M A G A Z I N E
Tina OdjaghianofBrainSoCal narrates herhumblebeginnings toownershipof one of themost influencial organizations inSouthernCalifornia
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PUBLISHER FROM THE
D4A PRINT PUBLISHER
Jean Paul Anderson EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nikole Kinsella ART DIRECTOR Ray “Jussray” Floyd LEAD GRAPHIC ARTIST Simon Park SENIOR STAFF EDITOR Sydney Gaede
Trying to work at our kitchen table as a desk and in our guest room-turned-offices while balancing the serious concerns of COVID-19, the health and wellness of our loved ones, team members and more was not easy. So, trying to find the words to say how incredibly proud we are of the flexibility and determination of the Doctors For Accidents team is not easy either. Every issue presents its challenges, but at no time in history (at least not in our publish - ing history) have we had to pivot as much as we have over the last year. As we successfully transitioned from a collaborative environment to one led by Zoom and conference calls, we became stronger, more communicative, and above all, more forward-thinking . We would like to formally thank and credit all of our advertis- ers, contributors, providers and staff who have continuously believed in our brand. It is with your support that we are able to efficiently publish such a high-quality product, despite the adversity we faced this last year. We hope that this 2022 will only further our success and expand our influence within the industry and beyond.
D4A DIGITAL DIGITAL EDITOR Ryan Fiormonti TECHNOLOGY Shawn Rayos
FOR ALL QUESTIONS AND SUBMISSIONS PHONE: 833-999-9362 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org VISIT US AT d4amagazine.com Doctors For Accidents Magazine is published four times a year by Doctors For Accidents, LLC. It is mailed to Legal and Medical Pro- fessionals in the Greater Los Angeles area as well as distributed at commercial locations in all of California and surrounding states. All Rights reserved. No article illustrations, photographs or other edito- rial matter or advertisement herein may be reproduced without permis- sion of the copy write owner (s). Doctors For Accidents, LLC. does not take responsibility for the claims provided herein. Printed in the U.S.A.
Jean Paul Anderson Publisher Nikole Anderson Editor-In-Chief
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FEATURE ARTICLES PG18 | Tina Odjaghian A Posy Promise PG22 | Robert Simon Using Experts To Maximize Your Client’s Recovery PG8 | Dr. Bal Grewal Diagnosis & Assessment Of TBI PG5 | Dr. Hirsh Kaveeshvar Traumatic Brain Injury: A Silent Overlooked Symptom PG14 | TOP 5 BRANDING CONCEPTS By Jean Paul Anderson PG26 | PAPARAZZI!!! Photos of People, Place, and Events. PG16 | Traumatic Brain Injury Column by Susano Coria, Esq. PG10 | LATLC Los Angeles Trail Lawyers’ Charities PG24 | CPLG Making The Law Make Sense PG30 | CONNECT WITH US
PHOTO CREDITS Jean-Paul Anderson Cabo San Lucas
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CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ALL QUESTIONS AND SUBMISSIONS PHONE: 833-999-9362 EMAIL: email@example.com VISIT US AT d4amagazine.com
PHOTO CREDITS Jean-Paul Anderson Cabo San Lucas
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Dr. Hirsh Kaveeshvar
There are a lot of patients whomay look fine outside, but on the inside they are not the same person they were before the injury.....
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Headaches • Dizziness • Confusion
Numbness In Extremities
Mild traumatic brain injuries have been hard to detect by physicians. New research reveals that even mild TBI can cause substantial cognitive deficits that can have long lasting effects. Neuro-cognitive domains are not assessed in the majority of patients who have suffered a brain injury. Deficiencies in neurocognitive domains can affect reasoning, perception, coordination, mem - ory and attention. Deficiencies in these domains can affect the patient’s ability to return to their domestic and professional lives. Difficulties in domestic duties can cause disagreements at home, tension and even di- vorce. Difficulties in professional duties can lead to job loss. Working up a brain injury may reveal close to normal neuro- logical physical examinations. Even diagnostic studies such as brain MRI’s may return normal results. Cognitive assessments may reveal underlying neu- ro-cognitive deficiencies. Cognitive assessments should include testing in the spaces of auditory short term memory, divided attention, hand eye co- ordination, non verbal memory, recognition, short term memory, visual perception, width of field of view, auditory perception, estimation, inhibition, planning, response time, spatial percep - tion, visual scanning, working memory, contextual memory, focused attention, naming, pro - cessing speed, shifting, updat - ing, visual short term memory. Patients who show defects in these domains can benefit from cognitive rehabilitation. If a patient continues to demonstrate these symptoms, a second opinion with cog - nitive assessment should be considered.
