How a Lawsuit Proceeds

by on March 13, 2015

Contrary to what some believe, a personal injury lawsuit is a long and complex process. A case isn’t as simple as an injured individual filing a lawsuit against someone they believe caused their injury and getting money back. In this post, we’ll endeavor to explain the lawsuit process from start to finish.

Following an injury, to begin a case, a Summons & Complaint must be filed in court and served upon the defendant (the party being sued). Due to the fact that the Summons & Complaint must list the basic facts of the case, this process may take several months. The next phase of a lawsuit is preparing a Bill of Particulars. A Bill of Particulars describes the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries, how the defendant may have acted negligently, and an itemization of the plaintiff’s damages.

After the Bill of Particulars is served to all of the defense counsel, our attorneys will schedule a deposition for our clients. A deposition is an out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that is converted to writing so that it may be used in court at a later point. A deposition will typically take place in an attorney’s office; although they can occasionally be held at the courthouse. During the deposition, a court reporter will be assigned to write down all of the questions posed and their corresponding answers. Clients need not be nervous heading into a deposition as our attorneys will prepare them in advance for the type of questions they will face from the defense counsel.

Once the defense counsel has finished deposing our client, we begin our depositions. After our injury attorneys depose every defendant, the case will be put on the trial calendar. Depending upon the status of the court docket, the case may be on the Trial Ready Calendar for a year or more. When all of the other cases on the calendar in front of ours have been called, our case will be called to trial.

While most cases settle, our attorneys prepare every case as though it were going to actually go to trial. Usually settlements do not occur until the jury selection process. In the event, however, that a settlement does not occur, our attorneys meticulously prepare to pursue maximum compensation for our clients at trial.

In addition to the depositions and other preparations we do with our clients, our attorneys spend the majority of the time before the case is called preparing for trial. There is a tremendous amount of work and preparation that our attorneys put into each case. Throughout the time leading up to trial, our attorneys are meeting with experts, preparing exhibits, attending various court conferences, undertaking pertinent medical research in malpractice issues, and preparing for direct and cross examinations at trial. As a result, our attorneys are always prepared to battle on our clients’ behalf come trial.

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Early last month, an MTA bus struck and seriously injured a 15-year-old girl. Following the accident, the bus driver, Francisco de Jesus, was charged with a criminal misdemeanor. The NYPD were able to file charges in conjunction with Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero traffic law that was passed last summer. The MTA is outraged that de Jesus has been criminally charged believe that due to the sheer volume of buses in New York City, it’s impossible for their drivers to have entirely spotless records.

Vision Zero was a somewhat controversial law passed last summer that allows the NYPD to criminally charge bus drivers who either kill or severely injure pedestrians. So far the law has come under fire from the MTA Union who feel that it unnecessarily puts their drivers at risk. “We support all the efforts and goals of Vision Zero but we would prefer our bus operators not be arrested,” said Darryl Irick, the vice president of MTA buses, to the Daily News. Irick also pointed out that the MTA’s drivers go through extensive training and the MTA also does their own investigations of all accidents involving their vehicles. According to Transport Workers Union Local 100, MTA operators drove 152 million combined miles last year. As a result, the union believes it is unfair for the city government to act as if drivers should be perfect; especially since they believe many drivers are being treated as criminals for accidents where they did not commit any offense such as speeding, ignoring traffic signals, or texting while driving.

Whether Vision Zero is a just law poses some interesting questions regarding liability in bus accident cases. While it’s a good thing that the City of New York is concerned with holding bus drivers responsible for accidents, it may not be right to hold them to a higher standard of care than other drivers. This is especially true considering the threat of lawsuits should be enough to hold drivers and the MTA responsible for their actions. In New York passengers and drivers of other vehicles may have grounds to file a lawsuit if they suffered any injuries in a bus accident that caused them economic damage or property damage to their vehicles. As a result, the MTA is, to some extent already being held responsible for their actions.

