How Mr. Solnik Achieves Great Results
Bernard Solnik has obtained millions of dollars for his clients. Since the facts of each case, and the amount a client is happy to accept, varies from case to case, the best way to demonstrate Mr. Solnik’s success is to tell you about some of the ways he has achieved top dollar results.
We have handled wrongful death cases such as a trash collector run over by a vehicle, and a tenant killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a furnace. Wrongful death cases are tricky because the deceased has claims separate from the deceased’s surviving relatives. We are able to handle both types of claims in a single case. In addition to guiding the family through these troubling times, we set up an estate for the deceased, determine the economic numbers and life expectancy numbers to figure out how cutting the person’s life short had a financial impact, and, of course, thoroughly build the case for the emotional damages, pain and suffering of the surviving family and that the deceased experienced before passing.
Not Believing the Witnesses or Police Report
Mr. Solnik was successful in obtaining a large recovery on behalf of the family of a man struck and killed by a car while he was crossing behind a trash collection truck. The police investigation reported that many witnesses confidently blamed the man for not looking before crossing the street. Mr. Solnik, however, obtained statements from the garbage truck driver and photographs of foot prints at the scene to show that the client was struck after he had already made it fully across the street. Mr. Solnik was also able to show that the car had been speeding, and, to stay clear of the garbage truck had driven slightly onto the shoulder where the man had been standing when he was hit.
Getting More than the Amount of Insurance
Mr. Solnik represented the family of a man who died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Despite the scene being closed to the public, Mr. Solnik and his carbon monoxide expert were able to obtain photographs proving that the poisoning was due to negligent maintenance of the building’s furnace exhaust system. The landlord had an unreasonably low amount of insurance coverage, which was not enough to pay the family what it deserved, so Mr. Solnik aggressively pursued the landlord’s assets to the point where the landlord agreed to pay far more than the insurance company’s policy limits.
Often The Full Extent of the Injury is Not Obvious
Sometimes an injury might seem to an outsider to not be so serious. Mr. Solnik’s job is to make sure the other side understands the full extent of the injury. For example, a client suffered an injury to his back that could not be cured by surgery or medicine. He was still able to do most things in his life, but no longer pain free. From the outside you could not see his pain or injury, but he would have the injury and pain for the rest of his life. The best that could be one was periodic nerve ablations to reduce the severity of the pain. Mr. Solnik worked closely with a medical doctor at Johns Hopkins to develop a thorough presentation that showed -- through medical animations, incident photos, medical records, and descriptions of the client's life before and after the injury -- that the injury was real, and would require the client to undergo ablations every year for the rest of his life. In another case Mr. Solnik showed how a scar is not only a permanent physical injury, but an emotional one, affecting one’s self-image and serving as a daily reminder to the client of the injustice that caused the scar. Mr. Solnik's scar expert also explained that the scar will never fully heal and that over the duration of the client’s life exposure to sun will likely require further attention to the scarred area.
Aggressive “Detective” Work
Mr. Solnik uses all the tools at his disposal to uncover the facts. This includes using investigators to locate witnesses. It also includes subpoena power to require witnesses to answer questions under oath and powers to demand documents and answers from witnesses and the parties being sued. These tools often produce the proof to refute the lies and denials of the at-fault party. In one case, a client fell in a gourmet grocery store, destroying her knee. The store blamed the client, insisting that it had not done anything to make the floor dangerous. But a careful investigation proved that store employees had mopped the floor and removed wet floor warnings before the floor had completely dried. In another case, Mr. Solnik’s client slipped and fell in a hair salon, gravely injuring her back. The witnesses claimed that the floor was dry and the salon’s insurance company denied liability. Mr. Solnik aggressively litigated the case, resulting in the uncovering of facts about the way the floor had recently been buffed that had likely made it too slippery. This lead to a generous settlement for the client.
Becoming an Expert in the Subject Matter
To fully understand the extent of someone’s careless, we not only hire the right experts, but we make sure we can teach the jury what they need to understand. In a stuck elevator case, our client was trapped in a broken elevator that had stopped so abruptly that he was thrown to the floor of the elevator car. He was trapped in the elevator car between floors for nearly an hour, all the time worrying if the elevator car would fall. He suffered back injuries and PTSD. We learned all about elevator safety mechanisms and elevator maintenance, so that we could show all the points in time that the elevator service and repair company could have and should have prevented the elevator failure. We also learned how PTSD is the mind’s way of staying stuck in fight or flight mode, to keep on guard to try to escape further unexpected traumatic situations.