• Blurred Vision • Spotty Vision • Sensitivity to Light or Sound
• Headaches • Dizziness • Confusion • Fatigue • Blurred vision, spotty vision, jumpy vision, vision loss • Sensitivity to light or sound • Sensory deficiencies • Changes in mood or sleep patterns • Pain or recurring headaches • Inability to control or coordinate motor functions • Disturbance with balance • Hearing deficiencies such as ringing in the ear or hearing loss • Seizures
• Nausea • Vomiting • Numbness in extremities • Confusion • Memory loss • Difficulty finding the “right” word
Dr. Hirsh Kaveeshvar Dr. Hirsh Kaveeshvar is a neurologist in LosAngeles, California. He received his medical degree fromMichigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice between 3-5 years.
• I get lost easily • I can’t remember...
• My Vision Isnt The Same
CommonComplaintsFromPatients Include: • I have been very forgetful since the accident • I get lost easily • I can’t remember where I parked • I can’t remember where I leave my keys • I don’t remember what day of the week it is. • My vision is not the same anymore. • I don’t feel the same as before.
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POST TRAUMATIC STRESSDISORDER (PTSD) ...After A Car Accident ByDr. Bal SGrewal An Unbiased Approach to Finding Brain Injuries The typical approach to diagnosing mild TBI (also known as concussion)
8 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS WIN/SPR 2021 During the impact of an accident, the rapid back and forth movement of the brain inside of the bony skull causes bruising, bleeding, and tearing or stretching of the nerve fibers. A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) happens when the brain’s connect - ing nerve fibers (axons) are sheared as result of the brain shifting and rotating inside of the Often, this diagnosis is not documented in ER medical records despite patients reporting findings which are consistent with mild traumatic brain injury. The absence of a reliable clinical diagnosis of TBI leads to inadequate treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all. An incorrect diagnosis can cause worsening in the patient’s condition and a delay in the recovery process. TBIs may be missed or misdiagnosed because symptoms of TBI frequently overlap with other neuropsychiatric conditions that are common among adults and can cause impaired cognition. One example is depression, which can present as slowness in thinking, delayed responses during conversations, problems with attention and memory, all of which could just as well be due a traumatic brain injury. includes both neuroimaging and neuropsychological assessment.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD. While most people recognize the physical injuries incurred in an accident, the psychological aspects can be even more severe. In the event of a personal injury accident, the first concern is typically physical injury. Drivers and Passengers involved in a serious car accident have been known to develop PTSD, in addition to emotional upset including anger, depression and anxiety in reaction to pain and functional limitations. Victims may lose loved ones in an accident, witness violent and traumatic injuries, have chronic anxiety and depression, have fears of driving, or must deal with the
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9 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS ISSUE 4 skull. Diffuse damage to the brain can result from mild traumatic brain injury, even when there is no loss of consciousness.
to assist in differential diagnosis, identifying and diagnosing cogni- tive and psychological conditions, and to develop an appropriate treatment plan. The neuropsycho - logical evaluation should be done within 4-6 months of the TBI. Results of CT scans or MRIs of the brain will usually be “normal” or show “no abnormalities” in mild TBI. In other words, an unremark-
Trauma to the brain can cause injury to the neurons & axons which can in - terfere with normal brain functioning. When nerve cells in the brain are damaged, they can no longer trans- mit and/or cause interference with transmission of neurological infor- mation from one part of the brain to
other parts of the brain. Damage can cause significant mood, behavioral & cognitive changes. Immediately after the accident the person may be disorientated, dazed, confused, not remember what happened, and may have blurry vision. Symptoms may also include severe headache or nausea, ringing in ears, dizziness, or tiredness. These features of a concussion may not start right away; they may start days or weeks after the injury. After mild TBI, people can experience physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, sensitivity to noise and light, problem with speech, and loss of balance. Cognitive issues such as difficulty focusing, lack of concentration and attention, and memory problems are also common with TBI. In addition, patients may present with mood problems, for example, depression, anxiety, irritability, aggression, and sleep disturbance. The extent and effect of brain dam - age is determined by neuroimaging testing such as MRI or CT scans, and neuropsychological assess - ments. Cognitive findings serve as the basis of a clinical DAI/mild TBI diagnosis. Neuropsychological assessment can help determine the areas of the brain that are impacted by TBI and how their impairments are impacting functions. The neuro - psychological evaluation is crucial
able imaging study is not necessar- ily a reliable indicator that trauma has not occurred to the brain. A “normal” scan simply suggests the absence of a more severe acute neurological injury. Emergency rooms obtain brain scans to confirm or rule-out life threatening processes including brain hem - orrhage, edema, stroke and skull fractures, in order to more safely discharge the patient. There are some specialized scans such as Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) & Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI) that can be ordered that are more likely to pick up some possible mechanisms of TBI (such as finding DAI - diffuse axonal injury). Brain MRI (3.0T) to include Fractional Anisotropy (FA) analysis, resting state default mode network, arterial spin labeling, and volumetric analysis, will detect pa - thology-specific details such as microstructural changes in the axons and myelin of brain white matter. Integrating neuroimaging and neuropsychological evaluation will aid to the accuracy of diagnosis and provide objective evidence of mild traumatic brain injury.
