A few weeks ago I took my children to the dentist and parked my new car in the then empty lot in a small strip mall parking area where the dentist is located. When their check-ups were complete, we ambled out to find a small SUV butt up against my bumper. Did I mention it was a new car? I thought so, but it bears repeating. Given that there was a large logo on the side of the car and that that logo matched the one above another store in the mall, I quickly deduced that the driver of the car must be in the store. Pretty smart, eh? I pulled my car up a few inches to see if there was any damage because my plan was to let it go if there was none, no harm/no foul. However, when I saw the scratches and the dent in my bumper, I decided to head on in to see if I could discuss the issue with the driver. To be honest, given the lows we have been experiencing of late, I was not agitated by the damage but more resigned to the fact that something else had gone awry and I would need to get it fixed. Rather than drone on about the minutia of finding the driver, I will cut to the chase. The man walked out of the store and immediately became belligerent, cursing and yelling at me, and calling me some very unsavory names...all in front of my youngest, who took it as his cue to jump in the car. Even he sensed that this was not going to go well. This man then accused me of doing the damage 'a week ago' and then attempting to blame him for it. He continued to yell obscenities at me and then...here is the best part...when I said I was going to call the police, he dared me and then hit me in the arm. Yup, this out of control man hit me in the arm! Truly frightened by this erratic and seemingly crazy behavior, I sought help and called the police. Long story made very short, the police came and he continued to hurl invectives at me, all while telling the police that I was a 'crazy b****. One of the police officers asked if I wanted to file assault charges and I foolishly said no. Ah, hindsight is indeed 20/20.
Fast forward to last night, when I received a call from his insurance company stating that...wait for it...they had spoken to the driver and he not only denied hitting my car, but he said that I had hit him instead, therefore, they would not be paying for the damage to my car. A few things jump out at you after reading that sentence, no? For instance, you mean to tell me that their 'investigation' consisted of asking the guy if he did the damage??? Honestly? I wonder how many times the insurance company pays out on damage claims. They just ask, accept the answer and move on? The gentleman from the insurance company did not question this driver as to how I could have hit his car if I was not driving my car at the time and was, in fact, in the dentist office? Nah. Why bother to truly investigate the claim? Hey, the guy said he did not do it, right?
So, a couple of personal observations from this experience. First, I should have put aside my fear about charging him with assault and I definitely should have done so. He put my children in jeopardy and he certainly 'terrorized' me and touched me. Yes, as the policewoman pointed out, even a hit in the arm is assault. Second, shame on him for truly being all the things he called me and more. He could not even keep his anger under control when speaking to the police. Third, three words. Anger management classes. Get some help. There are more things swirling through my head as relates to this incident but the last thing I want to comment on is the insurance company and their lack of due diligence. It was insulting to receive a call like that after having gone through the stress of dealing with this driver. I had to call the police on this guy and their investigation of the claim is based solely on the fact this guy said he did not do it.
While I don't know any more of this driver's character than what he showed me himself that day, I am sure of one thing. Despite his wild show of anger, he is one lucky guy. I, on the other hand, now have a damaged car and a damaged view of justice to boot.