Spoiler alert – My case is all settled. That is why I’ve been able to publish these posts. It took from February 8, 2014 (when I was hit) until November 24, 2015 for the last paper to be signed and check to be cut. With that out of the way, be prepared for a lot of words on this topic.
It’s inevitable. It’s days after you’ve been hit by a vehicle while riding your bicycle and you’re feeling terrible. The days pass and the talk turns to, “When are you getting a lawyer?” My first response to that question was, “I’m not sure I want or need one.” I then began talking to people with more experience (some) with these sorts of things than I had (none) and it became apparent to me that I wanted to get a lawyer.
I didn’t want to have to deal with figuring out how to negotiate with insurance company lawyers (who do this for a living) while also spending months recovering. I also didn’t want my wife to deal with that stress on top of an already stressful time for her. The driver’s insurance company was already calling and wanting to settle. Even with no expertise, I knew it was laughable to talk about a settlement when so little was known about the full extent of my injuries. I spoke with a (corporate) lawyer for advice on getting a personal injury lawyer to represent me and his main advice came in the form of questions, “Do you think you can get at least a third more with a lawyer involved? And do you think he’ll do that with a lot less headaches for you?” The questions were valid. First, you need reasons to think you’ll get at least a third more in the settlement with the lawyer than without. If you don’t, you could be in trouble. I hear about people getting a lawyer for a relatively minor car crash. The lawyer does a good job, but doesn’t get a third more than what the individual would’ve gotten on her own. In some cases, this can mean the individual pays out-of-pocket for some of the expense of the crash. For example, the total costs of a crash are $5,000 – property, personal injury, etc. The lawyer ends up getting a settlement for $6,000. After the lawyer takes his cut, the individual has $3,960 from the payout. The only way a lawyer even begins to make sense in that case is if the settlements is for at least $7,600.
I vaguely recall gingerly walking from the garage to our upstairs family room the day after I was hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle. My body was so bruised from the waist up, it hurt to move – at all. Since my left clavicle was fractured and my right shoulder was separated (though I didn’t realize it at the time), I could only lay down on my back without crying out in pain. I parked myself on the couch recliner and tried not to think of how bad everything hurt.
Since my mouth was in a state of disrepair, it hurt to eat. I was taking pain medication that generally made my stomach match the pain I felt through the rest of my upper body. I gave up on the pain meds. I tried to eat, but my appetite was lost because of the pain from eating. I lost about 15 pounds the first month.
I went to see the doctor about my wrist. He put a cast on it and told me to come back in a month. I saw my dentist and then an oral surgeon to determine how bad my mouth really was. I could tell by the looks on their faces that it wasn’t good. The oral surgeon found the fracture in my upper jaw. He and the dentist wanted to let my teeth settle for another week or two in order to see if the remaining top front teeth would survive. I was warned then that no matter what the plan of action was, it would take a while to heal and have everything back to “normal”. I had no idea how accurate those warnings were at the time.
The most painful event I remember during the first week was trying to change my shirt. Lifting my arms anywhere close to above my shoulders hurt so bad that it brought tears to my eyes. I was determined to change my own shirt. I eventually got my shirt off, but not without a frightening popping noise from one of my shoulders and a yelp followed by more tears. Regardless, I stood there proud that I did the seemingly impossible – taking off my own shirt. It was then that I determined I would wear a consistent uniform of tank tops and full zip hoodies for the foreseeable future. I expect this to become a fashion trend in Silicon Valley any day now.
The days drifted into one another. I was waiting. Waiting for my body to heal. Waiting to see how bad the damage to my mouth really was. Waiting for the day when I could walk without feeling every step sending jolts through my chest, to my shoulders, piercing my neck.
The first week was a haze. I had no expectation of when I would feel better. I only knew how awful I felt. I think it’s important to capture that here as a reminder to myself and for others who might be going through a similar situation. No big lesson other than it hurts and there’s not much you can do about it other than to be patient as you lay there hoping the pain goes away. It does – eventually.
The title of this post comes shamelessly from Courtney Barnett’s pretty fantastic album of the same title.
I’m capturing my journey towards recovery after being hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle on February 8th, 2014. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way and want to share those lessons. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or any other sort of expert in this area. Any insights I provide along the way should be taken as my insights to my particular situation. In other words, seek professional counsel if you find yourself in similar circumstances. See more here.
I’m starting to capture my journey towards recovery after being hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. I want to share those lessons learned. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or any other sort of expert in this area. Any insights I provide along the way should be taken as my insights to my particular situation. In other words, seek professional counsel if you find yourself in similar circumstances.
February 8, 2014. It was a normal sunny yet cool Las Vegas winter morning. I decided to go on a longer ride, take a different route than usual. Nothing crazy, just head out a different way to the usual favorite on the west side – Red Rock Canyon. I remember coming to the first stop light. It’s a long one and I realized then that I didn’t have my sunglasses. I never ride without them. I decided to make an exception. Sure, I was only about five minutes from home, but the light was going to turn green at any moment. It did and I pedaled through and kept to the right of the road. That’s about as much as I remember about riding on February 8, 2014. The next thing I remember is waking up to my name being called, “Joshua? Joshua? Can you hear us?” My eyes opened and I couldn’t make out much. I couldn’t move my head. I was strapped down, straight as a board. I answered the calls of my name. They asked me if I knew where I was. I told them I didn’t. I asked what happened, where I was. They wanted to know more about me. Did I know my full name? Did I know what city and state I lived in? Did I remember what I was last doing? I answered their questions without hesitation. I could sense some relief on their part and that gave me some comfort, immediately followed up by panic. WHERE AM I AND WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?