The Different Ways a Personal Injury Claim Can Be Resolved

So you have been hurt in an accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person. Do you have to file a lawsuit to get compensation for your losses? What are your options?

You Can Settle

This is actually the path that most personal injury claims take. Typically, you will retain an attorney, who may or may not file a lawsuit, but will immediately identify all potentially liable parties and contact legal counsel to initiate the process of obtaining a financial recovery. In cases where liability is clear, it may not be necessary to file a lawsuit. In other instances, that may be the only way to move toward a settlement. Once the parties come to an agreement on the terms of a settlement, that agreement is put in writing, signed by all parties, and becomes enforceable in a court of law.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

This broad term customarily encompasses both mediation and arbitration.

In mediation, a third party neutral becomes involved, working cooperatively with both parties to identify a mutually beneficial outcome. If the parties come to an agreement in mediation, they put that agreement in writing and it becomes an enforceable contract. The mediator, though, is not a judge and does not make a determination of liability, but only seeks to facilitate a resolution.

In arbitration, the parties present their case to a person or panel of individuals who have specialized knowledge or the legal and/or factual issues involved. The arbitrator(s) will make a decision regarding the outcome of the dispute, which may or may not be binding.


The traditional legal process involves an adversarial proceeding before a judge and jury. The actual trial customarily takes up only a very small amount of time…a day or a few days, but the pre-trial period can be months or years. The court will typically order a period of time during which the parties can gather evidence, and will make many rulings in advance of trial, addressing such issues as the admissibility of certain evidence, what exhibits will be allowed, and how the jury will be instructed. In the actual trial, the plaintiff presents evidence first and the defense has an opportunity to challenge or refute any evidence or testimony given. It’s not unusual for the parties to enter into serious settlement discussions after the trial has begun.

Contact the Lawyers at Shaffer & Gaier

For a free initial consultation, contact us online, or call us in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100 or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. You can also reach our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Make Hospitals Safer Study Finds

The most common medical errors are not surgical errors, labor-and-delivery errors, or drug mistakes. The medical mistakes that lead to the most medical malpractice lawsuits and payments are diagnosis mistakes.

Researchers* used the National Practitioner Data Bank, an organization that records all actions taken against health care professionals by state licensing boards, to determine that 28.6 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits are for mistaken diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and other diagnosis errors.

Diagnostic mistakes accounted for 33.8 percent of disabilities and nearly 40 percent of deaths that led to medical malpractice payments. There were more than 100,000 payments as a result of diagnostic mistakes from 1986 to 2010. The senior author of the study, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, who is an associate professor of neurology of Johns Hopkins, said, “This is a major health problem . . .. There’s a lot of room for improvement. You can’t get the treatment right if you don’t get the diagnosis right.”

Error relating to medical treatment and surgery were the second and third most common causes of medical payments stemming from lawsuits. Obstetric, medication, monitoring, anesthesia, and the rest accounted for 20 percent of medical malpractice lawsuit payments.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier – Medical Malpractice Attorneys, New Jersey and PA

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who have suffered injury as a result of a medical mistake that should never have happened. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

*BMJ Quality and Safety: International Journal of Healthcare Improvement

Who Is Responsible After a Construction Site Accident?

It might seem obvious after a construction site accident – file a workers’ compensation claim and that’s it.  However, a workers’ compensation claim may not fully protect your legal right to full and fair compensation after a construction site accident.

Generally speaking, an injured worker is prohibited from filing any type of private lawsuit in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.  However, construction site accidents are one category of accident where that prohibition does not always hold true.

If an individual or a company other than the company that employs the injured worker was fully or partly responsible for causing the accident, then the injured worker may be able to file a private lawsuit against that person.  This legal concept is known as third-party liability.

Examples of construction site accidents in which the injured worker may have the right to file a third-party liability claim include:

  • Another subcontractor on the site fails to install proper safety and warning signs, leading to a serious trip and fall accident
  • Another subcontractor hires a worker without sufficient experience, and that worker injures another by performing sub-par work
  • A worker is seriously injured in a fall due to defective fall prevention safety equipment
  • One worker is assaulted by another worker who was hired without a basic background check, which would have revealed multiple felony convictions for violence at the workplace
  • A construction site worker is injured by a forklift driven by an operator without minimum training

If you are being asked to work on a construction site with known safety hazards, you may want to consider filing a safety complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

If, however, you have already been injured on a construction site, then it is highly advisable to seek advice from experienced personal injury lawyers.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

To set up a free initial consultation with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys after a construction site accident, contact our office online, call our Philadelphia office location at 215-751-0100, or call our New Jersey office at 856-429-0970.

Injured in a Car Accident While Working? It’s More Complicated Than You Think

On-the-job car accidents present unique legal issues.  What comes to mind as important actions to take following a car accident that happened while you were working?

  • Go to the doctor?  Absolutely.
  • Get receipts for your health care insurance company?  Yes.
  • Notify your private car insurance company?  Yes.

But did you consider the following:

  • Inform your employer you were hurt
  • File a workers’ compensation claim
  • Consult a personal injury attorney

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may need to file additional claims in order to achieve all the compensation you are entitled to.  You may have rights that are not covered by either your car insurance policy or workers’ compensation.  A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can explain all the benefits you may be entitled to and help you file necessary claims.

