I never thought I’d be going to court for a personal injury claim last summer, but my whole life changed when I was walking across the street one afternoon and a car hit me. It was midday and I was blindsided. I had done nothing wrong—I was in the crosswalk and peddling at a decent speed, but this car was going well over the speed limit and the driver didn’t see me because she was texting on her phone.
I’m not the type to sue someone. I brush things off quickly and have empathy for others, but unfortunately, suing the driver was my only choice in this situation. My insurance refused to pay for my medical bills and I could hardly afford to pay my rent!
I had broken my leg and three ribs from the crash. My bike was ruined, and I needed months of physical therapy to recover from my injuries. I couldn’t go back to work for six weeks, and on top of all that, I was in a lot of pain and suffering emotionally. My lawyer and I agreed that I should demand $15,000 from the driver. She’s lucky it wasn’t worse.
Going to Trial
I was nervous to go to trial for my case and I hoped we could settle outside of court, but the driver had a ruthless defense lawyer on her side. She didn’t want to accept my demands and didn’t want to pay me the amount of money I deserved. My attorney assured me that a trial was the only way I would get the maximum settlement.
I was thankful to have a strong support system of people who prepared me before heading into the courtroom. My legal team did most of the talking and spoke on my behalf during the opening statements, the presentation of evidence, and the cross-examination.
I testified and told my side of the story which wasn’t difficult because I simply told the truth. I answered questions from the judge and the jury sympathized with my case. Once closing statements occurred and the jury left to deliberate, I got nervous.
It didn’t take the jury long to come back into the courtroom and deliver their verdict. They found the driver guilty and gave me the settlement I deserved. My lawyer had investigated my case thoroughly and provided clear evidence showing that the driver had been texting behind the wheel when she hit me. Without this evidence, I may not have won my case.
What I Learned
I hope the woman who hit me learned something from going to trial, because I know I did. Normally, I give people second chances and I’m glad that I have such a forgiving personality; but I learned that, occasionally, it’s a good thing to stand up for yourself and what you deserve. My settlement saved me and allowed me to pick up the pieces of my life and move forward. If I hadn’t gone to court, I would have continued to struggle because of someone else’s mistake.