Sarah Proudman contacted Steve Smucker following her involvement in an automobile accident in North Portland. The driver who hit Proudman was clearly at fault-he’d been driving the wrong way on a one way street when his car collided with hers. As a result of the accident, Proudman sustained an injury to her cervical spine. Because of the neck pain, she quit her job as a nurse, doing what she loved working with patients, and took a desk job. Her medical expenses amounted to several thousand dollars. The other driver’s insurance company offered a settlement of $12,000-an amount based on figures from the insurance company’s own computer model. Smucker prepared the case for trial in Multnomah County Circuit Court. After a three day trial, the jury awarded Proudman $52,000.
“Steve did an excellent job . . . He will go the extra mile to represent you. He was diligent and left no stone unturned in preparing for trial. Nothing deterred him. Most of all, I was impressed with his listening skills. Over the three years we worked with Steve, he seemed to remember the tiniest details from almost every meeting. He retains a lot of information. I would easily recommend him to someone who needs an attorney. He’s a good guy.”
Jamie Gibb was driving in Hillsboro, Oregon, on 185th Avenue at its intersection with Baseline Road. Another driver ran a red light and drove into Gibb’s Jeep. The impact lifted the Jeep into the air and carried it across three lanes of traffic where it landed on a parked donut truck. Gibb suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken ribs and a broken nose. The injury to her head caused post-concussion syndrome, including loss of concentration, memory and balance. “The injuries had a huge impact on my life,” Gibb recalls. “For months, I couldn’t go outside without sunglasses and most of the time I also had to wear sunglasses inside. I became sound intolerant as well. I had a constant array of migraine headaches.”
Gibb’s traumatic brain injury (TBI) was so severe she was unable to continue her job as a bus driver. Though her fellow workers helped create a job for her in the bus garage, she eventually became unemployed as a result of the accident. Because the negligent driver was uninsured, Gibb had to go to her own insurance carrier for compensation. When the insurance company balked, Smucker prepared Gibb’s case for trial in Washington County Circuit Court. One week before the scheduled trial date, Smucker helped negotiate a settlement for his client of $100,000, the maximum limit of the insurance policy.
“I loved working with Steve . . . We developed a personal relationship-a friendship. I always felt he was in it for me, for what I wanted. He was quick to answer phone calls and emails. He demonstrated he sincerely cared about us. I really appreciated Steve’s constant support and guidance. I tell everyone who needs an attorney to call Steve.”
Bend photographer Jon Gnass and his wife Karen were jogging south in the bike lane on Purcell Road near its intersection with Butler Market Road. A construction truck was heading north on Purcell with an unsecured 12-foot length of 2′ x 8′ lumber sticking out on its right side. As the truck passed the two joggers, the board struck Jon in the throat, knocking him backwards to the pavement where he struck his head. Gnass was in a coma for a week and has no memory of what happened. As a result of the collision with the unsecured board, Gnass suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Devoted long distance runners, Jon and Karen contacted Steve Smucker when Jon was injured, because they knew of him through running circles. Smucker produced a compelling mini-documentary to tell Jon and Karen’s story for the Gnass mediation and settlement conference. The mediation was successful and the Deschutes County judge who presided over the session said the resulting confidential settlement was the largest he had seen in that county for personal injury. The settlement is helping Jon and Karen adjust to the changes in their lives resulting from Jon’s brain injury. You can find out about Jon’s photography at http://www.gnassphotoimages.com/.
“Steve educated, coached, and prepared us intellectually and emotionally . . . to minimize our anxiety with all the legal procedures and protocols. This helped instill in us a confidence to participate in the civil justice system. Steve kept us inspired and our spirits alive. This helped motivate us to continue to live life to its fullest. We were satisfied with the outcome of our case-we won!“
Lori Kirby was driving her mini-van on North Killingsworth in Portland when the driver of a pickup truck ran a red light, smashing into the mini-van. The crash broke Kirby’s left arm. She suffered a permanent limitation in the range of motion of her left thumb and wrist. A permanent metal plate and screws were put in her arm to aid its healing.The other driver’s insurance company offered a settlement of $30,000, an amount generated by a computer model used to determine the worth of Kirby’s arm.
Smucker took the case to trial. While on one of his regular daily workout runs, he had been pondering how to best describe the severity of his client’s fracture to a jury. He spied a dry tree branch on the trail. He picked up the stick and took it to his office. At a dramatic moment in the trial, Smucker broke the branch in front of the jury. In the quiet courtroom, the dry piece of wood yielded a loud “crack.” The simple demonstration seemed to work; jurors awarded Kirby $90,000.
Following the accident, Kirby returned to her job at the Oregon Humane Society where she works with the dogs and trains Society volunteers.
“With Steve as my attorney,” says Lori Kirby, “I felt we were extremely well prepared for the trial, so much so that it made me be able to relax, feel confident enough to be able to voice my side of the case. He let me make the decisions. He guided me, but left everything entirely up to me so I felt extremely comfortable throughout the case.”
When Margaret Slovak’s stopped car was rearended, the collision and resulting injuries threatened her life as a professional musician. For Slovak, playing guitar and composing music is more than making a living, it’s who she is. She was on her way home from a doctor’s appointment when the collision occurred. Slovak had been seeking treatment for pain and tightness in her neck and back. The force of the collision threw her right shoulder, arm and hand forward, her hand hitting the steering wheel. For some time, injuries from the collision prevented her from playing guitar. With a great deal of difficulty and pain, she gradually returned to playing. Steve Smucker’s job of representing her was complicated by the pre-existing neck and back discomfort. However, he negotiated a settlement large enough to pay for her medical bills and many of the debts that had piled up while Slovak was unable to perform. You can learn more about Slovak and her music at http://www.margaretslovak.com/.
“I felt Steve really cared about me as a human being . . . I talked to other attorneys who seemed more concerned about the financial aspect. Steve genuinely wanted to help me. My case was rather complex but he made me feel like he wouldn’t walk away and leave me stranded. I’ve already recommended him to friends.“
Jennifer Camelio was riding as a passenger, when the car she was in was rearended by another vehicle. Camelio suffered injuries to her neck and back in the accident. The insurance company for the negligent driver refused to pay her claim-they took the position that nothing was wrong with her.
“He believed in me,” Jennifer Camelio recalls of attorney Steve Smucker. “Most other attorneys, I think, would have quit the case, but Steve took a chance and he fought for me.”