- Andrew Littlejohn Johnson
My Personal Personal Injury Case
In 2019, a driver ran a stop sign and collided with the passenger side of my car. This is the story of how I learned first-hand what some of my clients go through.
I was taking my three-year-old daughter to school; my four-year-old son was sick that day. Driving down a road I travel twice per day at least five days per week, my life changed. When the other driver hit my car, I didn’t know what else to think except for, “Is my daughter okay” and “thank God my son wasn’t in the car” because his side is the one that was hit.
After getting my daughter checked out by her pediatrician, I got treatment for what I assumed was going to be some minor back/neck aches and pains. The x-rays looked good, and the doctor suggested I follow up in one week.
Well, days passed, and the pain only got worse. It felt like someone was stabbing an ice pick behind my left hip. I was referred to physical therapy and treated there for a couple of months. My other minor aches and pains resolved; however, the hip pain only got worse. I treated with an orthopedist, who performed an MRI and found nothing remarkable. All I could think is that I knew the pain was real, not just in my mind; how am I supposed to get better if even the doctors don’t see anything wrong?
The orthopedist suggested trying an epidural, which I agreed to try. This needle feels like a paring knife going into your muscle. It goes in, I can feel the pressure of the fluid, and then . . . the pain is gone. It’s like someone just snapped their fingers and made the pain go away. It was miraculous. I was to follow up in a few weeks to let the doctor know how I was doing.
The first eight days were amazing. I felt like everything was going to be normal. Then every single bit of the pain came back. My orthopedic physician diagnosed me with sacroiliac disfunction. I was told that because the epidural only worked for a short period of time, I could either have fusion surgery or deal with the pain for the rest of my life. It’s one of those good-news/bad-news moments: hey, we know what’s wrong with you . . . but you need surgery to fix it.
Every day, I’ve dealt with this pain, and I know for darn sure I’m not about to deal with it for the rest of my life: “On to surgery,” I said.
Surgery was frightening. Don’t get me wrong, the doctors were great. Other than the four-hour delay and not having my wife with me (due to COVID-19 precautions), everything went as planned. Yet, just knowing that I was about to be put under general anesthesia and have four people cut me open and screw four bolts into the bottom of my spine, I was just a hair shy of freaking out. However, my orthopedic physician and his staff were wonderful and did a great job.
The recovery, though, was ROUGH. I felt worse than before the wreck. I had a soft-ball size bruise on my rear-end, and I could barely move at all. I slept on the recliner in my living room. I had to use crutches. I was on pain medication—which I never wanted to use but couldn’t get past the pain. I was a poor excuse for a thirty-three-year-old.
Three months post-surgery, things started getting better. I was more mobile than I ever was post-wreck. I had more energy. I was slowly able to do things I could do before the wreck (like give my kids a bath without wincing in pain, or sleep in the same bed as my wife, or weed-eat (I know that sounds odd, but I enjoy yard work)). A few months later though, I plateaued. I never fully recovered. The surgery helped, but I never got back to where I was pre-wreck.
And it was at this time that I mentally pictured what my clients go through: it’s not just the making time to treat with doctors; it’s not just worrying about your child in the car with you; it’s not just the hours you put into therapy; it’s not just the concern over surgery; it’s not only the insurance company attempting to devalue your life and injuries; it’s not just the medical limitations you now have. No, it’s much more. It’s all of that plus every little bit of you that is no more and also knowing that you’ve lost part of who you are. Those little things you used to do but can’t anymore matter, even if it’s something as minor (like for me) as not being able to put my socks on without sitting a certain way. I am different, and it’s all because of the wrongful actions of one person one day.
The at-fault driver, was he some arrogant, hate-filled person out to hurt me that day? I’m certain he’s not. But he was negligent, which means his insurance company should pay me for all of the above-mentioned damages. But . . . as you can guess . . . they fought it. So did my underinsured insurance company. The same company I have timely paid premiums to for over seven years said, “Well, we don’t think you’re worth that.” I fought them, too. And in the end, I got my justice. There were no hard feelings. It’s the insurance company’s job to keep money in their own pocket. It’s their adjuster’s job to facilitate that outcome. However, in cases I try—as in my own case—it’s my job to show that company and adjuster why my case is about a real person. It’s not just some diagnosis on paper. It’s not just some random number of medical bills. It’s me. It’s the things I’ve been put through. It’s my worth. And this is what I get to do every single day at my office, and I wouldn’t change that.
The silver lining of this experience is that I now know what some of our clients go through. I can actually put myself in his/her position. I know the frustration of treating and not getting better. I know how insulting it is to have an adjuster discount my injuries. I felt the concern of not knowing what was wrong and if I would ever get better. I now get to use this experience to further assist my clients and tell their stories.
If you are ready to share your story with me so that Littlejohn Law can be your narrator in the case, reach out to me. We are here to help.