Daria Morgen 0000-00-00 00:00:00
For Bethany Torgersen, a partner at the personal injury firm, Stewart & Torgersen, a career in law was not her first ambition. She always knew that she wanted to be of service to her community. “I always wanted to make a difference and to help people but I didn’t know whether being a lawyer would accomplish that,” she said. The personal injury lawyer received her Juris Doctorate from the University or Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in 2004. “During law school I worked in areas like criminal law, indigenous peoples law, and human rights law because they seemed most likely to fit my desire to help those in need.” She was involved in the representation of indigent criminal defendants sentenced to life imprisonment or death row through the Arizona Capital Representation Project and the Arizona Justice Project. She also worked for the Indian Law Clinic providing basic legal services to members of the native communities of Southern Arizona. After graduating from law school, Torgersen went on to pursue her Master of Laws (LLM) Degree in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy. After graduating with her master’s degree in 2005, Torgersen searched for a job in that specialty but there were not many positions available. After a temporary position reviewing contracts for a large corporation, she landed her first job as a lawyer for personal injury attorney Tod Stewart. “Honestly when I took the job I was nervous about what my friends and family would think. They knew I went to law school with the goal of helping people who need it. I knew the perception of personal injury attorneys as ambulance chasers, etc.” That faded fast. As soon as Torgersen started working with Stewart she “was pretty amazed to see how well representing victims of others’ wrongdoing fit into my passion of advocating for people in need,” she said. After years of dedication, hard work, and commitment she earned a full partnership. Torgersen enjoys the opportunity to represent victims of the negligent, careless, and sometimes criminal actions of other people. She said one of the most difficult parts of her practice is explaining to people that even their own insurance carrier is a corporation. “They often believe that because they have paid for their insurance coverage, the adjusters work for them with their best interest in mind. No matter how nice the people that work for insurance companies are, they have to follow the rules set in place by the corporation. And the purpose of any corporation is to make money. The way they do that is to pay as little as possible on each claim,“ Torgersen explained. Recently Torgersen represented a young girl who was hurt because she was improperly restrained in a car when it was rear-ended by a drunk driver. Because she was not restrained correctly, she was ejected from the car. The drunk driver had no insurance and the driver who did not secure her properly only carried the state required minimum amount. Although Torgersen’s clients had paid for insurance to cover themselves for that situation, their own insurance company refused to pay their valid claim. It wasn’t until Torgersen promised to pursue the company and adjuster personally that they honored their obligation and paid the little girls claim.
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