A story of heartbreak for a father, a motorcycle accident attorney, and everyone that rides a motorcycle….
Two Million Dollar Judgment:
We all want to be that lawyer that kicks ass in the courtroom and gets those big judgments. Here’s a judgement that I secured after countless hours of hard work and a refusal to give up. It’s pretty isn’t it? Looks all lawyerly and professional and I made it happen, despite unbelievable hurdles. It’s the kind of stuff the billboard lawyers love to put on TV and next to the highway on big ugly signs.
This is not a heartwarming story. This is the story of a case that helped put me on the path to be a motorcycle accident attorney. This is the story of Landon Dell.
Landon Dell was a damn fine person, rider and father. In fact, on the day of his accident, he and a friend were volunteering their time to teach a new rider the rules of the road and how to safely ride with others. What a great endeavor; and on a clear and beautiful day. They stopped to fuel up and finish the ride on some silky smooth roads near a golf course in Slidell, just north of New Orleans. When they finished fueling, Landon and his friend debated who would be leader and who would be sweeper, with the new rider safely tucked in the middle.
Everyone was geared up properly and their full focus was on safety and learning. Each of the riders were as sober as a judge.
Landon decided to lead the way. They came around a turn doing no more than 35 mph when a SUV driven by an inattentive driver took Landon out.
The vehicle passed within feet of the other two riders that simply stopped in shock after having viewed what just happened. As a rider, the most telling and chilling part of this event was Landon’s Gauntlet glove stuck in the SUV front windshield. I still have it in my desk after all these years.
I usually wear shorter leather gloves when riding on the street. I save the gauntlet gloves for the track, and with the carbon fiber knuckles and the multi-point restraints, those gloves always made me feel invincible. Just slipping them on gave me the assurance that nothing could happen to me, but that glove sticking out of that windshield stripped me of that.
The more I delved into the case, the more the reality of the dangers associated with motorcycles sank in. And I get it: if it was 100% safe, we wouldn’t do it. After all, what sane creature straps itself to a motor with a tank full of flammable material on top? It’s not natural, but it is what makes riding a bike so damn sexy and fun. Just like people who race cars or bikes for living, we live with the risks associated with the activity that we love.
The Calm Before the Storm:
I remember the first time I heard about the accident. They were doing a fundraiser at the local track and I was keen to participate. Any raffle or auction that helps a downed rider gets my attention. A couple of guys at the track knew of my work, and they introduced me to the guy running the raffle for Landon’s medical bills. He took my name and number and sent it to Landon’s dad. I didn’t know much about the event, but I was willing to help.
Landon’s dad called that week, and I met with him to discuss the case. I remember the meeting because I nearly ran out of Kleenex, and for the first time ever, I almost reached for one myself. My associate on the case said some fateful words at the end of the meeting, and they would stay with me for years since that is how long it took to work the case.
She said, “If you want to be a motorcycle accident attorney, then we should take this case.” Fateful words indeed since they would cost me thousands of dollars, and years of work to not only get them back (without interest) but get Landon the justice he deserved.
More in the next series of Blogs about Landon Dell…..