FAQs

How do I choose a medical malpractice lawyer in Maine?

There are several factors to consider when hiring a medical malpractice lawyer. First, make sure you choose a lawyer and firm with a proven record of success in cases like yours. Second, trust your instincts. You need to have a high level of comfort and trust with the person you choose to represent you, and his or her staff.

Many lawyers claim to handle medical malpractice cases, but in fact do not have expertise in this complex area of the law. Remember that the choice is up to you. You don’t have to hire the first (or even second or third) lawyer you interview.

How do I choose a personal injury lawyer in Maine?

There are several factors to consider when hiring a personal injury lawyer. First, make sure you choose a lawyer and firm with a proven record of success in cases like yours. Second, trust your instincts. You need to have a high level of comfort and trust with the person you choose to represent you, and his or her staff. Remember that the choice is up to you. You don’t have to hire the first (or even second or third) lawyer you interview.

Many lawyers claim to handle personal injury cases, but in fact have never even taken a personal injury case to trial. Some lawyers are willing to settle for a “lowball” offer from the other side, because they are more interested in volume than in results, or because they don’t have the skills and experience to maximize the value of your claim.

How do you determine if I have a valid medical malpractice case?

We first need to determine whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim by proving that the medical provider failed to comply with accepted standards of practice in diagnosing or treating your condition, injury, or disease. We will also need to prove that this failure resulted in harm to you. This process involves an initial consultation with you, review of your medical records, research about your condtion, including details about your medical history and treatments, and follow-up conversations with you.

Determining If You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

How long has Berman & Simmons been in business?

In 2014, we celebrated 100 years of serving the people of Maine! The firm was established in 1914 when Benjamin Berman hung a shingle on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, Maine. Berman and his brother David became known as trusted advocates of the men and women who worked at the city’s textile mills and shoe factories. Their commitment to blue-collar Mainers and their willingness to take on the most complex and controversial cases, remain hallmarks of the firm today.

Berman & Simmons has been committed to Lewiston and to Lisbon Street from the start and we recently renovated our office to honor our history and showcase who we are as a firm now.

Century-old Law Firm Joins Lewiston's Revitalization Push

How many lawyers work at Berman & Simmons?

Berman & Simmons is the leading personal injury firm in Maine, with 17 skilled trial lawyers and more than 40 staff members, including legal assistants, paralegals, and administrators. We have the most plaintiff attorneys of any law firm in the state. Because of our talent and reputation, we often provide counsel on cases and receive referrals from the most respected lawyers in Maine and around the country.

Our Attorneys

How many offices do you have?

As a statewide law firm, our headquarters are on Lisbon Street in Lewiston and we also have offices in Portland and Bangor, Maine.

How much will a lawyer cost me?

The lawyers at Berman & Simmons work on a contingency basis. That means you pay nothing up front and nothing unless we settle or win your case. We will consult with you, evaluate your situation, and do initial research free of charge. This is true even if we decide you don’t have a valid claim. We will also cover all necessary case expenses and you will not be obligated to reimburse us until and unless we recover monies on your behalf. if we do take your case and win a settlement or a jury verdict in your favor, a percentage of the compensation goes to pay for our costs and the work done by our legal team.

I really like my doctor and I've seen him for years. How could I sue him?

There’s often feelings of guilt in taking legal action against another individual or an organization. We understand that. But there are other factors that must be considered. When doctors are negligent and someone is hurt or killed, they must be held accountable. This helps make sure healthcare companies put safety first. Our civil justice system is designed to provide you with fair compensation if you are harmed by the negligence of others.

Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer: What to Expect

I'm nervous about filing a medical malpractice claim.

This is especially true for people who have never needed to consult with a lawyer or worry about wasting their valuable time. We talk to people every day who are facing the most difficult challenges of their lives and don't know what to expect next. We handle a roller coaster of emotions and will help you through the entire process, from finding solutions to your immediate needs to helping you manage your ongoing medical care.

Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer: What to Expect

The insurance company wants me to settle my case quickly. Should I?

