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The Insurance companies are working against your
interests right now. Have you chosen the right
lawyer? Protect yourself. Be informed.

New York Accident and Medical Malpractice


    1) You are not guaranteed to win your case. I know this is something you
       don’t want to hear after a terrible accident has changed you or your family’s
       life forever, but I have seen too may just cases in the most celebrated lawyer’s
       hands lost through no fault of that lawyer. If any lawyer tells you that your
       case is a guaranteed winner, he or she is either lying or does not know any
       better. In either case, you are better served elsewhere. What guarantees can
       a qualified lawyer make? Turn to the end of this book and find out.

    2) You are not guaranteed a certain amount of money for your case. If your
       lawyer tells you your case is worth over a million dollars on the first visit with
       him, run out the door. He or she is only trying to get you to retain him or
       her. While it is certainly true that certain injuries generally have a range of
       values that is known by published sources and that lawyer’s experience, the
       value of your case cannot be known until all medical records are
       procured, all witnesses are interviewed, and in all malpractice cases and
       many trip and fall cases, your entire case is reviewed by a qualified
       expert. Again, guarantees on the amount of money your case is worth are
       irresponsible and simply untrue, especially early in the litigation.

    3) A lawyer may never handle your case. I know this may sound shocking, but
       many personal injury firms in New York are what are known as “mills.” They
       handle a large volume of small cases with little, if any, work on the case
       performed by attorneys. This is not a misprint. Paralegals handle these
       injured persons cases and some firms go as far as allowing paralegals to
       handle settlement negotiations with insurance adjusters. Be aware of any
       firm where you do not meet with an attorney at your initial consultation
       with the firm or before your deposition. In my opinion, these are tasks
       that must be handled by a lawyer.

    4) If you are fortunate enough to have a lawyer handle your case, that
       lawyer may not be a partner. In too many “big firms” the lawyer who will
       be handling your case will be an associate of the firm. Many of these
       associates are qualified, hard working lawyers. However, a depressingly high
       number of associates feel overworked and underpaid. Whether they are
       overworked and underpaid is not important. What is important is that attitude
       may filter into their work on your case. You deserve better. Ask this
       question and listen to the answer: Will you guarantee that a partner will
       be at my deposition and try my case?

    5) The law is growing increasingly specialized in accident and malpractice
       cases. Let’s get real here. How can someone who does not concentrate in
       this area keep up with the changes in the law? They can’t. Every year the
       New York State Trial Lawyers (an organization of attorneys who dedicate
   their practices to accidents and malpractice) sponsors a sixteen hour seminar
   called “Decisions.” The seminar highlights the important legal decisions that
   affect the practice of accident and malpractice law and provides literally
   hundreds of cases for a busy practitioner to review. I review these cases. This
   process takes a lot of time. Does your lawyer?

6) Your lawyer cannot guarantee how long it will take to resolve your case.
   While it is generally true that most cases resolve within 2-3 years, sometimes
   cases can take longer to resolve. The question is why the delay?
   Sometimes the delay is not your lawyer’s fault. For example, your lawyer
   may have defeated a motion to dismiss your case, and now the defense wants
   to appeal that decision. Nevertheless, sometimes your lawyer is simply
   neglecting your case. If you think your lawyer is neglecting your case ask
   him or her to explain in writing the reason for the delay. If he or she does
   not comply, get another lawyer.

7) You can fire your lawyer. Your case is too important for you to be
   unsatisfied with your lawyer’s representation. You should know, however,
   that your lawyer may still be entitled to a portion of the legal fee for the work
   that that lawyer performed up to the time of discharge. You should also
   know that if you have retained another lawyer, I will probably not take
   your case unless it is soon after the accident and/or you have suffered a
   serious or catastrophic injury. In my opinion, early investigation and
   early retention of experts are crucial to the outcome of your case. I
   simply won’t compromise this notion absent special circumstances.

8) Experts matter in the outcome of your case. This is especially true in
   medical malpractice cases because you cannot even prove the overwhelming
   majority of malpractice cases without an expert. I also routinely use experts
   in my trip and fall and slip and fall cases and construction accident cases to
   prove a case under a particular statute or ordinance. Also know that doctors,
   economists, and life care planners may be necessary to prove the damages you
   suffered as a result of your accident or malpractice.

9) Experts can be expensive. Some experts charge over $7,500 to testify in a
   case. If your lawyer is not willing to spend money for the right experts on
   your case, he or she should not be representing you.

10) Not all lawyers are created equal. Something all insurance companies
   know but too many injured people do not. Insurance companies know who
   practices in the area of accidents and malpractice and who “dabbles” in it.
   You should know too.



1) I am a lawyer who is bold enough to reveal these well guarded secrets
   despite criticism by others in my field.

2) I am the only lawyer I know of who gives guarantees and puts them in
   writing. Here are 3 guarantees:

      1) Guaranteed Individualized Attention: I will interview you. A
         paralegal or an associate will not. I will answer your questions, not
         another lawyer or paralegal. I will appear with you for your
         deposition. A paralegal or another associate will not. Though
         most cases settle, I will try your case if it does not settle. Most
         important, I will not refer your case to another lawyer. Too
         many lawyers advertise for cases just so that they can refer
         them to other lawyers and collect a fee. When you hire me,
         you get me.

      2) Guaranteed Aggressive Representation: How can I guarantee
         this? Simple. I only take cases I believe in. I turn down those that
         I don’t believe in or meet my strict criteria. I have provided my
         criteria for selecting cases in the Special Appendix section of each
         volume in this series. I know these criteria may sound harsh, but I
         can only guarantee you individualized attention and aggressive
         representation if these criteria are met. I limit my case intake. My
         smaller case load allows me to give your case my full commitment.
         You deserve that commitment. If I can’t give you that full
         commitment, I will tell you. I don’t want to hurt you again after
         what you have been through.

      3) Guaranteed no legalese or lawyer talk when speaking or
         communicating with me: I am a straight shooter. I hate lawyer
         talk. I will communicate and explain legal concepts to you in plain
         English. I will write to you in plain English. If you hear me say
         subsequent instead of after, you have my permission to scream
         “lawyer talk” loudly. I promise I will stop.

   3)     You deserve a lawyer with experience as a person representing
   both the injured and those who the injured sue: For the first part of my
   professional life, I represented injured people. For the past few years, I
trained with the senior partner of a leading medical malpractice defense
firm who was the editor and chief of the New York State Bar
Association’s book Medical Malpractice in New York. I have seen how
the insurance companies and their lawyers work and I can put that
knowledge to work for you.

4)     You deserve a lawyer with results when representing the
injured: I have attained verdicts and settlements for injured New York
consumers in the six and seven figures, including a verdict of over

5)    After reading this book or another book in this series, you have
grown to trust me to do what is right for you and your family.

Whatever you or your family decide to do next, I wish you the best of

                      PETER PANAS