Scott Distasio: Many, many clients, quite frankly, given the internet and the ability to reach far, they may be geographically far from us in Florida and we may do everything over the phone or through a Zoom or a Skype connection. So, that’s how the process works initially. Once we get the clients signed up, we gather their medical records, we gather any information about their event. If it’s a car crash, the accident report. We may hire private investigators to just get some background information. After we’ve done that, we are comparing what the client said to the information we’ve gathered. If it’s still a case, then we move forward. If it’s not, there are times when we say, okay, we’ve done that investigation. Things are a little different than we thought. Unfortunately, we can’t help. But those cases where we have determined after that investigation that we can help, we’ll put a package together to make a claim.
Scott Distasio: We’ll identify where to get that package to the other side and will attempt to negotiate a settlement. If that doesn’t work, then we file a lawsuit and we start what’s called the discovery process. Which means we exchange written information with the other side. We take depositions, which is putting someone under oath with a court reporter and asking them questions. We may have witnesses who then review all of this material and render opinions and we’ll pay those expert witnesses to do that. Then we’ll try to settle the case again at that point. If the other side is still not interested in doing that, we’ll have the case set for a jury trial and we’ll go in front of a jury.
BIM: I imagine that takes all different lengths of time from fairly quickly, a few weeks maybe to, even a few years?
Scott Distasio: Absolutely. It’s dependent on two things. How good of a case it is from the defense perspective. In other words, it’s obvious there was wrongdoing and there’s obvious that there’s injury. Those cases you’re going to get a resolve much quicker. Then the other issue is the complexity of the case. If you’re talking about a complicated medical malpractice case. Those just don’t resolve quickly. You can’t really know and understand those cases until you put people under oath. The nurses, the doctors, they have to put our clients under oath. So those tend to require lawsuits and a lengthy litigation process that absolutely can last a couple of years.
BIM: There are a lot of people that go and see personal injury attorneys, but there’s probably a lot more that have fears about taking that first step. What kind of fears hold some people back from getting the help that they need and deserve.
Scott Distasio: The first and foremost is not so much a fear, it’s a mindset or belief system, I’ll call it propaganda. Other people might call it lobbying in the public, but there’s a lot of information put out by large institutions that it’s wrong to bring a personal injury case to trial, that you should be responsible for whatever happened to you. About a third of the population believes that. So they just sit and suffer and say, well, this happened to me, it’s an accident and I should take responsibility. What I say to those people is, why should you take responsibility for someone else causing you harm when they were negligent? Why shouldn’t they take responsibility for what they’ve done? They caused these injuries, they caused you to lose work, why shouldn’t they be responsible?
Scott Distasio: If you break a glass, you offered to pay for it. Why in personal injury is there a misconception, this belief that that’s wrong? I just don’t understand it. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is that some people just are fearful of the process. They know it takes a long time. They know they might have to be deposed and put under oath and they don’t want to put themselves out there in that format. The defense knows that and they try to take advantage and they try to wear people down and they try to delay cases. That’s often why things take so long, which then feeds back into the fear that the client may have. You know, I just want to give up. I don’t want to go through that process. That’s why they need an advocate on their behalf. If they come to our law firm, we don’t back down. We pride ourselves on if we make a commitment to a client, we’re going to take it all the way and we feel like we have the reputation with the other side. They know that. And as a result, that ends up making our cases resolved quicker.
BIM: Well, I know within the church and the Bible, they say that you are supposed to go to your brother and try and work it out, and if that doesn’t work, they’re supposed to find somebody else and then go to the church. But in this day and age does that work anymore?
Scott Distasio: I think that’s a perfect analogy. It’s often the very religious people who are the most hesitant and again, I just don’t understand it cause you’re right. I mean I think the Bible does speak to when you cause harm, you step up to the plate and do the right thing. So I don’t think the church provides that avenue anymore. I think that the only way that you’re going to be able to hold the other side accountable when they’re not willing to do it when they don’t step up and volunteer is to go through this process. While it doesn’t happen very often, I’ve seen from time to time people that have caused harm or corporations that caused harm voluntarily step up and do the right thing. It’s pretty rare in today’s society, so the only way to make that happen is to go through a personal injury lawyer.