Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, and Head Injury

Approximately 1.4 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. The severity of these injuries ranges from incapacitating to minor.  Even a minor traumatic brain injury (mTBI) can have a serious impact on the injured person’s everyday life.

Motor vehicle accidents and falls are responsible for most cases of mTBI and also are a common cause of bone and joint injuries. “Musculoskeletal injuries are often seen concurrently with some studies estimating that 50 percent of patients with orthopaedic injuries also sustain a mTBI,” says lead study author Richard L. Uhl, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y.

Brain injuries are often overlooked or mis-diagnosed, especially when accompanied by serious “visible” injuries suffered in a traumatic event.  The symptoms of brain injury can include headache, blurry vision, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, impaired cognition, and memory deficits.  Further, many people, including insurance adjusters, do not understand traumatic brain injuries and tend to downplay the significance of such an injury.

If a person has suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, or other head injury in a fall or car accident it is important that the injured person have a knowledgeable legal advocate on his or her side.  The lawyers at Gatti & Gatti represent victims of traumatic brain injury and help injured people recover compensation for both the short term and long term effects of head injuries.

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Kill All The Lawyers

“The first thing we do,” said a character in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, “let’s kill all the lawyers!”  Some people think that the thrust of that quote was to say, “lawyers don’t add value,” or “lawyers muck up transactions,” or “lawyers simply cause more trouble than they are worth.”  Which could be an accurate statement if one hired an inappropriate lawyer.  However, this quote came from Dick the Butcher, a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who believed that by disturbing law and order, Cade could become king.  Shakespeare was actually acknowledging the fact that the first thing a tyrant must do to eliminate freedom and justice is to eliminate those who might stand in the way.  When a person is down and injured, that’s the precise time when lawyers are needed the most.  Lawyers, armed with knowledge of the law and guided by principals and swords of justice, are the ones the weak should look to for strength, hope, and recovery.

“Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  And that’s why people need lawyers.  It’s the lawyers who ensure that the balance of power is equalized and that 99% cannot be controlled and abused by a few powerful and greedy bullies.  Few industries in America have more money and influence than the insurance industry.  The skyscrapers of New York and the malls like the one in Washington Square are owned by insurance companies which made their money on the backs of people less powerful than the corporate giants.  There is no doubt in the minds of the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti that, if left unchecked, insurance companies would further injure victims of negligence in order for the insurance company to save a dollar whenever the company can.

When you are in a car accident, the first thing you do is file a claim.  Within 24 hours, most insurance adjusters are required by company rules to contact you for the purpose of developing a relationship of trust and camaraderie.  At one time in recent history, when an injury claim was filed with Allstate, the company would instantly send a letter telling the claimant that he/she should not hire a lawyer because the claimant was,  “…in good hands with Allstate.”  Or, for State Farm claimants, State Farm would treat you “Like a Good Neighbor.”  After all, “a caveman can do it,” and don’t forget, “Nationwide is on your side.”  NOT!  These statements are all too often not true.  More often than not, the insurance company is on the side of their shareholders and investors–not yours.

The lawyers at Gatti & Gatti have been involved in countless individual and class actions against insurance companies for such things as:

  1. Not paying medical bills;
  2. Undervaluing the value of totaled vehicles;
  3. Denying diminished value on cars not totaled but damaged badly;
  4. Bogus medical reviews;
  5. Fraudulent medical reports;
  6. IME exams by prejudiced doctors;
  7. Unlawful insurance claims settlement practices;
  8. Lost wages;
  9. Health care plans created by computers – not objective health care physicians; and
  10. Putting time limits on needed treatment or preventing an injured person from treating with the doctor of his/her choice.

Just to name a few.

And the insurance companies include, but are not limited to:  Progressive Insurance, Allstate Insurance, American Family Insurance, Farmers Insurance, USAA Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Oregon Mutual Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Geico Insurance, AAA Insurance, Safeco Insurance, and about every other insurance company doing business in Oregon.  And, by the way, not many Oregon law firms can claim this exhaustive experience. Remember, you should take care in hiring a lawyer who has experience, knowledge, and a reputation for courage.  Don‘t settle a case just because your lawyer is afraid of fighting for you.  Lawyers are just like you.  Lawyers can get fired too.  And lawyers should get canned if they can’t or won’t do their job properly.

