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How To Get Into An Accident 101

By Cheryl Ryan

Recently, I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light by a high schooler driving a jeep full of teenagers.  I watched in my rearview mirror as he slammed into the back of my car while looking across the street at a group of girl protesters.  At first I was mad but then remembered how scary that first accident can be. Once the light turned green I pulled over and he pulled over behind me.

He was very shaky, polite, and apologetic as he wrote down his phone number and readily admitted that he wasn’t watching.  It didn’t look like a lot of damage so I didn’t call an officer. I took his number, asked for his parent’s number, and took some photos of our cars pulled over to the side of the road to get his license plate and show the damage to my car.

I felt good about handling this incident in a way that was less fraught for his first accident. But I’m not feeling so good now. Now we are dealing with Victor, his father. From the moment I called, he was not appreciative of any part of this situation which I can understand when the first words you hear are that your son has been involved in an accident. 

But things keep getting worse. While we’ve had to run around getting estimates, he has stopped responding. And now he’s saying that there was already damage to my car before this accident. Really? He says his son saw existing damage.  His son was so shaken he could barely write his name but he saw existing damage?  I’ve only had the car for 18 months and it’s never been in an accident. 

I’m mad and sad about this. I’m mad at myself for not expecting the worst and getting his insurance information and calling an officer. I was foolish. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in an accident and after all these years it’s still nerve-wracking to be in a crash and I made the mistake of counting on people to do the right thing.

I’m sad because this is the world we live in. Victor has no intention of teaching his son to be a good, honest citizen. This could’ve been so much worse. His son could’ve hurt someone. Yes, the cost of the damage is more than expected, auto bodywork adds up, especially since the jeep has substantial offroad hardware in the front. Yet, Victor has never called to ask for photos or any further clarification.  He went straight to teaching his son to be a shirker rather than an upstander and that makes me very sad indeed.

Have you gone through anything like this?

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