Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Welcome To Dallas


We spent several days in Dallas enjoying a mini family reunion for my wife's side of the family. One evening looking to do a little shopping to avoid the heat, I dropped some passengers off at the front of a store and was pulling away to go park the van when someone floored it in reverse from a parking space as I was driving by. There was a huge bang and the van shook despite the fact that I was only doing maybe 3 miles per hour at the time.

We got out to look at the damage and I was relieved to see that there had been no body damage. The lady who had backed out had a bumper hitch on and it had destroyed our hubcap and put a huge hole in the tire but that was it. The lady immediately set into us about how recklessly fast we must have been driving since she didn't see us (or the twelve plus feet of van that passed behind her before she hit the last three foot part of it.) My uncle-in-law, who lives in Dallas, ran interference with her loud vocal assault while my brother-in-law and I changed the tire in the 100+ degree heat without the proper jack tools. We ended up using a seat locking lever to jack up the van by hand which took us over twenty minutes and wore blisters on both of our hands.

My uncle tried to exchange information and the woman was quick to give over her insurance information but wouldn't let us see her drivers license. So I had my uncle call the police while we were dealing with the tire and just about the time we finished they showed up. The lady went sprinting for the car so she could get her story in first but by some twist of fate, that turned out to be the backup car and the officer doing the investigating came up to me first. As it turned out, in Texas, if there isn't a $1000 worth of damage, there is nothing the police will do. However, they did force the lady to hand over her driver's license which led us to the discovery that she wasn't driving her own vehicle and was driving a 'friends' vehicle.

With the help of the police, we 'exchanged' information and went on our way. It cost me about $130 to replace the tire which leaves me in a quandary. Most of me wants to file a claim against her for her loud obnoxious thirty minute verbal assault that we endured while changing the tire. As I recently found out from my wife's incident, insurance companies almost always find the person backing up to be liable and I do believe this lady was liable. However, despite someone doing an illegal turn across three lanes of traffic and ramming my wife's car, the insurance company made us liable for 20% since my wife had just backed out of the space. In my recent incident where someone ran a red light trying to turn in front of me and lost, their insurance company is also trying to find me 20% liable since I didn't 'see' them. That claim is going to litigation by my insurance company. According to my insurance company a relatively new law that had nothing to do with finding fault in auto collisions has been interpreted by courts as if two vehicles are moving, both share some fault in every accident no matter what happened. Insurance companies are taking full advantage to reduce the payouts of their poor driving clients. My dilemma is do I risk getting dinging on my insurance premiums if I file a claim and am found 20% responsible for a third time in two months? Fortunately my insurance guy understands and I think he will send a letter with the receipts to the owner of the car's insurance company and see how they respond. Depending on their response will determine whether the claim get filed or I'm out the $130 but still intact (maybe) insurance premiums. Oh joy.

6 comments:

Vince said...

There's a certain point where what amounts to car park dings are better done yourself and not bother the insurance companies at all. There's a point where a file on you can't be a good thing.

Kelly said...

When you first said she didn't want to show her DL, I suspected she might be driving on a suspended license. The idea you could be held even partially at fault in a situation like that is beyond me. It's a shame that so often insurance premiums go up after a number of claims, even when the insured is not at fault. I hope it can be resolved to your benefit.

Bob said...

I'm guessing gritting your teeth and moving on is probably the best option but I would blame you for pursuing it. My dad was an insurance adjuster and when I was in law school I worked for an insurance defense law firm. I got tired of dickering over car wrecks really fast and I'm glad my career took a different direction.

Bob said...

I meant I wouldn't blame you. (Always proofread).

sage said...

What a bummer... I can imagine who much of a pain filing a claim on $130 can be.

Leigh said...

Well, I hate to say this but I think "insurance" is something of an illusion. We buy the illusion of safety or protection, but in truth, the insurance companies are just in the business of making money.