Let’s see, what dollar value would you put on your life?
Sounds preposterous that I would even ask such a question, right?
Life sometimes takes us down unexpected paths.
Sometimes it’s no longer even life. Sometimes it’s life with unpleasant limitations. Sometimes what happens pains our family members so badly that whatever the event, life will never be the same for you, or them.
And while we can feel sorry for – let’s say -- poor Joe, who’ll spend the rest of his life in pain and unable to work from a neck fracture he suffered in whatever accident, like being rear ended by a semi, what value can you place on that?
Joe had surgery to repair the fracture. Doctors put in a metal plate and some screws to hold it in place.
How about medical bills? Certainly they’ll be into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
Okay, so those are paid by the trucking company insurance. Maybe yes. Maybe no. In any case, the medical bills won’t end here and now. They’ll continue … for a long, long time.
And Joe stills wakes up every day having to swallow his pain medication just to make life bearable. The pills have side effects, so he has to take more medication to offset the pain meds.
Remember, Joe can’t work. His job as a – pick one, say an electrician – is long gone because he isn’t physically able to do it any more.
Now Joe doesn’t have a weekly paycheck. He has two children, both in elementary school, and a loving wife who stays at home tending to the family. One income, or at least there was one income. Now there’s no income.
Let’s see, there are groceries to buy, a mortgage or rent to pay, utilities, modest car payment and oh, yeah Joe doesn’t have medical insurance any more for himself or his family.
These expenses don’t even count renting a movie, or an occasional birthday party for one of the children, or life insurance for Joe in case something tragic happens to him.
Oh yeah, something tragic did happen to Joe. His wonderful life just turned into a mess thanks to the negligence of some trucking company and its driver.
And guess what? It will never change back to the way it was. Poor Joe and his family are doomed to a morass of debt, anxiety about the future, and oh yes, Joe is still in pain each and every day.
So now what is the value of Joe’s life? How much money would he have earned working another 25 or 30 years as an electrician? Maybe the house would be paid off by then, he’d have a nice nest egg upon which to retire and enjoy his remaining years and all would be good.
But it won’t be good. That’s all changed. Forever!
And yet the ordinary man or woman whose life is generally good cannot understand why Joe would hire a personal injury attorney, and ask for monetary damages to offset his income, his daily pain, his disability, his disfigurement, the suffering he and his family continue to endure day in and day out.
Joe and his family are good people. They’re not greedy. They’d go back to the way it was in a second. They can’t.
Yet at the trucking company it’s business as usual.
Joe’s only recourse is to hire that injury attorney, like
Kenneth J. Allen, who has a passion for people who have been harmed, permanently and forever! So he and his wife do hire Mr. Allen.
A lawsuit is filed against the trucking company. The company’s insurance representatives put a laughable settlement on the table. No way does it cover anything close to Joe’s tangible and intangible losses.
The offer is rejected and a jury trial is convened. Thank goodness it’s a jury of Joe’s peers, because more often than not members of a jury can place themselves in Joe’s shoes. And historically in the case of Kenneth Allen, it’s been always.
The jury returns a verdict of say, $6 million in favor of Joe. Boy, that’s a lot of money we all think.
But would I trade places with Joe? No way. Please, there’s no way it’s worth $6 million to me to go through what Joe and his family have, and will – forever!
In reality, Joe won’t even receive $6 million. It’ll be whittled down with expenses he’ll have to incur because of his limitations, like maybe mowing his lawn like he once enjoyed. Now he must hire someone. Or psychological therapy he’ll need. After all, the mental toll this has taken on Joe is significant and finally hitting.
When there are outcries for tort reform, limits on damages a person can collect after being irreparably harmed, stop and think about poor Joe. Want to trade places?
Instead, how about stronger laws, enforcement and penalties for trucking company safety violations.