Clients are often pushed into settling their cases prematurely by insurance companies. Before you resolve your claim, it is critical that you understand the full extent of your injuries and damages and how they will affect your life moving forward. Ultimately, the “right” time to settle your case varies from case-to-case depending on your injuries. When it comes to a personal injury case, patience is important to protecting your interests.

Serious Personal Injury Cases: Five Guiding Principles to Remember

Their insurance company just offered me $50,000 to settle. Should I take it?

Insurance companies often make unreasonably low offers of compensation to victims of serious car accidents, while describing those offers as “fair” or even “generous.” They are counting on the fact that most consumers won’t know how much compensation they deserve.

In some cases, the offers are indeed fair. But before you accept an offer, contact an experienced lawyer to protect your rights and make sure you receive full compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Insurance Company Tactics: How They Take Advantage of Injured Mainers — And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

What are some of the insurance tactics I should know about?

Here are some of the most common tactics used by insurance companies to deny fair compensation to people who have been hurt in accidents.

  • They make you think they are on your side
  • They low-ball your claims
  • They take advantage of your financial distress
  • They blame the victim

Insurance Company Tactics: How They Take Advantage of Injured Mainers — And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

What are some of the steps involved in a medical malpractice case?

After determining you have a valid medical malpractice claim, we'll file a Notice of Claim, proceed with the discovery period and pre-litigation panel hearing required for all medical malpractice cases and, when warranted, file a lawsuit.

Determining If You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

What are the basic steps of a personal injury lawsuit?

Though every case is unique, the basic steps of a personal injury lawsuit include a client meeting, case workup, pre-suit settlement, filing of a lawsuit, and trial (if case can't be resolved).

Determining If You Have a Personal Injury Case

What can I do to make sure the insurance company doesn't take advantage of me?

If you have been injured in an accident, here are some things you can do to protect yourself from insurance company tactics:

  • Never agree to a settlement for your injury claim without knowing if it’s fair.
  • As soon as possible, contact an experienced lawyer that understands the entire insurance system, and the tactics used by defense lawyers and insurance companies.
  • Educate yourself about the process and ask questions. You need to make sure your rights are protected.
  • Hold your ground and assume the insurance company will most likely delay handling your claim, deny you were hurt and defend their decision in a court battle.

Insurance Company Tactics: How They Take Advantage of Injured Mainers — And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

What is a Pre-litigation Screening Panel in a medical malpractice case?

Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in court, we are required by Maine law to first present the case to a pre-litigation screening panel appointed by the superior court. The opinions of the panel members, which include representatives of the healthcare industry, determine whether or not we can proceed with the case and file a lawsuit.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maine?

In general, you have three years from the act of negligence causing your injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maine. However, there are a number of special circumstances that can shorten or extend that timeframe. The only way to know for sure is to speak with an experienced medical malpracitce lawyer as soon as possible.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Maine?

In general, you have six years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in Maine. However, there are a number of special circumstances that can shorten or extend that timeframe. The only way to know for sure about your specific case is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a product liability (defective product) lawsuit in Maine?

In general, you have six years from the date of incident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Maine.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Maine?

In general, you have two years from the date of death to file a personal injury lawsuit in Maine.

What kind of law do you practice?

Once a general practice firm, Berman & Simmons now specializes on personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, dangerous drugs and medical devices, and complex trial matters.

What types of damages are awarded in personal injury lawsuits?

Here are some brief definitions of the most common types of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit:

Economic damages include damages that can be calculated or fairly estimated, such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earnings potential. Expert witnesses can testify about how the injury impacted the person’s ability to earn a living in the future. These type of damages are sometimes referred to as “out of pocket” expenses.

Non-economic damages compensate victims for losses that are much harder to assign a specific dollar amount. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotinal distress, the loss of companionship from a loved one, or permanent loss of function or permanent disfigurement are all types of non-economic damages.

Personal Injury Damages: What can I recover?

What types of damages could I recover in a medical malpractice claim?

