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Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is pleased to announce our 2018 scholarship recipient. Sylvia Cruz-Albrecht was selected from a competitive pool to receive our annual Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. National Scholarship. She has been extensively involved in extracurricular activities at Oak Park High School and received many academic honors. Sylvia will move on to Harvard University in the fall where she intends to study computer science and applied math.
Through Sylvia’s essay and her role as a Safe School Ambassador, she has shown herself to be active in promoting safety on a daily basis. She hopes to use her college education to become a software developer and to create new technologies that promote public well-being and safety. She also has demonstrated a keen understanding of the role personal injury lawyers play in leading safety initiatives and advancing community safety.
For the past five years, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. have awarded a scholarship to a current college student or a high school student who has been accepted into an accredited college or university in the U.S. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, demonstrate good character and strong motivation in the face of challenges, and show an understanding and appreciation for the type of work the firm performs. Each applicant is asked to provide a brief essay that explores the role of personal injury lawyers in safety initiatives and how individuals can promote personal and community safety each day.
Sylvia is a first-generation American, and she has sought to take full advantage of her education. Some of her roles at Oak Park High School include:
She took on all of these roles and others while maintaining a high GPA, becoming an AP scholar with honors, receiving a National Merit Letter of Commendation, and receiving top academic recognition through the California Scholarship Federation.
Her essay discussed her personal experience with a defective product—a bike that failed and caused her harm on the way to school—as well as case law regarding product liability. Sylvia made the important connection between the case of Escola v. Coca Cola Bottling Co. and current product safety expectations and manufacturers’ liability for defective products. She also noted the important role personal injury lawyer Melvin Belli played in taking Gladys Escola’s case all the way to the California Supreme Court and fighting not only for Escola’s benefit but for every consumer’s safety. Below is her essay.
“It’s another day at work, and you are stocking freshly delivered bottles of Coca-Cola into the restaurant fridge. Suddenly, the fizzing liquid explodes from a bottle and shards of glass splinter everywhere, digging inches deep into your skin. The force of the explosion severs the nerves and muscles in your hand, forever ingraining psychological trauma. This is the story of Gladys Escola, a woman who in 1944 became one of many victims of personal injury.
In moments like these, we are made vulnerable by the cruelly unpredictable consequences of manufacturing flaws, and by the disregard of many companies for such damages. However, Escola found guidance and support from personal injury lawyer Melvin Belli, who fought for financial compensation for the medical expenses and emotional pain she endured. As for many, this was her first exposure to the judicial system, but the technical and legal expertise of her lawyer ensured that her inexperience would not be taken advantage of in court. The case made its way up to the California Supreme Court, where Belli represented her in trial and successfully argued that the bottle’s defects were a result of negligence in safety testing procedures. Just as significant as the legal efficacy of her lawyer was the reassurance he provided, acknowledging and allaying the suffering she was undergoing.
This case had far-reaching impacts in strengthening safety initiatives nationwide, setting a landmark precedent that holds manufacturers liable for defective products. In Escola’s case and many others, injury lawyers fight to enforce honesty and uphold responsibility in industry so that safer procedures are implemented.
My respect for the work of injury lawyers stems from personal experiences as an activist in my own community. As a Safe School Ambassador, I have worked to promote inclusion, awareness, and student safety on campus. This past month, we responded to the tragedies of the Woolsey fire and Borderline shooting that impacted our community. In addition, I have worked extensively with Key Club to fundraise and spread awareness of pediatric trauma, a leading cause of accident-related deaths in children. Last year, we raised over $3,300 to fund preventative measures and medical personnel for bike crashes, poisoning, and other accidents.
Two years ago, I was injured in a bike accident when the chain suddenly disintegrated during my commute to school, sending me directly into the asphalt. The manufacturer refused to uphold their warranty—at my expense. Though my bruised bones and torn skin healed in time, when biking I often relive the painful, jolting memory of my fall. From this experience, I can truly appreciate the professional, genuine support and litigation that injury lawyers offer to individuals in similar circumstances.
In college and beyond, I will continue to promote personal safety through abiding by public law, spreading awareness, responding to disasters, and empowering individuals as they navigate injurious situations. I can also protect campus safety by collaborating with the Health, Safety, and Emergency Management at Harvard, which monitors health risks on campus.”
It is clear that Sylvia has the tools and determination to go far in life. All of us at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. are happy to be able to relieve some of the financial pressure of attending university. We look forward to seeing Sylvia thrive and continue on her path in promoting safety.
If you are a current or soon-to-be college student who understands and appreciates the work of personal injury lawyers and has participated in promoting community safety, you can apply here for Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. annual scholarship by December 1, 2019.