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Geoffrey Trachtenberg

Geoffrey Trachtenberg’s Answers

18 total

  • What should i do?

    I work in a outdoor setting and was hit by a car while working. It was on private property and i was injured. I had to be ambulance to the hospital with dislocations and major lacerations. The woman claimed she hit the brakes and that they did not...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    The fact that the incident happened on private property should not matter, but there may be implications involving workers' compensation and insurance. You really should contact a reputable attorney yo help you investigate and make a claim. Most attorneys will not charge you anything to discuss the matter and they will also usually take the matter at no cost to you unless they get you a recovery. I'm happy to assist but there's tons of great attorneys on AVVO. Pick one to help you!

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  • Which state laws are in effect after an auto accident, the state accident occured or the state where insurance policy is issue?

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    This question is complicated and not always subject to easy "yes" or "no" answers.

    First, if you are asking which law governs the application or interpretation of an insurance contract, then it will be either (a) the law selected in the insurance policy itself or (b) the law of the state where the policy was issued. In a personal injury setting, this will generally be an issue if you are making a first-party (UM/UIM) claim, otherwise its not an issue in third-party cases (in Arizona anyway).

    Second, if you are asking which law governs in terms of claims that you could make for damages, the answer is generally the state where the accident occurred, but not always -- especially in Arizona.

    Consider this example. Lets say two Arizona residents get into an accident in California. Do they have to sue in California? The answer is "no, the plaintiff can sue the defendant in Arizona," but the question about "which state substantive law applies" may arise in terms of how the court determines certain rights.

    This especially likely in the foregoing scenario since California is far less friendly to plaintiffs than Arizona, at least as far as injury law is concerned (e.g., Arizona allows you to sue for full retail charges on your medical bills whereas California generally limits you to the amount "actually paid" by your insurer, if applicable; Arizona allows you to aggregate UIM policies under certain circumstances whereas California has very unfavorable UIM laws that apply offsets to UIM and never allow aggregation of policies, etc., etc.).

    So, in the example, the decision of which state law applies will be up to the court in the state where the lawsuit is filed (in the example, the lawsuit could be filed in Arizona or California). As a result, the choice of law may actually vary where you litigate, which judge you get and how they apply choice of law principles.

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  • I was involved in a rear end car accident, I was the driver, my car was hit from behind, can I settle with out a lawyer?

    I believe I got whiplash, have constant headaches, and lower back pain.

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Don't do it. The insurance company and their adjustor want you to settle without a lawyer. That way they can pay less to you and get away with not paying for all of your damages.

    Hiring a respected lawyer does not cost you anything and typically results in you getting more than you could without a lawyer. My firm, for example, will not accept the case if we cannot do better (on a net basis) for the client than they could do on their own -- and I am sure most other reputable lawyers here would have the same approach.

    So please speak with someone and do not try to handle this on your own since many people, like myself, are less likely to accept a case in that situation because clients can unknowingly make it harder or impossible for me to be effective once they have made statements or representations to the insurer without my involvement. Good luck.

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  • Should we get a laywer now or if we have issues with the insurance company or the other driver who was responsible?

    My boyfriend is currently in the ER of the local hospital after an auto accident. He was in a chevy suburban, I'm not sure what the other vehicle was but our vehicle has very little damage and the other's entire trunk was crumpled. My boyfriend is...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    YES, without a doubt. Get a lawyer now to help with everything. Often they can head off problems before they arise and prevent certain minor issues from becoming major issues. While I am happy to assist your boyfriend, please do contact someone reputable.

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  • Is it normal to have a lawyer and has been almost 2 mo since the accident , the person who hit us insurance has not accepted lia

    My son who was excluded from my policy was driving when we were hit by a person in a rental. My insurance denied the claim ofcourse so i hired a lawyer. It has been almost 2 months and the other insurance has not accepted liability. The police rep...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    Sadly, the answer is "absolutely."

    And there's little that any attorney can do to "force" a third-party insurance company to accept responsibility for a collision. In fact, it is not uncommon for these third-party insurers to deny even the most basic details about the accident.

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  • My brother settled a wrongful death after my mother past away in a nursing home when i found out call his lawyer

    three of six kids were not told about this case. until they settled the word then leaked out .i contacted the lawyer that handled the case, telling him there was three other kids. he was in shock. what do i do. what can i do. this happen in arizon...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear about your loss.

    And your reference to Wilmot v. Wilmot is 100% correct.

