Verdict - Spring 2016 - (Page 14)
> HOW I OBTAINED JUSTICE FOR MY CLIENT
14 Years in the Making:
BY BRUCE A. HAGEN
can honestly say that when I met Shirley Ali in October, 2001, a week or two after her life altering car wreck, I had no idea that I would
still be representing her more than 14 years later on a case that I worked on for more than half my legal career. But that's what it took
to conclude the case that, over the years, both haunted and motivated me to see it through to the end, no matter what it took.
When I met Shirley, I immediately wanted to help. Despite her awful injuries and pain, she was genuinely concerned more for the well
being of the kids in her class and the family members that relied on her daily support. Shirley was an assistant teacher for Special Needs
students, what's known as a "Paraprofessional." Maybe my connection to her was strengthened by the fact that my then 8-year-old daughter
had been in special needs classes since she had started school,and I was ever indebted to the kindness and patience of the various paraprofessionals
who worked with us in the Fulton County school system. Whatever it was, I felt a strong connection to her and thought that she felt the same thing.
The facts of her case were both simple and
we were all filled with the immediate sense of
the police. Ultimately, both Mr. X and Ms. Z were
maddingly complicated to establish. Shirley, her
pride and respect for the heroes who stepped up
charged with traffic offenses and both were
17-year-old daughter and a friend were driving
to help in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks
charged with DUI. Both pleaded guilty to DUI,
south on the I-75/85 Downtown Connector in
against our country). Shirley and her daughter
with the traffic charges being nolle prossed.
Atlanta in the early morning hours of September
went to the scene of the wrecked vehicle to see
Unfortunately neither driver had a lot of cov-
22, 2001, which was either a late Friday night or
what could be done. While Shirley's daughter
erage, and my client did not have any uninsured
an early Saturday morning, depending on your
crawled inside the car to attempt to free the
motorist coverage. I believed that liability was
perspective. Being close to 4 a.m., the highway
driver, Shirley flagged down another motorist
shared between the two drunk drivers and made
was virtually empty. Suddenly, a car driven by
and they called for help.
policy limits demands on both insurers. Ms. Z's
"Mr. X" came flying by Shirley at a high rate of
Several people stopped at the scene.
insurer quickly paid the limits. Mr. X's carrier,
speed, swerved and flipped over, hitting the
However, one vehicle did not stop. That vehicle,
however, denied any liability for my client's inju-
median wall and bouncing off. Shirley stopped
driven by "Ms. Z," crashed into Mr. X's disabled
ries and did not make any offer.
her car to see what had happened and if anyone
vehicle, causing severe injuries to Shirley. Ms.
I was adamant that Mr. X, who flipped over
inside the car needed help. (Keep in mind that
Z got out of her car, threw a couple of empty
his vehicle and set the whole sequence of events
this was just days after the events of 9/11, when
beer bottles over the median, and waited for
in motion, had sufficient liability to my client to
Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Spring 2016
GTLA at 60: A Conversation with Tommy Malone
Law Practice and Cloud Computing: Staying Ethical in a Digital World
14 Years in the Making: Justice Delayed, but Not Denied
What is the Plaintiff’s Burden in Proving the Value of Medical Expenses?
An Introduction to Daycare Negligence Cases
Diminished Value Claims: Not Just for Cars Anymore
Seeking Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp: Recent Developments
Civil Justice PAC Contributors
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Spring 2016