Sean Domnick, name partner at the West Palm Beach personal injury firm Domnick Cunningham & Whalen, is a respected and recognized personal injury lawyer. His work includes handling medical malpractice, defective products and nursing home cases along with significant injury cases from other causes such as car or truck accidents. His law work is truly “people law,” fighting for recoveries in cases that are by nature tragic. He is motivated by making a difference in people’s lives, and his results bear that out: He recently received a $20 million verdict for the family of a woman whose Pap smear test was misread and who subsequently died of cervical cancer.
Lawdragon: How did you first become interested in developing a personal injury practice?
Sean Domnick: When I was in law school. I worked for a firm that represented people who were seriously injured. I had a chance to see how the work we do impacts people in such a positive way. I wanted to practice law in a way that I could make a real, tangible difference in people’s lives.
LD: It must be satisfying work for you.
SD: The best part of my work is that I get to help people. Most often people who have been terribly hurt or had a loved one who was injured. Also, because of the types of cases I handle, I am constantly intellectually challenged. I really enjoy that aspect of my work.
LD: In the last couple of years, you have received some significant professional accolades. Will you talk a bit about those?
SD: In the past two to three years, I have been invited to join both the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and The International Society of Barristers. Both of those groups consist of incredible trial lawyers and to be asked to be a part of those groups is a huge honor. In addition, I was elected to serve as an Officer in The American Association for Justice, which is the largest group representing trial lawyers and their clients in the country.
LD: Are there any trends you are seeing these days in the medical malpractice space, in terms of the types of matters keeping you busy?
SD: Right now, I am handling several failure to recognize stroke cases. I have been amazed at how often the signs and symptoms of stroke are missed by medical professionals who should know better.
I also continue to have a large number of cases involving babies injured at birth. All of the tools are there for the healthcare providers to have the information needed to take timely action and, for some reason, it is just so often ignored.
LD: Will you describe a recent matter that you’ve handled?
SD: I just finished a case involving a misread Pap smear. It is such a tragedy that women are dying because companies are forcing their technicians to review too many slides in a day. It is a system designed to make mistakes. And unfortunately, it is women and their families that pay the price.
LD: Although it’s no doubt satisfying to impact people’s lives the way you do, it must also be such a challenge to be on the front lines during the toughest moments in their lives.
SD: The lesson from all of my cases is that peoples’ lives can change in an instant. You never know when. Live life to the fullest and make sure the people around you know how much they mean to you.
LD: How would you describe your style as a lawyer? Or how do you think others see you?
SD: My style as a lawyer is straight forward. I am very open about the strengths and weaknesses of my cases. Every case has both and as a lawyer you need to recognize that. I work hard and try to be the most prepared lawyer in the room. I think lawyers on the other side know how much I care about my clients and that I will fight for what is right. Finally, I try to treat everyone with respect and dignity. In most cases, no one intended to injure someone else. These cases are tragedies all the way around.
LD: What do you do for fun when you’re outside the office?
SD: I enjoy staying fit. It is really important to have a physical outlet for the stress of this job. I play tennis and golf. My family and I travel a lot. It is really a passion for all of us. Finally, I love to go out west and ski during the winter and hike the mountains and white water raft in the summer.
LD: Do you have a favorite book or movie about the justice system?
“My Cousin Vinny” is the best lawyer movie in my opinion. I also think “The Verdict” was a great lawyer movie. Showing a little more of how hard this job can be.
LD: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be doing now?
SD: Trying to become a lawyer. It really is the only thing I ever wanted to do.