Saturday, June 12, 2010

When the Victim is Victimized

In my short life as an amputee, now just over one year, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk to a number of my truncated peers, each with a unique story and set of circumstances. One thing I have been hearing from them or from others who know them has to do victimization.

My accident in 1963 did not result in any lawsuit; our insurance covered the costs and I don't believe lawyers were involved at all. I did not receive one thin dime for my pain and suffering. Some of the amputees I have talked to were involved in accidents where negligence was clearly at play and they did deserve compensation for their limb loss, but I detect in some a thing more sinister going on in their lives now.

A lawyer wants to represent the client as best they can. The injured person is not encouraged to become "well" or have a positive outlook as that could lower any settlement. The person is a victim and must play that part for a long time. The problem is the amputee becomes a victim to the system, and this may affect their mental outlook for the rest of their lives. They are owned by the idea that their disability rules their lives and have no reason to overcome this crutch for their future. They are now permanent victims, and trying to resist this gravity is often impossible. The ready excuse is real and no one can deny it...except for themselves.

Depression's dark cloud may set in, causing personal and/or family strife, getting a job may not even be an option, and becoming an active, happy member of society doesn't even rate as a fantasy. 'I have been hurt, I have compensation, and my life has been changed forever for the worse.'

Yes, some accidents happen that do cause a lifetime of pain, suffering, and loss of the ability to work and I am not talking about this type of tragedy. However, victimizing an individual for monetary gain should also be a crime, although I am sure next to impossible to prove.

I believe the answer, almost like the choice for elective amputation, is not an easy one but there is better way. Do not choose ANY amount of money over living your life. If it comes to walking into the court room on prosthetic legs, be a beacon of hope over pity and the pit of soft green money. Do not allow yourself to be talked into feeling horrible about your condition and appearance, or depressed because you no longer have 5 or 10 little piggies. Your life is far more valuable than a Porsche, a house on the beach, or a large shiny diamond stone in your ear.

Be an inspiration, not a victim, especially one with self-inflicted mental wounds that will ruin your life.

You must choose life, rise to and embrace the challenge.


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