The Day It All Changed
Wednesday. Hump Day. What ever you want to call it there was nothing about the start of this day that prepared me for what was about to happen. The kids were running around the house trying to find their school stuff. I was losing my mind trying to get everyone out the door on time. Lunches were spread out over the counter and my voice was moving from calm to agitated while the volume was rapidly increasing. Hurry Up! Let’s Go! We are going to be late! Organized chaos. The same drill every morning.
My cell phone rang, and I ignored it – let it go to voice I am too busy I thought. Then it rang again, the same unknown number, and I ignored it. Immediately after the land line rang, unknown number. A cold feeling came over me. No one uses this line. Its for emergencies. I told the kids to be quiet and nervously I answered the call. The noise around me became mute. The kids running around seemed to pause mid motion. A frozen numbness crept into my body as I heard the words that changed our lives forever, “there has been an accident.”
The hectic morning and plans for the day were immediately forgotten. I called my friend to take the kids for the day, the night, who knows how long. I grabbed my purse and some random things that serve no purpose whatsoever and I drove myself to the hospital. Don’t ask me what route or how long it took me to get to the hospital but it felt like an eternity. To be honest I should have taken a cab or had a friend drive, but I was not thinking, or breathing for that matter.
I entered the hospital, found the room, and was greeted by a nurse that explained that I would have to wait in the waiting room until the doctors were finished. They were prepping my husband for surgery. I could not get a straight answer from anyone. All I could do was sit, wait, and worry – alone with my thoughts which took me to a dark, scary, and lonely place.
After what seemed to be an eternity the doctor arrived to update me on my husbands’ condition. They had placed him in a medically induced coma because he had suffered a traumatic brain injury. There was significant swelling of the brain and they had to release the pressure. I would not be allowed to see him while he was in recovery and again, I must wait. The doctors told me that they were unsure what his recovery from his accident would look like, or if there would be any long term consequences – it was too early. They talked about chances of survival and a bunch of other things that to this day I can not recall. I could hear my friends voice reminding me to take it one minute at a time as I tried to remember to breathe. I thanked the doctor and sat down. Now what?
Recovery After An Accident
After a few days, the shock had settled but the stress was incredible. I was juggling the kids, the house, a job, all while running to and from the hospital. I was getting tired – very tired. Everyday the news was the same. His signs look good. Time will tell…blah blah blah. The medical team was talking but they sounded like a blur. So much information, so many uncertainties. It was all too much. I nodded and agreed to god knows what.
A few days turned into a few weeks. Slowly they started to wake him from his “sleep”. As he came to, his eyes looked flat, expressionless, and dark. They reassured me that this was normal, and it would be ok. A sinking feeling in my stomach told me otherwise.
The tubes, machines, sensors, and the scars were difficult to look at. He was awake, looking around, but not attached, or focused. He was confused and unsure of what happened and where he was. What was most difficult to accept was that he did not recognize me or the kids. Recovery after an accident takes time they kept reminding me.
We Planned Ahead
Luckily, when our kids were born, friends and family told us we should take steps to ensure that the children would be looked after if there was an illness or accident. We had prepared representation agreements, power of attorney, and wills. Then we took out additional insurance – just in case. We made sure that worrying about money, the house, or how we would move forward was not a concern. We had done it right and we were prepared.
When the letter came my sprits rose just looking at the envelope – finally help. I tore it open and began to read. Thank you for notifying us of your husband’s injuries following his accident, unfortunately, your injury claim has been denied at this time. Denied???? What? How? Why? This is a joke, right? I continued to scan the document while the words, do not meet, incomplete, needs more, and not covered, popped out like flashing neon signs on a dark highway. I had now been pushed over the edge. The last few weeks I had managed to soldier on with my brave face because the only thing keeping me together was knowing that the insurance would help cover the expenses and lost income. My emotions took the best of me as I rapid cycled between anger, and grief. I had no idea what to do now.
To be continued….
The Unfortunate Facts
Sadly, this is a common situation for many people that are dealing with not only a difficult recovery after an accident, but a complex insurance claim. Many people have not prepared the necessary documents to permit someone to act on their behalf should they become incapacitated, and they now become a victim of an accident and a complex legal process. Even just applying for compensation for your injury claim requires someone to fill in applications on your behalf and submit all the necessary documents to support the claim.
What To Do
If you have been injured in an accident it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer before you speak to any insurance adjuster. What you say can and will be used against you when your claim is processed. Never complete insurance applications, sign documents, or agree to any settlement offered before you have had your policy, claim details, and most importantly, your offer reviewed by a lawyer.
What To Know
Many times, the insurance company will make you feel as though everything will be ok and will offer you a settlement after submitting your claim. Please make sure that you understand everything before you sign. We encourage you to ask a lawyer to review your claim and their offer. It is difficult to make sound decisions in a time of crisis while taking into account your current and future care needs.
How We Help
We understand that money is tight and scarce during a recovery after an accident so we offer your first consultation for free. If you choose to proceed, some of your legal services may be paid for with a contingency agreement. That means you do not pay for any legal services until your claim is settled. It also means that we believe in your claim and are optimistic that you could be successful in obtaining a positive appeal outcome.