Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Part two: Unfair

This was the sight that greeted us as we came home from the fair. Kind of put a kibosh on the whole festive mood of the day, don't you think? We left the car parked on the road while we were gone, and someone making a delivery to a neighbour decided to pull into our driveway to turn around, and then cranked Chad's car on the way out. They did leave a name and phone number, and it turns out it was a high school aged girl driving with her mother in the vehicle with her. So we called and talked to the mom. She was not apologetic. She insinuated that we were asking for trouble by leaving our car on the road and that we live on a dangerous street. (For the record, we have lived here for 7 years and have not seen anyone experience this type of thing before. On-street parking is perfectly legal on our street, as it is across almost the entire city. Sheesh.) She gave us the whole 'my daughter is going to university in the fall, this was not in our budget' sob story. It infuriates me to think about it - they had absolutely no business being on our property in the first place, and then to fail to accept responsibility and try to make us feel bad like that? - terrible. *sigh* It sounds like they want to pay the bill to keep it off the girl's insurance record, though part of me would like to stick it to them and put it through insurance just to spite them. We are expecting a couple of quotes today - which may come as a bit of a shock to her in their magnitude, since we already know the whole door has to be replaced - but the other thing working against us is that the local body shops are positively swamped after last week's hailstorm. Some are saying October-November before anyone new is getting an appointment. Ay yi yi. Oh yes, the woman we talked to also has some half-assed idea that we should be going to some hick body shop way out of town to have our repairs done there because she has heard they are cheap. I do not think she gets any say in who we choose to fix her mistake. We have busy lives, and she has inconvenienced us enough without working out cockamamie logistics like that.

When I was about 17 or 18, I backed into a parked car, and though my vehicle wasn't damaged, the other one was. I left a note and I paid for the other party's repairs (I think my parents split the cost with me?), but more than that, I really did feel awful about doing it. It seems like nobody involved in this is all that upset over it, and life will go on regardless, but it's amazing how far a simple "I'm sorry" can go and how much it grates on me that we haven't got one.

For what it's worth, you may want to steer clear of the Cook family for the forseeable future... we seem to be on a string of bad luck. Yesterday, one of our drywallers fell off a ladder over at the new house, and broke his leg. Thank goodness that's a headache for our builder and not for us, but at least I have the decency to feel badly for the guy.

ETA: I stopped by the house at lunch to see how things are going. It turns out the guy who 'broke a leg' actually broke both heels, his morphine is not working, and he may never return to work. The downside of having a conscience is that I feel very, very guilty right now. Poor guy.


Mandy said...

As someone who works in the insurance business, I'd like to suggest (though will not be at all offended if you don't take this free, not on work hours advice - nor am I licensed to do business in your area, so again, this is as a friend who works in the biz) that you consider going through their insurance company.

It will cost them less, will not screw them as much as you might think, and from a legal standpoint you'll be in a much better position. If her insurance pays then you might be limited by a group of body shops but could actually stand a BETTER chance of getting in sooner than you would otherwise. The reason? Insurance companies have contracts with body shops and sometimes their cases get priority. Doesn't change the number of hail damaged cars so there will likely still be a wait, but you're more likely to be able to get your car fixed relatively quickly and even more important - CORRECTLY. Plus, should you need a loaner car during the time of repair you're likely to get one - not so if they pay out of pocket.

The other family won't have to come up with the money all at once, nor be tempted to try to talk you into a payment arrangement, and you will see what is supposed to happen take place. If the work is done through an insurance company/body shop relationship there will likely be a guarantee on the work and you are absolutely right that they have no say in where you take it. An insurance company would but is more likely to give you a fair deal without trying to tell you this is your fault.

And, if you want to think in moral times, right before college is a GREAT time for this young lady to learn the concept of taking responsibility for her actions..her mom isn't exactly showing that example.

Feel free to email me with questions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie,

About three weeks after I arrived here, I started to drive the company vehicle. Within a week I had my first accident, but, luckily, I had learned how to apologize in Indonesian (knowing it would be useful in one context or another). After exhausting my language skills, I called my office in a panic for someone to help me, and we negotiated a plan with the other driver. I paid him $30 for his trouble and damages to his vehicle. Sorry it couldn't be that easy for you guys.


Carrie said...

Mandy - so THAT'S what you do. :) Thanks for the professional advice - we will see how it goes. I will keep you posted...

Amy - your story does not surprise me one little bit. Not a single part of it. Including the 'within the first week I'd had my first accident' bit. :)

Carrie said...

And Deb, thanks for your call, too!