Twelve-year-old Jeffrey Jernigan dreamed of being a doctor. The bright student said he wanted to study cardiac medicine and become a heart surgeon. His dreams were shattered when, riding in the passenger seat of his brother’s 1993 Oldsmobile Delta 88, he suffered a catastrophic head injury in a crash. Although struck by a smaller and lighter vehicle, the Oldsmobile’s door beam and framing crumpled, crushing the boy and fracturing his skull. Beasley Allen lawyers uncovered GM crash-test documents that showed changes made to 1992 and 1993 year models of the Delta 88 to save pennies put passengers at risk of serious head injury, and a GM engineer testified to the likelihood of injury as a result of the design changes. In order to send a message that lives take precedence over the bottom line, a jury awarded the boy’s family $122 million. The young boy who had dreamed of caring for others will now have to be cared for himself, for the rest of his life.
One of the broadest categories for people needing legal help is Personal Injury. Our attorneys in this area see people who are hurting in a number of ways – physically, mentally and emotionally – whose lives have been set on an unexpected path through no fault of their own. They began one day just like any other, going to work or going about their business, only to encounter an unimaginable situation resulting in traumatic loss, serious injury or death. Just like that, dreams are dashed. Families are robbed of a mother or father, of peace of mind.
Personal Injury claims might involve single vehicle wrecks, traffic accidents, accidents in the work place, assault claims, accidents in the home, and nursing home neglect and abuse. Many times when our skilled team of professional investigators takes a look at a personal injury claim, they find a defective product is to blame. We help ensure that manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause.
It was a crisp fall day much like any other, when Bob Jones* climbed into his bucket truck and headed off to work. Parked under the power lines, he climbed into the bucket and was raised to reach the cables overhead. Suddenly, he experienced his worst nightmare – he was badly shocked, and his resulting injury caused him to lose his entire right arm and use of his left arm. He wouldn’t even be able to open a soda by himself. When Beasley Allen’s team began investigating, they soon discovered that the manufacturers of other bucket trucks had long since retrofitted their equipment with a special protective device to prevent their employees from suffering this exact type of injury. The plaintiff’s employer knew about the improvement, but chose not to protect its workers’ safety with this simple modification. The attorneys fought hard and ensured his family would be provided for while sending a message to businesses that the safety of their employees must be priority number one, with a $114.5 million verdict.
We have discovered far too many defective products on job sites that severely injure workers on the job. What might initially appear to be a worker’s compensation claim might turn out to be a case involving a dangerous product or piece of equipment, about which manufacturers should have been aware.
Workplace injuries may include industrial disease cases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, chest diseases, repetitive injury strain, or a severe injury such as a loss of fingers or limbs, or even death resulting from an unsafe work environment or defective equipment.
* The name of the claimant was changed for privacy.
In-house accident investigation team
Since 1988, Beasley Allen has had its own in-house Accident Investigation division which has proven to be a tremendous asset to the Personal Injury department by aiding attorneys in evaluating potential automobile accident claims. Our investigators offer expert analysis and advice while assisting in the preparations for trial. The Investigative Division, headed by Bruce Huggins, employs seven full-time investigators who are professionally trained law enforcement officers having graduated from the Police Academy. Many of the investigators have served as division heads in local police forces and have attended prestigious academies, such as the FBI National Academy.