Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Just Kill Me Now and Get It Over With!

We have a conference coming up with Mark Nigon, his lawyers, my lawyers, myself, my wife and the insurance adjusters for Nigon’s insurance company. We will be sitting there face to face with the guy that put me in the hospital for a month and in a wheel chair for close to three months. I feel a little edgy and concerned for my safety so I asked my lawyer to file a motion to have Mark Nigon in handcuffs at the meeting so that there was no possibility that he could attack me or come at me. My lawyer acted in disgust (and probably rightly so) over my request, saying that I was attempting to dehumanize this man that simply made a mistake. In my mind, although I understand it was a mistake, the outcome was the same as if it were on purpose. Mark Nigon is a convicted felon and a dangerous criminal who is still serving time for his actions. They are going to sit this man in a room, unrestrained, with the guy he nearly killed and who is now suing him for nearly everything he owns. It is hard for me to understand why people are acting so upset that I made this request. This man almost ended my life, whether through intent or stupidity, he is still dangerous.

My wife told me I was being silly. My mom told me that I was over-reacting, and everyone’s rebuttal has plenty of validity. Yet this man has taken away so much from me through his ignorance. It is only reasonable for me to believe that if he acted intentionally the damage could be so much worse. Let’s not overlook the obvious. $250,000 in medical bills do not lie. His lawyers say that the bills are over-inflated. Even if that was true, it clearly has nothing to do with me. The bills are for emergency medical care, and they want their money. I have lost my ability to play sports, enjoy outdoor adventures and most importantly to me, snowboard. Even more distressing I constantly feel vulnerable in public. If I were in a burning building (which I have been in before), I could not run away. If I or my wife were attacked I do not have the ability to defend. I am weak and I am constantly in pain. Now if you met me in public, you would not ever know that I feel this way, but I do, and it is not my choice.

The fact of the matter is that the list of things that I have lost goes on and on and on. It seems that people don’t think that it is that big a deal though. To them Mark Nigon is just a simple man that made a mistake. I am simply collateral damage. The leniency of drunk driving laws in this country makes me sick. Had Mark Nigon killed me instead of just seriously injuring me he would have likely only received 2-3 years in jail and that is if he got a judge that was especially hard on drunks. If we are not tough on drunks then they will continue to scoff at the laws against drunk driving and we will all continue to be in nightly danger of idiots like Mark Nigon.

Further complication arises by the fact that I am just trying to end this case. I am trying to take his situation into consideration and have made an offer for an out of court settlement that will be a win win for everyone. By him accepting my offer, I will have enough money to rebuild and he will have enough left over to start fresh. If he even so much as attempts to argue at our meeting I am going to go ahead and just take the case to court were I will more than likely get a verdict in excess of one $1,000,000. Of course Mark Nigon's lawyers are hoping for this. Since the insurance company is footing the bill for his defense his lawyers want to log as much time as possible. Even though there is no possibility of them winning this case they are more than happy to make money off of my misery. The thing is I will get at least the $250,000 anyways, those are my medical bills and he has it. So….. I will get it. I am just trying to end this thing. My accepting such a small amount was only to try to end this and get him out of my life without a headache. This is turning into a major headache though. I am the victim here flat out. There is tons of evidence to support what he did, a guilty plea, and two cops as witnesses to the accidents. The medical bills are well documented the loss of wages and the loss of my house will be well documented, and lets not forget pain and suffering (which I have a lifetime of) and punitive damages! What is this guy thinking?

I have come to the realization that what Mark Nigon did was an accident. He did not mean to do it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you shouldn’t drive drunk, that it is against the law, and that bad things could happen. Mark Nigon made a choice to take a chance on hurting someone. That someone happened to be me. While he didn’t mean to hurt me, he did hurt me. Maybe no one can really understand what I went through, maybe I will have to face this whole situation by myself and on my own accord. Maybe my devotion to putting all of my energy into ending this horrifying situation will tear apart my friendships, and relationships with family, friends and loved ones. Maybe, just maybe one person will look at the horrible things that I have gone through and that Nigon is still forcing me to go through and think twice before they get in their car and drive drunk. Maybe, just maybe, my obsession with my destroyed life will keep someone else’s life from being destroyed. The sad thing is that we will never know.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What I Would Do!

