Outspoken Doctor’s Great TED Talk Pulls Back Curtain On Secrecy Of Medical Community, Says NY and PA Medical Malpractice Attorney

Dr. Leana Wen.

Dr. Leana Wen.

I recently learned about a great TED Talk about the secrecy in the medical community from a local doctor.

Dr. Leana Wen of Washington, D.C., talked for 15 minutes about all the things your doctor won’t tell you. An emergency physician, Dr. Wen was born in Shanghai but came to America as a child. She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and is now the director of Patient-Centered Care Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University

You can learn more about the TED Talk here.

Dr. Wen is leading a campaign called Who’s My Doctor, a long-overdue drive for transparency in medicine. Among other things, Dr. Wen feels that Dr’s have an obligation to let their patient’s know if they are receiving compensation of any sort from drug or medical device manufacturers.  Her point is a good one:  a patient has a right to know if their Dr. has any financial interest in recommending a particular drug or device as that financial interest may consciously or sub-consciously influence their recommendation.

I would encourage everyone to watch the TED Talk — it is only about 15 minutes — and learn more about Dr. Wen by clicking on the links above.

Her TED Talk is insightful for anyone navigating the difficult world of medical care. And even if you or someone you love is not in that position now, sooner or later, we will all need some form of medical care.

So be prepared.

I particularly liked the message: “Openness improves care, reduces mistakes and results in less medical malpractice.”

I find it disconcerting that lawyers are ethically required to notify clients when they have a conflict of interest that might impair their judgment but doctors do not have a similar ethical requirement to do so.

I am mystified how doctors can receive hundreds of thousands of dollars a year serving as “consultants” to drug companies yet they are not required to disclose that very relevant information to their patients when making decisions about what particular drugs they will to treat that patient.

Here are some excerpts:

  • “We can bridge the disconnect between what doctors do and what patients need. We can get there because we have been there before and we know that transparency gets us to that trust.”

  • “It’s not just patients who are scared. Doctors are scared, too. We are afraid of patients finding out who we are and what medicine is all about. So what do doctors do? We put on our white coats and we hide behind them. And of course the more we hide, the more people want to know what we are hiding.”

  • “The sickness of fear has taken over and the patients suffer the consequences.”

  • “Being totally transparent is scary. You feel naked, exposed. and vulnerable. But that vulnerability, that humility, it can be an extraordinary benefit to the practice of medicine. When doctors are willing to step off their pedestals, take off our white coats and show our patients who we are and what medicine is all about, that’s when we begin to overcome the sickness of fear.”

I would conclude with a challenge to our local doctors to join those thoughtful doctors who have already signed up on Who’s My Doctor. It seems to me that if you have nothing to hide, why wouldn’t you agree to provide the basic information necessary for patients to make an informed decision about the doctor with whom they wish to treat?

Thanks for reading,

Jim

_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 

 


Welcome To My World! Great Video Perfectly Captures Every Litigator’s Deposition Nightmare, Says NY and PA Injury Lawyer

The hilarious seven-minute video above illustrates the nightmare every trial lawyer has encountered at one time or another –  witnesses who are coached by their lawyers to give non-responsive answers so stubborn lawyers like me are left no other alternative than to keep asking the question until we finally get a responsive answer!

In the video, a lawyer is trying to depose a blank-faced witness asks the question that kicks off the confrontation – “Does the Recorder’s office have photocopying machines?” That leads to all sorts of wiggling and dodging by the witness and interference and stalling tactics by his lawyer, all designed to confuse the issue.

The amazing thing is the script for this insanity is from a REAL COURTROOM ENCOUNTER. It was taken verbatim from an Ohio deposition.

You can read more about the case that inspired this insanity, and how one lawyer would have done it differently, by clicking here.

Thanks for watching and reading!

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 

 

 


Brazen Lawyer’s Jury Intimidation Was Outrageous And Chilling, Says NY and PA Malpractice Attorney

Judge Deborah Karalunas

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Karalunas

The latest New York Law Journal has an amazing story about misconduct by an insurance company lawyer in a Syracuse dental malpractice case.

