N America News May 2017

42 NORTH AMERICA NEWS / MAY 2017 , The lawyers and support staff at the Valente Lawfirmhave a proven track record of millions of dollars recovered for their clients. Philip Valente Jr tells us more about the firmand takes us through the trial process. The Trial Process Philip Valente Jr. is a Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist who has been practicing law since 1995. The Valente Law Firm team has handled multi-million dollar car crash cases, trucking accident cases, aviation crashes, trip and fall, first party insurance cases, and commercial litigation cases. Phil personally represented the winning partner in a partnership dispute recovering in excess of $7 million for his client, plus recovering all of the client’s attorney’s fees. Being a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer means that Phil has been tested and certified by the Florida Bar to be an expert in the handling of civil trial matters in both State and Federal Courts. Mr. Valente has been recognized by the courts of this state as being willing to take on and win cases that others might not dare to try. He is an instrument rated pilot and regularly flies across the country for both work and pleasure. He has been a frequent lecturer for the Florida Justice Association, speaking on subjects such as the trial of personal injury cases, voir dire, handling medical and billing issues, cross examination, and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Happily married for more than 22 years, and the father of three, Mr. Valente has long been known as a coach of his two boys in their baseball endeavors and is affectionately called “Coach Phil” by ball players and their parents on the teams he has coached in our local community. Mr. Valente enjoys an excellent reputation among the major insurance carriers, has been repeatedly recognized for his excellence and skill in the handling of cases by the State’s Judges, and is regularly consulted by lawyers across the state for co-counsel opportunities. Here, Phil takes us through what happens at an insurance case trial. “Many people wonder what happens at trial. If the case is a personal injury case and it has gone to trial, this has occurred because the Defendant’s Insurance Company has refused to pay a reasonable amount for the injuries suffered by the Plaintiff. The fact that the case is in trial means that the Defendant has an insurance policy and an insurance company is paying for the Defendant’s lawyers, is paying all of the Defendant’s expert witnesses, and will pay whatever amount the jury awards, plus all costs for the defense of the case. Florida law prohibits the lawyers from telling the jurors if there is insurance or how much insurance there might be. This means that in almost every case, the jury will never know who the Defendant’s insurance company is, the fact that the insurance company has offered money to settle the case, the amount they have offered, or what the policy limits are. “The Defendant (really the insurance company) has forced the injured Plaintiff to be examined by a Defense Doctor. These Defense Doctors have testified in hundreds or even thousands of cases for the insurance companies. They have admitted to making millions of dollars doing these examinations and being paid for depositions and trial testimony. They have become professional witnesses. In many cases, these insurance company doctors claim to still practice medicine and to do surgery, though that claim can often never be substantiated. The Defense Doctors socialize with the attorneys who work with these Defense Doctors and retain them time and time again. The Defense Doctors know what to say and how to be persuasive when they are on the witness stand. They are polished professionals who do their best to try to come off as impartial witnesses, which is hardly what they are. They typically testify that the Plaintiff was not injured as a result of the accident. They almost always say the Plaintiff suffered no permanent injury as a result of the accident, even though they know there is in fact a permanent injury. They testify that findings on x-rays and MRI scans are “pre-existing,” “degenerative,” or otherwise “not caused by the accident.” In many cases, they take prior complaints made by the injured Plaintiff and claim they were the cause of the Plaintiff’s current complaints. “Conversely, the Plaintiff’s treating doctors are not professional witnesses. While some treating doctors are good witnesses in trial, the fact is that they are not hired guns, but are instead real doctors who treat people with real injuries. It is not uncommon for a treating doctor to have previously testified. The main difference is that the Plaintiff’s doctors treat people for a living, while the defense doctors make a living off the insurance companies who hire them. “Testimony by the Plaintiff is a very difficult thing. The injured Plaintiff is usually nervous. Plaintiffs are unfairly asked to try and remember their entire past medical history. It is not uncommon for a Plaintiff to forget or not even know about a reference in a medical record years ago. Yet, insurance company lawyers always try to make the most out of what is nothing more than a mistake by a Plaintiff and try to attack the Plaintiff’s whole case over simply a forgotten complaint. “Did you know that the Plaintiff’s lawyers only get paid if the Plaintiff wins? Florida law allows a client to retain an attorney on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer pays all of the costs of the case (which are typically expensive, $15, 000 on a simple case) as well as expend many hours on the case and 1702CA10

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