I have never suffered a life changing injury. I have represented a lot of folks who have. When I meet with a new client, I let them know that I can feel their pain – not because I have been there myself, but because I have previously worked with so many others who have. Every time I have said those words, they were sincere. But it is easy to become desensitized. A bit of time in the hot seat, however, reminded me of what they go through – every day – for the rest of their lives.
I started feeling bad Monday afternoon. By early evening, fever, chills, headache and general discomfort c hit like a tsunami. Until late this morning, life has been miserable. No position was comfortable. I was too hot or too cold, my coughing doubled me over and my headache never went away. Now, only three days later, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. By Saturday, I will feel good enough to go to a Senior Bowl party our firm is co-hosting.
When I compare my three days of Hell with my clients’ lifetimes of pain, I am embarrassed. But it was sure real when I was going through it. If I ever feel the flu symptoms coming on again and the doctor tells me I can buy my way out of it, I will empty my wallet. I’ll borrow money – whatever it takes. Come to think of it, my clients would, as well. They didn’t buy into their lawsuits – they would trade all the money they recovered for their good health in a New York second.
But they can’t. And their problems aren’t over in three days. They don’t just jump back on life’s merry-go-round. The money they recover hopefully provides whatever physical comfort that is available through medicine, physical therapy or devices. It also provides a psychological parachute for their families. Losing a bread winner is its own, special kind of pain. Whatever amount a person who suffers permanent, intractable pain recovers in a law suit, it never makes up for the pain. The last three days have driven that point home for me yet again. As bad as I felt, perhaps I needed to be reminded of what my clients go through forever.
Cum Laude graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Pet Mackey is a civil trial litigation expert who represents plaintiffs in business and consumer tort, contracts and construction, employment disputes and insurance. He is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Certified Alabama Mediator, and an “AV” rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.