Court, Lawyers, and Advice
As if that would've helped.
Final installment of the Accident Series
So Monday was the start of my "trial." What they don't tell you is that "trials" are really nothing like what they show on TV.
My "trial" never even made it to trial. I spent a couple days sitting by myself in a room as my lawyer flitted in and out to review things with the defense attorney and the judge.
The newest lawyer in the chain of those I'd dealt with since signing on with this group happened to be one of the partners. He was knowledgeable and very nice, but I could tell he was looking to get in and out. That's fair. As a partner, I'm sure he had about a million other things he needed to be doing. At least he didn't make me feel like he was rushing me. It's just something I kinda got from all the back and forth he was doing.
He reviewed the case with me and dropped a few bombshells. Apparently there had been an issue with my doctor's testimony. On the little pull-down menu report, he had accidentally chosen "non-permanent injury" instead of "permanent injury." Later, during his own testimony (videotaped in advance), he corrected his mistake and apologized for the "clerical error." However, because of that, my case was hurt because the jury would likely see his testimony as non-credible.
As I read through the transcripts, I saw that he was paid $3,000 for his testimony, and another $3,000 for the report. So $6,000 of any money I see from settlement goes right to the guy who screwed up my case for me? AWESOME!
And what burns me up more is that I specifically requested my lawyers change that doctor because I, myself, didn't think he was altogether there. Yet another thing they neglected to do for me even though I requested this on two separate occasions.
My lawyer also gave me the stellar review of the defense's doctor. He said that if he were the jury, he'd believe that guy way before he'd believe my doctor (the one THEY sent me to after I had specifically requested anyone else).
Talk about epic-facepalm.
As if reading the expression on my face, he followed up with, "But your doctor wasn't bad. He was pretty passionate about your injury, too. My 17 year old would believe him over the other guy. So maybe if we get a bunch of people like her on the jury..."
I need a step above "epic-facepalm" for that one. Sheesh.
Needless to say, things did not go well from there. However, I was at least able to reach a settlement that ensured All-State couldn't drag this out for another few years. I had to fight tooth and nail for it, but I made All-State pay out more than the $1200 they originally tried to write me off with (and $5000 more than what the judge thought I'd ever see from a jury).
Tips for those facing this sort of lawsuit:
Okay, that's kinda it for me on this. On the way home, feeling as though I'd been raped by the system set up to help me out, I thought of a well-known "Letter From Hell." It was supposedly written by the friend of a German nun. This friend had died and found herself in Hell. She was compelled to send a detailed description of Hell to the nun-friend because she was still on Earth praying for the repose of her soul.
On thing always struck me about the letter. In it, this soul detailed that she had, in fact, done real good in her lifetime. God, in His mercy, rewarded her for her good deeds while she was alive because He knew that her soul would choose Hell upon death (due to all her evil tendencies in this life). Her reward was a large inheritance that she promptly spent on frivolous things.
I couldn't help but wonder if maybe God was protecting me from an earthly reward that would have me seal my own Hellish fate. My reward should not be earthly, and I would do well to remember that. So as I grumbled about the perceived injustice I was a part of, I forced myself to stop and realize that all is part of God's plan, and maybe this, too, was meant to remind me that I'm not supposed to be holding out for earthy riches. I'm supposed to be holding out for Heaven.
Honestly, that really did make me feel a lot better. Not better about being raped by the "justice" system, but certainly better about not receiving fair compensation for all the physical therapy I'll no longer be able to have on account of All-State.
I'm not perfect, that's for sure, so I haven't been perfectly offering this mortification up for some greater good like I should be. That being said, God is good and He's allowed me to at least remember that this is an opportunity for grace. This is an opportunity to offer up something in return for the purification of both my soul, and the souls of those I love.
So I guess that's my last suggestion if ever you're in this situation (which I really, REALLY hope none of you ever find yourself in). Whatever your trial, remember to offer it to God. It's been given to you for a reason.
6/20/2012 09:33:02 am
I am so sorry to read all this--what an ordeal. I pray that the careless teenager who hit your car will realize how terrible it was and come to repentance and carefulness for others in his life. God bless you and help you heal in all ways from this.
6/20/2012 09:38:37 am
Thanks, Devin. I appreciate that. That's another good point to keep in mind. We should always remember to pray for those who've done us harm that they come to understand the error of their ways.
6/20/2012 10:52:11 am
There is a book that I am very fond of, called 'A Severe Mercy'. It tells the story of a young couple who fell in love and later converted (through the influence of C.S. Lewis, amongst others) to Christianity. They lived their faith passionately, but the husband had a much harder time than the wife subduing his will on a daily basis to Christ, and after awhile, he began to resent (in retrospect) her for her devotion and easy immersion. After a very few years, the wife fell ill, and months later, died. the husband was positively grief-stricken, and wrote to Lewis, who, at the time, was suffering through the dying of his own wife. Lewis wrote him a letter - he knew them quite well by then - saying that while he believed that the wife's death was a 'severe mercy', for it was only by taking away that which he loved most that the young husband would realize that he had no recourse but God. His occasional petty impatience with his wife's absolute piety and grace had already begun to cause him turn away from God Himself, to the realms of disdain and indifference. He was literally jealous of the Almighty, because it was very clear then that his beloved, who had in their more secular days, declared her husband her all, had relegated him to second place. At the end of the book, the man explains that if his wife had not died, he would eventually have divorced her, or become a quiet, disdainful atheist and turned his back on all hope of heaven. He believes that God knew that, and by taking his wife, saved them both. Eventually he converted to Catholicism (his wife knew nothing about it, so her Protestant faith was undoubtedly taken at face value) and never married again.
6/21/2012 05:08:25 am
You realize I now have to add this to my Amazon wishlist, right? Way to go, Dom. Way to go...
6/25/2012 08:08:29 am
I just have to "second" Dom's suggestion of "A Severe Mercy"...I read it for the first time last year, and it's an incredibly powerful work packed in a relatively small package. It's on my 'need to own' list. Be warned, however, that not only will you look at your life from a readjusted viewpoint, you will also need a box of tissues. I am not a crier, but working my way through the last third of the book made me hide out on my daughter's bunk bed so as to read and weep with a bit more solitude.
6/25/2012 04:39:00 pm
The sequel is called 'Under the Mercy'. It's just as powerful in a very different way, and tracks Vanauken's journey to Catholicism after his wife's death. I also HIGHLY recommend Dom Julian Stead's 'There Shines Forth Christ', a book of Catholic poetry by a priest much discussed in the two books (he was also the one to eventually receive Vanauken into the Church).
I'm so incredibly sorry you had to go through all of this. But I'm thankful for our amazing outlook and that you're able to see the other side of suffering.
6/21/2012 05:09:53 am
Honestly, Cam, this pretty much pales in comparison to what you endured last year. Something tells me your patience and outlook rubbed off on me. ;)
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