Attorney Jim Heneghan: My Car Accident, Part III
"My initial six weeks of recovery included work and physical therapy, and I was restricted from doing anything else. More painful than the shooting pain caused by my back injury was the pain of not being allowed to be as involved in my family life as I was before. I can remember going out to dinner one time while I was still restricted and seeing my wife, pregnant, carrying everything in and out of the restaurant. I wanted to open my shirt and show everyone my brace and tell them how injured I was. What sticks most in my mind from that time is trying to explain to my 16-month-old son why Daddy couldn't pick him up, even as he pleaded for me to.
The physical therapy, missed work, and pain are constant in an injured person's life, but those only tell half the story. Until you actually go through it, you can't truly understand what it's like to try and explain to your young child why you can't pick him up.
Although I still have an ache or pain every now and then, I look back and count myself very lucky in many ways. My nightmare lasted about 8 weeks, and some people never recover or are far worse off. In addition, my accident wasn't anybody's fault – it was caused by bad weather conditions and insurance covered the damage to my car and the medical bills. Our clients aren't always this lucky, however. They sometimes suffer devastating injuries and are in need of compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Insurance companies often try to avoid paying these costs, and our clients need our help in fighting for what they deserve.
Although I've always had sympathy for my clients, now I have empathy. This has opened my eyes to better understand and explain what they are really going through. As I went through the process of notifying my insurance company about the accident, negotiating the amount they were going to pay for my car, and fighting them over a bill for an improperly denied medical claim, I began to realize how complex and overwhelming this must be for anybody who is not a personal injury attorney. I realized that if you don't get the right attorney to handle your case, the person at fault and their insurance company (and in some cases, even your own insurance company), can be formidable opponents. After an accident in which you are injured, the stakes are so high that one wrong decision could haunt you for the rest of your life."