Legal Question in Personal Injury in New York

A family member was taking a vitamin product that was grossly mislabeled. The subcontractor who put in a particular component put in about 100 times what was on the label.

This family member wound up quite ill. We don't yet know if the damage will be permanent.

The company that markets and sells the product--not the manufacturer or subcontractor who made it--is offering to pay our immediate medical costs and lost wages. This would be an enormous help. They ARE NOT asking us to sign any sort of waiver in return. They have already admitted the error in writing and are complying with product testing. They're just saying, send us your bills, we'll send you a check.

Will we be giving up or compromising our right to sue in the future if we accept their payment for the current medical bills, as long as we don't sign any waivers and as long as the payment doesn't have any sort of notification on it? (Indicating it as giving up our right to additional compensation.)

Asked on 1/25/10, 10:40 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michael E. Zuller Zuller Law Offices

A little tricky here, but provided you, or the injured party (minor?), sign no release or waiver of rights, it would seem permissible for the marketer/seller to pay the medical bills. It is helpful, of course, that the party has admitted fault, in writing.

It is best if you request and receive copies of the checks made payable not to you, but to the health care providers. Be on the lookout for words like "satisfaction" and/or "accord" on the checks, because these are terms which might indicate full and final settlement of all claims. If there is any permanent injury, consult a lawyer about advancing a personal injury claim. Best, M. E. Zuller

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Answered on 1/30/10, 11:39 am
Stuart DiMartini Law Offices of Stuart DiMartini

As a general rule you should not accepted compensation for part of your damages as it may be construed as an implied waiver of all of rights to receive compensation for the rest of your injuries. In addition, if you are not sure about the permanency of the condition, your damages for pain and suffering and future medical costs may far exceed the compensation you are accepting today. You should speak directly to an attorney and discuss all of your rights and options before you act on your own. You can speak to me or Donald Rosenberg by calling toll free at 1.888.487.6735.

Best Wish

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Answered on 1/30/10, 1:07 pm
Pasquale Calcagno Calcagno & Associates, PLLC

I am very sorry for your terrible ordeal. I would be very leary of accepting any payment and under no circumstances are you to sign anything. It is best that you not speak to anyone until you hire a lawyer to prosecute this claim. Many times the insurance companies or company at fault will use bad faith tactics to trick you into releasing your claims. Typically, there will be an indication on the check that you have waived your rights. In some jurisdictions or instances acceptance of the check with a letter will constitute you waiving your rights. Many times they will send a check without a letter and claim you received a letter with the check informing you that you waived all rights in the matter.

Be very careful here. You can call me for a confidential, free consultation so that we may discuss our law firm possibly handling this case for you. If, as you indicate, they admitted liability in writing it will make our fight somewhat easier. My name is Pasquale Calcagno, Esq. and I can be reached at 1(800)WE-FIGHT. You can also visit us on the web at and take advantage of our informative and useful resources. We have convenient locations all over New York and can even have an attorney come to you for a free consultation upon request. I look forward to fighting hard for your rights.

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Answered on 1/30/10, 1:13 pm

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