What kind of people rely on Harry Williams?
People who need a champion to fight for their rights.
Serving Clients The Old-Fashioned Way
I grew up in a family of 17 children, and a couple of times each week, on his way home from work, my dad would stop at Stafford’s Dairy for milk, bread, and other perishable items. One week in the early 1970s, when my dad hadn’t stopped for groceries, the owner of the store, Art Stafford, called my dad and asked, “Why haven’t we seen you at the store this week? Has our service been okay? Did we do anything wrong?”
My dad assured Art that everything was okay. He told Art that he had been out of town and would be stopping by the store in the next day or so. Those were the days when good service mattered — when business relationships were built on honesty, hard work, trust, loyalty, and a positive, can-do attitude. Art possessed all those qualities. I know this because I knew him and saw him at the store almost every day.
I met Art when I was 12 years old and started delivering newspapers for the Journal Star. Every day I picked up the newspapers at Stafford’s Dairy. Art lived next door to the dairy, so I delivered papers to his house.
When I picked up the papers, I would go inside the store to buy my favorite snacks. Most days, Art was inside or in the back warehouse, making sure the products were ordered, the shelves were stocked, the store was clean, and the customers were treated in a respectful and friendly manner.
Unfortunately, the days of counting on a business owner to really care about his customers are long gone.
When I started my law practice, I decided I wanted to build a business like Art’s — one that cared about customers and treated employees well, one that wanted to make a difference in the community, one that would provide me and my family with a good income.
Do you know what Art’s simple secret to success was? He treated his customers the same way he wanted to be treated. He treated them like members of his own family.
That’s exactly how I try to treat my clients. And that’s how I want them to remember me.
Unfortunately, every day, innocent people are faced with the frightening reality of being injured in a traffic accident. Harry Williams is dedicated to defending his clients with dignity and special care in order to ensure that they have absolutely top-notch legal representation against the insurance companies and insurance company lawyers.
A Harry Williams Case Study:
Jacob was 41 years old at the time of his accident. He had everything a man could want: a beautiful wife, wonderful children, and his own business. One night Jacob was on his way home from work, and a car turned in front of his van causing it to flip over.
The rescue squad had to use the “jaws of life” to free Jacob from his van. Jacob was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He sustained injuries to his shoulders, back, and neck. After a thorough examination, X-rays, and other tests, Jacob was released with instructions to follow up with his doctor.
The day after the accident, Jacob’s chest started hurting. He had previously been through heart-related surgery, and the pain in his chest was similar to the chest pain he had experienced before that surgery.
After an examination of Jacob and reviewing some test results, his cardiologist told him that the severe impact from the accident had caused the plaque in his arteries to break loose and cause a blockage. Jacob had to undergo another heart surgery in order to correct the problem. The medical bills for Jacob’s surgery and treatment exceeded $75,000.
The insurance company for the other driver refused to take responsibility for Jacob’s heart surgery, claiming that the heart problem had nothing to do with the collision. Instead, the insurance company blamed Jacob — the victim. To make matters worse, the insurance company claimed that Jacob was “exaggerating” the injuries to his shoulders, back, and neck.
After gathering all the necessary documentation, building the case, and going through extensive negotiations with the insurance company, Harry was able to convince the insurance company to settle the case rather than risk a substantial jury verdict. Harry recovered a considerable amount of money for Jacob (after all medical bills and attorney’s fees were paid).
One of the most common causes of a motorcycle accident is when the driver of a vehicle turns in front of you and fails to see you or incorrectly judges the speed of your motorcycle. The driver is usually looking for other cars and is not alert enough to notice a motorcycle. Most motorcycle accidents could be avoided if drivers were less distracted, paid more attention to blind spots, and showed more respect to “bikers.”
