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A TBI Because of a Jersey?

The fateful day for Bryan Stowe happened on March 31, 2011. He had been enjoying a baseball game and was exiting the stadium, wearing his Giants jersey. That’s when he was attacked from behind by Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood. Sanchez and Norwood repeatedly beat Stowe causing a traumatic brain injury which resulted in a surgical procedure in which his skull had to be removed by surgeons. Today, Bryan only has a recreated memory of the attack but still suffers from the physical damage.

 Although he won a $14 million lawsuit against the Dodgers in July, his attorney also sued them again recently hoping to recoup $3.4 million in insurance payments. As we have often said, dealing with a traumatic brain injury is an ongoing process.

According to the article, though Stowe has made incredible progress. Just nine months after the attack, he found it difficult to smile and carry-on a simple conversation. It was a hardship for him to simply raise his arms and hands. Today, he is able to use a walker and move without assistance. Even though he is making remarkable progress, he is living with his parents as he continues rehabilitation.

What happened to his attackers? Louie Sanchez was sentenced to eight years in prison and Marvin Norwood was sentenced to four years. In our opinion, were not sure that is enough for two people who altered the entire life of a father of two and paramedic because they did not like the sports jersey that he was wearing.  You can read more about Stowe’s progress and the case here.

This sad story highlights once again how a traumatic brain injury changes the lives of both the victim and their loved ones. That’s why we have dedicated a good part of our practice to not only getting victims of traumatic brain injury the legal relief that they need but also the physical and rehabilitative assistance necessary throughout the process.

It is also clear to us that laws need to be changed and punishment should be more severe for cases such as these; when a traumatic brain injury was due to a senseless act. For our part, we will go on continuing to be advocates for those who suffer a TBI. If you’d like more information on our firm, you can visit our homepage here or call our offices for more information at 844-847-8300.

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The Russo Firm Becomes a Silver Sponsor of the Dori Slosberg Foundation

A hallmark of The Russo Firm group is community involvement. We are always looking to help support the efforts of organizations in which we believe. Often we will try to partner with them in their various community programs and activities. Recently, our firm made the decision to become a silver sponsor ($10,000) of the Dori Slosberg Foundation. These incredible people are doing great work to make driving safer for our teens.

Our firm specializes in dealing with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. All too often these are caused by automobile accidents, most of which could have otherwise been prevented. That’s why we chose to partner with the Dori Slosberg Foundation.

According to their website, the Dori Slosberg Foundation is “…a non-governmental, not for profit, public service organization dedicated to traffic safety. The foundation is named in memory of Dori Slosberg--the daughter of Florida State Rep. Irving “Irv” Slosberg--whose life tragically ended when the car in which she was riding crashed while she was unbuckled. Four other teens died in the crash. Established in 2004, the foundation received non-profit status in 2005 and is an influential force in reversing the deadly statistics our roadways produce.” 

They have a powerful mission that they are accomplishing every day. The foundation seeks to fulfill their purpose through various educational programs on Automobile, Motorcycle and Pedestrian safety. They also provide a variety of opportunites to donate in the name of a loved one. This is truly an organization that is making an extraordinary difference in the lives of people in our community and across the US.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Dori Slosberg Foundation you can go here. As always if you have a legal question regarding a serious injury you can contact our main office at 844-847-8300 or www.therussofirm.com. We also have offices in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Pensacola and Tampa, Florida.

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High School Football & Catastrophic Injury

This past week was another fraught with tragedy in the world of High School Football when three young men died as a result of catastrophic injuries while playing the game they loved. What’s worse is that according to one article, twelve kids die on the average each year as a result of playing HIGH SCHOOL football.

In fact, that same article goes on to quote the Annual Survey of Football Injury Research 1931-2013 in which 75% of all direct fatalities are due to head/neck & brain injury. Here’s the other interesting caveat, ALL of the fatalities were at the High School level, none happened in College or Pro Football. We don’t know what you think but to us, those statistics are alarming.

We are certainly not advocating doing away with high school football. But these stats are readily available yet it doesn’t seem that enough is being done to curtail or eliminate these fatalities all together.

