Monday, April 18, 2011

What part of a car accident is good news?

The part where no one is hurt, And I don’t think I’m hurt. Then again, I’m the one who walked around on a broken leg for three days before admitting there might be a problem.

But let’s stick with the good news. It appears the guy has insurance. Third, there was a witness. Fourth, looks like I’m going to be on foot for awhile, so I’ll get really slender. Fifth, our tableau on the side of the road presented a cautionary tale so all the cars slowed to a crawl. Sixth, I don't have to drive to Santa Monica tonight afterall. Seventh … well, I think we’ve reached the end of the line here.

The CHP called a tow truck and now my (dirty, straw-filled, dog-blanketed) little Matrix is somewhere in San Gabriel. Don’t ask me why San Gabriel, I just let the officer handle that part.

Some of the bad news:

Since I only have liability, Allstate told me to handle the claim myself. I had to google how to do that. (Ok, maybe google is #7 on the good list)

The claim’s adjuster has 24 to 48 hours to make contact. Who knows how long after that before the wheels of repair are set in motion.

The back end is smashed in, the window shattered, tires flat. And there were only 60,000 miles on the most reliable car I’ve ever owned.

I didn’t have my camera.

“The unbearable lightness of being “ – I hate reminders. All of life hangs on a thread, the thread of whether you leave the house at 9:25 a.m. or 9:30.


  1. Oh, my friend. I'm so glad you're all right. Dogs were not in the car, I assume. Tell me what you need and I will do all I can. A ride is only one thing on the list.

  2. If the other guy was at fault, it doesn't matter what your insurance coverage is; he's liable. Hire a public adjuster if the other insurance doesn't give you satisfaction. Your big problem may be that the frame of the car is bent, in which case, it's not just a bent up back end, it's totalled. Trust me, even if you fix a bent frame, it's never right again.

    I'm glad you're OK, although you have my sympathy for the forced exercise program. Albert would probably be happy to keep you company on said program.

  3. And yet it's a reminder nevertheless.

    Take care, sometimes an injury takes a day or more to make itself felt.

  4. Oh dear. Hope you are still okay and no residual hurts crop up. Let us know what we can do for you.

  5. Boo hoo hoo. I feel like they took my metal dog to the pound. And the other guy's insurance company is not sweet. They're not disputing the claim, just entirely unhelpful.

    The claim's adjuster (my new term, I'll use it widely, just you wait) actually asked if I had AAA to move the car from the inpound lot because it was expensive.

    I said, "Uhm, I thought that ball would be in your court."

    And he put me on hold. Then came back and said, Ok, keep it there.

    I knew as soon as I felt the SOCKO in the rear on this lovely morning, this was not going to be a good day.

  6. Well this is most disappointing news. And you have a broken leg? How could you not know that for three days? I thought that was something you just would know. I've seen a lot of TV, and on TV people always know. I am so sorry you have to go through this. Can I buy you drink? Good news: I'll be the designated driver!

  7. Perhaps if you stopped ingesting your dog's morphine tabs, you're thinking would be clearer and you'd realize your leg was broken, not just bruised. But, then again, drugs help us get through the rough spots in life, including broken limbs.

  8. EEEE -- GRRRBRAAAACHHH! There are worse sounds, but not many.


  9. Ugh. That is a bad day. I'm glad you're not hurt. Definitely let me know if you need a ride anywhere. My car smells like dog so you'll feel right at home.

  10. Oh darlin', I"m in car hell too. I hope things go your way. I'm so sorry, but a SOCKO in the butt says he's liable to me. Hang in there!!

  11. Do yourself a favor and talk to the state insurance commission now to find out what your rights are and how long you have to wait to file a complaint if need be. It could relieve a lot of angst in case the other driver's insurance agent is a dork. OK, an a-hole. Whatever. And I'm with K, please see a chiropractor/doctor/shaman pronto in case you have whiplash, the sooner it's treated the better.

    And a pox on the house of the other driver.

