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At my wit's end - opinions please!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Over 4 years ago my hubby was in a car accident. He was on the highway and he was cut off, slammed on his brakes, lightly hit the guy in front and was rammed by the woman driving behind him. The car in front that caused the accident took off leaving my hubby and the woman at the side of the road. Our car was a right off and my hubby was lucky that he not only walked away from the wreck, but walked away without a scratch. The woman also at that time reported no problems to the police who responded to the accident and her big boat of a car only sustained minor damage. My hubby was very upset by the accident as he is a very good driver and feels like he should have been able to avoid it. He finally put it behind him when we recieved notification that the woman who hit him was suing him for 1.5 million dollars. Our insurance would only cover 1 mill if she wins the whole settlement. She filed the suit just at the point the statue of limitations was up on it so we could not countersue her. This was just over 2 years ago and he has become paranoid of me driving - he panics when I go out in the car alone to the point of breaking out in cold sweats. To avoid this stress I haven't driven in close to a year - it just seemed easier at the time. Last year he did discovery with the courts to see if it would go to court - he refuses to call and find out the status - he says he is afraid. I can't handle this hanging over us any more and me not driving. Every time I mention the lawsuit he gets in a crabby miserable mood and becomes depressed to the point all he wants to do is sleep. I don't know what to do? Do you have any ideas?
post #2 of 19
I'm so sorry to hear your troubles!

First and foremost, your husband needs counselling! To have such a severe reaction (cold sweats) when you go behind the wheel should not be happening after 2 Years!

From the legal point of it, you need to know the facts. Your husband's fear is making the matter worse. Right now, you are not working with any current updates. It's like not going to the doctor because you think you may have cancer. By putting this off, you highten your emotioned stress and cannot prepare for what the future may or may not hold. Do you have a lawyer? Your lawyer could be doing the follow up for you.

This is seriously affecting your daily lives. YOU cannot drive because YOUR husband may have a reaction. This is not normal, and you have to give him some tough love. Go to counselling together if he won't go alone. But him getting into miserable moods when he hears something about the accident is not helping the situation. Do you want the next year to have this "dark cloud" hang over your head? You should be focussing on facts and actions not moods and emotional outbursts.

By not driving, you have become your husbands enabler. It is not realistic to continue in this way. Please, start by talking with a lawyer. Get the facts so your not always having these heighten emotions over "what if's". I could not live each day the way your are - you are living on reactions rather than actions. This has to change for your own well being and sanity!

Sending most positive vibes your way.
post #3 of 19
Good grief Ady!! I can't even imagine the stress that must be casuing for you both!! I wish I had some good advice/ideas, but I don't.... so I'll leave that to the clever people of the board... I really hope it gets sorted out soon though, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers!!
All I can say is, that woman needs a good slap! (but don't do it, I don't think it'd help!! hee hee)
post #4 of 19
Ady, I don't know what the law is in Canada, but here, if somebody runs into somebody else (whatever the circumstances) it is that person's fault.

For instance if your husband was rammed by this woman, the arguement would be that she was driving too close to be able to take evasive action - therefore she was in the wrong by not driving responsibly.

I fully understand your husband's reaction - that is my reaction too, ignore it and hopefully it might go away. But I've learnt, through gentle persuasion, nagging and downright being yelled at, that this is not the solution. If a problem is confronted it often becomes far less onerous that originally imagined.

If your husband seeks the advice of a RTA litigation specialist (and a good one - remember economies at this point in time are usually a false ecomony), he will have the facts presented to him clearly and he will be IN CONTROL.

Also - I do think he needs to see someone about controlling his anxiety and fear. You both need to get back to some kind of normality in terms of car ownership and use.

I also know that for him to confront that fear if you mention therapy, will probably result in some anger on his part. Be patient and persevere. Maybe suggest you go with him, and that you'd benefit from the meetings too. He is shutting it out and he needs to be very strong and fight it, and you need to be srong for him.

Try reading up (via the web or library) on similar cases that have had a positive outcome and present him with this information. This was he won't see what he's about to go through as a non-starter and hopeless from the beginning.

Ady - I wish you all the best in this. It's a horrible situation to be in. I'm thinking of you.
post #5 of 19
I've heard of people that cause that type of accident on purpose for the insurance. Get a lawyer and fast! They have the rescorses to find out if this person has done this before. Also in my state the person who hits you from behind is the one automatically at fault so I doubt she has a case. Take charge of this and I'm sure things will work out for the best. You must make sure to go to all the court proceedings or they can find against you if you don't show up.

