Most auto accidents – even serious ones – fade from the headlines days or sometimes just hours after they occur, after the wreckage has been cleared and traffic is moving once again.
But even for those who survive these frightening ordeals, the pain, injuries and scars are something with which they will struggle for a lifetime.
One Waterville man knows that struggle all too well. He was involved in a horrific crash three years ago. His was one of three vehicles involved. Doctors weren’t sure if he would survive. He was in a coma for a month, and since he awoke, the list of his acute and chronic medical problems has been daunting, something he must overcome daily. Tacked onto the struggle was the fact he lost most of his hearing.
Recently, he was back in the headlines when, for the first time since that fateful day, he heard the sound of his wife’s voice. It was loud and clear. He didn’t need to try to read her lips. It wasn’t muffled. He didn’t have to lean in closer. She was asking him if the new hearing aides that had been placed in his ears were comfortable.
Those few simple words were met with a flood of emotion by everyone in the room. It was a major milestone in what has turned out to be an extensive journey of recovery.
As the Kennebec Journal chronicled, the man had been driving on U.S. 201 in Fairfield in his pickup truck when a car, struck by another vehicle, spun out of control and struck his. In all, four people were injured in the crash, including the man’s son. However, his were by far the most serious.
He had to be flown by helicopter to the local hospital, where he remained in a coma for a month. He underwent nine surgeries in the first 14 days. Doctors told family members to prepare for the fact that they very well might lose him.
When he finally did awaken, he would try to pass the long hours in his hospital bed by watching television. But he needed the volume at full blast – and even then, he could barely make out the sounds. When he was finally well enough to attend family gatherings, he never wanted to stay more than a half hour or so. He wasn’t enjoying himself because he couldn’t understand what anyone was saying.
As time wore on, he learned to read lips. But even then, it was difficult and he could only do it in one-on-one situations with someone who spoke slowly.
He was forced to give up his job installing satellite dishes. It wasn’t just the hearing. It was the ongoing back pain. He had a severely limited range of motion. His sons and other relatives tried to help with certain tasks when needed, but it was tough for him to accept it. He’d always been so independent.
Life, he said, became extremely bleak. He would later say he felt as if he was being punished for something, even though he had done nothing wrong.
The hearing aid technology had been available, but with a price tag of $7,000, he couldn’t afford them. He was grappling instead with $100,000 in medical bills. Plus, he was out of work.
Finally, he applied for a grant program to receive the hearing aids free. And he recently learned he was accepted.
Our auto accident attorneys aren’t privy to all the details behind this man’s accident or whether he settled with the other insurance companies or his own. Hopefully he sought sound legal guidance. Sometimes, the impact of a car accident can be far greater than those involved can initially even imagine.
This case seems remarkable. Indeed, it made headlines. But the fact is, thousands of people in Maine right now are recovering from a horrific traffic accident, some with medical ailments even greater than these. It is for them that we fully dedicate our time, our experience and our skill.
If you are the victim of a Bangor auto accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Clinton man can hear again three years after accident, April 2, 2015, By Kaitlin Schroeder, CentralMaine.com
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