Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Reversal of fortune

Being my passenger when I'm driving can be a bad experience. I suffer

terribly from road rage, an outcome of being in a constant state of

nervous tension, caused by the awful drivers of South-East Queensland.

Each day they try to kill me, or failing that to damage my car as

severely as they can.

Three have succeeded. One was a man who turned right in front of me so

that I couldn't avoid hitting him, writing off my beloved Lady Jane.

He was lucky I'm a cautious, defensive driver, and had slowed down

expecting insanity, because his passenger door was severely dented,

and hurt his side. Had I been doing 60 kph, the limit, he'd likely be

dead or badly injured.

Number two was a guy on his way back from holiday, who was chatting

with his wife, the way people do, turning to talk to her instead of

watching the road. He didn't see that I had stopped and rearended me,

writing off Queen Kate. I spent a lot of money getting her back on the

road, which was not quite covered by the insurance. It just didn't

seem right to have her sent to the wrecker when the damage was only to

the boot and back bar.

Number three was a woman who reversed into me outside my house. I had

reversed into the empty road, as I do every morning, and was just

coming to a stop, ready to take off down Canopus Street when bang,

from out of nowhere, a car ran into my passenger door. Luckily, she

didn't hit me very hard, so Naughtyman, who was sat next to the door,

was not hurt. She jumped out full of apologies. She had not been

looking; she was in a hurry because she was dropping off some kids or

something, and had driven into the wrong driveway. I shrugged and said

shit happens, just call your insurance and no harm is done.

So imagine my shock when her insurance finally contacted me and the

guy says, I'm calling about an accident where you were at fault.

WTF, I said, no I wasn't. Your insured reversed straight into me

without looking. She accepted liability (because what else could she

do? It was her fault after all). She was close to tears because she

was so afraid she had hurt someone. I actually felt sorry for her

because she had so clearly done the wrong thing and it had had a bad


But you were reversing, he said.

So what? I said. I was reversing down the road, side on to her. I

didn't reverse into her. She backed into the SIDE of my car.

Yes, but you were reversing. When people are reversing, it's 50/50.

No it's not, I said. I reversed into an empty road, carefully. She

reversed without looking, straight into my car. It doesn't matter what

direction I was going in, she still caused the accident through no

fault of mine. I was barely even moving and what motion I had was away

from her, not towards her. I mean, duh, my car door was done in, and

she has a small scratch on one side of her back bumper.

B thinks there is a law that the fault is shared when everyone's

reversing, but of course there isn't. That would be stupid. (For

instance, say you drive into someone who is rolling back on a hill

start. You are always liable then even though they rolled back a bit.

Or say you were driving at 80 kph down the wrong side of the road and

hit someone who was reversing to parallel park. You'd clearly be

liable then too.) There's a convention that applies when you reverse

into someone who reverses into you in a car park, and it's difficult

for the insurance companies to sort out. What there is is a law that

you must give way to all traffic when you enter a road. I did that.

The woman didn't.

So I am adding AAMI insurance to my list of bad businesses to deal

with. What I imagine happened is the woman said that she hit someone

backing out of his drive, and she needed to fix up what she had done.

They heard "backing out" and told her they would do it knock for

knock. But I didn't back into her. There's no joint fault. I backed

into an open road. She just drove straight into me. There's no law

that says you get off the hook because I happened to be going

backwards. It's deeply frustrating that they know that I did nothing

to cause the accident and could not avoid it regardless what I did,

yet they expect my insurance (and actually, just me, because my

insurance won't cover it) to pay. I don't intend to go through my

insurance. If she doesn't make it right, I will sue her, and win. I'm

pretty sure the small claims court will not reward her for breaking

the law, whatever AAMI thinks, and I'm sure there's no law that says

that there's no liability in traffic incidents if the person you smash

into happens to be going backwards.


The thing is, it's just wrong and we are expected to put up with so

much that is just wrong in this life. I mean, I will be really pissed

off if I end up having to pay for the damage to my car. This woman

didn't care about other people enough even to bother to look into her

mirror before driving out into the road. She *should* pay for that. I

shouldn't be on the hook for her stupidity. And her insurance company

shouldn't abet her. Fair enough, they can tell her they won't cover

it, but ringing me and suggesting I am at fault because I happened to

be in the road when she careered out into it is just wrong.


At 6:19 pm, Anonymous winlb said...

Fuck insurance companies. The worst of the worst. They're a cancer - a necessary evil, of course, but a cancer nonetheless. I've gotten one rough fucking from one. Scum. Interested to hear the final outcome.

At 10:39 pm, Anonymous Paula said...

I had this in a parking lot, Z. I had reversed out of my space, was all out and done. A woman reversed into me. Not much damage to either vehicle. She jumped out of her car, apologized, etc. We exchanged info. I assumed the ins would find her at fault and was surprised to discover it was 50/50. Why? Because she had produced a "witness" (there weren't any) who said we had backed out at the same time, which was a lie.

People just suck.

At 2:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did of course take lots of picture at the time to show positions of cars and damage done?

At 7:07 am, Anonymous Dr Zen said...

No, of course I didn't: I don't assume everyone I meet is scum, even if it turns out that they are.

At 10:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still a novice driver, well you will know better in the future. I'm sure the woman is not scum its the insurance company that a the scum bags.


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