Monday, May 12, 2014

Rant #1,205: Happy To Be Alive

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day.

I had a great day, too, but it was preceded by perhaps the worst day of my life.

The only good thing was that it could have been worse.

My family and I were driving along a major thoroughfare in our town on Saturday afternoon, going north on this main street, which is mainly residential where we were driving.

It was raining, and I had my lights and wipers on.

We were driving so that my son could fill out a job application at one of the local hardware stores. We got a tip that the place was hiring, so we were en route there.

Driving along, I hear my wife scream out, "Watch out!"

A car coming from one of the connecting side streets hit our car flush on the driver's side. The other car was going so fast, and the impact was so great, that it tumbled my car over on its roof, and we skidded to a halt on the side of the road.

Somehow, my wife got out of the car amidst the car turned upside down with glass all over the place. An ambulance and police came almost immediately, and they helped my son out of the car. He was hysterical and shouting, his adrenaline at full tilt, to the point where a fireman literally had to take him down.

But I was still in the car, upside down, still attached to the car in my seat by my seat belt. The EMTs, police and firemen tried to get me out of the car, but when I got my bearings, I was able to free myself from the seat. I moved over to the passenger door, and they put me on a stretcher and immobilized my head and body.

Evidently what happened is that the person in the other car, a kid of 24 or so, came right from the connecting street, never stopping at the stop sign on the street, and barreled into us, never seeing us until he hit us.

My family and I were taken to the local medical center, and except for some bruises, cuts and scrapes, we are OK. My wife's hand is pretty ripped up, but no broken bones. My son is OK, and I came through it pretty well. My neck hurts, and I have a bump on my forehead.

Now comes the hard part. I spoke to my insurance company, and they are going after the kid's insurance company for damages, which I should receive, less a deductable that I have on my policy.

I have no car. It was totaled, and it was towed to a local shop.

An adjuster has to look at the damage, rate its level--totaled, hopefully, because the car cannot be repaired--make his report, and then present it to the insurance company.

I also have to get the actual accident report from my local police precinct.

I get a rental car, and then pretty much wait to get a check in the mail.

I live in a no-fault state, so we are both right in this instance, and we are both wrong--there is no guilt ... and that is even though the other party is 1,000 percent at fault here.

But, of course, I am the one who is going to get ripped apart by this, as my insurance rates will go up, and I have to buy another car.

Ironically, another accident happened on Saturday very nearby to what happened to us, where another car flipped over. The people in that car weren't as lucky as we were, as four local high school students died in that crash.

Yes, we were very, very lucky.

First off, I should not complain. My family and I are alive. When I was hanging upside down, my son thought I was dead. My wife said to me that she thought that perhaps I had a broken back or other internal injuries.

Happily, I was shaken, but not stirred, and neither were they.

I want to thank the witnesses who called the accident into 911, the EMTs, the police, the firemen, and the doctors and nurses at the hospital for taking care of us during this ordeal.

And I thank my wife and son for their perseverance during this ordeal.

I thank God for allowing us to come out of this pretty much unscathed.

I thank my daughter. Even though she was not with us, when she was born in 1988, nearly 26 years ago, I began wearing my seat belt. Fun time was over, and as a new dad, I decided that I had to set the tone, and I have worn my seat belt ever since, because of her presence.

If it was not for that seat belt, I would be dead, and if not for their seat belts, my family would be gone, too.

And, of course, I thank my parents, family and friends for standing my us.

And for the kid who did this to us, he and his family were in the hospital room opposite ours, and all the mother did was stare in at me, and I stared back at her. I wish she would have simply said, "We are sorry," but I guess I should not have expected that.

If she would have said that, I would have simply said, "These things happen. Let's let the insurance companies handle it."

But all she did was stare, and all she got back from me was a stare back.

They didn't even deserve that.


  1. A few months ago I was in your situation. Some 24 year old kid blew through a red light slamming into my truck at a high rate if speed sending me flying. Totaled my truck with me and my mother in it. He literally walked away from the accident while my mother and I were back boarded and collared and extricated from my truck. Thank God for the fireman driving behind me who knew we had the green light and saw the entire thing unfold right in front of him. Luckily the insurance company assigned this idiot 100% liability. But that did not alleviate MY problems. Aside from the physical injuries, which were minor in my case considering what could've been, and my mother's fractured sternum and considerable bruising which she is still recovering from, I was without a car for months. It took the insurance company over five weeks just to assess my truck. They totaled it immediately but then another 10 days to send the check, which if course doesn't come close to buying a replacement vehicle. I am now leasing a truck until such time as the lawsuits are settled. This kid not only almost killed me and my mother and devastated my family, but cause an unbelievable amount of inconvenience. I realized that I have been driving longer than this kid has been alive. His negligence and recklessness, not to memtion his inexperience, don't matter because I'm sure he is still out there driving. He shouldn't be. And his arrogance at the scene of the accident HE caused was disgusting. He denied blowing the red light. Good thing I had my witness and I know there were others I came to find out later. Doesn't negate my months of recovery and inconvenience. My truck was free and clear- the first vehicle I ever paid off in my whole life. In mint condition. Didn't owe me a thing. I am beyond angry. And have I received an apology or any kind of acknowledgement from this kid? No. Nothing. So I completely understand your rant. I hope in the end we both get the compensation and justice we deserve.

  2. Larry, as I said elsewhere, glad you guys are ok. But I think you misunderstood the term "no fault". This is not a chargeable accident from your viewpoint or that of your insurer. They have assigned liability to the other driver and will pursue a subrogation claim against the other driver and his insurer. Keep pushing them to recover your deductible. They won't surcharge you for an accident where they make a recovery against the other insurer. Been there personally as well as professionally.

    As for the kid, he had no idea what injuries you sustained. He doesn't know if you plan to sue (this is where "no fault" applies). Many lawyers would advise a client not to say a word to you, in case it comes back to haunt the client in litigation. Down the road. Rude, perhaps, but also self preservation.

  3. Probably right on both your accounts. Let's see what happens. All I want is a fair amount of money from the other company, and I won't pursue anything further. There evidently were witnesses who saw the whole thing, and said the kid never stopped as he pulled out from the street. I have to get the police report, which in Nassau County, is like trying to get honey from a hungry bear. And I got zero help from the local precinct, which has given me nothing but incorrect information about how to obtain this report, which my insurance company needs. Let's see what happens, but again, if I get a reasonable amount back, I will not pursue further action. However, if I don't, then we will see.

  4. It's amazing that all of you walked away without much injuries, as compared to those four students who died. However, it's indeed very frustrating that you'd be on the losing end whatever happens. While you cannot press for civil liabilities, perhaps a criminal case could be warranted if the other party was still unrepentant. Whatever happens, I hope you guys are doing well by now. Stay safe!

    Jerry Brady @ Lambert & Williams Lawyers



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