Here are some brief definitions of the most common types of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Economic damages include damages that can be calculated or fairly estimated, such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earnings potential. Expert witnesses can testify about how the injury impacted the person’s ability to earn a living in the future. These type of damages are sometimes referred to as “out of pocket” expenses.
  • Non-economic damages compensate victims for losses that are much harder to assign a specific dollar amount. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotinal distress, the loss of companionship from a loved one, or permanent loss of function or permanent disfigurement are all types of non-economic damages.

Personal Injury Damages: What can I recover?

What types of questions should I ask a medical malpractice lawyer before I hire them?

When you're considering hiring a medical malpracitce lawyer to represent you, here are a few questions you should ask:

  • Have you had success representing clients in cases similar to mine?
  • Does your firm have the financial resources to take on my case?
  • If necessary, are you prepared to take my case to trial?
  • What are some of the results you have obtained?

What types of questions should I ask a personal injury lawyer before I hire them?

When you're considering hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you, here are a few questions you should ask:

  • Have you had success representing clients in cases similar to mine?
  • Does your firm have the financial resources to take on my case?
  • If necessary, are you prepared to take my case to trial?
  • What are some of the results you have obtained?

Why isn't the insurance company offering me more money for the accident?

Insurance companies are simply more profitable by denying and low-balling all claims (referred to in the industry as forcing "smaller walk-away settlements”). In other words, it's in their best interest to pay out as little in claims as possible.

Insurance Company Tactics: How They Take Advantage of Injured Mainers — And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

Why should I choose Berman & Simmons to handle my case?

Results. We have won many of the largest jury verdicts and settlements in Maine history. Two of our landmark cases have been recognized in The National Law Journal’s Top 100 U.S. Verdicts and many of our cases have advanced Maine law to protect the rights of those who have been injured or harmed because of someone else's negligence.

Reputation. Founded more than 100 years ago, our firm is recognized in Maine and nationally for its record of success in trials, a fearless approach to litigation, and for standing up for working people against powerful defendants.

Relationships. We care about our clients and establish trusted relationships with them. We listen. We follow through on our promises. You’ll have a team behind you and we'll make the process as easy for you as possible.

With a Steadfast Mission, Berman & Simmons is Poised for Another Century of Success

Will I need to speak with the doctor or healthcare practitioner I’m considering suing?

Absolutely not. You will not have to confront your doctor, healthcare provider or medical facility. We will take on that responsibility for you.

What do I prepare for the first call or meeting with you?

For your first meeting with us, simply tell us your story and explain in your own words what happened and how your life has been affected. If you're meeting with us in person, you can bring notes about what happened to you, driver insurance information, names of any witnesses, photos of the accident damages or injuries, medical records, and other related paperwork if you have it and if it's applicable, but that information isn't necessary. Really all you need to do is be yourself, speak with us honestly, and be willing to tackle your problems with us.

Initial conversations between potential clients and our staff members are often done over the phone. Rest assured that everything we discuss is confidential and protected under law.

How will you know know if I have a case?

To pursue a case, we will need to prove that you suffered a substantial personal injury and the injury was directly caused by the negligence of another party. A bad result alone is not enough to establish negligence. We let you know upfront if we are able to move forward with the legal process, or if we don’t think you have a case. Generally, we will know if you have a case after our first phone call or meeting.

If we believe you have a valid claim and decide to move forward with litigation, our attorneys and staff will then take it from there and do everything else that needs to be done, including obtaining and reviewing records relevant to your case, such as accident reports and other law enforcement documents, employer records, medical records, and other information.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

Every case is different, and there is no way to predict how long it will take for your case to be resolved. Some cases end in a matter of months, while the most complex and challenging cases, such as a medical malpractice case, can span several years. The vast majority of cases, however, are resolved before a trial and usually within a year.

The goal is to make sure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, no matter how long it takes whether that comes in the form of a pre-trial settlement, or with a jury verdict in your favor.

How much is my case worth?

There are many factors that need to be considered when determining the value of your case. Every case is unique and it takes a team effort — including your attorney, staff researchers, and outside experts — to determine the extent of your damages and how much your case is worth. There are two types of damages for which you could receive compensation: Economic and non-economic.

