Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Douglas CarassoDoug Carasso is passionate about representing clients who have suffered severe or catastrophic injuries and helping them recover maximum compensation for their losses. Carasso knows first-hand the trials and tribulations faced by catastrophically injured victims because, not too long ago, he was one of those victims.
Life-Changing Injuries Prove Inspirational
As a college student, Carasso suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident after his 1972 Ford Mustang was struck head-on by a driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Carasso was heading to work at the Bagel Factory on Sepulveda and National in Los Angeles when the near-fatal crash occurred. Because Carasso's car only had a lap belt and no airbags, he went through the front windshield. He went into a coma after suffering extensive injuries to his head, chest, arms, abdomen and internal organs. "It doesn't look good. I don't think he's going to make it." Those were the words of Carasso's treating physician to his mother.
But, beating the odds, Carasso started to make a recovery that can only be described as miraculous. He had no memory of the accident or the weeks that followed in the hospital and at home. He does remember that his recovery involved constant and considerable pain and exhaustion. He lost about 25 pounds during the process, but pulled through missing only "a little bit of school." In fact, the accident motivated him to become a more motivated and successful student. Personal injury law was no longer just an ambition. It had become a calling. Since the at-fault driver in Carasso's case was driving a friend's car on which there was no insurance, his only recovery was the small uninsured-driver provision in his policy.
Learning Lessons from Adversity
Carasso says he learned a number of lessons from that life-changing incident. "This injury taught me that the used car I was driving was defective as it had only a lap belt and no shoulder belt," he said. "It showed me how automakers can hold your life in their hands. Because of how paltry my recovery was for this severe injury, it made me want to get significant awards for personal-injury victims that I represented. I did not want anyone else to be shortchanged because I know first-hand what it feels like to receive compensation that is drastically insufficient."
Carasso says his own experience made him sensitive to what personal-injury clients go through in their lives. "As attorneys, we are taught to focus on medical expenses, lost income, and other concrete numbers when calculating the value of a plaintiff's case. But my experience taught me that physical pain and suffering cannot and should not be underrated or devalued, as they are huge - whether they last for a week, a month, a year, or a lifetime." So, he tries to get his clients the highest monetary award possible, knowing that money cannot make up for the severity of their injuries. "But as their attorney, getting them the maximum recovery is the best way that I can help bring them some peace of mind, satisfaction, and happiness after all they have suffered."
Career and Accomplishments
Carasso practiced for seven years at Shenoff Bidart Echeverria & Bentley (then Shernoff Bidart & Darras) fighting for the rights of those who had suffered catastrophic personal injury and been the victims of insurance company bad faith. He also worked for eight years at Callahan & Blaine representing catastrophic personal injury victims and members of multiple class actions in labor and employment cases against media giants. As a trial attorney, Carasso obtained six-figure jury verdicts in personal injury and insurance bad faith trials, garnering substantial settlement amounts in a number of cases.
He has authored articles on a variety of important legal topics such as punitive damages recovery, insurance coverage after the 9/11 attacks, defeating defendant motions for summary judgments, medical malpractice caps, taking depositions, defending plaintiffs' depositions, liability in drunk driving accidents and recovering for negligent infliction of emotional distress. These articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, New York Law Journal, Consumer Attorneys of California's Forum, The Advocate Magazine, Orange County Lawyer, and The Trial Lawyer.
Carasso has also been invited to speak on diverse litigation topics at the Orange County Bar Association, Chapman Law School, Mealey's Litigation Reports and Lorman Educational Services. A New York City native, Carasso received his Juris Doctorate from USC Law School, where he provided pro bono representation in a criminal appeal proceeding at Lompoc Prison. Before that, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA in 1987 as a Classics Department Scholar, Golden Key National Honor Society member, and film critic and interviewer for The Daily Bruin.
He is AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell and has earned a 10.0/Superb score from the Avvo attorney rating service. He has been named one of Orange County's Top Lawyers by the Orange County Register's OC Metro Magazine.
On Being a BISNAR CHASE Team Member
Carasso, who joined the BISNAR CHASE team in June 2014 said he was impressed by the firm's "enthusiastic, respectful, fun, success-driven vibe." "I was impressed by how open the firm is about looking for long-term commitments in its employees and how employee loyalty and hard work are always rewarded. Above all, I was blown away by how deeply the firm's attorneys care about their clients - not just as plaintiffs, but as people."