It’s a chilling true story that will shake up lawyers and citizens eligible for jury duty alike.

Here are the stunning details, according to the Journal:

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Karalunas in Onondaga County rejected a six-person jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant, citing jury intimidation.

Here’s why: The judge said Scott Greenspan, a lawyer monitoring the trial for the insurance company defendant in the case, “violated the sanctity of the jury” during the 15-day trial because he “continuously followed and monitored the jurors when they went to lunch, when they took smoking breaks and when they rode the elevator.”

The case, Varano vs. Forba, is the first of 32 cases to go to trial involving Small Smiles Dentistry. According to the complaint, a boy, when he was 3 and 4 years old, was forced to endure dental procedures from fillings and extractions to root canals, usually without anesthesia and restrained at times.

The judge learned of the misconduct shortly after the unanimous verdict was read on Oct. 9.

The judge was thanking the jurors and asking if they had any questions, and one of the questions that came up was, who was stalking them throughout the trial?

The jurors identified Greenspan and the judge confronted him in open court. According to the court record, she said:

“The jurors described for me their interactions with you, Mr. Greenspan. They used the word you were creepy, that you were very seedy, that you were in the elevator with them frequently, that you followed them to various places where they had lunch. … Without characterizing the behavior as stalking,” she said, Greenspan’s conduct was considered misconduct.

Scott Greenspan

Scott Greenspan

Greenspan does not directly represent a party in the case. Forba Holding, parent company of several Small Smiles clinics but is now in bankruptcy, settled a $24 million federal claim in 2010 for performing unnecessary procedures on children to receive Medicaid benefits. Greenspan, a partner at Sedgwick in New York, is counsel for the National Union Fire Insurance Co., Forba’s insurer. He said he was asked to monitor the trial by AIG Claims, National Union’s claims representative.

The judge added:

“This is not a matter of an isolated elevator conversation, cake for juror appreciation day or expressions of condolence. This is a case where jurors over a 15-day period believed they were stalked, videotaped and closely monitored by a person they believed worked for defendants. This is a case where jurors performing their civic duty were made to feel bothered and scared. …”

Greenspan told the judge: “I had no instructions whatsoever to talk with the jury or have any interaction with the jury at all. I have been doing this for 18 years … and no client would be worth interfering with a jury.”

The defense claimed that if the misconduct prejudiced the jury at all, it would have been against the defense.

But the judge said: “The jury verdict for the defense is a stronger indication that the perceived intimidation was successful. The jurors perceived that a ‘creepy’ man was following them, and one juror said he/she felt scared. The jury also believed that their stalker worked for the defendants. By returning a verdict in favor of the defendant, the jury could be assured that their stalker would be satisfied.”

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Patrick Higgins, said, “The whole thing was very disturbing. I just think the judge’s decision is well-reasoned and based on sound precedent. We are looking forward to getting back in the courtroom.”

This is one of the most disturbing accounts from a trial that I have ever read.  If there is one thing all lawyers should agree upon, it is that jurors are to be treated with the utmost respect. Our system of law simply cannot function in any other way.

Attorney Patrick Higgins is a true professional and an outstanding litigator with whom I have worked closely in the past. I can’t imagine how challenging it was for him to try a case of this magnitude amid the backdrop of such egregious conduct.

I try to hold my cynicism at bay, but conduct like is disheartening to say the least.

Thank you for reading,

Christina Sonsire
[email protected]

 

 

 

 


Christina Sonsire Named “Million Dollar Advocate” and “Rising Star” For Work As Trial Lawyer

Christina Sonsire.

Christina Sonsire

Christina Sonsire, who won a $2.1 million medical malpractice verdict in the spring for a 7-year-old Otsego County girl who suffered a birth injury, has been recognized nationally as a Million Dollar Advocate and as a Rising Star Lawyer for her work as a trial lawyer.

Christina, a partner with the Ziff Law Firm, has been selected for admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which recognizes trial lawyers who have won million- and multimillion-dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members, according to the forum.

In addition to this honor, NY Super Lawyers, a rating service of top lawyers from more than 70 practice areas, has named Christina a “Rising Star”. Christina was honored because she is an outstanding attorney 40 years old and under who has been practicing law for fewer than 10 years, according to the rating service.

