Sky High

A few days ago, I had an experience of a lifetime: jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. In mid-air. I hadn’t done much that was outside of my comfort zone in quite a while (aside from navigating my law firm through COVID and court closures, of course, but that’s not as scary as hurtling 120 mph towards certain death, right?), so I decided to push myself further than I wanted to be pushed.

As 14 of us took the trip up above the clouds, it occurred to me that my assigned flight instructor, and I as a trial attorney, had a lot in common, despite us only exchanging a few words over the course of some pre-flight instructions. This thought came to me in between repeatedly reminding myself that soiling my pants would be frowned upon – and perhaps subject to some sort of clean up surcharge.

I hadn’t felt that vulnerable in a long time. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this random stranger had my life in his hands. If he didn’t buckle me up correctly, or in any way failed to do his job, I was in danger. Likely mortal danger.

But he did everything I suspect (this was my first time) a skilled instructor should do. He explained the process efficiently. He deployed humor, where appropriate, to defuse a tense situation. He mentioned his expertise without bragging, to embed a sense of confidence in my mind – a mind that was in fight-or-flight (no pun intended on the “flight” part) until my feet hit the tarmac. In no way did he add tension to what was already a situation prone to excitability. And I believe he probably read the energy I was bringing to the equation and appropriately mirrored it, further giving assurances that I was in good hands.

As we plunged headlong into Harford County skies, careening out of control towards the earth’s surface, I found myself in my clients’ shoes. I realize it’s not a perfect analogy, i.e., there’s a lot that’s different between a potentially life-and-death situation and a court case, BUT when you find yourself facing a scenario like those whom we represent, that client is facing – at least – a life altering situation.

You need someone that you feel in your gut you can trust. Someone who demonstrates the requisite skills to get you through to the other side successfully. A person who delivers instruction and answers questions, patiently and capably. Someone who shows calm during adverse situations so you can feel assured. And ultimately, someone who gets the job done successfully.

Being faced with a personal injury is bad enough. Having to go to court over the matter because the insurance company make a reasonable offer is, in some ways, for some people, even worse. Surveys show that public speaking – obviously required of a person injured when they testify – is the average person’s number one fear. Number two? Death. (Maybe my analogy isn’t that far off?)

So, how is a trial attorney (a good one, anyway) like a skydiving instructor? When life is at its most stressful, s/he offers assurances that everything is, in all likelihood, going to be ok. “We’ve done this thousands of times, and it always ends well.” (Past results are not an accurate predictor of future outcomes – I need to add the legalese the instructor wasn’t required to give…which I’m glad he didn’t highlight.) S/he should offer only the information necessary to assist the individual in need of direction, thus not overwhelming them, but then answer any questions that arise patiently, thereby catering to that individual’s desire for information. Everyone is different and needs to be treated as such. We all share commonalities (we seem to prefer not to speak in public – and not dying) but we all process information differently. And after the preparation is done, a good instructor/trial attorney says, “You’ve got this,” and then confidently takes the lead, showing the client, “I’VE got this.”

Hopefully, a personal injury is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (or better yet, a none-in-a-lifetime experience), but when it happens, you need a lawyer who’s “been there, done that” a thousand times before. Here at Bmore Attorney, we actually litigate cases, when necessary. We don’t take a case on and, when it doesn’t settle, refer it out to another lawyer who actually tries cases. We ARE that firm that tries the cases when the offer isn’t reasonable. And the insurance companies know it. And trying cases increases the likelihood that the insurance company will settle the next one.

When you’re facing a life-altering situation, you can trust Bmore Attorney to make sure the process of making a claim and possibly pursuing a case in litigation is smooth sailing and that the odds of a successful resolution are well in your favor.