There are several ugly truths about life that most of us ignore. I want to cover two of those ugly truths today. The first is that the path through life is fraught with uncertainty. The second is that by the time we’re mature adults, we have had experience with the first truth, but most of the time, we tuck it away into a deep dark corner of our minds. Then we go on with our lives behaving as though the first truth does not exist.
When I was 12 years old (1969), I experienced two events that changed the course of my life: I got my own paper route, and my mom drove me to the bank and opened a checking account in my name. The reason she opened the account was because she didn’t want the job of writing a check every week to the company that owned the newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star. When we got home from the bank, she taught me how to write checks. When the first bank statement arrived in the mail, she taught me how to reconcile the account.
Last week, I wrote about what I say to a jury to introduce them to the concept of placing a value on pain and suffering. I discussed how a dollar “value” was once placed on individual slaves, and how property that has been damaged is valued. I provided examples of how we value a damaged washer and dryer, a damaged vehicle, an injured racehorse, and a partially burned famous painting.
Last week, I wrote about a client who was hit by a car while she was crossing the street, and another client who was hit by a car while she was walking on the side of the road. I explained that under Illinois law, the two women are entitled to reimbursement of their medical bills, lost wages for the time that they are unable to work, and other expenses that are related to their injuries. They are also entitled to receive compensation for their present and future pain and suffering. I also discussed the McDonald’s coffee case and explained the difficulty that lawyers have in presenting the topic of pain and suffering to a jury. Today, I’m going to discuss how I explain to a jury the “value” of a person’s pain and suffering.
Last week, a young woman hired me to represent her on a case in which she was injured when she was hit by a car. The incident occurred while she was walking to work. As she was walking on the shoulder of a road near the parking lot of a local business, a car suddenly darted out of the parking lot, crossed two lanes of traffic, and hit her. The front bumper of the car hit her on the right side of her knee, causing her to fall and hit her head on the ground.
Last year was the 80th anniversary of the publication of the book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. The book, which was originally published in 1937, has never gone out of print. In other words, at any time during the past 80 years, a person could walk into a bookstore or, in recent years, go on the internet and purchase the book. Very few books have ever succeeded in remaining in print for 80 years.
Last week, I had an appointment with a man — I’ll call him Jim — who hired me eight months ago to represent him on a personal injury case. As usual, Jim brought his wife with him to the appointment. I’ve met with Jim and his wife on four occasions over the past eight months. Jim was injured when a large truck disregarded a stop sign and collided with his vehicle in the middle of an intersection. Because of his injuries, Jim has not been able to return to work. He’s been without an income for eight months.