Showing that Minimal Damage to the Car Is Irrelevant
Mr. Solnik often handles “fender benders.” Even though the damage to the vehicle that was hit is minimal, sometimes the injuries to the people in the vehicle are severe. Our bodies just aren't designed for car crashes. One might walk away from a total wreck one day with barely a scratch, yet suffer permanent spine injury another day from a fender bender collision. There are many factors in play. For example, if the vehicle is not designed to crumple to absorb the impact, that means more force impacting the occupants. Also, the angle of the collision and the position of the body can worsen an injury. Mr. Solnik makes sure the at-fault driver’s insurance company and the court focus on what really matters: the client’s injury, and he explains why minimal vehicle damage doesn’t refute the injury.
"Soft Tissue" Cases
Insurance companies like to minimize injuries that did not require a major surgery. They call them “soft tissue” injuries, meaning no broken bones, no herniated discs in the spine, and no damaged internal organs. But the medical science is clear: human beings are fragile and can be substantially injured even when there's no broken bone, injured disc or surgery. We need working muscles, tendons and ligaments to move and function, and if they are injured they don't work and they cause lots of pain, sometimes permanently.
Finding Insurance Coverage
Only weeks after graduating college, Mr. Solnik’s client, a delightful young man, was severely injured in an auto accident. He had no health insurance and no auto insurance. He did have over $250,000.00 in medical bills. We found that under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction, he was covered under his parent’s auto insurance even though he was not a listed driver, and that even though that auto policy was for the legal minimum amount of coverage, which was far less than $250,000.00, the no-fault laws covering this particular situation required that the auto insurance company pay all the medical bills. We then pursued the at-fault driver for pain and suffering, and the case was settled for a substantial sum.
Proving Substantial Injury Despite Minimal Medical Care and Delays in Seeking Treatment
Often, the injured person doesn’t feel substantially injured right away, or hopes the injury will go away without medical assistance. There also are times when there is not much a doctor can do for an injury. Insurance companies like to argue in these cases that had the person been significantly injured in the collision, the person would have gone to an emergency room or sought medical care sooner or had more medical treatment. Mr. Solnik counters that people should not be punished for trying to care of themselves and for hoping to avoid medical expenses that would be unnecessary. When the insurance company has been unwilling to pay a reasonable sum in these situations, Mr. Solnik does not hesitate to take the case to trial.
Going to Trial to Prove the Truth
When the driver that struck Mr. Solnik’s client’s vehicle swore that she was not at fault because she had the green light, Mr. Solnik took the case to trial and ended up winning even more than he had sued for!
Defining Injuries Broadly
Mr. Solnik’s client was injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, during her recovery, she developed even worse problems in her arm following her doctor injecting her with a pain medicine. It was not sufficiently clear, however, that the doctor had committed malpractice. The at-fault driver’s insurance company did not want to pay for the damages arising after the injection, since those damages were not caused directly by the car accident. Mr. Solnik got them to pay for those damages anyway.
Blaming the Injured: Rear End Collisions
Among the most common car accidents causing injuries are rear end collisions. Defense lawyers often blame the driver of the car that was hit for stopping suddenly or doing something else wrong. Mr. Solnik shows that defense to be nonsense. Even if the car that was hit stopped suddenly, the vehicle behind should have maintained a safe distance.
Blaming the Injured: Pedestrian Hit By Vehicle
When a pedestrian in a crosswalk is hit by a vehicle, the defense lawyer often blames the pedestrian for not being more careful. Mr. Solnik shows that so long as the pedestrian entered the street carefully, giving the car enough time to see him or her, the collision is not the pedestrian’s fault.
Our Client Drove Into Another Vehicle – But That Other Vehicle’s Company Pays For Our Client’s Damages
Just because your vehicle hit another vehicle does not mean that you are necessarily at fault. Sometimes the vehicle that was hit was making an improper turn, or parked in a wrong place, or did something else wrong. Insurance companies and defense lawyers like to argue that the collision was our client’s fault just because our client’s vehicle hit their client. Mr. Solnik has proven otherwise. .
Hit-And-Run (Aka Unidentified Driver) And Underinsured Drivers