Successful is a tough word, because it's always based on the facts and circumstances about what happened and how bad the defendant acted. If you're sitting at a red-light and you get rear ended, there's not really a lot to argue about as to who was at fault for the accident. On the other hand, there's plenty to argue about regarding whether the accident caused the injuries. So it really depends, and I have gotten some great results for people on cases that other lawyers didn't want because they didn't think there was any liability because the facts were convoluted.
It's hard to categorize cases; that's why the person has to sit down with a lawyer and the lawyer has to ask questions. The practice of law is like an apprenticeship. You can talk to three lawyers, and one will say it's a great case, another will say it's a terrible case, I don't want it and yet another will say that's it's just a mediocre case. A lot of it has to do with whether the lawyer had a factual scenario like that in the past and have they worked that case up. They know the facts that they need to support their claim and what will happen. I will give you a case in point, I was probably the fourth or fifth lawyer of that this guy contacted, and he contacted me right before the statute of limitations was up.
He was actually shot by a girlfriend who got mad. She took out a shotgun and was pointing it or waving it around at somebody else and the gun discharged and the buckshot just tore off the guy's arm and it had to be put back together. No lawyer would take the case because they all said it was a criminal act and insurance wasn't going to cover that type of claim. The person did time in the state penitentiary because of what happened, but I looked at it and I'd had comparable cases before. I was able to get the entire home owner's policy for the guy and it didn't take much. It took a couple of letters and a little bit of lawsuit and they saw it my way.
It really has to do with what the lawyer's been exposed to. For instance, I have handled medical malpractice cases. I have handled a ton of abdominal surgery cases because when I was doing defense work, I represented a doctor who was a gastric bypass doctor and he was sued all the time. I knew all the issues because of that experience, and I still know all the issues involved in abdominal surgery case. So whether it's a gallbladder case, a surgery case, appendicitis case or a removal of a small bowel case, at least, I know the issues up front of what makes a good versus a bad case.
On the other side, I don't handle a lot of baby cases, where a baby will come out with cerebral palsy or something, but there are some people who just focus on those cases. They can look at the rhythm strips or the strips of the baby and they can see whether there is a change in oxygen level. So they are in a great position to be able to assess the case. That's why folks in a situation who think they have a case should not give up just because one or more than one lawyer has shot them down. They should probably call lawyer after lawyer because there might be someone there who actually sees the case in a light that's favorable for them because they have experience the other lawyers didn't have.
What Are Other Types of Injuries That People Generally Sustain?
For the typical accident case and for the typical lawyer, we see a lot of whiplash and a lot of soft tissue neck cases. Insurance companies hate them, the doctors hate them, but a lot of these times these folks are really injured and don't get over their whiplash. So that's a big battle ground in the auto cases. From the whiplash you could develop other problems like a herniated disc or thoracic outlet syndrome or back pain.
Of course in the bigger accidents, whether they are car accidents or motorcycle accidents or truck accidents, we see a lot of broken bones, ankles, knees, knee caps, pelvis, neck fractures, and fractures in the lower back. A lot of broken bones in the slip and fall cases. I've seen people who have died from bleeds on the brain. If somebody's taken a blood thinner or an aspirin and they hit their head because they tripped over a parking stop, they could end up bleeding to death from a subdural hematoma. In fall down cases with the elderly population we see a lot of hip fractures a lot of knee fractures and a lot of shoulder fractures.
Is it More Difficult for Elderly People to Recover from Accidents?
Absolutely! It's something that's important in negligence cases. If somebody has underlying diabetes or other underlying condition, it might take them a lot longer to heal and it might cause a whole host of other problems. Sometimes someone ends up not able to heal, or it takes six months or a year or two years. There's a statement in the law that says, “You take your injured persons as you find them.”
If your injured person is somebody that we'd call a Humpty Dumpty or the eggshell plaintiff, and the defendant causes the injury, the defendant buys it. It's the defendant's fault. The defendant put that person in that position that they were in. If you're involved in an accident and the doctor says you need surgery, and you go in for surgery and the doctor botches the surgery, the person who caused the accident that made you to need the surgery buys the doctor's negligence!
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