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Client Stories

Dennis R.

A friendly gesture turned into a life-altering disaster when Dennis R. stopped to help someone change a flat tire on an expressway. Dennis was trying to find a jack when a state patrol car pulled up behind the scene, accidentally pinning him between the two cars. His right leg was completely crushed.

“I needed emergency surgery to literally cut open my whole leg. Ultimately, I had to have surgery to reconstruct it, and then I needed skin grafts to cover the openings that were made by the surgery. I had to learn to walk again through permanent nerve damage and permanent muscular damage. The state totally denied responsibility for all of this, though I had no idea how uncooperative they’d be at that point. My first set of surgeries was to open the leg below the knee, completely open up all the muscles and remove all the damage – the dead muscle material. I was in a tremendous amount of pain, and there was a possibility that I’d have to have my leg amputated. That was what I was fixated on.”

“I talked to a good friend of mine on the phone in Minneapolis, and he asked me, ‘Would you want me to give Burke & Thomas a call?’ He’d used Burke & Thomas before, and said he’d had a great experience. I decided, ‘Yeah, I would like some advice on this.’ John called me soon after and offered to help me in whatever way he could. We decided to move forward, and a few hours later John was at my hospital in Chicago.

“John told me that the beginning stages of a case are very important. While I was in the hospital John was stern to stern, telling me, “Here are the things to think about; here are the things to do.” He took pictures; he called the driver in the car I had been helping, and had them go out with a photographer to measure the site. That was the benefit of having John there – all of this was happening before I could really even walk. He told me that things change, and that you really need to get the information early on to make sure that every element of what happened is recorded and able to be used. He had tremendous, tremendous follow-through.

“John also spent a fair amount of time making sure that I was working toward the best quality of life. He came with a very holistic approach. I specifically remember him telling me that this kind of traumatic incident would affect me for the rest of my life, and it has. He told me there was a physical, emotional, social and spiritual components at times to these kinds of things, so I should pay attention to those. He helped me ensure that I had help from professionals to deal with the complications that have or did result from this – to end up with optimal, best quality of movement and life.

“In Burke & Thomas, I found a combination of assertiveness and integrity through the next four or five years, while this case moved its way through a system that was all new to me. The state was extremely uncooperative, and I ended up having to sue. Through Burke & Thomas, I ended up with a very reasonable settlement. Between John and the others at Burke & Thomas I felt like I got this consistently holistic good advice. They anticipated what would happen and what could happen, and had a high level of competence and thoroughness. They always talked me through things very reasonably, and listened to my concerns, how I preferred to have things dealt with. They were very responsive to me.

“When my friend referred me to Burke & Thomas, he told me they were absolutely the best. That’s exactly how I feel.”