The Car Accident

September 13, 2019

Dear Mr. Insurance Guy;

I received an e-mail from you on Friday, September 14, 2019 at 11:41 a.m. with the subject line “Case number” containing a request for a statement from me in regards to the accident of the claim and the location of the vehicle. This letter is intended to provide you with as much information as I am able to provide you in an effort to bring this claim closer to a resolution and the case closer to a close. Details are in the endnotes.

Thursday, August 15, 2019
(Date of Collision)

USEFUL INFORMATION: My trainer and I reside at the same apartment complex and work for the same employer.The vehicle is located at a tow company as it’s totaled and useless.

After 5:00 P.M.
I clocked out from my work-shift at my job[i] as I was scheduled to do. Then I used the restroom, had a chat with my trainer and offered him a ride home, which he accepted.

5:33 P.M.
I drove out of our employer’s parking lot with my trainer in the front passenger seat of the vehicle[ii] my grandmother and I shared. We exited the parking lot onto the road and turned left toward another road. Once we reached the intersection, I turned right to enter the interstate. Our upcoming destination was an upcoming exit. Not long after I entered the interstate, I became aware of the brake lights illuminating on the truck directly in front of me[iii][iv] as traffic was beginning to slow a stop. The reason traffic was slowing/stopping is unknown to me currently. I gradually pressed down on my brake pedal to slow along with the rest of the traffic ahead of me and had reduced my speed from approximately 60 mph to approximately 35 mph before the collision occurred.

5:44 P.M.
The driver of the vehicle directly behind me failed to acknowledge that traffic was slowing down leading the vehicle to hit the rear-end of my vehicle at approximately 60 mph. The vehicle hitting the rear-end of my vehicle at approximately 60 mph led to my vehicle slamming into and under the back of a box truck. The Police Traffic Crash Report reports the accident location to be a county “Within 0.50 miles N of Nearest Intersecting Road” and “Within 0.50 miles N of Nearest City/Town”. The reason the driver behind me failed to acknowledge that traffic was slowing down is unknown to me at this time. The driver appeared to be travelling alone when the collision occurred.
While slowing down with traffic, I was not expecting to be rear-ended. My attention was on the traffic before me rather than behind me as I needed to pay attention to the flow of traffic to control my vehicle accordingly. I was at least 1 ½ – 2 car lengths behind the box truck when I felt my vehicle shake violently, which seemed to occur out of nowhere. I turned my head to look over my left shoulder to find out why my vehicle was shaking and realized that the vehicle behind me rear-ended my vehicle. In this glance, I was unsure about how many cars that were involved in this collision. I turned my head to face forward and it appeared as if the truck in front of me was coming quickly toward me. My vehicle was going toward the truck in front of me.
I recall slowing down and I know my foot was pressed on my brake pedal, so in a confused and shocked state of mind as a result of such a surprise, it didn’t make sense that my vehicle was continuing to move forward, at first. However, it soon made sense that the impact of the vehicle behind me would shove my vehicle forward despite my efforts to stop the vehicle’s movement.   While my vehicle was still in forced motion from the impact, I felt the dash below the steering wheel above the gas and brake pedals compressing into both of my knees, which caught my attention by delivering very sharp pains into and beneath my knee caps.
At the feeling of the dash compressing on my knees, I was afraid one of three possible scenarios was about to take place:

1) My knees were about to break from the compression;
2) My legs were about to be amputated by whatever was delivering the sharp, stabbing pain to my knees; or,
3) My trainer and I were about to die from the impact and compression taking place at both ends of my vehicle.