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We see and hear a lot of things about lawsuits and trials every day as we watch movies and television. While these stories are often dramatic, they may not be providing you with the correct picture of how your litigation process will actually work. A trial following a serious injury is complex and requires your lawyer to prove that the party that caused your injury acted negligently. As such, you may see that your expert witnesses and lawyer are using visual aids to explain to the jury different aspects of your accident and how you were injured.

These visual aids are called demonstrative evidence, and they can be a huge factor in your personal injury case. Demonstrative evidence is pretty much anything used to prove negligence that isn’t spoken testimony. Demonstrative evidence can be either illustrative or physical:

Illustrative evidence: This type of evidence can include photographs of your accident scene or graphs showing the intersection where you were hit, even which way the cars were heading. If you’re involved in a medical malpractice case, this evidence can include charts of your health progress, blown up pictures of injuries and specially designed illustrations showing how your surgeries were performed. These pictures basically tell your story to the jury. We want them to know what happened to you and how it affected your life. This will also allow them to understand what an expert witness is talking about when they discuss either medical or other types of information. Being able to visually see your story is a strong motivator in getting the jury to know you and understand your struggles.

Physical evidence: This type of evidence is anything a lawyer can pick up and show to the jury. Physical evidence can include a weapon used in a criminal trial or a broken stair that caused you to fall and injure yourself. At an accident scene, physical evidence can be a bumper that was torn off or even bloodied clothing. Damage to your car can be physical evidence as well. In such instances before you get it repaired, it is a good idea to get the vehicle completely evaluated and evidence preserved for future use. In the event of an accident or injury where you are unable to pick up actual physical evidence, it’s always a great idea to take photographs of everything.

When making your decision on which attorney to hire to represent you in your injury claim, it is important to obtain the skills of an individual who understands the importance of demonstrative evidence and how to utilize it. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our attorneys have decades of combined experience utilizing demonstrative evidence at trial to help our clients obtain the verdict they deserve. At trial, our firm relies on cutting edge technology and expert witnesses at the forefront of their fields to show both physical and illustrative evidence to the jury in order to prove that our clients were injured due to another party’s negligence. As a result, our attorneys have acquired more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

For more information, visit our educational website at If you have legal questions, we want you to call us at (212) 406-1700. We welcome your call.

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An MTA bus was in a major accident around 3:55 PM on Wednesday, leaving 23 injured. According to the Daily News, the bus crash was part of a three car pileup that took place on Utica Ave and Clarendon Road in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. While charges have yet to be filed, police are still investigating the causes of the accident.

According to police, the crash occurred when a BMW heading south on Utica Avenue struck a Nissan Altima exiting a parking lot. After striking the Altima, the BMW careened into the path of an oncoming B46 bus. The two crashes left the front end of the BMW a crumpled wreck. The accident caused injuries to 23 individuals, 16 of which were treated at the scene of the accident, and three—all passengers in the BMW—are reportedly “clinging to life” in critical condition. While charges have yet to be filed by police, numerous legal actions could quickly follow from the injured individuals.

This accident presents a unique legal situation as injuries were sustained by individuals in each vehicle. Anyone injured in this accident may have grounds to file a lawsuit to recoup any monetary damages suffered in the accident.  In order to have grounds for a claim however, the injured individual must be able to prove that the driver(s) who caused the crash acted negligently and was directly responsible for their injury. Additionally, the injured party must also be able to prove that the accident was directly responsible for any economic or non-economic damages they may have suffered.  Due to the fact that the accident involved three cars, who each passenger may be able to recoup compensation from may depend on which vehicle they were driving in:

  • Bus Passengers: Passengers on the MTA Bus who suffered injuries in the accident may have grounds to file lawsuits against the driver of the bus, the bus company, and/or their insurance company. Additionally they may also have grounds to file suit against the drivers of either the Nissan or BMW and their insurance companies.
  • BMW Passengers: The passengers who suffered injuries in the BMW may have grounds to file suit against the driver of the BMW and their insurance company, the driver of the Nissan and their insurance company, or the bus driver and the MTA. Additionally The driver of the BMW may be have grounds to file suit against the driver of the Nissan and their insurance company and the driver of the bus and MTA.
  • Nissan Driver: The driver of the Nissan may have grounds to recoup compensation from the driver of the BMW for any economically damaging injuries or damage to their vehicle.

