INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WISH)- Attorney Vaughn Wamsley is well known in central Indiana, his commercials are all over TV and his success as a personal injury attorney speaks for itself.
But had it not been for a tragic accident, Wamsley may have never found his calling.
That accident took place in May of 1982. Wamsley was riding his bicycle when he was hit by vehicle. The accident put him in coma and caused serious brain damage.
They told him he would never be a successful lawyer, but Wamsley proved them wrong and he’s hoping his story will help others.
“Being hit by the car was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, I’m being dead honest with ya,” Wamsley said. “I would not have appreciated life to the extent that I do. I would not have lived life to the extent that I have and I would not have helped people to the extent that I have either,” he added
The accident happened in Bloomington just outside of IU’s football stadium.
Wamsley was a student, about to graduate and he was riding his bicycle when he was struck head-on by a vehicle.
“It was just an accident, he didn’t see me, he probably should’ve seen me but he didn’t.” Wamsley said. “Broke my nose, my jaw, fractured my skull, severed my jugular vein,” he added.
In a comma for three months,Wamsley would wake up at a rehab center in Dallas.
“I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t even spell cat or dog,” he said. “They they told my parents to start looking for a nursing home because I would never be able to live independently.”
The one time honor student who was accepted into law school would have to re-learn basic life skills.
“I had a hard time with my speech, I went through occupational therapy, speech therapy, I went through all the therapies,” he added
Not fully healed, Wamsley was eager to get back on his feet.
“Then I wanted to go back to law school, they told me I wouldn’t be ready and I thought otherwise. I thought if I didn’t get back on the horse I wouldn’t ride the horse,” Wamsley said.
He went back to Bloomington, back to IU, the same place where it all began and nearly ended.
But Wamsley said he had a new reason for being there, a new purpose.
“The Bible tells you to comfort others with the comfort you received, and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.
But first he would have to get through law school.
“I studied 19 hours a day and no matter how hard I tried to remember the stuff, I couldn’t remember anything, even when they would ask me the questions in class I couldn’t remember the case. I flagged my first year, so I dropped it.” He said
But he didn’t quit, he kept enrolling. With each semester would come better grades, and a transfer to Notre Dame would follow and finally a law degree.
It wasn’t long before he found his calling, personal injury law. Wamsley said the reason was to help those, who like him, suffered a severe injury.
“Man makes his plans according to the desires of his heart but God guides his steps,” He said.
And now more than 30 years later, Vaughn Wamsley has become one of the most well-known and successful personal injury attorneys in central Indiana.
“I’ve had fraternity brothers who are still around in Indianapolis, and a lot of them didn’t know I was going to live, and not only are they surprised that I lived but I’m on back of a phone book,” he joked.
Not only successfully professionally but personally as well, Wamsley went on to get married and has two children, proving that sometimes life’s roadblocks are sometimes a blessing in disguise.