a statute of limitations that extends for three years after the date of the initial injury or its discovery. Certain exceptions do exist, but need to be assessed on case-by-case basis. Please call our office at 413-781-0000 for more information.
What is PIP Insurance?
Personal Injury Protection (a.k.a. PIP) refers to a set of benefits included in Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Policies. Following a car accident, medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, household services and certain specified losses are paid for by your insurer. The important part to understand is that PIP benefits are considered “no-fault” benefits. This means that regardless of who is to blame for the accident, Massachusetts state law mandates that everyone in a car accident receive a basic level of help with these specific losses. For more information on PIP please call us at 413-781-0000.
What is the difference between a DUI, OUI, DWI, and Drunk Driving Charge?
There is no real difference between these charges. These abbreviations are all used to describe the same criminal act of driving a car while you were intoxicated. Specific state statutes describe this act differently and that’s why we have so many abbreviations. In Massachusetts the legal statute refers to “Operating Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquors,” or OUI for short. Other examples include “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) or “Driving while Intoxicated” (DWI), but they all essentially mean the same thing.
I was just arrested for OUI…What do I do?
If this is your first OUI it can be a confusing and upsetting event to deal with. The first thing to understand is that you are not facing the end of the world here. While OUI’s are serious criminal offenses they are unfortunately a common occurrence in today’s society. So stay calm, and accept the situation that you are currently in. By doing this you should be able to determine your best course of action, and the take first step to putting this incident behind you. If you haven’t been to court yet you will need to be arraigned, which usually will occur on the next business day following your arrest. It would be in your best interest to speak with an attorney before the arraignment. If you find yourself in similar circumstances to this, we can help. Call our offices at 413-781-0000. We are texted with all of our after-hours messages to ensure that we can respond promptly. This enables us to help our clients get the best result, and can help them get their driver’s licenses back as quickly as possible, within what is allowable under the law.
I was just arrested for an OUI…What should I do if I am asked to take a Breathalyzer test?
In this situation most people will choose to take the test if they think they will blow under the legal limit for blood alcohol in Massachusetts. The legal limit for of age adults is .08 and the legal limit for anyone under age is .02. With this said, it is staggeringly difficult to judge your blood alcohol content with any real degree of accuracy. If you refuse to take a breath test in Massachusetts it cannot be introduced to a jury and used against you during an OUI Trial. As a result, refusing to take the test will allow your lawyer the best possible chance to build a case in your defense.
I was just arrested for an OUI… How long will I lose my license for?
For a first offense OUI charge, if you refused the breath test you will lose your license for 180 days (6 months). If you take the test and fail, you’ll lose your license for 30 days.
If I am convicted of an OUI charge, what is the worst thing that can happen to me?
AIf you are convicted of OUI in Massachusetts the maximum penalty for a first time offender is 2 and 1/2 years in jail, fines up to $5,000, and a 1 year license suspension. These are however the maximum penalties, and in our experience first offense OUI clients are rarely ever subject to the maximum penalties. Although each case is different, presumably, it would take an extreme set of circumstances for someone to get the maximum sentence.
It is important to recognize that if the breathalyzer shows that your blood alcohol content is above .08 (.02 for minors) your license will be suspended for 30 days. If you are an adult and have no prior offenses, in any state, the license suspension for refusing the breathalyzer is 180 days (longer for minors and for those with prior offenses).
In addition, if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) the suspensions are longer, and a refusal will result in a lifetime suspension if you have only one prior offense.