|Dr. Johnson* was a young, successful surgeon in the greater Los Angeles area. At the time, he was single, so he and his friend decided to spend an evening on a double date with some girls they knew.
The friends planned to visit a couple of bars, so they responsibly hired a driver for the night, had a good time exploring the local bar scene, and later returned to the physician’s home with their dates to talk and relax.
While hanging out, Dr. Johnson’s friend’s date playfully mentioned that she bet she could pick Dr. Johnson up. Without warning or permission, she attempted to do just that – while wearing high heels AND under the influence of alcohol. In just a few, short seconds, she scooped him up, tumbled backwards and dropped Dr. Johnson on top of her, breaking her leg in the process.
The friends rushed the young woman to the hospital, where everything was taken care of. The group stayed friends — Dr. Johnson even occasionally saw Facebook pictures of the young woman jogging on the beach, or doing other activities. Suddenly, nearly two years later (and just before the statute of limitations would be in effect), Dr. Johnson received notice that this same woman was suing him for damages ensuing from her broken leg for $5,000,000.00.
Despite our efforts to reach out to Dr. Johnson prior to the incident, he had never completed the steps to get his asset protection set in place beforehand. When he received the bad news, Dr. Johnson called us, frantically asking about everything he needed to do, and how quickly he could complete his structuring.
Unfortunately for Dr. Johnson, once a lawsuit has been filed, nothing can be changed in your business and asset structuring until the lawsuit is completed. Only preventative care could’ve assured that his assets were properly protected.
The moral of the story? Don’t procrastinate your protection, as not all lawsuits are medical related. When you are a successful professional, you never know when, or why you are going to be sued.
* Name changed to protect our client’s identity