Dr.Bal S.Grewal Neuropsychologist Clinical Psychologist
Panorama City, CA 91402 Lancaster, CA 93534 Los Angeles, CA 90025 Huntington Park, CA 90255
Grewal@Paincure.com Cell: (818) 414 3324
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10 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS ISSUE 4 SPOTLIGHT: LOS ANGELES TRAIL LAWYERS’ CHARITIES LATLC
LATLC’S MISSION is “to make a positive difference in the quality of life for people within the greater Los Angeles area, focusing on issues related to education, children, survivors of abuse, people with disabilities, and homelessness, by providing financial assistance and volunteer service to groups in need.”
11 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS ISSUE 4 From volunteer hours to financial support, the membership inspires one another to bring about positive change. As simple as it sounds, this strategy has a proven and successful track record, making LATLC the charity of choice for the Trial Lawyer’s community. Karina Lallande, Lallande Law and 2023 President, noted, “When it comes to the marketing of LATLC, the work of the organization speaks for itself. We support and partner with some of the most critical nonprofit organizations in our community. LATLC provides financial support and direct, tangible assistance to those in need through community events and volunteer service. These projects are a great example of the passion we have to provide real hands-on help to those in need. Our presence has become an invaluable part of the greater Los Angeles landscape, and it is that strong foundation that drives our marketing efforts.” The last few years have seen LATLC increase its online presence, which has helped facilitate its hands-on work and contributed to its success. LATLC’s monthly
The past year has been a crucial time for nonprofit organizations, as the need has grown, but for many organizations, resourc- es have fallen. Adapting to the COVID-im -
lawyers based in greater Los Angeles. Each of the founding members was involved in his or her own charity work at the time and was motivated by the idea that they could
pacted landscape is a daunting task. Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities (LATLC), with its 3000+ supporters, have taken the challenge to heart, not only sustaining the foundation but nurturing its growth. “Pivot” seemed to be everyone’s “word of the year” for 2020 and into 2021. LATLC was no different. LATLC’s mission is “to make a positive difference in the quality of life for people within the greater Los Angeles area, focus- ing on issues related to education, children, survivors of abuse, people with disabilities, and homelessness, by providing financial assistance and volunteer service to groups in need.” LATLC accomplishes this with annual fundraisers and monthly service projects – all in-person activities. Daniel K. Kramer, 2021 President and founding partner at Kramer Trial Lawyers, A.P.C., explained that by “pivoting” during the pandemic, th ey could still meet the needs of the community. “The year ended with LATLC providing over $253,000 in financial grants to 56 charities, raising $50,000 for holiday toys, food, and es - sentials for South Los Angeles families in need, $30,000 in college scholarships, and $20,000 in emergency meals for low-income students and senior citizens.” Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities was established in 2006 by a handful of plaintiff
achieve more together. LATLC’s first project took place over that holiday season, with members volunteering at St. Anne’s serving meals. As LATLC celebrates its 15th Anniversary,
its growth came from visionary past leaders who transformed the organization from an idea to a model that is being replicated beyond Los Angeles County. In 2014 the College Schol - arship and Youth Sports programs were initiated. The following year, a formal service-program was introduced. Since then, volunteers have participated in over 100 events, spending 6,080 hours doing everything from painting to cooking to gardening, and so much more. LATLC’s marketing approach builds from the notion; ‘if you build it, and they will come.’
By creating unique activities that reflect and fulfill the organization’s mandate, LATLC can engage the organization-at-large.
newsletter focuses on volunteer projects and fundraising events and spotlights one of their partner charities. Communication with
12 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS ISSUE 4 supporters is increased when a significant event or volunteer opportunity is on the horizon. Social media has also played a large part in creating awareness about LATLC and the work they do. With accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Linked- In, LATLC uses social media as a way of actively connecting with both current and potential supporters, partner charities, and the public-at-large. In 2020, LATLC began their #GratiTuesday campaign to express appreciation every Tuesday for an individu - al, partner charity, or group that has helped the organization fulfill its mission of making a positive difference in the community. LAT - LC’s marketing and outreach have helped show people that trial lawyers care.
