FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – GENERAL:
|Q:||Where is the office of Cada Law located?|
|A:||We are conveniently located at 1024 K Street in downtown, Lincoln, Nebraska. For additional information, please see our Contact Us page.|
|Q:||What areas of law does the law firm of Cada Law practice in?|
|A:||Other than those listed on our Areas of Practice page, we also practice in the area of healthcare law, and should the need arise, we can direct you to an attorney that practices in the area of law you need assistance with.|
II. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – PERSONAL INJURY CASES:
|Q:||After I have been injured, what should I do?|
|A:||For any injury, no matter how slight, you need to have a qualified medical examination. Whether or not you decide to pursue a claim against the person you believe caused the injury is much less important than seeking appropriate medical care in order to insure against long term health problems.|
|Q:||What if I haven’t been injured?|
|A:||Many times after an automobile collision, there are no apparent injuries. However, it is a good idea to get a medical examination after a collision in order to be sure that you won’t suffer any health problems at a later date.|
|Q:||Who will pay for my medical bills if I have been hurt?|
|A:||The responsibility for paying your medical bills is generally on the individual who caused the collision or his or her insurance company. In addition, you may have coverage through your automobile insurance that is in place to pay for your medical bills. Finally, your own health insurance may pay for these bills.|
|Q:||What if I have to miss work and lose some of my wages?|
|A:||You must keep an accurate and complete record of the time you missed from work and the wages which you have lost. You should include all time that you have missed including time that you get paid for by using sick time or vacation.|
|Q:||What should I do with the medical bills I receive after the collision?|
|A:||Provide copies of the bills to your attorney. He or she will deal directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company or, at the least, will attempt to have payment of these bills postponed until your case has been resolved. It is important to make your attorney aware of these bills and get him or her involved so that they don’t go to collection.|
|Q:||Where should I take my car to get it repaired?|
|A:||It is your decision where you take your vehicle to be repaired. In fact, it is wise to take your vehicle to at least two independent auto body repair shops to obtain their best estimates for repairs to your vehicle. It is vital that you are personally involved in the repair estimate so that you can point out all of the damage to your vehicle to the shop’s appraiser. It’s your vehicle and only you can inform the shop of all the damage that was done to your vehicle. Don’t let the insurance company bully you into taking your vehicle to their offices for an appraisal or into taking an amount which is less than the repair estimates you have received. Before agreeing to a repair estimate or leaving your vehicle in a shop, discuss the matter with your attorney. Make sure you take several pictures from various angles of the damage to your vehicle.|
|Q:||Should I contact an attorney?|
|A:||Even if you are involved in a minor collision, it is important that you contact an attorney in order to get a competent legal opinion on your rights and responsibilities. In point of fact, an attorney may not be needed to handle your claim if it is small and uncomplicated. However, an experienced attorney will be able to tell you during your free initial consultation whether it is necessary to retain his or her services. Be aware that your legal rights can be adversely affected and that it is in your best interest to discuss the entire matter with an attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case, discuss medical treatment, assist you with any problems that you are having with the repairs to your vehicle, and ensure that you receive a fair and full settlement with the insurance company that takes into account the problems, pain, and suffering that you have endured as a result of the other party’s actions or inactions.
The other option is that you can attempt to resolve your claim by dealing with the insurance company’s claims adjuster. Be aware that the claims adjuster is highly trained and experienced in representing his or her company’s interest. The adjuster gets paid and promoted for keeping his company’s costs down. At Cada Law we aggressively represent your interests.
|Q:||How much will this cost me?|
|A:||Our office accepts personal injury cases on an contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee agreement you agree to pay a percentage of the amount your attorney obtains for you in exchange for his or her legal representation. The fee is paid from the proceeds of the settlement or judgment the attorney obtains for you so that you are not paying any money out-of-pocket for your attorney’s fees. If there is no recovery, there is no fee.|
|Q:||Is it better to sue or to take the insurance company’s settlement offer?|
|A:||Sometimes a lawsuit is the only option when the insurance company offers an unfair settlement amount. At this point, it becomes necessary to sue to protect your rights to full and fair compensation. An experienced trial attorney will be able to assist you in the valuation of your claim and will advise you whether the insurance company’s offer is inadequate. Remember: it is your claim and ultimately you will be able to make the final decision of whether to settle or go to trial. An experienced trial attorney will be able to assist you in this decision by giving you the facts you need to make an informed choice.|
|Q:||How much can I expect to get for my car?|
|A:||You should expect to receive the amount of money necessary to either repair or replace your car depending upon the damages sustained. At times the amount of money necessary to repair your vehicle will exceed its value. In this case, the insurance company may decide to declare the car a total loss. If this is the case, you should receive the amount the car was worth prior to the collision, based on industry pricing guides.|
|Q:||What can I expect to receive for my injuries?|
|A:||You are entitled to be fully compensated for the injuries that you received. The amount you receive can include, but not necessarily is limited to, payment for your medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, transportation expenses, pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, loss of future enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and emotional distress.|
|Q:||How do I know how much I should receive for my claim?|
