Dietrich Law Firm PC Jed Dietrich Informational Video #4
You're intelligent, you're smart, you're hard working, and you're honest. You're very straightforward so I knew if you said you were going to do something, you did it.
You represent your client, and I was a client, better than anybody I know.
All of those wonderful qualities -- your brightness, your hardworking nature, your attention to detail, your ability to project, and your heart make you an exceptional attorney and a fine gentleman.
Hello, and thank you for tuning in. I'm Jed Dietrich, the president of the Dietrich Law Firm and over the next few moments you'll hear from my former clients, legal professionals, and medical professionals who explain to you the difference between my firm and other firms who handle serious injury cases. You can always contact us at 839-3939.
Debby, I thank you for coming. I appreciate you coming in here this morning. You're very welcome. Just so folks out there understand, Debby Hayden is a lawyer in Buffalo, New York. Debby typically represents people also in the civil courts but she does so as a guardian and she's going to be here at this point and explain what a guardian is. She's also going to explain what it's like to work with me.
So Debby, if you would, just tell us a little bit about your background. I come from a very average background. I've always wanted to make a difference and help people and advocate for them and instead of getting my PhD, I went to law school. It's a good point now for the people out there to understand how Debby and I came to work together. A number of years ago, I had a client who unfortunately had a catastrophe. She was at a swimming pool in Buffalo and the lifeguards weren't paying attention and she ultimately went under the water for approximately four minutes, and luckily, she did live. Unfortunately, she's now living, for the rest of her life, she will live with a catastrophic injury. She's had brain damage and that's where Debby comes into play. Debby Hayden is a lawyer.She's been a lawyer in Western New York for many years. Debby and I work together. She's generally a guardian for people who've been injured so what I did was secured a settlement. It was a multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of the family and as a result of that, the court became involved in managing this person, this injured person's future and they ultimately assigned Debby, through my assistance, to manage this person's finances and help her get along for the rest of her life.
So Debby now will speak a little bit about that and a little bit about working with other lawyers such as me when she becomes involved in the case after people have had their settlement. Go ahead, Debby. I think one of the things that I would like to really address, which is particular to my expertise and background, is that the settlement is only the beginning. However, how this family and the client themselves is going to deal with this catastrophic injury on a day-to-day basis is really where the struggle begins. Now one of the things that I respect about you is that you have foresight. You are sophisticated, intelligent, and you are looking beyond the settlement. Even before that check was signed and issued and the papers were all -- the i's dotted and the t's crossed, you were looking down the road as to what were the needs of this client. Are they going to need physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, are they on the right medication, how much aid service are they going to need on a daily basis, are they getting all of the benefits that they're entitled to -- social security disability, SSI, did she need Medicaid? Could we protect any of those resources? You have to have foresight. You did that and her settlement provides for her in an adequate and appropriate lifestyle so she can actually have quality of life.
And that's what we try to do. We try to provide fair and adequate compensation to our clients so that they can have appropriate care down the road for medical, for living expenses, and to try to replace the enjoyment of life that they lose as a result of a serious injury.
Again, Jed Dietrich here. You can contact me at 839-3939.
I'm here speaking now with Debra Hayden who is also a lawyer in Buffalo, New York, and Debra becomes involved with the cases where people cannot take care of themselves. So she's typically appointed by the court, by a judge, and is typically compensated from the settlement proceeds, so part of my job is to not only obtain money for your pain and suffering, it's also to provide you for your future medical bills, for your future living expenses if you can't work, and if you can't take care of yourself, for your future expenses to hire professionals like Debra Hayden, a lawyer in Western New York, who helps people manage their future.
