I was in a car accident on Tuesday, (03/22/11), while driving home from picking my 7-year-old son up from school. The car that hit me ran into the drivers side, pushing my car about 10 feet. He failed to yield before making his turn - the two witnesses agree and so did a passenger in the guys car. I'm not sure what happened personally. All I remember is one minute I'm driving and the next minute I'm looking through my broken window at the face of a lady asking me if I'm ok. So the accident is his fault and even the police have told me that it was completely unavoidable on my part, yet I feel like I should have done something different. I feel like there had to be something I could have done to avoid it and I failed.
I also feel like I failed as a parent. I didn't protect my son. He wasn't injured and was on the opposite side of the impact, looking out the window so he doesn't even really know what happened. Mine were the only injuries. The fire department had to rip my door off to get me out. Then I had to lay on a backboard with a neck brace for about 3 hours. I have a concussion, whiplash and some bruising, but I'll live.
The kid that hit me is 19 with two previous accidents, three speeding tickets, no insurance, expired registration on his vehicle and his license was revoked over a year ago. He had no business driving at all.
My car is totalled. The drivers door is in the trunk where someone placed it after it was towed. The front tire and back tire are bent in at an angle. The front windshield and the back driver-side window are broken. And the dashboard is cracked where it was damaged on impact. The rest of the car is pristine. It is a 2000 Honda Civic with less that 70,000 miles. I took care of my car. I only drove it around town, preferring to use my husbands more comfortable car for longer trips.
The police told us the next day that we could go get my belonging out of my car. While we were retrieving my items, I saw the car that hit me. He only had some minor body damage and a tow truck from an auto body shop was picking it up for repair.
If I had to examine my feelings about all of this, I would have to say first that I'm angry. I'm angry at the stupid kid that hit me who had no business driving in the first place. I'm angry that he put my life and the life of my son in danger because he was in a hurry. I'm angry that he can't produce insurance that he's supposed to have to cover my vehicle and medical expenses that he caused, but he can pay $500 to get his car and have it taken for repair. I'm angry that he's already out driving around, (illegally), but I can't afford another car, so now I'm pretty much useless - I can't go to the grocery store, I can't pick up my son from school, I can't run errands... I'm not a violent person, but I want to hurt him. I want to punch him and not stop until I feel better.
I'm also sad. I had that car for 11 years, and I planned to keep it forever. I'm sad that this little jerk ruined my perfect driving record - 24 years and not even a fender bender. I'm sad that I can't seem to forgive the guy that hit me - I just can't let it go. I'm also sad that I let my son down. We were on our way home from school and after he did his homework, we were going to look at stuff for his birthday. We never got there. He hasn't mentioned it, but I know that I let him down. I made him a promise and I didn't keep it.
So is it normal to feel so angry and so sad at the same time? Or is this a symptom of the concussion? I'm sorry this is so rambling. I'm usually much more coherent, but my head hurts and I can't seem to keep a thought in it for more that a few seconds at a time.
I read your commentary with interest. I had almost the same thing happen to me. I was hit in the passenger side by a huge truck as the kid ran a red light. I was driving along with the green light. The lights had been green and red for awhile...they had not just changed. He pushed in my door 18 inches and it crushed me against the console. I had a pelvis broken in 4 places, broken clavicle, 8 broken ribes, concussion and a deflated lung. They cut me out and I was in critical condition for 3 days. There was some question about whether I would walk again. I did walk, if you want to call it that. I was called a miracle...Time has passed now (5 months). That kid killed me that day. Oh, I am here, but I can't remember enough to get through the day without extreme anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed. That is the "slight" brain injury. I was told it is like soccer brain and will heal itself...I, too, had a car with $50,000 miles and was forced to buy a car. Afraid to buy used with my impaired thinking ability, I am now saddled with a nice car payment for 5 years, diminished savings, diminished everything. This is not life. I am in constant pain, misery, uncertainty and I am broke...dead broke...I am told there will be a settlement. The bills are high. So far, I have paid and paid and paid, broke my self, and the bills still keep coming in. Yes, he had ins. Yes, I had ins. It all takes time. In the meantime, his scratches on his truck allowed him to get in it and drive away with a nice ticket for running a red light...At first, I was glad to be alive. I chose life. But, now that time has passed, I realize my life is gone. In order to find a life again, I must start over somehow, and I am retired on a fixed income. I was so happy, traveling, surrounded by friends, etc. Kiss that goodbye. It's all gone. Angry, hell yes, I am angry. No one ever said that life is fair. This was random and yours was, too. It is what it is. I think it is ok to be angry. Stay away from those who don't understand.