Although I was disappointed at the final offer of $30,000—which I’ve accepted—I’ve re-considered the whole experience.
I broke a metatarsal in my right foot on January 25, 2008. I received a settlement offer on November 3, 2011. The missing piece of sidewalk broke a metatarsal, not a bigger bone. A stoic, I managed to get myself home, although in a lot of pain. I did not call an ambulance right then and did not go to the hospital until the next day, when it was very clear to me that whatever happened, it wasn’t just a sprain.
I was on crutches for nearly two months. I live in a walk-up apartment and could not get down the stairs on the crutches. Had to crawl.
Crutches are a bitch—an immense strain on the upper body, exhausting, nerve-wracking to balance upon. I couldn’t really prepare food or take a shower while wearing the cast. When the cast was removed, getting into and out of the shower involved wobbly contortions and standing on one foot in the shower was dangerous.
I couldn’t go out, shop, do laundry, buy newspapers.
On the other hand, since I work at home my damages could not include any loss of outside income, or even loss of a job. My brother drove me when I needed to go out; I didn’t need to spend a fortune on a car service. (Thanks, Eth!)
My metatarsal was well treated by an excellent podiatrist and the break, although really unpleasant to look at in x-rays, did eventually heal without surgery. Although I still have some discomfort in that part of my foot, the injury has not put me in a hospital, a rehab center or on a cane or—the horror!—a walker for the rest of my life.
All in all, thirty thousand dollars gross, with my lawyers’ expenses taken off the top before the one-third/two-thirds division, isn’t an unreasonable settlement.
As it happened, my greatest reward came back in that January, just after I broke the foot. Today’s New York sports headlines remind me. Here’s the story:
If you’ve looked at my web site, you know that I have written about professional football. And you know, as well, that the New York Giants’ late GM, George Young, was a close friend.
After George died, I stayed a bit in touch with George’s great friend and successor as GM, Ernie Accorsi. As it happened, Ernie (who had retired as the Giants’ GM the previous year) and I had booked a lunch date for Monday, January 28. So after I got back from the hospital, I e-mailed him, told him about the broken foot and that I’d have to postpone lunch.
The following Sunday was the Super Bowl, an event of mammoth importance to Ernie, and to me. The Giants had had a Cinderella run through the playoffs and were the huge Super Bowl underdogs to the Patriots, who had had a perfect season.
Indeed, that Super Bowl was so crucial to me, the one thing I asked my brother to do after he brought me back from the hospital was to climb up into my loft bed, arrange my TV and cable box and hand me the remote so that I’d be able to watch the game.
On Sunday, I received Ernie’s response to my e-mail: “I hope you won’t take this the wrong way,” he wrote, “but better you than Bradshaw.”
I’m not going to explain this to anyone who knows nothing about football, or about the Giants, or about our star running back Ahmad Bradshaw who today has a broken metatarsal.
Just understand this. No settlement could have given me a bigger thrill than Ernie did, when he elevated my broken foot into a sacrifice that helped the Giants win the 2007 Super Bowl.