Spokane Personal Injury Lawyer | Study Shows That Young People Award Lower Damages Than Average In Personal Injury Lawsuits

All personal injury lawyers in Spokane have opinions as to which demographics award more money in personal injury actions. However, a recent study may have shaken some long-held beliefs.

A study done by Trial Survey Group found that individuals under the age of 35 typically award damages 29 percent below the national average. Individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 typically award damages 22 percent higher than national average. Finally, individuals 55 or older generally award damages 7 percent higher than the national average.

This result surprised me because my view was that young people were more likely to give a higher damage award in a personal injury action. A reasonable explanation could be that more “established” age brackets understand the effect of pain on everyday living. Young people under the age of 35 have the ability to “shake it off.” Thus, young people just are not as sympathetic to personal injuries as other age groups.

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Spokane Personal Injury Attorney | Woman Awarded $975,000

A federal jury awarded $975,000 to a mentally ill homeless woman who gave birth alone in a jail cell. In the lawsuit, Plaintiff claimed that her constitutional rights were violated when jail officials refused to provide her medical care for her pregnancy. As a result, Plaintiff had to give birth without medical assistance. The State argued that they refused to provide medical care because they thought Plaintiff was “pretending” to have a baby.

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PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER | BULLIED STUDENT OBTAINS $135,000 SETTLEMENT

School districts beware: doing nothing to protect students from being bullied is going to cost you. Recently, Aberdeen School District agreed to pay $135,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former student who was badly bullied. The victim was forced to endure racial slurs and physical assaults. The school district knew that the student was being bullied, but did nothing.

Hopefully, school districts will learn from this settlement and institute policies to protect students from bullies.

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Accident Attorney | The Importance Of Taking Notes After An Accident

Memories fade. The notes you create can be very important for you as the litigation proceeds. It is common knowledge that the wheels of justice move slowly in our country. A lawsuit can go on for years before it is resolved. Therefore, it is imperative that you write down everything you can after a car accident. Your notes can help you remember how the car accident occurred, your personal injuries, and the emotional toll you went through because of your injuries. Additionally, your notes are invaluable to your accident attorney when he or she is negotiating with an insurance company or opposing counsel.

After the car accident, and as soon as you are able, you should jot down everything you can remember about the accident. You should include facts such as where you were going; the people you were with; the time of the day; the weather and the conditions of the road; the location of the accident; the speed of your vehicle; and the position of your body when the collision occurred.

To the best of your ability, you should also jot down what happened immediately after the accident. Did the individual who caused the accident apologize to you? Did the airbags in your car deploy? Did the police or ambulance arrive on the scene?

You should also create a diary regarding your injuries. You should write down all of your physical and emotional complaints. Remember, medical professionals do not necessarily create good records of all of your pain and suffering. Further, medical professionals write in a very bland and scientific manner. For example, a patient may tell her doctor that she can only sleep one to two hours a night. The rest of the night is spent twisting and turning in bed. However, the patient’s complaint may end up in the doctor’s report as “patient reports difficulty sleeping.” Thus, it is key that you write down the details of all of your physical and emotional complaints.

Finally, you should make good notes regarding your economic losses. You should create a record of all the out-of-pocket expenses that you incurred due to the car accident such as co-payments, insurance deductibles, lost wages, etc. You should also note every day you miss work because of your injuries.

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Spokane Personal Injury | WSAJ Insurance CLE

Had the pleasure of attending WSAJ’s Annual Insurance CLE last Thursday. Like usual, it was very educational. Good job guys!

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Personal Injury Attorney-Discovery Sanctions Are Getting Serious In Washington

One of the most frustrating things for me is watching the opposing side abuse discovery rules and get away with it in front of the Court. Well, the Washington Supreme Court and Washington Court of Appeals may be sharing my frustration.

In Blair v. Ta-Seattle East No., the trial court entered a scheduling order that provided that discovery cutoff would be September 4, 2007. However, on October 1, 2007, the plaintiff disclosed two previously undisclosed witnesses. Strangely, these two undisclosed witnesses were key to the plaintiff’s case for establishing causation. The trial court struck the two witnesses. The Defendant then moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish the causation element of his case. The trial court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s entire case.

The matter went to the Court of Appeals, who affirmed the trial court. Next came the Washington Supreme Court, which reversed the trial court on the grounds that the trial court did not make a record for the basis of its decision. In short, the Washington Supreme Court wanted to see the trial court’s reasoning on the record. Nothing in the Washington Supreme Court’s opinion precluded the trial court from placing its reasoning on the record and dismissing Plaintiff’s case.

The result seems harsh (dismissal of a case), but one can read between the lines that several Washington courts are getting tired of discovery abuse.

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Spokane Attorney’s Personal Injury Brief-Washington Supreme Court Holds That Lost Chance Doctrine Applies to Serious Personal Injury

The Washington Supreme Court in Mohr v. Grantham held that the “lost chance doctrine” applies to cases that not only involve death, but also serious personal injury.

This is an important victory for victims of medical malpractice. Without the lost chance doctrine, doctors were able to argue that patients would have died anyway notwithstanding any negligence on their part. Washington courts, however, rejected this argument, holding that liability is attached to a negligent doctor if his or her conduct deprived the patient of a chance to survive.

However, before Mohr, the lost chance doctrine only applied to patients that died. Now, under Mohr, the lost chance doctrine can be applied to serious personal injury.

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Obtaining an IFCA and Insurance Bad Faith Verdict

Recently, Steven Hughes and I obtained a jury award on behalf our client, the Estate of Frank Madden, against Medico Insurance Company for violating the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) and insurance bad faith.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Frank purchased two long-term care policies that provided benefits to Frank if he moved into an assisted living facility. On November 18, 2009, Medico certified Frank Madden to receive benefits under the two long-term care policies. The certification was based on the opinion of Frank’s primary care physician and Medico’s own IME nurse. In reliance on Medico’s certification, Frank moved into an assisted living facility, fully expecting that his expenses would be paid by Medico. Frank was 90 years old when he moved into the assisted living facility.

However, four months later, Medico decertified Frank and asserted that Frank misrepresented his care needs and was attempting to commit insurance fraud.  Medico based its denial on a statement from one nurse at the assisted living facility that opined that Frank was mostly independent and did not need care. Other than a phone call to the assisted living director, no other investigation was conducted by Medico. 

Frank was subsequently evicted from his assisted living facility because he could not pay the rent. Unfortunately, Frank Madden passed away one month after he filed suit against Medico.

On October 18, 2011, a Spokane jury found that Medico violated IFCA and committed bad faith when it unreasonably denied Frank Madden’s claim for benefits under two long-term care policies. The jury awarded the Estate of Frank Madden $92,200 in economic and noneconomic damages. On December 12, 2011, Judge Cozza of the Spokane Superior Court entered a judgment against Medico Insurance Company for $330,000, which included attorney fees, costs, and punitive damages.

Frank can now rest in peace knowing that justice was done.

Posted in Bad Faith, Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA), Jury Verdicts, Personal Injury | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment