Let It Go?

While this song took youngsters and their parents by storm over the past few years, its message is nothing new.  Turn the other cheek.  Let bygones be bygones.  Keep the past in the past.  The words are different but the sentiment is the same.  It is a sentiment that many of us have.  Humans have a tendency to let things go and forget about them. (Although there are some who seem to never let things go.)  And even if you don’t forget about it, most people have a tendency to not want to start a lawsuit.  For good reasons: it takes time, costs money, afraid of their own past coming out to haunt them, potential for losing, and just the overall hassle of a confrontation.  But let me give you a personal example where I decided not to sue and have lived to regret it.

When I was in high school, my club soccer team was pretty good.  We regularly played up in age and one time in particular we played a group of college age players in an indoor soccer game.  I was about 16 and had been fortunate to have a nice growth spurt.  I was fast, and had good ball skills.  This particular game I dribbled by the other teams defense and instead of shooting, decided to dribble by the goal keeper.  I did, but as I went by, he reached out and grabbed my leg, bringing me to the ground.  A penalty was called and we scored the point. But I was still upset and accused the goalie of not being able to play fair.  One of the other players on the goalie’s team got in my face and reminded me I was in high school.  Thinking I was clever, I reminded him he was losing to a high schooler.

The next play I went to the ground trying to reach the ball with my foot (it was a little too far), my right arm outstretched to support me.  As I was getting up, that same player who was in my face, came up behind me and swung his leg, kicking me right behind my elbow.  Leg vs Elbow, leg wins.  My elbow bent the other way. Kind of like this.  My scream echoed of the walls of the indoor soccer dome.  I went to the ER and was put under so they could put it back in place.  But anyone who has had a joint injury can tell you; it’s never the same.

People had asked me if I wanted to sue, and I didn’t have much interest.  I was depressed, my first serious sports injury, unable to play again for months.  Besides what good would suing do?  It wouldn’t fix my elbow.  Worst part was some people even said I probably deserved it because of the trash talk exchange before it happened.  Maybe those people would end up on my jury if my attorney didn’t do a proper voir dire.

Here I am 14 years later.  Not only does my elbow creak and crack, but my wrist and shoulder have developed pain due to years of compensating.  One arm is slightly bigger than the other due to the tendons not re-attaching right.  I could go get it evaluated and potentially have some improvement, but that is time and money.  And guess what?  The statute of limitations is long passed.  Who is going to pay for all that?

My story probably reminds you of some stories that you have.  Or maybe it is your friend or a family member that has been hurt and hasn’t done anything.  Talk to a lawyer.  If it is your friend, encourage them to talk to a lawyer.  Sometimes it just takes that little push to get someone going.  It doesn’t mean that there needs to be a lawsuit, in fact in many cases it might not be worth filing the lawsuit.  But wouldn’t you rather know now?  Not 20 years from now.

So, before you let it go, talk to someone who can tell you your rights and options.  Your injury might not heal right.  Things could get complicated.  If you wait, the statute of limitations might prohibit you from filing a lawsuit and ever being compensated.

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