I had sat through an entire red light cycle just half a block down the street from my Grandmother’s house (whom I had just left). I remember watching a guy pull up to the light on the cross street and come to a complete stop as his light had just changed from green to red. He was sitting in the left turn lane. My light turned green and I proceeded forward through the intersection, turning left. I saw Roger Lamb down the road a way with ample distance to stop his vehicle. I looked at the other guy who was already stopped in that other left turning lane as I would be driving past him. I looked to the right to make sure everyone over there was stopped and wouldn’t hit me. By the time I looked back left again towards Roger Lamb, I realized instantly that he was not stopping. In that moment, I knew it was too late to get out of the way. So I did the only thing I could do, put my foot on the brake so I wouldn’t roll into something else, leaned in toward the center of my car, and braced for impact. I closed my eyes. I felt the impact like a train. It was a hard smash against my body. It seemed like an explosion with the air bags going off. I felt the car spin in a circle, screech to stop, and shut off. I felt like maybe I momentarily blacked out. I opened my eyes to white smoke and particles in the air around me from the air bags. Like I was in a fog. It was very surreal. The inside of the car suddenly felt foreign as the entire sidewall was smash in and deformed beside me. I couldn’t see out the left window because the airbags were in the way. So I couldn’t see Roger Lamb yet. But I could see the other guy who had been stopped in that left turn lane the whole time staring at me in amazement. I went into what I can best describe as mental shock. I just kept saying “oh my god” over and over and started crying. My neck felt very strange. Tight and tingly. But there was no pain at the moment. It had to be adrenaline stopping it. Crying, I did my best to pull the air bag out of the way so I could look out the left window, which I had rolled down prior to the accident. I saw Roger Lamb pacing beside his truck holding his hands to his head in panic. He kept saying “I KNEW I shouldn’t drive today! I TOLD my dad I shouldn’t drive today. I can’t believe this! The second accident in a row!” He hadn’t seen me looking at him yet. I said through my tears “What were you doing??! Your light was RED!” He ran over to me uninjured, hesitated for a minute, then said (as if trying to convince me) ”No… YOUR light was red.” I immediately knew I had to secure witnesses. I just stopped talking to him that instant. I had to unbuckle my seat belt, crawl to the passenger side door, and exit that way. It really felt strange like it wasn’t really happening. It felt weird standing in the middle of the intersection as people stared at me. I quickly walked over to that guy sitting in the left turn lane and said “please don’t leave! That man is trying to say I’m the one who ran the light!” The witness said “Oh no, he’s the one who ran the light. I will stay.” I thanked him, all the while still crying. I walked back to my car to where I could see the damage for the first time. When I rounded the driver’s side, I just lost it even more. My brand new beautiful blue Camry was destroyed and mangled. I was so upset. I just went back around the passenger side and sat down.
My grandma had heard the accident and came running down the street. I reassured her that I was alive. The police showed up and the officer took my information. He asked if I was ok and I said I didn’t know. That my neck felt strange, but that I thought I was ok to drive myself to the hospital. Ambulances are expensive. I told him about how Roger Lamb (didn’t know his name at the time) had run the light. That the witness had seen him do it. And what Roger had said about a previous accident and trying to tell me it was my fault. The officer later confirmed that witnesses verified it was Roger Lamb’s fault.
When the officer was done with us, I was able to start the car and drive it to the urgent care which was just a couple of blocks away. Because of their insurance/payment situation, I ended up having to go to a different hospital. Over a period of several months, I went to Urgent care again, my family doctor, and physical therapy. I had many x-rays and an MRI. All confirming that I had really bad whiplash and injury to my left shoulder. The physical therapy was quite lengthy, but was prescribed by all the doctors I had seen.
I unfortunately had become unhappy with the service at that particular therapy center and stopped going just before my treatment was over. One of their staff members was making sexually suggestive statements to me and my husband. So that is a pretty legitimate reason to leave, I would say. I was running out of money for treatment at that time because I had already used up all of my medical benefits through my auto insurance. My individual health insurance has a super high deductible. So I had to wait a while before going to a new therapist. The therapy had helped with the pain, but it gradually came back. I finally broke down and went to a new therapy center (recommended by my doctor again) almost a year later. This therapist was much more helpful and I was done after a few months.
I continue, to this day, to have neck and shoulder problems. I cannot drive long distances or sit for long periods at the computer (thank goodness for auto save). I cannot walk for long periods without pain. I had to help move to our new home and was in agony for days after. I continue to take anti-inflammatory and pain medications. I get headaches and my neck is stiff a lot. My left arm aches a lot of the time. The doctor’s told me it’s typical to have pain for the rest of your life after a car accident like that.
So, we filed suit and have a court date pending. Progressive is just now offering Roger’s policy limits which still is nowhere near enough money to cover everything. The guy was under-insured. We had no choice but to accept the policy limit from Progressive. Then move on to pursue the rest from Roger Lamb.
All the while, my doctor’s bills were piling up, getting behind, and some going to collections.
Let’s just say I was SHOCKED to get a bankruptcy notice in the mail stating that Roger Lamb filed bankruptcy and is trying to include my claim in the bankruptcy!! WHAT?!! Are you kidding?! I was furious!!! My lawyer intends to petition that to try to keep my claim out of the bankruptcy.
We now have to pursue MY insurance company to make use of my under-insured motorist coverage. I shouldn’t have to use that! Why should MY insurance company have to pay for his mistake? But, I have no choice unless I want to end up bankrupt. So, we are in negotiations with them now.
The final alternative is to take this to trial. And what pisses me off more is my lawyer says that jurors don’t respond favorably towards victims in accident cases. I can’t believe that. He says most likely, we would have a worse outcome if we take this to trial. What kind of a world are we living in? That is ridiculous!
Not only have I suffered mentally and physically, but there was a lot of my life that was disrupted. I used to have a motorcycle, but sold it because I can’t wear the helmet long anymore. I lost all the money (including the GAP insurance) I invested to buy the Camry he smashed (that I only had for 6 months!). I sat in the Toyota office for a whole day waiting to get that car. I had to scrounge around MORE MONEY to go back and get ANOTHER car! I didn’t get ANY money back from that car being totaled. I had to cut back on the activities at the gym. I still have troubles lifting objects and not paying for it later. My credit has suffered. I wasted a LOT of my time in therapy and doctor offices. I lost business clients when I couldn’t complete my projects in that first two months.
And yet, everyone wants to treat me like it’s all my fault or my therapist’s fault. I have lost all respect for Progressive after this. Even a small bit for my own insurance company American Family because they tried to also say I was in therapy too long and they don’t want to give me what I am owed. Who are they to make that call?? They are not doctors! We, the policy holders, pay out the a$$ for these coverages and just as soon as they are needed, the insurance companies tuck their tails and run. They try to point the finger at everyone else to get out of paying. It’s all a big joke and scam to take our money and not give back.
This whole thing leaves me very disgusted and disappointed.