In other sports, even when one fatality occurs, the cause and effect is analyzed. And if changes to equipment have to be implemented then they are. Take for example the death of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt lost his life in a crash due to a broken neck. After this incident NASCAR required every driver to wear what’s called a HANS DEVICE which stabilizes the driver’s neck in the event of a crash. They also softened retaining walls so that they would absorb more of the impact than the vehicle in case of an accident. You can read more about the aggressive safety measures taken by NASCAR here.

It’s astonishing to us that more isn’t being done, especially when it comes to protecting our kids. High School sports are supposed to be about teaching kids personal discipline, team spirit and self-esteem. But it is a little hard to focus on those concepts when one’s life may be in danger. There is inherent danger in any sport, make no mistake. And freak accidents do happen. But when statistics show that 75% are head injuries, shouldn’t more aggressive action like shoring up equipment take place? Maybe a review of some of the blocking and tackling moves that could also be a contributing factor could be reviewed? And that’s just for a start. If NASCAR can change everything for the death of one of their own, shouldn’t high school sports be willing to do that for our children if it would prevent the death of one?

We certainly don’t have the answers. But we will continue to ask the questions until those that should have the answers get them.

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Traumatic Brain Injury: A Harsh Reality for Our Vets

Traumatic brain injury has long been a problem for our service men and women returning from foreign battlefields. For many years, these brain injuries either went undiagnosed or untreated. Over the past two years, this issue has begun to be addressed. Last fall two clinics for traumatic brain injury were dedicated one in Fort Belfour Virginia and the other at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since that time, they have already cared for over 2000 service members. Earlier this month, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the $11 million Intrepid Spirit Center was held at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky/Tennessee state line.

This particular center was made possible through a $100 million Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and believes that they will treat anywhere from 1300 -1550 patients per year. Some of these treatments will include physical therapy, sleep medicine, and even psychiatric testing. There is also a space for a therapeutic Central Park which allows for physical therapy in-patients and their family members to spend time together during their clinical treatment. It is a 25,000 square ft. facility. More of these centers are being planned nationwide.

It is unfortunate that many of our service members return from wars with TBI’s. These two treatment centers should help them to not only begin their healing process, but also be supported throughout it. We at The Russo Firm are committed to working with people who’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury. We see the reality virtually every day, and the impact that traumatic brain injuries have on the victims and their families.

For more about this particular center, you can visit this link. If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic brain injury and you don’t know what to do next, you can give us a call at 844-847-8300. With five offices across the State of Florida, The Russo Firm group stands ready to help you through the entire process. You can also visit our home page here.

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Support Breast Cancer through the “Glam Doll Pin-Up Contest”

No, you didn’t read that wrong. There is a pin-up contest and one of our attorney’s is in the running to win the entire thing and we need your help. Perhaps further explanation is needed.

Glam-a-thon is a local charity that supports the needs of women fighting breast cancer in Broward county. They provide child care, financial aid or necessities during breast cancer treatment. According to their website, “Since 2011 Glam-A-THON™ has donated $266,000 to Broward Health Foundation to financially assist breast cancer patients being treated at the Lillian S. Wells Women’s Center and requiring mammograms through the Lisa Boccard Breast Fund.”

In 2014 it is estimated that there will be 40,000 deaths due to breast cancer. There are a lot of charities doing their best to help reduce these numbers but none like “Glam-a-thon.” And this year our very own Suzanne Friedman, an attorney here at The Russo Firm, is involved – in a big way. Her photo has now been entered into the “Glam Doll Pin-Up Contest,” and she (and we) needs your help to win!

Attorney Suzanne Friedman maintains a general practice with focus on personal injury and guardianship. Friedman is a former oncology nurse and cancer research associate for the University Of Miami School Of Medicine and is an active Guardian Ad Litem for Broward County, Florida. Suzanne is also a Certified Yoga Teacher and owns a yoga clothing company called I Love Yoga. She is a frequent lecturer for Business of Yoga seminars.

We are asking each of you to go to www.Glam-A-Thon.com/pinup/ and make a donation/cast a vote for Suzanne. Each dollar you give is equal to one vote. Just click on that link and find Suzanne’s picture (it’s close to the bottom) and follow the directions to vote and give.

According to statistics, one in every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. This is a battle we can’t afford to lose. Will you help us by helping Suzanne win the “Glam Doll Pin-Up Contest?”

