I thought I would recount the case of a client that I represented a few years ago to give an example of what we do.
My client, a 13-year old female (we’ll call her Anna, not her real name), was walking across a large street in SE Denver on her way home from an afternoon errand. She was crossing the street in the crosswalk as the pedestrian signal turned from “walk” to “don’t walk”. After making it through four of the five lanes, she was struck by a truck in the last lane, which began moving through the intersection and did not see Anna.
Anna was hit with very serious force, and the truck threw her on to the pavement several feet away. She suffered serious road rash on her chest, and broke her front four upper teeth.
Anna went to the emergency room and was cleared of any serious head injury, which was a wonderful development. However, her teeth were obviously damaged. A local dentist saw her within the week, and placed four veneers on her front teeth. He recorded in his medical records that she would require further dental work later in life, as her gums naturally receded with age and the veneers required reshaping/resizing.
The defendant drivers’ insurance company was contacted by Anna’s mother shortly afterward for repayment of the dental and medical expenses. Unfortunately, the insurance company took the position that Anna was improperly crossing the street and therefore, they would not pay the medical expenses. Anna’s expenses were approximately $5,000.00, but she did not have health insurance coverage. Her mother was highly distraught.
I was hired right after Anna’s mother was denied by the insurance company. I was able to get a statement from an independent witness who confirmed that the truck was in the wrong, and put together a demand package. The insurance company continued to deny coverage until I filed a lawsuit. In the meantime, I was able to contact Anna’s medical providers and have them agree not to send the bills to collections until we were able to resolve the case.
After filing the lawsuit and getting a trial date, the insurance company made the wise decision to resolve the case.
I obtained just under $50,000.00 for Anna and took a reduced fee. I represented her in her minor’s settlement, because Colorado law requires any minor who receives a substantial personal injury settlement to be protected by a conservatorship. This was obviously included as part of my fee.
Anna’s medical bills were paid, her mother’s credit was salvaged, and we were able to put a large sum of money into an interest-bearing bank account for her use after she turned 18.
If the insurance company would have simply paid the medical bills at the time Anna’s mom asked, they would have taken care of their duty (and saved themselves a great deal of money in the process). As usual, this didn’t happen.
I went out of the way to make sure that Anna got top-notch legal service, but also was protected from damaged credit and the anxiety that having outstanding bills can cause. Out of the representation, I made two good friends as well.
*Obviously, I am not guaranteeing any amount or award to anyone by posting this anecdote. I am simply giving you a past case and my experience. It’s a true story, and one example of going beyond the big firm mentality of settling cases too quickly and passing up more difficult cases. Cheers!