It should be noted that while all of the aforementioned scenarios are possible in theory, not all will be a reality. In order to have grounds for a claim the injured parties must be able to prove that one or more of the drivers acted negligently and that that negligence was directly responsible for the accident and subsequent injury. Due to the fact that three vehicles were involved in the accident, it is highly unlikely that all three drivers were negligent; limiting injured passengers’ potential legal options. For instance, if it’s determined that only the Nissan’s driver acted negligently, then the injured passengers in the bus and BMW will likely only be able to recoup compensation from the negligent driver and their insurance company. Additionally, as mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind that only individuals who suffered economic damage directly resulting from the accident may be eligible to recoup compensation for their injuries.

While negligence and economic loss are essential to having a valid auto accident lawsuit, any individual who has suffered an injury in such an accident—even a minor one—should immediately seek the counsel of an attorney with experience handling vehicle accident claims. Determining liability in these types of accidents is often a complex process. As a result, it is important that injured individuals retain an attorney who has experience dealing with the complexities of car and bus accident lawsuits. An experienced attorney will investigate all aspects of the accident, including reviewing the police reports, interviewing witnesses, and hiring investigators who are experienced in determining liability in these types of cases.

If you have been in a similar accident, give us a call at 212-406-1700 or contact us online; all consultations are free of charge. Our attorneys have decades of experience in these kinds of cases and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients.

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According to Slate, the New York State Legislature may be on the verge of passing a bill that would provide physicians more legal cover in instances where they have acted negligently. Currently, a doctor is considered negligent if they act in a manner that “deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community.” Recently, a bill was unanimously passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature that prohibits the state’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct from investigating claims of medical misconduct where the negligence in question took place during the course of a treatment that is not universally accepted by the medical profession. The issue raised by Slate, is that few medical practices are “universally accepted” in medicine. Consequently, this bill would effectively be protecting doctors who practice non-universally accepted treatments from being disciplined. Slate’s Brian Palmer believes the bill is an attempt to promote acceptance of chronic Lyme disease.

“Chronic” Lyme disease is believed by many doctors to be a fictitious ailment. In the vast majority of cases where Lyme disease “persists” after treatment, there is no evidence that the sick patient was ever infected with Borrelia burdorferi; the Lyme disease-causing bacterium carried by some deer ticks. Doctors who believe in Chronic Lyme disease tend to prescribe long-term intravenous antibiotic therapy. This therapy has been known to cause serious side effects and can lead to the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistance bacteria.  The overwhelming majority of physicians disagree with intravenous antibiotic therapy as a path of treatment and have trouble believing that Chronic Lyme disease actually exists. Due to the fact that Chronic Lyme disease is not universally accepted—and thus subsequent treatments are not universally accepted–should this new bill become law, it would prevent New York’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct from investigating claims where a doctor’s negligence led to a patient’s injury. Essentially, the passage of this bill could result in doctors not being held legally accountable for their actions in many instances where they’re unnecessarily causing their patients physical harm.

Despite the bill being ethically questionable, it won’t have an impact on an injured patient’s ability to collect compensation for a doctor’s medical negligence. While the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct investigates and levels charges against doctors for egregious negligence or criminal behavior, they play no role in medical malpractice lawsuits. In order to have a valid lawsuit, an injured patient needs to show that their doctors acted negligently which subsequently led to their injury and monetary damages. Patients who have suffered an injury due to a doctor’s negligence, should ignore the new bill regarding deviation from the accepted standard of care and contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases at their earliest convenience.


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Last Tuesday, a Grand Jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Ferguson, Missouri resident Michael Brown. The response to the decision has widely varied. Some Ferguson residents protested and rioted in the streets after the decision was announced. The St. Louis County Prosecutor, Robert McCulloch vigorously defended the outcome in his press conference, blaming the media for presenting misinformation to the public. In light of the decision, any hope Michael Brown’s family and Ferguson residents had of seeing criminal charges brought against Officer Darren Wilson has been extinguished at the state level. Despite the Grand Jury’s ruling, however, the Browns may still be able to take legal action in the form of a lawsuit.

