Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the situation so far

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.

- 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.


Rachel said...

GAAH. Sucks. I'm so sorry this happened to you. It couldn't have happened to anyone who deserved it less. Don't let it get you down too much -- you're utterly awesome and amazingly strong and you'll get through this.

Phillip said...

Timothy has now decided to change his original plea of not guilty.

Well, he's not totally stupid, anyway. Hopefully he'll be given a sentence that reflects the severity of his actions.

Carteach0 said...

The magic words that insurance weasels hate to hear are "Make me whole".

Refuse their first offer. Insist on no less than Kelly Blue Book 'perfect condition' $$$$. When they balk, and they will, tell them to replace the vehicle with same make/model/condition ("Make me Whole"). When they can't (and they won't be able to), they will have to pay what you ask.


Why are YOU dealing with dinknuts insurance? That's your insurance companies job.

Peter said...

Timothy chose the wrong damn Civic to violate.

Thank you for pursuing this. Even if this conviction doesn't net him some jail time, it will help the cause of justice next time he fouls up.

Sometimes justice has to be incremental.

Kristopher said...

Sounds like Timmaaay's lawyer probably gave the idjit the projected bill for trying to get him off, and the actual odds of that happening. Whoever was paying him decided not to throw money away.

Oh well ... you always plea "not guilty" ... no reason not to.

Oh, and gratz on not chickening out. Most folks will run from confrontation ... even one in a controlled environment.

starik-igolkin said...

That statement is brilliant!

So sorry to hear about the pain, I hope you get better. Most important is that you are getting help, both medically and legally.

Good luck!

Ry Jones said...

Last few lines are very Fight Club-esque. Glad he folded.

Mike W. said...

Why are YOU dealing with dinknuts insurance? That's your insurance companies job.

+1000. That's one of the things you pay them for.

FatWHiteMan said...

Insurance claims adjusters are paid on what they can get you to take below what the upper limit of the claim is. Then they usually get all mad and act hurt when you point out to them that they are paid to cheat people.

Robert said...

I guess I've been lucky when dealing with insurance companies. The 5 times I've been hit by other cars and once by a errant dolly that came off ( head on at 90 MPH ) the back of a soda delivery truck, all paid out to fix the damage with no problems. But then, I've never been totaled.

jeffreyquick said...

How much uninsured motorist coverage do you have? As we learned, it's not something you want to skimp on, because if you're ever hit (as you were) it will be by somebody with the Ohio state minimum coverage of $12.5K, and you'll be out more than that.

The car is a PITA, and if you get a lawyer involved, you'll probably lose, because he'll want his cut, and you can't get that much more. In my honey's case, it was a Kia with about 100K, but it had just basically been rebuilt and there was a new 100K warranty on the drive train.

The justice system is there to administer justice like the NRA is there to eliminate gun control.

Christina LMT said...

VERY well done, Breda! I hope Timothy has learned his lesson, and I hope you get a decent settlement out of this.

Geodkyt said...


Go ahead and file through YOUR insurance company.

They THEY will sue (if need be) HIS company.

If you go through your company, and they eventually get a settlement, you will get your deductible back.

RobertM said...

Good luck with everything. I hope it all works out as much as possible to your benefit.

Gator said...

That's something I never understood about liability insurance. It seems like Timothy's insurance company should be on the hook for property damage and/or bodily injury up to the limits of his coverage. The actual "worth" of the property damaged should be irrelevant. If he did $15,000 damage to someone else's $5000 car, too bad... pay up the 15K. If they wanna total (basically, buy out) HIS car, that's their business. If he had driven through someone's house, could they "total" the house and buy it up for $15,000 (or whatever his limit is)? I think not.

Scott McCray said...

Your statement is indeed brilliant - best wishes for a speedy and "made whole" settlement.

Fred said...

"Timothy has now decided to change his original plea of not guilty."

Bask in the glory of your small victories if nothing else. Sounds like you've got the judge on your side already too. It's amazing what happens when you show up not looking like a douche-bag!

Hopefully things keep going in that direction and things work out for you in the end.

instinct said...

Been there too. My Corolla was t-boned by a Delta 88 when the idiot driving ran the red light, hit my driver side door and knocked me clear out of the intersection. Worse was that I had just mailed off the last payment.

And, of course, he had some fly by night insurance because he had so many accidents on his record.

I hope that you are pain free soon and that you can get your car replaced.

smartdogs said...

I got sideswiped by a US Govt car on the freeway about six months ago. Completely the other driver's fault, and she admitted it.

Apparently the feds do not carry auto insurance. My insurance company dealt with the repairs (almost $8K!), but I still had to pay the deductible. We are still messing with paperwork to get my deductible back, but my insurance company did all the legwork and checked in regularly to update me on the progress.

I'd go hammer on your insurance agent.

Old NFO said...

Agree with the rest- Make me whole and have YOUR insurance deal with them... You shouldn't have to hire a lawyer to do that. If you're going for medical/pain/suffering, then the lawyer is appropriate. Good idea with the statement, and yes, they will try to drag it out until you don't show up... sigh... glad you're feeling better!

Buckshot said...


MAKE YOUR INSURANCE company do the work you pay them to do. That IS part of what you pay them for, collect on what you have paid.