What is the actual role of a lawyer who’s been hired to help someone injured in a car accident, or any injury caused by negligence, defective products, drunk drivers, or sex abuse and the like?

The lawyer has four main jobs when representing a client; The lawyer deals with the insurance company so you don’t have to.  Your job is to get better.  It’s your lawyer’s job to do the following:

  • ASSIST THE CLIENT IN RECEIVING THE BENEFITS TO WHICH THE INJURED PARTY IS ENTITLED.
  • MAKE CERTAIN THE INJURED PERSON GOES TO THE RIGHT HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND RECEIVES  CARE FOR ALL INJURIES SUFFERED.
  • HELP THE CLIENT DOCUMENT HIS OR HER INJURY AND DAMAGED.
  • HELP SECURE THE DAMAGES  THAT WILL REASONABLY COMPENSATE THE INJURED PERSON FOR ALL LOSSES INCLUDING:
  1. ECONOMIC LOSSES SUCH AS WAGES, MEDICAL BILLS, AND MONEY LOST FROM THE TIME OF INJURY TO SETTLEMENT,
  2. COMPENSATION FOR  ECONOMIC LOSSES REASONABLY TO BE INCURRED IN THE FUTURE,
  3. FULL VALUE FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING IN THE PAST AND WHAT MAY REASONABLY BE EXPERIENCED IN THE FUTURE.

The above responsibilities of the lawyer are not easily accomplished.  There are lawyers who specialize in personal injury work.  However the yellow pages and Internet are filled with lawyers who “claim” the lawyer seriously knows how to handle the nuances of securing the full amount of money which will adequately compensate an injured party for his/her injuries.  Many of these advertisements are simply false.

Hire a lawyer with experience.  Ask questions.  Get answers.  How many jury verdicts has he/she actually received?  Does the firm use investigators, experts, accident reconstructionists, independent consultants for medical exams and reviews?  How should you pick a doctor who will listen and treat you properly?  Will you keep the lawyer from beginning to the end?  How many trials has the lawyer actually tried?  What are the out of pocket costs you can expect to incur?  How much does the lawyer charge?  Does the lawyer charge before or after medical bills are recovered?  Does the lawyer advance costs or do clients advance costs?  What happens to you if your lawyer loses?  Can you settle the case without going to trial?  What are your chances?

If the lawyer can’t or won’t answer these questions —— Scram!

At Gatti & Gatti, we promise to do the best job we can within our abilities and with the facts presented.  We can’t guarantee results.  However, we can guarantee:  Honesty.  Competency.  Integrity. Courage and Communication.

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Tragic Wrongful Death

The Law Firm of Gatti, Gatti, Maier, Sayer, Thayer, Smith & Associates represents many types of injured victims.  Recently, a tragic wrongful death case was resolved by attorney Ron Sayer.  This accident occurred in Grants Pass, Josephine County, State of Oregon.  At the time of the accident, the Defendant was extremely intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .417%, which is over five times the legal limit.  The Defendant was 18 years old and was driving her grandparents vehicle.  The Defendant had a history of alcohol abuse which was known to nearly all of the community; however, the grandparents claimed that they had no knowledge of her substance abuse history.

The deceased was a 19 year old young man that had recently been accepted into the Army.  The deceased was scheduled to be sworn in for service the day following this horrible motor vehicle accident.

A lawsuit for wrongful death was filed which included obvious negligence and claims for negligent entrustment against the grandparents and claims for family purpose doctrine against the grandparents.  Over 25 depositions were conducted including the Defendant, family members and many of the Defendant’s peers and witnesses to her alcohol consumption on the evening of the incident.  The insurance company filed motions to dismiss the litigation which were denied.  Eventually the lawsuit was resolved in favor of the Estate, and the parents of the 19 year old deceased were compensated for the horrible loss of their only son.

Ron Sayer recently took on another similar case involving a tragic accident in Vancouver, Clark County, State of Washington.  A young Russian woman was hit by a motor vehicle in the middle of a cross-walk.  The Defendant, after hitting and fatally killing two Russian women, fled the scene.  The Defendant was able to avoid the law for approximately two days.  Eventually the Vancouver Police Department located the Defendant.  The Defendant is presently in jail pending criminal prosecution.  We are working on the wrongful death case for the surviving husband and 2 year old daughter.