Despite the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Officer Wilson, the family of Michael Brown may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ferguson and the police department. The failure to criminally prosecute or convict a party doesn’t absolve them of civil liability. The OJ Simpson case is a prime example of a victim’s family receiving compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit despite the absolution of guilt in criminal court. Simpson was acquitted in the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman but there was a civil jury verdict over $30 million in damages to the Goldmans and Browns after being found liable for their deaths in a lawsuit. To be able to successfully obtain compensation for Michael Brown’s death, his family would have to prove that based on his actions, Officer Wilson was legally liable under standards of proof applicable to Missouri’s civil, not criminal, justice system.

While the laws in Missouri may differ, under New York and/or federal law, the Browns may be able to obtain monetary compensation if it could be proven Officer Wilson did any of the following:

  • While acting under color of state law, engaged in conduct that constituted a custom, usage, practice, procedure or rule of the respective municipality/authority, which is forbidden by the Constitution of the United States
  • Officer Wilson forewent customs, policies, usages, practices, procedures and rules of the municipality, which constituted deliberate indifference to the safety, well-being and constitutional rights of Michael Brown
  • Officer Wilson’s disregard for the customs, policies, usages, practices, procedures and rules of the municipality were the direct and proximate cause of Michael Brown’s death
  • Officer Wilson’s disregard for the customs, policies, usages, practices, procedures and rules of the municipality were the moving force that led to the death of Michael Brown

If a family in New York State, with circumstances similar to the Michael Brown case, were able to prove the aforementioned violations occurred, they would have a reasonable chance of recouping compensation for wrongful death. The amount of compensation to which a family would be entitled would depend on many factors, including but not limited to the degree of pain and suffering the decedent endured prior to his death and any economic loss caused by his death, such as lost income to the family. In addition, in the event of the wrongful death of an individual with children, economic loss can include the value of the loss of parental guidance that the children suffer as a result of the wrongful death of a parent.

In sum, in the instance of the death of a loved one, it is important to understand the distinction between one’s rights in a civil case, as opposed to the function of a state or federal government in the prosecution of a criminal matter.

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According to Reuters, New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, announced on October 31st that the city would pay $2.25 million to resolve a wrongful death claim brought against them by Alma Murdough regarding the death of her son. Murdough filed a wrongful death claim after her son Jerome, a Marine Corps veteran, was found dead in his jail cell on Rikers Island eight days after being initially arrested for criminal trespassing.

Alma Murdough filed her lawsuit after details began to emerge of her son’s death on February 15th. In the lawsuit, Ms. Murdough claimed that her son’s cell was 103 degrees Fahrenheit and that his body was also 103 degrees hours after being discovered. According to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner stated that Murdough’s death had been the result of “hypothermia due to environmental exposure of heat.” Following Murdough’s death, Stringer released a series of statements regarding the safety, or apparent lack thereof, of inmates at Rikers. Stringer claimed that the penitentiary was “broken” and in need of reform. Consequently, Murdough’s death appeared to be a glaring case of negligence by prison officials, leading to the multimillion dollar settlement.

While the death of Jerome Murdough was a fairly clear-cut case of negligence on the city’s behalf, most wrongful death cases aren’t nearly as obvious. Wrongful death cases can be extremely complex that require a number of factors to be true in order to have a claim. To have a valid wrongful death claim, the loved ones of the victim must be able to prove that the death occurred due to the negligence of another individual or entity. Additionally, they must be able to demonstrate that they suffered either significant financial or emotional suffering due to their loved one’s death. Examples of financial or emotional suffering could be the loss of an essential income, funeral costs, the cost of medical bills incurred prior to death, the economic loss that can be attributed to the loss of a parent, and pain and suffering before the victim’s death.

Considering the complexity of wrongful death cases, individuals who have lost a loved one due to unnatural causes should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. An attorney will review all aspects of what lead to their loved one’s life including interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports, file the lawsuit, and when necessary representing victim’s families at trial.

