On Car Accidents

I was in one on the freeway on the way home from work Thursday. I was the meat in a four car sandwich. It was one of those stop and go traffic nights when people stop for no reason and then go for no reason. The BMW in front of me stopped for no reason and I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting him. I didn’t hit him. I remember thinking, “Phew! That was close,” and then BOOM and another BOOM and yet another BOOM. I ended up hitting him anyway after two giant SUVs slammed into me. Well, shit.

I’m alright, if incredibly sore. My car is drivable. None of my taillights were even smashed since the SUV behind had impossibly huge tires and hit me squarely in the trunk. Nothing is leaking, everything still works. Nothing shatter-able shattered and my airbags didn’t even go off.

At first glance, other than the crumpled trunk, hips and the paint scratches, it hardly looks like there’s damage at all. I thought the destruction was remarkably light until I tried to open one of the rear doors and an unmistakable scraping crunch alerted me to the fact that there was no longer any space at all where the back door and the body meet. It’s the same on both sides. The only way I can get the back doors closed is to slam them, which makes a loud and disconcerting crunching sound. I haven’t even attempted to pop the trunk for fear that I won’t be able to close it again. Upon closer inspection, there is not a single seam on my car that meets the way it did Thursday afternoon, not even on the front of the car. This fact, sadly, most likely means that my lovely car is totaled.

However, I don’t know this beyond speculation yet, because my insurance company sucks. I called them Thursday night and told them what happened. They asked for the police report number et al, which I happily provided. The person with whom I spoke promised that my claim’s adjuster, Sheena, would be calling me the next morning. The next morning, I woke up early, took the day off of work because I thought I would have things to do, like getting my car fixed or something. I turned the volume on my phone up and waited for Sheena to call so I could get this process started and over with.

I waited all day and Sheena never called me. I called her –three times –just in case, in my agitation after the accident, I had given the wrong phone number. She never called. Saturday, I called again thinking that, surely, a major, well-reputed insurance company, which shall not be named (*cough* three letters: starts with an A, ends with an A and has an A in the middle *cough*), has claim’s adjusters that work on the weekend, right? I got Sheena’s voice mail. “Hi, Sheena. It’s me again, claim #(at this point, I almost have it memorized). Please call me back or have someone call me since it’s now two days after the accident and I still haven’t heard from anyone.”

No call on Saturday. No call on Sunday. I called Sheena at 9 am on Monday morning and got her voice mail again. I began to fear that I would fill up her voice mail box and she’d take out a restraining order against me for stalking. Maybe Sheena herself has been in some sort of four-car pileup and she’s been lying on the side of the road bleeding for four days. I worried for her safety.

I called again at 11am and the mythical creature known as Sheena answered the phone! She lives! “Sheena! You’re okay! I was beginning to worry about you.” “Oh, hi. I was going to call you today.” “Yeah, but you didn’t. I had to call you again. You were supposed to call me on Friday.” “I was waiting for the police report, which I still don’t have.” “You could have told me that, Sheena. I was worried. I thought we had the kind of relationship where we can talk to each other about things like that. I felt like we were really connecting all those times I spoke to your voice mail. There I was, in pain and in need of guidance for four goddamn days, and your voice mail was always there for me, 24/7. It was like an anchor in a storm. It seems we just aren’t communicating anymore. I’m disappointed, Sheena.”

Sheena and I tried to work through our problems. She recorded me giving a statement about what happened. I thought we were really understanding each other until she told that I owe her $1,000. Wait, what?  “You have to pay a $1,000 deductible.” “Wait, what? Why? I just told you what happened. It wasn’t my fault.” “We have to wait for the conclusion of the investigation to determine that. If it is determined that it isn’t your fault, you will be reimbursed.” “Reimbursed? What kind of crap is that? What about medical expenses? I’ve been waiting four days to talk to you so that I could see a doctor since I don’t have health insurance.” “Well, you are welcome to see a doctor any time you want, but you have to pay for that up front, too. If it’s determined that it wasn’t your fault and if the person who hit you has insurance that covers that, you will be reimbursed.” “So, what you’re telling me is that I have to put up over a $1,000 for expenses that may or may not be reimbursed depending on whether the idiot(s) who hit me has the right kind of insurance and if it wasn’t my fault?” “Basically, yes.” “What exactly do I pay you for?”

That is some bullshit, right there. I don’t have health insurance nor do I have anything even remotely approaching $1,000. I don’t have rental car on my policy, so no matter what, I’m out a car. I basically pay a ridiculous amount of money to Sheena’s company, so that when something bad happens, I can fork over even more ridiculous amounts of money that may/may not be reimbursed after an unspecified length of time. Well, isn’t that just fucking awesome and totally worth the money. All I know for sure is that, no matter what happens, after all of this is over, Sheena and I are through.