    The Wilmot case holds, among other things, that the lawyer you contacted owed you and the rest of the claimants (technically called "statutory beneficiaries") a fiduciary duty. The case also holds that the person(s) settling the case -- that is, the claimants that approved and accepted the wrongful death settlement money -- owe you and the rest of the claimants an identical duty of care to ensure that your claim is protected and/or that you participate in decision-making and settlement approval.

    You are also entitled to your own attorney. That is, you do not need to use the same attorney as your siblings and, quite often, you shouldn't because of potential or actual conflicts of interest (e.g., where you are competing for a portion of limited settlement proceeds).

    You need to speak with a lawyer, and soon. You may have lots of different rights and remedies, and time is of the essence.

    Again, I am sorry for what you've been through and sympathize that things may have been made worse by learning of a settlement which you were not properly informed of.

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  • Slip and fall

    I live in Arizona... Last year I had a slip and fall at a casino at the local casino on the Indian reservation. I do have a preexisiting condition Which I have to walk with support devices. During the time of the slip I was inside the restaurant ...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    You've gotten bad advice. You should never "wait" and any attorney who tells you that is wrong.

    This occurred on an Indian Reservation, which means that you will have issues making a claim due to something called sovereign immunity. Our Reservations, however, have something called a Gaming Compact which permits gambling on the Reservations provided the Tribe waives sovereign immunity to some extent and implements some procedures to address injury claims.

    The reason why waiting can be fatal to your claim, among other things, is that you may need to file something called a Notice of Claim with the Tribe within a prescribed person (usually six months) or you are precluded from making any claim. Nonetheless, even if you still have time to make a claim, you may be precluded from being successful depending upon the particular events related to the accident -- often based on an "imaginary line."

    This line typically divides where you can and cannot cue. For example, as a general rule, you can make claims against the Tribe for negligence causing injuries that occur on the "gaming" side of a casino and cannot make claims outside of the "gaming" location -- typically called the "resort" area. Restaurants, of course, can be located on either of these "sides" and whether you can make a claim will depend upon the unique facts of your case.

    Good luck.

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  • Does Attorney/Client Privilege extend to a Defendants' Former Employees?

    If a Plaintiff sues a company for personal injury, are relevant former employees (who at the time were involved in the subject incident) entitled to attorney client privilege in a deposition setting? Or, in a deposition setting, can the Plaintif...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    There cannot be any definitive answer to your question without exploring the facts. Were the employees officers or directors of the company, for example? Is the attorney representing them? What is there expectation of their relationship with the attorney?

    Assuming the attorney has no lawyer-client relationship with the witnesses and/or no reasonable expectation of such a relationship, however, communications with those witnesses are typically not privileged.

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  • What kind of lawyer do i need?

    when i was a child i received a structured settlement from a dentist injury and when i turned 18 i was supposed to get my money and it went to my moms account and i have yet to see any of it and i want my money. please help me out

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    This is somewhat complicated.

    The money from your structured settlement was, obviously, intended for you. And more likely than not, your settlement was subject to court approval and a conservator was appointed by the court (perhaps it was your mom?). In any event, it is the conservator's legal obligation to oversee your property and protect it, and the court retains jurisdiction to deal with conservators who do not properly safeguard property.

    Your case is puzzling because, now that you are at the age of majority and assuming it is indeed the time for your to receive settlement checks from the company underwriting the structure (i.e., those payments do not necessarily begin on your 18th birthday), those checks should have come directly to you and been made payable to you -- not your mother.

    Have you contacted the structure company to find out where they sent your money?

    If, indeed, your money was sent to the wrong person (such as your mother), you may have a claim against the structure company, the conservator and/or your mother for the return of the money. You will want to move quickly to figure out who has your funds and/or seek the court's involvement (i.e., you will want to file an appropriate motion with the court who has jurisdiction over your conservatorship). Perhaps a call to the attorney who helped you get the settlement in the first place?

    Good luck.

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  • In the state of arizona can child support enforcement take a lawsuit for accident injury case

    I was in a car accident and i have a claim for injury and pain and suffering. I recieved a income with holding order from child support enforcement. Can they or they can't take my money from me from my lawsuit. because i have to pay for doctors a...

    Geoffrey’s Answer

    Yes. If you owe past child support, pursue to ARS 25-505, et seq., DES or its agent "may issue a limited income withholding order to any . . . payor or other holder of a nonperiodic or lump sum payment that is owed or held for [your] benefit." According to ARS 25-505(E)(10), a "lump sum payment" includes "personal injury awards."

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