So Debby, you've had occasion to work with other lawyers down the road. Yes, I have. And tell us a little bit about your experience with working with me relative to other lawyers that you worked with in the past. I'd like you to compare and contrast the way I handle my cases. Well Jed, you're intelligent, you're smart, you're hard working, and you're honest. You're very straightforward so I knew if you said you were going to do something, you did it. But there's two things in my opinion that distinguish you. One is that you think outside of the box. We now have a client that has a catastrophic injury, their needs are not going to fit into a nice little slot and that has to be evaluated, looked at, and then we have to fashion a remedy and it has to be flexible because the body and the needs will change over time. Right. So I admire and respect that you can think outside of the box. Well, I appreciate that, Debby, and again, I'm glad you're here to speak to the people out there because they have questions and the questions they have can go from, "What happens to me after my injury?" "How do I get my medical bills paid in a car accident?"Your no-fault coverage pays your medical bills up to $50,000. They also reimburse you for your lost wages. If you're in a swimming pool accident like Debby was involved in, there is not someone to pay for your bills along the road so you need to contact a lawyer such as me. You can contact me at 839-3939.
We can facilitate your ability to try to get back on the right road to recovery with getting to the right doctors and managing your finances. It's important to note, Debby, you did come into the one case we're referring to now; this is a catastrophic brain injury case that I handled on behalf of a young lady that was drowning in a Buffalo pool because the lifeguards were texting while they were supposed to be on duty and again, it's outrageous, this behavior, but we're looking at people who are lifeguards. They're younger people. They don't appreciate how injured folks can be and I can guarantee you this, that the folks that were involved in this particular case, the lifeguards, they're going to pay attention now in the future and that's what we try to do as lawyers. My job is to hold people accountable so that hopefully their behavior in the future is changed and that they can provide a better level of service, perhaps as a lifeguard to you in the swimming pool and they won't text their friends on deck while they're there and that was a horrible case, but getting back to the end of that case, Debby, I'd like to talk a little bit about your involvement and your observations of my ability to negotiate the end of the case and what types of materials I put together, because again, I set up Debby's involvement in the case, brought her in before the case was ultimately settled so that the dominoes were lined up and as they got knocked down, we could move to the next stage appropriately, efficiently, such that this person who was catastrophically injured was not stuck wondering what was going to happen, so it actually transgressed from me dealing with the family to me dealing with Debby and the family, and at the end of the case, it's really you and the family.
So, let's talk a little bit about toward the end of the case when I was preparing the case for trial because the case was going toward trial. Debby, do you remember that? Oh, absolutely. And we sat in my office here and went over some documentation. I typically provide what's known as a settlement package or a settlement brief and this particular brief was approximately eight to ten inches tall and it included all the person's medical records and the deposition transcripts. On that particular case, we did approximately 30 depositions. What was your impression of those materials as we went through those? Well, you're being very modest. You actually had seven volumes or more on the shelf in the office, but the other thing that I think is important to mention here is how well the other attorneys and the court system worked with you. They respected your opinion and your efforts and tried to put together something that was just and fair for all parties. And that's such an important concept because what I do is return every phone call within one business day, I provide every single client with my cell phone number, and I try to provide a level of service that I would want to have if I was in your circumstance and doing that with my clients also is transposed into the way that I work with other lawyers. If there's an issue that's important to my case, if it's material, if it's a substantive issue, an issue that the whole case hinges on, I will fight those lawyers tooth and nail. Like a dog with a bone, I won't let go of it, but if it's a small issue and we can work it out, then we work together in a friendly fashion to try and focus on the issues that are important to the case. As a lawyer, you need to digest the issues and work on the important issues, and again, this gets to your point, Ms. Hayden, about working with the courts. I try to do the same thing with the courts. I'm not going to run into court, and in the New York State Court they call it the Special Term Court, if you argue about providing someone with an authorization to get medical records or something like that. I don't argue about those things because I know the judge will give that to the defense attorney. I don't argue about things just to argue. Frankly, I think there are too many lawyers out there that argue about things just because they want to argue. What I do is I pick out the most important things that are material to the case and then I fight tooth and nail to try and win those to get the best result I can for my clients and what we do is we work with the courts, too, because some courts are easier to work with than others.
