What does Catastrophic Injury Mean?

What does Catastrophic Injury Mean?

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What does catastrophic injury mean?

At The Cooper Firm, we define catastrophic injury as someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or burn injury that has resulted in their disability. This really includes any injury that has caused someone to be unable to work or unable to perform daily activities in their life.

These are the types of cases we handle because they require an expertise, such as hiring doctors, to enable the insurance company or the jury to ultimately understand what this injury has done to this person. It also means hiring life care planners, which then allows us to develop evidence, present it to a jury and show that not only has this person been catastrophically injured but this is what it is going to cost to take care of them in the future. With that expertise, more often than not, we are able to get insurance companies or ultimately juries to not only hold defendants accountable but to include in their verdict a just amount of compensation to ensure the victim is taken care of for the rest of their life.

If you or someone you know has been catastrophically injured, please contact us today. Let us help you.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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What is  a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit for the death of someone, where you are able to prove that their death was caused by someone else’s negligence. It’s different than other lawsuits because it is a family member or a guardian who is bringing the case and not the person who was injured.

Under those circumstances, the law tells us who is entitled to bring the lawsuit and what damages they can recover. For example, oftentimes if it is a wage owner, they can recover damages for their future lost wages as well as for the value of their life. It takes into account they meant to their family. All of this helps our firm in determining the value of the life.

When we take in a wrongful death lawsuit, not only are we responsible to prove someone’s negligence, often the more valuable part is to prove the value of a life. Someone will ask “how do I know what the value of a life is?” It’s our job as the experts to bring in the witnesses, including professional experts like economists, to demonstrate what the value of a life is. It takes a real expertise to handle these types of wrongful death cases because of the technical aspects of the case and the difficulty in proving them.

 

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, please contact us today.

Plaintiffs Powerhouse Beasley Allen Makes a Bet on Atlanta

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The Cooper Firm - Beasley Allen

Plaintiffs Powerhouse Beasley Allen Makes a Bet on Atlanta

Excerpt (Daily Report printed 2.8.17)

High-profile plaintiffs firm Beasley Allen has opened an Atlanta office, the first outside of its Alabama base.

Beasley Allen, founded in 1979, works on big cases all over the country, but its 75 lawyers have all been based in Montgomery until now. The firm tapped firm principal Chris Glover, who specializes in automotive product defect cases, to start the Atlanta office.

It has also joined forces with Marietta plaintiffs lawyer Lance Cooper for its foray into Georgia, after working with Cooper on litigation against General Motors over faulty car ignition switches. Cooper uncovered the faulty switches, which led to a massive recall of GM vehicles and national litigation.

“When we decided to come here, our very first stop was Lance’s office,” Glover said.

Cooper has become a principal at Beas­ley Allen, which is what the firm calls its partners, while also maintaining his own shop. The two firms will work on products liability cases together, both in Georgia and nationally.

Cooper said he started working with Beasley Allen on the GM ignition switch cases because of its greater resources and national capabilities. The Cooper Firm has just two lawyers, Cooper and Drew Ashby, which Cooper said is “how I want it.” While Cooper sticks to single-plaintiff suits, Beas­ley Allen also takes on class actions and multi-district litigations.

“Beasley Allen had the national outreach to work with lawyers and consumers around the country on these types of cases,” Cooper said.

The national GM litigation arose from Cooper’s representation of Ken and Beth Melton. They sued General Motors over a faulty ignition switch that they believed caused their daughter’s Chevrolet Cobalt to crash, killing her. The suit sparked 30 million car recalls and hundreds more suits around the country, including by Beasley Allen.

The Meltons settled with GM in 2013 for $5 million—a confidential figure later disclosed by GM—but Cooper re-opened the case for them the next year, alleging GM had fraudulently concealed that one of its engineers knew about the defect. Cooper partnered with Beasley Allen on the ensuing litigation and said that he handled more than 100 individual suits against GM.

GM ended up paying a $900 million penalty to resolve criminal charges for concealing the defective switch.

