Lynda Hiles – My Story
Submitted by Lynda Hiles
On October 24, 1996, I was involved in a horrific car accident on my way home from work. By the time my husband Michael was notified, I was already on my way to Brampton Hospital by ambulance, where they stabilized me and sent me quickly to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. When my husband finally caught up with me in Sunnybrook, the trauma team was already working on me. I was in pretty rough shape, having broken almost 80% of my body. The trauma team wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but Michael was. He never left my side until they took me to intensive care. I learned later that he slept in the hospital for two weeks, leaving me only long enough to eat. He made himself available at any time to sign the required papers for my many, many operations. He only left me to go home to his two teenage daughters when he was sure I was completely out of danger. He spent the next few weeks running back and forth every day.
It was five weeks before I woke up and learned what had happed to me. I had a halo contraption on my head and it was attached to a vest so I couldn’t move my head. I had broken my neck and this was necessary so I could heal. I couldn’t talk either as I had a tube inserted in my throat, but I could still write my many questions down. Michael filled me in and I was amazed I was still alive after all I had gone through. He told me about the work performed on me by some of the country’s greatest doctors, the great nurses in ICU, and the many more wonderful nurses in Ward B5 where they had taken me when I came out of ICU.
Eventually I recovered enough for the doctor to remove the tube in my throat thus ending my forced silence. What a relief! Over the next three months, I received a lot of therapy, making it possible for me to sit and move around in a wheelchair at the hospital.
When my injuries were mostly healed, the hospital transferred me to St. John’s Rehab. That was a great place to recuperate, I must say. Everyone there was super, I mean totally super. I spent the next three months learning how to walk again, and through physical therapy I gained my strength back in my legs and arms. I didn’t know the games they had me play were for that reason. Who knew bean bag toss would give me strong arms? And putting pegs in a board high above my head would give me balance and leg strength? The first time I stood up in the parallel bars, I was overjoyed. Of course, to keep from crying I had to make light of it when I looked in the mirror at the end of the bars and saw myself. I had on a baggy shirt and shorts much too big and my hair was a mess. I said, “Who the heck let you out looking like that?” It made everyone’s day.
When I came home finally Michael showed me the room he had built just for me on the main floor of the house. Our old bedroom was up 12 steps, and there was no way I could climb them. It was beautiful…..just what I needed. I was still in a wheelchair for a while, but eventually graduated to a pair of crutches and finally to a cane. An electric scooter was provided for me to go shopping with, and I sometimes used a walker. Michael was always near me to take care of all my needs.
Over the years, Michael has stood by me….through the problems we had with the insurance company paying out expenses and through all the doctors and physiotherapy appointments he had to take me to. It seems we had so little time to ourselves and I could see it was hard on Michael. But he never complained. He was always there, whether going to Toronto, or Owen Sound, or Shelburne, or….. My knight in shining armour!
Thirteen years passed, with many changes in case workers provided by the insurance company, making it hard to keep track of all the rules they wanted me to follow. Assessment after assessment was really beginning to wear us down, but Michael refused to give in. I had asked several times over those years to put an end to my claim, but to no avail. Finally the insurance company decided they wanted to write me off.
On a referral from my last case worker, I contacted David Payne of Thomson Rogers who agreed to take on my extensive file. He went to work on my behalf and, lo and behold, obtained a great settlement for me. Because of his excellent work I have always recommended him to others.
The settlement made it possible for Michael and I to purchase a beautiful one-storey home in the friendly little hamlet of Shallow Lake just north of Owen Sound. Everything we need for comfort is here, with all amenities on one floor except the rec room. Even so, we are in the process of buying a chair lift for the basement stairs so I will be able to enjoy that room too.
I was never able to go back to work. My injuries were so massive that I am in constant pain even now. But with Michael’s help and our independence money-wise I am living a great life.
As a result of my experiences I would urge anyone involved in an accident to contact a top line personal injury lawyer AT ONCE; do not trust anyone sent by your insurance company. Remember, they are paid by and working for the best interests of their employer, not you.