homeless; and their largest event, “Comfort and Joy.” “Every year, we create a holiday wonder - land for families in South Los Angeles, complete with games, pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, and other fun activities. The kids take home with toys and the parents leave with household goods,” said 2020 President Alyssa Schabloski, Gladius Law. “Obviously, the pandemic prevented any in-person distribution. But that didn’t stop us,” she added. More than $50,000 was raised specifically for these items. LATLC worked with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division, who distributed the gifts through- out the community. Officers became “Patrol Car Santas” and personally delivered LAT - LC bags of goods to the families in need. But their most successful marketing last year also enabled LATLC to provide $253,000 in grants to local non-profits. “This is our 15th Anniversary,” said 2019 President Gerald Marcus, senior counsel of The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus. “By creating a Tribute Book, we not only raised much-needed funds but showcased the incredible history of Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities. The book has been distributed to more than 5,000 attorneys, affiliates, judges, and supporters and will be a major marketing piece for LATLC in the future.” After almost a year of virtual service projects and fundraisers, preparations are underway for their first in-person activities:
Family Clinic, and Exceptional Children’s Foundation.” Five years ago, in addition to volunteer projects with partner charities, LATLC initiated their own signature events: Great Tryke Giveaway provides adaptive bicycles to disabled children; a Day of Dignity for the
“This year, Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities reached an impressive milestone,” said Kramer. “LATLC has provided over five million dollars ($5,000,000) in grants, goods, and gifts to 106 partner charities, including Downtown Women’s Center, Buddy Ball, Los Angeles Mission, Venice
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13 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS ISSUE 4 People then do not feel obliged to support LATLC; rather, they choose to, as they are confident their support will make a tangible difference.” Vartazarian continues, “During the pan - demic, this has become even more evident. Despite the economic turndown, our mem - bership has been incredibly generous. Not only did they make it possible to sustain, but we also grew and were able to help even more charities than expected.” In its 15th year, Los Angeles Trial Law - yers’ Charities has ensured that the most
El Nido Family Center drive-through volun - teer event in April and the highly anticipated Summer Soiree, which is to take place at the Intercontinental Hotel, DTLA on Saturday, August 14, and promises to be an evening in which guests can connect to partner charities and their work in the community. “Since our beginnings, we have been committed to giving back to those in need in greater Los Angeles,” says Kramer. “Thanks to pop culture, trial lawyers are frequently portrayed as larger than life characters, with dubious intentions. LATLC showcases the real lives of our hard-working, kind, and incredibly generous community. It gives an accountable and effective way to connect and care both for the people we stand for, as well as those in our community.” Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities’
successful strategic marketing method for a nonprofit organization is building a strong foundation with a reputation of making a real difference in the community. The impact which LATLC has made in the greater Los Angeles area has led to continuing financial support and more members donating their time by being on the ground to help their partner charities. For more information, please visit http://www.latlc.org
remarkable work is the cornerstone of their strategic marketing. With a strong commu- nity presence and significant donations to their partner charities, their low-key, practi - cal approach is a critical factor behind their marketing campaign and ultimately attracts more supporters and volunteers.
“As a not-for-profit organization, it is often difficult and uncomfortable to ask people for money,” explains Steve Vartazarian, LATLC president-elect and partner with The Vartazarian Law Firm. “We would rather the achievements of the organization speak for themselves, and we believe they do.
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comes into play. Laura Lake in “Why Branding is Important in Marketing” believes your top goals when building a good brand should include: • Confirming your credibility What percentage of your competitors, whether doctors or attorneys, have their own personal brand? • Motivating your target audience • Creating user loyalty • Building an emotional connection • Delivering a clear message in a clear & concise manner Essentially, you want to assert
People are gaining
access to information much quicker than ever before. You are no longer competing with just the practice down the street. You are competing with online search inquiries as well. Imagine your name not popping up at the top of search results when a potential new client searches for your practice simply because your online presence is not optimized for searches? Today, people perform thorough online research before choosing a certain medical or legal practice. This means that your new clients have already looked at your website and Yelp reviews before even knocking at your door. This is where personal branding
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your target audience. “A brand is worthless if it doesn’t really connect with the right audience in the right manner.” Just ask yourself: What percentage of your competitors, whether doctors or attorneys, have their own personal brand? Not many! The truth is a huge chunk of your target audience doesn’t really know much about you! Building a connection is not only necessary for optimizing your business, but essential for survival in today’s world. This is where your personal branding comes into play.
new clients. Let me explain. Doctors and attorneys are already amongst some of the most respected professionals because of their expertise and experience. However, most potential clients are searching for those profes - sionals that are willing to tailor their practice specifically to their needs. The challenge with the online world is that consumers don’t know who to trust. There are dozens of so-called expert professionals already harness - ing the power of referral market - ing to attract prospects. There’s already so much competition! So, the real question is: Why
strong personal brands position themselves as service providers and go-to resources. For example, if your target audience is looking for reliable information online, you should position yourself to provide credible solutions to their ques - tions without directly expecting an immediate sale. Chances are that all they are looking for is an immediate solution to their question. By providing a quick answer to their inquiry, you are setting yourself up as an expert, making them comfortable with your content and leading them to your website regularly. Eventually, it can lead them to contacting your office for direct
your credibility and evoke an emotional connection to leave a lasting impression on your target audience. In a recent survey conducted by the PWC Health Research Institute, about 90% of 18-24 year olds claim that they trust the medical information that is shared by doctors on social media networks. 41% of the respondents also claimed social media to be a major factor affecting their choice of a specific medical facility, hospital, or doctor. Whereas 80% of prospective new clients perform thorough research on different firms prior
Your personal brand is devel- oped over time and must slowly adjust according to feedback before expecting any results.
