When Tracey Bader stepped out to purchase diapers for her 3-week-old son, she had no idea her life was about to change. The new mom was stopped at a red light when she hit from behind by a driver whose car was traveling at 50 miles per hour.
“It fractured my spine in the middle of my back,” Bader said. “I needed shoulder surgery and I’ve had problems with my neck.”
Despite her pain, Bader’s biggest concern was her inability to care for her son, especially during what should have been a special bonding period between mother and child.
If there were a single bright spot during an otherwise bleak period, it occurred when Bader hired attorney Anthony Locascio of The Law Firm of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC.
Bader, an X-ray technician, said one of the attributes she valued most about the firm was the level of service she received.
“It didn’t feel super-corporate,” she said. “You could see right away that Anthony genuinely cared about me and my family and wanted to do the best he could for us.”
Bader said she was continually impressed by the compassion her attorney showed for her family throughout the process.
“Anthony was sympathetic to our situation right away,” Bader said. “When we were going to meet him, he said, ‘Bring your son; bring Jack.’ So just that was huge. He knew what a tough time it was for us. He was just always very caring.”
Locascio, one of few attorneys who is board-certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in civil trial practice, said that often, clients fear “bothering their lawyer,” so they refrain from reaching out to ask the questions that, in many cases, keep them awake at night.
“They’re afraid to call,” the attorney said. “But I tell them, ‘Call, email, text.’ They can reach me at any time — evenings, weekends. In Tracey’s case, she and her husband, Keith, had lots of questions and it’s my job to answer them and to answer them quickly.”
Locascio explained that it’s natural for clients, particularly accident victims, to feel scared and worried about the future, especially when their injuries impact their ability to return to their day-to-day lives.
“Tracy and Keith have a little boy they’re caring for and they don’t know what the future holds,” he said. “The only person who can help them in navigating through their case is their lawyer. I tell my clients they should never be afraid to ask questions. We have to be there to answer them — as many questions as there may be. That’s part of our job. I think that gave Tracey and Keith some comfort just knowing that they could always get me — weekends, weeknights, it doesn’t matter.”
Bader, who was unable to work for a year, said that peace of mind was invaluable.
“Anthony made everything as stress-free as possible,” Bader said. “I didn’t have to think or worry. He made sure I understood the process and he was very attentive in making sure I got the treatment I needed that would enable me to go back to taking care of my son every day.”
Bader said she knew her attorney had her best interest at heart when she and her husband chose to settle the case rather than continuing to battle with an insurance company in the hope of receiving a larger payout.
“I could tell that wasn’t it about the money or how big the settlement was. Anthony really wanted what was best for me and my family. You could always tell that he cared about the person, not the bottom line. In my case, we could’ve continued further but with the insurance company fighting every step of the way, we wanted to settle and move on with our lives. When we told Anthony, he said, ‘I’m there for you and Keith 100 percent. If you want to stop now, you can.’ That really clinched it for me. He cares about his clients first and foremost.”
Bader noted that throughout the process, everyone at the firm’s office treated her professionally and courteously.
“Nothing was ever lost in the shuffle,” she said. “They never made me feel like any question was dumb. I knew I could ask him anything, no matter how big or how small.”
Locascio explained that lawyers are in the profession of providing a service that not only cuts through the legalese, but also offers assurance at what is typically a frightening time.
“What we have to do as lawyers helps people sleep at night,” the attorney said. “We can’t take away the pain, but we can take away the fear.”
— Elizabeth Alterman