We are so proud of Christina’s selection as a Rising Star because she is the first local lawyer ever selected for the honor. Her selection confirms what we already knew: Christina is among the finest young attorneys in New York state if not the entire country.

“I am humbled by my selection as a Rising Star,” said Christina, who primarily handles medical malpractice and catastrophic injury cases. “Representing people who have been harmed is not just my job – it’s my passion. I love being in the courtroom, and I am eager to keep learning more about the art of trial advocacy.”

In the Otsego County case, a jury of three men and three women determined the settlement in April in the Supreme Court of Otsego County in Cooperstown. Justice Donald Cerio presided over the case.

The jury found that the midwives at the hospital did not provide appropriate prenatal care for the girl’s mother and midwife Patricia Brown caused the injury by pulling too hard on the baby’s head during delivery. As a result, the child suffered a permanent injury to the nerves in her neck and has limited mobility in her left arm.

The case has national significance because the verdict involves an injury called Erb’s Palsy, in which a newborn suffers paralysis in an arm during an abnormal or difficult childbirth or labor. Attorneys across the country were paying attention to this trial because the defendants claimed this injury happened before the girl was born. The case will have significance in all future litigation of this type of case.

Christina joined the Ziff Law Firm in 2008. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Classics and International Relations in 1998 at Georgetown University and is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Law.

To learn more about Christina, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 


How Long Will My New York Auto Accident Case Take?

If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that question….

The honest answer is: “It depends.”

Sorry, but that is the best answer any injury lawyer can give you. I am NOT trying to evade the question or be flip, but I have learned over my 25 years of representing injury victims that there is no easy answer to this question. The answer ALWAYS depends on the unique facts of each case.

I have settled some cases within a month of the accident; I’ve had other accident cases that have taken many years to finally reach the courtroom.

How long your case may take depends on a wide range of factors.

It depends on…

… how long you are actively treating for your injuries because most often it is NOT a good idea to try to settle your claim until you are done treating. Responsible lawyers are quick to remind their clients that they only get one chance—one bite at the apple—to settle their case so they need to be very sure of the permanent consequences of any injury before even discussing the settlement value of your case.

… the nature of your injuries. Some injuries heal quickly so very early on you are able to tell what might be the lasting consequences of your injury. Other injuries take a long time to heal or in some cases, never heal. Those cases usually take longer.

… how the accident occurred. Is the fault of the other driver clear and convincing or is there some significant argument about who was responsible for causing the accident? The more complicated the liability question, the longer the case is likely to take.

… the insurance carrier who insures the other driver. Some carriers have a reputation for quickly evaluating claims and making reasonable settlement offers. Other carriers are known for taking forever and never settling a case before trial.

… the amount of the insurance coverage. Often, the more money that may is at stake, the longer the case might take.

The key thing about how long your case should take is that you want it to take as long as it needs to take to get maximum value for your case.

You do NOT want to rush your case, thereby settling for less than it is worth. Likewise, you do NOT want your case to drag on any longer than it needs to take.

I like to say to my clients, “I don’t get paid until you get paid – so rest assured that I am NOT going to let your case drag on any longer than it needs to take!”

Thanks,

Jim

_____________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
NY & PA Personal Injury Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com
E-mail me at [email protected] for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know


Upstate NY Personal Injury Faker Caught by Store’s Cameras

The crooks out there who claim fake personal injuries do REAL damage to the cases of legitimately injured people. As a personal injury attorney, I also detest such “fakers” for the harm their fraud does to the reputation of my profession.

Reporting on false claims sticks strongly in the minds of the public. When juries are put together, they frequently start with the perception that our cases can be faked.

Personal injury fakers may think it’s just between them and whatever defendant they decide to try and extract money from. Their actions are criminal – and call into into question the integrity of our personal injury clients, and of attorneys like myself who represent them. These bad apples cause the whole barrel to be suspect.

