If you’ve been injured or a loved one has died because of someone else’s negligence, you’re on a tough, long road. Most of our injured clients never fully heal from their injuries. Often, it’s a debilitating neck or back injury. Other times, it’s a torn ACL, a torn rotator cuff, a broken femur, or a severe concussion. Physical injury is, of course, accompanied by physical pain and suffering, but also mental and emotional pain and suffering. This is especially true when the injury is permanent, despite physicians’ best efforts and first-rate medical care.
Is there anything you can do to lessen the pain or to minimize its effects on your psyche? Is there anything you can do to just make it all go away? Is there anything that will help you cope?
WE CAN’T CHANGE THE PAST
We’ll take the easiest question first. No, there’s nothing you can do to make it all go away. Straightforward enough?
WE CAN CHANGE OURSELVES
Since you can’t change the past, you need to consider changing yourself, which will help you change the future. This is easier said than done, but it’s absolutely critical if you hope to return to some normalcy in your life.
Charles Swindoll said:
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
Interestingly, when we change our attitude, we’re not just changing how we perceive our situation -- we’re changing the actual situation. In a study of 694 athletes, it was found that optimism after injury had a direct effect on the rate and quality of recovery, and even on the prevention of future injury. The mind has a power beyond our ability to comprehend. Use your mind to better your perception and your situation!
As stated above, doing this is easier said than done, but one method is to look for opportunities in the disaster. Winston Churchill said:
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Use the difficulties you are experiencing as an opportunity to develop patience, a talent, a new hobby, or your relationships with your spouse, children, relatives, or a distant friend. You’ve likely had to rely on others to help you through this time in your life. Consider it a blessing and treat it as an opportunity to develop that relationship. If you do these things, you can live an enriched life despite your injury.
Apart from helping you cope with your injury, your optimism will affect those around you, including a jury, an insurance adjuster, and the opposing attorneys. Some injured people believe the only way they’ll be able to cope with their injury is by getting a large settlement or verdict. They then exaggerate their symptoms or look to future with absolutely no hope, because they believe the more dire a future they paint for themselves, the bigger the settlement. Just the opposite is true!
Give the jury a reason to believe in you, a reason to pull for you, and a reason to help you. The more positive you are about your future and the more you can show how well you’ve coped with a bad situation, the more willing everyone will be to help.