Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oh Minivan, My Minivan

I may drive the most boring vehicle known to humankind but dammit, it's paid for and it's mine. It has its quirks - the timer thingie on the windshield no longer works - but the body was in perfect condition. Until Thursday.

I picked A up from her new daycare after work. We decided to stop for some frozen yogurt on the way home. I was leaving the parking lot and was about to turn right onto the street when I felt an impact on the right side of the van - right where my daughter was sitting. I was stunned for a moment (what the hell? did I hit a parked car?)  I backed up and then got out of the car. I quickly realized that another driver had backed into me as I was passing. A lady was jumping out of her car, saying, "I'm so sorry, are you okay? I didn't see you!"  She asked if my daughter was okay. I said she was fine and opened the sliding door so that we could both see my daughter. My daughter looked perplexed but uninjured.

I could see right away that the damage was pretty significant. Even though the impact was at low speed, I was moving when she hit me so there was some nice scraping action as well.

"Could I get your insurance information?" I asked. "I will need to file a claim."

She went back to her car and started to rummage through her wallet. She had two small children in the back. The car was an old Buick Century. It appeared to boast more rust than paint, so I guess that's why she didn't even look to see if her car had sustained any damage.After a few moments she walked back over to me.

"I'm not going to lie to you," she said. "I don't have insurance.  I'm so sorry. I've been trying not to have any accidents. I feel like I'm 'bout to cry." At that point I actually gave her a little hug because she seemed so upset. I mean, I was frustrated as hell but obviously she didn't hit me intentionally.

"I'll pay for it," she added a moment later. I nodded. 

I took her name and number. I also wrote down the make and model of the car, as well as the license plate number. We both use the same childcare so I guess I wasn't too worried about her disappearing.

At that point, she left. I pulled over into a parking space in an attempt to figure out what to do next. I tried multiple times to call my husband, but he was at work and didn't answer. Right about that time, a lady walked up to the van and knocked on the window. 

"Hi," she said. "I saw the accident and wanted to give you my name and number. I've had two cataract surgeries and even I could clearly see that she just backed right into you."

I gratefully collected her contact information.  She insisted on writing a little paragraph describing what she'd seen, signed it, and gave me that as well. She seemed very nice. Once she was gone, I called my insurance company. I know that the lady didn't want me to file a claim. However, I wasn't sure what do to. I am no auto body expert, but my guess is that we are looking at at least $1500 in repairs, if not significantly more.  In addition to the damage to the door, the back panel was also damaged. Plus, the door opens/closes automatically and I'm guessing that there is some cost involved with retaining that functionality as well.

Now, I try desperately not to be a judgmental person but if this lady has a couple thousand dollars sitting around . . . she probably would have used some of it to purchase insurance.  So, I called and filed the claim. I wondered if I should have called the police. The claims agent told me that since the wreck happened on private property in a parking lot, the police probably would not have been willing to come out.

I didn't realize it at the time, but it's illegal not to carry insurance in our state. Honestly, I am not trying to get the lady in trouble. I mean, she was very apologetic and seemed very nice. But, at the same time, I'm the one stuck with a damaged vehicle and a $500 deductible. Grrrrr

I went to yoga yesterday morning and really tried to focus on releasing my anger and frustration over this situation. It only partially worked - I'm still pretty irritated. But, I'll get over it.

Let this be a lesson, kids. When pulling out, try looking in your rear view mirror. Or even turning your head around just to be on the safe side. It's crazy how effective it is.


2 comments:

Sam said...

I'm so sorry for you, but oh, I feel so sad for that lady. She must be so worried about paying for it. That's a terrible situation. So glad everyone was okay.

The Lovely One said...

Well, you can find peace in the fact that no one was hurt! Most accidents occur in parking lots, because no one knows how to back out of a parking space anymore. Did you ever find out if your insurance company will waive your deductible for you since she doesn't have insurance?