Murray & Craven, L.L.P.
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Litigation & Dispute Resolution FAQs

Personal Injury

Business/Corporate Litigation & Disputes

Personal Injury

1. What is a class action lawsuit?
When a large group of plaintiffs sues, naming a representative in place of the entire group. Examples would be the tobacco industry suits and the suits against the drug manufactures of the popular diet medications, such as vioxx, bextra, fen-phen. Large companies that do wrong to large numbers of people can often be the subject (defendant) of a class action lawsuit.

2. What is negligence?
Generally, a failure to act reasonably in a situation is considered negligence. This includes doing something carelessly or failing to do something, like driving without your headlights on.

3. What are punitive damages?
Punitive Damages generally means money awarded to a plaintiff in order to punish or make an example of the defendant, and they are above and beyond those damages awarded for injuries or medical care. They are generally only available and appropriate in cases of serious wrongdoing.

4. What does pain and suffering damages include?
Pain and suffering damages would generally be money awarded over and above medical costs and lost wages, specifically for the emotional suffering and the physical pain a victim incurred.

5. What is contributory negligence?
It is a common defense to a negligence claim that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their injuries. In some state’s an injured party is prohibited from recovering anything for their injuries if they contributed to the cause of the injuries.

6. What damages can I collect as a result of my personal injury?
Compensation, or damages, awarded in personal injury claims vary based upon the type of injury and cause.  The most commons forms of compensation include payment for:

  • Medical Bills
  • Property Damage
  • Lost Wages
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Physical Disability
  • Mental Disability
  • Pain & Suffering

7. What issues will I face in making a personal injury claim for injuries sustained in an automobile accident?
A claim for injuries sustained in an automobile accident is usually based upon carelessness or negligence.  In worse case scenarios, it is based on an intentional or reckless act.   The issues that typically arise in a tort claim after an automobile accident are the following:

  • Liability – who is at fault and to what degree
  • Damages – injuries or losses that were caused by the accident
  • Insurance Coverage – what the insurance company will pay for after an accident

8. If I slip and fall at a business, is the owner of the business legally responsible for my injuries? Typically, it is the duty of an owner to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of the premises and to warn a visitor of any known dangerous conditions. It is the responsibility of your experienced personal injury attorney to gather the relevant facts and to know the applicable legal principles in order to determine if the owner can be held liable for the injuries caused in a fall. Contact Murray & Craven, L.L.P. today to discuss your claim.

9. Why do I need a lawyer to represent me in my personal injury case?
Your lawyer’s focus is obtaining the maximum damages for you, consistent with the nature of your injuries and losses. You need a lawyer working for you to protect your interests. Additionally, a lawyer can investigate all sources of recovery and ensure that your medical expenses are submitted to the proper source for payment.

10. What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
First, you should seek proper medical attention. If you are conscious at the scene, collect all pertinent information from the other drivers (i.e. driver’s license numbers, address, phone number, insurance card information, etc.).  Also, make sure to keep a daily journal beginning with the date of the accident to document all physical and mental injuries, as well as document your view of the accident.  Finally, contact an attorney at Murray & Craven, L.L.P. who will be your advocate if a traffic charge is brought against your, or even a civil suit.  An attorney can also assist you in bringing a civil suit against another party if they are responsible for the accident.

11. Who pays if I incur an injury due to an auto accident or my car is damaged?
If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy's limits. If you are not at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car damage and personal injuries.

12. My insurance company is offering me a nice settlement. Should I take it?
Not without first consulting an attorney. Tell the insurance company that you will get back to them, and contact an attorney at Murray & Craven, L.L.P. immediately. When you accept a settlement from an insurance company you will have given the insurance company your signature on a document stating that you will not sue them. Never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney.

13. How long does a personal injury claim take to resolve?
Personal injury claims can be resolved in a matter of a few weeks or months. However, they make take up to several years depending on the complexity of the case. It is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your specific case.

14. Am I at fault if I rear-end another vehicle?
Almost always, yes. The law states that you must maintain a safe distance to be able to stop safely if a car stops in front of you.

15. What should I do if I did not feel hurt at the scene but experienced pain afterwards?
You should immediately consult your medical provider regarding any pain, discomfort or possible injuries from a car accident, even if you think they may be only minor injuries. Even if you did not complain of injuries at the scene of the car accident, if you were injured in the accident from someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, and emotional distress. You should consult an attorney at Murray & Craven, L.L.P. to discuss whether you need representation on your claim.