If I had ever in my life did something illegal and it caused someone more harm than I could afford to pay, I would not even think twice about liquidating everything that I had and handing it over without a fight. I would say “I was an idiot, I ruined your life and I will be your slave for the rest of mine.”
It would certainly be worth the equity built up in a house. Money from an investment. If I had not technically earned it, then I would consider it a small price to pay for disrupting someone’s life so severely. If I had injured someone because of my careless drunk driving and had caused them to be in the hospital for 4 weeks because I broke both of their legs, hip, pelvis, foot, and skull then I would be in the hospital room with them everyday to attend to their every need if they would allow it. I would be sending them cards and apology letters. I would be sending cash and gift baskets. I would spend everyday reminding myself how horrible I was and repenting to the person that I injured.
If I had injured someone so severely that even after they went home they were still in a wheel chair I would come to their house and carry their bed downstairs so that they could sleep in it. If their only shower was upstairs then I would sell my house and install an elevator so that they didn’t have to wheel their wheel chair into the back yard and hose themselves down instead of taking a shower in their bathroom. I would run out to get all of their pain meds for them and I would pay for their expensive in house nurse that was required to help mend their multiple broken bones and bedsores.
I would buy them a T.V. and some video games so they could keep their minds occupied while they lay in a bed for 3 months hoping that they will one day be strong enough to walk again. I would bring them dinner nightly. I would constantly apologize. I would clean up after their pets so that the pets do not go unattended to. I would help build a ramp so that the wheel chair did not have to be lifted into the house. I would do the grocery shopping for them so that they would not have to endure the embarrassment and stares from the public.
If I had injured someone so badly that they couldn’t even stand into a walker until 3 months after the accident I would hire the best Physical therapist for them to accompany them through every stage of the healing process. I would consider how difficult it must be to transition into a walker after being in a wheel chair for months. I would not go to court and accuse the person of trying to bleed me for every penny that I had and I would realize that the person is in a very horrible situation because of me.
If that person told me that all that I had to do to appease their pain and suffering was to sell my house and give them the money, I would certainly accept that very generous offer. I would not be so selfish as to fight a lawsuit because I have nothing to lose. I would not be so selfish as to fight a lawsuit to protect my house simply because my insurance was paying for my defense and it would cost me nothing to “give it a try.”
I would certainly not even entertain the thought of fighting to keep my home when I had already caused a person to lose theirs. I would certainly not be thinking about myself at this moment. I would be thinking about how I had impacted their lives forever, taken away everything that they ever worked for, stressed their marriage to a point where it is potentially beyond repair and utterly tear their lives apart. I would take responsibility and make things as right as I could. I would not just say that I am going to make things right when I am in front of a judge. I would really make them right, to the best of my ability.
I suppose that is just me though. Some people must get off on watching people suffer. When all is said and done I believe that we will be made whole in the end. I just do not understand why Mark Nigon is so intent on making us suffer in the meantime!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Hard Times

We finally had a trial date set for the civil case against Mark Nigon but it happened to fall on a very important date for my work. Now I have to move it to a later date. I could have had this whole thing over with at the beginning of the summer. Now it is looking like it will be around the end of fall. My lawyer has been in contact with Nigon’s lawyer to yet again offer to settle the case for the medical bills only. Nigon freaked out and said that even though he could cover the cost of our medical bills that it would cause him to lose his house! Either this man does not understand that losing a house is nothing compared to the damage that he put my wife and I through or he is genuinely an evil man. While it would make things easier to believe that Mark Nigon is an evil man, I tend to believe that he is more ignorant than evil.

