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Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Claims

Get the Answers You Need from Our Omaha Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence—whether it was a doctor, obstetrician, motorist, truck driver, property owner, product manufacturer, or another person or entity—you likely have many questions. How could something like this happen? Who is responsible? How will you be able to afford your medical bills? How can you pay your bills if you can’t return to work?

At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our goal as Omaha personal injury attorneys and medical professionals is to provide the answers to these and other commonly asked personal injury questions. We have over three decades of experience in the legal field; we understand the questions you’re asking and we have the answers. Our goal is to help you secure the justice and compensation you need to heal and move forward with your life.

Read our personal injury FAQs to find answers to your questions and if you have questions about your specific situation, reach out to our Omaha personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. Call (402) 882-7080 or contact us online.

What constitutes medical malpractice?

Unfortunately, even the most skilled doctor in the world cannot avoid accidents. They are after all, human. What differentiates medical malpractice from a bad result is the standard of care that was administered. If the accepted level of care for a particular area was not followed or, worse, deliberately ignored, the doctor or hospital in question could be held liable for their actions. This is called negligence and it is what all medical malpractice cases in Nebraska hinge upon.

Who can I file a medical malpractice claim against?

Any medical professional that provided you with care or treatment could be held liable under the right circumstances. This can range from your personal care physician to the hospital at large.

How long will my medical malpractice case take?

While it will depend largely on the particulars of your situation, most medical malpractice cases do not resolve overnight. In most instances, the doctor, hospital, or specialist in question will be fully insured and armed with a sizeable legal team. With that said, we will use every resource at our disposal to bring about a quick and successful result.

What kind of compensation can I expect from my medical malpractice case?

This depends entirely on the specifics of your case, however, some of the more common items that are taken into consideration include:

  • Physical, emotional, and mental suffering you or a family member endured
  • Loss of wages and loss of earning potential due to injuries suffered
  • Past, present, and future medical expenses regarding your injuries

How long do I have to file?

Under Nebraska law, you have two years starting from the date in which the act is said to have occurred to file your claim. Beyond that, claimants who discover their injuries after the two-year mark have exactly one year in which to file, post-discovery. On a broader scale, individuals have no more than 10 years in which to file a medical malpractice claim. Finally, if the injured individual in question was a minor at the time of the incident, they are said to be "tolled," meaning they have until they turn 21 years old to file.

Is there a cap to how much I can be awarded?

The state of Nebraska does have a cap on how much victims can receive. It is unique in the fact that unlike many other states, there is a limit to the amount of non-economic and economic damages an individual may collect on a successful claim. If you were injured after December 31st of 2014, you may be able to collect a maximum of $2.25 million in damages. However, there is a method in which to "opt out" of this cap, which we can review with you in a free consultation.

What should I do if I suspect I am a victim of medical malpractice?

Depending on the severity of your injuries, we highly recommend speaking with another physician as soon as possible. This will rule out any life-threatening conditions. Following that, we recommend speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Omaha to weigh your legal options.

Cullan & Cullan LLC has been successfully helping victims of medical malpractice recover damages for over three decades. Our experience as both physicians and attorneys gives us a unique perspective, which no other law firm in the area can offer. For more information, contact our office at your earliest convenience at (402) 882-7080.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral refers to the brain and palsy refers to an interference with movement. Cerebral palsy is not a disease but a condition where malformations within the brain affect muscle movements.

What are the different types of cerebral palsy?

The brain is an incredibly complex organ. There are several different forms of cerebral palsy, and they all have different symptoms.

Some common forms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Spastic diplegia
  • Spastic hemiplegia
  • Spastic quadriplegia
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy
  • Hypotonic cerebral palsy
  • Dystonic dyskinetic cerebral palsy
  • Athetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy
  • Choreoathetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy

Spastic forms of cerebral palsy involve muscle spasms and stiff muscles. Dyskinetic forms involve involuntary movements. Balance and depth perception issues often characterize ataxic cerebral palsy. Hypotonic cerebral palsy involves overly relaxed muscles.

How will cerebral palsy affect my child?

Each case is different. The severity of your child's symptoms will depend on the extent of the brain damage or brain malformation that caused the disorder. Many children with cerebral palsy grow up to lead perfectly normal lives, while others suffer such debilitating symptoms that they need constant care.

What are the causes of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by either brain damage or brain malformations. A majority of children with cerebral palsy have had it since they were born. Cerebral palsy is often caused by lack of oxygen to the brain or to the body, premature delivery, or birth trauma. These are often the result of medical negligence during labor and delivery.

