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How an accident pushed one Orlando woman into the intersection of our city's professional-incest machine...
Published: February 23, 2012
Her medical bills quickly piled up, liens were issued against her, and Pfeiffer became an inconsolable mess of PTSD, pills and pain. Two years after her accident and her case is still open; nobody has paid for the accident but her, and she still has bills related to the accident outstanding. She relocated to Miami last year after convalescing at her mother’s Longwood home for months, and she now avoids phone calls from the 407 area code, to avoid bill collectors.
“I don’t understand how I am the only one feeling the negative effects of all these peoples’ bad choices,” she says. “And I didn’t do anything. I did absolutely nothing wrong, and I just keep getting run over.”
Orlando Police Department reports from the incident corroborate Pfeiffer’s version of events: “Vehicle was attempting to make a left-hand turn downtown from Central Boulevard onto Orange Avenue”; “Pedestrian was crossing on the crosswalk within the allocated time to cross the street”; “Vehicle, while making the turn, didn’t notice pedestrian, colliding with pedestrian”; “There was no damage to vehicle”; “Pedestrian complained of pain to the left-knee area, but did not wish medical attention”; “Vehicle was found at fault and cited for failure to yield right of way and no proof of insurance.”
The Orlando Police Department, Pfeiffer says, initially sided with Campbell, now 39, who had been working for O-Cartz for about a year. He claimed that she was at fault, but when police contacted their surveillance-camera operators, she says, it was clear she did nothing wrong. Campbell was given a ticket.
According to Pfeiffer, while she was still under a heavy dose of morphine at the hospital, attorney Dan Newlin – a former sheriff’s deputy, according to his ubiquitous television commercials – appeared at her bedside with some papers for her to sign. Newlin, who was working at the time for Morgan & Morgan, the region’s largest accident-attorney conglomerate, showed up at the request of a concerned family member who had a connection to him. (Newlin did not return phone calls or emails for this story.) She signed the documents, not really knowing what it was she was agreeing to. “He implied that this would be an open-and-shut case,” she recalls.
Why wouldn’t it be? Abbey Pfeiffer, a young, sober girl walking in the crosswalk gets nailed by an errant cab for hire, one that ostensibly had connections to the city. But peeling away first impressions, Newlin probably realized this case wasn’t going to be as easy as it appeared. Per federal law, the owner of the leased vehicle, Chrysler Financial Services, is not on the hook for the mistakes of lessors or hired drivers. Also, both of the alleged villains in this case, Lamb and Campbell, were uninsured, and therefore wouldn’t be easy to get money out of in a civil case. In the world of accident attorneys, says Morgan & Morgan firm founder John Morgan, that’s just business.
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