help because they have already grown trust by consuming your content. Addressing their pain points and delivering a valuable and memorable solution to them is an easy way to showcase your expertise and value. The goal should always be to build trust and confidence amongst potential new clients. Ultimately, the trust built over time turns into a higher con- version rate and outstanding sales. Build Reputation and Credibility Millions of people each day require medical or legal assistance. But, if your practice lacks a unique online presence, then you are already at a huge dis- advantage. Potential clients are lost before you even speak to them simply because you lack online accessibility. Building a personal brand will help position yourself as an expert, someone who is a result-oriented professional.
Whether they are accident doc- tors or divorce attorneys, most of your competitors have yet to consider personal branding. For you to stay competitive, take a step back and analyze the marketing material you put out. Does this really represent your practice and who you are? How does it compare to your competitors? Do you think potential new clients feel com - fortable giving your office a call based solely on your marketing material? If not, begin by simply being genuine. Provide your back- ground, highlight your expertise and experience. Make sure anyone who stumbles upon your name knows that you are a servant to their needs and you are there to help, not just treat them like another number. Building Trust Being genuine quickly ties into building trust amongst potential
would someone choose you? Building a personal brand helps create a unique experience for your audience, helping them understand what you can offer to them, while also showcasing your specialties. A simple way to build trust is to ask your audience to leave feedback, which new prospects can easily refer to. Over time, this builds trust amongst poten - tial new clients and influences their first impression of you once they stumble upon your practice. Cater directly to Your Target Audience and their needs While building a personal brand is absolutely necessary, it’s not easy. Your personal brand is developed over time and must slowly adjust according to feedback before expecting any results. In this content-driven world,
to even making a call. That being said, in this online world, building a personal brand is a necessity. Here are my top 5 reasons why personal branding is essential to building your business: • Sharpens your ompetitive edge • Immediately builds trust • Caters directly to your target Audience and their needs • Builds your reputation & credibility • Boosts Sales Let’s look at each of them one- by-one: Sharpens Your Competitive Edge In today’s world, it’s important to stand out amongst your competitors by connecting with
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It’s simple. A great reputation and credibility maximizes the flow of new clientele. The most effective way to create a great reputation and credibility is through strong personal branding. How do you build strong personal branding? Well, you can start now by working on your online presence to truly showcase your expertise, experi - ence and achievements. Boosts Sales People feel most comfortable doing business with the brands they feel are safe and trustworthy. Ultimately, instilling comfort works in your favour and increases the chances of converting potential new clients into paying clients.
In short, when one of your prospective new clients stumbles upon your website for the first time, your goal is to cre- ate a first impression that evokes trust and reliabili- ty. This will encourage the consumer to trust your brand and eventually feel your services are crucial. This directly correlates to more sales and an overall
TBI). TBIs can affect people differently. Some of the things to consider are the person’s age, their gender, whether or not they are taking blood thinners, etc. Recommending that clients go to their nearest Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center after an acci- dent could be a life-saving suggestion. Ongoing Medical Care Companies like Doctors for Accidents (DFA) can facilitate ongoing medical care for your clients suffering from a TBI. Some people might recover from their TBI after a couple of weeks while others might need extensive or even life-long medical care to perform basic tasks. My office has relied on DFA for several clients as they facilitate immediate medical appointments, they work with quality medical professionals (neurologists, neuro-surgeons, MRI facilities, pharmacies, etc). These are instrumental tools in getting your clients the help they need in their recovery.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been defined as “an injury that can be caused by a forceful bump, blow or jolt to the head or body, or from an object that pierces the skull and enters the brain” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes). TBIs can be mild or in some cases, they are very severe. Car Accidents and Falls
increase in your profit margin. Conclusion
Your personal brand will help create a lasting impression to your audience, build trust, and generate higher profits. A key tool in developing your personal brand is a strong online presence. You want anyone who sees your name to reference your branding and feel confident in trusting your practice. So, Doctors & Attorneys: Stop waiting around! Build your own personal brand today with Doctors For Accidents !
