Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Holiday Shakedown

My crude diagram of the accident. I'm the heart car,
the Ford SUV is the asterick and the square
 behind me was the one that nudged me. 
I spent the morning with Chef--out and about. Doing some gift card spending and having a good ole time. We had picked up lunch and were heading back into the house when my phone rang. It wasn't a number that I recognized but it was from LA, so I picked it up. It could've been a client or someone work-related.

It was neither. The guy said "I'm Martin X. Ben's dad. You remember? Last week. . ." The signal was bad, the call dropped, and I couldn't discern who it was. I was trying to rack my brain thinking if I had been working with some kids lately at a charity, and frankly I couldn't think of a "Ben" to save my life. A few steps later, my phone rang again.

And here's where things got interesting.

A few weeks ago I was on my way to a work event in bumper-to-bumper (aka normal LA rush hour) traffic. The car to my left, a Ford SUV-type, was in a left hand turn lane, but their butt was sticking out so I couldn't move. The cars in front of me had gone on the green light, but I was still blocked. Apparently the car behind me didn't care. A black sedan, probably a Prius but I couldn't remember, nudged me forward. I knew I had been hit, and stopped but didn't realize that my car's driver side mirror had hit the taillight of the car who was blocking my lane. The black sedan took off around me and I got out to check my car. A few scrapes on the back bumper, a scrape on my side mirror and then I saw the Ford SUV had a broken taillight. I got the driver to pull over, I pulled over, we exchanged information, and I went on to my work event. A little rattled and a lot pissed that after 12 years with no insurance claims, poor Liam Nissan had two claims within 5 weeks. I also waved my fist at every black Prius that I saw, which was a lot because it's LA and everyone drives a Prius.

I knew the driver of the Ford SUV was mentally challenged in some way. I didn't know what in particular, but I tried my best to make sure he had everything he needed and I did too. He said the policy was under his dad's name and that his dad would probably get a hold of me.

And his dad did. But not before calling my insurance company. The Ford SUV had called my insurance company before I could even call them and alert them. I wasn't going to file a claim for a scrape, but gave my testimony, uploaded pictures of my car, the Ford, etc.  And then I thought I was done.

But the driver's dad called me today---more than three weeks after the accident, and asked me for $150 for the damages to his son'ts car. He kept saying that I was at fault and that I just needed to pay him and that he just went to get an estimate today and that's what took so long.

It felt wrong. He felt pushy and I KNEW that someone on his end had already alerted my insurance company. I told him that I was not admitting fault, that he had already filed a claim with my insurance company and I wasn't going to pay him if he still has something pending against me. Martin told me that they hadn't called my insurance company at all. That he had no idea how my insurance would have their information. He closed by saying "My son is autistic. You know you are at fault. But fine. Do whatever. I'll assume you will call me back to take care of this."

I called my insurance company and the long and short of it is that they denied his son's claim because it was determined that it wasn't my fault. So his insurance company would have to cover it. That no one on that end should have contacted me at all. My insurance company (who I love!) gave me a copy of the denial letter in case he called me again.

I have a feeling he won't be calling back. I might've had some sympathy if he had been honest, but the total ambush about month after the fact AND after the denial really pushed my limits.

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