New insurance a breakthrough
GREG Willmott remembers driving into a black wall of sludge just moments before a horrific car accident that changed his life forever.
“All I could see at the end of the headlights was a wall of black sludge, like I was driving into it before everything went black,” Mr Willmott said.
“I was driving for 15km in a subconscious state. Where I hit the tree was the last corner before the straight road to my house.”
The accident just outside York 16 years ago rendered the Glendalough resident a quadriplegic.
Mr Willmott said at the time he was “pushing himself to the limit” and working two jobs.
“I must have been laying down with my head on the passenger’s seat so when I hit I only had a small part of the seatbelt on me so when that snapped I got forced under the dashboard; I hit the tree dead centre and was going pretty fast,” he said.
“My neck was hooked on to the gear stick and that’s how I broke the vertebrae.
“When I came around, I saw a square of light, like in the morning when you look up into the sky and it’s sort of a golden blue, I thought wow, the sun is out and then the next thing I remember is the beeps from medical machines.”
Mr Willmott said when he was told he might never walk again he thought he was having a strange dream.
After 16 years in his wheelchair, Mr Willmott said he had spent up to 10 years bedridden because of pressure sores and without insurance had been waiting for surgery to relieve the pain since 2011.
Mr Willmott said new catastrophic injury insurance would benefit people in his position who needed on-going care.
“Some people are going to find the extra $99 hard but again everyone pays the same it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor,” he said.
“It just means people like me when we have an accident we’re taken care of and you don’t have to worry about how you can afford things to live everyday life.”
Mr Willmott speaks at workplaces for the Paraplegic Benefit Fund to warn people about driving tired.
“Everything’s so fast paced today we are always pushing ourselves, a lot of crashes happen right near home when people start to relax. Just pull up for five minutes, take a break, it’s better late than never.”
Glendalough resident Greg Willmott.