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DON'T WAIT! DIAL IT BACK! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...


Boy, you're a popular person.  It seems that every other billboard, every third pen and every online "sponsored result" wants to get you your share of the


This one promises* you that.  That one urges you to find out "what your claim is worth." The other one has a "pain suffering calculator" that will take "less than 5 minutes to give you an estimate." In dollars, of course, because when you're hurt in a car, the Benjamins are the only thing that you care about, right?


I've spent parts of three of the past four days in the company of accident victims. Both hit from behind, both blameless, both wanting nothing more (if they could get it) than to get back to how things were before they were hit. Days, not dollars.

One is our daughter.  Her hit-in-the-back accident was about 4½ months ago.  She suffered no significant physical injuries, and we just got back our deductible from our insurance company, proof positive that she was not at fault in the collision.  But I drove with her twice in the two days she was here late last week- dropping off and then picking up her now-car to be inspected- and I could feel the palpable fear coming from the passenger seat every time we got within even remote distance of a car in front.

She's had panic attacks while driving herself. Cameron was driving last weekend when some idiot stopped short in front of them, and only his quick reflexes saved her from a recurrence of the same damn scenario.  I don't know when, or if, she'll get over.  No clever rhyme, or one digit of phone number to remember, or online damages calculator, is gonna make any of that right.

Yesterday, they called to tell us they'd decided to get a second kitty. Mainly, they say, it's because Gwenny (aka "Captain Grumpy" when she's here) is acting bored and could use some socializing, but it was also important to Cameron- has been for awhile- that he be the one to select, and be primarily responsible for, the new life in the house. Because he's never had a pet of his own until the past year.  So they sent us one shot from the SPCA where they got him; and later, they texted this photo, with the caption from Emily saying, simply, And this is why we did this:

So you see, Ross, and Steve, and Bill, and Hammer, and Heavy Hitter? It's NOT all about the Benjamins. Sometimes the Arthurs do you just fine:)


About a month before that accident, a friend of ours from church was in a similar one. "Similar," anyway, in the hit-from-behind part. He got a far worse outcome from it, though: he concussed, and for the almost six months since has been having seizures that totally overcome him at the moment they come on.  His wife, who is a sweetheart and a rock, told me the doctors have told HIM there's really nothing anyone can do when one comes on, other than continuing the meds he's already on.

He was in church today. I walked over to say hi, and it was instantly clear he wasn't himself. As he walked to the back to sit down more comfortably than in a pew, I went to get another friend who was ushering, and we got to him just as he started to collapse.  It was a good 20 minutes before he was "there" enough to talk and move.  The ushers, his wife and I just sat quietly with him- she talking him through what's become an all-too-common routine for them, until he was "back."

I'm not a personal injury lawyer, but I think it's a safe guess that he's not craving the defendant's bucket of Benjamins, either. All he'd take is how things were six months and a handful of days ago: when he wasn't scared to get into a car, much less behind a wheel. When his memory, and sentences, were complete and reliable. When nothing bad was happening that was so clearly not his fault.

Some, I'm sure, think of this whole sort of thing as Lawsuit Lotto and would relish the Big Bucks that come from these Whammys. I'm proud to say that my daughter and my friend are not among them.

*Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Duh.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
ayrshire_of_elm From: ayrshire_of_elm Date: March 31st, 2014 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Emily's not alone. I still get nervous in the car, mostly when someone other than me is driving. And it took years before I stopped looking in the rear view mirror while at the stoplight on the exit ramp and brace for a collision. But it DOES get better I promise. Thinking of you guys!
xiphias From: xiphias Date: March 31st, 2014 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I've heard it from others, and believe it myself: what drives our "personal injury lawsuit culture" is the United States' lack of any other option.

My guess is that better, closer-to-universal healthcare will reduce personal injury lawsuits. When people HAVE other tools to help them get back to normal, to help them pay their medical bills, to help them with a safety net to get through the knock-on effects of a medical emergency, then they won't HAVE to find someone to sue in order to get enough money to pay their bills. Like you say, people don't file personal injury lawsuits to get rich. They don't even file lawsuits in order to punish people for being negligent, and thereby create an incentive for everybody to be reasonably careful (even though that would be a moral, ethical, and socially-responsible thing to do).

They file lawsuits because they have no other choice to survive.
liddle_oldman From: liddle_oldman Date: March 31st, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Friend of mine, couple years back, was sitting on his motorcycle in the predawn LA darkness, waiting at a red light on his way to work. The next thing he knew, he was in the back of an ambulance with several worried EMTs working on him. A taxi had run both the red light and him -- he'd gone through the windshield, and the taxi only stopped, apparently, because of the bike imbedded in the engine compartment.

I suspect he'd be happy with going back to before constant pain, too.
bill_sheehan From: bill_sheehan Date: March 31st, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
You mean all law offices don't look like Saul Goodman's waiting room?
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