  12. That really sucks to say the least! But I'm very glad to hear you escaped serious injury and, hopefully, belated broken leg syndrome. The other guy's insurance company is clearly out of contention for the Better Business Bureau's award for excellence. But Allstate? Didn't sound like they came through for you with their motto: "Mayhem is coming, are you in good hands?" Just sayin'.

  13. That is just awful. I feel for you. Did it happen while you were headed on the 210 west? A reliable vehicle is everything if you've led a life of pushing tin crappers. Maybe you can get a rental car. If you need a bike I can pick you up this one at the studio.

    I can also give you a lift, as long as it's east of the LA River.

  14. Important thing is that you are ok. I hate dealing with insurance companies. I hope your experience is as painless as possible.

  15. Glad to hear you're okay even if the vehicle isn't. Hang in there.

  16. Thank you. Really. I just feel so -- adrift. Like no one gave me any direction. The CHP was a really nice guy, but should I have had my car towed to the lock-up he called? And my own insurance co., yeah, I'm just at liability and uninsured motorist, but they essentially told me I was on my own. And I've had my home insurance with them for ten years, and car insurance for about four.

    I just kept asking everyone, what is the protocol.

  17. I just remembered this from an accident a few years ago:

    If you handle the insurance claim you can lose money through your deductible (?). I can't remember what it is just now but MAKE them handle it so it doesn't end up costing you more than it should. I'll try to find out what it is they're trying to put on you. I hope you feel good physically, KB.

  18. And a pox on the house of your agent.

  19. yeah, a pox on both insurance houses. (Did I mention the guy who hit me kept saying, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." He was way nicer than the insurance companies. It was just one of those things.

  20. What a drag! So glad to hear that you're ok, but sorry to hear what you've been through, and are going through with the insurance companies. I too have Allstate and just liability for my old Honda, so maybe I'll give my agent a call to ask "what should I do if this ever happens". Hope today's a better day.

  21. OK, automatic pox transfer from the other driver to the other agent.

  22. Just checking in...Wish I had some great advice but to paraphrase a movie whose title I forget, "What I don't know about car insurance protocol is a lot."

    Olympia Dukarkis, Cher, Nicholas Cage...

  23. Katie, would you ask him? I'd appreciate it, since we're insurance sisters. I've got liability for a Ferrari, but didn't see this one coming.

    K, I think I use that all the time because of you.

  24. I was once in an accident where the other driver admitted fault. It should have been easy to get her insurance company to pay, but it took forever to get them to admit my car was totaled. I wish I could remember all the details, but I do remember that feeling of being adrift.

    Specifically, I recall that I settled for a check that paid for 8 visits to a chiropractor. It wasn't enough. I've never regained full range of movement in my neck. Don't settle until you're sure you have everything you deserve.

  25. I'm so glad you're okay! ...or are you really? I'll ask again three days later just to be sure.

  26. What can I say ... I hope everything sorts out for you.

  27. So very sorry to hear of your plight. I'll ask God to give you favor with the bad guys.

  28. I have no advice, but plenty of sympathy. Every winter I interrogate myself why I'm so paranoid about snow driving when I'm honestly not too concerned about injury at 30 mph. And every time, I answer to myself that I just don't want to go through the very hassle in which you find yourself. Don't know what that's worth, but there it is. I do hope you stay uninjured.

  29. I'm glad to hear you're okay and your sense of humour remains in tact. Sounds like you were rear ended - be sure to get checked out for whiplash. That can be nasty and often doesn't show up for a few days.

  30. Oh, I loved your little Matrix. Hope they can fix it, and soon. I had a bad smash from the rear and tried to handle it stoically but kept getting nightmares about the sound of the other car hitting me. Someone advised me years later that the best way to stop the trauma is to talk and talk and write about it as much as you can. Bottling it inside isn't good - and we won't get bored. Meanwhile, you can borrow my Honda while I'm in England - I won't need it till Tuesday next week. My petsitter has the keys. Being carless feels like being in limbo, doesn't it?

    Mind you, you do have a horse. Are they allowed on freeways?

