Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."


Monday, June 14, 2010

Tough News to Break to the In-laws

For those of you who are my friend on Facebook, this post will be old news to you, but I still wanted to share it here for posterity purposes.

On April 21st, a day before I was 9 weeks pregnant, I was using my in-laws car for the day because mine was in the shop having new brake pads and rotors installed. Normally I try to take their older Pontiac that has definitely seen better years, but it wasn't working so they loaned me their fairly new Impala with their two favorite features - a sunroof for my F.I.L and heated leather seats for my M.I.L.

Well, on my way home from work, I turned left onto a street that is marked as dividing into three lanes - the left lane became a left turn lane and a straight lane and the right lane became the right turn lane. Once the road divided, I needed to get in the right turn lane in order to continue on my way home. The car in front of me was hugging the center line and had no turn signal on whatsoever. At this point, I signaled and switched into the right lane. As I'm even with the Suburban I notice the driver start to come into my lane. At this point, there was no way to avoid getting hit whether I slowed down or sped up. Honking my horn as loudly as possible and trying to scoot up a little so I wouldn't take the brunt right in the driver's door, I brace for impact. By the time she finished hitting me, the driver's side view mirror was hanging by a wire, there was no handle left on the driver's door so you couldn't open it from the outside, and the whole side of the car was dented in and scratched from that point back.

To say I was ticked is an understatement! I'm mean I'm driving my in-laws car and I'm newly pregnant for goodness sakes!

I backed up so I could pull over into the closest parking lot and immediately tried calling the cops who unfortunately were not answering their 911. Meanwhile the other driver is asking me what I want to do and just wants to exchange insurance information and leave. Of course she does - her car has barely any damage and she's facing a big insurance settlement for fixing the damage to my in-laws' car.

Finally I reach the police and someone comes. I explain what happened and mention the lady had no turn signal on. She acknowledges she doesn't recall if she had her turn signal on and that she didn't see me. Meanwhile, I'm hunting for the insurance card and registration that seems to have mysteriously disappeared from my in-laws car. It is NOWHERE to be found. Finally, I call them (terrified to tell them what happened) and the whole time I'm talking with them, they're forgetting that I had THEIR car for the day and they thought I was calling to ask them where MY registration and insurance card was. Thankfully the cop saw that the vehicle just passed inspection (which required a recent insurance and registration) so he let me pass with the previous copies (which were in the car go figure).

I'm waiting for him to issue the other driver the ticket (after all, she's the one who completely came into my lane and broad swiped me) and give me a copy of all her info so I can pass it on to the insurance company and next thing I know he comes over and tells me I'M at fault for the accident because I was "improperly passing on the right". He tried to tell me that the road is a one-lane road there even though it's clearly marked as a two-lane road with numerous signs and markings that it's splitting into a 3-lane road at the point where she struck me. No ticket was issued at the scene because he said "we never ticket people here because it keeps traffic flowing." Perhaps you don't ticket people there because it's actually a two-lane road and they're doing nothing illegal? So, imagine my surprise when a couple days later the cop sends me a ticket in the mail for a $250 fine and 4 points, not to mention what it will do to my insurance premiums.

On top of that, the insurance company ended up totalling my in-laws car because the lady hit me hard enough to damage the bar between the driver and passenger door on driver's side and it would cost more to fix that than the $13K the car was worth.

Thankfully, my insurance company (which also happened to be my in-laws company) completely disagreed with the cops finding of me at fault, especially once I sent them pictures of location where the accident occurred clearly showing it's a two lane road that splits into three and thus I was doing nothing wrong driving in the right turn lane when I was making a right turn.

My court date was on the 3rd and thankfully a family friend who is a cop in a different town came with me. A defense attorney who was there happened to guess he was a cop (he was in plain clothes) and spoke to the prosecutor on our behalf. The charge against me was changed from "Improper Passing on the Right" and a $250/4-point ticket to "Obstruction of Traffic" which was a $41/0-point/no insurance impact ticket. Plus, the defense attorney also asked for a special reservation so that the other driver can't come and sue me personally now that I basically am no longer held responsible for the accident. It was such a relief to finally have it all behind me and I'm so grateful for many things surrounding the incident:

  1. My in-laws took the news like champs. Turns out my M.I.L. actually totalled her M.I.L's car when she was 4 months pregnant with my hubby.
  2. Our insurance company declared the other driver to be at fault and thus we weren't liable for fixing the damage to her car.
  3. I had an already scheduled dr. appt for an ultrasound the day after the accident (the first one hubby was at) and it was such a relief to see that our baby was perfectly healthy and not impacted by the accident.
  4. I'm incredibly grateful for our cop friend and the defense attorney who helped me out for no cost. 

3 comments:

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  2. Brie, I totally know how you felt! Last winter, I was driving my FIL's car and this guy came through a 4-way stop, without stopping and plowed into the side of the car. The cop didn't write the other guy a ticket b/c the roads were icy, but the guy was clearly going too fast for conditions. Anyway, I was so nervous to call up Stephen and tell them their car was wrecked! Everything turned out fine and the insurance company did a good job of fighting for my FIL. What a relief! :)

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  3. What a fail though for the cops at the scene and our justice system.
    I really hate it when they pull crap like this.
    Glad it all worked out in the end sorry though that you had all that extra stress on you at the time.

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