Cooper next joined forces with Beasley Allen on suits against Terex Corp. over alleged defects in a truck boom it manufactures. Cooper’s client Jeffrey Gaddy, a tree-trimmer, sued Terex in 2014 after the boom arm supporting the bucket he was standing in allegedly failed, sending the bucket crashing to the ground. The fall severed his spinal cord, leaving him paraplegic.

That suit, Gaddy v. Terex, is in discovery in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Meanwhile, Terex recalled some models of its aerial boom for inspection and replacement of any that are defective. Cooper said Beasley Allen has a pending class action for consumers who own booms that Terex has not agreed to fix.

“It’s been a good partnership. We’ve been able to help our clients and do greater public good getting companies to recall their products,” Cooper said.

Read the full story at dailyreport.com.

Print PDF of Daily Report article here.

Why Should I Hire The Cooper Firm?

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Why Should I Hire The Cooper Firm?

Clients who have a case involving catastrophic injury or wrongful death should hire The Cooper Firm because we are committed to relentlessly pursue justice on behalf of every one of our clients.

That’s not just a slogan. It means something to all of us at The Cooper Firm.

Relentless means we will leave no stone unturned in making sure that we uncover all the evidence necessary to ensure that whoever has harmed our client is held accountable.

Pursue. We pursue it all the way through trial. We are trial lawyers and we let clients know upfront that if necessary we are prepared to go to trial and present their case to a jury in order to hold those that harmed them accountable.

And ultimately, we are about justice and making sure that justice is served in every case where our clients are harmed. Although we can’t guarantee justice for all cases, we can guarantee we will relentlessly pursue it on their behalf.

Contact us today.

If I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer, What Will Be Expected of Me?

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If I hire a personal injury lawyer, what will be expected of me?

Oftentimes when people hire a personal injury lawyer,  they want to know what is needed of them.

The companies and individuals we sue have endless resources amounting to hundreds, thousands, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. We represent regular kinds of folks, who cannot make that kind of financial sacrifice. What we do is represent these people on a contingency fee which means they don’t have to pay anything upfront.

People don’t realize that litigation is extremely expensive. It can get into the tens of thousands of dollars, and often in our cases the hundreds of thousands of dollars. What we ask our clients to do is partner with us. If we take your case, we will advance our time and our money. If the case goes sideways for whatever reason, you don’t owe us a penny. That is our risk in the case. If we get a result for you, whether that be a jury verdict or a settlement, we will share in that recovery with you.

All we need from a client in a case is their time and attention. We will often have to answer questions on their behalf and we want to make sure those answers are absolutely correct.

If you or someone you know has been catastrophically injured, contact us today to see how we can help you.

What to look for in a personal injury attorney

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Lance Cooper - Car Accident Attorney

What to look for in a personal injury attorney

You may find yourself in a situation where you’ve experienced loss or have been injured due to a negligent person or a defective product. You know that you need to hire an attorney, but you’re not quite sure where to start. There are a few important things to consider when looking for the right personal injury lawyer.

  1. Do they specialize in my case’s practice area? There are thousands of lawyers out there that have dozens of practice areas on their websites. While these attorneys may say they handle the kind of practice area your case falls in, they may not have the expertise or experience for that area. Look for an attorney who has a vast amount of knowledge and experience in handling cases similar to yours.
  2. Do they have referrals and positive reviews from both clients and attorneys? While it is important that previous client’s think highly of the attorney, it is also valuable to have positive testimonials from other attorneys. You want someone to handle your case that has an outstanding reputation among their peers and the community. Don’t look just at attorney websites for these referrals, but look all over the internet for uncontrolled reviews on google and other rating websites.
  3. How much do they charge? Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they take a portion of whatever compensation you receive. Other attorneys work on an hourly fee rate. Make sure that you understand the attorney’s fee agreement and how much will be awarded if a settlement or verdict is reached. Another good thing to think about is if the attorney has the capital to fund your case. If the attorney works on a contingency fee basis, they will have to front the cost for all of the investigation and trial cost. Having an attorney who can handle this is important as it can affect the success of your case. Always find out if your initial consultation with the attorney is free or if they will charge you to even look at the case.
  4. Who will handle the case and how? In your initial consultation with the attorney, it is important to understand who will handle your case and who exactly you will be working with. Most of the time, you will not work directly with the attorney on a weekly basis, but with a specific paralegal or associate assigned to the case. Make sure you feel comfortable with who will be working on your case and how they will communicate with you. A good attorney should have a solid team supporting them.
  5. Do you trust the attorney and their personality? Whoever you hire as your attorney will be your advocate and will fight for you and for your case. That makes it crucial that you trust that person and you work well with them. You do not want to be second guessing your attorney and their decisions. Make sure you feel at ease when you meet them and that you trust them to make the good and hard decisions.

