Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Car Insurance Just Doubled

I was in my first accident today. Well, my first accident while I was driving. Actually, maybe it was my second. Earlier this year, I hit my neighbor's parked car when I pulled out of my driveway in a rush to get to church. I'm not sure if that counts as an accident or not. I'm sure, to my insurance company, it does.

Anyway, I was going to pick up my son from school. I sat, waiting to make a left turn. When the traffic cleared, I turned. BAM! It took me a minute to realize what had happened. I'd been hit! What the heck?! Where did that car come from?! The street was clear. Where on earth had they come from?!

I pulled over into a parking lot and the other car followed me. A teenage girl got out of the car and looked at me like I was an idiot. I asked her, "Didn't you see me?" She flipped out and started yelling, "ME see YOU?! Didn't YOU see ME?" Umm, well, no actually. I didn't. I turned away from her and dialed 911. Actually, I didn't so much dial 911 as I punched 911 as my passcode to unlock my phone. Shockingly, it didn't work. Duh. I came to my senses, unlocked my phone and dialed 911. Isn't that what you're supposed to do? What ARE you supposed to do in an accident? Call the police, right? Or are you just supposed to trade insurance information. I have no idea what to do! Ugh, I got through to 911 and told them the info. No, no airbags deployed. No, no one was hurt. At least I didn't think anyone was hurt. Crap, I didn't even ask to make sure no one was hurt! What's wrong with me? That's the first thing you should do, right? Ohmygosh, my brain wasn't functioning at all.

I hung up and walked back to my car so I could make sure that no one was hurt. Brooklyn was yelling and crying.

"Are you hurt or just scared?" I repeatedly asked her, starting to freak out that she might have been hurt. Finally she answered me.

"I'm hurt."

"Oh God, let her be ok," I thought. "What hurts, sweetie?" I asked, full of concern.

"My ears hurt. That was loud," she whined.

"Your EARS?" Ugh. I breathed a sigh of relief that the kids were all ok. Then I turned to Austin who had been walking out toward the car at the time of the accident. "Was it my fault? Did I pull out in front of her or was she speeding and not see me turn?" I asked.

"It was your fault, Mom," he answered. "She was there and you pulled in front of her."

I felt like an idiot. How did I not see her. It wasn't like I wasn't paying attention or anything. I wasn't talking on the phone or texting or even flailing my arm around to try to swat Jackson for being obnoxious and bugging Clay. I was totally paying attention to the road. I still can't understand how it happened. I wish I could see a video replay of the events from every angle because I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that I caused an accident.

Meanwhile, Jackson was supposed to be at the library for his first Battle of the Books meet. I didn't know how to get in touch with anyone and the police officer hadn't even shown up yet. Oh well, whatcha gonna do, right? We sat tight and waited. The officer pulled up and got out of her car. It was the same officer that came to my house last week! Oh yeah, back up. I guess I never wrote about that. One day last week, a police officer showed up at my front door asking for Jackson.

"Here he is. Take him away," I said. "I always knew this would happen some day. What did he do?" I asked.

Long story short is that he and some friends were walking home from school when a car slowed down and yelled some obscenities out the window to Jackson and his friends. One of the kids' parent called the police to report it. Jackson told her what kind of a car it was and what the driver looked like, but said that he didn't really hear what was said.

Anyway, this was the same officer and she remembered us. The other driver came out, the vein in her head ready to burst, but I started talking first and admitted that I must have pulled out in front of her and I just didn't see her.

Sigh. So, in the end, I got a lovely ticket with a price tag of $115 and I get to attend a fun-filled, 4 hour traffic school, the side door of my van is smashed in (but thankfully, still usable), and I'm scared half-to-death to drive. Oh and another parent from the Battle of the Books got ahold of me, I filled her in on what was going on and she sent another parent over to pick up Jax and take him to the library. (They won their first battle despite my slacker son who didn't do his fair share of the reading.)

And none of this would have happened if I didn't live in the frozen tundra because my son would've been walking home. And, of course, none of this would've happened at all if I hadn't just been bragging about the fact that I'd never been in an accident. Damn that Murphy and his stupid law!


Sandy in Illinois said...

Thankful you are all OK.

Anonymous said...

Ahh.. I am so sorry -- accidents happen to everyone, please give yourself a break!

Mum-me said...

So glad you're all okay. Hope you don't have to experience that ever again!

Brianna said...

I'm glad everyone is ok.

Make sure you guys replace any carseats and booster seats though, they shouldn't be used after an accident, no matter how minor.

there are only a few more expensive brands that allow for use after a minor fender bender.

Brandy said...

Dawn I'm glad you are OK! I must say that for you to not have have an accident until you were in your 90's is awesome!! ;)

Crystal said...

Glad no one was hurt

Stephanie said...

I am glad to hear you are all okay!

TDM Wendy said...

There are no car accidents in California due to the weather and frequencies of natural disasters. I know that might not make sense, but it's true. No accidents. No plastic surgery or movie stars either. You should move here.
Glad everyone is okay and that you can blog about it. So much cheaper than therapy.

