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So Sue Me!

Barbara Bensoussan

It takes just a second for an accident to happen, but it can take months — or even years — to receive compensation. Is there a way to make the process less painful? Some leading personal injury lawyers claim there is

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stu Klein (not his real name), a salesman, was opening the trunk of his parked car when the accident happened. Another businessman, who had glanced at a text message while driving, sideswiped a cab, which ricocheted off another car before slamming into Stu and pinning him between the cab and his own car, crushing his legs.

It took all ofNew York’s finest — cops, fire department, ambulance corps — to extricate Stu from the wreckage. Today, following dozens of surgeries and months in a wheelchair, he’s beginning to be able to hobble around on his own. But medical care is expensive — not to mention the months of lost work. Who pays for the damages Stu suffered, and for his treatment?

Talmidei chachamim have wrestled with this issue since the time of the Gemara, debating issues like the infamous goring ox, uncovered pits, and rooftops without railings. “An eye for an eye” refers to giving financial compensation for the loss of an eye. But these days, liability has become so complex that it takes an expert to avoid getting hopelessly lost in the fine print. (It also varies state to state; most of the laws cited in the following pages pertain toNew YorkState.)


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