Speakers – Gregory Spektor & Michael Levitis
Michael Levitis 00:00
Hey there everybody, this is Michael Levitis. From JurisQ.com, a legal network, with our participant attorney, Gregory Spektor from the law firm of Gregory Spektor and Associates, a premier law firm that deals with personal injury and personal injury only – car accidents and construction accidents. Gregory, welcome back.
Gregory Spektor 00:32
Thank you. Thanks,
Michael Levitis 00:33
Gregory. I called you in because it was a big developments that happened recently in courts, which could change the landscape of personal injury lawsuits here in New York. There was a certain doctor, doctor to see who is an expert for the insurance companies, right. And insurance companies are using him to try to not pay for insurance claims, which is not good for the people who got hurt in car accidents that trying to get get recovery for their injury, for their medical bills, and so on. Because this doctor, they were being precluded. So please tell me what happened. And how can this help now, the plaintiffs the people who are suing to get just awards for their injuries?
Gregory Spektor 01:31
All right. So yes, this was factually correct. There was a lawsuit, June 7, that ended up in a what’s called an excess verdict. Okay, what’s the next verdict? Let’s start from that. Now insurance company has a particular insurance limits. And the most common insurance limits in the state of New York are 100-300, which means that $100,000 for each person who’s in the car, who’s involved in an accident, up to $300,000, total. Okay, so let’s say, three people may potentially get 300, however, five people will have to do I lose 300 in between. Now, there are some insurance companies that were notorious for never ever tendering that, that amount. And they would have a bunch of steps that they would go through in order to not pay that amount. And I’ll be honest with you, there were a lot of law firms that wouldn’t take cases, once they would learn that this insurance companies, the defendant, we were not one of those firms where we’re taking these cases, we know how to fight them. We know, we know the variables that need to be solved,
Michael Levitis 02:53
And you have a whole army of attorneys and paralegals ready to go to fight your clients.
Gregory Spektor 03:00
Exactly. So of course, first, you know, they tried to do while the litigation is going on, they put up the ridiculous offer of usually $25,000 and they wouldn’t offer and then you don’t take it, they start trying to dismiss this case on the motions and the liabilities, and they should they’ll try motion for summary judgment on liability. Then they would try motion for summary judgment on threshold. Now, I guess, let me try to translate that in plain English, let’s say some judgment. Summary Judgment is when you know, one party says – Listen, there’s really no issues of facts to be presented to a jury. These issues are issues of law, and therefore they can be decided by court by a judge. Okay, so go ahead and file such motion. We do that a lot on liability side, especially if it’s a rear end collision, or it’s a, you know, an obvious violation by the defendant over VTL rule, you know, a stop sign or left turn and things of that nature. The advantage for plaintiffs in obtaining such a judgment barely on the game was that it starts accumulating interest, though 9% annual, and then whatever the verdict is at trial, it has to be adjusted by that 9% annually from the moment that that judgment was granted. Okay. Now, honestly, rarely will the defendants success succeed on their motion for summary general liability, because you and I, you know, no plaintiff’s lawyer will take a case where there is a question of a liability why, because we get paid on contingency right? Only if you now only if we were right, so the next motion that they tried to do is motion for summary judgment on threshold of seriousness of the injury, what is the what is that now, New York State has a very narrow definition of what constitutes a serious injury. And that you know, includes a fracture laceration, loss of limb loss of fears that then if you were not able to attend to your day to day activities for the first 90 days, for 90 days out of the first 180 days, immediately following the accident, and then more commonly used are significant, permanent or significant limitation of body use or organ now, and that is where that particular insurance company, I’m not going to name it would throw those motions at everybody. And sometimes they could succeed, at the very least, that requires a lot of work to oppose that motion, because you need to get affirmation from all the doctors, you know, you basically have to put the client through sort of another medical exam just to beat this motion, right, throughout all the doctors, but we have never lost that motion ever against that particular defendant. So with all of this fails, and they go to trial, they like to pull it and you call him a doctor, you’re being generous. He’s a self proclaimed doctor, he has his medical degree in another country, which does not count in the United States. He never, ever, you know, he never completed his affirmations here, at least in the state of New York. And they would provide this doctor’s opinion, they he was called a biomechanical expert. And usually that person wouldn’t would review the pictures, defendants vehicles, pictures, pictures, he will review the testimony of the depositions and he will review all the treatment. And always you would say that these injuries could not have been caused by this x, which creates always as a rule, you will make sure that the plaintiff does not get paid. Always. You understand, you know, he was not an independent contractor. Why the insurance company, he was paid by insurance companies to give their thing. And unfortunately, it was not just this particular insurance company, they use them he was he was, you know, this name is very well known. I went against this guy about three years ago in, in Kings Supreme Court, and destroyed him on the cross examination. Unfortunately, the client didn’t want to wait until the verdict because they offered $95,000 and he took it. What happened on June 7, this year, right is a game changer, because I guess that blind didn’t mind going above and beyond. And they got a verdict of over a million dollars. Now what that means is that a lot of times when insurance companies do try to settle the case, by in a lot of instances when the injury is serious enough, then during the full policy, then you the plaintiff has potential action cause of action for bad faith for that excess. In other words, for the difference between the verdict and what’s available.
