If you have not had the experience of being rear-ended, count yourself lucky. Imagine you are driving on Highway 192 in busy Kissimmee, Florida on January 14, 2014. Settling in at a stoplight behind an 18 wheeler, the signal was not visible. You have to depend on the truck to move when the light changed.
The lady in the car behind you could obviously see the light. When it finally changed, she gunned it… BOOM! When something like this happens, it stuns you. It is almost surreal, but it was real to me. When I collected myself, I looked into the rear-view mirror and all I could see was the smashed hood of her car, which actually went under me.
How could she get up enough speed to tear up the entire rear end of my car and total hers? Her engine was actually sitting in her lap along with the cell phone on which she was texting. How she walked away from the accident is still a mystery to me. The thing that amazed me the most was the fact that immediately behind her I could see a policeman’s flashing blue lights. I commented to the officer later that “This was the fastest response I had ever seen to an auto accident.” His answer: “I saw the whole thing… I was right behind her.”
The officer came to see if I was okay. I am sure I had a look of shock on my face. With the adrenaline flowing, I felt very little at that moment. That would change later in the day. I noticed that my headrests had deployed, which explained why the lick to the back of my head. The pain in my neck and shoulders was gradually becoming apparent.
Within minutes, the wreckers showed to take our damaged vehicles off to their car lots. I was still in a daze. The Kissimmee police cleaned up the scene quickly to get traffic flowing again. Since I was not in the wrong, my conversation with KPD was brief.
As I saw my car being towed away, it occurred to me that I now had no transportation myself. My wife, Christine, was in South Carolina taking care of her mother and none of my kids were available.
Finally, KPD was granted permission to take me the three miles over to the lot where my car was housed to retrieve my brief case. Now I had to find someone to collect me and the files I had in my car.
Fortunately, one of my secretaries was available.
The pain was kicking in pretty good later that night. Fortunately, my son Christopher, who is an Emergency Room RN, was off duty and available to take me to his hospital in Orlando, where I got concierge service thanks to all his buddies in the ER.
I share this story for some important reasons. I was feeling alright and thought nothing more about pursuing the matter legally. When I spoke to my attorney, he insisted that I go on record about my possible injuries. “Why?” I asked. “If you ever have another accident, your injuries from one might be attributed to the other incident.”
That never occurred to me.
Long story short, I am so happy I had representation. Within 30 days I had lost all the feeling in both my hands and had to undergo two surgeries. I have gone through dozens of physical therapy sessions to try to address the persistent pain in my neck. Finally, it took neck surgery to address that issue.
As my case winds down nearly four years later, I have concluded two things: (1) If I ever have another accident, my first call will be to my attorney; and (2) Always purchase as much insurance that is available. Never assume the other party has coverage…the lady who rear ended me did not.
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.