This is a unique and creative way to continue to stamp out this awful disease that affects so many women in the US alone. If you have further questions you can email Suzanne or visit the Glam-A-Thon Website

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In case of Personal Injury: What to do by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

Advertisements for PI (Personal Injury) attorney’s flood the television and radio and greet us on seemingly every street corner on a bus bench or billboard. There’s no doubt that personal injury is big business. But what do you REALLY do if you have been injured?

First, get immediate medical attention. We can’t stress this enough. Far too many people are in what they consider a minor “fender bender” and decline medical treatment. Then a few days later an injury that is related to the accident manifests itself. It’s always better to get checked out by medical professionals in case you are injured. The quicker you can start treatment, the better.

Second, document everything! Make sure you have the who, what, when, where, why and how, written down in one place. Pictures are always helpful – and in this technology era, very simple with your phone.  Should you have the need for an attorney later, this could be very important to your potential case.

Third, be careful who you talk to and what you say. Often times when a legitimate injury has occurred, the insurance companies will look for any way not to pay a settlement. It’s important to ensure that you don’t say anything that could be taken out of context. We would also encourage you not to talk AT ALL about the accident on social media sites and don’t text about it either. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to not put anything out there electronically that you wouldn’t want written on a billboard. You would be surprised how closely these outlets are monitored and they are more public than you think.

Fourth, hire a lawyer you can trust. The best method is a referral. There are many attorneys who spend a lot of money getting their law firms to the top of google or getting their faces on those bus benches and billboards we talked about earlier. Remember that reputation is more important than website ranking and real testimonials from a satisfied client are worth far more than a hired actor playing a part and delivering lines. Once you have a good referral, set an appointment to talk with the attorney personally. Feel them out to see if they are a fit. Make sure you triple check their credentials and see what others are saying about them. Once you hire the right attorney, trust them throughout the process.

If you would like for someone from our firm to review your case (complimentary), please give us a call at 844-847-8300 with any of your Personal Injury questions.  

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TBI & the Miracle Baby

Twenty-three-year-old Aimie King was driving down the road with her two children and one that was on the way. She was 15 weeks into her new pregnancy when the accident happened. Aimie was thrown from the car as it rolled but her two children that were strapped in the backseat were unharmed. Aimie wasn’t quite so lucky.

When the paramedics arrived they discovered Aimie’s injuries were critical and that she had sustained what they called “massive head trauma.” By the time she reached the hospital the attending physician thought her chances of survival were “…very, very poor.”  20 different departments in the hospital worked together to stabilize Mom and her unborn child. Four months after the crash, this past April, Aimee’s third child Aiden was born at 33 weeks while she was still virtually comatose.

Today, Aimie King is in a rehabilitation facility and her parents are currently raising the three children. While Aimie is considered to be in a vegetative state, her mother reports that when Aiden visits, “She looks at him. She moves her arms in his direction.” You can read the full story of this incredible account here.

When we first read this story we knew it sounded like a near miracle and we hope for that also in the life of the mother. It was also a grim reminder of why we do what we do once again.

A Traumatic Brain Injury can change the course of one’s life in a mere instant as in the case of Aimie King. One minute you can be driving down the road and the next moment laying in a coma in a hospital bed with a family praying for a miracle.

When a TBI occurs there are a lot of important steps that one should take. The first is of course to get top notch medical care immediately. Next, get the best legal help you can as quickly as possible. The right law firm will be able to walk you through all the necessary steps including case management, rehabilitation, etc. Often, TBI’s mean a long recovery process and massive medical care costs. It is important to have the right partner who knows the process and can get you the help that you need.

If you or someone you know suffered a TBI, give us a call at 844-847-8300 for a case review as soon as possible. You can also visit our website at http://www.therussofirm.com

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5 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Personal Injury Attorney by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

It happens a lot. People experience some kind of an injury and need the help of an Attorney. So who do they call? Sadly, it is often the name they read on the billboard, bus bench or saw on an advertisement during a morning talk show. The client is told what they can get and how things will proceed (ideally), but of course, we don’t live in an ideal world. We don’t doubt the ability of other attorneys who are licensed to practice law, we just know that when it comes to personal injury matters it is important to get the attorney that is right for you.

So how do you wade through all the advertisements, slick marketing pieces and voices that come at you all hours of the day and night telling you to call them? How do you know they are right for you? The best way, in our opinion, is to schedule an appointment and interview them. When you do, here is a list of questions they should be able to answer satisfactorily.  