I've been practicing in Buffalo almost 20 years and I know the judges, I know the judges' law clerks, and frankly, the way to get a case through the system is to cooperate with the judge, cooperate with the law clerk, and if it's a good case -- and frankly, I try to focus my attention on every one of my cases. We don't take every case that comes in the door, but the cases we do, we try to do our very best to get the best result and typically, what we do in a case is we sue the case, we ask for a judge to become involved in the case with a request for judicial intervention, and then we'll get a scheduling order from the judge which says we have to do depositions within a certain period of time. We'll also get an order from the judge saying an independent medical exam has to be done of the person who's injured within a specific period of time and then we'll get a trial date because what needs to be done is we need to have leverage up against the insurance companies so that they know we're prepared to take the case to trial and we're prepared to pursue it to get a fair and just result for our clients.
So, Debby, if you would, I'd like you to talk a little bit further about your experience working with other lawyers. I know you and I've had the pleasure working together on some significant cases and I've had the pleasure of having you call me and ask if I could handle some cases that have been referred to you or people that asked for personal injury help from you, let's talk a little bit about that. Well, I like the fact that you're very straightforward and that is important to me. I like the fact that you're honest. What's critical I think in the cases that I particularly try to refer to you is not only the dollar value of the settlement that the client may obtain, but also how that money is going to be dispersed to the client and it is that ability to attempt to foresee the future needs of the client. That does not always happen and you are interested in what is the net that the client is going to walk away from. What good is it if all they can do is buy a cup of coffee afterwards? And then again, what you're getting at is down the road if they get a substantial sum, let's say it's multiples hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars. I've had many, many million-dollar results. The question is what is the client going to end up doing with those settlement proceeds and I encourage my clients generally to get a stream of payments, to reimburse them for wages, let's say, if they can't work in the future, then people know what's coming in the door so they'll take a lump sum, let's say, $200,000 or $300,000. Instead of getting $200,000 or $300,000 up front, they might get $100,000 up front and then structure into a stream of payments, the extra $200,000. That allows people to not end up giving all their friends and family loans, it ends up with them not buying a fancy house and not affording the taxes on that fancy house, or buying a fancy car. I have had probably in excess of 20 clients over the past ten years or so who've come to me and said, "Thank you so much for encouraging me to take a stream of payments for my money because I would have lost it or my friends and family would have requested me to give them loans." And I tell my clients, "This is your money. This is your only opportunity." And this is important for people out there. You have one chance if you're seriously injured to make a recovery and I know that. My staff knows that and we make every effort to maximize our ability to help you maximize the value of your settlement and we do whatever we can to try and help you in that regard.
Debby, is there anything else after we've spoken here that you think is important that we haven't talked about? One last point -- now no one is so wealthy that they can do this work all or nothing, or pro bono as we say in the legal profession, however, if you are going to be a true embodiment of the word advocate, then you really have to have heart and it isn't all about the money and Jed Dietrich, you have heart. It's three years later after that settlement has all happened and you're still calling me to see about the well-being of that lady. So that's the last thing. All of those wonderful qualities -- your brightness, your hardworking nature, your attention to detail, your ability to project, and your heart make you an exceptional attorney and a fine gentleman and it's a pleasure working with you.
Thank you for joining us. If you've been injured and it wasn't your fault, contact me at 839-3939.
Hello and welcome back. Jed Dietrich here from the Dietrich Law Firm. You can contact us at 839-3939. My guest for this portion of the show is Dr. David Pacana. Dr. Pacana, good to see you.
Dr. Pacana importantly is a chiropractic doctor in Western New York. He works out of North Tonawanda. He's a Buffalo guy, graduated from Niagara Falls High School, and importantly, Dr. Pacana and I work together, and even more importantly, Dr. Pacana was a former client of mine. Dr. Pacana had an automobile injury case and as he's going to describe right now, it was a rather complicated case. We did depositions and we ultimately resolved the case to Dr. Pacana's satisfaction, but it took a fight and we're going to talk a little bit about that fight, so Dr. Pacana, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background. My background, I'm from the Western New York area, Niagara Falls, grew up. I graduated from Niagara Falls High school. I started my college career at Niagara County Community College and finished at Buff State where I acquired a math, science, and chemistry degree, and then I went on to Graduate school to New York Chiropractor College. I graduated in 1999. I've been practicing for about 15 years now.
