Case Description: On September 28, 2014 a female patient underwent a laparoscopic vaginal assisted hysterectomy during which the OBGYN surgeon chose to manually bivalve a sixteen (16) week fibroid uterus, a procedure she had not conducted previously. She developed sepsis and peritonitis and underwent an exploratory laparotomy on October 1, 2014. She suffered a perforation of the bladder, multiple perforations of the small intestine and rectosigmoid colon and an injury to her ureter.
This woman was required to undergo multiple subsequent surgeries, was required to live with an ileostomy bag for nine (9) months and was left with permanent urine incontinence which required the implantation of a bladder pacemaker and necessitates transurethral Botox injections into the detrusor muscle of the bladder three (3) to four (4) times per year and must also catheterize herself four (4) to five (5) times a day for the rest of her life. This is considered a 16%-40% permanent impairment of the whole person. She realized $250,000.00 in lost wages, $985,000.00 in loss of earning capacity, $422,000.00 in past medical expenses and $657,000 in future medical expenses.
Legal Issues: She (plaintiff) sought damages under G.L. c. 93A and c. 176D for the defendant insurer’s denial of her claim based on expert opinion, significant portions of which were deemed inadmissible pursuant to the defendant’s challenge. The defendant insurer failed to make an unconditional tender of the liability policy limit within the thirty (30) day 93A required response period.
Kathleen Cotter, an Administrative Assistant at the Milton campus of Curry College, was on her way to work from Norton at approximately 8:00 a.m.. Traveling on Route 93A, she merged into the exit lane at Exit 2B near the Milton/Canton line and brought her car to a complete stop in accordance with traffic when she was rear-ended by a young man. He was looking over his right shoulder while merging into the exit lane and couldn’t stop in time before hitting her vehicle. Despite the fact that Kathleen was driving a 2005 Chevy Uplander (SUV that looks like a Suburban and weighs over 4,700 lbs.) and the young man was driving a 2001 Saab 93, Kathleen’s vehicle was damaged and she suffered a shoulder injury. Her recovery included approximately fifteen (15) doctor office visits, two (2) shoulder injections, one (1) surgery causing a painful 3-month recovery with little use of her arm, and a succession of seventy eight (78) physical therapy sessions over the course of a year and a half.
Legal Issues: Attorney Snow set out to prove ‘drivers that cause collisions must accept responsibility for all resulting harm’. The defendant breached his duty of care causing damages both physically to the vehicle and the person in the car. Kathleen expected her case to be worth twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000). The young man’s insurance company offered to pay seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500).
In addition to retaining two (2) separate industry experts to conduct medical and vocational assessments, Attorney Snow conducted a focus group (or a full ‘mock trial’) with approximately twelve (12) attendees serving as a mock jury. The audience of men and women, ranging in age from 25-65 were comprised of all income, education and socioeconomic levels. In the four-hour focus group, where Kathleen was included, Attorney Snow and his associates ‘tested’ opening and closing statements, rules, demonstrative evidence, photos and expert reports. In summary, they were expecting to go to trial to secure an approximate fifty thousand ($50,000) dollar settlement, but the audience in the focus group established a minimum parameter of $75,000 (meaning, if they were a jury they would award Kathleen at least $75,000 in damages). Attorney Snow entered the (real) courtroom in Norfolk County with the $75,000 expectation set by the focus group attendees. However, he exited with a Settlement of $92,500. VIEW VIDEO HERE
Outcome: A settlement in the amount of ninety two thousand five hundred ($92,500.00) was awarded.
Case Description: On January 16, 2015 a truck swerved into the center lane to avoid another semi entering the highway. It happened too fast for the oncoming automobile driver already in the center lane to stop in time or change lanes, sending him careening into the back of the semi-truck.
From that day forward through April of 2016 there were 14 visits to doctors, pain clinics and hospitals addressing severe neck pain and lower back pain radiating into his hands, arms and legs. This 51 year old Research Engineer sustained a cervical spinal cord injury despite two operations and multiple injections leaving him totally disabled and unable to return to work as a Research Engineer. Medical expenses exceeded $137,000 related to the incident plus he was subject to a lien in an amount to be determined by his health care provider for all health care services rendered if a legal recovery was obtained.
Legal Issues: The accident occurred out of state, the driver and owner of the truck were from two (2) other states. As normal protocol at the Law Office of Steven T. Snow, three separate industry experts were retained to conduct medical, vocational and economic assessments to substantiate this man’s disability; and his inability to work leaving him not only with lost wages but with the loss of the ability to earn any income in the future at the young age of 51.
Outcome: A settlement in the amount of eight hundred fifty thousand ($850,000.00) was awarded.
Case Description: On December 2, 2016, a 24-year-old young man was driving his automobile when he was rear-ended. He sustained a concussion, neck strain and required physical therapy. His medical bills totaled Twelve Thousand ($12,000.00) Dollars and he incurred Three Thousand ($3,000.00) Dollars in lost wages. He had prior claims with another attorney and expected to receive about Five Thousand ($5,000.00) Dollars.
