An important part of our practice involves representing persons with disabilities who were injured (and the families of people with disabilities who were killed) by the wrongful conduct of others. Cases include automobile accidents; drowning; medical, hospital and nursing home malpractice; defective products (including drugs and medical devices); burn injuries; falls; and other related claims.
Increased Risk of Injury
This risk, which exists for almost every human activity, is likely increased for persons with disabilities. This may be due to a failure to recognize and anticipate the needs of persons with disabilities (e.g. failure to install appropriate safety barriers resulting in harm to a person with impaired vision) or may be the result of failure to properly care for a person with disabilities (e.g. caregiver neglect).
Severity of Harm
In addition to the increased risk of injury, the severity of harm may also be enhanced for a person with disabilities. This may occur as a result of a person’s delayed reaction to trauma once the event is initiated (e.g. inability to brace oneself during a fall) or the difficulty in recovering from a traumatic incident (e.g. difficulty in participating in therapy or following direction).
Our Commitment to Representing People with Disabilities
Our commitment to representing persons with disabilities is premised on dignity, understanding and respect. It begins with the “people-first” language we use:
The language a society uses to refer to persons with disabilities shapes its beliefs and ideas about them. Words are powerful; old, inaccurate, and inappropriate descriptors perpetuate negative stereotypes and attitudinal barriers. When we describe people by their labels of medical diagnoses, we devalue and disrespect them as individuals. In contrast, using thoughtful terminology can foster positive attitudes about persons with disabilities. One of the major improvements in communicating with and about people with disabilities is “People-First Language.” People-First Language emphasizes the person, not the disability. By placing the person first, the disability is no longer the primary, defining characteristic of an individual, but one of several aspects of the whole person. People-First Language is an objective way of acknowledging, communicating, and reporting on disabilities. It eliminates generalizations and stereotypes, by focusing on the person rather than the disability. (Adapted from The Arc, an organization for and on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.)
Our commitment is also premised on experience. Fred Pritzker, the firm’s founder and president, is the parent of an adult with severe disabilities. Fred has also served as an officer and director of several disability-related organizations including national president of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, an organization that advances the awareness and treatment of Angelman syndrome (a neuro-genetic disorder) through education and information, research, and support.
Renee and Fred Pritzker have also endowed the Jacob Pritzker Disability Law Fund (JPDLF) at the University of Minnesota Law School, Fred’s alma mater and one of the top twenty law schools in the United States. The purpose of JPDLF is to support and encourage U of M law students and young lawyers in pursuing projects and careers through Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) in support of the legal rights of people with disabilities.
Fred, Renee and Jacob Pritzker
Most importantly, the lawyers at our firm have an excellent record of success representing persons with disabilities in injury and wrongful death claims. Our verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured persons with disabilities include several in excess of $1 Million. Examples include a verdict of $1,536,921 on behalf of a 36 year-old man whose wheel chair was struck by a garbage truck as the man tried to cross a busy road; a significant seven-figure settlement on behalf of a woman with developmental disabilities who was raped by her manager at a fast food restaurant; and a $2 Million settlement on behalf of a young girl with mild developmental disability who suffered a traumatic brain injury as result of smoke inhalation in an apartment fire.
If you or a loved one suffered injury, we welcome the opportunity to assist you.