1.      What kind of cases do you predominately try? Make sure they are a specialist in the arena of law that you need. There is no sense letting someone who is inexperienced use you as their first case.

2.      Would you rather settle a case or go to trial? It’s hard to believe, but there are some attorneys who haven’t seen a courtroom in years. Sometimes that is due to the fact that they would rather have the client settle out of court. Ask them how many cases, like yours, they have personally tried recently.

3.      Are you a soul practitioner or do you have a team backing you up? This is a resource question. Make sure they have the backing to do battle during trial.

4.      How long have you been practicing law and how did you get started?

5.      What are the financial arrangements? How will you and I get paid? Some attorney’s will only take your case if they believe they can win it and thus they will be working on a contingency basis. Also, ask them about court costs etc., should you not prevail inyour case.

Most of all trust yourself when interviewing an attorney. If they have poor communication skills or a poor attitude with you, there is a good chance that they will carry that into the courtroom too.

As always you can call us at 844-847-8300 with any of your Personal Injury questions. 

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Meet Founding Partner, Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

Anthony is the founding partner of The Russo Firm based in Delray Beach, Florida (Palm Beach County). He is a 25 year resident of South Florida having graduated with his Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University. He received his undergraduate degree from SUNY in Albany New York. For almost two decades, Anthony has handled thousands of consumer justice and personal injury lawsuits He has successfully litigated and tried cases throughout Florida and the United States. He is well known, along with his former partners, for litigating and settling the first whistleblower lawsuit in US history to top $1B.

Prior to starting his firm, he was the managing partner of the Weston Florida Law Firm of Freedland Russo, P.L. (WestonLawyers.com) and founding partner of the Law Firm of Russo & Mitchell. Anthony has also been a member of the Florida Bar Association since 1995 and is also admitted to practice law in both New York and New Jersey.

Anthony is also a tireless community advocate.  He sits on the Board of the Traumatic Injury Network and the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention (F.I.S.P.). He served as the 2007-2008 President of the Rotary Club of Weston and is a former Board of Director of the Sheinberg Family YMCA of Broward County. Recently, he has dedicated time and support to MADD. Believing that the youth are our future and youth sports is conduit to mentoring them, Anthony invests his remaining time in youth travel baseball. 

Anthony is married, has two children and resides in Broward County, Florida. You can connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, Facebook or follow the firm on Twitter @AnthonyJRussoJr.  If you have a legal question you can also call 844-847-8300.

 

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MADD Florida State Law Enforcement Recognition and Training Day

According to the CDC, every day close to 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes due to an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion. http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

A week doesn't go by at The Russo Firm that we don't deal with someone who is a victim of a catastrophic injury. Many times those injuries are due to a motor vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver. That is only one of the many reasons that we at The Russo Firm are so committed to the cause of MADD.

This past weekend, our law firm was a presenting sponsor at the MADD Florida State Law Enforcement Recognition & Training day - and what a day it was!

During the course of the event, we had several speakers. One was a rather emotional presentation by Bree Ann Camacho. Her 13-year-old sister, Kaylee, was killed by a drunk driver in 2012. The driver of the SUV that ended her sister's life was found hiding from the authorities in a field. Her blood-alcohol level? Three times the legal limit! Bree, as well as others that were in the car were also injured. Personal stories like this are always gut wrenching but necessary to remind us of why we do what we do.

We also heard from Debbie Weir, CEO of MADD. She talked about the importance of the organization's mission, where they've been and where they are going.

We were also proud that our very own Anthony J. Russo Jr.  had the opportunity to also make a few remarks at the event. Louis took a few moments to thank everyone for their involvement in MADD and called attention to the synergy and passion that everybody present shared for putting an end to drunk driving.

All of this was followed up with an award ceremony in which many people, in various categories of law enforcement, were recognized for their work.

We would like to thank MADD, our various law enforcement agencies in South Florida, our first responders and all who wage this daily battle to end the scourge of drunk driving. We are in this together and we are making a difference.

If you would like to connect with our firm you can follow us on Twitter @AnthonyJRussoJr.  If you have a legal question you can also call 844-847-8300.

