I had the chance to catch up with Scott Distasio from the Distasio Law Firm and interview him on The Trust Factor Radio. Here is our conversation.
BIM: Hello and welcome to the show. This is your host, Neil Howe. Today my special guest is Scott Distasio from the Distasio Law Firm. Scott is a personal injury lawyer and he has been practicing law for 29 years. He is a board certified civil trial lawyer and he helps his clients regain the losses that have occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence. Scott, welcome to the show.
Scott Distasio: Thanks. Good to be talking with you
BIM: You are in the Tampa area. Is that right?
Scott Distasio: Our main offices are in Tampa in the channel side district of downtown.
BIM: Excellent. Well it gives a little bit of your background and how you became a trial lawyer and how you started your own firm
Scott Distasio: Sure. I, I went to a law school at the University of Florida. And to tell you the truth, I had no idea that I would end up being a personal injury lawyer. I thought that I was going to go into mergers and acquisitions and I was studying economics and decided to go to law school. And when I graduated law school, there was a law firm here in Tampa that did medical malpractice defense work. They interviewed me and they made me an offer and it seemed interesting. So I started doing that and I was a pretty accomplished medical malpractice defense lawyer for about 10 years before I switched to becoming a plaintiff’s lawyer.
BIM: Very good. So, tell us a little bit about your business now and who it is that you help.
Scott Distasio: Sure. In 2008 I opened up my own law firm, Distasio Law Firm to concentrate on representing injured people. The bulk of our practice involves medical malpractice, nursing homes, car crashes, some slip and fall cases, but always representing the person that is injured in those instances. We handle those cases from beginning to end. People come to us with their injuries and if we can demonstrate that those injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, we’ll represent them, try and get their case settled, and if that doesn’t happen, we take that case all the way through a jury trial.
BIM: Well, I’d like to go through the process of what it’s like to be in that situation, having to contact a lawyer and what that process looks like for your clients. But, what kind of issues are they looking at or problems they encounter when they have an injury?
Scott Distasio: Some of it is case dependent, you know, an auto case versus a medical malpractice case versus a nursing home case. Their injuries are often very different. What they all have in common is that somebody has caused injury to them. If it’s a car crash case or a medical malpractice case, in addition to their injuries, they may have lost wages, they may not be able to work, they may not be able to find a doctor. So, in nursing home cases, you don’t normally have the wage loss component, but you definitely have injuries. So, they come to us for bunches of different reasons. Some of them, they just want to get better and they want somebody to pay for their medical expenses and their wages.
Scott Distasio: Some of them, they feel strongly that they want to hold the other person accountable for what’s happened to them. So they call us, we do an intake. And if we feel like what happened to them was as a result of somebody else’s wrongdoing, we do an investigation. Is there an ability to recover money on their behalf? Does the person that did wrong or the entity that did wrong have the assets to pay in a case. And if they do, then we sign them up as clients. We take them on, on a contingency. That means that the client doesn’t pay us unless we get a recovery and we don’t get paid unless we get a recovery. We advance costs on their behalf. So we might hire expert witnesses. We might have to pay for medical records. So, we do that all out of our pocket. And if there’s a recovery, we get that back plus our fees. If not, we lose all of it.
BIM: Well, that’s a great setup for the clients. Not having to come out of pocket to cover all your expenses, but it also says that you are very confident in your ability in doing what you do in order to take on that expense with the outcome of wanting to win that case.
Scott Distasio: Yeah. There’s a common misconception in our industry, and I guess some of it is because with every misconception there’s an element of truth. There’s a stereotype about the client just wanting to win the lottery or the lawyer just trying to make money. The reality is that nobody I know is going to work for a couple of years for free, advance tens of thousands, sometimes a $100,000 on behalf of a client out of their own pocket, just to make money. At the end of the day, we have to assess the risk of winning versus losing. That really shakes out the illegitimate cases and makes it all about getting a recovery for legitimate clients.
BIM: Well let’s go through some of these different types of cases to see what you look at, to see if that case is something that you would take or not. I think many people say, well, I don’t think I have a case here and that might be one of the reasons they hesitate contacting somebody like yourself. So, if it’s a vehicle accident, what kind of cases are you going to take and have success with?