MHW said...

Bad luck. Sorry for your trauma but highly relieved you're still blogging - I don't follow many blogs and I'd really miss you had you been debilitated! It's a big shock, isn't it.

And I'll tell you something they never do but really OUGHT to warn people about... AIRBAGS ARE SCARY. When I had my accident on the black ice I thought I'd been shot (noise, smell, disorientation) and staggered out of the car in the pitch darkness in a scared and dangerous fashion!

The thing to do in accidents is take your time to realise what's happening before you act.

Frau Mahlzahn said...

God, Murphy's law _is_ a real pain! I always like to think that've learned my lesson and don't brag anymore (especially not about how nice and well behaved my kids are as compared to those awful neighbor kids, *lol*) -- but, woooosh, there it goes when you least expect it.

Thank God, though, that nobody was hurt! 115 Dollars is a lot for a lesson learned but still better than being physically hurt!

So long,

Kiki Nakita said...

Wow, I had a moment today too Dawn!

I was driving down a busy street on my way home, all of a sudden the bus stopped, pulled out it's sign and flashed it's lights from the other side of the road...

...I couldn't stop as I was already past the bus, didn't stop him from honking his horn though!...

Hopefully a fine won't come into the mail...first offense for me too!

Happens to the best of us :)

Mark said...

See Dawn? YOU shoulda slammed on those "BREAKS" !!

By the way...had you NOT phoned the could have saved $115. Just exchange info with the other driver (like who you are insured by, name and address etc).

Oh well...glad everyone was OK. I guess those are " just the BRAKES"

Donna said...

Dawn, accidents do happen and we are never really prepared and we are in shock. I am so glad you and the kids and the other driver were ok.
Just watch for delayed neck aches ect.
I bet that scared Austin too when he saw it.
Hugs to you all.
Donna from NE Indiana

Anonymous said...

Dawn, Glad everyone is okay.

Anyway, if you were ticketed in Cook County you can avoid the 4-hour traffic class by registering to their online class. Take it in the privacy of your own home at your own speed. It's a wonderful thing. It does cost extra, but the cost is well worth it.


Amanda said...

The same thing happened to me around Halloween. I was hit just right to where my vehicle was totaled though. Bent the frame. We still only have one car, which in the winter, I'm not complaining. That was months ago, and I still get mild anxiety attacks when I drive.

Jessica said...

Hey Dawn,

The back of my car insurance card has some instructions so that when you're disoriented you know what to do. Mine says:

If you have an accident - Notify the police immediately (this is in all caps)

1.Write down names, addresses, telephone numbers, and license numbers of persons involved and of witnesses. Also write down the license plate number and state of each vehicle involved.

2. Do not admit fault. Do not discuss the accident except with [insurance company] or police.

3. Notify your agent promptly to initiate the claim filing process.

Some car insurance companies now also have applications for iPhones or other smart phones. These applications allow you to use your camera on your phone to take a snapshot of the scene and enter it into the application process. You can file your claim while you're still at the accident scene and things are fresh in your mind. I hear they're really easy to use.

Glad to hear everyone is ok.

jana said...

Was the girl driving a silver or goldish car? I've had 3 accidents in the last 28 years of driving. All the same scenario as yours and all with silver/goldish cars. I must not be able to see them.

B said...

Glad everyone was okay!

Christina in Vegas said...

They're called accidents because we don't plan on being in them. Don't stress. Take the online drivers class, realize that most people have been in accidents, and praise God that no one got hurt.

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

So glad that you are all ok, and especially that Brooklyn's ears are ok too!

Jen said...

Wow. I am really glad you all are okay hon. **hugs**

Christy said...

So glad everyone was ok! Maybe your insurance company offers "accident forgiveness" and won't increase your rates after all - let's hope so! Also, I've always been told that you are supposed to just state the facts when recounting what happened and that you should never admit fault. I'm not sure if that's correct or not, but I've sure heard that a lot.

Jayne V. said...

I've had many close calls like that. I swear, I look and don't see anyone. Then I go to turn and as if out of nowhere, a car appears inches from my car. So glad, everyone is OK!

Knitty said...

Glad everyone is ok. Two possibilities come to mind for not seeing the other car: Is your rear view mirror or the A pillar (the part of your car between windshield and passenger door) wide enough to block your view of a car to your right in an intersection?

As strange as this may sound to someone who hasn't experienced it, my 2000 Lumina was almost in the accident you described because of that pillar. Another car wasn't obscured all the time, but where I sit (the seat position) and the position of the other car, especially if it was shorter one, resulted in me not seeing the other car unless I craned my neck a bit.

I now drive a Chevy HHR. While the rear view mirror isn't huge, it occasionally causes the same obstruction at intersections. :(

Anonymous said...

Aww, don't sweat it, everyones in an accident sooometime or other :).

TracyJ said...

