The Advocates Injury Attorneys • www.UtahAdvocates.com • (801) 783-3555
When Personal Injury Law Gets Personal
How a Tragedy From My Youth Made Me a Better Lawyer
When I was a little kid, I always dreamed of being a pilot, just like my dad. He flew airplanes in the Navy off aircraft carriers, and his stories always entranced me. I fantasized about coasting through the sky without a care in the world, the distant patchwork landscape unrolling beneath me. One fateful day, when I was 9, everything changed. My friend and I were furiously sword fighting with two wooden sticks, imagining ourselves to be locked in dire combat. But imagination turned all too quickly into reality as he swung with his entire might, striking me square in the middle of my left eye. Though I don’t like to go into details, I knew immediately that something was wrong. My parents rushed me to the hospital, and the doctors determined that my eye couldn’t be salvaged. So, at 9 years old, I lost my left eye, and I also lost any chance of following in my father’s air-bound footsteps.
Soon after that traumatic event, my parents were contacted by my friend’s parents homeowners insurance. A claim had been opened and they wanted to help cover the immense medical costs of my injury. One day, the insurance company offered to settle. Their offer was $10,000. After some deliberation, my parents, thinking the adjuster had their best interests at heart and assuming they couldn’t do any better, accepted the meager sum. Now, as a seasoned personal injury attorney, I can say definitively that $10,000 is drastically less than my parents should have accepted. I don’t fault them at all, though. I know all too well the techniques insurance companies use to trick hardworking people into accepting inadequate compensation. However, if my parents had an attorney at the helm, I’m confident they could have secured at least several hundred thousand dollars — which, to be honest, would have helped me a lot. Every year, I’m spending more money on prosthetics, medicine, and maintenance of my injury, not to mention the inconvenience of having just one eye for the rest of my life. I can’t say that the loss of my eye and the insurance company’s failure to provide was what spurred me to study law, but it did teach me the necessity of fair compensation for injuries. The
consequences of that settlement will follow me for the rest of my life.
Not only that, but experiencing that violent injury gives me a unique perspective as an attorney. When I see an injured individual come in, going through one of the toughest times of their life, desperate for anything
“The consequences of that settlement will followme for the rest of my life.”
that will make them whole again, I can relate to their experience. The goal of a personal injury settlement isn’t to get rich quick. Instead, it’s to cover the thousands of dollars of medical bills and to give the client peace of mind so that they can focus on their recovery. Now, after helping dozens of clients receive the compensation they deserve, I’m just waiting for the day when a mother brings a young kid into the office with catastrophic damage to his eye. Not so I can avenge what happened to me — I’m long past that — but so I can help him and his family see that he doesn’t have to live with these expenses for the rest of his life, and that there’s a way out. The truth is, I’ll do absolutely anything to fight for my clients. Not only because it’s my job and my passion, but because I know how they feel. –Chris Thresher
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