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The Russo Firm to be the Presenting Sponsor at the upcoming MADD Florida State Law Enforcement Recognition and Training Day. By Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

It was May 3, 1980. 13-year-old Cari Lightner was simply walking through her neighborhood on her way to a church carnival not too far from her home. The car was coming at such incredible speed she didn't have time to move nor did she even see it. Behind the wheel of the car that struck her was a drunk driver who had briefly fallen asleep at the wheel. He was also a repeat offender! Her body was thrown 125 feet and she was killed almost instantly. On May 7th,  four days after the tragedy Cari’s mother Candy along with several other women started an organization that has been advocating against drunk drivers since that fateful day. That organization is better known as MADD which stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This courageous mother wrote later, ""I promised myself on the day of Cari's death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead."

Today MADD is known virtually around the world for its tireless advocacy to rid society of drunk driving. At The Russo Firm we have witnessed the results first hand of an accident involving a drunk driver. While many people like Candy Lightner’s daughter tragically lose their lives, there are countless others who become victims of a catastrophic injury.

Having handled hundreds of legal cases for those who been injured or killed by a drunk driver, spent time with the families, and witnessed firsthand the tragedy that this issue has invoked on so many we are extremely passionate about MADDs mission. That's why we are presenting sponsors of the upcoming MADD Florida State Law Enforcement Recognition and Training day. It will take place on August 1 & 2. Scholarships have been awarded, leaders will be recognized and there will be training sessions throughout the two days.

Recognition categories include: DUI Enforcement (individuals and agencies), Community Prevention Education, BUI Prevention and Enforcement and recognition for Breath Technicians. There will also be plenty of presentations including, Examination of a DUI Marijuana case from the road, to the lab, to the courtroom; Marijuana and Driving: Trials and Tribulations; and, Death Notification: Delivering the News with Compassion.

For more information on what we do at The Russo Firm you can visit our home page at www.therussofirm.com.

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Motor Vehicle Accidents – What You Need To Know by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

According to the NHTSA, car accidents happen every minute across the world. What is worse is that approximately 80 people per day lose their lives due to a motor vehicle accident. (http://www.statisticbrain.com/car-crash-fatality-statistics-2/) Even with the safety improvements in automobile design, these accidents are still a fact of life. Furthermore, the odds are that anyone reading this will be in at least a minor car accident in their life – it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” So what do you do when the unthinkable happens?

It’s true that not every car accident will result in litigation – especially in minor fender benders where no one is seriously hurt. However, in more serious accidents when damage is severe and injuries are critical or worse, fatal, you may have no choice but to seek the advice of an attorney. The greater the damage and injury, the greater the chance that litigation will be necessary.

Accidents can be caused by any number of factors:

·         Driver Error – Following other cars too closely, failure to yield the right of way, excessive speed and ignoring traffic lights and signs.

·         Distracted Driving – This is becoming an increasingly common factor in auto accidents. Texting and driving is an issue we didn’t have ten years ago. Other distractions to      drivers can include shaving, reading, misbehaving children or fiddling with the radio.

·         Driving Under the Influence – Alcohol or drugs

·         Inclement Weather – Decreased visibility or poor traction to the road surface can cause an accident in the blink of an eye. A good driver will take into consideration the current road conditions before setting out in the vehicle.

If you have been involved in an accident and are considering litigation, it’s important to remember that your claim may be limited by a number of factors. At The Russo Firm we have worked with numerous victims of motor vehicle accidents and know what your rights are and what you are entitled to under the law. If you have been in an accident and are considering litigation, it might be in your best interest to seek advice from a competent attorney that specializes in these types of cases. If you would like to speak to someone at our firm, you can call us at 844-847-8300 or visit our home page at www.therusso firm.com

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How To Find The Right Personal Injury Attorney by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

Well-dressed attorneys plead with you in commercials to call them first. They tell you they understand you - that they care. You hear them on the radio, see their faces on park benches and can often find them staring back at you from huge billboards as you drive around your community.

Navigating the legal waters to find “just the right” personal injury attorney is both tough and exhausting. Getting past the advertorial spin is difficult at best. After most advertisements or commercials you will notice a statement like this, “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.  Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.” In fact, in the state of Florida where we have several offices, this disclaimer is a requirement by law. Its purpose is to insure that like, with anything else in life, consumers do their research before they contract with any attorney. This is even more important when it comes to the world of personal injury. So how does one find the right PI attorney?

