This morning I left a court hearing with a final order from the judge that winds up a case for an injured child. It’s been a long road. Sometimes cases take many years to fight through. Looking back this morning I realized how time can seem to wind on forever when you’re fighting, but seem to have passed in the blink of an eye after it’s over.
Caleb Romines was ten when I met his mom, Ami, for the first time. They had been in a serious car crash. Caleb was stat-flighted to UL Hospital. He lost his spleen, had internal injuries, and some bad fractures. His recovery was long and difficult. Ami needed help with his medical bills and wanted to protect his future. I remember him from when I first met him – a skinny kid, pretty shy and quiet.
That was six years ago. We fought the case for most of that time. It wasn’t an open and shut liability situation – in fact, proving fault was very, very difficult. The accident report, investigating officer, and witnesses were all against us. I have to admit that there were times I seriously doubted that we could win or settle, or that I would be able to help them. But Ami wanted to stick with it, and eventually we resolved the case.
Caleb isn’t short any more, or a skinny kid. He’s become a talkative, confident young man. He also has some options that he didn’t have before. The work we did will send him to college if he chooses to go. (Caleb, if you eventually read this, and you turn 18 and spend your money on a car, I will hunt you down and haunt you). I’m years older as well, and thought for a few moments walking back to the office how much things can change in six years.
It also made me think about how much I enjoy what I do for a living, even when it sometimes give me ulcers.
In recent years I have had more and more cases that focus on kids who have been hurt or killed. It’s not something that I planned, or set out to do. It just happened. I had some good jury verdicts at trial involving kids, and some cases I took for kids without charging a fee. Word gets around, and before I realized it, people were calling because they heard I focused on kids or they read something about a case I was working on.
Next week I have another case involving a child coming in for the first time. This one is a rather serious dog attack. When I meet him, I’m going to take a picture.
Maybe in a few years I will pull it out and try to remember when he was a skinny kid sitting in my office for the first time.