Tell us about your first accident, and again, there's an issue there because I didn't represent you in your first case, you went to a different firm. My first accident was approximately 11 years ago. It was a severe rear-end accident. I was represented by another attorney. The case dragged out, dragged out. It was finally settled. My second accident happened about four years after that and it was going to be a little more complicated. There were injuries that were previous, new injuries that were acquired and I wanted to go to somebody that I thought could handle that case and that can handle the complications of the litigation of that case.
And how did you actually come to my attention? It was through a patient and through commercials, honestly, and I researched you --and I called your office and I thought you could be the guy I could sit in front of and talk to and I was very impressed when I did sit down because you're a high profile attorney, but you seem very down to earth and easy to talk to. And that's what I try to do with my clients. I try to treat my clients and everyone in my life the way I want to be treated. Such that, when people say, what is Jed Dietrich like? The standard answer is, "He can talk to me, he will talk to me, he doesn't talk down to me." Too many lawyers out there talk down to people just because they think they're an attorney and that's not my perspective. I put myself in your shoes to try to treat you the way I would want to be treated, and I appreciate you saying that, David.
At this point, Dr. Pacana, I'd like to highlight something for people out there. Prior to your second automobile injury, and right after you worked with the other lawyer, had you and I ever met before your second injury? No. There was no connection. And that's important. Dr. Pacana came to my office to be represented as a client, as a patient, because of my reputation, and after we sat down together -- and I don't take every case that comes through the door -- we decided to work together. Correct. Tell us a little bit about what that was like. People out there have questions. They've had injuries, they've been in accidents. It can be a daunting experience. What was it like coming to my office and working with me? It was a good experience. You sat down, you listened to everything that I had to say. You reassured me that I should do this, I should do A, B, C, connect the dots. And again, Dr. Pacana had a prior automobile collision where there was a neck and a back injury so MRIs were created then and I'll actually take those MRI results and compare them and see what the progression would be. So, the insurance company obviously didn't want to recognize the significance of your injury and we had to sue the case, so I drafted the paperwork to go to the New York State Supreme Court. We filled out paperwork on Dr. Pacana's behalf in terms of delineating his injuries, you reviewed that paperwork with your wife and then we ultimately went to a deposition.
So, if you could talk a little bit about what the deposition was like. I prepare every client before the deposition, usually a couple of days before the deposition. We try to go through all the questions the defense attorney would ask you, all the questions we would anticipate, so that you're prepared and you're comfortable at the deposition. What I liked about our deposition is, at times, the opposing attorneys that are sitting across from you tend to talk down to you, tend to try to lessen your injuries and make them not as serious. What I liked about you, Jed, is that you not only stopped them and talked to me and cleared up the situation, but when it came time for you to talk to their client, you did not do the same as they did. And again, it goes with my personal philosophy. There are a lot of lawyers out there. If you have an injury, you have a lot of choices to make. It's important to be with a lawyer who respects you, who listens to you, and who will fight for you to get you fair and just compensation so what I try to do, not just with my clients and not just with the doctors I work with, not with just the judges, but even with the opposing attorneys and even the opposing attorney's client because every person who's involved in the system gets an impression of what the system is like and unfortunately our legal system has certain impressions that aren't necessarily good ones, but what I try to do and every member of my staff tries to do is to treat people with respect and to give the people that we interact with a positive reference with regard to what it's like to be in litigation. So, we performed the deposition and after the deposition, we were successful in negotiating a result? Yes. And again, what we try to do is to pursue the case vigorously, with our client's help, in an effort to prepare as if we're going to go to trial. We are prepared to go to trial. The insurance company knows that. Because we have leverage against them, they provide us with an offer, if we can settle the case, that we believe is fair and reasonable. If the offer is not fair and reasonable, we will then take the case to court.
Welcome back. Jed Dietrich here. You can contact me at 839-3939.
