This post is one in a series of personal injury legal stories, told by the people who were hurt. These personal injury stories come from people from all over the United States who suffered personal injuries and tried to do something about it.
These writers were not clients of our firm, Butler Tobin. Some of the writers hired lawyers, and some did not. Of those who hired lawyers, some had good experiences, and some had bad ones. We’re presenting these personal, personal injury stories just as the authors wrote them, without judgment or comment.
Here is one person’s story.
Personal Injury Story: Car Accident
Car Accident & Injuries
Sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring, I know deep down something is terribly wrong. My husband is hours late. Finally, my father-in-law calls and tells me my husband is on his way via ambulance to the emergency room about 45-minutes away due to a car accident. My mother and I jump in her car and rush to the hospital only to discover he’s actually being flown to a bigger hospital in the city. Hours later, as we’re sitting in the family waiting room outside of intensive care, someone tells me that the chaplain has come to see me. Apparently, no one except me expects my husband to survive. He has a traumatic brain injury, numerous facial wounds, and a compound fracture of his right leg. Before they rush him off to surgery, a state trooper arrives and informs me that a drunk driver hit my husband head-on. The drunk driver didn’t survive. In fact, his license had been suspended, and this made his fifth known incident of driving under the influence of not only alcohol but drugs. Therefore, he had no auto insurance.
I go to the chapel inside the hospital and drop to my knees with tears streaming down my face. I know I need to return to my family, but I need a few moments alone. Returning back to the surgery waiting room I see not only my mother but my brother and husband’s parents. We sit in silence for hours as the surgeons try to repair his leg. It’s during this waiting period that I come to learn that the other driver had left a local bar and we might be able to hold them accountable for allowing him to leave. The discussion begins about hiring a lawyer, but we want to wait and see if my husband will be a survivor or a fatality before we make the contact.
He survives, and over the next 11 days, I spend countless hours with him, doctors, therapists, nurses, and other family members visiting. During this time, I finally decide to contact a lawyer that we have used previously. The short investigation into the bar begins while the very long journey of healing for my husband begins at a much slower pace. His leg is in a cast from hip to toes and will be for weeks to come. His skull injury requires a complicated surgery that takes seven hours to complete. The doctors inform me that they aren’t yet sure of the impact that this injury will have on his brain.
Meeting with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Eventually, I’m able to take him home, but the pain and suffering -physically and emotionally- are more than we initially expected. With a steel rod in his right leg and a metal plate in his forehead, he’s got life-long injuries to deal with. Our attorney, paralegals, and investigators are working on our case and giving it their best effort. However, it quickly becomes apparent our only real hope of a settlement means suing the corporation that owns the bar. As my husband improves and I’m able to get him into our car more easily, we make a face-to-face appointment with our attorney. It helps us feel somewhat more secure, but at the same time it was a shocking appointment.
Neither my husband nor I have yet seen photos from the accident. I had visited the junk yard and seen the car a few days after the accident, but had not see any photos. Our car was almost unrecognizable and it was clearly a miracle that my husband, with the use of a walker, is able to hobble into the attorney’s office just a few weeks later. As we sit talking to our attorney, he tosses us the accident photos. Unfortunately, he doesn’t give us any warning at the graphic nature of the pictures. Perhaps, it should be an obvious expectation on our own that we’d see so much blood amongst the mangled wreckage, but we aren’t prepared. Worse yet, there is a photo of the drunk driver -he was already deceased in the photo. This particular aspect of working with our attorney is truly the only real complaint we ever have of him though.
My husband’s health insurance company is paying his medical expenses, which are nearing a hundred thousand dollars very quickly. The only possible money we have to help us get through this situation is our uninsured motorist on our auto insurance. We’re grateful that our attorney is willing to handle the demands of my husband’s health insurance company that all of our uninsured motorist funds go to them to compensate for the medical bills.
Car Accident Settlement
Friends, family, neighbors, and my husband’s co-workers come by weekly to visit and check in on us. The very first time his closest co-worker came to visit, we were stunned as he handed us a wad of cash. It was money that my husband’s co-workers had pitched in to help us pay our brand-new mortgage payment. The accident had happened, after all, as we drove our separate ways away from signing the final paperwork to close on our first home together. Tears stream down both of our faces as we realize that the wad of cash is almost exactly the same as our monthly payment. The owner of the business sent us a message via the co-worker to let us know he is matching whatever the employees pitch in every week. This continues for weeks until my husband is able to return to work.
Between our attorney handling the insurance companies -health and auto- along with the bar investigation and us receiving money for our mortgage to be paid, our stress is greatly lessened. Even when our attorney informs us that the corporation that owned the bar dissolved and we won’t be able to sue them, he continues to help us. During our final meeting with him in his office, he hands us a check for $50,000. After settling with the health insurance company and taking his fee, we are thrilled to get even that much. We would be walking away with nothing but life-long trauma and pain had we not hired him. Therefore, we will forever be grateful for making the decision to hire him to represent us and take our case.
-Thankful in Texas