are a leading cause of TBIs in our nation and as personal injury attorneys, we are sometimes the first phone call after an incident. It is our job and obligation to detect these types of injuries and make sure that our clients get the medical help that they need. Most cases are won or lost at the initial client interview. We need to be on the lookout for statements such as “I passed out for a moment after the collision” or “I am now experi - encing dizziness, blurry vision, loss of memory, headaches, etc.” and we must address these complaints from the outset of the case. Immediate Medical Attention The first thing is to make sure that the client sees a medical professional to make sure that the TBI is documented and so that the client gets the initial medical attention that they need (ie/ CT scan or brain MRI to determine the severity of the
Susano Coria, Esq. Coria Law
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By Tina Odjaghian
Upon reflection on my almost two-decade career in the law, I can honestly say it has been a rewarding and fulfilling journey filled with life lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today... midnight. On the weekdays while my mom worked, I
ushered me through my ed- ucation, and I landed on an amazing profession. I began my law career as a defense attorney and negotiated settlements on behalf of self-insured employers and insurance companies. Work - ing as a defense attorney, I always felt like I was on the wrong side of the fence, until one day I was faced with an opportunity to help someone who had sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). I finally found a role where I could do good and that made me feel good, so I de-
My story starts in 1986, when I immigrated to this country at the age of ten, with my parents and my little brother. We only had one suitcase and I thought we were going on a vaca- tion. When we arrived, we were told we would not be returning home because my brother would be drafted into the army at the age of five. Coming to America at such a young age, I was faced with much adversity. We lived in my aunt’s basement in an all-American town where my brother and I were the only ethnic kids in school. English was my fifth language; it was the first of many challenges I would eventually face. My dad worked overseas for two decades, while my mom worked seven days a week, 16-hour days to support us. My weekends and holidays were spent helping my mom at the flower shop, filling orders and staying up past
would cook, clean, and take care of my brother. It would take us an hour each way to walk to school and back, and without cellphones at that time, we would have to fend for ourselves. These sacrific - es were what pushed me to get a higher education and helped propel me to where I am today, to ensure I lived out the American dream. I am a first-generation immi - grant in my family to grow up in the United States, and I know what it’s like to grow up poor. I wanted to make sure my parents’ sacrifices were not wasted, and that I was able to provide a brighter fu-
ture for my fam- ily. By the grace of God, I found amazing friends and mentors who
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forge ahead in spite of it, let it pro - pel you to new heights. Staying positive in the face of adversity is paramount to achieving persever - ance and success. Fear is definitely a driving force for me. It propels you forward, you can either sink or swim. I decided to swim. Starting a business feels a lot like that. Even thinking about starting a business is frightening. You just have to do it. There is never a perfect time, a perfect opportunity, or a perfect circumstance. If you wait for that, you might end up waiting your whole life. The sooner you start, the better. I did not have all the answers when I started my business, no one does. You just have to trust that you possess the insight to learn as you go and overcome whatever obstacles appear on your path. It is a euphoric feeling, knowing you have built a business from the ground up, especially one that allows you to give voice to the voiceless and justice to the oppressed. Now, I run a boutique law firm renowned for obtaining some of the largest settlements in the field of industrial traumatic brain injury. I chose to go down the path of repre - senting traumatic brain injured individ- uals because it was a chance to make a difference in someone’s life at a time when they need it most. Traumatic brain injuries are by in large invisible injuries, and I am charged with the privilege and responsibil - ity to bring them to light. Although I represent folks who have sustained severe and moderate traumatic brain injuries, I find the mild TBI cases I handle to be particular - ly rewarding because there is nothing mild about a mild TBI. I get to bring this invisible injury riddled with maddening constant debilitating symptoms to light in a way that provides clarity to the tri - er of fact and justice for my clients
and their families. While it is a lot of work running my own firm and being a hands- on mom of two, I feel incredibly fulfilled with an enriched home
life and work life and have stopped chasing that elusive “balance” as I’ve learned it simply does not exist. I take great pride in setting an example for my boys of what a strong woman looks like. Obtaining hard fought results on behalf of my clients is also what keeps me going. A few years back, I noticed that there was a huge disparity in results These sacrifices were what pushed me to get a higher education and helped propel me to where I am today, to ensure I lived out the American dream. obtained for TBI victims depending on the knowledge and resources of the legal representation. Even though no two brain injuries are alike, I felt there was a need for more traumatic brain injury awareness. I wanted to use the knowledge I have gained to help inform other colleagues on the nuances of
cided to master it. It turned out to be something so rewarding, to be able to make an important impact in people’s lives after they had suffered a huge and life-changing tragedy and be a small part of their silver lining. I had finally found my calling. Having my own firm has challenged me
Fear is definitely a driving force for me. It propels you forward, you can either sink or swim. I decided to swim.