|A:||An experienced and competent personal injury attorney will utilize several sources of information in order to ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses. The attorneys at Cada Law utilize a multi volume treatise, as well as an online data base which contains information concerning settlement amounts and judgments from across the United States in order to ensure that you receive the maximum amount that you are entitled to. In addition, our office’s years of experience and training mean you will receive competent, professional, and aggressive representation. In the State of Nebraska there are numerous legal issues that bear on your recovery and that can work to substantially increase the amount you will recover. Without the assistance of competent and experienced legal counsel, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to utilize these rules.|
|Q:||Who needs a will?|
|A:||Every person of legal age should have a proper and legal will. Too often individuals rely on a pay-on-death clause or a joint tenancy to take the place of a will. A will is necessary in order to control the disposition of property upon the death of the surviving spouse and to avoid unnecessary expenses or taxes. A will is also necessary to provide for minor children or family members with special needs.|
|Q:||Who should draft my will?|
|A:||Certainly there are ways to avoid using an attorney to draft a will, such as will kits or copying someone else’s will. Your attorney should help you with your will because the possibility of errors is great and if the will is not done properly, you might as well not have one. Even a small error could change the way in which your assets are distributed.|
|Q:||Can a will be changed?|
|A:||In our practice we have seen quite often wills that have been properly prepared, but then items have been crossed out or changes made without properly executing or signing the will. Crossing out portions could certainly invalidate the will and changes should be made in case of a divorce, death of a beneficiary, marriage, birth of a child, or other types of life or business changes. Joint tenancy provides that upon the death of one party, it goes to the surviving joint tenant. Certainly joint tenancy has a proper place in an estate plan, but problems such as tax hazards or other complications could easily create difficulties and not result in the distribution that you might want.|
|Q:||Is joint tenancy a substitute for a will?|
|A:||Two or more persons may own property together in such a way that upon the death of one of them, the property goes to the survivor(s) without going through probate. This form of ownership is called “joint tenancy.”
In some cases, and for certain kinds of property, joint tenancy is a useful legal device, but a number of problems may arise from its indiscriminate use. There are tax hazards in joint tenancy, which you may not be aware of, as well as other complications and expenses.
In any event you cannot escape inheritance tax or estate tax by owning property in joint tenancy. It is not an adequate substitute for a will.
|Q:||What happens when you die without a will?|
|A:||If you die without having made a will, the law (not you) provides for the disposition of your property, and that disposition may not be what you want.
Before an estate is distributed, debts and taxes must be paid. In addition, certain allowances are made to the surviving spouse so that he or she will have sufficient funds to use while the estate is being settled. These include Homestead Allowance, an Exempt Property Allowance, and a Family Allowance up to a reasonable amount. After these allowances, debts and taxes have been paid, the property is distributed as follows:
The law provides only a rigid formula, and makes no exceptions for those in unusual need. The failure to make a will could mean hardships and added expense for your immediate family, and benefit some relatives you may not even know.
|Q:||Should I appoint a guardian for my children in my will?|
|A:||Certainly if you want the court to make the determination as to who should properly care for your children, then you should not provide for a guardian.
You may designate in your will the person or persons you would like the court to appoint as guardians of your minor children. While this is not binding on the court, the wishes expressed in a will are usually followed, provided that the persons named are willing to serve as guardians, and that the court finds the appointment to be in the best interests of the children. If you die without a will, the court may appoint a guardian for your minor children without knowing your wishes.
|Q:||What is a trust?|
|A:||Simply put, a trust puts money or property in the name of one person for the benefit of another. The creator of the trust is the "Settlor" or the "Trustor." The person who owns the property for another’s benefit is the "Trustee" or the "Fiduciary." The person entitled to benefit from the trust is the "Beneficiary." The Settlor instructs the Trustee to manage the trust assets for the benefit of the Beneficiary.|
|Q:||What is the difference between a living trust and a testamentary trust?|
|A:||A testamentary trust is created in a will and comes into being upon death. A living trust is created during life. The key difference is that a testamentary trust is created in a will. Although there can be good reasons for using a testamentary trust, it does not avoid probate.
A living trust, on the other hand, can help avoid probate when properly used. A living trust exists outside of your will. Assets in the trust are not subject to probate.
|Q:||Who should be my trustee?|
|A:||Every trust has to have at least one trustee. Some factors to consider in choosing a trustee are the following:
IV. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE:
|Q:||What is medical malpractice?|
|A:||Medical malpractice (or medical negligence) occurs when a physician fails to properly treat a medical condition and the negligent act or omission is the cause of a new or aggravated injury to the patient. The physician, however, cannot be responsible for the original underlying medical problem. Negligence in medical malpractice cases occurs in a variety of situations including but not limited to:
|Q:||If I think Medical Malpractice might have happened, but am not really sure, what should I do?|
|A:||First, be aware of the statute of limitations. You may have a valid claim, but if you wait too long, the claim is lost even if it is valid. The general rule is that the claim must be filed within two years after the negligent act or if the negligent act is not discovered AND could not reasonably have been discovered within such two-year period, then the action may be commenced within one year of the date of such discovery from the date of discovery of facts which would reasonably lead to such discovery. However, in no event can an action be brought more than ten years after the negligent act.