1.      Check out their reputation on the web. What would we do without Google? It’s not quite that simple.  It’s pretty easy to hire an SEO expert to ensure that your website ranks high in search engines. What you want to research is what is known as organic search. This means to check and see what OTHERS are saying about the attorney and their firm. Are they involved in the community? Do they sponsor events? Are their favorable news reports? What have others said about them? In this case what others have to say about them is far more important than what they say about themselves.

2.      Take them up on their “complimentary consultation” if they offer it. Nothing beats talking to the attorney in person. Don’t be intimated, we are people just like you. And just like in other professions there are those who do what they do for the wrong reasons. As with other decisions, if something doesn’t seem right when you meet with them, move on. That could save you a lot of heartache later.

3.      Research their verdict settlements, certifications and continuing education. Board certification requires that each attorney meet (and abide by) some very specific and stringent guidelines. Look closely at their verdicts. Make sure there is a balance of verdicts and out of court settlements. Why? It is important to know that your attorney is willing to go to trial and advocate for you in front of a jury. If the attorney that you are interviewing seems to avoid trials then it may be time to interview other attorneys.

Hiring an attorney can be a daunting task. At The Russo Firm we are always ready to help. If you would like more information about what we do go to our home page at www.therussofirm.com or call us at 844-847-8300. 

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How To Know Your Law Firm Really Cares by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

This may sound like a strange title for a law firm blog post but it is imperative, particularly in our concentration areas of Catastrophic, Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injuries. The victims and their loved ones need more than just someone who knows the law – they need a firm who cares enough to help them walk through every aspect of their case.  Now after so many years of helping our clients through the legal mazes which they faced, we’ve learned a thing or two about caring for our clients. Here are a few things to look for to ensure that your law firm and/or attorney really cares.

1.      They stay in contact and you don’t have to chase them. This one is perhaps the biggest thing that sets a caring law firm apart from one that seems distant – they stay in contact with you. We have heard more than a few “nightmare stories” in which clients have to constantly follow up with the attorney to determine the status of their case. That shouldn’t be. Lawyers should be in regular communication with each client, even if it is just an email to let them know what kind of progress is being made.  Communication is the key to caring.

2.      They have a string of satisfied clients. This is fairly easy to determine – just don’t look at the testimonials on their website! Use third party validation via the internet. Don’t just take what they say about themselves at face value, what are others saying? Social media sites are good for this kind of feedback. Negative comments will often show up in various search engines. Make sure the good comments and their good work far outweighs the criticism but remember that no matter how good they may be there will always be a few critics.

3.      They are Board Certified. The difference between a Board Certified attorney and one that isn’t is significant.  A Board Certified Attorney has met The Florida Bar’s highest standards for special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.  Certified lawyers experience and competency have been rigorously evaluated, and they are the only Florida lawyers allowed to refer to themselves as specialist or experts. How is this indicative of their level of care? Simply put, they have taken the time to do additional work in their chosen specialty and gone above and beyond to ensure that they are giving the very BEST advice to their clients.

4.      They are involved in the community. If they care about their communities this is a good litmus test to determine that they will care about you. Find out what they do outside of work. Are they members of service clubs? Do they sponsor or participate in community events? Do they serve on any boards of charitable or community organizations? 

If you find that your law firm or attorney’s meet the above guidelines there is one more step. Listen to your head and heart. Most people have a built in “Bull” detector that will often give them that uneasy feeling. If that happens, either continue to ask questions until you get satisfactory answers or politely leave and look for other representation. Your case is too important for your lawyer not to care.

Meanwhile if you would like for us to review your case or talk further with you, we can be reached at 844-847-8300.

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Pre-Settlement Lawsuit Funding? Not so fast…by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

When people are in the midst of a lawsuit, money can often become an issue. Litigation can often take months or even years. So what is a person to do? Enter Pre-settlement lawsuit funding. Pre-settlement funding is when an injured party is given a cash advance against the outcome of their pending lawsuit. The process of pre-settlement funding is fairly simple: the finance company who will provide the funding will contact the attorney handling the case to get the information. Based on this information, the finance company will then estimate what the value of the settlement will be and issue a cash advance based on that estimate. The amount of this advance can be anywhere between $500 and $25,000.

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. You should proceed with caution.