I recently came across a great post by a respected colleague, personal injury attorney Michael Bersani, of the firm Michaels & Smolak. The firm is based in Auburn, and the post reported on the case of a personal injury hoax perpetrator and how he was caught. I want to spread the word about this post, “Auburn NY Personal Injury Claim Faker Is Caught!” and the true story of this stupid would-be crook.

The case, as reported in the Syracuse Post-Standard, was of an Auburn man charged with insurance fraud for faking a slip-and-fall injury in convenience store. According to the Associated Press story, “Officials say Auburn man’s faked fall in store was caught on camera,” the guy poured a soda on the store floor, then sprawled on the floor until other customers and the store employees found and helped him.

Charles E. Barnes Sr., 48, later filed a claim with the store’s insurance carrier, claiming he suffered a back injury in the “accident.”

His real “slip”? Forgetting that the convenience store had surveillance cameras that caught his whole act!

State Insurance Department officials said in the story that Barnes is charged with insurance fraud and falsifying business records. He’s withdrawn his claim and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

I completely agree with Micheal in his hope that the authorities will “throw the book” at this crook. I also wanted to quote Michael’s feelings about this case and personal injury fraud in general, because they mirror my own.

“Honest New York personal injury lawyers like myself abhor dishonest personal injury claimants. They give our honest clients, and us, a bad name. Many people already assume, wrongly, that personal injury claimants exaggerate or completely fake their injuries. One true story about a fraudulent personal injury claim gives the whole profession a black eye.

I have represented hundreds of Central New York and Syracuse personal injury claimants over the years, and I can count on one hand those who were faking (and with my long experience representing personal injury victims, I can tell!). When I discover the deceit, I quickly severe the relationship. Even if I did not discover the deceit, the personal injury claim process would eventually, in almost all cases, reveal it. An insurance carrier’s thorough investigation, or the harsh light of a deposition, usually brings the lie into focus.

In my experience, most personal injury fakers are also stupid. And dishonesty mixed with stupidity can easily backfire.”

My sentiments exactly. Thanks, Michael, for the great post!

Jim
______________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
NY & PA Personal Injury Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com
E-mail me at [email protected] for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.


New York Accident Lawyer Explains Why Pursuing a Big Judgment May NOT Be a Good Idea

You would think if you are badly hurt in a car accident, it would make sense for you to pursue a BIG judgment against the driver who hit you, right? Not necessarily…

A recent dialogue with a client  got me thinking about how backwards it may seem to folks when I tell them that I cannot recommend taking their case to trial because they may be better off taking the insurance money – even if that insurance money clearly is not sufficient to fully compensate them for their injuries.

Heck, if the insurance money isn’t enough, why wouldn’t you want to get a judgment against the bad guy and then collect the money directly from the bad guy?car-insurance

The short answer is that sometimes judgments aren’t worth the paper they are written on. You have heard the expression “You can’t get blood from a stone?” Likewise, you can’t collect on a judgment unless the person against whom you have the judgment has some money or other assets subject to collection. The plain hard truth is that most often when a person does not have good insurance coverage, they also don’t have any real $ to collect against.

  • First, collection may be difficult/impossible because of the lack of assets. You may think, why not get a judgment anyways? What if the person who didn’t have the assets to settle a judgment suddenly hit the lottery or came in to a lot of money? Well, first we would have to know about his windfall – and he’s not going to make that easy. Then he’d have to be dumb enough to put it in a bank where we could reach the money – THEN we might be able to collect on the judgment.

However, collecting on a judgment is very tough and there are plenty of ways for a debtor to hide or shelter money from collection. In fact, I have a judgment for $400,000 I obtained 8 years ago and I have spent close to $30,000 on collection lawyers and we have yet to receive a single penny. For all of these reasons, pursuing a judgment doesn’t turn out to be the solution one would think…

  • Second – and this is related to the first point – we don’t get a penny of the money from the car insurance carrier unless we sign a Release releasing the driver from any personal liability. In other words, we are over a barrel – if we want the insurance $, we have to let the driver go. I know the insurance payment is only $25,000, but $25,000 is better than a possible zero.

