Friday, March 30, 2012

Two weeks later.

It's been two weeks since the careless act of another person totally changed our lives. Dale's injuries are healing a little more with each passing day. On the 2nd he goes back to the orthopedic surgeon and they'll remove the pins from his right hand and set it and his forearm in a regular cast. They'll probably take the stitches out of his knee as well.

While the injuries are healing, and he's better able to get around on his own, the frustration is growing. The frustration is from more than just the accident and the injuries; the loss of his bike and a great job opportunity. The bulk of the frustration comes from the drastic changes we've experienced in our daily lives.

Dale has always been the kind of person who can't sit still. Now he's reduced to laying on the couch or in his recliner. He can't even play a video game to pass the time. Daily tasks, even as minimal as using the restroom, have become a major undertaking. It's difficult for him to remember that he does need to depend on me, and others, for simple things, such as opening the bottle of pain pills or refilling a water bottle. He'll often try to do these things and fail, resulting in more frustration.

He hasn't been able to sleep in our bed since the accident - and not for lack of trying because the couch is not very comfortable. Unfortunately, he has to sleep with his arm propped up, almost vertical, and the only way to accomplish this is to wedge it between his upper body and the back of the couch.

We got a copy of the police report on Wednesday. It included pictures of Dale's bike and the other guy's truck. It was amazing to see the damage to the truck. The whole front end was damaged, including the hood being buckled up on the front passenger side - which is where the truck struck Dale's hand. I was a bit surprised, there was actually much more damage to the truck than I expected there to be.

Every day I keep reminding myself that it could have been worse. I have to keep doing this, because if I don't, I'm not sure how I'd handle all that's on our plate right now. One moment of bad judgement and lack of attention has cost us so much. More than we can ever put a price tag on, and certainly more than the guy's insurance policy limit will provide (yes we know what the limit is, and it's not a whole lot). At this point we're just hoping that we don't end up in debt because of this.

For everyone who says we should sue the guy, there is a reality to that which most people aren't aware. Sure, we could sue him and receive a judgement in court. It could result in garnishment of wages or a lien on future assets.... but all he'd have to do is file bankruptcy, and the debt is wiped clean. It would be all for nothing at that point. Besides, you can't get blood from a turnip and the low liability limit on the guy's policy shows us another fact - there are likely no assets. Most people who have assets worth protecting do so by carrying large liability limits on their auto policies - so they can't be sued for their property.

So once again, I remind myself how lucky we are. Dale is healing; the broken bones are mending; the bruises fading.... slowly. Have our lives been impacted in ways we'd never have been able to anticipate? Most definitely. Are we frustrated and angry? Of course. Do we feel like the damages we've suffered, and will continue to suffer for months to come will exceed the liability limit of the other guy's insurance? Without a doubt.

How do you put a price on things you've lost, which you hadn't come to have yet?

Simply put, I don't know.

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