Handling Cases Involving Serious Injuries
A catastrophic personal injury is usually defined as one that has a value of over one million dollars and results in a serious injury that causes a long-term loss of function to the injured person.
Almost always, a serious injury case involves surgery and hospitalization as well as interference with the client’s ability to earn a living. Serious injuries include accidents involving traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, broken bones, or injuries of the spinal cord. Serious injuries also include amputation injuries, accidents that result in blindness, paraplegia, and/or quadriplegia.
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Serious Injuries Attorney since 1982. My website, www.AutoAccident.com is the most authoritative site in California on motor vehicle accidents. My firm was founded in 1982 and has the highest rating from AVVO.com as well as great reviews on Yelp and Google. Over the years, our firm has developed an innovative and proven method of achieving high verdicts and settlements in matters involving serious injuries.But First, is There Enough Insurance?
A case can be catastrophic, as discussed above, but if there isn’t enough insurance to cover the serious injury, there’s little any lawyer can do to obtain a just recovery. Serious injury claims are very expensive to litigate.
Many doctors are involved as well as economists, accident reconstructionists, biomechanics, vocational rehabilitation experts, life care planners, and many many others. All of these experts charge for their time, and when all is said and done, a trial can rarely go forward without an investment of from $150,000 to as much as several million in costs advanced by the attorney.
Needless, to say, one of the first tasks of a serious injury lawyer is to find out if there is enough insurance to cover the serious injuries and the costs necessary to present it. Experienced serious injury lawyers will have financial investigators, insurance experts, and other tools to find out if the at-fault party has enough insurance coverage to proceed with the claim.
Sometimes, there are large corporate defendants, such as Federal Express or public entity defendants. Often there is insurance for millions of dollars. An experienced serious injury lawyer finds out how much insurance is available at the onset.
There’s no need to spend money developing a large case if there is no one who can ultimately pay. If there isn’t enough insurance, and if the liability is clear, the serious injury attorney will try to bring the case to a quick settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit.
If there is enough insurance, however, the next step is to understand who the client really is, what he or she has stood for in life, what they and their family members have lost as a result of the injury and how to best obtain a fair recovery.The Traditional Method of Settling Cases Involving Serious Injuries
In most cases, the person handling the injury case from start to finish is the trial lawyer, someone with long experience in the trenches and proven results at trial.
While the lawyer is often excellent in front of a jury, all too often, he or she lacks the skills and time to know the real losses suffered by the client as they simply do not have the time it takes to really understand the client, his or her family, and the extensive personal and financial losses the client has suffered. In other words, the trial lawyer tries cases. That is his strength. He spends his time in court, not necessarily spending a lot of time with the client and the client's family beforehand. Not spending time with the client and the client’s family puts the injury lawyer at a disadvantage.
Moreover, he or she usually tries and is familiar with only certain types of cases. A lawyer who handles malpractice cases with extraordinary skill may be over-matched in a products liability case. A lawyer who is excellent in handling products liability or trucking accidents, may not be the best skilled at handling helicopter crashes.Is There a Better Way to Select and Handle Cases Involving Serious Injuries?
Ed Smith has worked through and developed a better way of handling serious injury cases. At our office, countless hours are spent really getting to know our catastrophically injured clients and their families. We spend whatever time is necessary, getting to know you and members of your family. We want to find out what life was like before the accident, and compare that to how your family is functioning now.
We work with multiple specialists who give us insight into who you are, what you’ve lost, and the particular ways this injury has affected and can be expected to affect you and your family in the future.
Our office essentially writes a biography that the trial lawyer, who presents the case, simply doesn’t have the time to do.
Bottom line, we know you better, your challenges and your strengths, than other serious injury lawyers.Matching the Client with the Most Knowledgeable Trial Attorney
Some trial lawyers get to know their clients and have a good rapport with them which can translate into a good verdict before a jury. But many times, it’s the luck of the draw.
Sometimes, the trial attorney likes and bonds with the client and is able to present the case with skill and success. But what if the trial lawyer and client don’t bond well, or what if the attorney has not tried that particular type of case before. The chances of success are then far less likely.