litigating traumatic brain injury cases and raise the bar industry wide. I
to push the limiting beliefs and mas - ter not only my area of legal practice but also learn the various aspects of business ownership, marketing management, and just overall human interaction. The challenges of business ownership are subjects of books and ar - ticles as they are never ending but the feeling of accomplishment and being a useful member of one’s community likewise are boundless and indeed enriching making the sacrifices along the way all worthwhile. If there is one thing I’ve realized while doing this, it’s that mindset is everything. You can do whatever you think you can, and you cannot do what you think you cannot, just as Henry Ford suggested. You must ignore the voice of doubt and fear and
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It’s that mindset is everything. You can do whatever you think you can, and you cannot do what you think you cannot, just as Henry Ford suggested.
created a non-profit organization called Brain Society of California dedicated to providing resources to the folks in the brain injury community and to my col- leagues in the medical legal community who are charged with the responsibility of representing traumatic brain injury survivors. The pandemic of 2020 has proven to be the ultimate reset button for many. For me personally, it provided perspective and a chance to reassess my priorities and how I practice law. I’ve learned to prioritize better and not lose sight of what is important. I’ve also learned that it’s important to do what you are passionate about but not feel compelled to do everything. Ultimately, looking back my heart is filled with gratitude at the realized opportunity to live the American dream and provide a brighter future for my family all while making a positive impact.
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PRE-TRIAL DISCOVERY The most important way to get general damages in any trial is not from your client, or your experts, or even from you. Most of the time it is from your client’s story and the stories of the people around them about how their life has changed. These are referred to as “damages” witnesses, and they are UBER important. You want to make certain that these people are not excluded because you never disclosed them, so play it safe: Make the affirmative action to produce the names and addresses and telephone numbers of everyone who may testify as a damages witness in your trial. If the defense deposes them, great. May help your case settle. But most of the time, they do NOT. Either way, you need to do this to make certain that these people can testify in trial. Also, you need to produce to the defense video and photographs of your client before the injury. Meet with your client at their home, learn about them, and get out the photo album (or hijack their Facebook and pull photos!). Nothing is more powerful in trial then showing how happy and active your client used to be, and how much they loved their families, their work, and their hobbies, than photographs. You can have your damages’ witnesses tell the stories through photographs in trial. It comes off way better and more credible coming from your damages witnesses than your clients. Please. Also get your client’s prior medical records. Review them. Be honest about priors. Produce them. It is just as easy, if not easier, to win your case on aggravation of pre-existing condition, rather than a new or acute injury! You may not win your case in early discovery, but you sure as heck can lose it! TREATINGDOCTORS Talk to them. See how your client’s needs are being addressed, what they believe the pain generator to be, and whether they support the crash as the cause. If all of the above is true, take their deposition as a treater during discovery. With proper notice under CCP 2025.620, you can list as a non-retained later in your expert desig - nation, and play at trial. At treating doctors opinions and findings are 1000x more credi - ble than a retained expert for either side.
FOR GENERAL DAMAGES IN LIGHT TO MODERATE IMPACT CASES BY ROBERT SIMON Selling injuries to a 12 strangers is easy when you have a high speed crash; a 30 foot fall from an unsupported roof; or a fall down stairs not up to code .
HIREA BIOMECHANICAL EXPERT When you are presented with an impact that doesn’t look that bad, or seems to be a low or moderate speed, do yourself a favor and make a little investment in your case and hire a biomechanical expert early on to act as your consultant. A few thousand dollars spent here initially will go a very long way. At the very least, even if they cannot give you a great opinion, they can act as consultants to help you battle any biomechanical expert the defense may hire. These experts can do a very quick assessment and let you know if the “change in velocity” will be enough to support your client’s various injuries. You would be shocked to learn that there are brand new studies done by Yale Biomechanical Labs and funded by the FDA right here in the U S of A that support a slew of spinal injuries and disk herniations with “changes in velocity” as low as 6! Many of the defense experts you will encounter cite studies done in the 1980s and 1990s and purposely bury their heads in the sand for these new studies. They will not even agree that a “delta v” as high as 40 is enough to case a disc injury! By using a biomechanical expert you can get over the initial hurdle with the jury or adjuster to prove to them, using science, that your client was hurt, and hurt bad.
THE DEPOSITION OF YOUR CLIENT
Most attorneys fall into the trap of letting their clients get deposed with little to no preparation thinking their case will settle. When it doesn’t, and you have to go to trial, your client may have left out some really good stuff about damages, or not talked with specificity with their body movement at impact. Don’t be one of those attorneys! First, speaking from a biomechanical point of view, look at the injuries of your clients and consult with your biomechanical expert and get a better understanding of how these injuries occur. This will help with your “science” theme of proving to the jury the injuries. If your client has spinal irritation on the left side of their body, it would make sense if your client was leaning towards the right at time of impact. If your client has a torn labrum, this would make sense if he or she braced for impact and it jarred their shoulder. And so on and so on. The point is you want to make sure that the body movement supports the injuries. And this comes from the mouth of your client, in his or her deposition! Second, talking about damages, make sure you client knows to list all the problems they are having since their injury. And please, not a list of “whining” and “woe is me.” Just a mundane list of how their life has changed. This may help settle your case, but also helps you prepare for trial and understand your client a little better.
