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Firm News | 10/08/2014

Vehicle Accident

The Story of My Vehicle Accident

In 2009, I was hurt in a vehicle accident, when a man rear-ended my pickup truck on a highway in northern Pennsylvania. My shoulder's rotator cuff was torn and other related injuries from this accident prevented me from raising my arm beyond my chest height for months. I required medical attention immediately, and right off the bat, the medical bills were into the thousands of dollars, and they steadily climbed. I knew I could easily be responsible for paying the ever-increasing medical bills, unless I had legal representation protecting my interests and representing my side of the story.

Moreover, the odd circumstances of the accident bothered me, and I could not shake the feeling that something other than the other driver's simple mistake caused it. Despite the fact that Pennsylvania law automatically assigns fault in a vehicle accident to any driver who hits a vehicle from behind, it is also a fact than any circumstance can be twisted into a story placing fault, or blame, on the driver in the front. Although I was the driver in the front, minding my own business, driving the speed limit, and I was rear-ended, I did not want to take any chances with the insurance companies, who are known for looking out for their own interests first and foremost.

I knew I needed a lawyer, someone who was experienced representing those involved in a vehicle accident.

Well did I recall the fancy advertising of one of the region's biggest law firms dealing with accidents and personal injuries. They were on TV constantly, touting their record, they had billboards, and they have a large prominent office I   frequently drove past. So, I made an appointment with that firm, met with an attorney there, "Moe," read and then signed a representation agreement, and filled out a report detailing my vehicle accident, as I recalled it.

The attorney, Moe, advised me that for a number of reasons, this was not a "big case," and that I should not expect to receive much more compensation than just having my medical bills paid. Maybe at most I would receive a few thousand dollars beyond the costs incurred. That was fine with me, as I simply wanted to avoid being responsible for what I suspected would be tens of thousands of dollars of my own medical bills, let alone other costs that might arise, such as vehicle damage.

Over the following year, Moe followed standard procedure that most attorneys can practically do in their sleep. He called and wrote the other driver's insurance company, explaining our cause, and asking for a resolution that favored my interests. . The other driver's insurance company assigned an adjuster to the case, but she rarely called Moe back, and when they did speak, she was highly resistant to any settlement in my favor. In fact, she blamed me for the accident. Moe assured me that this was common practice, and that despite the adjuster's inflexibility, she would eventually relent and settle she would eventually relent and settle any case we might have brought in court against her client, the other driver.

Moe's casual cat and mouse game with the adjuster continued without anything to show for it until a month shy of the statute of limitations. Without a lawsuit, it was simple deadlock, a stand-off between the insurance companies with me in the middle. The day before the statute ran out, Moe filed a lawsuit. Right down to the wire we went, which caused me a great deal of anxiety.

Months ticked by and still nothing happened other that a formal exchange of legal notices between the parties, now that the lawsuit had been files. My medical work and rehabilitation continued unabated since the accident, and despite Moe's early assertion that this was a minor case, it turned out that my shoulder and back were not healing. Surgery was needed.

That was the final straw for me. I notified Mo that he was being terminated, and he responded with a nasty email assure me that it was the right thing from his perspective, too.

Dick Freeburn then took me on as a client, and immediately his approach was completely different. Dick was methodical, analytical, careful, and diligent. He pored over all the records, rebuilding the case from the ground up, from its beginning. Based on his reading of the circumstances of the accident, Dick decided to depose me and the other driver, something that Moe had never done.

By deposing the other driver, Dick learned that he had, in fact, deliberately caused the accident. The driver was actually defiant and proud of his reckless behavior. His attorney, believed that the statute of limitations prevented the deposition from being introduced into the lawsuit.

But Dick argued that the statute of limitations did not apply. The judge agreed with Dick, and after several months of failed appeals by the driver's attorney, the damning deposition was accepted into the record.

And because of the demonstrably, admittedly reckless behavior of the other driver, Dick was able to successfully petition the court for the addition of punitive damages. Needless to say, the once-silent adjuster was suddenly in full communication with Dick Freeburn.

After a month of back-and-forth, we settled with the other driver's insurance company. They covered all of my medical bills, well into the many tens of thousands of dollars, as well as lost time from my job, pain, and suffering, and vehicle damage. We ended up receiving many, many, many, many, many (yes that many "manys") times more money that Moe had originally predicted would be our best case scenario, years before.

Dick Freeburn did an exemplary job. He read the case facts carefully, he followed standard legal procedures, he put his client first and ahead of his own expectation of financial reward, all in contrast to the approach Moe had taken. As a result, with Dick Freeburn in charge my case was fairly settled in a matter of months, I owed no money for medical bills or vehicle damage, and justice was served. I cannot say enough how impressed I am with Mr. Freeburn.

As a personal note, I want to say that Dick Freeburn was always pleasant and friendly to deal with. He never rushed me, never made me feel like my case was insignificant, never said disparaging things about my case, and was utterly professional. He simply made me feel like I was getting the best legal representation possible, and the value of that was well beyond any money received as a result of his work.

by, Josh

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