Bump on the road.

The back end of my car went a bit to the left but I was driving straight.  Ut-oh.  Did that guy just back into me?  We were both probably going five miles per hour.  I stopped the car.  Got out.  I was tired.  I didn't need this.

He couldn't believe it happened.  But there it was.  I moved into the parking slot next to him.  He wasn't having a good day.  He was apologetic.  I hadn't had an accident for 10 years!  I wasn't even sure what to do!

I got his drivers license number (he was 30), and his verification of insurance coverage with the Vehicle Identification Number on it.  I'm not sure I got his registration.  Did I get his license number?  No.  Did I get his cell or another phone number?  No.  Did I get an email address?  No.  Did I get his address?  Yes.  Did I take photos?  Yes.  Did I include his car with mine in the photos?  No.  Did I get a police report?  No.  

And that's when realized that I needed a checklist for an accident!  Did I have anything other than my own insurance and registration?  No.  Not even a guide for what to do!

When Mr. Gecko, my company, called his insurance company, Mr. Driver didn't have a current phone number or email address so they needed to send everything by snail mail to his house.

When I talked to his company, Mr. Insurance said I had a bit of an attitude and I should lose it!  Well, let's see about that.  You can't reach your customer except by pony express.  You are telling me that you need to notify him within 30 days of the accident.  Then if he doesn't respond he gets another 30 days.  60 days should about do it for the pony express to show up at his place in Oakland from Tennessee.  And in the meantime, you do what?

And that's when I realized I may not have had a current address for him!

So let's talk about what I didn't get from this driver.  No phone.  These days he could change that number.  Not much help.  No car license.  The insurance agent said that could be any car, if I didn't have my damaged car in the picture, preferably in its accident position!   Plus we moved the cars so folks could get by!  No email.  Unless I tried it right there, along with the phone number, nobody would have a clue.  No police report.  Yeah, our police force is going to show up for this fender bender?  I don't have all week.

What I did do was get that VIN.  These days it's often hidden inside of the auto.  That was a clue that I actually might have the right car.  Mr. Insurance called the adjuster, who showed up a couple of days later.

BUT...that insurance guy did me a favor.  Yeah, I had an attitude.  And I needed to shake it.  I wanted to believe that the driver wanted to do the right thing.  And it took me a while to believe it.  But I did.

Mr. Adjuster suggested that I call Mr. Insurance on Tuesday.  But I forgot until Thursday.  And you know what?  Mr. Driver had gotten the snail mail, and had called that very day.

He accepted full responsibility.  I got the check for over $2000 shortly thereafter.  My car got fixed.  And for a few extra dollars I paid to have the dents that had been earned over eight years of travel bumped out.  And my attitude got some dents hammered out of it, too.

Live richly,   marilyn


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