Second, you need assistance to evaluate your claim. Usually, the decision-maker in medical malpractice cases is the doctor’s insurance carrier and the doctor’s attorney. These people are not paid to help you, but are paid to defeat your claim. You need an experienced professional to help you evaluate your claim. Without an attorney, the doctor’s attorney and insurance company may not take your claim seriously.
There is no charge for an initial evaluation of your case. We recognize that these cases are very different from other kinds of personal injury cases such as car accidents. Special rules and laws apply and special tactics and strategies are important. We offer you the opportunity to sit down and discuss your case, and explain your options, without charge. You may then make a full and informed decision about whether or not you want to go forward.
|Q:||What must I prove?|
|A:||Generally, in every malpractice case in Nebraska, you must be able to prove three things: 1) that the medical provider breached the standard of care; 2) that the breach caused the injury; and 3) that you suffered damages as a result of the medical provider’s mistake.
Breach of the Standard of Care: In any malpractice action, you will have to prove that the medical provider made a mistake which was one that a reasonable and prudent medical provider would not have made under the same circumstances. Generally, this requires an expert witness to state and testify that what the medical provider did was a mistake. As you can imagine, this can be a very difficult process as medical providers do not like to testify against one another. However, finding an expert witness is oftentimes the most critically important part of any malpractice case. The law office of Cada Law has had extensive experience locating and working with qualified medical experts to evaluate and assist in our client’s cases.
Causation: In addition to showing that the doctor made a mistake, you must prove that your injury resulted from this mistake. In other words, you have to show that if the medical provider had not made that mistake, the patient would have gotten better or would not have been injured in the same degree. Again, it is critically important to have an expert witness who is able to testify to this.
Damages: Finally, you will have to show what damages resulted from the medical provider’s mistakes. This could be anything from death to serious injury, but it may also include lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, or the loss of a loved one. Oftentimes an economist or other expert is necessary to calculate and present these damages in court.
V. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – WORKERS’ COMPENSATION:
|Q:||What kind of injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation?|
|A:||Any worker who has sustained an injury arising out of and in the course of their employment has a potential Workers’ Compensation claim. If your injury is job-related, it’s covered. You are covered if you are injured while traveling on business, doing a work-related errand or even attending a required business-related social function. Any injury or illness that occurs due to employment is considered a workers’ compensation injury. Under workers’ compensation law, you will receive help if you are injured no matter who was at fault. Some types of workers’ compensation injuries are: broken/fractured bones, back problems/pain, knee problems/injuries, grip loss, heart attacks, hypertension, wrist injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome, burns, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, etc. In addition, you may be entitled to benefits even if you are still working.|
|Q:||How much is my Workers’ Compensation case worth?|
|A:||As is the case in most areas of the law, that easy answer is: that depends. Each case has a different settlement value; however, factors such as age, wages earned, educational level, the type of job or position, the extent of injury and corresponding amount of treatment required can all impact the potential case value.|
|Q:||Can I sue my employer for this accident?|
|A:||Generally, no. The workers’ compensation system is designed to compensate workers injured on the job without regard to fault, but is meant to be an exclusive remedy. Benefits under the system are very limited and provide partial wage replacement and all medically necessary treatment. When employers properly obtain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, the law provides almost complete immunity from lawsuits brought by their employers against them.|
|Q:||Do I really need a Lawyer to represent me in a Workers’ Compensation Case?|
|A:||If you have a serious injury, you will need the advise of an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases. Your employer and their insurance company will have lawyers on their side whose goals are not the same as yours.|
|Q:||How long do I have to see the Company’s doctor?|
|A:||If your employer or its insurance company has already sent you to a doctor and you do not like that doctor’s care, an attorney experienced in Workers’ Compensation claims can help you in arranging to see another doctor. This is an issue of medical control: who is controlling your medical care? This is an important issue that we can help you address.|
|Q:||What happens if I quit my job?|
|A:||Voluntarily leaving your employment while treating with an authorized workers’ compensation doctor could adversely affect your rights to receive certain types of lost wage benefits. If you are treating with an authorized workers’ compensation doctor and that doctor has released you to return to work with work related restrictions, it is important that you at least attempt to return to work for the employer, with those limitations. Failure to do so could result in the workers’ compensation insurance carrier discontinuing the payment of lost wage benefits. Once you have completed treatment with a doctor and have reached maximum medical improvement with regard to the injury and the doctor has assigned a permanent impairment rating, quitting your job will not affect your right to receive impairment income benefits that are provided by law.|
|Q:||What if I am hurt so badly that I am never able to do the same type of work again?|
|A:||If you are disabled to the extent that you would never be able to perform your old job again, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is a benefit available to injured workers unable to return to their positions due to an injury on the job. It may take the form of retraining for a new position or taking classes.|
|Q:||What if my spouse was injured on the job and died as a result of those injuries?|
|A:||If you were dependent on your spouse for economic support, you and your children are entitled to certain death benefits from Workers’ Compensation insurance. The amount of those benefits will depend upon the facts of your case and experience of the attorney you hire to represent your interests.|
For additional information regarding Workers’ Compensation, please Contact Us.