2nd Place – Marshall Perfetti

Marshall Perfetti

I opened my eyes to a blinding brightness. Nothing was distinguishable, and the ringing in my ears was louder than the blaring sirens of the ambulance. It hurt to breathe; it hurt to speak; it hurt to move.

Everything was ready; in twenty-four hours, I would touch down in Charlottesville, VA and begin my college career at The University of Virginia. Prior to leaving home, I wanted to say goodbye to my friends. My father was in the U.S. Army at the time, so I knew that if I didn’t visit my friends to wish them well, I would most likely not see them again for many years. There was only one person left on my list of goodbyes. We decided to meet on the military base for lunch. I told my mother I would be back in an hour, and then everything went black.

Waking up in an ambulance with my mother by my side was terrifying. I tried my best to remember what had happened, but I could not muster the concentration needed for recollection. My head was pounding like a drum as the paramedics wheeled me into the hospital. MRI, CAT Scan, tubes coming in and out – everything was a blur. I must have fallen asleep during the process because when I finally came to, I saw my family crying next to my hospital bed.

My mother explained that I wasn’t even half a mile away from my house when an elderly woman ran a red light at a crosswalk and hit me. The woman was in the car with her son, who was reading her a text from his phone.

The doctors concluded that I had sustained four fractures in my zygomaticus, a concussion and internal blood loss in my liver. Due to the internal bleeding, I could not eat solid food and had to receive IV nourishment during my week-long hospital stay. I lost fifteen pounds.

John Locke’s Social Contract Theory essentially states that citizens of a given country must give up some rights in order to be afforded specific privileges by their government. The privilege of driving cars on state-built roads comes at the price of respecting anti-distraction rules. Sorrow is often unavoidable in life. Illness and personal injury can be difficult to prevent. However, death and harm caused by distracted driving is something over which we can exercise control.

The approach to minimizing traffic accidents should be threefold: (1) publicize the stories of victims in an effort to raise awareness of possible damages; (2) spread reliable statistics related to traffic caused by distracted driving; (3) local, state, and federal governments should implement strict punishments distracted drivers who create problems for others. By spreading anecdotes and factual data, drivers will hopefully foster a sense of responsibility when behind the wheel. Moreover, strict punishments outlined by ruling parties will ensure the best interest of each citizen indiscriminately, and will be a classic example of the Social Contract Theory in practice. Through the unrelenting implementation of these three actions, stories like mine will hopefully become a rarity.

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Featured FAQ

How do I get the most money for my case?

Evidence is essential in order to get top dollar for an injury case. This means there must be proof of who was at fault for the accident and that the accident caused your injuries. Police reports and witness statements go a long way to proving fault while detailed medical records from qualified doctors (many times orthopedics or neurologists) are used to show the cause and extent of the injuries. We work to build a solid case in order to seek maximum compensation for our clients’ injuries.

Is there a benefit to being represented by a lawyer?

Most of the time in an accident injury situation, an insurance company will be your opponent. Insurance companies are very skilled at denying or minimizing injury claims – that’s how they make money. Insurance adjusters regularly deny claims that should be paid, or they offer only a small percent of the fair value of a claim. Our goal is the opposite. We develop a settlement package presenting our client’s case that often can result in our client receiving 10 to 20 times more compensation than what the insurance adjusters might offer for their injury claim. In such case, even after legal fees, our clients can net more money in their pocket. Even better, we work on a completely contingent basis, so there are no legal fees unless we are successful in collecting compensation for our clients.

Should I talk to the insurance company?

Do not talk to anyone at the insurance company. This includes their insurance adjusters and defense lawyers. Insurance companies frequently record phone conversations during which they ask leading questions designed to produce testimony that they can use to deny your case. If we are your lawyers, we will do the talking for you so you do not fall into the insurance company traps that are designed to decrease the value of your claim.

How do I pay my medical bills?

Medical bills can be paid through various manners such as health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Personal Injury Protection insurance funds, deferred billing, and letters of protection. Depending on all of the facts surrounding your case and the insurance companies involved, we produce a strategy that we believe will best benefit our clients. Also, even if our clients do not have access to health insurance, we can assist them with getting medical care that is paid at the end of the case – which means no upfront medical bills.

How do I collect my lost income?

Even if an injured person is not able to work after an accident, insurance company tactics are to disagree and assert that the person could work so the insurance companies can deny the claim for lost income. It is important to have a qualified doctor’s medical documentation that proves the inability to work for a certain period of time due to an injury. We work with our clients’ doctors and employers to prove the medical reason for not working and the calculation of lost earnings. This frequently results in a fight with the insurance company, but we believe that with solid evidence we are ultimately able to win the fight and collect our clients’ lost income.