Legal Issue: The initial insurance offer was Fifteen Thousand ($15,000.00) Dollars and the case settled for Fifty-Five Thousand ($55,000.00) Dollars as a result of Attorney Snow’s expert negotiation. After payment of the medical lien, he received Thirty-Five ($35,000.00) Dollars.
Outcome: A settlement in the amount of fifty five thousand ($55,000.00) dollars was awarded.
Case Description: On July 21, 2016, a 70-year-old woman was riding her bicycle past a security gate when a gust of wind caught the metal pipe gate and forced it into her path of travel. When the gate swung, it hit her bike, struck her on the right knee and knocked her to the ground. She sustained a very serious displaced tibia plateau fracture that healed without surgical intervention.
Legal Issue: Eileen incurred just under Seven Thousand ($7,000.00) Dollars of medical expenses, most of which were for diagnostic testing during her emergency department visit. The initial offer from the insurance company was Twenty Thousand ($20,000.00) Dollars. The case settled for Sixty Thousand ($60,000.00) Dollars after a lawsuit was filed and depositions were taken during which the maintenance man acknowledged that the gate’s security chain was broken.
Outcome: A settlement in the amount of sixty thousand ($60,000.00) dollars was awarded.
Case Description: A van broadsided a motorcyclist when he failed to stop at stop sign. The result of impact caused multiple body fractures for the motorcycle driver including; ulnar fracture, vertebral compression fracture and comminuted fracture (broken into pieces) with angulated fractured fragment displacing the nerve root. He was unable to work, had difficulty bending, squatting and lifting nor could he walk for any length of time, therefore he was unable to regain his normal life activities. This individual was a mobile marine mechanic and his job required constant bending, lifting and squatting on a daily basis. He had no prior issues within his medical history, he was married, had a family, owned a home. Until the car crash.
Legal Issue(s): Attorney Snow’s job was to determine the client’s residual earnings capacity, meaning could he go back to work, and if so, it’s affect on the loss of earnings calculation. In this case, Attorney Snow had to prove whether or not he could have invasive surgery for removal of angulated fragments and if this would alleviate cord impingement and result in a return of function. And if so, how this would affect any residual earnings capacity calculation.
Outcome: The expert opinion confirmed that surgical intervention would not guarantee a favorable medical result. The client took a lump sum payment and a structured settlement with monthly payment commencing in 2022, the age of his expected retirement.
Case Description: A motorcycle driver was hit by an inexperienced operator while making a pizza delivery. The delivery driver said a big truck turned in front of him and he couldn’t see the motorcyclist.
Legal Issue(s): The pizza shop was incorporated under two entities but only one of the entities carried liability insurance for delivery drivers. The delivery driver was hired by and worked for the entity that did not have separate liability insurance. These two entities shared resources including suppliers and supplies, employees, accountants, bankers and insurers, and corporate officers.
The delivery driver’s account of the accident details was inconsistent. There was question about whether the liability coverage extended to the corporate entity who was uninsured. Under an “alter ego” liability and/or a corporate disregard concerning the formation of the second entity, it was argued that the insurance coverage extended to one corporation should therefore extend to the pizza delivery driver employed by the other corporation.
Outcome: Attorney Snow sued both pizza places under ‘the corporate alter ego liability theory’. He alleged that because the two corporations shared resources and the owners failed to maintain separate corporate identities they were really one and the same corporation. The insurance agency providing the liability insurance was also sued for not including both corporations on the policy and/or for not requiring two separate delivery riders.
The case went to trial in the New Bedford Superior Court and resulted in the largest plaintiffs verdict in 2010. There were also pending declaratory judgement actions aimed at forcing the insurer to extend coverage to the uninsured corporation.
Case Description: A young autistic man residing in a group home was rushed to the emergency room because he was suffering from a severe discoloration of his thighs and a body temperature of 92 degrees as a result from a bowel obstruction. The emergency room physician confirmed his condition had taken place over a long period of time, not a quick onset. The group home should have discovered this much sooner to avoid the deterioration of his condition which ultimately led to his death.
Legal Issue(s): The limitations set forth in the Massachusetts wrongful death statute relating to “loss of reasonably expected net income” and a claim involving an individual who was unable to engage in gainful employment.
Outcome: Notwithstanding jury verdicts in comparable cases, this case settled for $387,500. A condition of the settlement required the group home to apologize to the parents of the child with development disabilities.
Case Description: A woman with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) was in an auto accident caused by another driver.
Legal Issue(s): The insurance company won’t pay claiming she had a pre-existing condition. Attorney Snow represents insurance companies and knows how they strategize. Due to previous experience he is also familiar with this complex medical condition. Attorney Snow worked closely with his client’s doctor in order to prove, without a doubt, that the auto accident caused by the other driver was directly related to and did in fact exacerbate her CRPS condition.
Outcome: The case was scheduled for court but the insurance company settled – a year early – and agreed to pay 1.5 times the average.