On September 9, 2008 at approximately 1.25 I was waiting (2nd in line at traffic light and I always leave space between me and car in front) for the light at Curson and Beverly to change.
For a second I thought that the world had ended, and in a way, my world did end that day.
I was rear ended by Craig Ferguson's wife, Megan Cunningham Ferguson. She was driving a Continental Navigator weighing goodness knows what tons, and she was so apologetic; while being on the the phone at the same time; and told me that her brakes had failed.
Being British, I did not think of lawyers at all. But, when the Farmers Insurance adjuster came to inspect the car advised me that I might only get $100 for it, I was totally aghast.
This was the first accident I had had (aside from minor dings) in 42 years of driving and I was taught to drive in the UK, where the test is far more stringent than I found in Los Angeles.
Plus, although I felt only shock the morning after the accident, and aching, I thought that would pass.
My boyfriend hurt his elbow as he was thrown forward and his hands hit the dashboard. I negotiated $1,000 for him, which he received within about 3 weeks.
As my pain increased, I phone a music biz lawyer and a really good friend of mine for 32 years now. He referred me to a law firm.
I suffer with post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and chronic depression, however, was learning with the help of a really excellent psychiatrist to deal with these, plus the right medication.
The accident took all my successful strides forward in trying to live a 'normal' life away from me. I felt vulnerable on the road, and never drove the volvo (thank goodness it was a station wagon) again, except for a few emergency hospital visits.
I ended up with a lawyer, who I will say little about, except that after an extremely successful career in the music industry, where I was used to instructing lawyers, negotiating tough deals; and was even offered by U2's and Pat Benatar's lawyer; a job with his firm and that he would put me through law school, I would not recommend them to anyone.
The doctor they recommended me to, had the bedside manner of a knat.
My chiropractor, Dr Rob Pohomac on the other hand did the best he could for me, and I would recommend him to anyone with the knowledge that he is great.
I also have an extremely good memory and it still amazes me how often this lawyer would say they'd do something, then not do it, and say that they'd never said they would.
I calculate that the accident took 2 years away from my life. And I shall never know whether the terrifying impact caused my beautiful companion dog, a German Shepherd, Anita, to develop spinal degenerative disease earlier than she would have done. I miss her still.
My lawyer informed me that they would file by December 2009, but did not file until March. Farmers Insurance (google them and see how many lawsuits there are against them) claimed that all of my injuries were due to my age! I am not sure how whiplash is due to age, nor the pain radiating around my right shoulder and down my right arm.
Eventually, I gave a deposition to Farmer's lawyer. I am not known to lie and was regarded in the music business as both ethical and honest. I did not lie about what the accident did to me.
I was then advised by my lawyer that Craig Ferguson did not want his wife to have to appear in court, and as I knew she was pregnant, I agreed to mediation the opposing counsel requested. Besides which, my lawyer had filed the case so late, it would not have been heard until sometime in 2011. And living any longer with the case in my life, was not something I felt that I could deal with.
For permanent whiplash damage that I shall have for the rest of my life, and damage to my pelvis, I ended up with just $18,000 in damages, plus the cost of replacing my car, which I negotiated myself. Megan's car cost $11,000 to fix. My lawyer got $11,000. Looking at it from one point of view, it appears that my constant daily pain is only worth $6,000 more than repairing a car and my lawyer's lacksidasical handling of my case.
I wrote to Craig and his wife and sent them a copy of my deposition. I specifically wrote that I did not want anything from them, I just wanted them to know what Farmers had done to me and perhaps to consider changing their insurance company, but only if it would not cause them any disadvantage.
Coincidentally, I had met Craig a few years earlier somewhere on Robertson Boulevard just north of Santa Monica Blvd. and spoken to him and told him how great he was in "Saving Grace" and "The Big Tease". I did not realise at that time, that he also wrote the films scripts. I thought him a very likeable man, and one I could respect.
Neither Craig, nor his wife, Megan have had the courtesy to respond. Just a simple, "I am really sorry that this happened to you" would have been sufficient. I know that Megan did not deliberately drive her car into mine. But they have not. And this causes me to wonder what kind of people they really are, however, I wish them no ill will and hope that they will continue to be a happy couple.
In time my resentment will pass, however, I know that even with yoga and other exercises, sleeping with my head over a pillow to strech my neck into the opposite position to which the impact threw it, and stretching my pelvs and walking, I shall always have whiplash damage.