A Tribute to Rhode Island Lawyer: Joel Chase
Yep, you read me right…”Tribute” and “Lawyer”–Two Words You Won’t Often Find Together….But make no mistake, when you’re at the edge of an abyss, it’s great to find a champion….
I’ve said it before: Biddy Bytes is not a Religious Blog. When I included the words “Encouragement in a Difficult World” in my blog title (in the first years,) my blog was categorized, by Google, with the Born-Again’s and Bible Thumpers (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
It’s just Not Me.
But biddybytes.com is a spiritual entity, for sure, because I write about things in my life that didn’t have to happen the way they did. I believe Spiritual Forces were at work…..
There’s the Almost-Certain-Death I experienced, at age 28, on Lake Pepin in Minnesota, where I rolled over the top deck of a sailboat, hooked to a trapeze (hiking gear), gathering loose ropes about me (boat owner failed to batten down the lines.)
Next, I slid over the side and the entire boat, capsized, plunging me 30 feet below, tied to that mast. Wet canvas sails enshrouded me. In the inky blackness, I was all too aware of the little time I had to free myself.
I thrashed at the lines and miraculously managed to unhook the device, then kicked with all my might to get to the surface before blacking out. I had seconds to do this.
There’s no logic to my salvation. I should’ve been an MBF (Minnesota Boating Fatality.)
I consider another event similarly compelling: I taught with a colleague for many years, in Rhode Island. She married a man who’d been in the news as lawyer: He’d represented Jeffrey Scott Hornoff, a married cop who’d been convicted of killing a woman with whom he’d had an affair. In a rare case of Justice Delayed, Hornoff was cleared when the real killer confessed, several years later.
Her husband represented Hornoff; he’d never ceased believing in him.
Now, he’d help my husband and me. It was 3 years ago, when we were coming off the Accident. My husband “died;” hospital staff revived him; but there was minimal insurance (guy who caused all the trouble had the smallest legally-allowed and our bills were staggering.)
North Carolina lawyers (where the accident took place) didn’t want our case. Officially, we were Rhode Islanders who lived in Asheville 5 months of the year.
Worse yet, husband wasn’t driving the car I had insured, and he wasn’t even listed on my policy. To collect from my insurer would present a formidable uphill battle.
Just before I was to throw in the towel and accept anything insurers would pay (you can stack claims,) we met my teacher friend and her husband. My husband’s neck brace prompted a discussion that would prove so valuable.
We were a thoroughly-beaten pair that day: Temps were close to 100 degrees; we felt alone in our misery; we’d been up against a legal and medical bureaucracy for months.
Joel Chase told me to not call those insurance companies–Told me to call him Monday morning. And I did. That set us all on a 3-year-course of events, where we prevailed.
Why is he so good? He listens to clients and respects their views. He kept us in the decision-making, throughout, and was a titan in negotiations with Medicare, Tricare, the hospital, and the surgeon. I would never have known how to operate in that sphere. He buoyed us when we were down, advising us to “Maintain our course,” against almost-impossible odds.
Yes, other folks can rag on lawyers and put down what they do, but my husband and I know the value of a skilled negotiator who led us out of a financial nightmare. He saw to it we weren’t doomed by a technicality.
Meeting Joel Chase on that day may look to others like serendipity…But I know otherwise.
***It only seems fitting a blog I began 3 years ago, at depths of despair, following my husband’s horrific accident, should have as its Anniversary Special, a tribute to a man who helped us, on the road to economic recovery….This one’s for you, Attorney Joel Chase.
Now, for a chilling account of how I thwarted death (but have NO IDEA HOW,) click on this link to read what happened to me on that lake in Minnesota, so very long ago (when I was young and ever-so-foolish.).
Had your own Angels? Maybe there’s a great lawyer in Asheville or elsewhere you wish to tout? Maybe you recognized his/her value only later in life…Share at Comment section, below.
***P.S. This is post #399 of Biddy Bytes, a blog I began writing in early July of 2010.