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My rear-end nightmare
Great Little Car
Insurance adjusters and lawyes are vultures
I bought a new car this June, a 2013 Ford CMAX Hybrid. It gets 45 miles to the gallon in the city and about 41 on the highway. My daughter and I used it to take a friend to Oakland to work this summer. I drove all over the bay area and Sacramento in June and then in July I drove from Riverside to San LeandroCalifornia without stopping, twice. This car is saving us tons of money.
On October 11, I was rear-ended. This is how I described the accident for my insurance and my attorney: I left work at Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino where I am a language arts teacher at 2:50 pm on Friday. I am a singe-dad, English teacher and academic coach. I needed to pick up my daughter and get back to work for a football game. The 215 South was backed up out of San Bernardino so I too La Cadena. I got on the freeway at La Cadena and the 215. Traffic was light. I entered the 215S/60E interchange and there was little traffic. I passed your client just after University St. Exit going 45-50 in the FAST lane. I passed him because he was driving strangely in and out of the land.
When I got next to the car, I could see him looking at something in his hand and not the road. I moved ahead about fifty yards at the MLK exit and got back into the fast lane. We were traveling up a steep grade. Traffic was LIGHT. Your client was 5-10 car lengths behind ME.
At the Central exit, I noticed a black Toyota Camry speeding up the hill and cutting in and out of traffic. He came into the fast lane two cars ahead of me and traffic had slowed to about 35 mph as we climbed this hill.
The car he cutoff slammed on his brakes and there was smoke from the tires. The older red Honda in front of me stopped. My car did not skid and came to a complete stop about 8ft behind the Honda.. As we start to pull off. I started to take my foot off the brake, I heard screeching. I looked in my mirror and saw your clients Honda coming at me. The car behind him went around as he crashed into me. This was a full 3 seconds after we initially stopped
We pull off the road easily. I get out and call 911. My back bumper is destroyed. My rear lift gate window has gaps in it and my exhaust system is completely bent and ripped from its housing. The hood, headlights, and radiator on his car are obliterated. The dash is pushed in and his right hand is bleeding and can't be used. He told me, immediately, that he assumed I hit the other driver. A CHP tow-truck came by and told us no CHP officer would come. I was angry and frustrated, so I reported it to my insurance and naively drove my car home. When I got home the rear tailpipe dragged across the concrete. I took pictures, but it wasn't until the next morning when I had it towed to Raceway Ford, when I noticed the damage to the undercarriage all the way to the front.
That night my back started to tighten up. I was texting with a Registered Nurse and mentioned it to her and she told me to take something IMMEDIATELY. I did and tried to go to the hospital, but could not drive my damaged car.
My back is stiff and I have this burning sensation from the back of my head to my left ankle. I am an active 50-year old. I exercise, cycle, and go dancing. I am on my feet 7 hrs a day teaching the most challenging students at our school. I run after-school tutoring for our athletes and am the newspaper advisor. I am also the sole provider for my 13-year-old daughter. This car represented a move forward to us. I NEED my life put back together. I need a rental so I can go to the doctor.
I reported the accident to my insurance, GEICO, immediately but I made a couple of mistakes. I take full responsibility for those. I should have stayed in my car and I should have called an attorney immediately. I chose to go with the other guy’s insurance because I couldn’t come up with a thousand dollar deductible to get my car fixed.
Since I started talking to Affirmative Insurance in Dallas, his insurance, I have told them that I am NOT primarily interested in my injuries. I am injured. I suffered a concussion and I have this intense burning sensation that goes from my right shoulder to my left ankle. However, I know that if I do what doctors tell me to do and I eat right and exercise, I can repair my body. Yes, I deserve compensation for my injuries, but I have never been in an accident and this was not my main concern.
My main concern was the little C-MAX and whether it would hold its value. From the minute I started talking to actual people about my car, I mentioned this idea of diminished value. My car is brand new, less than six months old. It had almost 11,000 miles on it. I do plan to trade it in and get a plug-in or a plug-in hybrid.
MY mistake was choosing to go through his cut-rate insurance, Affirmative. In my concussed and shocked state, I should have demurred and waited to make a decision when I was in a better state of mind. My complaint, however, is that neither my insurance company, GEICO, nor my new lawyer seem to care about the value of my car. I’m not completely sure my ‘attorney’, of Gerard Friend Law Firm in Los Angeles knows what diminished value claim is.
The fact is that all of these people are after one thing, money. None of them are genuinely concerned about my lost value in my car or whether the burning in my leg will go away. It’s a game to them and they get to play with people’s lives. Lesson learned. My last message to the serpentine hoard was this, “Do what you vultures do, and get out of my life.”