Determine if you really need it. There are times it may be necessary. But before you take that plunge, ensure that you have thoroughly done your research. Seek professional advice from a financial advisor, accountant and of course a competent attorney familiar with this type of tool. There are a lot of companies that are quick to offer pre-settlement lawsuit funding. That in itself should be a red flag. It is an extremely profitable venture for them and one that can be costly for you if not handled properly.

It is also important to remember that often times, even if you lose a lawsuit, you will likely be required to pay back what is in essence, a loan. As a loan, it works the same way as most others do but with one caveat, the interest rates are usually much higher than those of a normal loan. This is due to the fact that pre-settlement funding loans are considered short term and not long-term. Therein lies part of the problem. If you lose the case you not only may be penalized, but you will be required to pay the entire amount back plus any accrued interest. There are substantial fees associated with pre-settlement funding so it’s important to be sure to have all of the information before you jump into this type of agreement. These fees come from the risk that the lender absorbs by advancing the cash on a non-recourse agreement. Those who are in a bind and considering this arrangement should be sure that all other options have been exhausted before signing on the dotted line.

If you would like to speak to someone at our firm about this or any other legal matters, you can call us at 844-847-8300. You can also visit our website at www.therussofirm.com.

 

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Traumatic Brain Injury on a Child Gets a Man 30 Years in Prison by Anthony J. Russo Jr.

Traumatic brain injury is in the news once again this week. A 42-year-old Fort Worth Texas man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for causing a TBI to a child just shy of two years old. He chose to allow the judge to sentence him rather than go to trial. According to reports, he must serve a minimum of 15 years of his sentence before he is even eligible for parole.

According to the CDC, "Almost half a million (473,947) emergency department visits for TBI are made annually by children aged 0 to 14 years.” That's a staggering number when one really takes time to consider it.

In this story, the man who was sentenced was the ex-boyfriend of the child's mother. Here is perhaps the most disturbing part of all. During the punishment phase the prosecutors introduced the man's criminal history. That history included convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault causing serious bodily injury. According to the article, prosecutor Melinda Westmoreland said, "if not for medical intervention, this would've been a capital murder." Fortunately doctors were able intervene and save the child's life. Additionally, the perpetrator of this horrible act will be held responsible for his crime

It is puzzling to us that before the mother let her then boyfriend have contact with her child, or worse left the child in his care, she did not check into his background. Preschools, religious organizations and child agencies all require background checks before any of their representatives can care for children. Performing a background check doesn’t have to be official. Sometimes a simple typing of the name into a search engine will tell you the results you need to know.

While past history isn’t indicative of future conduct, it is important to be aware of those who are privileged to care for your children. It might prevent a tragedy down the road.

The Russo Firm is experts in getting people the help they need when it comes to a Traumatic Brain, Spinal Cord or Catastrophic injury. For more information call us at 844-847-8300 or visit us at www.therussofirm.com.

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Traumatic Brain Injury – What You Need To Know by Anthony J. Russo Jr.

Traumatic Brain Injury, better known as TBI is unfortunately becoming more prevalent in today's society. The increase in riskier sports activities coupled with a lack of understanding of TBI has made it worse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a traumatic brain injury can have both a short and long-term effect on an individual. Even a mild TBI can affect thinking, sensation, language and even emotions.

First, thinking. This involves both memory and reasoning abilities. People who have sustained a traumatic brain injury can find it difficult to recall events that were either precious or important to them. They also could have trouble with their ability to use their reasoning capabilities to work through the simplest of challenges.

Second, sensation. This is a rarely discussed impact of TBI but one that can affect the victim in life-changing ways. Sensation involves touch, taste and smell. Traumatic brain injury can cause a person to have a diminished sense of taste and smell. Often they will also experience a lack of feeling when they touch something or are touched by something or someone.

Third, language. In this case a traumatic brain injury will impact verbal communication as well as facial expression. It can also diminish understanding and comprehension of what someone else is saying. They may even find it difficult to follow a simple conversation. Overall there are wide-ranging consequences to learning, study, retention, etc.

A fourth and more well-known effect of a TBI is emotional. The victims will often feel depression, anxiety, experience personality changes, be more aggressive, and find themselves being socially inappropriate and uncontrolled. They will often find themselves conflicted about what they are thinking versus what they are doing.

It is interesting to note that close to 75% of TBI’s that occur are concussions or what is considered other forms of mild TBI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also must be noted that repeated mild TBI’s over a short period of time can be fatal to an individual.