Michael Levitis 08:56
But the jury gave the plaintiff $1,150,000. Above the policy limit!
Gregory Spektor 09:18
So it’s not as straightforward. You know, it’s not that they have to pay now you have to fight you have to file a new action, but it’s possible to get paid. Yes, it’s very much possible and you had to do a few things beforehand. For example, you should be as a plaintiff’s attorney, you should send a what’s called Bad Faith letter. Telling the insurance company that at this point, you’re no longer acting in good faith to protect your insurer. You have to put your insured on notice that you’re not acting in such a way ask him to get their own counsel, because we will be asking the jury for a verdict far in excess of available policy.
Michael Levitis 09:59
Gregor, this is a very interesting piece of information. And I’m going to ask you to come back another time. And we’re going to do a whole separate piece just on that, because that’s very interesting. You could get beyond the policy element. But let’s come back now to this demolished destroyed, doctor.
Gregory Spektor 10:17
A lot of times, so what what was the, you know, and and it’s not a secret that plaintiff’s attorneys, they talk to each other, right? There are a lot of listservs out there, there are a lot of conferences where we’re playing, there’s attorneys discussing, and everybody was mad that insurance companies are trying to put that hack, I’m sorry. And at this point, that one thing I’m, you know, going on crossing any lines, because it’s once those transfers become available, everybody will see that he will happen in that courthouse. So the let me just pull back. So the attorneys talk amongst themselves and there was an there was a division as to what’s better, what is safer way to proceed? Is it to preclude this expert, alleged expert through what’s called a motion to eliminate which you can file right before the trial starts. And in that motion, you can indicate whether or not what he reviewed is not sufficient to form that opinion. Or there is also what’s called a Frye Hearing, which is a hearing where you, honestly, you you basically question all the background that this person presents he has, if he’s a real expert, if he’s a real expert, and even you know, even if he proves that as to whether or not he actually applied his expertise, diligently he to the facts of this case. And like I said, we first we destroyed him on the cross examination with precluded him many times on this motion limit. We recruited him at least once on that Friday hearing. And the argument amongst plaintiff’s lawyers was whether or not was the best way to do this, you know, it’s the same with the recording, just in case, you know, just to make sure that jury do not hear this opinion, and it doesn’t poison their way of thinking, or put him out there and and destroy Him on the cross examination. But now that that that issue is resolved, okay, honestly, because now these transcripts from the hearing of June 7 will become available. And all the transcripts from any trial are public information, you can exchange them. And now if anybody is going to try to bring them bring the same expert with us, you’re gonna read from that transcript, all those questions, all those answers that he got wrong, you can ask him, do you know what was the jury more weren’t, and he’s gonna have to tell you not to go ahead and sell it for him. So basically, he is forever tainted his reputation. He’s done, in my opinion, is done more around the house with you, Michael, since June 7, we started seeing that insurance company calling and trying to sell the game was they realize what happened, they would never ever go above $25,000 and start selecting the jury. And I had a case I was supposed to go for jury selection on June 14. They call us on June 10. And before, you know, before, even, you know, trying too hard in front of the judge, they’re not able to disclose who is that insurance company? What is it? I am I don’t I don’t think this is this. It’s American transit insurance company that the insurance most of the yellow cabs is.
Michael Levitis 14:00
If you are if your policy carrier is American transit, and before you were unsuccessful, to get paid for your bodily injury, now, it is possible. It’s not guaranteed, but I think it’s worth a shot. Right.
Gregory Spektor 14:20
So it’s a lot easier. Yes. And that this was not your insurance. I just want to clarify one thing and since it’s not your insurance, but the insurance of the tortfeasor the insurance of the defendant that caused you to suffer those injuries. Before that, you know, a lot of people would say don’t even bother right now was the time
Michael Levitis 14:41
Gregory this was a great takeaway here that this was a score a win for the good guys, for the attorneys who prosecute these plaintiff cases for people who get injured and tries to get what’s rightfully theirs, trying to get compensation so they can become whole.
Gregory Spektor 15:01
because of loss of work, damage to the car, medical bills, bodily injury, now there is more avenues available to get it brought the balance. It brought the balance where it should be that insurance companies should not be just in the business of making money.
Michael Levitis 15:29
this is why we pay our our insurance premium. If anything happens, we’ll get covered. Okay, Gregory, this is good news. Thank you for bringing them to us. We appreciate it. If anybody has any questions about their case about a car accident issue, or construction accident issue, please call the number at the bottom of the screen. Ask for Gregory Spektor. And Gregory you’ll be able to give them free consultation about their rights of whether or not and how they can get paid for their bodily injury. Greg, thank you, everybody. Have a great day. Thank you for tuning in. Until next time. Thank you, bye bye