After working at a traditional law firm for 16 years, and after the birth of his daughter Lauren,
Sam decided to transform his practice. He is committed to providing the best possible legal
representation without all of the trapping of a traditional law firm. Sam and his paralegal Alisha
work primarily out of their homes. He always made a lot of house calls for client meetings
anyway. Working from home simply provided additional opportunities to take care of his family
as well as his clients.
Sam’s practice used to consist of business litigation, tax advisory, and corporate formation
practice. He found that work unrewarding, whereas representing injured persons felt right. Each
case is an opportunity to help someone who is hurting, provide information and clarity, take
stress out of people’s lives, and allow the healing process to be the primary focus. Insurance
companies are trying to take advantage of people every day – Sam is the pushback within the
Sam attended Federal Way High School, Linfield college where he has bachelors of arts degrees
in mathematics and philosophy, and University of Washington School of Law.
Sam’s practice currently includes personal injury claim (including car accidents, premises
liability cases, medical malpractice, and chemical exposure cases), representing health care
providers against insurance companies (reimbursement issues, Regence and Premera audits) or
related Department of Health complaints, and some general civil litigation and advisory work
(landlord-tenant disputes, contract disputes).
Sam regularly teaches his continuing legal education classes to other lawyers – both instructing
on personal injury law and strategies and procedures related to personal injury litigation. His
courses include: How to Litigate Your First Jury Trial, Subrogation, and Mandatory Arbitration
Strategies. He brings special expertise in the application of courtroom technology to advocacy,
developing innovative approaches to the cost-effective representation of his clients.
Sam works on small cases and large cases. Sam completed a ten-week jury trial in the case
Bradford, et al., v. McDonnell Douglas Corporation, AlliedSignal, Inc. in King County Superior
Court in which he represented twenty-six flight attendants for claims of toxic chemical exposures
aircraft. He routinely tries jury cases and presents dozens of case in mandatory arbitration.
Alisha was born and raised in Colorado. She graduated from Mesa State College in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Alisha and James were married in 2001 and moved to Vancouver, Washington in 2002. Alisha returned to school in 2003 and obtained a certificate in paralegal studies from Clark College in 2004. While attending paralegal school, Alisha worked for a civil litigation firm in Portland.
In 2004, Alisha and James moved to Seattle. Their son, Kayden was born in 2005, and their daughter, Bella was born in 2008.
Prior to working for Sam, Alisha operated her own paralegal services business from home for 4 years.
How can Sam help?
I represent your interests. You get to make the ultimate decisions on whether or not to settle
your case and whether or not to pursue your case in court. You get to make all of the key
decisions on how to lead your life -- which health care providers will treat you, and which claims
and damages to pursue. I will provide you with advice, options, and recommendations. I will
make the strategic and tactical decisions of how to best accomplish your goals.
One of my overriding principles is that I have no interest in leaving my clients in a worse place
than I found them. Thus, if at any point during the representation, I determine that the risks
and costs associated with pursing a claim outweigh the benefits, then I will let you know. This
having been said, there are no guarantees in pursuing legal claims. No matter how strong your
claims may seem to be, a jury could still decide that they do not like you and award you little or
Typically, cases are handled in this order:
- We have an initial meeting where we discuss the collision, exchange information, and
exchange documentation related to your claim such as correspondence from insurance
companies, etc. At the initial meeting we discuss the fee agreement, obtain a medical release,
and make initial decisions regarding whether it makes sense to pursue a claim and how. We will
talk about the two main ways of resolving your claim -- settlement or litigation.
- I correspond with all insurance companies to let them know that I represent you.
Communications are channeled through my office.
- During the time when you are treating and recovering from your injuries, your primary
responsibility is to get better. It is also important that you inform us of what health care
providers are treating you (this way we know from whom to obtain records and bills). My
primary responsibility is to coordinate communications with the insurance companies and deal
with independent medical examinations and issues with PIP not paying benefits.
- Typically, I will not try to settle your claims with the other driver’s insurance company
until you have finished treatment. There are several reasons for this. First, I would not want to
settle your claims tomorrow, only to find that you are hurt much worse than we believed.
Second, it is impossible to fairly value a claim unless we know exactly how badly you were hurt,
how long and how expensive your treatment ended up being, and whether your recovery is partial
or complete. Third, insurance companies will never pay full value for future losses such as future
medical care. They make the assumption that you will pocket the money and not obtain future
care. Thus, you are usually more fully compensated for your losses when your health care
treatment is completed. I work for you, and you get to make the ultimate decisions, so if you
instruct me to settle your case before you have completed treatment for whatever reason (you
need the money now, the idea of having an open claim stresses you out, you have lost interest in
pursuing a claim), I will follow your instructions.
- Some cases need to be filed in court. There are several reasons why we make the
decision to file: (1) we tried to negotiate first but were unsuccessful, (2) the insurance company
involved is so unfair that negotiations are futile, (3) the statute of limitations requires timely
filing, (4) we need to know what the liability limits are and the insurance company refuses to
voluntarily provide that information, (5) there are disputed facts that make negotiations difficult
or impossible, (6) the case involves catastrophic injuries, or (7) we decide based on all the facts
and circumstances that a lawsuit should be filed.
- We will need to gather documentation to support your claim. This includes obtaining
copies of health care records, bills for health care services, wage loss documentation, receipts or
lists or out of pocket expenses, photographs or videos documenting liability, injuries, or damages.
I typically do not gather health care records from a particular provider until your treatment with
that provider has concluded. This eliminates the expense of obtaining records multiple times as
your treatment progresses.
- After your treatment has concluded and documentation for your claim has been
assembled, we sometimes explore the possibility of settlement. My goal in settlement
negotiations is to get the insurance company to compensate you fairly. The offers that we made
are designed to elicit fair offers from the insurance company. I will recommend specific dollar
amounts for offers and counter-offers. Ultimately, you get to make the decision. I will
recommend to you whether I think that you should accept or reject offers made by the insurer. I
recognize that you consider many factors that are not part of my calculation, such as the stress
associated with not settling, financial pressures to settle, effects of proceeding with a lawsuit on
your time and family, political views on filing lawsuits, risk aversion, etc. Thus, you get to make
the ultimate decision.
- After a case is settled or a judgment is paid, then my firm will assist in disbursement of
funds. The settlement funds will be deposited into my firm’s trust account. Typically,
disbursement to reimburse insurance companies, pay health care liens for unpaid bills, and pay
costs associated with the case are paid directly out of the trust account. You will be provided
with a disbursement letter that details the disbursements, and you will approve the final
- Tax laws are constantly changing, so you should consult with an accountant or tax adviser
if you have any questions about the taxability of a settlement or judgment. As of January, 2011,
compensation for injuries to your person from the person causing injury is generally not taxable.
Compensation for lost wages, if specifically broken out and identifiable, may be taxable since the
wages would have been taxed.
- You are welcome to call with any questions that you have regarding the status of your
case or the process of working on your case. I try to be as responsive as possible to my clients
and keep them informed. However, ultimately, I rely on you to ask questions when you need
guidance or assistance.
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