Sometimes fate offers you unusual opportunities. Having spent a period of my life working for the U.S. Congress, I admit I wasn’t fond of lawyers and had not needed legal assistance until 2012 when I got struck by a truck while walking my dog while and crossing the street at an intersection in Hamilton, NJ. The truck driver was blinded by the morning sunlight, accidentally struck me, but fortunately missed my dog, although it caused me to fly some 20 feet and land on my head. The docs said I should have died, but for some reason I survived and woke up an hour later in the Trenton trauma center. Amazingly, I wasn’t visibly badly injured and was discharged a day later. So, I already had experienced two interesting life-changing events–surviving after what should have been a fatal injury, and my beloved dog avoiding getting struck by the same truck.
I stopped by my local car mechanic friend’s shop the next day to pick up my dog, whom he had rescued at the scene of the accident. He excitedly shared that his business surveillance cameras had actually filmed the entire accident, which occurred right in front of his business, which turned out to be Fortunate Event #3. I shared that I wasn’t fond of lawyers, who were already contacting me on behalf of the truck driver’s insurance company. He advised me that I needed to get a personal injury lawyer who would represent me. This turned out to be excellent advice, and he also referred me to his next-door neighbor in his PA home town, who turned out to be Kevin Malloy. Fortunate Event #4.
Kevin quickly came to my assistance, and continued to do so through numerous meetings over the next few years with his new client, me. Having access to his neighbor’s video surveillance of the accident was likely a lawyer’s dream.
I spent several months recuperating from my accident and benefiting from NJ’s disability insurance under my driver’s license. Not being able to return to my employment, I became depressed about whether I would be able to go back to work and pay my bills. I took advantage of the insurance benefit to get psychological counseling for my depression, which resulted in Fortunate Event #5. The clinical psychologist assured me that he could help me overcome my depression, but advised me that I apparently sustained neurological injuries from the accident, likely resulting from landing on my head. What resulted was several years of psychological and neurological tests and treatments to help me through the recovery of my mental injuries, which demonstrated neurological issues like losing some 20 points of my IQ, shortages of both my short- and long-term memory, and balance problems.
But, in spite of incurring a number of physical and mental injuries that meant I could no longer hold a job, I seemed to have ended up with premature permanent disabilities before I was even 60 years old. Through dozens of meetings with Kevin, diagnostic tests with psychologists and neurologists, and meetings with the opposing insurance lawyers seeking to demonstrate that I really was not permanently injured, I patiently waited for a trial date for the next few years in a NJ county that Kevin determined would be friendly to this victim, and he ascertained the insurance limits for the company that owned the truck that struck me. Kevin did his homework in preparation for the trial and also rehearsed the legal questions and answers with me.
The trial never occurred, with the judge, who had viewed the accident video and who had reviewed Kevin’s thorough evidentiary information, offering to settle the lawsuit quickly in her office. In classic TV law firm episode, she gathered Kevin and the insurance company’s lawyer, kicked me out of her office, and within 5 minutes, Kevin came out of the office and handed me a scrap of paper and asked me “Can you afford to live on this award for the rest of your life?” I quickly counted the zeros and said, “Yes.”
Thanks to Kevin, all my concerns about being permanently disabled and unsure about what I would do for the rest of my life, Kevin Malloy solved all my personal and financial concerns in a single lawsuit. The happy ending to this story is that I was able to buy a dream home on the Shenandoah River in Luray, VA, and invested the lawsuit settlement monies wisely. Ten years after my almost dying, I am using the award funds to build the first dog park in Page County, VA, this year. I’m naming it “Bailey’s Legacy Dog Park” in honor of my dog that missed getting hit by a truck. Kevin Malloy can handle my legal affairs anytime. A Class A performance.