These are the times when you find out what you are really made of. Anyone can be optimistic when the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming. But we Oregonians know how to keep a good attitude when the weather is bad.
It is natural and easy to fall into self-pity when you have been hurt because someone else was careless. You have come face to face with the fact that the world is deeply unfair. As a result of your injury, you can no longer hold your new grandchild. You cannot care for your family. Your relationship with your husband or wife suffers. You feel helpless.
Let us be clear here. Any good lawyer will want to hear every single detail about how your accident and injuries affected your life. Every detail. Your lawyer will want to hear everything, including the whining—whining is honest. Your lawyer must be able to understand your injuries so well that he or she can describe them to the jury, so you don’t have to. But once you’ve told your layer every detail, its’ your lawyers job to tell your story. Your job will be to get on with your life, with as much hard work and optimism as you can muster.
Let me tell you a story. It may be a myth. But it’s a good story.
A boy was severely injured in a car crash. He suffered nerve damage, and could no longer walk. He was stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Eventually he learned to “walk” 10 to 20 feet with two forearm-braced crutches.
By the time his case came to trial, he was 12 years old. Harvard doctors, John Hopkins doctors, and OHSU doctors all walked up to the witness stand, one after another, and told the jury that the boy would never walk again. The boy’s mother cam up and told the jury how much the boy used to love playing tag, climbing trees, playing baseball, but now he’d never run again. Dad talked about how much he had been looking forward to coaching his boy in Little League, but now he’d never play again. More medical specialists came up and told the jury the boy would never walk again.
Finally, the boy himself was called to the witness stand. His father pushed him to the witness stand in his wheelchair, and the boy started to get out with his crutches. The judge told him he could stay in his wheelchair, that he did not have to get up into the witness box. But the boy said no, he wanted to sit in the right place. The court clerk moved to help the boy up, but the boy waved him off. He struggled mightily with the help of his crutches to get out of his chair, up the step, and into the witness box. You could have heard a pin drop in that courtroom.
Finally he got into the witness chair, and the bailiff swore him to tell the truth.
The boy’s lawyer asked him one more question: “Johnny, are you ever going to walk again?”
The boy’s answer: “Absolutely!”
The insurance company lawyer did not cross-examine him; there was nothing to say. As the boy worked his way back out of the box and into his wheelchair, you could see the insurance company lawyer calculating how many millions of dollars that boy’s winning attitude had just cost his company.