Laura Robinson – My Story – Car accident survivor

I was starting my third year of university. My roommate and I had decided to go up north to Midland, Ontario to visit a friend of my roommate’s at his island cottage. We had a fun weekend of barbecuing, four-wheeling and camp fires. On the last day of our stay, Sunday, September 21, 2003, we were heading back to the cottage from town. I was in the back of a pick-up truck, seated on a half bench while my roommate and friend were in the front seat.

It was the one time in my life I didn’t have my seatbelt on as I was holding a box of leftover pizza and was struggling to get my belt on, as the system had locked.

The driver, my roommate’s friend, was going faster than he should have been on a gravel road, lost control and went up an incline. Frankly, he was driving dangerously. We hit a tree and rolled, causing the driver to be thrown out through the passenger window and I was thrown into the front –middle of the truck. My roommate pulled me out of the truck quickly, as she recalls smoke coming from the car and was concerned about our safety. I don’t recall much except for fishtailing and then being pulled from the wreckage. I do remember an ambulance pulling up, loading me onto a board and putting me into a helicopter. I was then airlifted to Huronia District Hospital in Midland where my parents were notified and I was admitted. I spent 2 days in the hospital, my father by my side while my mom stayed at home with my brother who was quite young at the time, providing her updates.

I was then taken by ambulance to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto where I would spend the next 3 weeks. The doctors determined I had a broken collarbone, cracked rib and a burst fracture of the T4, T5, L1 and L2 vertebrates in my spine. I required surgery and a back brace to be worn for 3 months following surgery.

It was a tough recovery, with a lot of sleepless nights (my parents as well, who were my primary caregivers), intense requiring strong pain medication and a huge change to my life, which had been quite independent previously. I had been away at school, enjoying what were supposed to be the best years of my life. I missed an entire semester at school, working from home 2 hours away proving to be futile. I also lost an extreme amount of weight, dropping down to 90 pounds.

I did eventually recover enough to return to school January 2004. However, I had missed so much that I was delayed a semester graduating and in turn being delayed 1 year into my post-grad program of choice in the Human Resources profession. I also had found out that I had an infection in my blood. My body had rejected the metal that was fused to repair my spine. I had to have this removed and spent about 3 months following on IV and then oral antibiotics.

Following my second surgery, my parents and I decided to seek legal advice and connected with Thomson Rogers. Our personal injury lawyer agreed that we did, in fact, have a case against the driver and after 2 years, I was awarded a settlement and finally some closure to this horrible chapter in my life.

Since then, I have since bought my first condo in Toronto, have a great job in the Human Resources field and will be getting married on May 2011. While it sounds cliche, I have learned not to take life for granted. I have learned that while accidents do happen, it is so important to wear your seatbelt and to not drive recklessly and endanger those around you. I also learned that I have an extremely wonderful family and friends who were an amazing support system. I still have back pain every day but overcome this by remembering how lucky I am to be alive.


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