Jul 012017

Well, I thought I was done. And then my lawyer’s office emailed. My legal files were there, ready for my fingers to walk through them, my eyes to pick out from among the bazillion copies of the bazillion medical reports, the memos, letters, undertakings, discoveries, police notes, and motions I needed to fact check against the scenes and chapters involving my insurance company and the tort claim (lawsuit) against the drivers who lovingly gave me my brain injury with mighty bangs. I’d already fact checked against my own documents and phone records, but my lawyer #3, the one I implicitly trusted and knew had my back, had information I never saw — nor wanted to at the time. Too overwhelmed just trying to make it through the day, back then. (Well, too often still am.)

As I’d hoped, my personal property — the claim from the 1991 crash, which gave me severe whiplash — that lawyer #2 had borrowed and never returned to me, was also there. Because no one came with me to meet lawyer #2, and because I thought lawyers did what they said, he was able to tell me to bring stuff just so he could get the full picture and then keep it. No one was around to advise me to make copies and give him those. And even if I was able to form that thought on my own, I had neither the energy nor the initiation to act on it. Moral: the only time a person with brain injury should meet with, hire, and work with a lawyer on their own is when the lawyer is completely trustworthy, like lawyer #3 was.

Anywho, legal files are heavy! Not just thick. My muscles protested the next day. And the next. And the . . . I guess I was so focused on finding what I needed each day, I ignored my muscles until I could hardly move from soreness. I went for a walk to work out the stiff and used my low intensity light therapy to get rid of the soreness. But there was nothing I could do about the grief that rose up like a tsunami when I found specific evidence in the drivers’ Discoveries and licence reports that the last driver to hit us was bad, so bad I have just realized that the force of her impact into all of us was probably what made my brain injury severe. The unbelievable part was that in her Discovery she was totally oblivious that she was admitting to careless, thoughtless, selfish, stupid driving and speeding. She answered the questions as if not noticing the car in front of you until he slams on the brakes is normal, as if plowing under the boot of a small car had nothing to do with speeding, as if slower speeds could cause her car to have the worst damage of all our cars. I could see no remorse, no sense of responsibility in her Discovery or the police field notes. The first driver who hit us at least had the decency to ask me at the roadside if I was OK and still remembered years later in his Discovery that I was bawling at the time.

If there was any true justice and any concerted effort by insurance companies and government to reduce the carnage on the roads (aka licensed murder), their Highway Traffic Act, section 130, ie, careless driving charges would have been convicted, and her licence would have been revoked. Permanently. But as Global News reported on recently, the way drivers charged with careless driving are treated is a joke. People are murdered by car and people like me destroyed with impunity.

  • Bill MacDonald

    Wow! It’s the same in the States. My problem was with the lawyers who had no idea what they were doing and the insurance operatives who knew too well what they were trying to do. I wasn’t made whole, but it could have been a lot worse. Finding a lawyer to trust IS a key, but having a trusted friend along helps too.

  • Bill: I’m sorry you had to go through that. Finding the right lawyer isn’t easy! But at least they’re plentiful enough that you can ditch one and find a better one, unlike with psychiatrists or other clinicians familiar with brain injury.