  31. Glad you're okay, even if your wallet may not be?

  32. Thank you for all your kind comments. Bellis is right, it did help to write about it. And I feel ok physically today.

    (Bellis, you're fabulous. I'll email you.)

  33. Well, that's a sucky day!!! Having been in two rear end collisions in my life that resulted in significant whiplash...I must agree with everyone who said...go to a chiropractor!!! Or at the very least...get a massage!!! I'm still dealing with the after effects and my accidents were when I was 19, and again in '94...

    Insurance companies used to be so easy to deal with...then somehow they got the idea that everybody is lying and trying to get away with something...yuck!!! A pox on the whole insurance industry!!!

    Hope your day today is much better!!!

  34. Adding my gratitude that you're all right. Let me know if you need a lift.

  35. You poor thing. It's no fun to be in an accident. I'm glad you are feeling okay.

  36. When my son was a very macho 20 years old he got rear ended while stopped at a red light. Clearly not his fault. The other guy had some goofy story and the insurance balked at covering all of it. Being a tough guy, my son was too tough to admit he was injured, although he had soft tissue injury to his neck. I loaned him my little Toyota truck so he didn't need a rental which was covered by the policy. I was dealing with the insurance company for him and after about the third time the adjuster said the board that made decisions on coverage hadn't decided, I told her that he was not trying to get anything but his truck fixed, and if they didn't notify me the next day that he was fully covered, I would take him to the doctor for his injuries which no doubt would put him off of work and also get him a rental car. She said she completely understood and called the next day to say that he was fully covered.

    Show them no mercy. Figure out what you are entitled to and demand no less.

  37. GOSH!

    I was going to be long-winded. Can I hobble you over a tuna casserole in my flunky brakeless registration expired V dub?

    -Gladly risk this for a fellow broke legged vet. Can I sign your cast? I know I'm of no help at all.

  38. Bellis, after whom I plan to name my first child in my second life, was kind enough to loan me her car for several days.

    PI, I shouldn't tell you this, as I love tuna casserole, but I didn't break my leg in this accident. That one was earlier.

    DB, so glad you told me that story, but I was thinking of calling the adjustor today (since they still haven't moved on this), and telling him I may have something additional to send his way as I'm going to get checked out by the doctor.

  39. ...traigo

    desde mis


    CON saludos de la luna al
    reflejarse en el mar de la



  40. Karin---glad you're basically ok.

    and am heartened by all the offers of rides and assistance in dealing with a corrupt system.

    go to the docs---better to treat it NOW, than in a decade (or two or four decades), been there.

    get what you need, do not back down with the ins co's. They are programmed to encourage you to settle for less than what you deserve. AND, to wait you out in hopes you'll give up. Don't give up, just keep coming back, presenting the facts, and what it is they need to do for you---that IS their job. am currently out stubborning my health ins on a claim that will end up costing them $150 instead of $10---at this point, am just ticked enough to keep at it forever. But I do want to know when ins co's took up the gov't spending concept with MY money---of $700 toilet seats?!

    healing thoughts!

  41. Insurance - I worked on a tenant space remodel for a major insurance company once - rows upon rows of desks, phones, electronic gadgets, pens, pencils, totally devoid of anything personal or the eccentric. The room itself, cavernous, windowless, cold, everything bathed in a sickly fluoresence. Sometimes I felt I couldn't breathe. i was reminded of a ship's galley, where the slave's would toil under the weight of huge oars, though no chains were immediately evident.

    But the thing that struck me most were the banners; they were everywhere, foot tall letters exhorting the crew to "close hard!", and negotiate for less. It was as though I had stepped into a totalitarian society devoid of individuality, with all matters geared toward the advancement of the state.

    Be strong, imperialist hiking dog.

  42. Karin!
    Sounds like you need some chicken soup, patience, and more soup. Whew, glad the dogs weren't with you, just sorry you were there!

  43. Ooh, Bandit. Sounds like T.H. White's ants in "The Once and Future King," where everything is either "done" or "not done," and they don't have language for anything else.

