So, being a photojournalist, I've had to cover my fair share of wrecks. Some could be classified as more of just fender-benders, while others involved people getting hurt or even killed. I wouldn't consider covering accidents as one of my Favorite things to do, seeing as those involved are obviously not having a good day to begin with, and then having a news crew roll up, is probably the last thing they want to see at that moment.
About a month ago, I was involved in a car accident of my own. I was on my way home from the movies, about 2 minutes away from my apartment, when a minivan pulled out of a parking lot and hit the rear-passenger side of my car. The whole thing only took a few seconds so I didn't really have time to think.
1:*BAM!* "WHAT THE!" 2:"AAAHH...SPINNING INTO INTERSECTION" 3:"car stopped moving...get out of traffic"...
The other driver and I pulled into a parking lot to inspect the damage. A girl that witnessed everything also stopped and called the police for me, seeing as at that moment I was a little upset about everything.
The other driver asked me if I was alright and I said I was OK...My right leg was numb, and my back felt kind of sore, which worried me, but there was no blood so I figured I'd be OK. A police officer came and took down our information as well as the witness's statement.
After hearing all of our accounts of what happened, he found the other driver at Fault...I think for failure-to-yield if I remember right. At this point the officer leaves, and we all start heading home. That particular night it happened to be pouring down rain, and since my rear passenger door took the brunt of the impact, it refused to close all the way, allowing all the rain to get inside and soak my seats. I was not exactly a happy camper about this, seeing as I bought my car brand new at the end of last year, and was worried that now instead of having that "new car smell" it'd be more like that "moldy interior smell".
The next morning I spoke to my insurance company and they told me I needed to call the other driver's insurance company to file a claim. I called them up, and they said they couldn't do anything until they heard their client's version of what happened. Well, I started to get anxious seeing as I needed to know if they'd be paying to fix my car, and supply me with a rental car to use while mine was being worked on.
After about the fourth call, they tell me they'd be paying out my claim and would be giving me a rental car to use. They towed my car to the autobody shop, and my mom took me to pick up my rental car. The other driver's insurance company was paying for me to Use the rental car, but would Not be paying for the insurance on the rental car. The people at the rental car place explained that if I were to get in an accident using their car, that My insurance would cover the expenses after my deductible, but would Not cover the "Loss of Use"... Basically that means, if something happened to the rental car, every day that it would be in the shop not being able to be used, I would have to pay for it.
I asked the woman how much the insurance would be, and she said "$20 A Day". I wasn't thrilled seeing as I had no idea how long I'd be having to use the rental car, so at first I declined the insurance. It wasn't until my ride home in the rental car, that I decided maybe I'd made a mistake... Every car that passed by me, made me sweat a little, so the next day I agreed to paying for the insurance.
The next three weeks seemed to go by extremely slow. I called the autobody shop every couple of days for a progress report, and even dropped by a couple of times. I explained to the main guy that I wasn't trying to be a pest, but that I was paying to use the rental car and it was really starting to add up.
$350 later, I got my car back. When I went to pick it up, the repair guy said "We have a small problem...." NOT, what I wanted to hear, but it was just that they couldn't find the same kind of decal to put on the side that got hit, so that it would match the other side. I told them it'd be fine if they just took the one off the other side so that it'd match.
I got into my car, half expecting it to smell like mold, but the car repair place had shampooed the inside so it was nice and clean. As I was driving home, I was super aware of all the drivers around me, paranoid about something else happening. I was about 3 minutes from home, when all of the sudden this guy from Michigan JUST missed hitting me, as he cut infront of me. I let out a shaky breath, thanked God, and continued home safely.
Since having my car back, I've been a little more nervous about being out on the road.Even though it's been a month, I still shiver a little when driving past other people's wrecks, and hope for them that they're all as lucky as I was.