Archive for February, 2010

Personal Injury: The Basics

February 22, 2010

The most important thing to remember in a personal injury lawsuit is that the basics are essential:

1. investigate the facts

2. document the injuries

3. interview the witnesses

4. consult with healthcare providers

5. demonstrative evidence is vital: photos, video, x-ray slides and cds,

charts, diagrams, federal and state archives for engineering drawings, etc.

In litigation, it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words.

It is very helpful for the injured person and his or her spouse to keep diaries that document the facts of the accident. They can recall them when their memories are fresh. Clients also need to write a short day-to-day narrative of their physical and emotional injuries, rehab and pain and suffering.

Most people do not understand the trauma of a personal injury upon a person’s physical, economic, emotional and social well-being until they have such an accident.

part of an attorneys work is to speak on behalf of the clients and explain their damages. He or she cannot these tasks without the cooperation of the clients to write these fact rich and detailed narratives.

Arthur F. Licata

There are two main parts to a personal injury case

February 17, 2010

There are two main parts to a personal injury case:

1. liability was someone or a company negligent, that is, careless?

2. damages lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, total or partial disability, limitations on one’s daily activities, scarring or disfigurement.

The plaintiff, that is, the one who is suing has the affirmative duty to prove liability and damages.  It is not the obligation of the defendant to disprove anything.

What is the standard of care, the formula, for proving liability and damages in a personal injury case? To answer that question it is important to first say what it is not. There is a general public misconception of what is required in a civil case.

On t.v. we always hear about “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the very high stanard of proof the State must provide to the jury to find  a person guilty in a criminal case.

In a civil case the proof, that is, the standard of care is significantly less:

the plaintiff must prove the negligence is “probable.”

The word probable means that  something, a fact for instance, is “more likely than not” to be true. This standard is not the high , very difficult standard in a criminal case.

“More likely than not” can best be understood by visualizing the scales of justice evenly balanced before you. If  the facts tip the scales of justice ever so slightly  one way or the other than there is proof  that it is “probable” or more likely than not.

Arthur F. Licata

Personal Injury: What’s It About

February 16, 2010

How does someone  pay for an attorney to handle his/her case? Typically, the case is accepted on a contingency fee basis. That’s a fancy way of saying the attorney gets 1/3 of any recovery by  settlement or jury verdict plus reimbursement for case expenses. If the client does not get any money from the defendant person,  company or their insurance company then the attorney does not get paid for all the time spent on the case.  He just gets back his case expenses.

In Massachusetts, the typical waiting time for a civil case to reach a trial date is 3 years.  All the attorneys time and effort is based on winning a verdict  or obtaining a settlement.The defendant and its insurance company use time and delay, as a bludgeon to wear down the resolve of the plaintiff. This situation is why you need the very best legal representation you can find.

Arthur F. Licata

Frequently Asked Questions About The Law

February 15, 2010

Do you know the difference between criminal law and civil law.

Criminal law as the name implies deals with crooks.

Civil law deals with money damages or some equitable (fair) relief  or a violation of some state or Federal law, or more simply, everything that is not in the criminal law.

Arthur F. Licata