Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Tide Turns - A Case Update

A few days ago, I wrote a post based on a case was investigating. The blog post is called "Bad Karma: DWI" and you can link to it through my blog archives if you'd like. It's fairly recent, though a bit lengthy. So let me sum it up for you in just a few sentences.

Guy at age 16, drunk, fell off Deception Pass and lived to tell about it. He broke every bone in his body he said.

When I met him he was in his 30's, in a wheelchair. He had one good leg he used to push himself around in his wheelchair. He lived in an old age home. I was meeting with him because he got hit in his wheelchair in a crosswalk by a car that ran a red light. The hit broke his other leg. So now he had two legs he couldn't use. Plus a broken wrist.

So when I closed my post back then, story had a miserable ending. The man called me, crying. He told me the law firm called him. They said they got the police report we were waiting for. It said the Defendant/the person who hit him had no auto insurance. He said the law firm couldn't take his case.

I talked to him a bit about crime victims compensation; said I would get the number; and also told him I would call the law firm, see what they had in their file about his case.

I never called him back. Nor did I call the law firm. No excuses. Just one more to do on a list of things undone.

So he called me back again this morning on my ferry crossing to Seattle. He asked me if I found out anything. He said he was so depressed, he was feeling suicidal. I told him I was very sorry. I screwed up and hadn't called the law firm yet or gotten the crime victims number. I didn't bother with excuses.

I told him to give me a few hours. If he didn't hear from me or the law firm by five to call me back.

I called the law firm immediately. Told the attorney I received a call from this man. That he said they resigned the case. Turned out -- not only was the case still open -- the lawyer had the police report in front of him and the Defendant did have auto insurance.

The attorney and I discussed who called the client in the nursing home and said there was no auto insurance.
The law firm combed through their database and emails.
No one from the firm made that call.
I asked if the insurance companies might stoop so low as to call and pretend to be an attorney resigning a case.
"I wouldn't put it past them," the attorney replied.

I told the attorney one of us needed to call the guy back immediately with the good news.
"He's suicidal," I said.
"I'll do it, " the Attorney volunteered. "Right now."

That was fine by me. I knew the call would happen.
I knew on this day, some one's frown would turn upside down... thanks to a call from an an auto insurance policy in force.

The client in the wheelchair called me back just an hour ago as I was in my car, on the ferry crossing home.

He said he wanted to say thank you. He said he felt there was no hope left for him, he was so desperate, how much he appreciated my help. When I told him it was my pleasure, I meant it.
I told him how I excited I was to learn the was an insurance policy in place. I said next step is to hope for a big one, because he had three shattered bones in his leg and they need surgery.

We chatted more about who could've placed that mysterious call to him convincing him there was no insurance. We lost the cell signal as the ferry was docking.

Driving off the boat and heading home tonight with the sun setting, I thought this story would make a great blog post, if only because it's history-making -- being the second true story I wrote in a row that has a happy ending.

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