Last year’s car accident changed my life

Last year’s car accident changed my life, and 2018 was a really bad year for me – possibly the worst of my entire life in many respects. I cannot overstate the importance of having the right insurance when you are a rideshare driver.

2015 Camry
My 2015 Camry, two months prior to the accident.

On February 16th of 2017 I was driving for Uber with a passenger in the car. The weather was clear, and it was somewhere around 8 am, at the height of the morning rush hour as we traveled south on I-95.

Totaled 2015 Camry
My 2015 Camry after the accident

When my car was rear-ended, it seemed as if time stopped. There was a loud bang, like an explosion, and then everyone involved had to deal with the aftermath. My car was a total loss, and I’m glad I chose a Camry, which had some metal in the rear. When I got the Uber Lease, I had originally been planning to get a Prius C, which is a hatchback. If I had not changed my mind and taken the Camry, I’m fairly certain my passenger would have suffered grievous harm.

Totaled 2015 Camry
My 2015 Camry after the accident

After the accident, I was shell-shocked – with PTSD symptoms every time I heard a loud noise. The “bang” would transport me to that helpless-feeling moment by the side of the road, and back to the realization that I was now stranded without a vehicle and reliant upon others for transportation. Since I had been driving for Uber and Lyft for more than a year when this happened, it was dreadful to go from being the provider of rides to someone who needed them from others.

My mind was not clear enough to think well for the first couple of months after the accident, so as a result, even my online income was pretty much nonexistent. I could not do any pet-sitting, either, while I had no car. If I had not had family to live with, I would have been in a shelter or up under a bridge somewhere at that point.

It took me NINE MONTHS to be willing to even TRY to drive again, and that was when I realized that my right shoulder had more of an issue than originally thought. I’d had pain while trying to turn over in bed at night, and some weakness, but it became much more apparent when driving a car – something I hadn’t done since the accident.

Upon further investigation they found that I had a torn rotator cuff, and when surgery was performed he had to convert from a procedure via scope to an open procedure due to the extent of the damage.

It has been a few months now since the surgery, but I’m really only barely returning to the earning potential I had last year. I have (possibly lifelong) chronic pain now, from herniated discs in my neck and some bulging discs in my lower back – all resulting from the accident.

I’m glad to be putting all of this accident-related stuff behind me, but that day will never be completely gone from my memory. Every time I’m in traffic and have to stop suddenly, I look in my rear-view mirror, hoping to God that the people behind me manage to stop too.

Have you been in a car accident? How long ago was it? Do you still suffer from PTSD as a result of your accident? Please tell me about it in the comments below.