Greg ColburnFounder / Attorney
A roofing subcontractor had negligently installed the material I was working on, and I fell more than 20 feet. I suffered extensive injuries that required multiple surgeries and forced me to be in a wheelchair for two years.
My Fight with Personal Injury
I had always thought I would be a professional baseball player or a physician. I was drafted by the Colorado Rockies after high school, but I decided to go to the University of Washington (UW) and play ball as a student-athlete. While I completed my coursework at UW, I worked as a carpenter. On October 10, 2002, a construction site “accident” changed my life forever.
I will never forget the day I fell more than twenty feet from the rooftop of Fire Station 81 – Pine Lake of Eastside Fire and Rescue in Sammamish, Washington. It was overcast in the morning while I worked downstairs. However, early in the afternoon, the weather quickly changed and rain began approaching. The roofing subcontractor asked for my help securing the newly installed roofing material. I climbed up the ladder to the roof and followed the subcontractor’s instructions. While checking the rooftop, I fell.
The roofing subcontractor had negligently installed the roofing material. Adding insult to injury, the roofing subcontractor failed to comply with the laws and regulations concerning rooftop safety.
I fell feet first. Initially, it felt like I was hovering above the blacktop below. Then, suddenly, a rush of air and I was plummeting to the ground. My mind was filled with one thought, “Bend your knees. Bend your knees. Bend your knees…” When my feet hit the ground, my knees buckled, I toppled over onto my right side, and I was immediately overwhelmed by unimaginable agonizing and unrelenting pain. I thought I was going to vomit.
Paramedics rushed me to Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington. However, the swelling in my feet was drastic and interfered with the doctors’ ability to diagnose the extent of my injuries. I was discharged in a wheelchair and told to follow up with Thomas Chi, M.D., at Proliance Surgeons in a week or two after the swelling had either subsided or stabilized.
Two weeks after falling, Dr. Chi told me that I had suffered bilateral Chopart’s fracture-dislocation. In other words, the main weight-bearing joints in both of my feet had suffered catastrophic fractures and dislocations. Dr. Chi told me that I would never again play competitive baseball. He told me that I would likely never jog or run again. He told me that my injuries were severe and permanent.
Dr. Chi performed surgery on both of my feet in late October 2002. I spent six days in the hospital. Multiple surgical pins were installed. I was non-weight-bearing and wheelchair-bound.
I refused to let my injuries dictate my life. I continued my studies at the University of Washington. Unfortunately, by January 2003, we learned that my first surgery had failed.
A second surgery was performed in March 2003. During the second surgery, joints in both of my feet were fused. I again spent six days at Overlake Medical Center.
When I returned home from the hospital, I was greeted with a package from the Department of Labor and Industries. Inside the package was a letter from my employer that included photographs of me golfing — allegedly on the dates that I had been in Overlake Medical Center recovering from my second surgery. My employer was falsely claiming that I was exaggerating the extent of my injuries.
I had not once thought of filing a lawsuit or seeking any legal action against anyone involved in the events leading up to or causing my fall. That all changed. I immediately started to fight back to protect my rights. Anyone who has been through the worker’s compensation claims process knows that it takes cutting through a lot of red tapes to get any benefits, and those benefits rarely provide enough to live on.
That’s when I started looking for other options. I contacted personal injury attorneys in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and all over King County. I was rejected not once, not twice, but nearly 80 times. Finally, I convinced someone to work on my case with me on the condition I do much of the work myself. Ultimately, I spent two years in my wheelchair. And, after years of battling and litigation, I won a $1 million personal injury settlement for my injuries.
My Path to Law
My personal experience with negligence and serious injury was difficult, but it inspired me to follow a new path. Once my mental and physical wounds healed, I started school at Seattle University School of Law, where I graduated magna cum laude.
I knew firsthand how victims of personal injury struggle, so I began my career intent on helping people who felt they had no options and no hope. In my years of practicing personal injury law, I’ve handled hundreds of cases. I know what it takes to advocate and fight for those who deserve better.
My Life Now
I’m happy to report that through excellent medical care and hundreds of hours of physical therapy, I’ve recovered from my injuries and am now living a fulfilling life. In fact, if it hadn’t been for my injuries, I probably wouldn’t have met my wife. We have two children and live in the Ames Lake region of Carnation, Washington.
I am blessed to have a fulfilling career as a personal injury attorney. My personal experiences have made me committed to helping every victim of personal injury secure the best outcome possible. I promise to listen to your story and hear you out. Recovering from an “accident” is challenging – mentally and physically – and I want to do all I can to ease your recovery.
I put the word “accident” in quotations because often these incidents aren’t accidents at all. I firmly believe that when a person, corporation, or other entity is negligent and that negligence causes harm, the wrongdoers must be held accountable.
My Promise to You
Here’s my promise to you: I will listen. I will make your voice heard. And I will do everything in my power to help.
If you’ve been a victim of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, contact my office to arrange for a free review of your legal options. I will come to your home, meet for coffee, or meet you in your hospital. If you’re recovering from injuries, it may be much easier for me to come to you — believe me when I say that I understand. Let me know what works best for you, and I will make it happen. I am proud to be a Seattle personal injury lawyer — I don’t take cases based on their size, only their legal merit. Let’s get you back to living the life you deserve.