Ripple effects - accident brings serious financial strain to family
Devon Douglas, 25, a diabetic of Delfast Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine, was unsure whether he would have his two feet to stand on after surviving a motorcycle accident two years ago.
Speaking with The Gleaner about his experience, Douglas said he was driving his motorcycle on the Kitson Town main road with his father as the pillion rider when the accident occurred.
"The road was wet and a passenger minivan suddenly got in our path, forcing us to sway," Douglas said. "I lost control of the motorcycle and me and my dad were thrown to the pavement.
"We hit the pavement very hard. Both of us sustained serious cuts and bruises. The worst one for me was my right knee that was fractured and torn open exposing my knee cap; for my dad, it was a broken left hand."
According to Douglas, the driver of the minivan did not stop even to look at them - something that has angered him for a long time.
"Thanks to passers-by, we were transported to the Spanish Town Hospital where doctors performed two surgeries to repair my knee. While I was thankful that my life was spared, I was conscious of the fact that I am suffering from diabetes and I wasn't sure if I would lose my leg; a fear that stayed with me for three months until my knee started showing signs of healing," Douglas said.
He said he was down for almost a year nursing his injuries and could not take care of himself or help his mother. His father could also not work to care for the family of five - four of whom were still attending school.
"We knew that we would not get any form of insurance settlement because we did not directly collide with the minivan, so there was this great concern in the family.
"It was hard for my mom; she was on her own providing for the family from money she made from raising chickens, something she was forced to do when she realised that me and my dad could not work to provide assistance. We had to deal with needs instead of wants," Douglas said. "Sometimes we didn't even have food to eat."
He is advocating for stiffer penalties to be placed on motorists who carelessly cause accidents, including recalling them for testing after a certain number of years.
Douglas is also of the opinion that an accident fund should be established to assist families who suffer when breadwinners are incapacitated by accidents they did not cause.