Saturday, December 4, 2010

Car Crash 2010

3 of the 4 cars minutes after. photo Anja Wendel/Group News Blog


Yes, there was an earth-shattering ka-boom.

"My neck hurts."

First words out of my mouth.

Just sitting there, third car back, waiting for the light to change.

Caddy which hit us from behind. photo Jesse Wendel/Group News Blog.

How we looked after being hit. photo Jesse Wendel/Group News Blog.

My mom was driving. I was in the passenger seat. My sister behind me. Her 8 year old boy (my only nephew) in his car seat behind mom. All of us (of course; I'm a retired paramedic, silly) were wearing seatbelts. It was a good thing.

This is what the seatbelt did to the boy's neck:

Seatbelt injury, rear-end collision. photo Jesse Wendel/Group News Blog

The alternative of course is, he would have (at least) flown through the car and struck his head on something. At worse, he could have been ejected from the car. As it is, he had a burn to his neck and (so far as I know) that was it.

I on the other hand, a full week later, still can't move my head more than about 20 degrees in any direction, left/right, up/down, without it hurting like hell. Can I force it? Yes. Do I? Hell no. Except on command for my doctor (up/down only; can't do the left/right), complaining the entire time. Heh.

Look at the trunk:

Mom's trunk after rear-end accident. photo Jesse Wendel/Group News Blog.

We came through that with -- apparently, although I don't know for sure what my sister and Mom will end up saying to their doctors -- me being the only serious injury. What a tribute to Honda Racing and Honda the car company. The crumple-zone did its job; it crumpled and absorbed the impact.

Er, um, which isn't to say it felt like that inside the car. *laughs* It didn't. But we get hit by a fracking Cadillac going an estimated 30 mph at impact. No one was knocked out. No concussion. And I think the only reason I have this neck injury is because I'm so tall that my neck got snapped BACK over the head rest, after being flung forward.

My point is, we've come a long, long way from when I was growing up in the 60s, or even from when I was working as a paramedic in the early and mid 80s. Cars today are designed from the cage out to keep impacts as far away from the passengers as possible.

We did our part -- we wore seat-belts. And walked away from a MAJOR carwreck, one big enough to THROW our car into the car in front of us, which shoved that car into the first car in line. Four cars, lots of bent parts, but everyone walked away. (And no, booze wasn't a factor. No one is certain why the accident happened. The driver of the Caddy was cited; no one else was.) Just one of those things.

I've seen my doctor. He's had x-rays taken. And I have a great chiropractor. I'm just going to let Dr. Gary do his thing on my neck. Hopefully in a few months (or three or four, depending) everything will be well again. No reason to think otherwise.

PS. If you don't have PIP on your auto policy, GET IT. Otherwise you'll end up paying for your medical bills until the case is settled. Your health insurance typically won't pay for car accidents if someone else has insurance -- and in this case, another party does. However your doctor typically won't accept a third-party claim; they want YOU to pay for your visits out of pocket and get reimbursed from the third party. The third party insurer however isn't going to pay for those visits ongoingly; they're only going to pay your medical bills when the entire case is over and you settle everything. Which means you could be out of pocket $5-10 thousand dollars before you see dime one. But if you have PIP on your OWN driver's policy -- typically for $10 grand -- you simply make a claim against your OWN policy, even if you weren't driving, as I wasn't, and even if you weren't liable, as I wasn't -- and your own policy will pay out, and collect from the liable party. Wonderful. Plus, they shouldn't hike your policy in any way, as you weren't responsible for anything.

PPS. Other than that, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Tucson with my family. Hope your Thanksgiving went well also.