Medical Transport Driver - Part 4 - Accidents Happen
My First and Worst Accident on the Job
If you read my previous Hub, Med Transport Driver 3, you remember Brody. Brody was with me during my first and worst accident with my old Medical Transportation employer. He was a key witness and the fact that he was not hurt in the accident was partially because of the many medications he was on at the time. Much like when a drunk driver crashes yet does not get hurt because they were too drunk to panic.
We were only going 25 miles per hour that early morning in late December. My second pick up was a no show so Brody and I were on our way to his program where he would be dropped off. I am always very aware of my surroundings, so when I heard the large engine begin to roar I looked the oncoming car over carefully. I noticed the driver was tall and as I looked on the driver then slumped over toward their car door. The engine to the car was roaring and it was barreling straight towards me as it crossed into my lane. It would have been a head on crash. It should have been a head on crash.
My reflexes kicked in hard. I stomped on the gas and cut into the side street on my right. I pulled in so fast Brody looked at me with a grin, but then his eyes widened and he cried, "He swerved! He is going to hit us!"
Before I could turn my head we were smashed on the rear driver's side of the car. My entire body jerked to the right, but Brody had his back up against the passenger door. I sat there in shock for a minute before getting out. I feared what I was going to see, let me tell ya.
When I got out I saw that the driver had pushed past my work vehicle, a '94 Lincoln Town Car, and drove right into a telephone pole. The pole was broken in half and held in place only by the wires. The gentleman pushed open his door, stood up and looked like he was very confused. We were right around the corner from state police barracks and they had arrived before I could spit on the street. I couldn't help but laugh. If I had needed help they wouldn't have arrived so soon, but that may just be the cynic in me talking.
Immediately I was informed that the other driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. What's worse he had no license, the car was not his, was not registered and was not insured! I'm thinking...lucky for me this happened while at work and I should be fully covered. Right?
Well, this is the part where I explain to you that I have never had much luck. If something can go wrong it does, even when the percentages say I should do well and I should not have any difficulties, I get shafted somehow. I'm not whining, honestly, its become something of a joke among my friends. They shake their heads and laugh at my endless misfortune, ha, ha, what great fun. Feeling bad about your day? Let's go talk to Joe, his bad luck will make yours seem like fairy dust!
I felt fine. I walked around and beyond the weird ringing in my ears I didn't feel I was injured at all. The same could not be said for the car. It was totalled and ruined. My boss had just had a lot of work done on that car and he was not happy, but the accident was not my fault and he had insurance.
The problem was that at that time Jersey law actually protected uninsured drivers from being sued! My employer was supposed to have a certain threshold on his insurance that would cover his drivers if something of this nature occurred. My boss says, "I just recently removed that threshold because I was having a hard time paying the bills!"
What he was saying was that if that threshold was still present I would have been able to sue and I would not have had to worry about a thing. Instead, things didn't turn out so cut and dry. Later that night after work I began to get a severe headache that then became a driving pain in the back of my neck. It literally felt like someone was driving a screw into my neck. I was very reluctant to go to the hospital so I waited for an appointment with a chiropractic doctor where they took X-rays.
Turned out I had four herniated discs and some stenosis problems. The nerve channel just below the back of my neck was narrowing and pinching the nerves. The accident caused my back to spasm so badly the nerve channel was constricting all of my nerves and causing me this terrible pain. The chiropractor thought perhaps i had played football because of my size but I explained that I was not into sports as a kid. I had a bad fall as a child in which I fell down a flight of steps and but I had never had any aftereffects because of that incident.
Several months of Chiro, pain management and then therapy left me feeling better than ever while I never took more than one day off from work. I'll tell you this, no amount of therapy is going to help you if you continue to do what hurt you in the first place. Now that I have not been driving for 18mths I feel better than I can remember feeling in a long time.
My ongoing problems stemmed not from my injuries. Instead they stemmed from the insurance war that ensued over who was going to pay for all the damages. As I said, Jersey law protected the driver responsible from being sued, my boss had removed the threshold that should have paid for everything and there I was, a sitting duck just waiting for the finger pointing to head my way.
As they exhausted all arguments and options somehow the conclusion was made by those who were still owed money that they were going to sue me! It was documented that the accident was not my fault, I was driving a company owned vehicle, so what was the problem? This was my luck, in a nutshell, and while everyone around me railed about it I could only smile and say, "Story of my life..." and shake my head.
My pay was docked years later by the doctors trying to collect their funds. They couldn't beat my bosses lawyers so they aimed and fired at me. I had no lawyer or money to pay one so I was an easy target. Law said I was not responsible? Not the law when it comes to me apparently. Thankfully my boss was not guiltless. He reimbursed me for these funds and I was grateful, although I am told he was simply covering his ass. At some point the bill collectors got a bug up their rear ends and decided they wanted the rest of the money now. They stopped docking my pay and said they would pursue it through some other avenue.
As my girlfriend and I inquired about refinancing, guess what was on my credit report? You guessed it. A judgement against me from that accident. So the guy who nearly took me out for good gets away with losing his license but I get to be in debt for the rest of my life? Wow. The American dream, I wonder who it actually works for? Not me, that's for sure.
Seven years is the legal limit for how long judgements are kept on your credit record. It had been twelve years since that accident. The law works, but not for me. Not when it has to do with protecting its citizens from this sort of BS. I wanted to strangle someone, I still do. Further investigation revealed that the doctors who levied that judgement no longer even had it on record. Only the credit agencies were keeping it on record, making me look bad, see my Hub on credit agencies for more of their nonsense.
As you see here the long term benefits of working for a medical transportation company remain to be seen. While the owners of the company you work for scheme and plot on how to make the most money you are nothing more than a stepping stool for them to use and abuse on their way to financial success. My boss gave me four days notice that his contract was not going to be renewed. That was the last time I spoke to him. Fifteen years of hard work and dedication in a clustercrap of a workplace and this was my only thanks?
This is just one of the many interesting stories about my 15 years as a Medical Transportation driver in southern New Jersey. This is the truth, do with it what you will.
- Medical Transport Driver; Part 1
Read about the not so glamorous life of a medical transportation driver in Jersey. Taxi cab confessions has nothing on this series of tell alls!
- Medical Transport Driver; Part 2
Hear the true accounts of a medical transportation driver in Jersey.
- Medical Transport Driver Part 3
Follow the true life tales of a medical Transport driver in Jersey. You won't believe what you read!
- Medical Transport Driver Part 5 "Women Drivers!"
A tale of thirteen car accidents and one close call from a new jersey Medical Transport driver! Hold onto you're seat!
- Medical Transport Driver Part 6
Enjoy another harrowing tale of a medical transport driver in New Jersey! You make so much more just transporting envelopes, why does anyone do it?