It’s hard to anticipate what’s coming, just around the corner. Your senses may alert you; unfortunately, their abilities have limited range. You try to plan for events, schedule your life, manage your money, or stay one step ahead of the unexpected, but sometimes it all catches up with you; you face demands and complications that are impossible to anticipate. No matter how much you plan, schedule, speculate, and prepare, some things are simply beyond your control. In some cases, one unexpected instant can change your health, your financial plan, and your daily life.
56 year old Vincenzo Popolizio suffered a traumatic brain injury on December 9, 2000. While trying to drive slowly and carefully down a steep, snowy incline, he approached a sharp curve and lost control of his car, which slid across the roadway and landed in a deep drainage ditch. Upon impact, Mr. Popolizio struck his head on the windshield.
Anti-justice forces might argue that Vincenzo has no one to blame but himself. But, Vincenzo argued that he was driving as carefully as possible and filed a lawsuit against the county, claiming that the county was negligent in failing to safely design and maintain the roadway; county officials had failed to erect guardrails to prevent motorists from entering the ditch, which had an unsafe depth and slope. After a contentious trial, the jury agreed with Vincenzo and found in his favor; it determined that the county was 100% at fault for negligence. The jury returned a pain and suffering verdict of $4,600,000. Vincenzo had proved his point, right?
Wrong. While those who think serious personal injury litigation results in "jackpot justice" might expect this to be the end of the story (plaintiff wins, so the plaintiff gets paid a huge amount of money), in this case (and in most cases like it) it would be many more years before Mr. Popoliozo would receive justice.
After the trial, the verdict was reduced by a judge to $1,600,000 (many citizens are unaware that judges have this power, but this is one of the system’s many checks and balances, available to litigants on both sides of a case), then increased to $2,100,000 by an appellate court. The parties and the courts disagreed on the amounts awarded for past and future pain and suffering; plaintiff claimed the figures were too low, defendant argued that they were too high. At this point, the reader should begin to sense why litigation often extends over several years, while fees, bills, and stress all pile up.
Although the appellate court’s final decision in Popolizio v. County of Schenectady reflected the jury’s initial verdict in the plaintiff’s favor, appeals and motions tied up the case (and Mr. Popolizio’s settlement) for nearly a decade. It was finally settled in July 2009, almost nine years after the accident. In cases like this one, auto accident lawsuit funding organizations like Lawsuit Financial understand that while a serious injury/accident case is pending, the victim still faces unexpected costs and challenges. Troubling financial issues could cause victims to settle cases too soon, for too little; this is why Lawsuit Financial has dedicated itself to one pro-justice mission: To help injury victims cover their necessary expenses while their cases are being pursued to their just and proper conclusion.
Lawsuit Financial congratulates Mr. Popolizio on finally receiving his settlement (it is unclear whether he got more or less than the jury verdict he earned, so long ago) and his attorneys for their hard-fought victory; this auto accident legal finance company supports the rights and needs of all clients who are injured through no fault of their own by something they couldn’t have anticipated…just around the corner.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.