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Thought Leadership in Personal Injury


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When wage loss doesn’t seem to add up

Past and future wage loss. What was and would have been versus what is and will be. Significant wage loss can drive case value. In a best-case scenario, your seriously injured client is a high-wage earner with indisputable wage loss. But how often is wage loss more nuanced? When wage loss is not crystal clear, it’s time to scrutinize the details.

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I feel your pain: the Gerry Spence method taken over the top

On Thursday, May 3, I met with Ms. B___ and her daughter. Ms. B___’s arm, specifically her radius, was shattered when she took a bad fall. Surgery, a plate, ten screws. I took notes as she told me how she could not work at the hospital for now and how difficult it was to care of herself. On Friday, May 4, I had a court appearance in Redwood City.

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The Stoic

The lawyers sat there, stunned. The doctor sat across from them, giving the couple time to absorb the information. Their three-year-old daughter’s cough and fever? Not pneumonia. Cancer. A tumor. A big one, crushing the little girl’s right lung. Rare – a few hundred reported cases. And tough odds. Chemo, a surgery, more chemo. A year-long process and the hope that it doesn’t recur… because recurrence with the particular cancer does not end well.

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7.2 Demanding times

By Back to Coopers’ Way index
Successful time-limited pre-filing demands after C.C.P. § 999’s arrival The lawyer listened to the presenter. “For those of you wanting a solid bad faith case after an insurance company wrongfully fails to accept a pre-filing demand, there’s a new statute, and it’s a big deal.” The lawyer, who liked bad faith pivots as much as the next person, perked up...
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17.6.4 Entirely Impartial

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An “on-shoulders-of-giants” primer on successful jury selection cause challenges Every fiber of the lawyer’s being crackled. Jury selection did that – spotlight attention on one prospective juror, peripheral awareness of all. They were discussing gay marriage, as the lawyer’s clients were gay and married. The prospective juror, a pastor, acknowledged, “Those people may have a legal right to be married,...
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20.3 Lien Times

By Back to Coopers’ Way index
Evaluate healthcare liens at a case’s beginning, when you have the most leverage The lawyer made notes during the client call. “Your health insurance was through your union? The good news is I’m guessing they covered everything. The bad news is they have a right to reimbursement – known as a lien – and their rights are governed under federal...
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15.5.5 First Dance

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Making the best use of first-dance mediations The lawyer spoke with the mediator a few days before mediation. A typical and useful check in. The mediator felt the defense wasn’t ready to pay the kind of money the lawyer was looking for, yet felt it would be useful. The adjuster needed to see how well the client came across. And…

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4.5 Road Rage

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Intentional acts, insurance/defendant friction, and creating collectability As the car intentionally kept edging over to close off the available road space to the adjacent bike messenger, the messenger deployed a long-used technique. Suddenly accelerating, the messenger dropped a hand down to side mirror level, gave a casual wrist flick while passing by, and popped the passenger side mirror backward. No...
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1.1.13 Retreat!

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Planning and executing an effective firm retreat The lawyers sat on the porch talking, the Golden Gate bridge in the distance. It was hard to imagine a place so quiet existed just across the bay. As they talked, their phones silenced, they were able to work through significant issues with a focus that rarely existed during the normal workday. It’s...
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5.8 e-xhilarating

By Back to Coopers’ Way index
Examining common liability issues presented by e-bike cases The lawyer listened to the commuter’s description of the incident with sadness and without surprise. The commuter had recently purchased an e-bike. While the commuter had ridden bikes before, the commuter was not what the media might call an “avid cyclist.” The commuter and a car driver had mixed it up, and...
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11.9 Interrogation room

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Using and responding to interrogatories It was the beginning of the case, and the lawyer wanted to know more about the defendant. In particular, the lawyer wanted insurance information. The lawyer had a sneaking suspicion there was a lurking excess policy. Time to send out some interrogatories. A good formula The Judicial Counsel created discovery’s simplest tool, form interrogatories. Whether...
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1.3.3 Walking, fast and slow

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Applying Nobel Prize-winning decision-making theories to trial practice The two lawyers walked across the darkened city, a full moon rising over the downtown skyscrapers. “You should write about Kahneman in your next column,” said one. That would be Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel-Prize winning psychologist and economist, who with Amos Tversky developed concepts on judgment and decision-making psychology. As the two...
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