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FAQs

Q:

Regarding the $29.5 million verdict out of Las Vegas, Nevada for a young woman who became a quadriplegic. How did she get injured?

A:

From what I can gather from reading the articles is she was attending a convention and she ordered some food and that food had some type of peanut butter on it. And she ate it and she suffered a major allergic reaction. As a result, she went to get help from these emergency medical providers that were onsite for the convention. Those medical providers gave her an intermuscular injection of epinephrin, a shot into her muscle of epinephrin and it didn’t work and she suffered a hypoxic event, which means she lost oxygen to the brain and that caused her to suffer a brain injury. And so, the family alleged that those medical providers failed to meet the standard of care under those circumstances, because they should have given her an intravenous injection of epinephrin, a shot into the vein, not into the muscle. That would have saved her from having this anaphylactic reaction. It would have prevented her from losing oxygen to the brain. And would have saved her from becoming a quadriplegic. This is a classic medical malpractice case, and the jury agreed.

Q:

How does a jury come up with a number like $29.5 million for a young woman who became a quadriplegic in a case with alleged medical malpractice?

A:

And that’s the amount that a jury just recently awarded in a case out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Haven’t had a chance to review the verdict form in that particular case, but what I can tell you based on my experience as a civil trial lawyer who tries catastrophic injury cases, that the jury gets to consider various different categories of damages to calculate the total amount that is awarded to the person who has been severely injured. Those categories of damages can include past and future medical expenses, which in a catastrophic injury case like this one, can easily add up to 10, 20, or even $30 million or more. The jury may have also awarded money for past and future loss of earning capacity, which in a case involving an aspiring actress may have been very significant. The most important category that the jury may have awarded a substantial amount of money for is for pain, suffering, disability, and the loss of enjoyment of life that goes along with becoming a quadriplegic.

Q:

How do personal injury lawyers like me get paid when representing someone who’s been hurt in an accident?

A:

And there’s a big misimpression by a lot of folks out there who believe that lawyers, like me, bill by the hour. Now, there are some lawyers, like commercial litigators, insurance defense lawyers, probate lawyers, and they may charge by the hour, and they may charge their client $500 an hour or $600 an hour, or $1,000 an hour, and then send them a bill at the end of the end of the month. And if that client doesn’t pay the bill, then they stop working on their case. That’s not how it works with a personal injury lawyer. We work on something called a contingency fee, which means that we don’t get paid money unless we recover money for our injured client. And if we do recover money at some point in time, then we get paid a percentage of what we recover for our client. This way, we take the risk, along with our client, to help them out. We don’t bill them every single month. And if we don’t recover anything, they don’t owe us anything. And that’s how it works with a contingency fee with personal injury lawyers.

Q:

What’s one thing that you should do if you’re pulled over for a traffic infraction?

A:

Now, I don’t know whether you were pulled over rightly or wrongly or whether it’s unjustified that the police officer pulled you over. I have no idea. There’s a million different scenarios about why you can be pulled over, but here’s one thing that you should think about and that you should know. One of the most dangerous situations for a police officer is a routine traffic stop. And the reason that a routine traffic stop is so dangerous is because the police officer’s responding to a complete unknown. They don’t know who is in the car. They don’t know what that person has in the car. And they don’t know whether that person’s armed or dangerous. And that’s unlike a dispatch incident where the police officer knows who they’re going to be dealing with and knows whether that person is dangerous. Here’s my one suggestion that you should do during a traffic infraction is put your hands up on the top of your steering wheel. This way, when the police officer’s walking up to your car he’s going to be able to see your hands and know that you’re not holding anything dangerous in your hands, and you’re not reaching for anything dangerous. And that’s going to help ease the tension for you and the police officer.

Q:

This is one question I always recommend you ask before hiring an attorney. And that is, what is your experience in handling cases just like mine, and can you explain it to me in detail?

A:

I look at it like this. If you needed heart surgery, would you hire a heart surgeon that’s only done the procedure a couple of times, or does heart surgery on occasion? No, you’d hire the heart surgeon that’s done it hundreds of times and had atom of success doing that procedure. And the same goes for hiring an attorney. You want to find an attorney that has a ton of experience handling cases just like yours and has a proven track record of getting those cases resolved successfully.

Q:

What’s a bench trial?

A:

A bench trial means the judge is going to decide the outcome of the case, not a jury. You’re probably wondering, what kind of a case could demand $50 billion in damages? This happens to be a case filed by several different counties in California against major pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. I have not seen the actual complaint that was filed in the case, but reviewing some of the news articles, it’s my understanding that this lawsuit alleged that those major pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the opioid epidemic crisis that has hit our country. Public health officials reported that over 500,000 lives have been lost since1999 as a result of the painkiller epidemic. I’m going to keep an eye on the outcome of this trial, but it’s my opinion, if those pharmaceutical companies are found liable for the deaths of 500,000 people, it’s my view that $50 billion isn’t nearly enough to make up for the harm and tragedy that those companies caused.

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