Medical malpractice cases involving cerebral palsy are often caused by:

  • Failure to properly treat serious infections, such as meningitis in the mother during pregnancy
  • Inadequate monitoring of the fetal heart rate before and during labor and birth
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section procedure (C-section) when it's known that the baby is too large to safely pass through the birth canal
  • Delay in performing necessary C-section
  • Mistakes while using instruments, such as vacuum and forceps in performing a delivery
  • Failure to detect fetal distress during labor and delivery

Is there a cure for cerebral palsy?

There's no known cure for cerebral palsy. Brain damage and brain abnormalities that cause CP are irreversible. But modern medical technology can help improve the quality of life for the child.

You can significantly reduce the risk of cerebral palsy by receiving good prenatal care. Preventative measures, careful monitoring, and proper testing can prevent cerebral palsy. When a child has cerebral palsy, it must be determined what could and should've been done differently or if medical negligence was involved.

Was my child the victim of medical malpractice?

It's possible that if your child has cerebral palsy, it is the result of negligence on the part of a medical professional. In such cases, financial support may be available for your child's long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and other needs. You should discuss your legal rights and options with an Omaha cerebral palsy attorney.

Call Cullan & Cullan LLC at (402) 882-7080 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.

Who can file a burn injury claim?

Any burn victim whose injury was caused by negligence can file a burn injury claim.

Who can a burn injury claim be filed against?

Depending on the circumstances of your injury, many parties can be held responsible. A property owner who doesn’t have a working sprinkler system is one example.

Other examples include:

  • A company whose worker mishandles chemicals
  • The owner of a building that has an escape route blocked
  • A restaurant whose food or drink is too hot
  • Another driver on the road
  • A manufacturer whose faulty product causes a fire
  • A person whose child is playing with matches
  • Any party whose activity causes the injury

What if I am also partially at fault for my injury?

Nebraska has a comparative negligence doctrine, meaning a plaintiff can sue another party even if they were partly at fault as long as they can prove the other party contributed to their injury. This is true in burn injury cases, as well as all types of personal injury claims.

Is it important to have the incident that caused the injury investigated?

Absolutely; a thorough investigation by a trained investigator is crucial to finding the cause of the incident and determining who the responsible parties are.

Is insurance coverage important in burn injury cases?

Yes; most people don't have the money or assets that will allow you to recover sufficient damages related to your injury. Even many insurance policies do not provide the amount of coverage needed to compensate for a burn injury. This is why an investigation into the cause of the injury is so important. Having multiple defendants can allow you to recover more in compensation.

Will expert witnesses need to be called in for my case?

Yes, in almost all cases, a variety of expert witnesses will be needed to determine the cause of the accident, what contributed to your injury, what types of treatment you will need in the future, etc.

What damages can I recover in a burn injury case?

The extensive and long-lasting effects of a burn injury allow a claimant to sue for many damages, including but not limited to:

  • Present and future medical bills
  • Plastic surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological therapy
  • Present and future medication
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of ability to earn a living
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish

When should I file a claim?

You should file your claim as soon as possible. Depending on the state you live in and the circumstances surrounding your injury, different statutes of limitation will apply. In general, you will have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim in Nebraska.

Do I need legal representation for a personal injury claim?

Absolutely; due to the amount of litigation involved, the probability of multiple defendants, and the aggressive way in which insurance companies will fight your claim, it is important that you have an experienced legal team at your side.

What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?

A birth defect typically results from issues that arise before birth as a result of genetics, an infection, or an issue doctors failed to notice early on during the pregnancy. Birth injuries typically result from mistakes made by medical professionals during labor and delivery.

What are the most common causes of birth injuries?

There are many different errors that can lead to serious birth injuries. Some of the most common causes of birth injuries include:

  • Improper monitoring of the baby and mother
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Use of excessive force when getting the baby out of the birth canal
  • Failure to consult with specialists during a high-risk delivery
  • Administration of wrong drugs
  • Failure to check vital signs
  • Improper administration of epidural or anesthesia
  • Delay in performing a necessary cesarean section (C-section)

What are some examples of birth injuries?

There are many physical injuries that can result from mistakes made during labor. Common injuries include fractures to the arm, collarbone or skull, head bruising, skin irritations, and soft tissue injuries. Serious birth injuries that can last in long-term or even permanent disabilities include cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, paralysis, spinal cord damage, brain damage, and developmental delays.

What do I do if I suspect my child suffered a birth injury?

If you believe your child's injury was a result of a medical error or negligence during labor and delivery, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Omaha birth injury attorney who can help you review your legal options. An attorney will help you get the necessary medical examinations to determine if your child's injury was preventable. If the injury was preventable, your attorney can help you pursue maximum monetary compensation to help you and your family cope with the challenges you will likely face.

What is my potential claim worth in Nebraska?

A medical malpractice claim for a birth injury can provide you and your family with support for many different losses. You may be able to receive compensation for current and future related medical bills, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and other related damages. The value of your claim will depend on the severity of the injuries and whether the injuries were the direct result of medical negligence.

