Articles Posted in Evidence

Seizure of President’s lawyer’s files sheds light on client protection.

A federal judge will rule on an urgent motion filed by attorney Michael Cohen’s attorneys who have challenged the controversial search of his home, office, and hotel room on Monday.

They claim that the documents and items seized were protected by the attorney-client privilege and cannot be disclosed to the special counsel or anyone else.

Mr. Cohen, of course, is the longtime attorney for President Donald Trump and has been representing him in various lawsuits and legal matters.

Whether you are involved the personal injury cases I specialize in or any other legal proceeding, communications between you and your attorney are usually confidential under the attorney-client privilege.

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With the explosive news that the attorney for Stormy Daniels, the “adult film actress,” just filed a motion to take the depositions of President Trump and his attorney, you might be wondering what they are.

(Latest update on President Trump’s deposition: Judge denies motion)

Without getting into politics here, it was almost exactly 20 years ago that the deposition of former President Clinton was released in the lawsuit filed by Paula Jones that lead to his impeachment.

What is a deposition?

It is an intense question and answer session taken under oath. The involved parties and people involved with a lawsuit are interrogated at length about facts and opinions related to the litigation.

Plaintiffs, defendants, and other parties and witnesses can be ordered to provide testimony. If a corporation is a defendant, it must designate a person with knowledge of facts.

Since our office specializes in car and truck collision cases, this post will concentrate on how they are used in personal injury cases.

Why take a deposition?

Just because there was a car crash and the police report blames one driver and a person is injured doesn’t mean the at-fault driver’s insurance company is going to be fair about making an offer of settlement.

Usually the opposite is true. The injured party must often file a lawsuit and prove his case to get paid his damages.

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I had an appointment with a physical therapist for my knee injury on Friday. Great, I ran 57 marathons with no problems mostly in my late 50’s, then pop, a meniscus tear after a short run.

As my therapist was evaluating my injury, I looked around the clinic pictured here and thought about the hundreds of PT reports I’ve reviewed and used as evidence in my clients’ cases.

These chart notes have been instrumental in proving the pain, mobility restrictions, lost wages, and disability caused by my client’s auto accident injuries.

What is physical therapy and why is it important?

Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to rehabilitate you before or after a surgery to speed your recovery and reduce your need for medications.

Physical therapists must earn a masters or a clinical doctorate degree and often receive specialized training in particular modalities or areas of injury. These academic credentials also lend a high degree of credibility and reliability to their reports in a court of law. For this reason, physical therapy reports provide valuable evidence. Continue reading

Injured Car Accident victims often ask if they should get an MRI after a car accident.

A Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic test that can be incredibly helpful. I am a big believer in them.

MRI After a Car Accident

In fact, this week I’ve had two to for my knee. I unfortunately twisted it running on the beach on the last day of my recent trip so I thought this would be a good time to blog about this important topic.

I went to my first physical therapy session early this morning hoping my partially torn medial meniscus doesn’t need surgery. I experienced what my clients go through on a daily basis – more about that later.

Why not just rely on an x-ray?

X Ray

Magnetic resonance imaging uses powerful magnets and radio frequencies to create a 3-D image that clearly shows bones, cartilage, blood vessels, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.

An x-ray only creates a flat image of the skeleton. An x-ray is useful to detect broken bones, but not to diagnose herniated disks and soft tissue injuries, which are common types of car crash injuries. The surgeon also had me x-rayed.

Furthermore an MRI does not release radiation. Although the small dose of a single x-ray is safe, your doctor will probably recommend an MRI if you are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or have had multiple recent x-rays or CT scans. Because your doctor can refer you to an MRI without concern about radiation exposure, he can do so in gray-area cases in which he only suspects an injury.

Is an MRI worth the cost?

There is of course one disadvantage to an MRI — the price. It can cost $2,000.00 or more, although your health insurance or my ability to secure my clients a much lower price should moot this concern. When deciding if it’s worth the cost to you, ask these questions:

  • Will an MRI more accurately diagnose my injury?
  • Does my doctor or do I suspect that I may need surgery?

If the answer to either is yes, you should have one. Continue reading

Our use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms is rampant. We think nothing of exchanging our private thoughts online. But those posts can come back to haunt people who have been injured in car wrecks. Look at what just happened to this woman.

