Greg Coluburn is the founder of Colburn Law, a Seattle personal injury law firm.
How Greg became a lawyer. “On October 10, 2002, a construction site accident changed my life forever.”
Greg was working as a carpenter while attending college at the University of Washington. He fell more than 20 feet from the rooftop of Fire Station 81. It was overcast and the rain was coming in. The roofing subcontractor asked for his help securing newly installed roofing material. While checking the rooftop, Greg fell.
The roofing subcontractor hadn’t installed the roofing material correctly and wasn’t complying with regulations around rooftop safety.
“I fell feet first. Initially, it felt like I was hovering above the blacktop below. Then, suddenly, a rush of air and I was plummeting to the ground. My mind was filled with one thought, ‘Bend your knees. Bend your knees. Bend your knees.’ When my feet hit the ground, my knees buckled, I toppled over onto my right side, and I was immediately overwhelmed by unimaginable agonizing and unrelenting pain. I thought I was going to vomit.”
Paramedics rushed Greg to the hospital, however, the swelling in his feet was drastic and interfered with the doctors’ ability to diagnose his injuries. He was discharged in a wheelchair and told to follow up with a surgeon in a week or two after the swelling had subsided.
Two weeks later, it was confirmed that Greg had suffered a bilateral Chopart’s fracture-dislocations, the weight-bearing joints in both his feet had suffered catastrophic fractures and dislocations.
Greg, who had previously been drafted by the Colorado Rockies (but declined to attend college), was told he’d never play competitive baseball again and would likely never jog or run again. His injuries were severe and permanent.
Surgery was performed in late October 2002. Multiple surgical pins were installed, and he spent six days in the hospital. He was non-weight-bearing and wheelchair-bound. Determined to continue with his life, Greg kept on with his studies at the University of Washington.
Unfortunately, by January 2003, his first surgery was deemed a failure, and a second surgery scheduled for March 2003. Joints in both of his feet were fused. Again, he spent six days in the hospital.
When he returned home from the hospital, he was greeted with a package from the Department of Labor and Industries. Within, he found a letter from his employer and photos of him golfing – allegedly on the dates he’d been in the hospital recovering from his second surgery.
“My employer was falsely claiming I was exaggerating the extent of my injuries. I had not once thought of filing a lawsuit or seeking any legal action against anyone involved in the events leading up to or causing my fall because I simply wanted to recover. That all changed. I immediately started to fight to protect my rights.”
Greg began looking into other options. He contacted personal injury attorneys in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond and all over King County. He was rejected nearly 80 times. Finally, he was able to find a lawyer to take on his case (provided he do most of the work). Ultimately, Greg spent two years in a wheelchair.
“After years of battling and litigation, I won a $1 million personal injury settlement for my injuries. When I saw the lengths to which negligent defendants would go to avoid taking responsibility, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer to help other injured people.”
Why Greg chose to practice personal injury law. Greg entered law school with the goal of becoming a personal injury attorney.
“When a person is seriously injured, their entire life is blown through a hurricane of fear, confusion, doubt, and hopelessness. Physical injuries permeate every aspect of an injured person’s life. Suddenly, you cannot care for yourself. You can’t go to work which means you can’t earn living. Without a paycheck, you worry about how to pay the mortgage or rent, buy groceries, pay for gas, provide for your children, and whether you’re going to lose your job which would only compound your problems. In addition, you’re likely receiving bills for the medical treatment that you received because of someone else’s negligence. What do you do with the bills? Who’s going to pay all of these bills? Is my credit going to be ruined?”
As a personal injury lawyer, Greg has the opportunity to impact the lives of his clients during one of the worst times of their life. He is able to guide his clients through the injury storm and instill a restored hope for the future. The ability to fight on behalf of the individual draws Greg to personal injury law every day.
Greg’s philosophy for personal injury law. “To further my clients’ interest, I have two roles as their attorney. I am their advocate, but I am also their counselor at law.”
As an advocate, Greg fights for his clients. He helps them obtain the benefits of their insurance coverages. He passionately pursues every liable party to recover damages for the harm and loss suffered by his clients.
As a counselor at law, Greg objectively evaluates his clients’ cases to provide clear guidance. He counsels clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case to ensure they understand the strategy and his recommendations and can make an informed decision.
The origins of Colburn Law. Greg started his own practice so he could build a personal injury law firm focused on the interests of the clients. He cherishes the opportunity to choose which individuals and families he represents.
The highlight of Greg’s workday. “I love the mental competition at the heart of every personal injury case. Personal injury cases are wars fought over varying periods of time all with many battles. Every case requires strategy to achieve a successful result.”
Each case Greg takes on is unique. As an injury lawyer, he meets people from all walks of life and each teaches him something new. He has the chance to learn with each new case.
“I see traffic configurations different than my friends, I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about animal behavior in the realm of dog bites, learned about multiple areas of medicine, and been exposed to engineering principles and design in the area of products liability.”
For Greg, every day is full and rewarding.
Greg in the community. Greg and his wife care deeply about the Pacific Northwest. They are focused on helping small businesses thrive through the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the government affairs committee and the emergency leaders committee.
They also sponsor multiple families through the YWCA Seattle/King/Snohomish program every year to help low-income or homeless families through the holiday season.
Colburn Law also offers an annual Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Greg decided to also sponsor two scholarships for nurses and first responders.
“Our goal is to continue to provide more community support with each passing year.”
Greg’s proudest accomplishment. Greg is most proud of the team he has built at Colburn Law. “I am proud that every member of our team knows that their voice and opinions matter.”
The atmosphere of professionalism and advocacy permeates every action the firm take for their clients, whether it’s frequent and meaningful client communication or ensuring the best possible outcome for each case.
Greg outside the office. “I have a beautiful family all of which starts with my amazing wife, Lauren. We have been married for more than 13 years. We have two incredible children. Our son, Xander, just turned 7. Our daughter, Emmy, turns 5 in June.”
The Colburns also have two dogs, Champ and Quincy, who love to join them for hikes in the woods and cuddle time.
Greg is the cook of the family. He loves making meals for everyone to enjoy together. He and his wife also enjoy Seattle’s culinary scene and the Washington wines.