If your case goes to trial and a jury agrees you deserve compensation, the jury members will decide how much money you should receive for each category of damages.

Why do I have to hire a lawyer so quickly?

If you’ve been in a serious accident, there are many benefits to seeking legal counsel as soon as possible after your injury has occurred. Here are some reasons why hiring a good personal injury lawyer early is in your best interest.

  • Time is of the essence as Maine has strict deadlines for filing many personal injury claims.
  • The at fault driver’s liability insurance company is not on your side and, undoubtedly, is already investigating and reconstructing the accident on its own in an effort to avoid or deflect responsibility. You need expert counsel to make sure the insurer does not take advantage of you.
  • Critical witnesses may become unavailable and supportive evidence may be lost or degrade with time. Therefore, it is important to hire a law firm that can immediately and thoroughly investigate the accident, talk with eye witnesses, preserve evidence, and, as necessary, hire appropriate experts to help evaluate and support your case.
  • You need an experienced team to help you navigate the medical care you need and relieve some of the financial pressures you may confront by identifying all potential insurance options and negotiating with creditors.
  • Hiring a lawyer early can provide much needed peace of mind so you can focus on your recovery.

What should I do if I've just been in a car accident?

Taking some basic steps after a car accident can make the difference between a legal claim that fails and one that provides fair compensation for you and your family. Here are some suggestions for first steps.

  • First, be sure all parties involved are safe and out of danger. Then move your car if it is causing a hazard; otherwise leave it where it is and turn on hazard lights.
  • Call 911 to immediately report the accident to police, even if you think the damage is minor. Stay close to your vehicle until police arrive.
  • Remain calm and polite, but do not apologize or admit fault.
  • Gather pertinent information from other driver and any witnesses.
  • Photograph vehicle damage and any visible injuries. Write down your recollections about the event.
  • Get the name and badge number of all responding officers, and ask for police report.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if you think they are minor.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
  • Report the accident to your insurer. Do not give a signed or recorded statement to your insurer before talking with your lawyer.
  • Do not discuss the accident with any representative of the other driver’s insurance company before talking with your lawyer.

What to Do After a Car Accident

What compensation am I entitled to as a car accident victim?

Under Maine law, victims of vehicle accidents have the right to recover financial damages for various categories of injuries and loss, including:

  • Pain, suffering, and emotional distress, past and future
  • Interference with your enjoyment of life
  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Time lost from work
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Damage or total loss of your vehicle

Personal Injury Damages: What can I recover?

I've been hurt in a car accident, but my injuries seem minor. Should I still seek medical treatment?

Even if your injuries seem minor to you, seeking treatment early is critical because it provides a roadmap to understand the extent of your injuries, the treatment you require, and the timeframe for recovery. When you seek treatment, it's also important to honestly and accurately answer the medical provider's questions and report all your injuries and limitations.

Serious Personal Injury Cases: Five Guiding Principles to Remember

Why should I take pictures after a car accident?

After you are injured, it is important to take pictures that accurately reflect the injuries caused to you and the severity of damage caused to your personal property, such as your vehicle. Pictures that capture what the scene of the accident looked like are important in fully describing the incident to an insurance company or jury.

Serious Personal Injury Cases: Five Guiding Principles to Remember

Should I provide a recorded statement about my car accident?

Frequently, opposing insurance companies will ask you to provide a recorded statement. You should recognize that these recorded statements are for the benefit of the insurance company, and that such statements will be used at every opportunity to undermine your potential case. If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement, a warning bell should go off in your mind and you should politely decline.

Serious Personal Injury Cases: Five Guiding Principles to Remember

Call 207-808-7053 for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal rights.
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Berman & Simmons has the experience, expertise, and resources to win your case

Berman & Simmons is the leading personal injury and medical malpractice law firm in Maine. For more than 100 years, our trial attorneys have represented those who have been injured or harmed by the actions of others. These personal injury cases range from car and truck accidents to the most complex litigation involving defective products and malpractice by healthcare providers. We are known as the firm that will stand up and fight for injured Mainers in disputes against big corporations and powerful interests.