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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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Most Powerful

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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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

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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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14.1 Motion to pass

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Winning law and motion practice through focused communication The lawyer read the draft motion. Good, with the potential to be better. The lawyer spent some time, paring here and emphasizing there. The lawyer, a fan of winning on the first page, used a couple bullet points to draw the reader’s eye in the introduction. With this, even a quick scan...
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1.1.12 Growth plan

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Reaching maximum potential with managed personal growth The lawyer sat with the team member discussing the team member’s growth plan. “This is the year you were planning to expand anatomy knowledge and lien resolution,” said the lawyer. The two discussed ways to strengthen these areas, including looking into community college anatomy classes. They finished their discussion and the team member...
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5.9 Let the sunshine in

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Understanding and enforcing California Public Records Act requests The lawyer was mystified. The lawyer represented a family whose son was shot by a security guard. The local sheriffs had investigated the incident and turned it over to the district attorney. The DA declined to prosecute the security guard. The sheriffs’ department now refused to release the incident report after the...
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