Bruce Hoof never planned on being the highly effective and successful personal injury lawyer he has become. In fact, his early career as an insurance defense attorney for numerous different companies was devoted almost exclusively to opposing personal injury claims. However, Bruce’s almost immediate and consistent success litigating such cases generated wider notice of his civil litigation skills. That led to his being increasingly asked to represent personal injury claimants, and over the course of time, assisting such people in receiving substantial compensation for their injuries developed into a significant percentage of his practice of law.
Bruce’s early, extensive and on-going experience working with insurance companies in the defense of personal injury claims has actually equipped him much better that most lawyers to represent and deal with insurance carriers on behalf of plaintiffs in personal injury cases. That is because the process of defending personal injury lawsuits regularly involved Bruce’s assisting liability insurers’ claims representatives in their evaluation of such claims and intimately acquainted him with how insurance companies evaluate personal injury claims. Bruce’s understanding of the inner workings of insurance company claims offices enables him to more accurately project how insurers will respond to and evaluate various types of claims and injuries. That has equipped Bruce to most persuasively present his clients’ personal injury claims to insurers. That understanding is something which the vast majority of personal injury lawyers, who have never been insurance defense counsel, simply do not possess.
Bruce’s consistent and significant success representing personal injury clients has been enabled in part by the extensive medical knowledge which he has acquired over his over 40 years representing parties in personal injury lawsuits. His experience litigating those claims repeatedly required Bruce to devote extensive time to studying and analyzing medical literature and individual medical records. It also involved his consulting with and deposing innumerable medical experts and treating physicians. As the result of this experience Bruce now possesses an unusually high level of medical knowledge with regard to physical and medical conditions which are most frequently presented in personal injury lawsuits. Beyond that medical knowledge, his extended and far-ranging experience dealing with personal injury lawsuits has also resulted in Bruce developing professional relationships with several highly respected medical doctors. Those physicians provide a constant resource for Bruce’s personal injury practice because he is able to consult with them in his evaluation of personal injuries and, if appropriate, retain them as medical expert witnesses in his litigation of such lawsuits.
Bruce has experienced consistent and significant success assisting claimants in the recovery of financial compensation for personal injuries. In one such case, Bruce contended that an automobile accident caused his client – a young girl – to suffer a closed head brain injury which had left her permanently disabled. The two-week trial of that case involved the testimony of several highly specialized medical experts who disagreed over whether his client had suffered that closed-head permanent injury. At the end of that trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of Bruce’s client in an amount close to two million dollars which was at that time the largest amount ever awarded by a jury in that county.
In another case, Bruce’s particularly extensive medical knowledge allowed him to recognize that a medical condition from which his client was suffering, and which both his client and the liability insurance company had assumed was unrelated to his client’s injury, had in fact been caused by that injury. Due to Bruce’s professional relationships with medical doctors, he was able to identify and retain a medical expert witness who provided an expert opinion confirming Bruce’s identification of the injury as the cause of that medical condition. As a result of establishing that evidentiary connection, Bruce was able to obtain a recovery for his client which was over 30 times greater than the amount of the insurance company’s pre-litigation settlement offer.
In addition to his success in obtaining substantial monetary recoveries for his personal injury clients, Bruce has also demonstrated the ability to identify legal theories enabling his clients to make recoveries in cases where liability was not readily apparent. In one such case in which his client was injured by a dog attack, the insurance carrier for the dog owners, and the defense counsel that insurer retained to defend those dog owners, were each adamant in their contention that under applicable North Carolina law those owners were not liable to Bruce’s client for those injuries. Bruce’s research of that law, however, developed relatively obscure, directly contrary legal authority. At the hearing of the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, Bruce persuaded the judge that the case was controlled by the law he had identified, and as the result Bruce obtained a ruling that the defendant dog owners were liable for his client’s injuries. The Court of Appeals dismissed the defendants’ appeal from that summary judgment, and Bruce ultimately obtained a significant six figure recovery of compensatory damages for his client.