Saturday morning, at the request of a patient’s family who urgently want to provide for his care needs, I visited an intensive care unit at Grady Memorial Hospital to attempt to interview a man who became a quadriplegic in a recent traffic collision. Laying paralyzed in a bed, breathing through a tube, he was too sedated to respond to a sibling’s attempts to wake him. We may have to have a family member appointed by the probate court to handle his affairs. The previous afternoon, I had met with a father whose beautiful 16-year-old daughter went out on a date, the boy who was driving wrapped his car around a telephone pole, she had a bad head injury, and died a few weeks later in the hospital. I don’t know if the evidence will ultimately be sufficient for me to do any good for these folks, but I will explore all reasonable options.
The seemingly random cruelty of fate is tangible at such times. When I was in my teens, a popular TV show included each week the "flying fickle finger of fate award." It was presented as comedy then, but too often it is part of tragedy. It seems that nearly everyone I represent has been presented this unwelcome "award."
Sometimes well-meaning people try to say that it was "the Lord’s will" or "the Lord took her" when a person was killed or catastrophically injured. As a long-time adult Sunday School teacher, I think that is warped theology. It’s wrong to blame God when people break rules and cause tragedies. Hurricanes and tsunamis are acts of God. Truck wrecks are acts of men and of corporations, and they should be held accountable for the harm they cause.
Sometimes we can obtain justice for victims and their families. Other times all we can do is provide the comfort that someone who is knowledgeable cared enough to try. A trial lawyer is called to be more that just a gladiator. We need to remember that highest source of law and of professionalism is a rule of unselfish love, of sincere concern for the highest good for the other person. While we are not grief counselors or psychologists, we need to be able to help folks get through the ordeal of their loss.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck and bus accidents, including those resulting from driver fatigue. Click here for a free consultation with no obligation.