Important Lessons from a Car Accident

10 years ago, my sister was in a horrible accident. It wasn't her fault, but that doesn't matter. She lived with me at the time and had agreed to work out with me after work.

When I got home that night, she wasn't there. I called to see if she was ready to go, but she was already on her way to visit her boyfriend. I went to work out and when I returned my cell phone was on fire.

My sister was in an ambulance and on her way to the hospital. She had been hit head-on at 60 mph. She was not wearing her seat belt. She was thrown up into the windshield, only being saved because the airbag deployed and kept her in the car. The steering wheel broke her femur in half and the hit to her head knocked her out.

She was cut out of the car by the fire department. I stayed with her during the surgery and she eventually recovered, but not fully. She has a metal rod in her leg (my children say she's a robot, lol), her leg constantly aches, and she walks a little limpy (sorry.) Her car was fully insured, but the teen driver (and his parents) did not have insurance. Because of this, the accident caused considerable financial hardship.

She was a college student at the time, and lost a lot in wages. Her car was totally destroyed and although it was only 1 year old, the insurance company offered less than what she owed on the car. I called and negotiated an extra $1000 for the car, but most people wouldn't have done that.

She did not carry un-insured driver's insurance, so there was no coverage beyond what her insurance paid out. She carried the minimum personal injury coverage. I believe it was $30,000 and she was able to sue for that amount. But wait....When you win an insurance settlement, it's not just yours to keep. She paid 28% (negotiated down from 33%) to the lawyer. She had to use the settlement money to repay the amount of her medical insurance paid for the ambulance usage, fire department involvement, ER visit, surgery and recovery.

In the end, she was left with nothing, a few weeks of no wages, no vehicle, and lasting pain.

Looking back on the accident, there are so many lessons to be learned. Let me highlight the top 4 lessons I've taken away from this and hopefully it will help someone else as well.

1. Always wear your seatbelt!

2. Have contact information easily available. The FD found her numbers through her cell phone. Have ICE (in case of emergency) info stored in your phone or on the back of your ID.

3. Make sure you are not under-insured! Check to be sure you are covered in case you are in an accident with someone that is not insured or is underinsured.

Make sure you have adequate personal injury protection (PIP). Medical bills are huge and can wipe out everything you had saved. Don't let it happen to you. Maybe you are thinking it will be too expensive? Probably not. I have all the maximum insurance coverages and I bet I pay less for insurance than most people. How's that? Call around and negotiate. It is so worth it!

I'm not an insurance expert, but I can speak of what happened to my sister. You don't want to be in that situation.

4. Never skip a workout!!!


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

laughing about not skipping a workout. Good advice!

Dimes 2 Vines said...

This is great advise! A teen was killed last week from our church. She was not wearing a seat belt, she was texting, speeding, and driving late to school on a road her parents told her not to take!
We are not indestructable!

Dimes 2 Vines said...

This is great advise! A teen was killed last week from our church. She was not wearing a seat belt, she was texting, speeding, and driving late to school on a road her parents told her not to take!
We are not indestructable!

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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