Monday, October 18, 2010

Vicci's Story

     Vicci Grey was run down by a drunk driver and abandoned on the side of the road. Now on the road to recovery, Vicci is trying to work through the physical and financial pain that the accident has caused her.

"I was on the way home from my daughter's 37th birthday party and I saw a truck ahead of me in the road that seemed to be out of control. He was on the wrong side of the road. All of a sudden it seemed as though he slammed his foot on the gas and veered straight towards me. I thought that if I could just turn the corner on the next street maybe I could keep him from hitting me. I couldn't get out of the way fast enough, and he broadsided me."

The driver that hit Vicci was driving a Lincoln Navigator. After he crossed the median into Vicci's lane and hit her, the driver and his passenger got out of the truck and ran. Both were heavily intoxicated and wanted to get away before the police arrived. Neither of them checked to see if Vicci was alive, if she was hurt, or if she needed help. She was hurt. She did need help. Both cars were totalled.

"I couldn't get out of my car, I couldn't even try. I wanted to find my cell phone so I could call my kids and let them know I was in an accident but my neck had swollen up and I couldn't turn my head. My arm had gone completely numb and I couldn't really move."

Fortunately for Vicci, someone in a nearby house had heard the accident and called the police. Within 5 minutes they were on scene and the firemen were cutting Vicci out of her car with the jaws of life. Before she really knew what was going on, Vicci was at the hospital. The accident had fractured Vicci's C6 and C7 vertebrae and cause extensive nerve and muscle damage. Vicci spent the next three days in the hospital before being sent home on oxygen for 2 months of bed rest and physical therapy.

The police found the passenger in a Walgreens near the site of the accident that night. After 2 months, the police have still not located the driver. The passenger admitted to police that they had both been drinking and that he had told the driver many times that he should not be driving, but he didn't listen. Although the driver does own a home in Colorado Springs, he had recently lost his job and was not living at home due to a domestic violence case with his wife. Although the driver did have insurance, Vicci was about to find out how little he had and how little it would help.

Vicci has not been able to drive or return to work in the two months since the accident. She has been walking to a nearby physical therapist 3 times a week in an effort to recover and regain her full mobility. About a month and a half after the accident, Vicci was finally able to get to her car and retrieve some of her belongings.

"When I finally saw my car, it was truly devastating", says Vicci. "It was like looking at death, it was absolutely horrible." Vicci soon found out that the driver's insurance policy was not going to be enough to pay for her car because the driver had such low limits. "The insurance that he had should be against the law. He had the barest of bare minimum that would pay $25,000 for my medical bills and work loss and up to $15,000 for my car." Vicci's hospital bills were already over the $25,000. Add in the work loss, physical therapy, oxygen for her home, neurologist visits, etc. and things really start to add up. Vicci's car was also a total loss and cost well over the $15,000 provided by the other driver's insurance policy.

Fortunately for Vicci, her own insurance policy DID have the right coverage to protect her. Her own insurance policy DID pay off her car and WILL take care of her medical bills, physical therapy, work loss and anything else that Vicci needs to get back to normal.

"It was a relief to find out what kind of insurance coverage I had. I had not paid much attention to my own insurance coverage because I had no reason to. I'm a good driver and I've never hit anyone. You always think that it's not going to happen to me, you always think that you're the invincible one so you don't think much about your coverage. You only think about trying to save money here and there. I'm truly thankful for what I have on my policy to take care of me."

After two full months, Vicci was finally cleared to start working again...slowly. She'll have to take it easy for the next few months, taking frequent breaks and limiting her driving but she needs to get back to work and is grateful for her progress so far.

"My insurance policy with American National has pretty much sustained me. It paid off my car and is helping me with a rental car. The service has been phenomenal. Trying to deal with his (the other driver's) insurance has been a nightmare, it's been a full time job."

When asked if she had any words of advice regarding what she's learned from her ordeal, Vicci had this to say: "Make sure that you have good insurance coverage. Even if you think you're just giving your money away  because this sort of thing could never happen to you, you just don't know. You can never know for sure. Having the right insurance has made the difference between being destitute and being okay; between being under a bridge and being here at home. You need to have someone to sit down and talk to and then listen to what they say about protecting yourself. It's not about anyone trying to sell you insurance, It's about you and what you need. If it had not been for Robert and American National I would be devastated. I still have a long way to go, but I thank God for all that's been done for me."

Vicci has been through a lot and learned first-hand the value of having the right insurance to stay protected. She's been a great client for years and I appreciate her sharing her story and wish her a full and speedy recovery.

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