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Law Student Wins Scholarship for Story of Devastating Car Accident and Dishonest Lawyer
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Carol Greer

Summary: Law student Carol Greer receives scholarship for relating her experience with a dishonest lawyer after a traumatic car accident.

Carol Greer, a student at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, recently won the Appel Law Firm’s 2014 Auto Accident Survivor Scholarship. In her essay, she detailed an event that became the hinge of her life, an accident that tore her family apart, with repercussions she feels to this very day.


A car accident in 1994 cut short Greer’s family trip on Mother’s Day. They were hit by a semi-truck from behind, causing their Chevy Conversion Van to fold like an origami, landing Carol with a brain injury that prevented her for a while from making long term memories, while meanwhile opening painful suppressed memories from her childhood. Her mother, likewise, became paralyzed from the sternum down. The family never went on a vacation together again.

They hired an attorney recommended by a friend who was also elected County Prosecutor a year after taking on their case. That man promised larger and larger settlements over the next two years, suggesting they could get two million dollars. But after he apparently attempted suicide by car accident, it was revealed that he had already received their settlement, which was for four hundred thousand dollars with one hundred thousand as an annuity, forged their names on the checks, and kept the money for himself.

The family meanwhile struggled under staggering bills for the mother’s care. Carol’s relationship with her mother had been becoming better prior to the accident, but with the change in her memories, she became filled with resentment, and wasn’t there for her mother as she tried to cope with her devastating injuries.

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After Carol left the family to pursue her career dreams, she did not contact her mother much – had not, for instance, wished her a happy Mother’s Day – and was shocked to discover that her mother had died from a staph infection caused by a bed sore. Though Carol knows that her bad relationship with her mother had a lot to do with her brain injury in the accident, she nevertheless struggles with unresolved guilt for how she treated her mother before her death.

Despite being cheated by their attorney, Carol went on to law school, and is of the class of 2017. She wonders back to the attorney, asking “Is half a million dollars enough to cover that loss? Even if we received the settlement, what is my family worth?” There is the bitter sense that the money could have prevented her mother from getting a staph infection.

The experience has given her a sad and sobering view of life and the law, preparing her for her career as an attorney.



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