Five-Year Anniversary

It was five years ago this past week – April 14th, to be exact – when I was hit by a car and ended up in the hospital. This was while I was riding my bike to work. A lot of people who know about this ask me whether I’ve fully recovered, and I’m tempted to just say, “Yes thanks, I’m fine.”

In fact, I still have trouble sleeping and I still have daily nerve pain; the result of traumatic brain injury. I take meds every day for both. Vicodin for the pain. Not long ago I was talking to a man, like the people mentioned above. I explained to him my recurring problems, and he asked me, “Did you sue?”

For the first time, I felt like I didn’t have a good answer to that question. My answer has always been, No, I didn’t. I’d then explain that a lawsuit would have been too much trouble and not worth the emotional pain and suffering. But now, I’m not so sure.

My modest settlement from two insurance companies seemed reasonable at the time. Unfortunately, at the time, I thought that I’d fully recover and all would eventually be behind me. I never imagined that the accident would continue to affect my health until today, and possibly for the rest of my life.

Had I known that, I would have told the insurance company of the woman who struck me that their settlement wasn’t enough. Would I have taken the step of going to court to force their hand? I’m not sure. The limited liability of the insurance company might have ultimately forced me to sue the driver individually. And who says she has any money.

You get into the hard question of what money can buy in a situation like this. I think the answer is “emotional compensation.” A larger sum wouldn’t have cured me or necessarily made me any happier. It wouldn’t have saved me from any pending bankruptcy, since none was pending. But it would have left me thinking I’d received a just reward.

In the meantime, I thank God because I know I was lucky. I’m lucky to have a loving family, a job and to still be alive. I wish the pain would go away. But thanks… I’m fine.

Addendum, April 21, 2012

It turns out I am very lucky. Later on the day that I posted the story above, Charles Raymond Gilbreth was riding his bike eastward in the bike lane of Montezuma Road, between Fairmount and Collwood. There, he was hit from behind by a car and killed. I was struck on the corner of Collwood and Montezuma, just 200 yards to the east.

A group called Bike Stand, based at San Diego State, painted a bike white, and locked it to a sign on Montezuma; Gilbreth’s ghost bike. Some people laid flowers near the roadside brush where his body ended up. Charles Gilbreth was 63. Rest in peace.

TV story about Gilbreth accident.

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3 Comments on “Five-Year Anniversary”

  1. […] was the same location where KPBS’ Morning Edition Anchor, Tom Fudge, was struck five years ago. Fudge survived, but lives with the daily physical pain as a constant reminder that the City of San […]

  2. […] was the same location where KPBS’ Tom Fudge, was struck five years ago. In the five years since, the City’s engineers made zero improvements to reduce […]

  3. […] past Wednesday; the executive director of SDCBC calls for action, while KBPS reporter Tom Fudge looks back on his nearly fatal collision in the same area, nearly five years ago to the day. A Danville high school student says just let me […]

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