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October 30, 2003

Here In My Car

Okay, I'm doing this because Overg told me I should keep track of everything that has happened. And since I always do what Overg tells me to do ...

On Saturday, October 25 at approximately 12:45 p.m. I was involved in a minor accident at the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, Florida. I had just left the Saturn of Carrollwood dealership after having my oil changed and the recall work done on my car.

As I was heading south on Dale Mabry and approaching the turn off for Hillsborough, I began applying my brakes to slow down before manuevering into incoming, westbound traffic. I slowed down to approximately 15 mph, then noticed resistance in pushing down the brake pedal further. I backed off the pedal a bit, then pressed it hard again. At this point my wheels started spinning a little bit, and then - going about 5-10 mph - I slid into the car in front of me.

I got out of the car and looked down at my brake pedal. I saw that the driver's side floor mat was folded over on itself, so that it was bunched up underneath the brake pedal (which resulted in my not being able to depress the brake pedal all the way). I then went around to the front of my car to assess the damage.

The other driver's husband exited their car and inspected the cars with me. Neither of us could see any damage to either car. I kneeled down to look more closely at each car's bumper. I didn't see anything on mine, but on closer inspection of the other car I noticed a vertical nick on the bumper. I pointed this out to the husband and he told me that the nick was already on the bumper before I slid into their car. He refered to the nick having occured from something his wife had done.

The husband told me that his wife was on the phone with the police, so I stood beside my car. He leaned into the car to speak to her, then came back and told me that the police dispatcher had told his wife that, since there appeared to be no damage, they would not send an officer out to the scene. The dispatcher recommended that the involved parties exchange insurance information.

The husband asked me to drive a short distance and meet them in the parking lot of Pep Boys, about 1/8 mile away. I did so and parked my car across from his car. I got out of my car and walked over to the other car to talk to the driver, Anne Roberts. I asked her if she was injured, and she said no. I asked if her husband or daughter was injured, and she said no. I looked at her bumper again and expressed my shock that there didn't appear to be any damage. She agreed and we both commented on the having late-model cars with flexible bumpers.

We then walked over to my car. She asked me if I was injured and I said "no." She asked if my car was damaged and I said it was not. We walked around to the front of my car to look at the bumper. She didn't see any damage to my car either. We then exchanged insurance and driver's license information while standing at the trunk of my car. We also exchanged home addresses and phone numbers, "just in case" something was damaged on her car that could not be seen.

I mentioned that I appreciated her husband being honest about the nick in her bumper not being from the accident. She said that she did that herself by closing the garage door on her car the day after she got it, on April 1.

She left first, and I pulled out onto Hillsborough Ave. behind her, heading west. I drove behind her for approximately 2 miles to make sure her car was driving okay. Then I continued home.

I did not hear from Mrs. Roberts on Sunday. On Monday night I came home from work to find a message from her on my answering machine (which I have saved). She said that she had called her insurance agent in order to make a report about what happened so it would be on file, and that her agent said that I was supposed to call my agent and do the same. She also mentioned something about how this needed to be done to avoid a fradulent claim of some sort, but I didn't really understand what she meant.

I called her back and asked her specifically if there was any damage to her car, because I was concerned that maybe something had happened to it after I left her on the weekend. She said that there was "no damage that I can see" but that she just wanted something on file in case there was damage "that isn't visible." She gave as an example something being bent underneath the car.

I agreed and asked her again if she and her husband and daughter were physically okay, and she said they were fine. I also asked if her car was driving okay and she said it was. I apologized again for inconveniencing her on Saturday and told her I would call my agent the next day.

I called my insurance agent, Bill Ruggie, on Tuesday morning to report what had happened. The assistant I spoke to said that since there was no damage, there would be no claim.

About an hour later I got a call from Mrs. Roberts' agent's office, asking me if my agent was going to put in the claim against my insurance. I replied that I was under the assumption that, since there was no damage, there was no claim. Then the person told me that no, Mrs. Roberts was claiming that there are scratches on her bumper. I said that there were no scratches on her bumper on Saturday other than the one she and her husband both admitted was already there prior to the accident. The person told me she would call Mrs. Roberts to clarify and then call me back. I never heard from the person again.

On Wednesday night I got a call from a State Farm claims representative who wanted to ask me questions about the accident. I again reiterated that I was surprised there was any claim being made, because there was no damage. The claim rep refered to "scratches" being in the report. He couldn't tell me if a claim had actually been filed. So I gave him all of the details about what happened. He seemed to think the discrepency was strange, too - especially the fact that I talked to Mrs. Roberts on Monday night and she told me then that there was no damage to her car. He has scheduled an inspection of my car for Friday, Oct. 31. He told me he would be calling Mrs. Roberts after he got off the phone with me to schedule an inspection of her car as well.

Posted by Julie on October 30, 2003 05:29 PM to the category Stuff About Me

Grrrrrrr...this does not bode well. I hate shady people. I had a guy rear-end me so hard he put a huge dent in my bumper and the impact knocked the headband off my head. When we went to exchange information - he wouldn't let me hold his driver's license - he tried to give me the info verbally. I took the license anyway .. and the name on the license wasn't the same as the name he tried to give me. Then, he didn't want to report it to insurance - he wanted to pay for the damage in cash once I had an estimate. I called my brother in law on the spot (who owns an auto repair shop) and he gave me a price to replace the bumper. The guy agreed - we agreed to a time and place for him to give me the money - and he showed - but attempted to give me half. I said - "nevermind, I'll call my insurance company". He paid me. A**hole.

I hope this doesn't turn in to drama for you, Heewig. Otherwise, I might have to call some East Coast Leg Breakers on your behalf. ;-)


Posted by: TVJunkie at October 31, 2003 12:58 PM

And if my rates get raised, I'm switching auto insurance companies. What companies do you guys recommend?

Posted by: Julie at October 31, 2003 02:03 PM

Here's a wee little update - State Farm was supposed to call me at work today (Friday, Oct. 31) to schedule a time for their person to come out and inspect my car for damage. It's now 2 p.m. ET and still no call. I guess if I don't hear from them today, I'll call the 800-number on Monday.

I'm not sure what this woman's trying to do, but I know for a fact there were no scratches on her bumper on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. So I'm not sure why she has scratches (she says) on Tuesday.

Posted by: Julie at October 31, 2003 02:05 PM

HWG - I work for an insurance company...I've been in the industry for over 10+ years. With the floor mat being stuck under your brake pedal, your insurance company should not "charge" you with an at-fault accident, so your rates should not increase from this incident. If they do deem it an at-fault accident, there is normally a threshold dollar amount (varies by state/company) before the accident can increase your rates. Your agent should know this threshold, and can advise you if it would be beneficial to pay any $$ out of your pocket (or the car dealer's). An insurance company cannot increase your rates for an accident if there was no money paid out from an insurance carrier.

Lastly...your insurance company is there for YOU. That's why you pay those premiums...for them to handle this hassle for you. With my mattress incident a few weeks back, I only spoke once with the other carrier - then told them to deal directly with my company's claims rep. Feel free to e-mail me with questions if you have any about the insurance process at copssister@comcast.net

Posted by: copssister at October 31, 2003 06:18 PM

Posted by: uhasadin at May 27, 2007 12:56 AM

Posted by: uhasadin at May 27, 2007 12:57 AM
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