Use your own strengths on them too. You are a research librarian and used to the computer, use it on them!

I got hit in 2002 while driving an '89 Mitsubishi pickup, and the hit broke the drivers side frame rail. Totaled.

They made a lowball offer. I refused it. They said "justify a better offer". So I did. I went on ALL the car sales sites I could find on the net, got completed sale info and current sale ads on every '88 - '90 Mitsubishi pickup I could find.

I especially looked in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the Gulf states, since my truck was in good condition with little rust.

A little time on the net with some search parameters and an ink tank or two and I forced them to give me an extra $4,500.00 for my totaled vehicle.

You can do at least as well if you go after it, since I am sure you have ALL your maintenance records as well as the research you can do.

See if you can get a Car Fax for your car too. That will show it has had No Major Incidents (unless it has had some) in it's lifetime.

While you still have the car, take it to a couple of body shops you trust too.

I am NOT a body man or a mechanic, but you MIGHT, if it only has the damage show on the pictuers, be able to get it fixed after buying it back as salvage after they settle. The body shop can advise you if that will work or not in the case of your particular car.

Good luck and good hunting.

Too bad you can't tell the judge "I choose Trial by Combat, I am Calling Him Out!"


Mezzoduomo said...

I'm certainly sorry you got hurt...all the best. But: You are in VICTIM mode, big time.

Weer'd Beard said...

If you go to court again, leave the leg at home, and wrap your leg in a food-coloring soaked bandage. Borrow a pair of crutches.

Just sayin' : ]

Lissa said...

RAWR!!!!! I'm so sorry you have to deal with scummy little crapweasels!!!!!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . .

Breda said...

Thanks for the advice, everyone! And Mezzoduomo - you can kiss my ass.

homebru said...

At least tell us that the young gentleman's library card has been canceled.

Kristopher said...


If you are suffering from an accident injury, you need to hire an attorney right now.


Settlements for pain and suffering start at 3k plus cost of medical treatment, and go up very quickly depending on severity.

Get a lawyer, dammit. Insurance companies always foot drag and lowball when dealing with an unrepresented victim.

faitmaker said...

I love the statement! I wish you had gotten to put a human face to it while reading it in court.

My wife was rear ended and they did not make us whole. We did the wrong thing and laid down. Don't lay down.

thatladybug said...

I'm sorry to hear this happened to you. I wish you a speedy full recovery. Hang in there.

Mike W. said...

I'm certainly sorry you got hurt...all the best. But: You are in VICTIM mode, big time.

Bullshit. She was the victim of a hit & run by an unlicensed, asshole driver. This lead to significant physical pain (not to mention loss of a vehicle)

Guess what she is in this instance? A VICTIM.

*sorry Breda, but his comment pissed me off. Two family members suffered similar accidents that resulted in significant, long-term medical issues. They weren't in "victim mode" either.

DirtCrashr said...

We were hit by a 16-wheeler without insurance who ran off to Texas to hide. The lawyer hired a PI who got him and then had to go after our own insurance for refusing to deal. It took two years for a settlement, and twenty years later my wife is still going to a chiropractor to deal with injury issues. Don't stint or give an inch.

rickn8or said...

What Buckshot said. Tell the adjuster that every time you've got to deal with him the cost goes UP.

I hate it when Bad Things happen to Good People.

Mike said...

faitmaker said..."My wife was rear ended .....Don't lay down"

Yep, that's generally how, and where it happens...

Brenda - Ugh. sorry to hear it ain't goin well for you, Girl. Hang in there, you tuff, you're smart, and gosh darn it, PEOPLE LOVE YOU!

Although, I think 'timmy' need a good ol fashion back yard beating!

Freddyboomboom said...

I'll second what Buckshot said about getting the car fixed after buying it back from the insurance company.

My wife's previous car was "totaled" after a rear end accident, with similar damage to what you describe.

Rear bumper dented, rear fender dented, trunk lid dented, rear light smashed.

They gave us a little over $2k, we bought it back for about $300, took it to a body shop and they fixed it all, only had to buy a light fixture. It looked like it had never had anything wrong with it. Total cost to repair: about $2k. We had about one to two hundred after it was all done, out of the settlement.

She drove it for another couple of years.

Justthisguy said...

My FL license just expired, at midnight. I was unable to renew it, though I tried, because I no longer have the completely irrelevant documents the state now wants me to produce, to make it into an ID card.

The license has the words "safe driver" printed on it. The last ticket I got was for Improper Backing, in 1992.

I just went to the 7-11. On foot.

At least I was able to re-insure and register the truck, and The Lizard gave me a very good rate for not running into people, and stuff.

Oh, and he dressed like that IN COURT!? When I went to court to beg for a little more time on an eviction, I wore a suit and tie!

Justthisguy said...

Oh, on the totalling: When I got rear-ended on the RD400 (flew over the handlebars) my then insurance company, State Farm, totalled the bike. (Ga. was no-fault at the time.) They not only gave me the money, but the bike, too. (State Farm hates motorcycle so much they don't think straight when considering them.)

I sold the wreck to the local bike shop. Between what they paid me, and what State Farm paid me, I was paid about 3 time what I'd paid for the bike.