If you have a clear answer to all of these questions, then you have most likely found a good attorney to handle your case. Dealing with an injury or loss can be quite overwhelming. It is best to not walk the journey alone, but to find a good advocate for you and your family.

6 Email Etiquette Tips You Do Not Want to Forget

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Lance Cooper - Car Accident Attorney

Email Etiquette

As a lawyer, you know that communication is one of the most vital parts of your business. Whether it’s between you and your coworkers, your clients, or business related persons, your emails should reflect the professionalism of you and your firm.

-Respect: No matter who you are writing too, it can sometimes be hard to read expressions and tones through a computer screen. Your wording and what you say should be thought through. People can interpret things in a different way than you meant them hurting your relationship or reputation. Irony may be funny to some people in person, but can be very damaging or misunderstood in email format.

-Spelling and Grammar: Although this should be assumed, you would be surprised at how many people continue to write sloppy emails with misspelled words or improper grammar. Most email services provide basic spell checks but you should always read through your email at least once to make sure everything makes sense.

-Form: Always follow proper form. Make sure you address who you are writing the email to at the beginning. And that you close the email as well. Even though it may seem monotonous to do this every time, it shows your professionalism and that you are taking time to every response.

-Be careful of “Reply All”: Especially in the law field, there can be confidential information sent over email. Make sure that you are cautious who your response is being sent to. It can be easy to hit reply and for your email to be sent to a bunch of people you weren’t expected to read it.

-Not responding: Not taking the time to respond to an email can show someone you don’t respect their time. If you need more time, simply respond letting them know that it make take some time before you can respond properly to their email, but that you did receive it and have made note of it.

-Be concise: Be short and sweet. Email is not the place to explain things in a long drawn out way. If it is not something that you can respond to in a paragraph or two, you should probably set up a phone call or meeting to discuss more.

Email is a great tool if it is used wisely. If you practice these tips in your writing you can ensure success.

Have you ever been on the end of a sloppy or embarrassing work email? Share some of your experiences with us!

What to expect when hiring an attorney

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Lance Cooper - Car Accident Attorney

Hiring an Attorney

Hiring an attorney can be a difficult and scary process, especially when you are dealing with serious and traumatic issues. It is important to know what to expect. Here are a few tips for you when selecting and attorney.

Is the case viable? It is important to be realistic about whether your problem can be solved by an attorney. If it is an issue of wrongful death, injury, or serious damages, then yes…a lawyer can help. If issue is something that the law cannot solve than an attorney may not able to aid you.

It is important to meet with the attorney in person, and at their office. You should be able to see where the lawyer works and see if it is a good fit for you. This attorney could be representing you in court and will most likely know intimate details of your life. You must feel comfortable in opening up to them.

After you have decided if the attorney and firm are a good fit for you, than an agreement of the terms of representation must be put in writing by the attorney. The terms should be explained to you so that you understand everything clearly and that no surprises will come later. The more straightforward the attorney is the better. The more details that an attorney gives you about your case and what to expect the better off you are.

Always check out the firm’s website to make sure that the attorney has experience in the area you are dealing with. You want an attorney who has worked on cases similiar to yours and has resources to get you the most help.

Be aware that you will have to share a lot of information, documents, and material with your attorney in order to help build a winnable case. Communication is key between the attorney and the client. You need to know enough information to make informed decisions and should be given explanations for significant details that take place. You should have peace of mind that you can access your lawyer and talk to him when needed. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and have confidence with the attorney.