If the car accident was caused in whole or in part by an individual or company unassociated with your own employer, then workers’ compensation may not fully cover your lost wages and medical costs.  Your personal injury attorney can advocate on your behalf and file a private lawsuit, if necessary, to obtain additional compensation from the third party who was involved in the accident.

Another reason to retain a personal injury attorney in the event of a workplace car accident is that multiple insurance companies are likely to become involved after the accident.  You may need to file claims with more than one insurance company, and you may receive a demand for reimbursement from one insurance company – you could even be served with a lawsuit yourself, demanding reimbursement or charging you with causing the car accident.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

To set up a free initial consultation with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys regarding a workplace car accident, contact our office online or call our Philadelphia office location at 215-751-0100, or our New Jersey office at 856-429-0970.

Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Government?

The answer to this question has its roots in America’s origins as a colony of Great Britain. Under a concept known as “sovereign immunity,” subjects of The Crown were prohibited from suing the king. These days, “sovereign immunity” has transformed into a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act, which essentially says you cannot sue the government unless the government says you can sue the government.

Crystal clear, right?

Most states and local governments (cities and counties, for example) have their own versions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, although the details will be different. The most important thing to know if you are injured by a government employee or while on government property is that the rules are different and you must follow the rules exactly to maintain any hope of getting compensation for your injuries.

Here are some of the most important requirements when trying to sue the federal government for an injury under the Federal Tort Claims Act:

  • You can’t go straight to court. You must first file an administrative claim with the federal agency involved. For example, if you were involved in a traffic accident with a U.S. Postal Service truck, then you must file your claim with the U.S. Postal Service. You can use Standard Form 95 to file this claim, though you don’t have to.
  • You must file your administrative claim within two years of the date your claim arose. The best strategy is to file the claim as soon as possible.
  • Your administrative claim must include enough facts about the incident to allow the federal agency to investigate your claim, and you must also state the exact amount of financial compensation you believe you should receive.
  • You can file a lawsuit against the government (assuming you meet other requirements) if the government agency rejects your claim or offers you a settlement amount you believe is unfair.

Government tort claims are a complex area of personal injury law, and it is highly advisable to retain a personal injury lawyer if you have suffered a serious injury that involves a government employee or government property.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury, Shaffer & Gaier can help. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online, call our Philadelphia office location at 215-751-0100, or call our New Jersey office at 856-429-0970.

Lawyers Working Polling Places

November 4, 2008 was an historic day in America. No matter what your political affiliation, we can all be inspired by the record turnout and the astounding participation in the Democratic process.

The lawyers at Shaffer & Gaier were proud to be poll watchers to ensure that every person, Democrat, Republican or Independent had a clear path to the voting place. All of our attorneys, watched the polling places to ensure our citizens’ rights were not infringed upon and they could exercise their right to vote.

Safety Takes A Back Seat in Tough Economic Times

No one can doubt the difficult economic times that we all face. Businesses are also faced with belt tightening that affects both consumers and employees.

Countless studies have shown that when companies face difficult economic obstacles, one of the first measures to be cut is safety. Unfortunately, companies often believe that since safety is not a money producing venture, it can take a back seat to their employees and consumers well being. At Shaffer & Gaier, we have handled several cases where products did not go through the vigorous testing they should have done because the companies were trying to save money toward their bottom line. When these defective products caused injury, it was clear that if the companies had gone through their normal paces, the defects of the products would have been avoided. In addition, we have also had experiences with construction accidents where construction companies have placed their workers at risk by failing to adhere to basic safety protocols because they were trying to add to their profit. Certainly, in these difficult economic times these dangers rise to consumers and workers.

Defective Drugs and Medical Devices – The FDA Is Not On Your Side

The change and developments of the United States Supreme Court has taken with regard to unsafe drugs and medical devices are quite simply frightening. Is there really anyone left in America who still thinks that just because a medication is approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is safe and without product defects? If so, then the drugs like Vioxx would never be recalled by the FDA. These drugs made it through the FDA’s incredibly lame screening process to hurt thousands of innocent people.

The pharmaceutical industry, and its giant lobbying group, has tried to prohibit lawsuits against drug manufacturers because the drugs that are approved meet the seal of approval by the FDA. Due to the huge problems that these drug manufacturers have had, and the confidential documents that they never disclosed to the FDA concerning negative research, it is frightening that these companies could be immune from liability. Too often, clients contact our office with questions about defective medical devices and/or defective drugs and I am faced with explaining to them the difficult and confusing decisions by the United States Supreme Court that, in effect, takes away their rights.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

When there is something physically wrong with you, the best thing you can do is seek medical care so that you can get a proper diagnosis and take the necessary steps to remedy any medical condition. You have to put your trust in the hands of a medical professional and rely on them to take the proper steps to correctly diagnose your condition so casino en ligne français bonus sans depot you can get the care you need. When you have sought treatment only to have your doctor fail to take reasonable steps to diagnose or treat your condition, the attorneys at Shaffer & Gaier can help.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

At our office, every prospective client receives a free initial consultation. Call us in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100 or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970, or contact us online. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will meet with you in your home or at the hospital if necessary.

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