Play it Smart: Why Hiring a Lawyer for Your Accident Case Saves You Money

CBR002454Insurance companies have a ploy they use to cut costs. They offer a small amount of money right away, hoping accident victims will sign away their rights to sue.

NEVER take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney. You need to make an informed decision about what is in your best interest.

Whom is it smarter to listen to – your attorney whose fee is derived from your settlement, or the insurance company, who is trying to pay you as little as possible?

There are three very important things you should consider if you are wondering if you NEED to hire a lawyer to handle your accident case.

  1. PEOPLE REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY GET 300% MORE THAN UNREPRESENTED PEOPLE! A national study found that that injured persons who were represented by an attorney received 300% more than persons who settled their claims without a lawyer. Even after deducting the standard lawyers’ fee of 1/3, those claimants who hired representation netted twice as much as those who accepted an insurance company’s settlement.
  2. If you think you might go to trial to seek a larger judgment, only an experienced attorney is qualified to assess the potential of your case. Though going to trial can take a long time, in many cases the return in the judgment in court is MUCH larger than the insurance company’s low-ball settlement offer. You have to weigh the “bird in the hand” settlement against the risk of going after a greater verdict. An accomplished lawyer can help you make this tough decision – based on their experience in handling similar cases.
  3. The insurance company has attorneys to protect their profits – shouldn’t you have one to ensure you get a fair settlement? Every time one of my client’s tells me that the insurance adjuster told them that they didn’t “need” to hire an attorney, I tell them to ask the adjuster if the insurance company has their own attorneys? If they honestly answer the question, “Yes, of course we have company attorneys”, then ask why is it that the insurance company needs their own attorney while they are recommending that you do NOT need YOUR OWN ATTORNEY? That usually stops them dead in their tracks…

The personal injury attorneys at the Ziff Law Firm, (Carl Hayden, Jim Reed and Adam Gee) will consult with you to see if you need to have them represent you or not. Just call us at 1-800-ZIFFLAW or e-mail us at [email protected] and we will be happy to speak with you right away.

The bottom line: Yes, attorneys have fees, but in the long run, it could cost you a LOT more NOT to hire one.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
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James B. Reed, Esq.
New York Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com


The National Institute for Trial Advocacy — a Worthwhile Investment

Shortly after I joined Ziff Law, Jim Reed, the firm’s managing partner (and frequent poster on this blog,) told me to sign myself up for the two-week National Session on Building Trial Skills offered by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). “And by the way,” he remarked, “the program is located just outside Boulder, Colorado.”

‘Nuff said. As a former resident of Denver and Missoula, Montana, I am a true lover of the mountains and was ecstatic about the chance to spend some time savoring mountain life. Oh, NITA looked pretty cool as well.

I had no idea at the time that I was about to embark upon a career changing — if not life changing — voyage. Seriously. Two weeks at NITA equaled, for me and I suspect most of my classmates, at least five years of real world trial experience. Unfortunately, as most practitioners recognize, cases are not tried nearly as often today as they were fifty years ago. Increased pressures to settle matters quickly or engage in Alternative Dispute Resolution — such as mediation or arbitration — has created a professional atmosphere in which young attorneys wait years or even decades before ever getting a chance to see a case through to verdict. (The one notable exception is in the area of criminal law, where cases are tried on a somewhat more frequent basis.) (Watch an interview with The Honorable Jim R. Carrigan, one if NITA’s founders.)

I was fortunate to have tried a number of cases as a prosecutor before participating in NITA’s National Session. However, the skills and confidence I gained from NITA are unparalleled. I had an opportunity to test myself against some of the best up-and-coming attorneys in the country — and even the world! The faculty was comprised of seasoned practioners with practical, focused advice on how to become the very best trial lawyer possible, and the lecturers offered insight into cutting edge legal trends and technology emerging from all ends of the globe. (Read NITA’s Blog.) Continue reading


Emergency Unemployment Compensation

On July 2, 2008, Governor Paterson signed an agreement allowing New York State to participate in the federally-funded 13-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The first week for which extended benefit payments can be made is the week ending on Sunday, July 13, 2008.

For more information about collecting unemployment benefits while on Workers’ Comp. please see my blog post N.Y. Workers’ Comp. and Unemployment Benefits.

For more information about qualifying for the 13-week extension please see the N.Y.S. Department of Labor’s Notice About Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Thanks for reading,
Eric

____________________________________________
Eric L. Johnson
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

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Social Security Introduces New Home Page

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards.

Image via Wikipedia

Social Security Online, the official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration, got a makeover. The site definitely looks easier to use. It has always been a terrific source of information.

Please visit Social Security Online and have a look for yourself.

Thanks for reading,
Eric

____________________________________________
Eric L. Johnson
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William St.
Elmira, NY 14902
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

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Who let the (vicious) dogs out?

ziffchristinabrunermarch08_005.jpg

It’s that time of year again. The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the runners and cyclists are getting restless-er. However, a word to all wise dog owners – make sure your pet does not follow suit and, following a lazy winter of prolonged naps and indoor play, become caught up in the spring fever and use all of his pent up energy to harass – or worse, injure – an innocent passer-by.

New York law imposes a high standard on dog owners, particularly owners of dogs that have ever shown “vicious propensities,” (legalese for prior displays of mean, unruly and aggressive behavior.) As a dedicated marathoner, I must say I am glad the law seeks to hold pet owners responsible for misdeeds, yet as a former and likely future dog owner, I recognize the necessity for understanding the basics of New York’s dog owner liability doctrine to avoid legal entanglements.

In brief, under New York law a dog owner is potentially liable for injuries his dog causes to another person if Continue reading