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Feb. 12th, 2005 @ 03:06 am (no subject)
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They say that no news is good news, and thus the fact that I haven’t posted in a while must be a good thing. But that’d also imply that since I’m posting today, only badness could’ve happened.


So there I was cruising along I95N just south of the beltway to drive from work to home. And just like I95 often is during rush hour, traffic will all of a sudden stop from the 65ish mph, and the start right back up again a couple seconds later for no good reason. The car in front of me stopped quickly, and so I hit the brakes, coming to a reasonably fast stop. Then I hear the car behind me with their tires screeching as they try to brake. As I brace for impact just in case, I hear a crashing sound shortly before that car impacts with mine. Apparently a third car had hit the black Dodge Neon behind me, causing it to crash into my MINI. Being rather unhappy about being hit, I pulled over to the side of the road about a ways down the road(as there was a lot of traffic and not very much space to pull over since there was construction on I95).

As I was pulled over, I could see nary a trace of any of the other cars involved, and so I called my insurance company to report the accident and to get some advice on what to do. Then I called the police to get them to come and give me a hand. I managed to convince myself to get out of my car with 65+ mph traffic whizzing past to check out the damage to see that most of it seemed cosmetic. After waiting for a bit in the car, a CVS person in a van came up behind me and offered to setup some flares behind me. Apparently CVS has a Good Samaritan program where they have drivers go around and help out people in need on the sides of the roads(and there are plenty of them in the area). A couple minutes later, the state trooper showed up and asked if my car was drivable, and then said that the car who had hit me was a ways back pulled over and was being towed to a parking lot about a mile away. So I drove up there and got introduced into the wonderful world of police reports.

About an hour and a half later of talking with the State Trooper, we managed to reconstruct the scenario to being a bastardly SUV driver hitting the black Neon behind me, and driving off(nowhere to be found). Since it was at night, none of us could give any identifying information other than the stupidly high blinding headlights of an SUV. The Neon behind me had the entire front end collapsed and a bit of damage to the rear, and is probably going to get totaled. My MINI just suffered some bumper damage, and got a rather dented muffler.



Everyone in the two cars that were present didn’t have anything significant in the way of physical injuries. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the asshole in the SUV probably didn’t suffer from anything either.

I wound up taking the day off of work to deal with the insurance/doctors/etc. Still need to figure out if I should take vacation, take unpaid leave, or something else. From talking with the insurance people, there’s a fair chunk of repairs that need to be done, and I still have to pay the deductible for it. From my understanding of how these things work, the assholeish thing to do is to get a lawyer to get me more money for this, but it only seems fair that I not have to pay for such things when they clearly aren’t my fault. If the system is setup in a way such that it’s expect that you screw others over to protect yourself, it’s only logical to do so. Medicalwise, I have a lovely textbook case of whiplash, so I’ve got limited movement in my neck for a couple of weeks. Doctor prescribed me some nice drugs, but I think I’ll pass. Never been a big fan of painkillers, esp when it’s pain that only comes when I move in certain ways. Oh well, only time will tell what happens with all this funness.

More photos of the damage
About this Entry
South Park Style
From:trythil
Date:February 12th, 2005 08:15 am (UTC)
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Ugh, that sucks. The only time that we ("we" meaning "family") have had to deal with this is when someone dented my dad's Durango (yeah, it's not the SUV screwing up for once :) )

Post more about the insurance process, if you want. I'm actually interested in hearing about it, because I know I'll have to go through it someday...
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From:bogosort
Date:February 13th, 2005 03:48 am (UTC)
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Heh, and I figured people would be bored by such legal shennanagins. This sort of thing is actually a pretty common occurance in the DC area, but mainly due to the number of moronic drivers. It's kinda silly how the system means that you're supposed to find a lawyer to get a reasonable amount of money for your trouble, but there are tons of people out there who don't.
From:uberfluffy
Date:February 14th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC)
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That stinks that you have to find a lawyer to get the repair and medical money. It seems like all they should need is the police report and then the bills for everything. What is it that the lawyer will do for you? Is this a insurance company policy thing that they start out by denying your claim?
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From:bogosort
Date:February 14th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Not quite sure what the VA law is, but here's basically the situation(in a quasi-logical ordering):