How to exceed customer satisfaction

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DAEMON_1308222_8513ACustomer Satisfaction

Existing and satisfied clients are one of your biggest resources for future business and success. They share positive reviews and they work as a referral to others. Because they may not understand the depth of what the attorney did for their case, or the knowledge of the attorney they deal with, they judge your firm by the service and quality of service they receive. Never settle with “good enough” when performing work for your clients.

Here are some tips on how to ensure that your client gets the best customer service.

Update your clients on a regular basis.

Email is an extremely effective and cost-efficient means of keeping clients informed on the status of their case. Send them reminders, inquiries, and quick updates on their case. Customers will appreciate your point of contact with them and the information they receive. Make sure you follow up with a phone call if they have any questions or concerns.

Along with sending out email updates, also copy them on letters you send out about their case. Be sure not to copy them on the email communications with opposing counsel of parties in their case. You do not want a client to accidentally “reply all” to your emails.

Be clear and up front with clients from the beginning.

It is important that your clients clearly understand the work you will be performing on their case. You should always set realistic expectations for the outcome and let them know how you are going to meet those expectations. Make sure to give them a time frame as to how long you expect their case to take. Sometimes clients assume that hiring an attorney will be a quick resolution. Go through the steps that you will need to get them the best outcome for their case.

Be extremely courteous and professional with your clients.

Your clients most likely did not choose to be in this situation. Always treat them and their case with respect. Success will be built by building relationships with your clients. I treat my clients like good friends. I ask them details about their life, vacations, families, and activities beyond the scope of my representation. I genuinely care about my clients, and I want them to know that.

“Go the extra mile” for your clients

Never settle with “good enough” when performing work for your clients. When you are updating your clients on their case, always go above and beyond what is required. Provide slightly more information than you think they will need. You will find many opportunities to do so with your clients and in each individual case. Always take these opportunities when they present themselves. Your clients will notice and appreciate it.

Exceeding customer satisfaction can be one of the biggest assets to your firm and the best free marketing tool your company could ask for.

Loans for lawsuits can be a greater risk than anticipated

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Judge - Marietta Attorney

Loans for Lawsuits

There has been a significant rise in the lending to plaintiffs over the past few years, but unfortunately this industry is largely unregulated and able to ignore laws that protect people who borrow like most other kinds of lenders.

Larry Long was debilitated by a stroke while on the pain medication Vioxx. He was also facing eviction from his home in Georgia in 2008. With stacking medical bills, Long borrowed $9,159 from Oasis Legal Financial. He pledged that he would pay back what he had borrowed from whatever he recovered of the lawsuit he had against the manufacturer of Vioxx. Once Long had eventually settled and received his first check for $27,000, he owed Oasis $23,588, just under the entire sum.

This loaning industry is unrestrained by the laws that cap interest rates. Most frequently the rates they charge are above 100 percent a year, according to The New York Times and Center for Public Integrity. Many people are misled by what they see and the numbers are often not clear enough for the desperate men and women who are in need.

Because the lenders are not required to repay the money if they lose their case, the lenders claim that it is not a loan. They call these loans for lawsuits transactions investments, advances, financing, or funding. In December a suit was filed against Oasis and LawCash from Colorado. Now Oasis and LawCash are filing suits against Colorado in an effort to prevent the state from using lending laws to regulate their industry. Their claim is that lawsuits can be very risky to invest in and they must charge high prices to compensate.

There are many other stories where plaintiffs in very stressful financial cases have been wired money almost immediately unaware of the high cost and interest associated with them, leaving them more hopeless than they were before. Unfortunately, many states have nothing in place to protect these people. In some states such as Michigan, New York, and North Carolina they have had rulings that the borrowers did not need to repay the loans because the apparent risk did not justify the outside prices, but still in many states it has been describe predatory lending as legal.

The best thing to do is to whatever it takes to stay away from these lawsuit loan companies. Even though it seems that there is no other place to turn, it could leave you in a worse place than you were before.

Source: The New York Times, “Lawsuit Loans Add new Risk for the Injured,” Binyamin Appelbaum, January 16, 2011.


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