One of the hazards of driving while high, is that you become a very bad driver. A year ago, Mr. H decided not to take my word for it. He smoked some pot. Went for a drive. Creamed a car. In the back of the car, right where he t-boned it, sat high school student John T. And his doggie who was instantly killed.Read More
Driving while high is now being used as a sword by the insurance companies of bad drivers who cause crashes.
Let's say you live in a state where pot is legal. You get high on a Sunday evening with a group of friends in your own home. On Thursday, you are driving down a road and someone runs a red light. You had a green light. The bad driver tells the officer that you look high. The officer doesn't see anything unusual but asks you to take a blood test. Carboxy-THC shows up. You are ticketed for driving under the influence. Until a prosecutor looks at the blood work and realizes there's no case. At which point the charges are droppedRead More
Insurance companies cite the "duty to cooperate clause" when they are forcing the person they insure, to provide information. If you don't give them the information they ask for, then they will maintain that the entire policy is void and you are not entitled to make any claim. In this case, I'm the one who said no on behalf of my client their insurer - and in return they quoted the clause.
Here is what happened.Read More
The thing about being a young associate is that you pretty much need to do what you're told.
During my late 20s, Tom Chambers was the boss. If he said Karen do it, I pretty much followed orders. Take this deposition. Argue that motion. Find an expert. Find a better expert. Tom's softly spoken non-negotiable instructions structured my time at Chambers Court.Read More
Trial day 1
Instead of doing her usual acrobatic routine, Nala is curled up around my feet. On the little rug in front of the sink. I glance up at the little crystal clock on the shelf. It says 6:10 which means it is 7:10 since the clocks sprang forward Sunday. Haven’t changed it yet. The mental math keeps me sharp. Or so I tell myself.Read More
Yesterday night Noelle didn't come home. I worried about her. Even though I figured she was staying at her friend Leda's house. Noelle is 19. Old enough to think that she doesn't have to check in every single minute of the day with me. I have a hard time with that. Cristina and Alysha, her older sisters, know that 19 is not my magic cut off number. Because I still call them and ask where they are every single day as well.
Today am working on two different cases where two kids Noelle's age, didn't come home ever again. Here's the story of one of them.Read More
This is an excerpt from my trial diary day 3. In most car crash cases, the jury is never told about insurance. This old rule makes no sense in our current world. This case is brought against Allstate for failure to pay an underinsured motorist claim (UIM). The person who hit M did not have enough insurance. They paid what they had. Now M seeks to recover the balance from her own UIM coverage. Allstate has a "sue us" clause in their policy. This means, if they don't agree to pay the UIM claim, they force their own insureds to file a lawsuit. This is what happens here.Read More
Ms. A is insured by State Farm with UIM. They do not want to pay the claim. They hire this psychiatrist to do a records review. To help them challenge the injury claim. Dr. P never meets or interviews Ms. A. But being the God-like creature that he is, will testify that Ms. A somaticizes her injuries and has "secondary gain." What this means in real people language - is that she is making the injuries up. My job is to show that he is the one making things up.Read More
Here are some tips from cases I've handled on how NOT to run down a pedestrian*.
- When the bus you are driving arrives at an intersection. And comes to a stop. And there are pedestrians already on the sidewalk curb getting ready to cross, wait your turn. Let them cross. They were there first. Do not turn your head to look for oncoming traffic and begin to drive forward as they are walking in front of you.
You get in a car wreck. But fortunately have purchased Personal Injury Protection or Medical Pay insurance. So you believe you are fully covered. That is, until the adjuster cuts off your benefits. Usually with the help of a "medical review" sometimes performed by an actual doctor (who never sees or talks to you).Read More
Once upon a time, a dude entered an intersection and decided to turn left. Problem was, there was another car (lawfully) coming on through. So he crashed into it. Since the female driver had a green light, anyone who drives a car knows - the dude should have yielded right of way.
Enter the defense lawyer.Read More
If you are walking in a marked crosswalk with a pedestrian light on. With friends. And a guy in a Honda is talking on his cell and decides to turn left. And mows you down. The car strikes you. You land on top of the hood and then fall down and strike the pavement. And you are taken by ambulance to the hospital. And end up bruised and hurting all over. Then you my dear friend need to see Dr. Sean Ghidella. Because according to him - you will be healed and back to normal within three months. Boom. Just like that.Read More
What kind of a doctor can make half a million bucks a year not even treating a patient? Why an insurance paid defense medical examiner of course. Not all of these docs are completely sold out. Some actually practice medicine and do these exams as a (well paid) hobby. But there is quite a list of not so lovely characters doing DMEs to fund their lifestyles of the rich and famous.Read More
The Ethel Adams case gained national attention when Farmers refused to provide insurance coverage. It said the "car accident was not an accident" because the person whose truck hit hers, was the victim of a whacko's road rage. Public outcry and pressure from the Office of Insurance Commissioner caused Farmers to cave. Paul Stritmatter and I then filed a bad faith lawsuit against FarmersRead More
Unlike what we see on t.v., silver-tongued, brash, flashy, charismatic lawyers, don't always do well in trial. Jurors assume we have been trained to manipulate and persuade them. They guard themselves against us. By gosh – they aren’t going to fall for those darned lawyer tricks!
The insurance companies have figured this out. Companies like Allstate keep stables of "in-house" lawyers on their payroll. Though some of them are skilled. Most of them are not. But don't take it from me.Read More
I learned about subliminal advertising when I was a kid. The concept of being subconsciously manipulated (often in a fun way), really bothered me. Actually it still does. Usually it is so obvious or poorly executed that I know what's going on and shrug it off. But there are plenty of other times when I'm definitely being had.Read More