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Tulgey Wood - Well, that was no fun.
February 6th, 2010
09:59 am

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Well, that was no fun.
So I'm driving down 580 at about 11:30 pm, on my way home from seeing "The Princess and the Frog" with the delightful Nicole. I see a cluster of brake lights ahead and think, huh, odd that there's traffic this late at night, and start slowing down to 40 mph. Suddenly, the truck that was a good ways ahead of me is now RIGHT in front of me, so I think, ack, I need to slam on my bra-

*CRUNCH*

...

Car accidents are SCARY.

I'm not hurt, and the driver of the truck wasn't hurt. The other cars involved pulled over to the other side of the freeway, and I couldn't really tell what was going on with them. One of them was perpendicular to the freeway, with its headlights pointing across the lanes. I think somebody spun out, which made everyone else stop suddenly. The truck driver said he did exactly what I did - saw brake lights, started to slow down, and suddenly had to slam on his brakes. He came within inches of hitting the car in front of him.

Eventually (I don't know how long, but standing on the left side of the freeway at night with cars whizzing past does not make time go any faster), CHP came and told us that if all we had was property damage, then we just needed to exchange information and we could go. However, we couldn't stay where we were, so they escorted us off the freeway to the next exit, which I was grateful for. Merging into freeway traffic from the left side is extremely scary.

Now I have to call my insurance company. I don't really know how these things work; I've never been in an accident.

Really not what I wanted to do with my Saturday. And I really don't look forward to driving again, which is going to make getting to work suck a lot.

Current Mood: distresseddistressed

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:akiko
Date:February 6th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
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You have my sympathies 1000%. Car accidents *suck.*
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From:eirias
Date:February 6th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Oh gosh. Glad you are okay.
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From:xthread
Date:February 6th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
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Ugh. I'm very glad to hear that you're ok.
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From:serolynne
Date:February 6th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Glad to hear you're physically ok. Accident *suck* and you have my sympathies for the upcoming after shocks of dealing with it all.

*hugs*
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From:leora
Date:February 6th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you're okay.
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From:nancyblue
Date:February 6th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
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That is scary indeed. Make sure to take care of yourself, dear, you will have aftershocks.
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From:joreth
Date:February 6th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
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wow, that sucks! Glad to hear that you're not injured though.

As someone whose been in several accidents, getting back in the car and driving, especially in the same location or similar setting, right away is important to getting over it quickly.

The insurance process is a pain in the butt. They will send someone out to evaluate the damage or they will make you go to a mechanic & require the estimate from the mechanic (possibly both). They will evaluate whether the cost of the damage is more or less than the estimated value of the car at its current (minus damage) condition. If it's less, they'll pay to repair it less whatever your deductable is. If it's more, they'll consider your car "totalled".

It'll take longer than you think is necessary to go through all those steps & they will probably decide to pay out much less than whatever you think they should. Your monthly payments will also go up.

But no police report is very helpful, and no injuries (and medical bills) will simplify this whole process, for as much as a bureaucratic process is ever "simplified".
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From:tla
Date:February 6th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
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getting back in the car and driving, especially in the same location or similar setting, right away is important to getting over it quickly.

Indeed. The meanest / best thing my mother ever did to/for me was to force me to drive the day after my spectacular car crash. Don't put it off.

Meanwhile, *hugs* and I'm very glad it wasn't any worse.
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From:blimix
Date:February 6th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
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Goodness! I'm glad you're not hurt.
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From:dollbunny
Date:February 6th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
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Glad you're ok. Was there much damage, do you think?
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From:rubrick
Date:February 6th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
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I'm very glad you're okay. Car accidents are scary indeed, and mentally/emotionally recovering from them takes some time. Fortunately the natural reaction when driving after this kind— to leave more following distance— is a healthy one.
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From:summer_jackel
Date:February 7th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
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I'm really glad you weren't physically injured. Car accidents terrify me.
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From:chimerically
Date:February 7th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
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Yikes! Glad you're okay, sad that your car is not. Is this the maroon one? If so, it might well be totaled. They'll give you the value of the car in cash (or a check, to be more precise), but then you have to search for another car which really sucks. (Though if you find a decent one for less money than the totaled amount, you'd at least have a bit more cash from the whole process.) Well, I guess this also depends on who they determine is at fault and what your insurance covers. Unfortunately, they often assign the majority of fault to the person who did the rear-ending, not the one who was rear-ended, even if it was all because of sudden braking. (I've been through that kind of accident myself.)
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From:beth_leonard
Date:February 7th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)

