I was on my way home from a hard day of learning for my GED in the library. I was tired. All I could think about was getting home, taking a shower and a nap. I pulled up to the stoplight at a busy intersection and sat about two cars back in the far right lane. I stared at the red light, kind of zoning out while I waited for it to turn green. Suddenly I heard a loud crash and looked into the intersection only to see a big white truck careening straight towards me. All I remember was crying out, “Oh God, no!” and then turning away, so as not to see the impact.
I heard the crunch of metal on metal as I was whipped sideways like a piece of cooked spaghetti. Someone helped me out of my totaled car, which was now sitting between the sidewalk and a restaurant parking lot. I sat on the grass next to the sidewalk in shock as I surveyed the damage. The white truck had collided with another car in the intersection, then hit a SUV in the lane next to me before hitting my car.
Several people milled around as the police arrived and started making reports. I finally started coming to my senses and got up to ask for the details. No one seemed quite sure at the time who had caused the accident, the white truck or the compact car it collided with.
While I talked to one of the witnesses, a guy I went to the GED school with briefly, came running up to me. He told me that he was driving the white truck and placed the blame for the accident with the woman who drove the compact car. He seemed more interested in reminiscing about old school days than talking about the accident, which really bothered me. Especially since we never ran in the same crowd in school and really didn’t have much in common.
After the scene was cleared and the police were ready to leave the scene, I quickly caught up with one of the officers and asked him who was at fault. He simply told me that I could get a copy of the police report when it was ready and got in his patrol car and left.
Three days later, I was finally able to get a copy of the police report and found out that my old school chum in the white truck was the responsible party. He ran a red light and hit the poor woman in the compact car who was making a left turn. I got the name of his insurance company off the report and called them only to find out that his insurance had lapsed a week prior to the accident.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have uninsured motorist coverage on my insurance so I was stuck with the bill. To top it off, I injured my back in the accident and missed a month of work. My auto insurance wouldn’t cover any of my medical bills, but I was fortunate enough to have medical insurance through my job which covered all the doctor bills, pain killers, muscle relaxers and physical therapy. My employers paid for my portion of the premium while I was out of work but I had to repay them for it, which they took out in one lump some on my first paycheck after returning to work.
The kicker though, was that this old pal of mine had warrants out for his arrest in 3 different states. The officers at the accident scene didn’t ever bother to run his license because they let him go. Naturally, he skipped the state.
Well, here I was, asses out with no legal recourse. I had nothing to do except take it as a learning lesson. I got some uninsured motorist coverage and went on with my life.
Then one day about 6 months later, out of the blue, I get a phone call from Mr. Bad Driver. He was calling me because he had moved out of state (duh!) and needed to get his license reinstated for his new job. He wanted to know if I would sign some sort of release and he would pay me whatever I thought he owed me for my pain and suffering.
I wanted to see where he was going with this, so I told him that $10,000 would probably do. He said that sounded fair but that he couldn’t pay it all at once, he would have to pay it in installments. I told him that would be fine since I had done without the money all this time anyway. Then he asked me to give him my address so he could send the release to me to sign.
“Wait a minute,” I said, “I’m not signing anything until I get my money. All of it.”
“But I need it signed right away.” he whined, “I’ll send you the money, but I need the release now.”
“Sorry,” I said. “I need the money first.”
For some strange reason, he hung up on me. Gee, do you think that maybe he was never going to send me the money?