The following description was taken directly from the report of the investigating Peoria police officer for one of Harry’s motorcycle injury cases:
“Motorcycle rider (Michael) stated he was westbound on Main Street going ‘slow.’ As he approached University, vehicles were turning left in front of him. He slowed down. As he got closer to the intersection, a Chevrolet S-10 truck (Brody) turned behind other cars in front of him…Michael knew he could not avoid it so he…pushed off his cycle striking Brody. Michael flipped off the cycle, over the top of the truck, and landed on the pavement. Brody stated he thought Michael was far enough away for him to make his turn safely…He stated [that] when he turned he thought he could make the turn without interfering with [the motorcycle], but they collided.”
After the accident, Michael was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He had a serious back injury and bruising on his right-side groin area and his inner leg and knee. After he was released from the hospital, he went through several months of treatment, which included two MRIs, physical therapy, epidural injections, and chiropractic adjustments. Although he was allowed to return to work after six months of treatment, Michael continued to suffer from back pain. At the time of the accident, Michael was only 31 years old.
Prior to the accident, Michael played softball in a league and regularly rode his motorcycle. He loved riding his motorcycle and often devoted his entire weekend to riding. Although his back improved with treatment and time, he was never able to play softball again. He continued to occasionally ride his motorcycle, but after an hour or so on his bike, his back pain would become so intense that he would have to return home.
Brody, the driver of the truck, was 20 years old at the time of the accident. He didn’t have any savings and had liability insurance coverage of only $20,000 for the accident. After his insurance company settled and paid the policy limits of $20,000, Harry filed an arbitration claim against Michael’s insurance company. The claim was filed under the Underinsured Motorist section of Michael’s insurance policy.
After the arbitration claim was filed, Michael’s insurance company offered a small amount to settle the case. The small settlement was rejected and Harry gathered all the necessary documents, prepared the case, and scheduled it for arbitration. At trial, testimony was presented and
arguments were made in front of a panel of three arbitrators who ultimately awarded Michael more than 23 times what his insurance company initially offered. Michael was extremely pleased with Harry’s services and the amount of compensation he received for his injuries.
Auto Accidents Involving Seniors
According to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Highway Statistics report, there are more than 33 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States. Older adults want to be mobile and independent, and being able to drive on safe highways is critically important for them. Unfortunately, the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident increases as a person ages. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in motor vehicle accidents (“U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts — Older Population”). Harry Williams has extensive experience handling cases for senior drivers who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. He is committed to getting older drivers the respect and compensation they deserve.
A Harry Williams Case Study:
Catherine was 81 years old at the time of her accident. She was on a rural highway, driving home from her daughter’s house, when a large truck turned in front of her without warning. Her car crashed into the truck and was totaled. She sustained multiple internal injuries.
Catherine was rushed to the trauma center at St. Francis Medical Center. When the ambulance arrived at the hospital, Catherine was unconscious. She underwent several medical scans of her head and body. Hospital personnel told her daughter that Catherine was lucky to be alive.
Catherine almost died because of the accident; however, she survived because of her daughter’s persistence in pushing the doctors not to give up. Catherine was able to walk out of the hospital seven months later, with the aid of a walker.
After living through the nightmare of the accident and hospital stay, Catherine experienced a new nightmare. She was sued by the hospital for more than $700,000 in medical bills.
Catherine’s daughter talked to several attorneys before she decided to retain Harry. While she was impressed by Harry’s extensive experience in handling auto accident cases, she ultimately chose Harry because she felt that he really cared about making sure that Catherine was appropriately compensated for her pain and suffering.
Harry immediately filed a response to the hospital’s lawsuit. Then he went after the driver of the truck, the company that owned the truck, and the insurance company that provided coverage for the truck. The insurance company refused to negotiate with Harry, so he filed a lawsuit against the driver and the company that owned the truck. Because of the lawsuit, the insurance company was forced to defend both the driver and the company.
It took more than a year, but Harry was able to persuade the insurance company and its lawyer to settle the case for enough money to pay Catherine’s medical bills and her attorney’s fees, with enough left over for Catherine to buy a new house and live comfortably for the rest of her life.
Families of Personal-Injury Victims
Many of our clients have suffered catastrophic injuries and their family members contact us because the injured person is in the hospital and unable to hire a lawyer. Harry can help you determine whether your loved one is entitled to compensatory damages from the responsible party after an accident. These damages include the cost of medical expenses, physical therapy, property damage, lost earnings, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, and/or wrongful death. Victims may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are designed to punish the responsible party for the reckless behavior that caused the accident.