Now, don’t get me wrong – the insurance will pay $25,000 toward the judgment, but that is all they would be required to pay. So that leads us to the third point…

  • Third, it costs money to pursue a judgment because to do so we have to go to trial and the average cost of a trial like this would be approximately $8,000-$10,000. This is just for costs (i.e. doctor’s testimony, court costs, transcription fees, etc.) and doesn’t include a penny of my fee. I hate the idea of eating up that much in costs when the maximum insurance coverage is only $25,000.

For all these reasons, I think pursuing a judgment is not always a good idea. Ultimately, however, it is the client’s decision and I will pursue whatever course he prefers. I just help him make an informed decision.

I hope this clarifies this issue for my blog readers. Please, if you have questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me for more information.

Thanks,

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: [email protected]
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Web: www.zifflaw.com
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

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Record Upstate NY Settlement in Albany Medical Malpractice Case

Albany-Medical-Center-Hospital

Albany Medical Center Hospital

I wanted to offer my congratulations to attorney John Powers for a record settlement in a tragic medical malpractice case. John is an excellent Albany attorney with whom I have had the pleasure of working on several cases.

The Albany Times-Union carried the story, “$5.2 M benefit can’t heal loss.” John handled the case for the family of Diane Rizk McCabe. Diane died in 2007, at age 32. The Caesarean delivery of her second child was not handled correctly. Diane slowly bled to death over 15 hours. Albany Medical Center Hospital will pay the cash settlement for malpractice and mandated changes in procedure.

The McCabe family took a settlement, but John was able to bring this case to an unusual conclusion. The monetary settlement is substantial, but what this family truly wanted two things: To make Diane a remembered presence to her two children and to force the hospital to make changes that would prevent this kind of loss from happening to any other families.

John represented Joseph McCabe, Diane’s widowed husband and a Schenectady police officer. In the Times-Union story, John says he was ready to take the case to trial in August.

“It was never about the money with the family,” John was quoted as saying. “It came down to the non-monetary aspects involved with the settlement. They wanted to do something to make certain this doesn’t happen to someone else and to create a memorial to Diane for the children as they grow up that they’ll know that their mother is being remembered in this way.”

If the McCabe family had pursued the trail, they couldn’t have won those very important non-monetary stipulations. The Albany Medical Center Hospital must fund for the next 20 years a Diane McCabe Memorial Quality Lecture series focusing on topics related to enhancing patient safety.

The hospital must also buy a maternal and neonatal simulator for staff training and to change monitoring procedures for women during childbirth.

I just want to congratulate John for being able to bring such a tragic case to a resolution that really means something to the McCabe family. He’s also a past president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers. The organization sent an e-mail to members with an announcement of this extraordinary settlement.

Thanks for reading,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866  Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

E-mail me at [email protected] for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.

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NY Malpractice Lawyer Explains Difficulty of Determining the Time Limits to Bring a Claim

legal-lawI recently had an e-mail from a concerned personal injury victim about his case. The writer is not a client of mine, but he was hoping I could give him some advice about the statute of limitations on legal malpractice claims.

I told him that the time limit to bring a legal malpractice claim in NY  is “generally” 3 years from the date of the alleged malpractice by the attorney (ie the first date you feel the lawyer screwed up).

The reason I qualified this statement by saying “generally” is that there are a few, very limited exceptions to this 3 year time limit requirement (more on this below).

In this man’s situation, his case may be dismissed – and that could have been caused by legal malpractice by his own attorney. Through no fault of his own, this victim is looking at his case being dismissed before he even really gets started because the time limit to bring a NY legal malpractice case (3 years) has already expired.

The sad part is that he might not have any recourse because he was so caught up in his medical situation that he didn’t even know the applicable time limit for bringing a lawsuit against his lawyer. Now he has discovered that he may have to hurry up and file a legal malpractice case – if he can – before the 3-year window to bring a legal malpractice case closes.

He wanted to know if this was all the time his case had left – and if there were anything else he could do.

Statute of limitations in legal malpractice cases can be very tricky to determine and often are very fact-dependent.

My usual rule of thumb is to use 3 years from the date of the alleged malpractice.  Any date other than that can become very risky because you are relying on exceptions to the general rule.

