We were in a car crash last week. Dylan (5), Julia (2), and I were buckled up and sustained no injuries. The woman running the red light was alone so no one was sitting on the passenger side of her van, where my 1999 Chevy Lumina (rest in peace) T-boned the door at roughly 20 miles per hour. The air bags went off, one smashing into my face and left forearm, the other popping the spiderwebbed windshield out into space leaving a gap between the broken but intact glass and the intact but fundamentally broken vehicle. We wanted to go swimming, but have instead spent a week dealing with the fallout caused by another driver’s failure to obey.
If you can avoid being hit by another driver you would also avoid motor vehicle accident reports, spending more time on the phone in a day than in a typical month, and the animal brained frenzy of an adrenaline dump. Not a burst, a dump. An adrenaline burst is useful, allowing one to leap over wreckage, wrestle a bear, or fight the last ten seconds of a round as hard as the first. An adrenaline dump has nowhere to go, leaving one with nothing but dumb fear.
Luckily for us, a witness stuck around to assure the police that the other driver had indeed run the red light, and the lady was cited for her failure to obey. It took a day or so, but her insurance company eventually accepted liability for the collision, and assured me they would “make me whole”. We rented a car (I cycled six miles to the airport for the first one, then switched companies a day later at their request) and started searching for a budget vehicle to put us back among the vehicular classes as a bona fide one car family. Things were looking up for us as we had access to a car and insurance would take care of it, right?
The insurance company offered a lowball assessment of our car’s market value, then wanted to deduct $1100 off of their $2100 figure due to existing hail damage. The car did indeed have light hail damage, at least since I bought it in 2004 or so, but you had to get pretty darn close at the right angle on a sunny day to notice it, and I was not happy with their offer. The agent assured me the $1100 figure was fair, as it was only 25% of their estimate to fix the damage, which they pegged at $4400. What a deal, right?
We have found a replacement car and have been “negotiating” with the insurance company, but they certainly seem to hold a lot of the cards as well as writing the rules of this particular game. Should we accept their lowball figure and meekly go away? Or should we fight to the last in small claims court and the public square with a dual pronged legal and social media attack?
They want us to yield, but we won’t stop
They have the money but we got the cops
I don’t just need the cash I need the sense that we’re ok
I feel like failing to obey,
I’m failing to obey.