June 18, 2007

The Intricate Dance With The Tortious Offender and Her Insurance Company, Chapter One

Ever have one of those nightmares where you're being chased by someone wielding a GIGANTIC ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER?

All I know is that if Dante ever came back to life, he'd tear up the Divine Comedy and start writing about car insurance.

SO, let's see--I get hit, and my car won't run. Have to have it towed in. I expect that the police report will have the other driver's information such as a local address, phone number, and oh, I don't know, maybe their insurance policy number. Because before the other driver left, I asked the officer if the report would have all of her information on it. He said it would. Wait 72 business hours for report to be readied.

TODAY, go to PD and pick up report. Notice that there is no insurance number on there. Let out a little high-pitched imaginary scream.

Back to the phone. First find the girl's name and do some preliminary Googling. UAB student, pre-nursing. No local number. But she does have a MySpace page. I do know that she works at Brookwood Hospital. Call there first. Get the runaround from the charge nurse on the floor where she supposedly works.

"Will she be in today?"

"I don't know."

"Do you know what days she's scheduled to work?"

"NO. She might be here tomorrow."

Gosh--that gives me all kinds of confidence in the quality of care I'd receive at Brookwood!

Okay, I have her number in Mississippi, but before I chase that rabbit, I'll try some interaction with her insurance company, the mighty vaunted Safeway. Call, nice young man tells me he has no one by that name in his system. Tells me he has no one by that address listed in his system. I ask what I think is a darned good question--can they search by Vehicle Identification Number? You know, since they insure Vehicles, that all have Identification Numbers. "No sir, I'm sorry, but we can't search by VIN. You're going to have to get your insurance to pay for this."

[internal monologue] Well, you see, little weasel rat, I don't carry collision on my car, although I do have insurance, unlike your supposed client. In any event, there IS no one to go after except the person who hit me. [/internal monologue]

"Okay, well, let me see if I can find her and get the insurance policy number."

I have absolutely no hope of finding anyone at the number she gave me. Call, and darned if she doesn't answer! Maybe it's a cell phone number. Anyway, I introduce myself as nicely as possible, ask her for the insurance policy number, and she rattles it off after a second or two. I thank her profusely and happily call back her insurance company, the obdurate, yet obtuse Safeway.

Get another person this time, confidently give her the policy number. "Jamie Forehand?"

"Uhh, no." I gave her the name of the girl, and the vehicle, and guess what? That person was not listed on the insurance, and it was for a different vehicle. And it had been cancelled two years ago.

Which means either she showed the officer a valid insurance card at the scene, and mistakenly gave me the wrong number in her haste, OR she gave him and me the same number, and he neglected to notice the card was TWO YEARS OUT OF DATE. [Update 6-20-07--Just got off the phone with the actual insurance agent, and oddly enough, she shows that number as valid, and offered the explanation that the Alabama agent may have thought it was an Alabama policy, rather than a Mississippi policy. Which is odd--you'd think policy numbers would be unique. Oh well.]
I was offered some consolation by the claims person on the phone, who laughed in a smirky sort of way and said I might have to sue in small claims court.

Yep, it's a real laugh riot, ain't it.

Called back my rearender, apologized for the bother, and told her the number she'd given me showed up as having been cancelled two years ago. She said she must have gotten the wrong number, and said she'd have to look for it and call me back later. I gave her my number, which she said wasn't showing up on her caller ID. I'm glad I was able to help her screen her calls better! That's me--Mister Polite Helpful Man!

With Internal Rage Issues!

Who's Probably Going to Drop Dead With A Giant Bursted Aorta Caused By The Unresolved Stress Caused By Various Disaffected Losers Who Can't Seem To Lose Their Attraction To Him!

Called my agent just to get some advice on what all to expect in the coming days. He was on vacation. ::sigh::

Called the Volvo shop, told them to go ahead and start working up an estimate for me so I'll know just exactly how many times the person chasing me with the gigantic electric screwdriver is going to have to change batteries before they're done with me.

And thus ends Chapter One.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 18, 2007 11:28 AM

I have to say I'm beginning to wonder whether there are not some holes in Alabama's "proof of insurance" laws. Hopefully you'll be able to get your car fixed without YOU having to pay for it.

Posted by: Stan at June 18, 2007 12:27 PM

It does seem rather lax, doesn't it?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 18, 2007 12:54 PM

I must say, Chapter 1 doesn't sound too good. How long do you plan to give her to figure out who she has insurance with (let alone the policy number!) before you come completly unglued?

Posted by: BillW at June 18, 2007 02:23 PM

So far, I've still not had an adhesive failure. Yet.

As I suspected, my call to her at 1:30 was not answered, so I left a voice-mail. As I figured, she's now got that number as one not to answer. Luckily, I have several cell phones, so the next call will be on one of those.

I've also found out, I believe, who her parents are. Smithdale, Mississippi is not a big place.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 18, 2007 02:34 PM

Google is a wonderful thing.

Posted by: BillW at June 18, 2007 03:41 PM

Let's just hope this is a short book with a happy ending.

Posted by: Diane at June 18, 2007 05:06 PM

Well, so far the foreshadowing doesn't point to a particularly pleasant ending, nor one that comes along any quicker than the end of War and Peace.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 19, 2007 07:33 AM