Last week I talked about the lack of observation that plagues drivers nowadays. This week, I'll tell you how my own painful experience relates to that. Remember back in February I ordered a new car, and took delivery of it four weeks ago? Well - a week ago, an inattentive driver caused an accident. So I've been waiting for my car since February, and three weeks after taking delivery, had my first traffic accident in 27 years of driving.
So what happened? Pretty simply really. I was driving along a road that exits a mall, with parking lots either side. A lady pulled out from the parking lot on my left without looking, hit the back-left wheel of my car, and that spun me enough to change my direction to cross oncoming traffic (fortunately there wasn't any), and by the time I'd come to a stop, I'd gone over a small flower bed and into a row of parked cars.
Exactly how this happened is a mystery to me, because she didn't start to pull out until I was actually in front of her. It's not like she pulled out early and cut me off - if that had been the case, I'd have been buried in the side of her minivan. No - she literally drove straight into the side of my car while I was in front of her. I know she kept telling me she didn't see me - which is an excuse I'm used to hearing when riding my motorbike - but a big red car? Didn't see me? How is that even possible?
You might ask 'but Chris - what about YOUR observation? Why didn't you avoid the accident?'. Good question. Easy to answer - she wasn't moving when I started past the intersection, so I didn't see anything to avoid. It came as a hell of a surprise when she ran into me - to start with I had no idea what the hell had happened. That took a moment to sink in, I got on the brakes, and by that time, I was already over the flower bed and that's all she wrote.
So far, the insurance companies aren't willing to write off my car, probably because of the cost of a new one. But the repair bill is now up over $10,000 just for my car alone. Being a brand new model, and being from Europe, I now have to wait at least a month for parts - likely more. I face the spectre of being without it largely until Christmas now. Her insurance company admitted liability for the whole thing, probably because she actually admitted liability on the police report.
So what's next? The airbags didn't go off, so as far as the current inspection and teardown goes, it looks like everything is repairable. The unibody seems untwisted and the crash frame at the front appears untouched. The most damage was to the wheel where she hit me - it destroyed the suspension naturally. But all the stuff up front needs replacing too from where I ended up buried in the parked cars. Bumper, radiator, lights, support structures, rebar etc. But what about diminished value? The car was 3 weeks and 1 day off the lot, with 700 miles on it. I didn't even have a registration plate for it - it was still on delivery tags. At the very least I'm going to pursue her insurance company for some financial compensation there, because I'll never get market value for this car if I have to sell it now it has a crash on it's history. Then there's the special circumstances. A custom-built car, to my specification, that I had to wait four months for? Potentially another three months without it now? I'd like to know what her insurance company has to say about that too.