Mark Nigon has cost me so much.
$183,700 –Price of the house that we lost from not being able to keep up the payments.
$3,000 –Cost of our honeymoon fund that was drained after the accident.
$12,000- Combined lost wages between my wife and I
$7,000- Potential pay raise that I lost out on.
$250,000- Medical bills
$1,500 –Lost Vacation accrual
$5,000 – Wife’s missed semester of school
$7,500 – Totaled car
$1,000 –Medical co-pays
$1000 – Wheelchair ramp, Wheelchair, Crutches, Walker, cane
$6,000 – In home Nurse
$15,000 – Physical therapy
$10,000- and counting in psychology, psychiatry, and pharmaceutical bills.
$?????- a Life time of pain and suffering
$?????- Damaged credit, Foreclosure, Unpaid medical bills.
$?????- Loss of ability to run, snowboard, bike, lift, ski, or take long walks.
$?????- Wife’s inability to drive
$?????- Sensitive legs, weakness, fatigue!
$?????- Destroyed toe joints
$?????- Future surgeries.
$?????- Arthritis.
$?????- Nightmares

This list could go on and on if I was willing to sit here and think about it!

Not to mention that I had to have a surgery yesterday to get the rods that were holding my hip together removed. Now I am laid up in bed again, missing more time from work, again. Mark Nigon is not contesting that this is his fault, only the amount that the fault is worth. This is only partially true though as his assessment, in his mind, is not based on the damage he caused my wife and I but rather the amount that he can afford to pay without losing his house. His house is the topic of every deliberation that we have with him. Well I have said this before and I will say it again, the time to think about these things was before driving the wrong way down a one way street with a .217 B.A.C. and hitting another car head on.

Let me tell you how reasonable our offer is. We are asking for Mark Nigon to cover the medical bills that he caused us. This amount is $250,000. He has an insurance policy that is worth $100,000 and a house worth $250,000. This means that he could settle this case and never have to hear from me again while still retaining $100,000. He could use this to purchase a new house or get into a nice apartment, condo or townhouse. He is refusing though. Since he has no defense he is going into the trial trying to say that the amount of the medical bills is unreasonable. Now I can see how he might think this considering that he came out of the accident nearly unscathed. Being that the justice system does not often allow you to see your accuser face to face he may not understand the severity of what he did to me. Being that he was driving a Dodge Ram 2500 and I was in a 94 Jeep Wrangler with the top and doors off I had much more possibilities for injuries than he did. I had multiple compound fractures in my right leg, a shattered right foot, non-displaced left leg fractures, 3 hip fractures, 2 pelvic socket fractures, an acetabular fracture, and closed head trauma. Mark Nigon only received a hangover. Even if it were true that the doctors overcharged the medical bills, what does that have to do with me? I was unconscious and needed emergency medical care. Its not like I was able to negotiate the best possible price before entering surgery!

What Mark Nigon doesn’t understand is that by settling now everyone wins. My wife and I would have enough money to immediately get back to being close to where we were financially. We could move on with our lives. Mark Nigon would get to keep $100,000 and every penny that he earned would belong to him. He and his family would have the opportunity to rebuild. If this goes to trial I will get a minimum of $250,000, anyways. The medical bills are non-negotiable. I would in all likelihood get additional money for lost wages and pain and suffering. It will also cost a tremendous amount more in attorney fees, so I would have to win much more just to break even with all of the damage that he has already caused me. It would likely be close to a million dollar judgment. Everything that this man owns would be taken away from him plus every penny that he earns in the future would be broken up so that a percentage would go to me. I just don’t understand what he is thinking.

The issue that I have to deal with is that I feel sorry for Mark Nigon’s family. I just don’t understand why he is putting them at more risk. As I said before, it would be easy to think that he is evil and just doesn’t care about anyone. More than likely he is just stupid, ignorant and uninformed. Of course, what else can you say about someone that drives drunk in the first place. I suppose that I just answered my own question.

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By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired. - Franz Kafka