John, an executive at Caterpillar Inc., called Harry when his mother-in-law, Elizabeth, was involved in a serious automobile accident on Knoxville Avenue in Peoria. Elizabeth’s car was hit by a vehicle that was driven by a 23-year-old woman named Jocelyn.
Elizabeth had a head injury, broken neck, disc protrusions, lacerated liver, broken left femur (thighbone), fractures to both patellas (knee caps), broken left and right tibias (shinbones), and a broken right ankle. She also had bruising and injuries to her chest and pelvis.
After 12 days in the hospital, Elizabeth was transferred to an assisted care facility in north Peoria. There she spent more than two months in traction and therapy. After she was released, John and his wife moved Elizabeth in with their family. After her broken bones healed, she was able to use a walker to get around.
Jocelyn, the driver who caused the accident, did not have automobile insurance at the time of the accident. A month after the accident, she filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which relieved her of any and all financial liability associated with the accident and Elizabeth’s injuries.
Because of the bankruptcy, Harry was prohibited from filing a lawsuit against Jocelyn. The only legal option available to him was to pursue a claim against the Uninsured Motorist section of Elizabeth’s insurance policy. But there was a problem with that option. There wasn’t enough coverage to pay Elizabeth’s medical bills, which exceeded $200,000. Harry used his knowledge, experience, and negotiation skills to obtain substantial reductions of the amounts that were owed on the bills. In the end, he was able to secure the maximum amount of money available under the insurance policy to provide compensation to Elizabeth for her injuries and to pay the reduced medical bills.
In addition, Harry obtained agreements releasing Elizabeth from having to pay the remaining amounts owed on the medical bills. Even John, the executive from CAT, was impressed with Harry’s creative problem-solving abilities.
The Worst Form of Suffering
On a Sunday afternoon during the summer of 1985, I drove my young family to my parents’ home for a visit. The adults ended up in the back yard sitting on lawn chairs, while the children played in the yard. At one point, a bird landed near my four-year-old son, Harry. He immediately ran toward the bird to see if he could catch it.
As soon as the bird saw Harry coming, it flew away and landed in an apple tree that was located on a 40-acre orchard next to my parents’ property. Harry continued to run toward the bird, but each time he came within 10 or 15 feet of it, the bird took flight and landed farther away. Every time the bird became airborne, Harry stopped, watched until it landed, and then started running toward it again.
I didn’t want to stop Harry from his newfound adventure, so I followed him. After about a quarter of a mile, the bird flew into an area of heavy brush. I called out to Harry, and he stopped running and turned around. He was surprised that I was behind him. It was as though he had stepped into a different world, and I ruined it by suddenly yanking him back to reality.
I jogged over to where Harry was, picked him up, and praised him for almost catching the bird. He was too young to realize that he was never going to catch that bird. What was it that made him continue to chase after the bird? It was the hope and anticipation that he was going to catch it.
I often think about my son’s hope and anticipation when I meet with someone who has been seriously injured in an accident — or worse, when I meet with someone whose family member died because of an accident.
There is nothing more devastating than the sudden death of a person you love. If you’ve ever experienced such a loss, you know the feeling of emptiness and despair. The death of a loved one can strip away your desire to live.
Unlike fear — an emotion that makes us want to avoid the future — hope causes us to seek out and pursue the future with energy and great anticipation. Hope gives us the confidence to dive into the future, regardless of any looming obstacles. Without hope, there is despair. Over time, despair can cause significant damage to a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Despair is the worst form of suffering.
A lawyer’s job is to obtain fair compensation for an injury or loss. As a human being, I believe there is something more that a lawyer should do for a client. That something is helping a client who is suffering to regain genuine hope for the future. Rediscovering hope can be a long and arduous task. When I succeed in helping to turn a client’s despair into hope, then I have done both of my jobs — my job as a lawyer and my job as a human being.