next steps

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*hugs* I'm glad to hear you're not injured. I have learned in my life to always take 2 advil as soon after something like this happens as possible. Even if you don't feel injured right away, the soft tissue damage is akin to having had a hard workout, the soreness starts not the day after the accident, but the day after that. I've been in extremely minor ones (no damage to either car, not even a fender bender) and not done it and then my neck was quite sore two days later which lasted a week or two. Slightly more major + advil for the next day and a half, and I never felt anything.

There is a DMV form you have to fill out within 10 days. It is possible that your insurance might help you with this, but likely not. Do it just to be on the safe side. If your car went crunch, then there's more than $750 in damage, guaranteed.

The next set of steps are basically a pain in the neck, be prepared to spend all of your free time dealing with paperwork/car shopping for the next month or two.

Call your insurance company next. They usually have a 24x7 accident report line. Be sure to let them know it's your first time and they will help walk you through the next steps. Basically, they'll send an adjuster out to see your car, then they'll wait a few days until they tell you that your car is worth (making up numbers) $1500, the damage would cost $3000 to repair, and your deductible is $500. If you have collision insurance (which covers damage you do to your own car) they'll probably give you $1000 and tell you to go get yourself a new car.

They may raise your rates, but they might not for a first accident. If you don't have collision insurance, then they'll probably tell you that they've determined you were more than 51% at-fault in the accident and ask you to send them a check for $500 (your deductible) to cover your part of what they're going to give the other guy's insurance company. I've never been at-fault before, so I don't know precisely how that part works. If you're lucky, then you'll only be 50% at-fault with the other guy, but this is less likely.

If you do have collision insurance and you're having trouble sleeping tonight, then go to http://www.kbb.com/ and try to figure out how much your car is worth, private-party value. Print that out (it changes all the time) and figure out whether or not you're going to argue about options on your car. Save it to use when you're arguing with them later.

In our case, when someone hit my (parked) minivan, they told me my van was only worth $1500, even though I'd just done $2000 of repair work to it literally *the*week* before. (I was going to the snow and wanted to be sure everything was in tip-top shape before the trip.) I was able to argue them up to get them to adjust it $800 higher for the money they'd give me for the van, but I was still very sad because the car was worth a whole lot more to me than it was worth on the open market.

If you do have collision insurance, the bad news is that used cars are very cheap right now (they won't give you very much). If you don't have collision insurance (and need to buy a new car), the good news is that used cars are very cheap right now.

*hugs* I always find it hard to sleep after things like this.

--Beth
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From:beth_leonard
Date:February 7th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC)

Re: next steps

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I forgot to mention, the advil is to reduce swelling, which reduces secondary injury that gets caused by the swelling in your tissues.
--Beth
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From:kirinn
Date:February 7th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)

Re: next steps

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"If your car went crunch, then there's more than $750 in damage, guaranteed."

Just for the record, and depending on what's meant by "crunch", I've had rear-ending accidents (in both directions) that cost less than that because I determined the damage was superficial and simply elected not to bother repairing it. Obviously a trusted mechanic needs to take a look at it to help determine that, though.

Car damage aside, glad you're ok, R.
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From:allartburns
Date:February 7th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
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I agree with what others said -- getting back to driving as soon as possible is good therapy. Accidents are rare and contemporary cars are rather safe at slower speeds. I'm more worried about being blind-sided by a drunk driver than I am being in a "normal" accident.

>I need to slam on my bra-

I know I'm a guy and all, but I'm not sure that's how your supposed to do it. :-)
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From:thatwesguy
Date:February 11th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
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Yikes! Glad to hear that you're (at least mostly) okay. Hang in there!
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