The sad thing is, the client doesn’t understand that a past large verdict may be because the trial attorney had tried that type of case before and was familiar with trying that case to a jury. Or, the trial lawyer selected had done well with that type of case before because he had bonded well with the client and his family.
Without a personal bond, it's very difficult to exude the confidence and emotion that persuades a jury.But What About the Cases that Were Lost?
What about the cases where there was a mismatch between attorney and client or where the particular attorney had not had enough experience with that type of case before? Those are the cases you never hear about. The cases which result in poor settlements or verdicts or even losing cases.Our Solution
Since 1982, our law offices have developed a proprietary database of attorney’s in California (and indeed throughout the United States) that have successfully attained million and multi-million dollar verdicts in hundreds of different types of serious injury cases.
This information is often impossible for anyone to find by a search on the Internet as jury verdicts, more often than not are not reported. Our office continuously scans legal newspapers, and we subscribe to many legal list services such as those on Trialsmith. We collect e-mails that discuss large verdicts or settlements and then index every word in those e-mails through our database search program, DTSearch. We know if someone has successfully handled a helicopter crash. This is what you need if you’ve been injured in a helicopter accident. You don’t have to hire an untested attorney.
We know who to partner with to help you obtain a fair and just recovery. Not only do we know the type of case that they’ve been successful in, we often know them on a first-name basis and understand their personality and who’d they would be most likely to connect well with.Another Advantage of Working with Our Team
In every serious injury case, the element of surprise can work for the client. Attorney's typically have several years to get to know their opponents, their strengths, weaknesses, and devise a strategy to compensate. With our team approach, the insurance attorney's lose that advantage.
Our Office works with you exclusively as the case moves through the legal process. We are there for depositions, arbitrations, and other legal procedures as the case moves toward trial.
We only reveal our trial attorney's after the party's mandatory exchange of experts disclosure, which is due some 50 days before trial. Having a very short time to deal with the trial attorney we jointly select for your case, always has the defense playing catch-up.Our History of Verdicts and Settlements
Here are just some of the verdicts and settlements we have achieved.
- $185 Million Wrongful Discharge Case
- $167 Million Sexual Harassment
- $120 Million Back Pay for Overtime case
- $49 Million Catastrophic Brain Injury
- $39 Million Verdict Auto accident
- $31 Million Motorcycle Accident with Brain and Spinal Injuries
- $26 Million Medical Malpractice, Brain injury
- $22 Million Catastrophic Brain Injury
- $20 Million Settlement Multiple Transvaginal Mesh Cases
- $16.1 Million Wrongful Death
- $16 Million Verdict Wrongful death
- $15 Million Verdict Motorcycle accident
- $12 Million Settlement Auto v. Bicycle accident
- $10 Million Auto Products Liability
- $10 Million Big Rig Back and Neck Injuries
- $9 Million Sexual Molestation
- $7.8 Million Verdict Auto v. Pedestrian accident
- $7 Million Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Case
- $7 Million Teenager on Cell Phone
- $6.5 Million Settlement Electrocution death
- $6.25 Million Auto v Pedestrian
- $6.12 Million Settlement Smoke inhalation injury
- $6 Million Wrongful Discharge
- $6 Million Smoke Injury
- $6 Million Electrocution
- $6 Million Settlement Auto v. Pedestrian accident
- $5.3 Million Settlement Auto accident
- $5 Million Big Rig Accident Verdict
- $4.75 Million Construction Accident
- $4.2 Million Burn Injury
- $4 Million Verdict Wrongful death
- $3.5 Million Highway Design
- $3 Million Settlement Wrongful death
- $3 Million Trucking Accident
- $2.95 Million Settlement Truck accident
- $2.9 Million Slip and Fall Injury
- $2.9 Million Settlement Auto accident
- $2.7 Million Settlement Motorcycle accident
- $2.1 Million Back surgery with minimal property damage
- $2.1 Million Epidural Abscess Medical Malpractice case
- $1.7 Million Verdict Truck accident
- $1.33 Million Verdict Trip and fall
- $1.1 Million Injured Construction Worker
We take the guesswork out of selecting the right trial attorney for your case.
And the best part is it doesn’t cost you a cent more to have our firm involved in getting to know you and your family in-depth and in matching you with the best trial attorney possible to present your case. We invite you to compare our fees in taking a case to trial with any other experienced attorney. We know you'll find them comparable.