The driver who caused the accident is nowhere to be found.
Thus my insurance has no other insurance to beat down in order to obtain money to pay me.
Uninsured motorist coverage is the coverage for such accidents where the person at fault can't be found.
To increase shareholder value, my insurance company wants to hand out as little money as possible, thus they try to make me think that it falls under my collision insurance(as though I had caused the accident) and thus I'd need to pay the deductable on it. Plus they try to give me the cheapest parts available for my car(despite me having to pay more for insurance for having a new car).
Thus the appropiate game is to get an auto accident lawyer who will talk to the insurance companies, and usually to get them to settle out of court for more money. The lawyers wind up getting 1/3rd of whatever is gotten, and usually the insurance caves quickly as soon as a lawyer gets involved. They've just worked out that the number of people who do so for the increased payout amount(way more than what would ordinarily be reasonable) is low enough to offset it.

Side-notes:
State insurance laws differ, I think some states have it where the second car(the one that hit me) as being responsible for my damage, and thus their insurance would pay mine.
If the lawyer doesn't get me anything I pay nothing to him.
I am getting money, I just have to pay the deductible for collision(which is usually for if I caused the accident). And that deductible is for the cheapest workmanship that they can find.
From:uberfluffy
Date:February 15th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Well, I guess that's a good incentive for the lawyer to get you more money. I hope that you get enough there even after the lawyer gets his or her fee. What's your insurance company by the way?
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From:bogosort
Date:February 15th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
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I'm on Progressive right now, and I've never had a problem with getting claims from them. Realistically, this is kind of a special case because in many states the car behind me's insurance would be responsible, but in VA apparently this is not the case. With regards to profibility, it seems akin to the airline overbooking problem, where they purposely cram too many people on(providing potentially poor service), and when they get called on it paying out more than enough to compensate.
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From:mkincaid
Date:February 12th, 2005 09:07 am (UTC)
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I feel your pain man. Sucks to have that happen to you nice shiny car (and your poor neck).
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From:bogosort
Date:February 13th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
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Not the end of the world. We'll see if a lawyer can wrangle an amount of money to make all this effort worth it.
From:zombiesrah
Date:February 12th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you're (mostly) okay. That is teh suck. :/
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From:bogosort
Date:February 13th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
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Indeed, and really anything that I can get through without drugs isn't much of an injury at all in my book.
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From:princessdiablo
Date:February 12th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Dude. Suck.

I'm just glad you are all right. But still, suck.
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From:bogosort
Date:February 13th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC)
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My car's still drivable for the time being, it really could've been much worse.
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From:mckeed
Date:February 12th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)

That sucks.

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these things are allways a pain. Good thing is that you don't have any serious injuries.

Serves you right for missing Katsu....just kidding.
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From:bogosort
Date:February 13th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC)

Re: That sucks.

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Yeah, gotta love all the bullshit that one has to go through to get reimbursed for all of the hassles.

I'm flying out on that weekend. =P Don't even need my car for that.
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From:johnmeier1
Date:February 13th, 2005 12:58 am (UTC)
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Poor MINI :(

I don't understand this insurance hassle. When I was hit, the only reason I had to pay for any of the repairs to my Taurus was because I mistakenly said there was a 10% chance I could have avoided the accident.

I guess there are problems, since the guy behind you was hit INTO you, right?
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From:bogosort
Date:February 13th, 2005 03:50 am (UTC)
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Right, and plus usually the insurance will try to skimp on the repairs as much as possible. I think a big part of it is that the person ultimately whose fault it was disappeared, so I'm dealing with my insurance to give me the money. And thus the need to find a lawyer.
From:mr_wes
Date:February 14th, 2005 01:08 pm (UTC)
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Glad you're okay though.