I finally reached settlement on a car accident I was involved in almost 4 years ago. Now that the entire mess is over, I can detail some of the more ridiculous points publicly in the hopes that it helps others struggling with the same disgusting process.
It was November 4th, 2008 - Election Night. John and I were on our way back home after visiting Nanny. I was waiting to make a left hand turn when a kid driving a Chevy van slammed into the back of my little Saturn coupe.
I had seen him coming. I have this habit of checking my rearview mirror when I'm at a stop, and I saw him flying towards us. He wasn't looking in front of him. He was looking at the car accident to our left. As a result, he didn't even bother applying the breaks. He used my car as a means to stop. Seeing him approach, I knew we were about to be hit. I said, "Oh sh*t, oh sh*t!" as I prepared for impact. John, not knowing what was coming, said, "What?" as he turned to look behind us. He whipped his head about half-way around as we were impacted. The force of the smash sent my car careening into oncoming traffic, well past the median. I almost crashed into the telephone pole across from us (where a gentleman was waiting for the bus). Thank God I didn't.
The force of the crash caused John to smash his head into the windshield and door. His body (as it violently lurched forwards and back again), completely broke the passenger seat. I, having prepared myself for the impact by wedging the break and bracing, felt nothing but ire for the driver who hadn't been paying attention. I turned to John and asked if he was OK. He said, "Yeah, yeah" as I put the car in park. I jumped out and confronted the kid who had been driving the van. He was young... maybe 17. I immediately asked "What the hell happened?" and he responded, "I'm sorry... I don't have anti-lock brakes."
Knowing it had nothing to do with his brakes (because I had SEEN him not paying attention), I replied, "More like an attention span."
At this point, the police officer from the other accident came over to make sure everyone was alright. It had started to rain (of course), so he asked us to get back into our cars and move them to the side of the road. I walked back to my car only to see John haphazardly trying to pick up the leftover pasta Nanny had sent us home with. That's when I realized John was loopy from the impact. I kept telling him to leave the pasta and sit down, but he couldn't understand why I wanted him to sit. He was so set on cleaning up the pasta that even the police officer had him taken to the ambulance for a quick once-over.
The EMT on-scene said he'd likely suffered a concussion. John waved him off and demanded I just take him home (as we were about 10 blocks away). Truth be told, we were both anxious to keep abreast of the election proceedings. Since the EMT cleared him with the caveat he remain awake for a few hours and get to a hospital if he feels worse in the next 24 hours, we made our way home after giving our report to the police officer.
At the hospital, we were taken back pretty quickly. We had the TV tuned to election coverage. The triage nurse suggested I get checked since I'd been in the accident as well. At first I declined because I felt fine. Then I realized that I should probably just get checked anyway since symptoms can sometimes be masked by adrenaline (which I certainly still felt from seeing a kid crash his car into my trunk).
They did a quick exam and took an X-ray. I was a little stiff, but I felt fine. I knew I'd feel achy the next day, but I figured it'd wear off in a week.
Boy was I wrong!
About two weeks later, my lower back was still really hurting. I went to my primary who sent me for an MRI. The MRI showed a disc herniation which explained the pain. When my chiropractor explained to me that this was permanent and would limit certain activities, I actually teared up. All of the activities he referred to revolved around children. Picking them up, bathing them, etc. He also suggested that I refrain from getting pregnant in the near future as pregnancy would be difficult with this type of injury.
I was absolutely crestfallen. There I was, 25 years old, and I was being sentenced to the life of an old-lady because some kid wanted to watch flashing lights instead of the road he was driving on. My doctor told me I'd either need eternal injections to my spine or an invasive surgery that fused two of my vertebra together. Considering neither option makes any sense for a woman of my age, the only other recourse was intensive therapy three times a week. I began therapy and continued with it for a year... even after my surprise pregnancy with Vincent.