Early in the first year of law school, new students are introduced to the “clean hands” doctrine. Somehow, the notion of “good hands” became the slogan of Allstate Insurance Company. It has been suggested that when you’re insured by Allstate, you’re in “good hands.” It is ironic that the folks at Allstate don’t always handle claims against its own insureds wisely. Too often it insists on negotiating claims to pressure a settlement. That is a mistake when the injuries are severe, the damages are substantial, and the Plaintiff is represented by a trial lawyer known for trials, not easy settlements.
Fortunately for Yelena Shulman, formerly of Trumbull and more recently a California resident, when her Volvo was destroyed by an SUV driven on the wrong side of the road driven by Stamford’s Theresa Vanech in February 2013, she found her way to representation by Stewart Casper. While Ms. Shulman’s initial care at Greenwich Hospital did not include a diagnosis of a concussion or even her severe nasal fracture (it is scary how much can be missed during an emergency room assessment), she was diagnosed with a post-concussion syndrome by her PCP.
Shulman’s injuries included a seizure disorder, persistent headaches, cognitive slowing, and an injury to her dominant elbow that required surgery. Complicating Shulman’s case was her 2015 relocation to California because of her husband’s employment status. Nonetheless, Casper’s nationwide contacts with trial lawyers handling brain injury cases facilitated a seamless transition to California-based experts to obtain state-of-the-science advanced neuroimaging that corroborated the traumatic brain injury.
Allstate thought it could shove Shulman and her attorney and force a reduction of the demanded insurance policy limits – risking a punitive damage verdict against Vanech. In the end, with one California-based plaintiff’s expert in the air flying to JFK International Airport, Shulman elected to accept the policy limit offer. Judge Kenneth Povadator received the details of the settlement “on the record,” and the jury was discharged.