There and Back Again

Saturday Car Crash Lessons

The reason I’m writing this post is to inform others about how to act immediately following their car accidents and avoid being screwed by either the opposing driver or insurance company.

TL;DR

  1. Always be sure to get a photo of their driver’s license or at least write down their name and driver’s license number¬†
  2. Write down or take a photo of their license plate
  3. Be sure to get photos of the damage
  4. Get a photocopy of their insurance policy
  5. In order to¬†prevent ‘discrepancy in the story’, just call the cops,¬†even if it’s a 30-120min wait (unless you’re in a hurry somewhere,¬†BE SURE you wrote down all of the above)
  6. A witness¬†always helps — just get a name, number from a driver near the scene of the accident, but make sure they saw what happened and who was at fault

On Saturday, September 27th 2014, I was involved in a car accident that left both parties unharmed. My father was driving on the frontage road going along northbound I-35 on Barbara Jordan Blvd. in Austin, TX just outside of the University of Texas at Austin campus. Our car was carrying four people, including me, there was my mother, father, and sister. Thankfully, my mother and sister were not harmed. The woman that struck us¬†was driving a ‘96 Jeep Cherokee (which sustained very little damage, mainly the front bumper fell off).¬†The area of where she struck our vehicle is shown here:¬†

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Her damage is here

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Our vehicle was driving along northbound I-35 (driving about 50mph) on Barbara Jordan Blvd when all of a sudden this woman pulls out from a parking lot center to enter the frontage road (which is one way). She, somehow stupidly, pulls out so deep that she hits us in the fast lane. This frontage road is threelanes wide. 

At the scene of the accident, we were all shocked. My father has not been in an accident since I’ve been alive (22 years btw). Immediately after impact, my father slows the car to a full stop. Soon after he quickly inspects damage, he pulls off into the parking lot where we meet the woman and her passenger (I stayed in the vehicle because I was ready to verbally abuse this woman and her stupidity).

My father, mother, and sister confront the (pregnant) woman about the accident and start to gather information, such as name, number, and insurance policy (unfortunately, we did forget a photo of her driver’s license). The woman profusely¬†apologizes (which doesn’t mean shit, IMHO. anyone can say sorry and not mean it, at all). She continues to say things like, “It’s my fault, our insurance will cover the damages”. Since my parents have not been in an accident in so long, they weren’t sure whether or not we should have the cops at the scene.While I’m in the car, I begin calling 911. I tell the operator we’ve been in an accident, he checks to make sure no one’s hurt. I say, “Do we need to have the cops to determine the fault?” And he replies, “No, the insurance companies do that.” Here I’m thinking what the hell do you guys do at accidents then?¬†Meanwhile, the woman is reassuring us that the cops don’t need to be called and their passenger never spoke a word to us about our safety or wellbeing. We didn’t call the cops to arrive. Her passenger kept pacing around the damaged cars in the parking lot.

As my parents and sister finish writing down her information and taking photos, we part and head to our destination, which was dim sum for brunch. 

During dim sum, we immediately call the woman’s insurance company, State Farm, to file a claim. Afterwards, my sister confirms that a claim has been filed when we checked our policy number online.

In hindsight of the accident, we recalled several important things:

  • The woman¬†never asked for our information (name, number, insurance policy) (yellow flag already)
  • Her insurance policy¬†didn’t list the woman’s name, but had the car listed under a different driver (definite red flag, cops should’ve been called)
  • We didn’t get a photo of her driver’s license

Almost a week later 

Today, Friday, Oct. 3rd 2014, my sister confirms to me that State Farm insurance has called and notified us that there’s a “discrepancy in the story”. Mind you, this story is as straightforward as can be. I asked several friends who’ve been in accidents to see how long insurance companies take to call after an accident, and they all said it was either within the same day or a couple hours. The fact that it took a week to receive a call from insurance and¬†the fact that the woman never took down our information is very concerning.¬†We’re still waiting to see what happens.

8:36pm

Starting on labor day of 2014, I’ve decided to start a year long project of taking photos every day at 8:36pm. It’s a hard habit to break into, but I’ve remembered to take photos by setting alarms on my calendar to remind me when it’s time.¬†

The project is inspired by seeing Marshall’s 8:36pm photostream. I think it’s going to be a fun way to see what’s happening in my life over the next year.¬†

EDIT: Check out my photos