I am Danny Feldman. I’ve been practicing law since I graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1987. I am married to Mary Anne Feldman and have three children, Dani – who is 18 and will be a freshman at Guilford College this fall (08) and twin 17 year old boys, Brian and Christian, who will be juniors in high school (08).
Earlier in my career, I represented insurance companies and their insureds. Frankly, I did not particularly like “winning” cases when it meant that an injured person who deserved some compensation was not compensated at all, or received much less than a fair amount. I much prefer to help people who deserve to be fairly compensated for their injuries and damages. Until you have been in a wreck, or suffered a personal injury that was not your fault, it is difficult to understand just how much your life is disrupted. This is particularly true if you are living in a situation where you are barely able to pay your bills, even before the wreck or injury occurs. It is very satisfying to me when I can help people that need and are entitled to help.
Although I appreciate the opportunity to represent people regardless of how they are injured, I became particularly interested in representing bicyclists when some very close friends of mine were very seriously injured on a bike ride that I was supposed to be on. I have bicycled for many years, particularly as my knees wore down from previous injuries. Over the course of cycling 5,000 -6,000 miles a year, I have seen many motorists, whether intentional or not, ride by cyclists literally inches away at speeds exceeding 60 miles an hour. Obviously, the potential for harm is extremely high in these situations.
It was not until August of 2004 however that a serious cycling injury hit close to home for me. I typically rode with a group that did a 25 mile loop leaving at 6:30 a.m. Two of my close friends, an architect and a doctor, wanted to leave a half hour earlier, and I was supposed to be with them. However, I did not get out of bed on time, so I rode with the 6:30 group. We saw my buddies as we rode out. As we rode in, and less than two mile from where the ride ended, the road was closed. My friends and another cyclist they “picked up” on the way had been struck by a drunk driver who had been out drinking all night long. The incident happened about 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The drunk left the scene with one of the bicycles being dragged under his SUV. My friends were riding at 20 mph when they were struck at 65mph. They were very lucky to be alive.
One cyclist ended up with, among other injuries, 4 fractured vertebrae going from T10 – L1. For the rest of his life he will have a rod and steel plate in his back. Amazingly, he has recovered to the point were he has run two marathons since the incident. The other friend was injured even worse; among other things, he suffered a badly broken left ankle, a completely deranged right knee that had to be reconstructed, a couple of fractured vertebrae and a collapsed lung. He, too, has made an amazing recovery and has completed the MS150, a 150 bicycle ride over two days since the incident.
Notwithstanding their terrific recoveries, both of these men and their families went through a terrible ordeal. The recovery process was long and difficult. It was hard on them and hard on their families. Each missed several months of work, and had they not been doing fairly well financially before the incident, their lost income may have had disastrous consequences for their families. Fortunately, not only did they recover physically, but luckily, the drunk driver was driving his mother’s company car when the wreck occurred. The claim against him was resolved about a month before the trial.
Since that time, I have managed to combine being an avid cyclist with my passion for representing injured people and I have had the opportunity and pleasure of representing many injured cyclists, as I have carved out a niche as the “Alabama Cycling Attorney.” Of course, the same issues and obstacles present themselves in any case where a person is injured, through no fault of their own. I consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to help people as they try to obtain justice.