Regardless of the severity of your injuries, all the attorneys at Gatti, Gatti, Maier, Sayer, Thayer, Smith & Associates will aggressively pursue personal injury claims and insurance denials.

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Sexual Abuse

Estimates are that as many as one out of every four people are abused.  Sexual abuse among children has wreaked its havoc for hundreds of years.  Fortunately, in this modern day and age, childhood sexual abuse is not as prevalent as it once was.  Nevertheless, sex abuse remains all too common.  However, as society becomes more aware of this continuing danger, the fear of “coming out” is less dangerous and more likely to reveal the truth, and subject the predator to swift justice.

For the victims of sexual abuse, there are remedies.  There is hope.  Recovery is made easier by laws in Oregon which protect sexual victims far more than laws in other states.  In Oregon, if a child is sexually abused, that child can bring a claim as an adult, no matter what his/her age, so long as the sexually abused victim brings the claim within five (5) years of realizing that the abuse caused significant negative affects on that person’s life.  In other words, if the abuse causes a person such negative feelings and consequences all of his/her life, and the victim years or decades later makes that connection between the abuse and the consequences, that person may make a claim anytime within five years of that revelation.   From the hundreds of sexual abuse claims Dan Gatti has handled, adults have recovered substantial sums for abuse they have suffered.  The claims have ranged from abuse perpetuated on a three years old child, to an 84 year old man who was abused as an alter boy nearly 70 years in the past.

Normally, one must bring a claim by the time a person reaches a certain age.  And, the law is complex and different from state to state.  Some states require certain facts and others do not.  For example, in the state of Washington, in order to hold a different person or entity (a church, school, etc.) responsible for the act of the predator, one has to prove that the other person or entity had prior knowledge that the abuse was occurring and did nothing about it.  NOT SO IN OREGON!  In Oregon, no prior knowledge is necessary in order for liability to attach for the sexual abuse of another person under one’s control.

In Oregon, the Statute of Limitations (SOL) is as good or better for the victim than in any other state in America.  Nevertheless, the SOL is extremely important, and it is vital that a victim talk to a knowledgeable lawyer about their abuse before the victim talks to others including, for example, a psychologist, church official, school marm, police officer or authority figure. Your lawyer can educate the victim with knowledge of legal issues and this knowledge is critical to helping protect the victim from defenses that may be raised by the predator.

Daniel J. Gatti was sexually abused when he was nine years old at a YMCA camp.  Dan never told anyone.  And that’s no surprise.  Not telling adults is all too common.  And the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti understand the natural defense mechanisms of a sexually abused child.  It’s normal for a child of sexual abuse to feel shame, anger, and depression.  Victims of abuse commonly have issues with alcohol, drugs, and/or relationships.  These bad things are normal consequences of being a victim.  Trust is shattered in the minds of children who have been victimized by someone they grew to trust.  That trust was broken and the child feels guilt and shame, and isolates him/herself behind a wall of thorns that protect the victim from further abuse and further harm.

But like we said before, the laws of Oregon “protect sexual victims far more than laws in other states.”  Dan, along with many of the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti, would be honored and more than willing to take on the predator who, to a child once looked like a giant and whose head needs to be brought to justice.  These predators once had the power.  But, the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti will do everything they ethically can to ensure that the power is restored to the innocent one who was not at fault and who is ready to take control of his/her life like they rightfully deserve.

–Daniel J. Gatti

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What If The Other Driver Is Uninsured?

On average, 130 motor vehicle accidents occur in Oregon every day.  Oregon law requires that every person who operates a vehicle on a public road must carry valid insurance.  See ORS Chapter 806.  Unfortunately, despite the requirements of Oregon law, many accidents are caused by those who violate the law by getting behind the wheel while uninsured.

The lawyers at the Gatti Law Firm are often contacted by persons injured in uninsured motorist accidents.  Many of these victims fear the worst. However, in most instances any concerns can be quickly quelled.

Absent rare exceptions, as long as the person injured by an uninsured driver has car insurance of their own, or was in a vehicle covered by a valid Oregon insurance policy, then the injured person has the opportunity to make a claim under the Uninsured Motorist provisions of the insurance policy.  Oregon law requires that all private passenger motor vehicles have Uninsured Motorist coverage to protect against irresponsible, uninsured drivers.  This coverage can be used to fix your vehicle, pay for your medical expenses, satisfy your lost wages, and compensate for any pain, suffering, and inconvenience.  Essentially, the uninsured motorist insurance fills the shoes of the absent insurance policy the at-fault driver should have had.

