Quite a few years ago my husband, Paul, was pulling out of an office driveway in his Diesel VW Rabbit when a city police car traveling at a high rate of speed without its siren on around a blind corner slammed into him, spinning him across four lanes and into a tree. Paul's head shattered the driver's door window and the backseat of the car was crushed, but Paul survived and in fact turned out to be okay. People stopped to help and the policeman who was driving the car interfered with them, ordering the off-duty EMT who was a witness and was trying to cut Paul out of his seatbelt to stop, saying that the EMT was "destroying evidence." Witnesses were so outraged that they left their names and numbers.
We were grateful that Paul was able to recover fully. And it was so clearly the policeman's fault. So were we ever surprised to be served papers that the city was suing us for the accident. This part was not the city's fault, but I was served the papers within hours of learning my mother had breast cancer. Paul and I were taking a walk to help me take it all in. And when we walked back up our driveway, there was the paper server. The good news there is that my mother's breast cancer didn't require chemo and didn't recur. But that seemed an extra cruelty -- to serve papers for an accident that could have killed Paul and wasn't his fault on such a day (mind you, I know they had no way of knowing. I also doubt they would have cared.)
That's when we had to hire a lawyer, and found a good one who took it on a contingency basis. We were never going to take this to court, but they sued us. All we wanted was for the city to pay for Paul's hospital bills and his car. We offered to settle for a very reasonable amount. Nothing doing. The city attorney thought he would be a hero by instead making us pay. I will never understand this part, especially with all the witnesses who had come forth.
The city forced us to fight them. And because we were right and we had a good lawyer, we won. We won far more than we had asked for in settlement. So the city took the case to the state Supreme Court. We won again.
It took years and was so unnecessary. What started out as gratitude that Paul was okay turned to anger as we were dragged through the courts by the city and the process went on and on. It took so much of our time, our emotions and our lives. We felt that our good, hard-working trial lawyer well deserved his 30 percent.
I hope you never need a lawyer like this and that you never have such an experience. Life is too short to spend it fighting with jerks in court. But if you have to, it's good to know there are good lawyers out there. We used a S.C. lawyer, but if you find yourself needing a good lawyer you'll want to look at philadelphia accident attorneys.
Oh. And why was the policeman endangering citizens by flying around a blind corner with no siren? He was answering a false alarm at an ATM machine.
I'll always be grateful that no one was in that crumpled back seat, and I'll always believe it was the hand of God that protected Paul.