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Bono, the lead singer of the popular band U2, suffered major injuries resulting from a bicycle accident in Central Park on Sunday. According to Rolling Stone, Dean Lorich, the orthopedic surgeon who operated on the singer, released a statement stating that Bono sustained a number of major injuries, including three fractures in his left shoulder blade, a fracture in his left humerous bone, a broken pinky finger, and a facial injury involving the orbit of his eye.

The accident occurred while Bono was riding his bike through Central Park. Bono attempted to avoid another rider before crashing in what doctors call a “high energy bicycle accident.” After crashing, the singer was rushed to the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s Emergency Department where he underwent several X-rays and CAT scans. Following the test, Bono went under the knife for surgery for five hours. Bono’s elbow was so badly damaged that it required the insertion of three metal plates and 18 screws. The singer underwent surgery a second time the next day to repair a fractured pinky finger. While the injuries were severe and will require “intensive and progressive therapy,” the U2 lead singer is expected to make a full-recovery.

Bono’s injury should be a cautionary tale for any who frequently ride their bikes in Central Park or around New York City. In 2013 alone, 4,045 cyclists suffered injuries and 10 died from bicycling accidents in New York City. While some accidents may be the fault of the injured cyclists, many are the result of another party’s negligence. In these instances, many cyclists fail to understand their legal rights and don’t realize they can receive compensation for their losses.

When cyclists are in an accident and suffer major injuries, they may be able to receive compensation for any financial losses by filing a lawsuit. Cyclists may have grounds for compensation if their injury was caused due to another individual or entity’s negligence. For instance, a cyclist might have grounds for a claim if they were biking through central park and hit an unpaved crack on the bike path that led to a major injury, due to the fact that it’s the city’s job to ensure the bike path is properly maintained. While negligence is essential for a lawsuit, injured cyclists must also be able to prove that the negligence involved was directly responsible for their accident and injury. Consequently, individuals who have suffered financial harm following a bicycle accident should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney who can help them identify their legal options.

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On Thursday November 6, a New York City-bound bus crashed into a disabled car and a tractor-trailer on I-81 outside of Syracuse. The crash left 27 passengers injured, including the driver of the bus, who is currently in critical condition. According to Newsday, none of the injuries sustained in the crash were fatal.

The bus, owned by Pine Hill Trailways, was traveling toward New York City from Toronto when it crashed into a recently wrecked car at 2:30 am. The car had just hit a guard rail when the bus crashed into it. Upon hitting the car, the bus then crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer that had pulled over after its driver decided to assist the car that had hit the guard rail. The bus then drifted to a stop in the left lane.

Following the crash, emergency crews arrived on the scene to assist injured passengers and the bus driver. Reportedly, it took two hours for emergency personnel to extricate the bus driver, Kelvin Sharpe Sr., from the crushed front end of the bus; Mr. Sharpe is reportedly in critical condition at Syracuse hospital. While no other fatalities were reported, the 26 injured passengers of the bus reported numerous lower extremity, chest, back, and facial injuries. Due to the large amount of individuals injured in the crash, authorities have deemed it a “Mass Casualty Incident.”

Police have reported that the driver of the disabled car, 36-year-old Robert Tarbell, was intoxicated at the time of the incident. Mr. Tarbell was arrested and charged for driving while intoxicated; he is currently being held in the Onondaga County Jail on $15,000 bail. The presence of alcohol in the crash presents an interesting legal precedent as injured passengers may be able to file personal injury claims against more than one party.

Passengers who were injured in the bus crash may have grounds to file lawsuits against the intoxicated driver whose disabled car led to the crash. In order to have grounds to receive compensation from the drunk driver, injured passengers must be able to prove that they suffered either financial or emotional hardships resulting from the accident. Additionally, injured passengers must be able to prove that their injury occurred as a direct result of the intoxicated driver’s negligence.

