Actual Churchill Claims Case Study
The Case of the Interrupted Meal and the Fatal Accident
– by John Hawkins
The pleasant ambiance of a meal with friends at the Good Earth Restaurant was pierced by the sound of my pager going off.
I glanced at my watch. It was 7:33pm. With senses honed I got up from the table and made my way to the pay phone. My worst fears were realized in the short time it took me to contact the service and to be informed that there was a new assignment. They needed me on the scene NOW. On my way back to the table I looked outside at the windswept streets and pouring rain. “Why me?” was the thought that kept echoing through my head.
After finishing with the driver it was time for me to brave the storm again and try and get some photographs. Sheltering my camera as best I could in the folds of my coat I slipped out into the driving rain. I began shooting the BMW from a distance as the cops wouldn’t let me near it until the corpse had been removed. I shot the other vehicles, the waste company truck, the road surface and the debris. Tow trucks were arriving. Their orange flashing lights mingled with the bright red glare from the flares that had been put down by the cops. It reminded me of a Christmas scene, but there was no joy here.
Methodically, the ambulance men removed the body from the BMW. It was a young male I was told, Middle Eastern. I stood a distance away from the car waiting for a signal from the cops. It came. I moved towards the BMW, flash at the ready. The driver’s seat still radiated the aura of sudden death. I leaned in. The left side was completely crushed. It was obvious that it had been broadsided by the truck, a much heavier vehicle. Then I saw the bloodstains on the back of the seat and on the frame inside just behind the driver’s window.
I finished with my photos knowing that most of them probably wouldn’t turn out due to the inky blackness of the canyon and the unrelenting downpour. The other people had all left the scene in passenger seats of tow trucks or with relatives. The police report face sheet would be made available tomorrow. I would catch up with them then. The cars had all been towed. There was nothing left for me to do here. Soaked to the skin and beginning to shiver, I coordinated with the waste company supervisor to meet at their offices at 8:00am the next morning. There would be a conference call with “corporate” and their attorneys to discuss strategy and damage control. I checked my camera and notes, wiping off the rain. Driving a little more carefully than usual, I made my way back up La Tuna Canyon, home to a hot shower and to prepare for what was to come, for I knew that what had transpired this evening was just a prelude and that the real beginning would be at 8:00am the next day.
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