16. I was injured while working at a construction site. Whom can I sue?
You should be able to sue any person or entity whose fault contributed to your injuries other than your employer. Your remedy against your employer is generally limited to workers' compensation. Your remedy against a general contractor or owner may be limited to cases where you can prove active negligence on behalf of these parties.  If your injuries were caused 100% by your own negligence, you may not be entitled to recovery at all, depending on the circumstances.  Contact the offices of Murray & Craven, L.L.P. today to discuss your unique construction accident injury claim.

17. Can I file a lawsuit against persons or entities that caused my injury even if I am collecting workers' compensation benefits?
Yes. If you can establish that someone other than your employer at the job site acted negligently and contributed to your injuries, you can still bring a lawsuit although you are collecting workers' compensation benefits. However, your workers' compensation carrier may be entitled to get back some or all of their money out of your recovery against the other responsible parties.

18. What damages are recoverable in construction accident cases?
If you are injured while on a construction site through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to recover damages for:

  • Past and future medical expenses,
  • Past and future wage loss,
  • Past and future pain and suffering, or
  • Punitive damages.

If the injured worker or plaintiff dies, his or her survivors are entitled to recover full compensation for their economic losses that result from the plaintiff's death, as well as emotional distress damages which stem from the loss of society care and comfort of the decedent.

19. Do I need to retain an attorney in a construction accident case?
Yes. Even if you believe that you were partly responsible for your own injuries or that your employer was solely responsible, it is generally wise to consult an experienced construction accident injury attorney. The law in construction accident cases is complex and you need an attorney who knows his or her way around construction accident litigation.  Contact Murray & Craven, L.L.P. today to discuss your claim.

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Business/Corporate Litigation & Disputes

1. What is commercial litigation?
Commercial litigation is the broad area of law that deals with resolving disputes in business and commercial settings stemming from professional and commercial relationships through alternative dispute resolution methods and court trials. Commercial litigation can cover a variety of civil and criminal law matters on both state and federal levels.

2. What are some common types of complex commercial litigation?

  • Antitrust, unfair practices and trade regulation
  • Banking and creditor/debtor issues, including lender liability
  • Breach of Contract
  • Business torts
  • Constitutional law
  • Construction law
  • Environmental law
  • Products liability
  • Professional liability
  • Securities
  • Toxic tort

3. Can corporations avoid consumer class actions?
Corporations often use arbitration clauses in consumer sales agreements in order to limit the types of dispute resolution available should difficulties arise. Such a clause requires that the parties to the agreement resolve any disputes through arbitration. Since a class action lawsuit involves direct judicial oversight, arbitration clauses can thwart the development of a consumer class. Instead, each individual consumer must pursue his or her own arbitration procedure against the contracting business.

4. What is a breach of contract and what damages can I recover in the event of a breach of contract?
Failure to perform as specified in a contract, or provisions of a contract, without legal excuse is a breach of contract.  The following relief/damages, generally speaking, might be available in the event of breach of contract:

  • Compensatory Damages - money to reimburse you for costs to compensate for your loss.
  • Consequential and Incidental Damages - money for losses caused by the breach that were foreseeable.
  • Attorney fees and costs – may only be recoverable if expressly provided for in the contract or by statute.
  • Specific Performance - a court order requiring performance exactly as specified in the contract.
  • Punitive Damages - this is money given to punish a person or business whose conduct constituted extreme wrongdoing.
  • Rescission - the contract is canceled and both sides are excused from further performance and any money advanced is returned.
  • Reformation - the terms of the contract are changed to reflect what the parties actually intended.

5. What should I do if I am involved in a commercial litigation dispute?
One of the most important things you can do is to retain all paperwork regarding the dispute. Not only does a paper trail make your lawyer’s job easier, but judges and juries may find your case more believable when documents support your position. Also, keep a diary or chronology of things that are happening as the dispute is unfolding. Contact an experienced commercial litigation lawyer at Murray & Craven, L.L.P. We may be able to advise you so that litigation can be avoided or set the stage in the event that litigation is required.

6. I am a partner in a business and one of my partners has, or is threatening to, take over or dissolve the business. What should I do?
You should seek immediate advice from an experienced Murray & Craven, L.L.P. attorney. Your lawyer will advise you on your rights and obligations as a partner and assist you in keeping your business operating.  In addition, Murray & Craven, L.L.P. attorneys can help develop ways of resolving the dispute.

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