Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Bummer of a Fender Bender

It was a busy Wednesday afternoon, prelude to a busy weekend. I drove over and picked up my mother-in-law (hereafter referred to as MIL) at her assisted living facility. Our first stop was the nail salon for her mini-pedicure and my manicure. My MIL had asked me a few days earlier to cut her toenails, something I am not qualified to do nor wanted to do. i suggested I call the nail salon around the corner from our house and see if the two of us could get an appointment this week.

Christine scheduled the two of us Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. She had a window of opportunity before picking up her daughter at school. 

MIL was waiting outside her residence when I drove up. I quickly ran into the lobby, signed her out (they keep track of all residents) and off we went.  Driving down the Avenue about a mile from our destination I stopped at a red light. The light happened to be exactly at the dividing line between two towns. 

The car in front of me - a white Ford Escape - (aka big SUV) had gone too far into the intersection and suddenly began backing up. I tried honking the horn and instinctively yelled - Stop,Stop - but of course to no avail. The SUV hit my much smaller red 2004 PT Cruiser. The hit was not forceful enough to send my car backwards into the car behind me - thank goodness - but I knew the impact caused some pretty hefty damage to the front of my car.  

MIL and I were fine. i said a choice word,  SHIT just for the record, and immediately called my hub. He said call the police and he would be right over; he was home working. I got out of the car. The other driver, a woman I am guessing in her 30s or 40s, did the same. She walked back, took a look and said something to the effect - Should we leave?  I said nothing, dialed 911 and reported the accident. I gave our location, telling the dispatcher I was unsure which jurisdiction covered the accident. 

The first officer that showed up was from the wrong town. He waited until the patrol car from the second town arrived. The policewoman slowly surveyed the scene, looked under my car and noted dripping liquid. To make a not very long story miserably short, the driver of the other car told the policewoman I hit her. 

There are probably more Americans who know that when two cars are in an accident the second car - the one in back - is responsible (until proven innocent) than know, just for example, the names of the Republican Presidential candidates or the names of their state's two U.S. Senators or when driving how many feet before a corner to turn on their blinkers. Without witnesses it is difficult to prove the car in front backed up and hit me. Thinking about it the past couple of days, there are probably ways, if necessary. The science of physics might be used to show how fast my car would have to be traveling to incur the damage produced, and the damage resulting if her car backed into mine. My gut feeling is that the second scenario would be the most likely to have occurred at the light that particular Wednesday afternoon. 

My hub was at the scene in minutes. He surveyed the scene, noted we were OK and took my MIL to the nail salon. Her story, by the way - which verifies my story - is irrelevant. Relatives do not count as reliable witnesses. They - the police, insurance companies, crafty lawyers - believe relatives will only back up the driver's story. None of them obviously know my MIL. She tells it like it is, quite forcefully and coherently, no matter who or what is involved. 

The long line of traffic developing behind us was routed around the two cars, police, drivers and assorted others. I gave my papers - drivers license, insurance card, vehicle registration - to the policewoman. Initially I handed over the old registration card. It expired in August. For a few moments I worried the new one was not in the car. But routing around the glove compartment I found the updated paperwork. Momentary relief. 

After some discussion it was decided I would drive my car the couple of miles to a local repair shop, complete my nail appointment (we have our priorities) and then head over to the police department to fill out the accident report. 

My hub met me at the repair shop. Meanwhile I began a lengthy phone call with our insurance company. The conversation included a recorded statement of my version of the accident. Hub drove me over to the nail salon, at which point he took over the phone call. Where to get the car fixed, how to proceed and other essentials were his department. He left the car for me at the nail salon and walked home. 

Christine gave me a quick manicure and I drove to the police station to complete the accident paperwork. 

I was worked up, upset, unsettled. The policewoman told me the other car had damage and would need a new bumper. The bumper looked fine to me when I looked at the car at the scene of the accident. I guess I did not look closely enough; nowadays a little scratch requires an entire replacement, assuming someone else (the other insurance company) picks up the tab.

I filled out the paperwork, wrote my version of the accident, returned to the nail salon to pick up my MIL and we went home. 

Meanwhile we drove our older car to Ohio this weekend to visit our son and his family. Our newer old car sits at the body shop awaiting insurance appraisal.

The policeman who arrived at the scene of the accident from town #1 is married to the policewoman from town #2 who arrived at the scene. No kidding.

I hope our insurance rates do not increase. 

I hope my MIL does not want another manicure and pedicure anytime soon.

The last traffic accident we had my MIL was also in the car.

I wish it were warmer in Ohio (I did not consider packing any warm clothes. It is cold and rainy.)

And most of all I wish people were honest, even when it might be inconvenient.


  1. That is terrible, and you're right: she should have told the truth, even if her insurance goes up because of her stupidity. I am keeping my fingers crossed that you end up on the right side of the truth!! Good story, but I can see why you would be so upset. I would be, too.

  2. That really stinks--to have your car damaged and to be blamed for something not your fault.
    We were hit a couple of years ago by a man who ran a red light. He asked if he could pay for the repairs and not involve the police. Apparently this was not his first accident and he knew he was facing loss of his license.

  3. That is a really tough situation. I hope it is sorted real soon.