The passengers injured in the bus crash may also be able to file a claim against the bus company. To have a case against the bus company the injured individual must be able to prove that negligence on behalf of the driver or the company itself led to the crash and their subsequent injury. For instance, if there is evidence that driver inattention, driver error, defective parts, or mechanical error led to the accident, injured passengers may have grounds for a lawsuit. As with above paragraph, however, the injured passenger must be able to prove that they suffered a serious financial or emotional hardship and that the negligence of the driver or busing company led directly to their injury. For instance, if the bus had a defect, but the defect did not cause the accident and subsequent injury to the passenger, they’d likely not have grounds to file a claim.

Individuals who have suffered injuries in bus accidents often don’t immediately file a claim as they don’t understand their legal rights or the constraints imposed by the statute of limitations (a legal statute which governs the amount of time following an injury that a victim can seek compensation for their suffering).  Many times these passengers will realize long after the fact that they’ve suffered an injury that impedes their everyday life, but due to their delay in pursuing legal action, they cannot receive compensation for their losses. As a result, individuals who have suffered an injury in a bus accident should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

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What is Negligence?

by on June 25, 2014

The word “negligence” is one of the most often used words in the field of personal injury law. When one of our clients (known as a plaintiff) is injured, he/she usually is aware that one of the most important things we do at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool is carefully set forth the evidence necessary to support our clients’ claim that one or more persons or entities (called defendants) are legally responsible for the happening of the accident.
Negligence is generally defined as being the failure to use that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. A simple way to think about it is to compare the conduct or “carefulness” of the defendant to how careful one might think a reasonably careful person (ie; a “prudent” person) would have acted, if that person was in the same situation.


Proving negligence is not always as easy as it sounds. The facts may involve an act, or failure to act, that occurred at the moment that your serious accident occurred. For example, perhaps you were involved in a car accident and the Defendant failed to make proper observations of a traffic light, stop sign, or some other traffic signal, or made an improper lane change, causing your accident. Such instances are common and may sound simple, but in order to best represent the injured victim’s interests, we often find it critical to hire engineers and accident reconstruction experts in order to expose the truth in the face of Defendants who do not want to take responsibility for their negligent acts. Our decades of experience has shown us that employing an expert to testify regarding the relationship between the vehicles in the roadway, and assessing speed, time, and distance of all the vehicles involved in an accident, is commonly a crucial part of proving your case and of ensuring the best possible outcome that we can obtain for a client.
On the other hand, proving negligence often involves assessing the degree of care that a particular defendant exercised well before the time that an accident occurred. For example, in the instance of a trip or slip and fall accident, a defective condition may have evolved over time, and the issue of negligence may hinge on whether a defendant used reasonable care in allowing a dangerous condition to exist or in allowing a defective condition to develop over a period of months or years, and assessing what if anything the person or entity did to correct the condition. Similarly, in a construction accident, the issue of negligence often involves what steps a company or its’ employees took to create a safe work environment prior to the time the accident occurred (such as by providing for example proper and non-defective fall protection equipment).


Negligence is known as a “common law” claim, which simply means that it is law that evolved over a period of time from the decisions of courts and judges. Negligence claims, such as some of the examples described above, are the most frequent and common of the types of claims that are brought on behalf of seriously injured victims. However, there also are claims known as “statutory claims” or statutory “causes of action”, which are simply claims that are grounded or based upon special or specific laws enacted by the legislature. Sometimes statutory claims exist to protect a group of persons who are at particular risk of serious injury. For example, special statutory claims exist in the state of New York exist to protect construction workers (these are known in New York as Labor Laws). A more general type of statutory claim is known as a dram shop claim. Dram shop laws are special statutory laws that protect the general public by imposing liability against bars and taverns for serious injuries caused by serving alcohol to already intoxicated persons.


All of the attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool are extremely experienced and well versed in handling all types of personal injury claims. Indeed, personal injury law is the only type of law that we practice. Whether your particular serious injury involves a “negligence” claim or a “statutory claim”, we are here to help, to answer your questions, and bring any and all claims on your behalf that best suit your needs as a seriously injured plaintiff. We understand that your individual matter is your only case and the outcome can be critical to the future of yourself and your family. To us, there is no “simple” negligence case. There is almost always something more that can be done, or something performed differently or extraordinarily, that can help improve the ultimate outcome of your case.

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