Despite the sweltering heat and high electricity bills, I will always love the summertime. For me, this love started back in elementary school. I remember those last two weeks of each year when all I could think about was the 2 ½ months ahead. There’d be 4th of July fireworks, backyard campouts, days at the beach and trips to amusement park.
Now, I love sharing summers filled with adventure and fun with my kids and grandkids. During these times, we come together as a family and make lasting memories we recount around the dinner table for years to come.
It is in the name of my love for summer that I’m writing to you today. As a personal injury attorney, I know all too well how quickly a fun day with the family can turn into a tragedy. I’ve sat with grieving parents more times than I’d care to count and heard stories I’ll never be able to forget.
There was a mother who’d lost her son when the boy had leaned too far over a poorly enforced railing at a state park. A family trip to a water park that ended with a child dying because of a poorly constructed ride. A three-year-old who lost her eye when she was struck in the face by a backyard firework.
You don’t have to be an attorney to hear stories like these. Turn on the news or scroll online for five minutes and you’ll see half a dozen accounts from across the country detailing the tragic end to what should have been a fun summer memory.
As a father these stories break my heart. As a personal injury attorney, these cases fill me with sorrow and dread. You see, it’s my job to right wrongs for my clients, to help get derailed lives back on track. When my clients come to me with injuries, my team helps them seek medical treatment and we fight for a fair settlement that helps compensate for what they’ve been through.
But when you lose a loved one…when they’re suddenly struck down in a moment that should have gone down in family history as pure summer bliss—there is no fix. There is no doctor who can set a bone or offer palliative therapy. There is no financial sum that can set anything back the way it should be. I fight for those who grieve, but there is no joy or true resolution when we win.
So why am I telling you this? Don’t worry, I don’t want you to cancel your trip to Disney next month and barricading the family in. Summers are meant to be adventures. I want you to have fun; but when you’re setting off fireworks at the lake, or exploring a new city, keep a close eye on the kids. They are excited and when they’re wearing Micky Mouse ears and staring at the biggest princess castle on earth, it can be hard to remember to look both ways in the parking lot.
That being said, there are some tragedies that are not easily prevented. An amusement park patron should be able to expect that the park is well maintained and overseen by competent park employees. If they’re killed or badly injured instead, this was not something they could have easily prevented. This was the result of a failure on the part of the park itself and those in charge should be held accountable.
I hope you are never in a situation like this. I hope you live a long life with year after year of memories of good times and summer fun. But, if you or someone you love is ever at an amusement park or place of business, I urge you to call my office. I cannot change what’s been done, but I will fight to see those who were at fault pay.
Lastly, this summer, while you’re out on your own great adventure, I ask that you live in the moment, ride the roller coaster with your kids, explore the national park, climb the mountain, and enjoy every minute. Be grateful for the good times. Cherish the memories you make and be glad you get to add more special moments to the scrapbooks.
Attorney Paul Samakow
03-761-4343 or 301-949-1515.