Whenever we hit the road, we never imagine being involved in a car crash. But you could be bombing down the highway, thoughts filled with the joy of life, and in an instant, you’re fighting for your life. Thankfully, most of us get to our homes safely.
Unfortunately, 35,000+ people lose their lives from over 6 million accidents in the U.S. annually. Meanwhile, some of the 1.5 million (or so) who live to tell their tales bear scars that can never heal completely. The Pacific Attorney Group maintains an updated Accident News page for California residents – an excellent resource for those wanting to keep up with the state’s accident data.
Well, Dawne was no exception, as she was involved in a fateful accident years ago. She miraculously survived but endured serious physical and psychological trauma. But through her sheer will to live and help from her family, friends, and medical professionals, she slowly pieced her life back together.
Today, instead of letting the tragedy define her, Dawne is a support group leader, helping others who’ve trudged down the same dark path find hope. Read on to learn more about her inspiring journey and how she discovered her voice and calling after the crash.
Dawne vividly recollects the events leading up to the accident. She had visited friends across town over the weekend, as most people her age do, and was returning to the office in the morning.
As she drove down an undivided highway, a van suddenly veered into her lane. Then BANG! It happened – there was no room to escape, and the collision sent her car spiraling into the air. Everything thereafter became a blur.
When she regained consciousness, all she can remember is waking up in a brightly lit room, her mouth sore, in pain, and feeling dazed. She later learned she had suffered a concussion, a dislocated shoulder, two broken ribs, a lacerated liver, and a fractured leg and arm. Her nightmare had suddenly become a reality.
Dawne’s recovery was long and arduous, but she eventually regained her health through sheer determination. Throughout the ordeal, she dealt with a great deal of physical pain. Also, her mental trauma was so severe that she couldn’t work for a year and a half. And that’s not all.
It was months before she could let go of her crutches and walk again. She also had to attend physical therapy sessions every week and was forced to adjust her lifestyle. Similarly, she had to relearn how to do everyday activities like brushing her teeth and carrying groceries – no mean feat after the fractures. Some of the other effects of the accident included (based on her account):
- Difficulty sleeping, nightmares, and flashbacks
- Sky-high medical bills
- Constant anxiety
- Memory loss
- Lack of concentration and focus
- Depression and feelings of hopelessness
Fortunately, the at-fault driver’s insurance covered all of Dawne’s medical bills – thanks to the caring personal injury attorney who aggressively pursued the case. The insurer also provided a settlement to cover future expenses related to her injuries and lost wages due to her inability to work for so long.
Dawne’s Path to Self-Empowerment
Despite the settlement, there was still the matter of coping with crushing psychological injuries. Even so, after a few years, Dawne finally made progress by attending various support groups for car crash survivors – a significant first step and a boon to her health.
Slowly but surely, she found the courage and strength to move past her struggles. Today, she serves as a support group leader for a community-based organization helping people who have been through similar ordeals. Her role typically involves:
- Coordinating meet-ups
- Organizing workshops
- Leading support sessions
- Offering advice and guidance to those in need
- Providing access to resources
Dawne is immensely proud whenever she sees her once-fractured community come together and heal. She also takes a firm stance against victim blaming. Also, she provides valuable insight into how people can be resilient despite the physical and emotional trauma they undergo.
Having gone through a dark valley, Dawne has found solace in helping others. Her sense of humor is also a breath of fresh air in a situation that often demands a serious approach. For instance, although she walks with a pronounced limp, she calls it her “Car-crash strut.”
We salute Dawne for her courage. Her story shows that we can deal with the curveballs life sometimes tosses. But to do so, we need a strong support network – of friends, family, attorneys, medical providers – you name it. If you’re in a similar situation today, seek the help you need – it could set the stage for a better tomorrow.