Most Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions

Life in the Berkshires can be wonderful: it can also take unsuspected and damaging turns.

No one plans to have a life-changing accident resulting in a personal injury. But it happens all too often. The Offices of Scott A. Sanes has represented hundreds of individuals and their families to gain the compensation that they deserve.

These are the most frequently asked personal injury questions that I receive. Read through and increase your knowledge of personal injury law!


What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take?

How do you compensate a personal injury attorney for representing you when you get hurt? The answer is that all personal injury attorneys collect what’s called a contingent fee at the end of the case. There are no charges to you whatsoever. Consultations are free unless the personal injury attorney makes a recovery. And then they agree upon a percentage at the end of the case that they should be reimbursed for their time and efforts in getting you compensation that you deserve.


What type of damages am I entitled to recover when I am injured because of the negligence of another person or company?

Injury victims are entitled to be compensated for physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, impairment, loss of earnings and capacity to earn and medical expenses. In every personal injury claim we seek these damages in the past and in the future.


How soon should I hire an attorney if I am injured by the negligence of another?

The insurance companies are preparing their defense the moment an injury occurs because of the negligence of their insured. They are requesting records, taking statements and investigating the injury victim’s past to defend the claim and minimize the damages. It is important that you give your attorney the same chance to prepare the claim. Therefore, the sooner you retain a qualified personal injury trial lawyer, the better.


What is the difference between a personal injury trial attorney specialist and another attorney in representing me in my injury claim?

In the United States, and here in Massachusetts, lawyers who specialize in other areas of law typically act as solicitors to gather personal injury claims and refer them to personal injury trial lawyers who handle the litigation and trial. Just as you would want a doctor who specializes in any physical ailment to treat you, you would want an attorney who specializes in personal injury trial law to handle your injury claim. For over 4 decades, Scott has only represented injury victims. He has represented thousands of clients suing negligent parties in every imaginable situation and has never defended a negligent person or company or their insurance company.


What type of injury claims does Scott Sanes handle?

Since graduating law school in 1982, Scott has devoted 100% of his law practice to advocating for injury victims in every type of circumstance imaginable. A short list of claim types is: auto, truck or pedestrian collisions; trip and slip and falls against retailers, restaurants and homeowners; industrial work accidents; dog bite cases; liquor liability claims for serving obviously intoxicated patrons; product defect claims; medical and legal negligence claims; claims against municipalities, towns, cities and states for injuries; and claims against police departments for excessive force. If you are injured as the result of negligence, Scott has had experience handling your type of claim.


What makes a product “defective” or “unreasonably dangerous”?

If a product is more dangerous than an average person would expect when using it in a typical fashion, then it is considered “defective” or “unreasonably dangerous” and you are entitled to recover all of your damages caused by that defect. Since designers, manufacturers and sellers of products make their money off the consumer, the law requires them to make them safe for use and they can all be held responsible under “Strict Product Liability”. This means, if we prove the product was defective, there is no negligence needed. Whether the product is an automobile, dog leash, ladder or more technical products, if it is more dangerous that you would reasonably expect and causes you injury, you can recover all of your damages.


When is a bar or restaurant responsible for the injuries caused by a drunk customer?

Restaurants and bars charge five to ten times the cost of the alcohol they sell to customers. Therefore, the law recognizes that if employees of a bar or restaurant serve alcohol to a customer that is obviously intoxicated, they can be held responsible for the negligent acts of the customer. Whether that customer starts a bar fight or drives off and hurts himself or others, the entity that sold him the alcohol when that person already appeared drunk is responsible for all of the damages that were caused.


When can a dog owner be held responsible if the dog bites someone?

I own a sweet little Havanese/Shihtzu mix and love dogs in general. However, if a dog owner knows or should have known that their dog is vicious or is likely to attack, then their homeowner’s insurance covers them if their dog bites someone. Proof of knowledge is the challenge and can be evidenced by prior bites, neighbors’ testimony or a history with the town’s animal control. Dog bites can have devasting consequences physically and emotionally. If a dog is dangerous, it needs to be properly contained and controlled to avoid foreseeable attacks or its owner can be held liable.


How do lawyers get paid for representing injury victims?

If personal injury lawyers charged hourly, like criminal, real estate or divorce lawyers, an injury victim would be required to pay $250-$500/hour along with litigation expenses and their rights would go right out the window. So, in personal injury claims, the lawyer is compensated by a “contingent fee”. That means the lawyer is not paid until the claim resolves and then, and only then, the lawyer is paid a percentage of the settlement or judgment. Scott has never collected a single penny from a client until he is successful in prosecuting their claim and collecting a recovery. Your consultation with Scott is totally free.


When is a medical provider responsible for an injury to their patient?

We trust hospitals, doctors and nurses to give our loved ones the appropriate standard of medical care that we are entitled to when we are their patient. If a medical provider fails to provide that recognized standard of care, then it is considered medical negligence and, if as a result you are injured, you can make a medical claim. In order to proceed, the law requires another doctor to attest that the care given to you was substandard. Another treating physician is in the best position to evaluate the care, but sometimes they are reluctant to testify against an associated doctor, hospital or nurse. Therefore, it is essential to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer so that they can hire an expert physician to review the records and let you know if the care was substandard. Medical negligence cases are typically very technical and challenging to prove, but it is necessary to hold medical providers responsible if they run a medical stop sign.


When is a retailer responsible for injuries that happen in their store?

Department stores, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, gas stations, movie theatres and even homeowners are responsible for injuries caused by unreasonably dangerous conditions that they knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known existed. Whether you slip on produce, trip on a crack, fall in a hole or cut yourself on a sharp object, if employees of the store should have been aware of the condition and didn’t clean it up or rope it off, the store is responsible. These stores make money from customers and so the law recognizes that they have to keep their premises safe from any hazards. If they don’t, they can be held responsible for all of your damages.


Call the Law Offices of Scott A. Sanes Law today for a free consultation (413) 429-6400 or email scott@scottsaneslaw.com.