Cheryl Sinegal was at home one evening in 2012 when she received a phone call from a friend. His vehicle had broken down, leaving him stranded. He had called to ask if Cheryl could pick him up and give him a ride. Cheryl was happy to help and drove out straightaway.
After picking up her friend, Cheryl began to have some car problems of her own. Her engine stalled, forcing her to pull over on the side of the road. Moments later, her vehicle was hit by an 18-wheeler making an improper lane change and coming onto the road’s shoulder where Cheryl and her friend had stopped.
Immediately following the accident, Cheryl, still in a daze, looked down and noticed her shoes had come off in the crash. She reached down and tried to put them back on and immediately knew something was wrong when she realized she couldn’t move or feel her legs. Cheryl would later discover that, in addition to a fractured neck, a broken back, and three broken ribs, she was paralyzed from the waist down. Following several surgeries, Cheryl was transferred to a rehabilitation center to begin several rounds of physical therapy.
As Cheryl began to heal, she also began to better understand the new reality her accident had created for her. Her recovery would be a long process and would cost thousands of dollars. She would require around-the-clock care. Her ability to work was impacted, and with that, so too was her ability to provide for herself and her children.
Standing in the way of that was the trucking company, which, following the accident, refused to admit it had done anything wrong. In fact, it went so far as to misrepresent what happened, claiming that, when her car broke down, Cheryl failed to pull onto the shoulder. The trucking company claimed that its driver couldn’t have stopped because there was not enough time.
Cheryl contacted Provost Umphrey and asked for help. We wasted no time getting Cheryl the justice she deserved. When a truck accident takes places, the evidence showing what happened will not last forever, and it is important to investigate as quickly as possible. After analyzing the scene, we found that the trucking company’s story did not match up with what we discovered. Fault lied with the truck driver, who had driven onto the shoulder and collided with Cheryl’s vehicle.
We were able to help Cheryl assess both the financial cost of her accident, as well as how it had impacted her family and life. As her advocates, we were able to ensure that she and her family will be provided for, and that Cheryl will get the care she will need for the rest of her life.
Because of her accident, Cheryl’s life will never be the same. There are significant changes to which she will be forced to grow accustomed. Things like being able to walk on the beach and feel the sand between her toes. These are things that many do not fully appreciate until they are unable to do them, and things that Cheryl misses every day. In the end, Cheryl’s suffering cannot be diminished, but our hope is that the successful outcome of her case will restore some of what she lost that night by holding the responsible parties accountable.