I'm glad you're okay. I was in a similar accident last year. My friend and I were the ones driving straight and the person turning left didn't yield to us, the oncoming traffic. We ended up hitting her and her car flipped. THANKFULLY NO ONE WAS HURT. And we all came out of this unscratched, unharmed and only just a bit shook up.

But I will say, ever since then, I've been more anxious in cars. I guess that's what happens after being in a car accident.

Michelle said...

Yikes, glad you're ok! Bummer on the ticket, but it could definitely be worse. And I *believe* you can do your traffic school online in your own time instead of going to sit for four hours.

I'm so paranoid of getting in an accident, especially with the wee ones. I picture it ALL the time, and it's never good.

See you at Disney on Tuesday? At least this time I know where to pick up the tickets! ;)

Cinderella said...

I don't know if this will make you feel better or not, but it's happened to me too - the not seeing the car. The last time it happened, I turned to my daughter and said "I really didn't see her" and she goes, "oh,that's not good, mom." I go over it and over it and I promise you that car wasn't there. Which leaves only two explanations: either my brain had a glitch or aliens. I'm leaning toward aliens.

Carrie said...

That is almost an exact description of my only accident. It took me weeks to figure out HOW I didn't see her...I kept reliving it in my mind. I finally realized that a van had been driving in my direct line of sight of the little car. So when the van passed, I pulled out...directly in front of the hidden car. The insurance company put her at 25% fault, although I have no idea why and I felt really bad about that. (Sidenote: I was pregnant at the time so I blamed not seeing the car on that.) :)

Laura G said...

I'm so thankful you're all ok! I agree w/ Jen, silver cars are the hardest to see! You were being honest in front of your kids, but you're never supposed to admit fault. Just the basics of what happened, and only tell that to your insurance company. I was involved in a backing up accident in a grocery parking lot, and didn't know who's fault it was. My car had no damage, the other had a dent. My insurance broker and company both went to battle for me, and it was declared a "no fault" accident, so our own insurance companies covered our damage. Since I had no damage, I had no increase in coverage. The other guy had to pay for his own damage.
All the best w/ getting the kinks worked out of your door!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Dawn, I'm so sorry to hear about your accident! I'm glad you're all okay and, hopefully, Brooklyn can hear again. ;o)

I have to tell you, you did the ABSOLUTE right thing by calling the police. Whoever suggested that you shouldn't have is dead wrong! I had a fender bender a couple of years ago and didn't call the police, but just exchanged insurance info with the other driver. We figured there wasn't a lot of damage, so why bother the police with it? My insurance company went ballistic! The first thing they ask you is for the police report number. You did the right thing -- even if it did cost you $115.

Don't beat yourself up about this whole thing. I've also been driving and wondered, "Hey, where did that car come from?" Now, I understand how accidents happen -- even if we aren't distracted while we're driving.

Be careful out there! We don't want anything to happen to you or the kids!! :o)

Donna in PA :)

Cookie said...

Oh, how horrible.

mamapajama said...

Maybe a blind spot between the windshield and passenger side window? If you glance quickly, and a car is in that blind spot, it's so easy to miss it, pull out and WHAM! Glad everyone is OK.

Ashley said...

Strange but the bar going from the roof of your van down the right side of the windshield could have given you your "blind spot". I've had the same thing happen-although thankfully the car was able to swerve and miss me!

Anonymous said...

You get a ticket too? I mean it was an accident! That's horrible! But the price is not overly high. I once was caught speeding at a construction zone and paid almost $500 for that. In my defense, there were two posted speed signs, and I was going by the second, more lenient one (5 miles over it, mind you). Nonetheless, I learned my lesson and don't have the "this won't happen to ME!" philosophy anymore. LOL Point: bad things happen to the best of us. :)

MPMommy said...

So glad everyone is ok. I've always been told to never admit anything or take blame, place blame, whatever at the scene of an accident. Talk to your insurance company first and let them sort out who's at fault. I would have only called the cops had someone been hurt or had the other driver started to go crazy on you. You will, as another poster said, need to replace the car seats, but that will be covered by whomever is found at fault (hope it's not you!). Also, that only covers seats that were occupied at the time of the accident, which is dumb is you ask me. Anyway, glad you're all safe. I'd had near misses like that where I look, see nothing, am about to pull out, turn, whatever, and suddenly there's a car there. Where did it come from??

Anonymous said...

thanks for the amazing choc chip recipe. You're right they are the best. I am so sorry you were in an accident. Give yourself a break it happens just glad no one was hurt!

Robin said...

It's most important that no on was injured..well...except for Brooklyn's ears! :)

Sue said...

Glad you guys are okay! This is for your sunday soundout below-

I would love to know your routine. With 6 kids I bet its hectic. I only have 4 so its crazy busy here. Oh, and what kind of coffee do you brew at home. From one coffee lover to another. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you are okay...but you should be very glad that you don't live in NJ as I do want to talk about HIGH insurance- it is the highest in the country! My stomach turns every month when I pay the bill...

Shellie said...

So sorry, but it did make for a great story.

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