    Translation for Jose Ramon's comment is in today's comments on my blog.

  44. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear of this, KB!!! Somehow I missed your post and it was only through my bafflement on reading your newest post that I realised I'd missed something momentous. I'm relieved you're ok, and bummed in sympathy that your reliable chariot is not. Take good care.

  45. When it comes to the philosophical issues, Jose says it best, doesn't he?

    I'll hang out some of the dirty linen today or tomorrow. Guess I should be happy they're trying to screw me over a five-year old car and not my old house. They think I'm stupid. Unfortunately, they're not far from wrong.

  46. No...definitely not have to be a bit of a ninja warrior to take it up with insurance companies...part of their process is deny, deny, deny...until you get fed up or are too persistent to let it die...hang in there Altadena Ninja!!!

  47. This really sucks (I get quite attached to my vehicles, too). And the fact that we pay good $$ to insurance companies who look after their own best interests sucks too.

    But what really grabs me is your last line.

    The difference between leaving the house at 9:25 and 9:30...actually even a minute could make the difference. Our lives hang from a thread in a 60 second window.

  48. Deborah, that is so true.

    I was walking back to work in Pasadena the other day, at a corner waiting for the light to change. I started across the street, looked to my right and saw a coworker flat on his back in the middle of the road. He'd been hit by a car. Had to be taken off in an ambulance. No broken bones or major injuries, thankfully. He's just banged up.

    You just never know what the day will bring.

    I hope you're making progress with your car and insurance, Hiker.

  49. Jeez, Susan, you know how to write a sentence to make me sit up and listen.

    I'm glad your coworker was okay. Hope it wasn't anyone I know.

  50. Petrea, my tale did not involve our mutual friend fortunately (for him, not so much my other coworker).

  51. So glad to hear that no one was hurt!! It is nice that you are able to find some good news out of your accident since accidents are definitely no fun!! If there is no doubt that it is the other persons fault, you can try filing a claim with their insurance company instead of yours. But definitely be sure you have the right auto coverage for yourself going forward!

  52. Uhoh. I sense a new post coming on.

  53. I'm glad you're not hurt.

    For over 30 years in NY, we were with an individual All State agent who was wonderful, took good care of us, when we lost our car in a flood a few years ago, they were terrific.

    We move to MA last fall and it was a nightmare. They wouldn't give us the paperwork stating we had paid insurance in order to get our new MA plates until we sent back our NY plates -- but we couldn't get the MA plates without the paperwork. We wound up switching insurance companies and filing a complaint with the MA state office that decides who does and doesn't get to operate in the state. It didn't help that All State outsourced the call center, and the guy on the phone didn't know the difference between a policy number and a driver's license number!

    Get a different insurance company -- you'll be happier.

    Sorry you had to go through this; glad you're not physically hurt, but the stress of dealing with these incompetents isn't healthy.

  54. I finally asked for a supervisor yesterday. It sounds like she'll get something resolved by Tuesday. The owner at the collision center took one look at their estimate and just laughed. He said, "This is ridiculous; your car is totalled."

    Can't wait until I can think of something besides this.

  55. Lovely post. I believe the good news from this car accident is that you were safe.

  56. Oh, no! I'm just reading this now, and so grateful you're okay. Please let me know if there's anything I can do--I have a car that just sits under tarp in my driveway; you're welcome to it. Just let me know if you want to borrow it.

    Or if I can drive you somewhere.

  57. I'm very happy to hear that you are okay. Scary stuff! You just never know when and where things will happen.
    I was in a bad accident serveral years ago and it changed my life in a good way.
    Hang in there my friend!

  58. Just stumbled over this - glad you're OK.

    Have you got things sorted? If not, do the following:
    Document your claim against the insurance company in writing
    Summarise the incident
    Name witnesses
    Give them deadlines to resolve the issue

    If you do everything by phone, you have no auditable paper trail

  59. The power of positive thinking can do wonders. Indeed, the important thing is that no one was hurt. Car crashes can be scary, and it's great that the damage can be fixed here.