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A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT 

Steven Sanders-Chapman

"FOR THE RECORD:"

In 2016, while driving home late one night, I was rear-ended by an 18 year old drunk driver going 40 miles per hour while I was stopped at a light. I do not remember this or recall the impact. I don't recall being pulled out of my demolished Saturn that had been folded in on itself like a slinky. I don't recall the moments after or being taken away in an ambulance. I am grateful to have been wearing my seatbelt (I used to struggle to remember to), and that fateful decision changed my life forever. My car's airbags did deploy breaking my right hand in the process, and I was knocked unconscious from either the driver side window, the headrest on my seat, or the air bag itself, I'm not quite sure. September 9th, 2016, very well could have been my last day on this Earth. When I awoke in the ER the doctor informed me that most likely if I had not been wearing my seatbelt I might not be sitting there today. 
 
That car accident set myself on a path that I still find myself on today. One could say it was life-altering. Rather than being severely injured or even dying that day, I was low-key given a new found purpose that I would not yet realize but had been set in motion. In the aftermath of that accident, besides my fractured hand; i I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In that moment of inertia where the combined weight of 2000 pounds of car, metal, and me, went from a complete stop to 20 miles per hour, to a complete stop again, resulted in severe head trauma.
 
For those of you who have ever experienced a concussion, I would compare it to cracking eggs into a frying pan and then scrambling them up. That's how my head felt. But rather than taking a couple days to heal, it took me 6 months before I could even go out in public for any sustained period of time. I have never experienced an injury so debilitating yet invisible at the same time.  The most vital, basic part of me, my brain, was injured and forget quality of life, It was difficult just to function. Migraines, severe anxiety, depression, memory loss, slurred speech, constant nausea, sensitivity to light, vertigo, mood swings and depression. Some of these symptoms I have had to learn to live with.  I didn't just struggle with going about my daily life, for six months I struggled just to exist. People could not see my injury and therefore it couldn't have been too severe. My employer was gracious and understanding at first. But then my coworkers started to mutter. Some believed I was faking it to get out of work. I was fired from my job about a month later when I attempted to come back to work and failed because I was not yet ready. This entire time I had no income and was forced to live on savings. I was hoping that with the severity of my symptoms a doctor would be able accurately inform the insurance adjuster just how affected I was from this accident. But that was not the case and my attorney was hesitant to file litigation due to the difficulty proving the existence of a TBI. He made it clear that if things got to that point he would not be able to represent me.
 
I was encouraged to settle as soon as I had spent the last of my savings. When that time came I settled for what my lawyer advised was top dollar for my injuries; $12,000. We later found out that the 18 year old kid that hit me was driving his mother's car and was insured for $300,000 in bodily injury liability. Prior to this, my attorney was under the impression that because of the young age of the driver, there would not be enough coverage to adequately treat my injuries.  This, in large part as a result of his conversations with the adjuster assigned to my claim, who would not disclose bodily injury coverage while casually hinting at state minimum coverage of $15,000. I never realized how biased the claims process is in  favor of the insurance company over the wrongfully injured party. It wasn't until experiencing this first hand, that I realized the injustice of it. My quality of life was changed forever and the $12,000 settlement that I agreed to barely covered the expenses incurred from the time I was unable to work. I had never felt as used or taken advantage of then I did in that moment.  The resulting focus and purpose I felt from knowing what I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my life was POWERFUL. I saw a need for helping future wrongfully injured victims and assisting in personal injury nationwide as an advocate for transparency and fairness in the claims process with the hopes of preventing circumstances like mine from ever happening again. 
 
This is the morale and purpose that Pacific Liability Research was built on. Honesty, transparency, and equality in the claims process. This cannot be done with vital information being withheld by the billion dollar insurance industry attempting to mitigate their loss with every claim. At the end of the day, these people never asked to be injured, so why should they not be fully informed regarding the treatment of their injuries? These are common reflections in today's Personal Injury yet circumstances seem to be getting worse for our Plaintiff Attorneys, not better. It is our goal here at Pacific Liability Research to actively be an advocate and a part of that fight. At the end of the day, this is more than just business to our staff, we approach our jobs with reverence and purpose, hoping that one day we might build a more fair system of justice.

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