Client Once - Friends Forever

Here at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum, we like to say “Clients Forever”—meaning we never leave your side, and we will always be there for you. The truth of the matter is most of our clients have a single event in their lives we guide them through, and they may not need legal representation again. That does not mean that we are not there for them; rather, that they just did not need further legal assistance. For some clients, they are “clients once, but become friends forever.” One of those clients is Christina.

Christina with Christopher Russo

Christina’s Story

Christina and I met when she needed me most. She was attending Bryant College and returning home from her job at the school library (back when libraries were needed and we had actual books). She was driving on North Smithfield on a winter night with very little street light, so to say it was dark is an understatement. As she was driving, she saw a car stopped in her lane. She was in a passing area, looked and saw no cars coming the other way, and passed the car in front of her. What she did not see was a low-bed tractor trailer across the entire road. It had dropped off a delivery to a local home and was backing into the road. The truck had no reflective tape that we see all the time now or any lighting. That’s why the car in front of Christina had crashed into it and was stopped. So, Christina had no idea what she was in for. Not seeing the truck, she crashed into it full speed and with complete surprise. You can imagine the shock to her mind and body!  

Christina Calls Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum for Help

We met when Christina was home from the hospital recovering from her multiple fractures and surgeries. I represented her suing the trucking company that was based in Canada. The company, of course, denied any wrongdoing. We forced the company to bring its driver back, so I could depose him (ask questions under oath). It was amazing how incredibly unprepared he was to be an international truck driver. He had no idea what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations even were, let own where to put safety cones when there was an accident. This was crucial because we established there was a minimum of 10 minutes between the first crash and when Christina came along. That was all the warning she would have needed to know she could not pass. But the company was too lazy to make sure its drivers were studied and prepared for these situations.

Christina and I spent many hours preparing to establish and show the jury how her injuries affected her. It’s never enough to just say I fractured my wrist or fractured my leg. You have to spend the time to know your client and understand how the injuries and the aftermath interweave into your client’s life. Christina was young and ambitious, and these injuries threatened to hold her back; but it’s not easy to hold Christina back from what she wants. We pushed forward for a trial, and the company caved at mediation. They knew we were prepared; we were not going away. As a team, Christina and I showed them at mediation what the jury would hear and see and what we were certain would end in a substantial verdict. We obtained a tremendous six-figure settlement that exceeded Christina’s expectations and goals.

That was nearly 20 years ago. I am pleased and proud that Christina had the judgment and wisdom not to spend her settlement money unwisely. She invested well. I would be proud to have her counsel any of my clients on what to do after settling a case. It is not all that common for me to see what permanent injuries are like for my clients 20 years later. Christina still has lingering effects from her injuries. This we knew would happen and why we pushed for the compensation we did. We have stayed in contact through the years, but unfortunately, Christina’s tenure here in Rhode Island is coming to an end. She is starting a new chapter in her life in South Carolina. I hope the state appreciates what they are inheriting. Christina is a marketing genius, dog lover, and just a great person. The solitude of South Carolina may be interrupted by the sounds of her Harley-Davidson. As her friend and personal injury attorney, I do cringe at the thought of her on a motorcycle knowing if there is another accident (thankfully, there has been none) how serious the injuries could be. But she assures me she is an extremely safe driver! South Carolinians beware! I am her attorney for life and will come down there. Christina is a great example of the relationships we form with our clients, and we wish her well and look forward to hearing about her new adventures.

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