What do you do if you experience a TBI? Consult with a healthcare provider who can walk you through the process of getting the help you need. Many TBI’s are the results of an accident, If you or a loved one had sustained a TBI you are also welcome to contact our law firm for a complimentary consultation. For more information call 844-847-8300 or visit our website at http://www.therussofirm.com.

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Spinal cord injuries: A continuing reality by Anthony J. Russo Jr.

While spinal cord injuries have always been prevalent, it was brought to the forefront when actor Christopher Reeve suffered a severe, life-altering spinal cord injury. It resulted in him spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.  It didn’t stop him from making a difference though. Reeve also became an advocate for those with spinal cord injuries and an inspiration to many who were affected by the injury. Even though he has passed away, his foundation continues to work for and inspire those with spinal cord injuries around the United States and the rest of the world.

According to one source, there are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury each year. That same source cites that between 238,000 and 332,000 people were living with a spinal cord injury in 2013. Of those who experience a spinal cord injury, 36.5% of them are due to motor vehicle accidents while another 28.5% are due to falls. Sporting activities account for 9.2% and violence accounts for 14.3% of all spinal cord injuries in the US.

In addition to the physical, mental and emotional impact of a spinal cord injury, there is also a financial impact. The average first year costs of a spinal cord injury, depending on severity, can range from $340,000-$1,044,197. Subsequent years range from $41,000-$181,000.

As you can see, care management is a major part of the overall needs someone with a spinal cord injury will require. At the Russo Batista Law group we have bridged the gap with the legal process to enhance case outcome with client and families. We have an experienced case management team including a social worker and nurse who provide family caregivers with support, access to information and education.  They also work to ensure the continuity of care and aid in advocating for appropriate patient care and attaining available resources. Not only does this give the victim the support that they need, but it also strengthens their litigation case because their medical care and treatment is current.

The biggest issues that someone with an SCI in the state of Florida will face is the financial burden, the lack of transition and support services, lack of qualified knowledgeable SCI providers, access to information education and access to services that promote independence. That’s why we are different. We stand by our clients throughout the process to ensure they get the help they need.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of spinal cord injury, we are here to help. Our team of attorneys and caregivers stand ready to answer your questions and help you to obtain the necessary resources. For a complimentary consultation please call 844-847-8300. For more information you can visit our website at www.therussofirm.com.

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Texting and driving…it really IS a problem! by Anthony J. Russo, Jr.

You may not know the name Eric Okerblom but his story is all too familiar. He was a teenager with a lot of promise. He completed his first bike marathon when he was only 16 years old. On one beautiful summer day in California he set out to do what he loved-go for a bike ride. Eric was soaking in the scenery, feeling the rushing wind on his face and allowing the scent of summer to penetrate his very being. He never saw “it” coming. “It” was another teenage driver behind the wheel of a truck traveling at a reported 60 mph. The driver struck Eric, killing him. The police reports said that the teenage driver didn’t try to avoid him or even try to brake. The reason? Her cell phone records later revealed that she was texting just moments prior to the crash.

Unfortunately, this scene plays out all too often. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States more than nine people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes due to distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

First, there is visual distracted driving which is taking one’s eyes off the road. Second, there is manual distracted driving which is taking one’s hands off the wheel. Finally, there is cognitive distracted driving which is taking one’s mind off of driving. It's clearly a big problem. In 2011, 3331 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver. Additionally 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes due to the same reason.

Researchers agree that the most significant form of distracted driving today is the use of a smart phone while operating a motor vehicle. Part of the challenge with smart phones is that they will divert a driver's attention more frequently and for longer periods than any other form of distraction.

As of October 1, 2013 texting and driving became illegal in the state of Florida. The challenge? It is what's known as a secondary offense. That simply means that a police officer is unable to stop a driver because they see them texting and driving. They will need to find another reason to pull them over. If you're caught texting and driving in Florida what is the penalty? The first offense is $30. While many believe this is a good start, it shouldn’t end there.

At our law firm we deal with people on a regular who have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury due to a traffic accident. Sometimes these accidents are a result of a distracted driver.

In the end, it's not about the laws we pass but the personal responsibility that we take. Simply put, don't get distracted with your cell phone when you're driving. It could save the life of someone you love or another person someone else loves.

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