Best of luck and my prayers are with you!
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice everyone! We have a lawyer, but hubby won't call him to find out what is going on. Lawyer won't tell me what is going on since the law suit is not against me. In Canada we have something called no fault insurance so anyone can be sued. Her arguement is that if he was not following too close behind the car in front and didn't have to slam on his brakes she would not have hit him. I did get him to go see a pyschologist, but he didn't like the man and refuses to go back. He said that he felt the doctor belittled him. Also afraid if he goes to a "shrink" his co-workers will find out. He work with all men and they are very nasty to people who need emotional assistance and he would never live it down. He always has an answer that makes sense to him.

Sorry for the venting, but we had an arguement about it last night and i have no one else I can really talk to.

I honestly feel like everyone on this site are some of the best friends I have ever had and i appreciate that.
post #7 of 19
Ady - would he be mad if you showed him you wrote this, how worried you were, and all the advice you received?

It might make him realise that this is serious, and it's also affecting your life and you're very upset about it.

He should also stop being concerned about what others think if he at all can. So what if he's seeing a doctor (and there is more than one doctor out there so if he didn't like that one there are others). If these other guys have a problem with it, well, it's just that - THEY have a problem with it , and it's Jack $h!t to do with them anyway.
post #8 of 19
Further to what Yola said (love those dollar signs by the way )

Ady, girlfriend, fellow Canadian. Look at what this situation is doing to YOU! Your husband is focussing everything on him and how HIS friends will react. Who's more important here, YOU or his FRIENDS..hmmm..

I think it's way past due for you to show him your world and your concerns. He has to get his head out of the sand and face reality.

Does he even know the stats on the emotional effects of car accidents? My best friends spouse was in a car accident last month and is still seeking therapy for nightmares and anxiety. Tell him to stop pulling this Bull$*** and start understanding that YOU will not live like this any longer and you BOTH have to do what it takes to get through this as husband and wife. Whether this means therapy, group counselling etc. For the sake of the future, it has to change.

And a side thought, if your husband was following to close to the driver infront of him when the accident occured....then she was following too close to your husband's car as well...otherwise she wouldn't have been involved if she had a safe breaking distance.
post #9 of 19
She must have been traveling too close too. I hate it when people blame others for their mistakes. I think joint counceling is a good idea. If his friends found out he could say he was going for you! Men are so afraid of looking weak but going for the wifey is a supportive husband! Good luck sweety we are all behind you!
post #10 of 19
Ady, You said your lawyer won't tell you anything. Is there any way you could get legal advice? Maybe another lawyer could tell you what your options are, and the possible outcomes if it goes to trial. The lawyer may not be able to help you directly, but could get rid of some of your fears and concerns.

IMO it is very shady that she waited to sue, and is trying to blame your husband for bumping into him. Some people do try to get into accidents to get the insurance money. Don't let this woman get away with her crap, which is what it is. Hopefully any judge would see that if she really was concerned, she would have filed suit right away instead of waiting. I hope it all works our for you.

And your husband should be concerned about you and him, not what his friends think. I know it is hard for men to admit a weakness, but he really does need to get help if he is so worried all the time.
post #11 of 19
Here in the US the law is such that whoever hits, especially from behind, is at fault since one is supposed to be control of the car at all times.

Tell him not knowing is worse since he most likely immagines the worst. Knowing the facts is what empowers you.
post #12 of 19
Unbelievable situation!

I can't imagine the circumstance that would make this his fault. The woman who hit him must have some issues herself! And bad legal advice. I live in Ontario, had someone hit me from behind, and the insurance company was completely on my side - there was never a question of it being my fault. Did he get the license number of the person who cut him off? What did the police say?

All that aside, you need to find a way to deal with your husband's fear - does he not see that this is just someone being taken for a ride by their lawyer? Can your insurance company find out anything for you about the status of the lawsuit?

You'll get through - it just sucks sometimes that through no fault of your own, things just go wrong.
post #13 of 19
I am sorry to hear about this and how it has affected your husband.

Over here it is very straight forward if you hit someone in the rear, even after that person has already hit something, you are at fault as you have not allowed the correct breaking distance.

