Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner Finds an Expert Partner in Expert Institute

The Firm

Texas’ Oldest Personal Injury Firm

The team at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner knows a thing or two about exceptional legal advocacy. These Houston personal injury lawyers have gained nationwide recognition over the last 70 years—not only for being the oldest plaintiffs’ trial law firm in Texas, but also for their track record of recovering hundreds of multi-million dollar verdicts for victims of medical malpractice, automotive defects, car wrecks, explosion cases, and more. But because Texas is such a tough state for medical malpractice, Abraham Watkins always makes sure it has the right resources in tow in order to secure justice for its clients.

The Challenge

Tort Reform Presents New Challenges

Early case evaluation has become even more critical to the firm over the last decade. Benny Agosto, Jr., Managing Partner, recalls that a wave of medical malpractice tort reform in the early 2000s changed the way the firm works up cases. “The landscape changed quite a bit. Updates to Texas state law greatly limited the types of claims that could be brought against doctors and hospitals. So we review a lot of cases that we can’t take.” Texas’s tort reform also challenged the firm’s traditional methods for sourcing testifying experts. “In the old days,” Mr. Agosto says, “we would find experts through word of mouth connections or call experts who we’d used before. But it became harder and harder to find the experts who would testify.”

Although the team at Abraham Watkins has included both doctor-lawyers and nurse-lawyers to screen and strategize on medical matters, the high volume of cases the firm faced was a tall order to review in-house. The firm needed extra hands to separate strong cases from weak ones and line up the right experts for each matter.

The Solution

Case Evaluations and Expert Connections in One

Through Partnership with Expert Institute, the team at Abraham Watkins has been able to collaborate on their early case evaluations with 30+ physicians in 20+ medical specialties. “Expert Institute’s Case Clinic service is great because you can have high-level conversations with physicians addressing breach of duty, causation, and damages. Being able to screen cases with a healthcare professional from Expert Institute has been instrumental in helping us determine which cases to proceed with.”

Case Clinics have been especially helpful for the firm’s dual-qualified medico-legal professionals. “It’s really great to be able to speak to someone who’s fluent in medicine to help us make those early decisions about how to work up a case. Their team is able to see things in the records that we might not be aware of, which ultimately allows us to save money.”

And when the team knows they plan to litigate a particular matter, Expert Institute is always there to connect them with the leading industry experts in any specialty. “Our transition into working with Expert Institute really helped us to have a secure bench of good experts to write reports and to testify. And whenever we’ve needed an expert under a tight deadline, not only do they get it done, but they get it done right.”

The Results

Multi-Million Dollar Recoveries For Injury Victims

Several years of partnership with Expert Institute has helped Abraham Watkins pack a punch for their toughest matters. Mr. Agosto recalls a tragic medical malpractice case the firm handled involving an infant whose misdiagnosis ultimately led to paralysis.

“We were having a tough time getting the right experts for the case. Our team needed experts in three different specialties—pediatrics, pediatric oncology, and pediatric neurology—to review the records and testify. But we were up against a major children’s hospital in the area, and it’s always difficult to get experts to testify against big institutions.”

With the help of the Expert Institute, Mr. Agosto was able to retain three top-notch, pediatric medicine experts from Duke University, Stanford University, and LSU Medical Center in Baton Rouge respectively. “By getting experts from coast to coast to independently examine the standard of care and the imaging results, we were able to put a solid timeline together and get the case into full trial mode.”

Once the firm had the right experts to write reports and present depositions, the case quickly settled for several million dollars. “This multi-million dollar settlement was a genuine success that the efforts of the Expert Institute helped us achieve. Our group efforts took care of that child. We are grateful that we’ve been able to work together.”

This multi-million dollar settlement was a genuine success that the efforts of the Expert Institute helped us achieve. Our group efforts took care of that child. We are grateful that we’ve been able to work together.

Benny Agosto, Jr., Esq., Managing Partner Abraham Watkins

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