Some of our former Central and Syracuse New York personal injury clients become lifelong friends. One example is Mary. Even six years or so after we settled her case, she keeps in touch, stops by the office, and emails us regularly.
Mary suffered a terrible traumatic brain injury (“TBI”).. She was a passenger in a snowmobile that collided with another snowmobile. About 6 years ago, my partner, David Kalabanka, got her a 7 figure settlement against the responsible party’s insurance carrier and worked out a structured settlement that will pay her several millions of dollars, in monthly installments, over the rest of her life. David did an awesome job representing her.
Mary can’t work a conventional job. No one would hire her. Her brain injury has left her noticeably “different”. She talks with an unsettling voice and intonation. She speaks whatever she thinks, and this, of course, is not socially acceptable. She sees double, too.
It’s easy to take advantage of Mary, and many people do. Why? She has a big heart, a good monthly income (from the structured settlement), likes helping, is lonely, and wants friends. Her brain injury has left her without a healthy skepticism about people’s selfishness. It’s easy to talk her into buying you stuff. And doing free work. She’ll clean your house, or paint it, for free, just to be your friend.
Mary likes to paint. My wife and I needed our bathroom and kitchen repainted. So we invited her over. Here she is, in the photo, removing the wallpaper from our bathroom. She offered to do the job for free, which will take about a week, but I of course insisted on paying her the going rate. I just hope she spends it on herself and not on what others talk her into buying them.
By the way, “Mary” is not her real name. I am so afraid people will take advantage of her that I have changed her name and used a photo that does not show her face.