BIM: That’s a shame. And looking into that and myself recently, I know that long term care facilities are not cheap. They tend to be very expensive. How about pharmacy malpractice? Is that very common?
Scott Distasio: You know, it is, but, it leading to injury is not as common. So, there are millions upon millions of prescriptions filled every day in the United States. And there’s an error rate that allows for people to get the wrong medicine or get the wrong dose of medicine. Oftentimes, it doesn’t cause harm. It’s caught by the person or, the wrong medicine doesn’t cause the person harm. So, a lot of those never get pursued. But on the other hand, there’s a small percentage that medically overdoses or the wrong medicine could cause substantial damage. From a statistical standpoint of the number of prescriptions, it’s small, but from an overall volume, it’s a large number of cases, if that makes sense.
BIM: We talked about some of the misconceptions already and you said that a misconception is that clients are just out to maybe win the lottery and get a big payout, but that’s not what they’re looking for. What other misconceptions are there in the personal injury business.
Scott Distasio: A common label is ambulance chaser, you know, that we’re just greedy lawyers out to make as much money as possible. And you know, of course, we want to make money, but as I said earlier, I don’t know anybody who’s going to work for a couple of years and invest tens of thousands of dollars on the hope that they’re going to win. If they don’t really believe that the person that has been harmed deserves compensation and they don’t believe that there was actual negligence you can lose a lot of money. So at the end of the day, sure there are some lawyers that, maybe bringing cases they shouldn’t bring. But for the most part, in my experience, that’s because those lawyers don’t have enough experience to realize it’s not a good case. It’s not because they’re just trying to blackmail somebody into paying money. Cause I got to tell you, it’s not a very good way to make that happen.
BIM: Do personal injury lawyers cost the economy by getting these massive payouts that we hear about it?
Scott Distasio: Again, that’s another common misconception. There are lobbying groups that put out in these white papers that try and claim that personal injury law is a tax on society. What they do is they add up all the costs of the defense lawyer, the costs of the expert witnesses, the cost of the payout and then they claim that somehow is a tax on the economy. But what they’re failing to do is value the benefits. Think of a company like Apple. If you just look at the cost to run Apple, it might be in the billions of dollars. You would say, oh my God, that’s an awful company that’s going to go out of business. On the other hand, if you look at all the revenue they bring in and it’s tens of billions of dollars more than those costs, you say, wow, that’s one of the most successful companies ever.
Scott Distasio: So when your valuing personal injury to the economy, you have to include the benefits. I mean, I’m employing a whole staff. The defense lawyer is employing a whole staff. Expert witnesses are getting paid. All of those things are benefits. But even if you don’t count those benefits versus costs and look at what’s really happening, it’s a transfer of wealth from the person that caused harm to the person that was injured. If that transfer of wealth doesn’t happen, the injured person has lost wages. They may not be able to work in the future. They become a drain on society and who pays? Taxpayers do. So that’s the first avenue of, of why it’s actually a benefit to the economy. We’re getting these people back up into society the best we can.
Scott Distasio: We’re getting them the healthcare they need and when they can’t get back into society, we’re providing them a way to take care of themselves that otherwise would be paid by the taxpayers. The other thing is, at the end of the day when a settlement occurs or a verdict is reached, that verdict or settlement includes money for medical expenses. If those medical expenses were paid by health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or worker’s comp, we by law have to pay back the health insurance out of the settlement of the verdict or the Medicare or Medicaid or the worker’s comp. We have to pay that back. So in my book, that’s actually lowering the costs of health care. So, that’s how I look at it. I think in reality, that’s how it really is. It’s a net win for the economy.
BIM: Scott, obviously there are so many instances where people get injured and they need help. Walk me through the process of what that looks like in your office. What’s the best way to contact you? Is it just to pick up the phone and start that conversation?
Scott Distasio: Absolutely. I mean, we have some clients that contact us through our website at DistasioFirm.com and we have a contact form and they can fill it out. But, ultimately there needs to be a phone call because on paper things don’t come through. So ultimately there’s a phone call and we have intake staff that handles the initial conversation, take down all of the information about what happened. We have a review process to say, is this a case or isn’t it? And if the conclusion is, it is a case, then, we invite the potential client to come into the firm or we’ll go out to them, get them signed up as a client and if they want to speak directly to me at that point in time when we’ve agreed to take the case, that happens, either in person or over the phone.