If you have been injured by an uninsured driver, or if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, the personal injury attorneys at the Gatti Law Firm are here to answer your questions and help put your mind at ease.  Please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers at 800-289-3443 for a free consultation.

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Defective Hip Replacements

Stryker Hip Recall Information

On July 6, 2012, Stryker, a large manufacturer of artificial hip joints, voluntarily recalled its Rejuvenate Modular Hip System and its ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem.  These defective medical devices have been used in hip replacement surgeries since approximately June 2008.

If you or a loved one has had either the Rejuvenate Modular Hip System or the ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem implant, you probably have many questions.  Gatti, Gatti, Maier, Sayer, Thayer, Smith will help you understand the potential issues with which you may be faced.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss these very serious concerns.

Please feel free to contact RYAN JENNINGS and CHRISTOPHER BEST at (503) 363-3443 or (800)289-3443 for a free consultation.

The following may help answer some of your questions:

Q: What is wrong with the Stryker artificial hip devices?

Stryker hip replacement devices can sustain a rapid degeneration of material from which the device is made, causing it to corrode and fail far sooner than expected.  Additionally, as the device wears at an abnormally accelerated rate, it can cause severe inflamation and scar tissue, which in turn can cause severe, debilitating pain.  The accelerated wear of the device can also result in dangerous heavy metals getting released into the blood stream which can cause blood poisoning.  Some patients suffer from an array of other problems, such as frequent dislocation, an immoveable hip joint, leg length problems, compensating pain, nerve pinching, psuedo tumors, ALTR (adverse local tissue reactions), and lower back problems.

Q: What are my options?

As a result of Stryker bringing a defective device to the medical marketplace, it is our position that Stryker is responsible for all of the treatment and care necessary to correct any and all problems from which a patient may suffer.  This includes physical therapy, injection therapy, corrective surgery, and home and assisted care.

Q: When do I have to bring a claim?

Every case must be filed timely, within the applicable statute of limitations.  For example, In Oregon, a person receiving a defective artificial hip must bring a claim within two years from the date he or she could have discovered that the artificial hip was defective.  In other words, it does not necessarily matter when a person actually discovers that a hip replacement device is defective, but, whether a claim is brought timely will depend on when the person should have known.  For that reason, a person is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

Q: I am not having any symptoms yet, will I need legal help?

First, simply because you are not currently experiencing problems now does not mean you won’t later.  If you wait to seek legal advice until you have symptoms it may be too late. Further, as time has progressed since the initial recall, it has become evident that a much higher percentage of the Stryker hip replacement devices are failing than ever anticipated.

Q: How much does it cost to hire a lawyer to help me?

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis – if we do not obtain a recovery for you, then there are no attorneys fees.  In addition, we advance all of the costs necessary to bring your claim.

Our Stryker attorneys invite a phone call to discuss questions or concerns you have at no charge.  Please contact us for a free consultation, even if you simply want to ask us some questions and are unsure if you want to hire a lawyer.

Q: Do I need to make a claim directly with Stryker?

No.  Making a claim directly to Stryker is not required by law.  Further, the claims process set up by Styker and its claims handling organization are substantially skewed in favor of the company.  Stryker set up the process and the terms you will have to live by if you make a claim directly.

Q: What may be recoverable from Stryker?

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Corrective surgery costs
  • Skilled nursing or assisted living care
  • Medical devices
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Disability payment
  • Wage loss
  • Compensation for pain, inconvenience, and suffering

Q: My doctor says I need a revision surgery, what is the best route?

Many individuals with defective hips are advised by their doctors to have a revision surgery to remove the defective device, and have a new device inserted.  The decision to have the surgery will be a decision to discuss with your doctor.  However, attempt to make arrangements to keep your defective hip.  Currently, doctors and hospitals do not have a procedure to maintain the removed device, and a crucial piece of evidence in your case may be lost forever.

Q: What if I suffer more pain, or more injuries, due to hip revision surgery?

