The personal injury law firm of Sickels, Frei and Mims today announced that partner Charles Sickels is retiring from the firm at the end of 2019. He has moved to Richmond where he will continue serving selected business clients. Sickels-236x300The firm also announced that Gary B. Mims will assume the role of managing partner.

In a career that has spanned 45 years, Sickels helped hundreds of people succeed in personal injury cases. Over the years, he also developed special expertise in business law. He has nurtured dozens of small and large business clients to plan and structure their organizations, as well as handle contracts, employment disputes, and commercial transactions.  In addition, he served as the registered agent for many organizations doing business in Virginia.

Among Sickels’ many career achievements is a landmark case that ultimately redefined “not to compete” covenants in Virginia. His case, Home Paramount Pest Control v. Rector, is still recognized as a leading decision on post-employment restrictions in Virginia.

by Matthew Perushek

Legal_Gavel_27571702173-300x227

Photo by Blogtrepreneur, under CC: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

You and your attorneys have won! After nearly two years of pre-trial preparation, involving obtaining and reviewing medical records; depositions of witnesses, doctors. and experts; countless motions, meetings, and phone calls, your case was argued and won before a jury of your peers.  Finally, it’s over and now, finally, you will receive your just compensation.

https://www.virginia-injury-lawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/144/2019/08/Screen-Shot-2019-09-13-at-4.20.59-PM-273x300.pngThe Virginia Supreme Court has affirmed a trial win by attorneys Gary Brooks Mims and Matthew Perushek, leaving in place the $800,000 jury verdict for a woman who suffered partial blindness after a cosmetic eye procedure. Under Virginia law, plaintiffs are entitled to interest on the verdict amount until the appeal process is completed. In this case, that amounted to an additional $74,000 for the plaintiff.

“While it is unfortunate that my client had to wait more than a year to receive compensation for her serious injury, we are gratified that the high court affirmed the verdict and sent a message that our cross-examination of the expert witnesses was appropriate,” said Mims, a partner with the Fairfax firm of Sickels, Frei and Mims.

Mims’ client was left functionally blind in her right eye after undergoing blepharoplasty to remove excess skin from her upper eyelid. (For  more information, see the Case Result.)

We are proud to announce that Sickels, Frei &Frei-Mims-Sickels-230x300 Mims partners have once again been named to the Best Lawyers in America list for 2020. Since first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

The partners were named to this prestigious roster as:

Steven M. Frei: Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs

by Gary Mims

Medical errors can kill.  It is only when we know the “how” and the “why” the error happened that the medical community — and the public — can learn from the mistakes.  Confidential settlements protect the person or institution that caused the injury, or in astronaut Neil Armstrong’s case, death. Without disclosure, there is no scrutiny. That scrutiny can lead to a process to “fix” what went wrong and thereby prevent a similar error from occurring to someone else.  The hospital where Armstrong was treated and then died sought confidentiality to spare itself what would have been widespread negative publicity.

I don’t like confidentiality agreements; they are not good for society as a whole.  However, I have to look after the best interest of my client, so when a fair settlement is offered yet tied to confidentiality, I have to advise my clients to do what is in their best interest, which often means accepting the confidentiality terms.

https://www.virginia-injury-lawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/144/2019/06/Screen-Shot-2019-06-03-at-9.48.03-AM-200x300.pngFirm attorney Matt Perushek recently shared advice for young lawyers on legal writing and courtroom practices, as part of continuing legal education (CLE) panel for the Fairfax Bar Association. Also on the panel were Fairfax County Circuit Court judges David Bernhard and John Tran. Moderators included Sickels, Frei and Mims attorney Ben Charlton. For Perushek’s prepared materials, see “Tips for Young Lawyers.”

 

Medicine is a science, yes, but it is also an “art” involving interpretation and analysis. In treating a patient, a physician has to make decisions; decision-making involves weighing available evidence, making a judgment, and choosing a course of action. The challenge for you, if you are a victim pursuing a medical malpractice case, is that your attorney will need to show that your treatment violated the “standard of care.”

The problem is that there is no “standard.”

Some instances of negligence so obviously violate proper care that defendants will stipulate or admit to the violation. An example is when a surgeon operates on the wrong limb, or in one of my cases, on the wrong side of the face.  In a case like that, the lawsuit can move forward on the damages caused by the negligence and work toward winning fair compensation for the injured.

photo__2220877_matt_profile001Super Lawyers has once again honored our firm attorneys. Firm associate attorney Matt Perushek has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list, an honor he first achieved in 2015. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Partners Steve Frei and Gary B. Mims were selected to the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers list, an annual rating of lawyers who have attained “a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in Virginia are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

 

Research confirms what most medical malpractice attorneys have experienced for many years — the deck is stacked in favor of doctors in medical malpractice lawsuits.

A study published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research examined 20 years of medical malpractice cases and found that the doctor most often wins.  Researchers compared lawsuit outcomes to outcomes predicted by physician reviewers. Remarkably, they found that physicians win 50 percent of the cases that independent reviewers said had strong evidence of medical malpractice.  In other words, they win 50 percent of the cases that they should lose.

This high success rate, according to the study, suggests that more is at play than just the evidence: “Juries may be skeptical of patients who sue their doctors” and “juries tend to give doctors the benefit of the doubt when experts for both sides are credible.” In addition, the study suggests that the defendants are much more likely than plaintiffs to hire experienced attorneys. Obviously, these factors make it difficult for malpractice plaintiffs to win even the strongest of cases.

https://www.virginia-injury-lawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/144/2018/11/Screen-Shot-2019-09-13-at-5.10.26-PM-300x288.pngWSET-TV in Lynchburg took a look at medical malpractice in plastic surgery, finding that some doctors performing plastic surgery operations simply aren’t qualified.  One example is the case of woman represented by partner Gary Brooks Mims whose doctor left her left eye irrevocably damaged.

https://wset.com/news/local/unqualified-plastic-surgeons-loophole-in-va-law-lets-any-doctor-perform-plastic-surgery

Mims presented evidence that the procedure his client needed should have been performed by an ophthalmic surgeon — one who specializes in surgery involving the eye and surrounding tissue.  Through the testimony of expert witness, Mims successfully argued that the plastic surgeon violated the standard of care by performing an operation for which he was not qualified.