A New York appeals court just delivered a decision that will help insurance company lawyers further pry into the social media accounts of people injured in car wrecks. The court held that a woman’s “private” Facebook status did not prevent disclosure of photos showing her physical condition before and after an accident.

In the discovery phase of lawsuits, one piece of evidence can lead to another. So courts are liberal in what attorneys can obtain if there is justification for its release. While you might assume that your post was not meant to be read by strangers, courts have taken the opposite approach.

Social media is a hot topic in the law. As the law and technology are rapidly evolving, questions about privacy versus their use at trial are common.

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Insurance companies are notorious for denying and minimizing payments to people injured in car accidents, especially to those with pre-existing injuries. That is not fair. This is another reason you need a good injury lawyer fighting for your rights if you have been crashed into.

After all, hardly any Americans are in perfect health. So how can an insurance company refuse to pay fair compensation to someone who

  • has been in a previous wreck or hurt his body after falling down, lifting a heavy object, or playing sports — often many years ago?
  • has a previous injury that had totally healed?
  • has had surgery to a different part of his body, say his neck, and has now only injured his back?
  • has a medical condition that results in much worse damage than the defendant could have expected?

The defendant in court must pay for these damages. This important legal concept is referred to as the eggshell skull rule.

What is the rule?

Tort law has always held that the defendant takes the plaintiff as he finds him, including all hidden symptoms, fragile conditions, and unforeseeable medical problems. You should not be punished for being injured or weak before the crash, unless the damages you are claiming were not caused by it.

Imagine that a fictional plaintiff has a skull that is as thin as an eggshell. What if the injured person is elderly or frail? A fender-bender that might cause a mere bruise to a normal person’s head could potentially crack open the plaintiff’s extremely fragile skull. The defendant can’t possibly know this of course. However the defendant is liable for killing the plaintiff even though he could not have foreseen that the minor accident would be deadly.

The eggshell skull rule illustrates the most extreme example. But in real life, this doctrine applies to such medical conditions as previous herniated disks, osteoporosis, torn rotator cuffs, concussions, or use of blood-thinning medications to treat blood clots. Continue reading

98% of cases settle out of court. In my 37 years of practicing personal injury law, I have never met any one who wanted to testify in a trial. My job is to get my client as much money as possible. Attempting to reach a favorable out of court settlement is often in his or her best interest.

After a thorough investigation and compilation of medical records, lost wages, and other documents, with the consent of my client, I often forward a complete demand package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company adjuster and attempt to negotiate a favorable out of court settlement.

The key to success is a well written demand letter. It’s a powerful tool that maximizes my client’s damages and has these distinct advantages:

  • It can resolve the claim in months — not up to the two or more years in can take to actually get to trial;
  • It saves thousands of dollars in additional legal fees, filing fees, court expenses, deposition fees, expert’s bills, and a host of other expenses; and
  • It avoids the anxiety of testifying and leaving the decision in the hands of 12 strangers who may rule against our side or even be biased against lawsuits or injury cases in general.

Of course I plan as if I’m going to be in trial, knowing that any case may not be successfully resolved.  And some cases must be filed in court immediately and others will never settle for as much money as I want my client to receive and suit is filed.

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Neuroscience Provides An Answer

The pain a person feels after being in a automobile collision can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. It can interfere with your ability to care for yourself, go to work, and enjoy your life.

Pain is subjective and notoriously difficult to quantify. That’s one reason this claim for damages is vigorously contested by insurance companies and their lawyers. 

Fortunately advances in neuroscience may provide concrete evidence to prove this damage in car accident and personal injury claims.

Subjective Nature of Pain

During your medical treatment, your doctor asks you “Where does it hurt?” and “How much does it hurt on a scale of one to ten?” 

However your response may not be that accurate. Pain may radiate or pulse or seem to come from everyone or from a place other than where you suffered an injury. What feels like a three to you might feel like an eight by someone else. 

Doctors can identify symptoms of pain, but may not be able to appreciate the suffering endured by the patient, and may even understate its severity. Making matters worse, a patient may continue to feel chronic pain even after outward signs of injuries have subsided. 

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