Who's responsible for injuries I suffered on someone else’s property?

If you've suffered injuries on someone else's property, there are different parties who you can hold legally responsible. Depending on the circumstances, the property owner, landlord, or tenant can be liable for your damages.

If you get hurt on the sidewalk, the city or county who maintains it can be held liable for your injuries. But dealing with a government agency, like a city or county, can get difficult. Having an Omaha premises liability lawyer who knows the law can help you get the settlement you need.

Should I take an insurance company settlement?

No! Don't ever accept the first settlement offer an insurance company gives you. Insurance adjusters are trying to save their company money. Adjusters will offer you less than you need to fully recover. While it may be tempting to take their offer, you're short-changing yourself. Accepting a settlement from the insurance company might prevent you from receiving further compensation you might need later.

What do I do after a premises liability injury?

If you have suffered a premises liability injury, you should:

  • Write down everything. Take notes. You'll be able to keep the accident scene facts clear. You'll also be able to provide your attorney with the details of exactly what happened.
  • Keep track of all your expenses. You might be able to pursue financial compensation for all your expenses. This includes medical bills and lost wages.
  • Get medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you feel all right after the injury, medical problems can pop up days, weeks, or even months after you got hurt.
  • Collect evidence. If you can, take pictures of the scene of your injury. Be sure to get contact info from all witnesses, too.
  • Contact an experienced premises liability lawyer.

Cullan & Cullan LLC can help. We have achieved successful outcomes in injury cases related to premises liability injuries for years.

In the event of a medical error, who can be held responsible?

The answer to this depends on where the negligence lies. If a missed diagnosis or failure to note allergies occurred in the emergency or doctor’s office, the overseeing physician could be held liable. If there was a mislabeling or misreading of the prescription at the hospital, the staff may be responsible. Finally, if your druggist or local pharmacy provided you with the wrong medicine, the store or the individual could face litigation.

What is a class action lawsuit?

Essentially, a class action lawsuit involves many different people who have suffered similar injuries from the same at-fault party. One individual or a group of individuals from the larger group acts as a “representative case” for the others. If successful, all parties represented are awarded.

What kind of compensation can I expect from my pharmaceutical litigation suit?

This greatly depends on the severity of the injuries, the degree of negligence involved, and a number of other aggravating factors. Ultimately, a judge or jury will weigh your immediate economic burden, along with the non-economic pains that accompany it and come up with a suitable award. While the numbers most certainly vary and there can be no way to accurately determine what your case may be worth without a proper consultation, compensation for medicinal errors can be considerable.

How long does pharmaceutical litigation take to resolve?

Again, this depends on the circumstances surrounding your case and the particulars involved. But more often than not, such suits can take a considerable amount of time to reach a suitable conclusion. Settlements are rarely reached quickly in such cases, as there are often many different legal teams and insurance agencies involved.

When should I contact a drug injury attorney?

At Cullan & Cullan LLC, we recommend that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner we are able to begin researching your claim, the better your odds will be at recovering damages. Additionally, there may already be an active case against your negligent party. With your added testimony, there are even greater odds of establishing a successful suit. Call (402) 882-7080 today and find out more from our Omaha personal injury lawyers.

I’m not sure whether I have a legitimate car accident claim. Should I file a lawsuit or just let my insurance company handle it?

Insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly as possible and don't always take the time to thoroughly investigate a car accident. Talk to an Omaha car accident attorney who can help you.

If I don’t feel injured after a car accident, should I still see a doctor?

Many injuries—such as concussions, whiplash, and internal injuries—aren't immediately recognized by the victim or emergency responders. Make sure to see a doctor even if you don't feel like you've been injured.

Should I release my medical records to the other driver’s insurance company?

Absolutely not; before you give any information to the other party involved in the accident, consult an experienced vehicle accident attorney.

I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the car accident. Do I still have a personal injury claim?

That largely depends on where the accident happened and the circumstances surrounding the accident. This is another reason to consult an accident attorney familiar with the accident statutes of the state where the accident happened.

What if the car accident was partially my fault?

Remember, even if you believe you were partly at fault for the accident, you are not qualified to assign fault for an accident. Present your case to your attorney and let them decide your next move.

Do I need to get a police report of the accident?

It's very important for you to get a copy of the accident report and give it to your attorney. It can help build your case.

What kind of damages can I claim in a car accident?

That depends on many factors, including the cause of the accident, the amount of damage your vehicle sustained, whether you were injured, and the extent of your injuries.

When injury is involved, you may be able to sue for any of the following:

  • Property damage
  • Medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent injury or disability
  • Wrongful death

It’s important to remember that every accident is different and needs to be investigated by a skilled car accident legal team. Contact Cullan & Cullan LLC today for a free, confidential consultation.

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