We split the attorney fees with the trial lawyer and typically also help finance the very heavy financial costs it takes to bring you a fair and just verdict.
Bottom line: When your case is presented, the trial lawyer knows and understands you and your losses due to the long and intensive effort our office has spent in getting to know you and your family.
Our team approach gives you the very best chance of being successful in your case.Dealing with Your Living Expenses While a Serious Injury Case is Pending
If you have been involved in any kind of catastrophic accident, your life can be turned upside down in an instant. You have been injured in all areas of your life: physical, mental, emotional, and financial. While a skilled personal injury attorney can handle the legal aspects of your case, not all attorneys can help you deal with the unique individual financial challenges involved.
Unfortunately, when you are in an accident, the rest of the world doesn’t stop to give you a chance to recover and heal. Serious injuries can cause a huge financial impact on victims and their families. The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith understands that when you have been in an accident resulting in a catastrophic injury such as a traumatic brain injury, other neurological injuries, multiple bone fractures, a spinal cord injury, a limb amputation, or burns of a severe nature, your ability to function in your day-to-day activities, work and take care of your family may be significantly impaired. The interference can be temporary or permanent. This not only puts a heavy emotional burden on you but it is also a tremendous financial burden.
Most serious injury lawyers are not equipped to provide financial assistance or resources to their clients. While the skilled attorneys at our office are working hard on your claim to provide you with the highest quality legal representation in order to get you the compensation you deserve, we recognize and understand the immediate need to provide our clients and their families with additional types of help and assistance.
Under certain circumstances, when a case has adequate insurance coverage, we are able to provide financial assistance that would not otherwise be available to you.
While your case is pending, waiting to settle or go to court, insurance may cover some or all of your medical expenses. But if you have experienced a loss of income, you may be unable to pay your normal living expenses such as your mortgage, rent, utilities such as gas and electric, phone, and food. Your serious injury can also interfere with your ability to pay your other bills, like car loans, credit cards, and student loans.
You certainly don't need your credit negatively affected in addition to all the other injuries you have sustained. It’s not just about getting the compensation you deserve. It’s about surviving between the time of your accident and the time your case is resolved. You shouldn't have to suffer financially while your body is healing. You also shouldn't be forced to settle your case for less than it's worth in order to save yourself from financial ruin. So the question is, in the aftermath of an accident, how do you survive while you are undergoing treatment while preserving your credit and without ruining your financial life?Loans from Your Third Parties: Lawsuit Loans and Advances Against Settlement
Insurance, personal resources, friends, and family can only help you so far in dealing with the financial effects of an accident. When you run out of resources, where do you turn? In some states, there may be options for funding of serious injury claims or settlement cash advances. This may involve a "lawsuit loan," or a "lawsuit cash advance."
Third-party lenders may provide financial assistance in the form of a loan against the potential settlement proceeds of your case. The loan or cash advance may have variable terms. Like any other arrangement, you need to be aware of interest rates and terms, and also whether the loan is "recourse" or "non-recourse," i.e., whether you have to pay it back when your case settles or is adjudicated, even if there is no recovery.
In California, funding for lawsuit loans is available from third-party lenders. The potential client should be aware of the variety of different types of loans, the interest rate, and terms. Each arrangement should be thoroughly examined and evaluated for potential risks and benefits. Normally, the interest rates charged do not make these loans a realistic option.Financial Assistance from Your Serious Injury Lawyer
Very few attorneys have the experience, desire, or wherewithal to provide such assistance to their clients. With over 30 years of experience, the Law Offices of Ed Smith recognizes the financial hardship that some clients experience following an accident. Unlike most other attorneys, when you choose to hire our firm to represent you in a case involving serious injuries, we go the extra mile to attempt to provide you with options and resources other firms cannot or will not offer you.
We have the financial resources available to help our clients in appropriate cases. We can help you through what might be one of the most difficult times of your life. Not every case will qualify, but to find out more about how this unique service would work in your case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith today at 916.921.6400.
Call our experienced attorneys today to see if you feel we can help you with your serious injury case. Outside of Sacramento call toll-free (800) 404-5400.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.5.20]
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