Since a few people have asked how things are since the car accident (and thanks to everyone who sent those emails of support and advice), I thought I'd post an update here. There are a few factors involved, so for simplicity's sake I'll address them individually.
car - The other guy's (let's call him Timothy because, hey! That's his name!) insurance company totaled my car and then proceeded to make me an offer that was far less than what I feel it was worth. Granted my car was older, but it was paid for and it was sound - very low mileage, well maintained, new tires, clean, etc. It was a good little Honda and probably would have still served us well years from now. We don't have the money for car payments, I don't want to have to pay the deductible if we decide to go through our insurance, and it feels like I'm going to get screwed no matter what. So we're getting by on one rumbly, beat up van. It makes me sad and angry to see the Honda sitting there, completely destroyed. It's like a big green "fuck you, life sucks and you're powerless to do anything about it" symbol in my driveway...with a taillight missing and a trunk that won't close.
neck - A week after the accident, my neck hurt, my body ached, I had this weird tingly pain running down my right arm into my hand and I was having twitchy little muscle spasms down my right leg. I was in so much pain that I realized I couldn't tough it out anymore - and believe me, that's saying a lot. So I went to a chiropractor and it's been helping immensely. I feel almost back to normal now.
insurance - Timothy had some sort of high risk, "I'm a dangerous, irresponsible asshole, so this is the best coverage I could get"-type of insurance through Nationwide, who apparently hires only psychopathic weasels to handle their claims. Better than nothing, I guess, but trying to negotiate a property settlement for my car has almost driven me insane with stress and anxiety so I hired a lawyer to handle the medical/pain & suffering portion of the claim. If he only gets me one dollar over the flat fee I've agreed to pay him, it will have been worth not having to deal with the details myself.
court - I had dressed nicely, blowdried my hair, shined my shoes, and had my statement in hand. I threw up the night before from stress but no matter - I was ready. I sat in the courthouse counting neck tattoos while I waited for my particular douchebag to arrive. Timothy and his father/lawyer showed up almost an hour late only to file a continuance. He looked different than I expected but I wasn't surprised - typical baggy pants sideways ballcap 20-something who thinks he's a badass thug when really he's just an immature, stupid, eyes a little too close together mouthbreather who smokes dope, probably watches too much MTV and lives in his daddy's basement. In another circumstance, I might have pitied him.
The prosecutor brought me into his office to explain and to apologize, saying that that's the way these things go, the lawyers try to drag things out as long as possible. "But what about my statement?" I asked.
"I have the police and accident reports," he answered.
"No, not those. My statement...the one I was going to read in court today." I offered him the paper I had folded up in my purse.
He read a few lines and said, "I think this should be in the file. I'll put a case number on it, you bring it down to the clerk, and she'll add it in."
Timothy has now decided to change his original plea of not guilty.