Have you tried obtaining a police report, this should indicate that she said that she had no problems at the time of the accident, it should also show that it was reported someone else cut your husband up, reducing his breaking distance, and prove that in no way he was responsible

Also as this woman should be held responsible, your husband should have a right to make his own claim against her, for the emotional anxiety he has suffered. That may be a way for him to get some good advise medically and legally and probably make this woman change her mind about suing.

As far as I am aware although the expiry time for your husband to submit a claim, has expired, if she she does issue legal summons you can still fill in a countersue only a few weeks before the date of trial, and both cases will be heard at the same trial. I would send her a letter saying if she does sue you will file a defence and persue compensation from her. This women clearly sounds as if she is trying it on, if she is, she may be put off if you or your lawyer tells her this, and that you are obtaining evidence from the police.

I wish you and your husband the best.

post #14 of 19
I feel so bad for you, Ady. I agree with the majority about the law, as I understand it. I also know how difficult it is to get a man to counseling. They really think it reflects on their manhood. For your own sake, I would consult with another attorney and he can deal with the hypothetical situation. I can't imagine someone with over a million in damages to themselves or their car waiting that length of time. Good luck and keep us informed, please.
post #15 of 19
Am I reading this correct? your husband lightly hit someone from the back because he could not stop, and then the woman in back of him plowed into the back of your hubby, and now she is trying to sue him? That sounds kind of weird. But, then again, traffic laws are strange. Did you know here in AZ, if you are backing out of a parking spot & someone hits you, supposedly it is your fault. I would definitely call another lawyer if the one you have now is not answering all of your questions. We have had to hire a lawyer (wont go into details), but it's addressed in my husband's name, but our lawyer will take my calls & tell me what is going on.

What would he do if you went and drove?
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice everyone! I will sit hubby down this week end and talk to him rationally about my concerns. We have a copy of the police report and it says that she said she was fine, but my hubby had a sore next - both refused medical treatment at the scene. The report says that both parties were following too close so there is equal fault. We did not get the other guys license as hubby's airbag deployed. Supposedly the lady had a "delayed" reaction and has been unable to work since the accident due to severe and crippling physical and emotional pain. She supposedly has doctor's notes to back it up. I would hate to have to take this as a lesson of Sue first and sue hard.

You have all helped me realize that I have some rights here that I didn't think I had. We are supposed to be an equal partnership - 50/50. It is time we started doing it!
post #17 of 19
Let us know how it all turns out love!!
post #18 of 19

What happens in a situation when the drivers are deemed by the police report to be equally at fault is that the "fault determination rules" are applied by the insurance company. Although rules can differ from province to province, generally speaking the driver who rear ends another driver is considered to be at fault.

It is extremely difficult to win a case against a rear-ended driver (your husband) in these circumstances, so it seems unlikely that the woman will be able to collect damages. In fact, you likely don't have to ask the lawyer what's going on, you can probably get that information right from the insurance comany itself. Even if she does get a judgement by virtue of some extenuating circumstance you are not aware of, judgements for this type of injury are usually very modest. For example, one of the highest whiplash settlements in Canada was around $135,000, based on much more serious injuries, well within your insurance company's range. And you can rest assured that the insurance company will vigorously fight a claim as large as the one proposed.

In my own case, before no-fault insurance here, my husband slid into the rear end of another car in icy conditions at about five miles an hour. He was judged to be at wholly at fault and we were terribly panicked when we found ourselves served in a two million dollar lawsuit. Our insurance broker assured us that the aomunt was pro forma and aimed at pressuring a settlement from the Insurance company. After several YEARS of wrangling, the case was settled for ten thousand dollars.

I'm not saying that the same thing will happen in your case, just offering it as an experience. It's really important that your husband look into the situation with his case because not knowing is causing you both so much stress. Also, ignoring the situation will not make it go away.

I agree with other posters who suggest counselling because his reactions (fear of you driving, refusing to check into the status etc.) is way out of porportion with the circumstances. Is he driving himself? If he is, and he is projecting his fear onto you, this sounds like a control issue or possibly some sort of post-traumatic reaction to the accident. Whatever it is, he will likely need professional help to get over it.
post #19 of 19
Ady.....I just now saw this thread. I am so sorry for what you have been going through!!!!! You have gotten such good advice here, and I don't really have any to add, but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your hubby!!!! I just can't believe this woman is being so hard hearted!!! I feel so bad for you! I hope your hubby will get some help with this, because it is also putting a terrible emotional strain on you as well!!!! Please keep us posted on what happens with this! I will be thinking of you!!!
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