My mind was set on making it home to my 5-year-old daughter and my grandmother who were expecting me home any minute and my mind was set on surviving for them despite the unimaginable and immense physical pain I was preparing myself to be ready to endure. I was focused on how to make mind-over-matter matter the most so they would not receive any worse news than what was already taking place unbeknownst to them.
Mind-over-matter didn’t prevent me from hitting my head when the airbags deployed. I told myself not to let my head get hit, as I didn’t want to become unconscious which would keep me from surviving, but hitting my head was inevitable. I don’t doubt that hitting my head when the airbags deployed contributed to my resulting concussion, especially when paired with uncontrollable forced movement influenced by the impact.
Once all of the vehicle movement came to a complete stop, I exited the vehicle via the driver door. My trainer exited the vehicle via the front passenger door window before I exited the vehicle. (The door would no longer open as a result from the collision.) The amount of time that had passed between the collision stopping and my trainer and I exiting the vehicle is unknown to me at this time. I have no recollection as to whether I became unconscious at any point. My trainer claims to have remained conscious.
Outside of the vehicle, in a state of disorientation, I asked the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended me, “What the fuck? What the hell did you do that for?” then turned my attention immediately to my trainer and my vehicle in its crumpled state. The back end of my vehicle was hanging over into the lane to the left of it, so my trainer  recommended trying to move the vehicle to a safer position to avoid causing more collisions, but I rejected the idea because the debris and odor from the air bags made me think the vehicle was smoking. I was afraid that if we didn’t step away from the vehicle quickly, we’d be at risk of being burned or catching fire. I was unable to make sense of what had just happened, how it happened, why it happened, or what was going on in the present moment and later discovered that those are symptoms of a concussion.
My trainer reminded me to get the vehicle information, insurance information and my license to exchange with the other driver, so I quickly retrieved those things and exchanged information with her. Looking at the vehicle that my grandma and I were just able to be proud of having, I began to cry because something I felt my grandmother had worked very hard for was destroyed and despite knowing it was out of my control and not my fault, I still felt terrible.
I decided I needed to call my grandmother and tell her what was happening so she didn’t begin to worry about me. I couldn’t make sense of how to call her or how to use my cell phone. I attempted several times to dial her phone number before I got it right. This was due to being completely disoriented along with still not quite being able to see correctly. I was temporarily unable to process simple cellular device functions. The appearance of my vehicle was frightening in the fact that the trunk was compressed and seemingly nearly non-existent and the hood/engine didn’t seem to be in much better shape. 
Once I became a little less disoriented, I noticed how guilty the other driver was feeling and that she was staying quiet. I informed her that I wasn’t angry with her and that I knew she didn’t do it on purpose and that I forgave her. My trainer, the other driver and I briefly discussed what had happened. My trainer suggested that I grab as many personal belongings from the vehicle as I could before they decide to tow it, so I took his advice. While retrieving things, I realized the vehicle was compressing on itself like an accordion because of how the dash was compressing my knees and how my laptop was difficult to retrieve from behind the driver’s seat, which was previously much more spacious of an area.
While my trainer, the other driver and I were awaiting further instruction from Law Enforcement, we noticed the driver of the box truck patiently waiting as well, so we confirmed with him that he wasn’t injured. His vehicle also seemed to be without any resulting damage.

6:00 P.M.
Law Enforcement confirmed that the other driver was completely at-fault, made sure we were okay and not in need of hospital care, instructed the other driver and I to file the accident reports in time, gave us our copies of the Crash Report, and allowed us to leave the scene of the accident at around 6:00 P.M. according to the Crash Report.
The other driver and her husband (who had arrived a little bit earlier) offered my trainer and I a ride home and we gratefully accepted their offer. In my opinion, the other driver and her husband are very kind, honest and respectable people with good intentions and I hold no negative feelings toward her for the accident.

That evening, everyone involved had refused medical attention despite my disorientation, bruised knees and sliced pelvis and my trainer’s bleeding shoulder and stiff neck. During the following week, my trainer’s ribcage developed bruises and his muscles were sore for at least a week that I’m currently aware of. My muscles from the right side of my neck to the right side of my tailbone were also torn as well as some on the left side, the contusions on my knees became worse, and I experienced dizziness, disorientation, depression, and irritability. I also started experiencing headaches on my right frontal-temporal area due to the concussion.
I went to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital 2 days after the wreck, confirming the concussion and contusions. My trainer went to the same Emergency Room a couple of days after I had.

On-Going Physical Issues
My knees are still bruised and when I kneel, it feels like they’re being stabbed. The stress of the entire situation is taking a toll on my grandmother’s health. I still get headaches in the same location. My left arm is weak and gets tremors. My daughter’s immunizations and dental care have been put on a hold due to lack of transportation and time. I have daily panic attacks that make the muscles that are still sore even more sore. It’s a struggle for my grandmother to make it to any of her medical appointments. I get dizzy spells every day. Trying to make and keep medical appointments for my grandmother, my daughter and myself is extremely difficult.

On-Going Mental Health Issues
I’m still extremely depressed and often suicidal, which has been interfering with my work attendance. I’m still dealing with disorientation and irritability. The struggle of finances and transportation has increased my anxiety that I had under control up until the wreck. I get flashbacks daily of the accident, especially when I’m in a vehicle. I haven’t even driven since and I know the flashbacks will be a challenge to overcome when I do.

On-Going Transportation Issues
That 1999 Chevrolet Malibu was mine, my grandmother’s and my daughter’s only form of independent transportation. Public transportation is too expensive, yet we have to rely on it anyway. Being a single parent, I often have to rely on Lyft to transport me to and from anywhere I need to go because often times, schedules to mesh with public transit. My grandma just purchased the 1999 Chevrolet Malibu with her savings that took a long time to save as she’s on a limited income; thus, neither of us can afford to buy another this soon. We didn’t get to have our vehicle for an entire month and are now forced to struggle with transportation, influencing my attendance at work, which influences my finances, which forces me to struggle with transportation. Attempting to catch everything up since the wreck took place has hindered my daughter’s ability to begin her first year of school on-time.

On-Going Financial Issues
A vicious cycle has developed that consists of working to be able to afford to get to work.  The cost of transportation has made keeping our bills paid a challenge. My grandmother and I have both had to take our personal/payday loans to try to make ends meet with the added cost of public transportation. My grandmother’s and my personal/payday loans are going to be quite costly once we’re finally able to start paying them back. We’ve had to ask my mom to come here from her residence 70 miles away at least once per week to help us with errands outside of our apartment. We can’t afford to rent a car. We need to be able to maintain the ability to cover our bills. We now have some debts to repay because of this collision. This auto collision has undoubtedly put a heavy stressful variety of burdens on myself, my grandmother, my mother, and my daughter.

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