There are many risks with having a hip revision surgery to fix a defective hip replacement.  For example, there is a chance that the patient may suffer a fracture to the femur during surgery.  If such complications or other injuries arise, case-law suggests that your are entitled to any and all damages you suffer as a result of the revision surgery, provided such damages were a foreseeable risk of the surgery.  Said another way, it is our firm position that a person who suffers additional problems after having revision surgery is entitled to compensation for all other medical bills, treatment, and pain he or she may experience.

Please feel free to contact Ryan Jennings or Christopher Best at (503) 363-3443 or (800)289-3443.

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Celebrating 30 Years of Tradition

All of us here at the Gatti & Gatti Law Firm wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

Traditions and memories keep families and communities united.  Sometimes, it is the little things which warm our hearts and bring us closer together.  A childhood memory of a brightly lit home during the holidays inspired Rich and Dan Gatti to light the 80 foot “Christmas” tree at their law offices in Salem, Oregon, 30 years ago.  With the help of their father and brother Jim, the tradition began.

The Salem community’s response encouraged expansion of the tree lighting into a Christmas display which has become one of the most cherished, sensitive, beautiful Christmas displays of its kind.  It now requires a full-time staff and months of preparation and installation to bring this fantasy Christmas event to reality each year.

There are thousands of lights; life-size reindeer, Santa and sleigh; New York style display windows; gingerbread men; nativity scenes; and a one-of-a-kind Mickey Mouse Santa.  Combined, these creations make the lighting of this display a “not to be missed” tradition for so many people.  From the very youngest and oldest visitors to those with handicaps and special needs, the Gattis have always wanted to help them create memories and traditions and have made the display and visits with Santa accessible to everyone.

Each visitor can find his or her own special scene to remember, but everyone is particularly enchanted by Santa’s house.  This colorful home was specially designed and built to be transported to the office location where it draws thousands of visitors each holiday season.  Its snow-covered roof and handicap accessible ramp entry lead to the doorway which opens up to a childhood fantasy environment.  Next to the fireplace sits Santa himself.  Crowd control is maintained by costumed elves in this toy workshop setting, providing a personal environment for family photos with Santa, as he inquires what each visitor’s wish list for Christmas may be.  No charge for photos here, as the display and Santa visits are courtesy of the law firm of Gatti, Gatti, Maier, Sayer, Thayer, Smith & Associates as its gift to the community.

For years, many people in Salem have  proclaimed, “It isn’t Christmas until the Gattis light their tree.”  The Gatti law offices located at 1781 Liberty Street SE, Salem, Oregon, are set aglow each year in a light ceremony which begins with a countdown at exactly 6:15 p.m.  Lines of children form earlier to the entrance of Santa’s house.  Mr. and Mrs. Santa and their helpful elves pass out candy canes, cookies, and hot chocolate, greeting visitors to the event.  The annual tree-lighting event takes place at 6:15 p.m. on the first Saturday following Thanksgiving (this year — 11/26/2011).

The lighting display continues each night until New Year’s Day.  The Santa house, with Santa in residence, is open to visitors from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until Santa must leave to begin deliveries.  This year, Santa’s last day open for visiting will be Friday, December 23.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL FROM RICH AND DAN GATTI AND THE LAW FIRM OF GATTI, GATTI, MAIER, SAYER, THAYER, SMITH & ASSOCIATES!

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Class Action Settlement

As one of the lead co-counsel, Dan Gatti recently achieved a settlement in the case of Froeber v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for the sum of 8.2 million dollars. The class action complaint alleged that the insurance company routinely discounted health care providers’ bills based upon a unilateral percentage as opposed to paying what was reasonable and necessary. The case settled on a nationwide basis after years of litigation in Marion County Circuit Court in Oregon in April, 2006.

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$1.5 Million Arbitration Verdict

In a binding arbitration trial, Daniel J. Gatti received a verdict of $1,447,000 for a client who was injured on his motorcycle, requiring low back surgery. Fortunately, the client had an umbrella policy of $1,000,000. The offer, prior to arbitration, was $400,000. After the arbitration verdict was rendered, policy limits were paid in May, 2006.

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$1.5 Million Wrongful Death Settlement

Jeff Thayer successfully negotiated a $1.5 million settlement for a wrongful death case in Marion County. A local tavern was accused of overserving the defendant driver, who later caused a deadly motor collision.

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