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DEFENSE EXPERT DEPOSITIONS
children without pain? Throw a 89 mph slider down and away to a right handed hit- ter. Whatever! But you get the point. You want these concessions by their doctor and you want them to be the end of your cross examination. Let their doctor again tell the jury all the things taken from your client. Who cares about his opinion on causation or the medical bills. It isn’t changing and you can attack that other way. But turn him into your damages witness! TRIAL TACTICS Jury Selection – Attack your weaknesses head on with the jury in jury selection. Ask them if anyone hurt in a low speed crash, or know of anyone who has. You would be surprised. Get them talking. Ask if anyone will automatically think that someone cannot be hurt if there isn’t a lot of damage to car. Become amini-expert in the field. It is also very important to get concessions about major injury causation in these depositions. Again, get them talking. If you find jurors who think otherwise, you got a good shot of getting them off for cause. Once the judge dismisses them, it will psychologically set in with the jurors that they need to focus on the evidence and be fair. And hey, maybe even the judge knows people can get really injured from these types of crashes! Talk to the jury about the types of injuries your client has from this type of crash. Don’t be shy about it, or act like it is a weakness in your case. You must let the jury know right away there is not a lot of property damage, but ask them to follow the science of injury causation. Opening – In opening I would push the same themes as jury selection: we are proving this case on science, and their de - fense is for you to just say that low property damage means no injury. Flat out tell them. Thank them for being attentive and focusing in on the science rather than the rhetoric of the defense attorney. Witnesses – In any case, you want others to talk about the damages to your client. I almost always call my client last or close to last. Before then I want all the foundation to be laid from the medical doctors about the injuries. From a life care planner about their future needs. And from their damages witnesses about what they went through and how their lives have changed. By the time your client has taken the stand
23 | DOCTORS FOR ACCIDENTS ISSUE 4 all your evidence will pretty much be in. All the photographs of the crash, all the medical illustrations, medical bills, and all the photos. Then you can keep your client’s direct examination simple, to the point, and not even have to go over all the stuff the jury already heard about. I would say keep your client’s direct less than 30 minutes. That is all you need. If the defense wants to cross your client for 2 hours, it is a gift. Closing Argument – I have a ton of Power - points and transcripts, and happy to share. In closing you need to educate the jury on the jury instructions, how they apply, and how to come to a number to compensation your client. In most light to moderate impact cases you are not going to get an acute injury, so CACI 3927 and 3928 come in play big time. These are the ones that speak to aggravation of pre-existing condition and the unusually susceptible plaintiff. Explain to the jury what this mean, and how your client wins no matter what. This is all you need to prove. Show them the photographs again and explain what was taken from your client, and how valuable it is. If you have gained credibility throughout the trial, the jury will look to your numbers for guidance. Tell stories about what was taken from your client and how the jury can now try to make the whole again.
There is a lot of learn about taking expert depositions that are not part of this article. When dealing with these light to moderate impact cases you will likely be dealing with two experts from the defense: a biome - chanical expert and a medical doctor. Biomechanical Expert for Defense. Prior to the deposition make sure to ask their expert for all journals and articles that he is relying on for his expert opinion. You will want to get these to your expert ahead of time to see how you can pick these apart. Most of the time their studies a not peer reviewed or accepted in any fashion. If you study the basis for their information you can likely get concessions in deposition of the weakness of these studies. This can make for a very interesting motion in limine in the future. When taking their deposition it is important to consult with your expert beforehand, and to take a break during their deposi - tion to consult with them again. Become a mini-expert in the field. It is also very important to get concessions about major injury causation in these depositions. These experts will agree with you that they are not a medical doctor, and cannot say whether your client was even injured. They are there solely to tell the jury the probabil - ity of injury, and even then statistics cannot predict whether someone will be injured in low or moderate speed collisions. They will agree that it is possible that your client did sustain all these injuries. Juries just want to hear their experts say it is possible. Le - gal standard or not, they just want to know. In the end, these guys are just giving stats to the jury, and it may not fit for your client’s situation. Defense Medical Doctor. When taking an expert opinion you want to get all the bias stuff out, their opinions, the basis for their opinions, and last but not least, their CON - CESSIONS. This is extremely important in getting general damages from a jury. If you can get their expert to agree that a pinched nerve in the spine is very serious, and so are the procedures your client through, it will go a very long way. Most importantly, you can likely get their experts to concede that you client will likely be in pain the rest of their life. Some kind of pain. Any kind of pain. Some kind of restriction. Any kind of restriction. And ask their doctors whether you client can do specific things that they used to enjoy. Can they run marathons again? Surf again? Pick up their grand -
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