With that said, there is an exception generally referred to as the “continuous treatment doctrine” that is occasionally applied in medical malpractice cases. It says the clock doesn’t start to tick on the time limit to file a malpractice claim until the last date the defendant doctor continued to provide active treatment to the patient.

The corollary to this exception in the legal malpractice world is the “continuous representation doctrine” and it would suggest that the clock doesn’t start to tick on the attorney’s malpractice until the last date the attorney represented you on the particular matter that you allege he screwed up.

As I said before, these are general exceptions and the courts can be very strict in applying these exceptions to the facts of any particular case.  Accordingly, competent malpractice lawyers prefer not to ever rely on these exceptions and try to bring the action within 3 years of the date of the alleged malpractice.  I refer to this as the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Because determining the proper time limit is so important (and fatal to your case if you do it incorrectly!), I urge anyone with a this issue to consult with an experienced malpractice lawyer ASAP!

I hope this helps.

Thanks for reading,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866  Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

E-mail me at [email protected] for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.


When The Going Gets Tough Does Your NY Motorcycle Lawyer Roll Up His Sleeves Or Run For The Hills?

Lawyer

I had the pleasure of handing over a sizable settlement check to the victim of a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Collision the other day.  It’s a pretty common occurrence, but the circumstances of this particular case made it particularly satisfying.  My hope is that by sharing the information on this blog, I can keep a future motorcycle client from making the same mistake.

This client  didn’t come to us when he was first hurt.  He made the mistake of calling one of those firms who advertise on TV about every 15 seconds.  So they sent an “investigator” to him to have him sign a retainer agreement, and made him travel to their BIG CITY office several hours away to meet with some paralegal.  Everything seemed to be going fine until the time came to discuss settlement with the insurance company.  It turned out that who was at fault for the collision was a little bit of an open question, so the insurance company decided they wouldn’t pay a penny and basically dared the attorney to sue them.

This is where things get really interesting.  You see, the client had a really significant injury.  If this “BIG CITY” lawyer with the multi-million dollar advertising budget could convince the insurance company that their driver was at fault, the insurance company would surely offer up the entire policy due to the nature of the biker’s injury.  For whatever reason, this “BIG CITY” attorney couldn’t convince the insurance adjuster to do this.  That kind of thing happens.  Insurance companies don’t stay in business long if they hand over money every time an attorney comes knocking with an arguable claim.  If the insurance company refuses to pay anything willingly, the next step is clear:  you sue them and start heading for trial.  It doesn’t mean there will necessarily be a trial, as after the discovery part of the law suit is concluded there will be another round of negotiations where the case may settle, but you have to keep the case moving.

What happened next astounded me.  This “BIG CITY” lawyer with the tough guy commercials tucked his tail and ran for the hills.  He told the client he would no longer represent him.  Now that the case might actually take a little work, this “BIG CITY” lawyer wanted nothing to do with it.

So the client came to me.  I couldn’t figure out why the “BIG CITY” lawyer dropped the case, as it seemed like a good case to me.  I sued the case and proceeded with the litigation.  I was eventually able to convince the insurance company that their driver was at fault for the accident, and they agreed to pay my client the fully policy limits.

There are a couple lessons to be learned from this case.  First, spending millions of dollars a year on tough sounding TV commercials doesn’t make a lawyer tough.  Second, you don’t have to drive to a big city to get quality representation.

If you need a personal injury attorney, ask your family, friends and neighbors who they may have used.  Do some research, and make an informed decision.  As the above situation reveals, which attorney you choose can make a huge difference in how your case comes out.  Ask any attorney you meet with if they are willing to take your case to trial if necessary, and how many similar cases they have tried.     Insist that you actually meet with the attorney that will be handling your case and not some “investigator”.  After all, do you really want to hire an attorney who is “too busy” to meet with you himself?  If you are too far away for the attorney to drive to meet you, aren’t you too far away to drive to meet the attorney?

Everything for this client ended up working out for the best.  I just worry about that firm’s other clients.  Heaven help them if the going get tough in their case.

Thanks for reading,

_______________________________
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Personal Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]
www.zifflaw.com

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