I'm joined here now with Dr. David Pacana. He's a chiropractic physician who works out of North Tonawanda. He's from Niagara Falls, and importantly, Dr. Pacana was my former client. He's not only a chiropractor, but he's my former client and we're going to talk a little bit about what happens after an automobile collision when you hurt your neck and your back.
Dr. Pacana, good to see you. Good to be here, good to see you. Thanks for coming in. Dr. Pacana has a model of the spine and when you're in an automobile collision and you're rear-ended, typically, your seatbelt will hold you in across your shoulders and across your waist. Unfortunately, that leaves your neck, which is not restrained, to move forward in a rear-end collision. So, your neck moves forward, your lower torso stays in the seat by the seatbelt, your shoulders are restrained and that exposes your neck to significant strain. That's how you can end up with a herniated disk or a bulging disk or a protrusion. So typically, Dr. Pacana, what is the area on the spine here -- we've got a model of the spine -- that's injured in a rear-end collision. The area of the spine that is injured is the neck. It's from the base of the skull down to about here. There are seven vulnerable vertebrae that's called the cervical spine which make up the neck. And in that cervical spine, what is it between the vertebral bodies that's there? In between the vertebral bodies are the soft tissue called the discs. A lot of patients, a lot of clients will hear the term herniated disc, bulging disc, and this occurs when there is an acceleration/deceleration injury. The common person would call it whiplash. They get struck from behind, as you stated, the shoulders are restrained by the harness, the head goes forward and then whips backwards, and that split second of an accident will cause tearing, herniations in the cervical spine. If you would, so people could see, would you mind turning the spine sideways and showing us that whiplash motion such on the neck here? The whiplash on the model is not going to be as severe as if it was real life. We're missing a head, so it would go forward. OK. And then it would come backwards, and a lot of times, hitting the headrest causing a sudden stop. Your head will stop, but these components will continue to try to move and that's where we get almost like a shearing sensation on the disc. OK, and then if I could take that from you. This area here is the lumbar spine, they call it? Correct. And if you would, show us the discs at L45 and L5S1. L45, right here. L5S1. These are the discs in your body that take the most pressure in your spine and take the most impact when there is an auto accident.
OK, if I could take that from you, I'd like to talk a little bit now about what you as a chiropractor, you as a member of the medical community in Western New York, what do you do for people when they have neck and back injuries, for instance, a herniated disc? We perform regular chiropractic manipulations which is proven to help alleviate the pain and help improve the symptoms of a disc. We have spinal decompression therapy, depending on how bad the disc is. We have massage therapy in-house to help with a lot of the muscle damage and muscle spasm going along with that disc injury and it could be a long process, but it's a conservative therapy that is well thought of with injuries. And what I'd like to do at this point, for people out there, you may have questions and say, "I was in a collision, I was rear-ended. This sounds like my problem. My head hurts, my neck hurts, my shoulders hurt, my lower back hurts. I need to get to someone." We like to work with Dr. Pacana and chiropractors because you can provide a disability note. Yes. You can say that someone is not physically able to work. You can also prescribe an MRI which is important to diagnose injuries, which a physical therapist cannot do and that's important because if your primary doctor refers you to physical therapy -- not that there's anything wrong with physical therapy -- the physical therapist cannot write you a disability note and cannot write you a prescription for an MRI, and frankly, cannot refer you to another physician if it's important, you have to go back to your primary. That's why it's fruitful frequently to work with the chiropractic community to allow the facilitation of your disability note and your prescriptions for further care to be done properly and if you're involved in an automobile collision, it's important to note your insurance company, your no-fault insurance company pays for your medical bills and they also pay for Dr. Pacana's bills and Dr. Pacana doesn't charge a co-pay or any co-insurance. He bills no-fault directly.
Let's talk a little bit about that. We are the quarterback that controls everything -- MRI, advanced diagnostic testing, referral to other practitioners, and keeping up -- and also, which is important -- keeping up with sending the documents back to their attorney so they know where they are. And that's so, so important for people out there. You have to understand your case and the medical records associated with your case determine the amount of compensation you will be entitled to. You represent your client, and I was a client, better than anybody I know. Thank you, David, I appreciate that.