I set out, last week, to provide a priority list of what to do after being injured in a crash. I got carried away with the highest priority item: pursuing medical recovery. I am now continuing with the priority list.
Your injuries, and the pain, stiffness and other symptoms that are part and parcel with those injuries, are only a part of the post-crash aftermath. The other is the impact those injuries and symptoms have on your life.
Impacts can be relatively small, limited “only” to the physical experience of enduring those symptoms, and leaving the victim able to carry on with work, household duties, recreation, hobbies and all the other bits and pieces that make up our day to day lives.
At the other end of the spectrum, impacts can be profound: disability from an established career path, interfering with home and yard functions, and taking away the ability to participate in (or enjoy) recreation, hobbies and “life” in general.
Here comes my recommendation of your next critically important priority, second to the diligent pursuit of your recovery. I recommend that you struggle with every fibre of your being to let go of as little of your life as possible during the initial, most acute stage of your injuries and symptoms and, as symptoms ease during your recovery, to kick, claw and scratch to take back as much as possible of your life that you initially lost hold of.
You are the victim of a negligent driver. There was nothing you could have done to avoid the injuries. Your goal, second to achieving as complete and quick a recovery as possible, is to minimize the impacts those injuries and associated symptoms have on you, your life, and the lives of those around you.
How do you accomplish this? It takes a complete shift of approach from what the world expects.
Instead of asking your doctor for a note to take time away from work, and returning for more notes as time goes on, I recommend struggling to try not to take any time off work, leaving it up to your employer to send you away if you are clearly unproductive, or your doctor to order you away from work.
If ordered away, I recommend pushing to get back to work as quickly as possible and, in the meantime, working with your employer and doctor to figure out lighter duty work, or a shortened shift, that you might be able to handle. Not cost effective for your employer? Offer to work at a reduced wage, or even on a volunteer basis; anything that will keep you in the loop and as productive as possible.
The same goes for life outside of work. Certainly, consult with your doctor and others on your treatment team if you are fearful that returning to this or that activity might interfere with the top priority of recovery from your injuries, but continually try to get back to your activities except as medically restricted. If your treatment team holds you back in any way, get clarification to know exactly what the restrictions are so that you can work around them. Also, push to have those restrictions lifted as your recovery progresses.
Does this sound like medical or rehabilitation advice? Is this what you would expect to hear from an insurance company? It happens to be the best legal advice you could get to maximize the prospect of fair financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
I did it again; I took an entire column for the top priority and now again for number two. I promise to “wrap up”, my list of priorities with my next column.