Over the years I have been amazed and inspired by the indomitable spirit of clients who are paralyzed by traumatic spinal cord injuries. One client who was a quadriplegic was determined to get back to teaching college and writing books with adaptive technology. A young woman who became paraplegic in an accident finished college, earned her masters degree, taught school, went on church mission trips, moved west,  became Ms. Wheelchair California, experienced adaptive surfing with stars, and rode in the Rose Parade.

Now comes the story of a Canadian quadriplegic farmer, paralyzed from the neck down, so determined to return to productive life that he has designed a tractor that he can operate while seated in his wheelchair.

Some people think that lawyers encourage injured people to lay around as victims. Based on my 33 years of trying cases before juries, I think that is unwise and counterproductive. It is far better to be a courageous survivor, battling the odds to be all that one can be and do all that one can do. There is intrinsic truth in that, aside from any consequences for a liability claim. However, it is also true in litigation, as jurors feel far better about compensating a survivor with an indomitable spirit than rewarding someone who passively accepts victim status.



Ken Shigley, author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice, is  a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He practices law at the Atlanta law firm of Chambers, Aholt & Rickard, and has broad experience in catastrophic personal injury, spinal cord injury, wrongful death, products liabilitybrain injury and burn injury cases. He is also president-elect of the State Bar of Georgia. Ken and  This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.