Ok, it's been 44 days now. Can I please fix my damn car??

January 11[sup]th[/sup] I was on my way to school down Hollow Road (aka The Road Of Death, because it’s narrow, twisty, no visibility, and people tend to get themselves killed there). I’m on my way up this hill when BAM I see headlights come over the crest and head down the hill towards me - have a split second to realize that the other car is too far to my side, and I can’t veer left because there’s a huge dropoff - and BANG skrraaaaaaape pchunk. I’ve been sideswiped. So I pull over to the side of the road, get out to make sure the other guy stopped (he did), then realize I can’t leave my car there or it’ll get hit by the next folk driving up the hill so I park it on the other side of the road, where there isn’t a dropoff.

The driver of the other car is about my age, introduces himself as Fletcher, acknowledges that it was his fault and expresses anger at himself and dismay that he’s fucked up his 2001 Hyundai Accent and is probably going to lose his license (because he’s already received a ticket for going 30 miles over hte speed limit on a different occasion). We take a look at both our cars. His fiberglass door is shattered, my sheet metal has a hole in it big enough to stick my hand in, neither of us has a side view mirror anymore. We need to call the cops.

There are no houses for a mile in either direction, so we are about to start walking towards one of them when a truck pulls over to the middle of the road in front of us and asks if we need help. The guy has a car phone and lets us use it to call the cops and our parents.

It takes half an hour for the cops and families to show up. During this half hour, six or seven cars pass us, most of them pulling into the wrong lane of the road so they can ask if we need help.

The cops show up and question us. Fletcher gets a ticket for using more than half the roadway. Then Fletcher’s dad shows up and starts screaming at him. His dad then starts yelling at the cops for ticketing Fletcher when it’s obviously my fault. :rolleyes “Look at the skid marks!” he screeches, flecks of his spittle landing on the officer’s sunglasses.

Dutifully, we all look at the skid marks. Fletcher’s lead from the middle of the road to his final parking spot on the offside. Mine lead from the left lane of the road, down the left lane of the road. His are considerably darker and longer than mine, because I wasn’t going fast at all. He was. Fletcher’s dad isn’t looking at that, though. He’s looking at the tire tracks left by the seven trucks that went past us, all in the centerish portion of the road. Upon this evidence, he claims he will sue us, and protest the ticket.

That afternoon, I call my insurance company. They then call Fletcher’s. Fletcher hasn’t filed a statement, so nothign gets done.

A week later, Fletcher still hasn’t filed a statement.

Two weeks after the accident, Fletcher has finally filed a statement, but his company isn’t following through.

On January 29[sup]th[/sup], I get a phone call from Fletcher’s insurance company asking to record my statement. The guy who takes my statement then tells me (off the recording) that my statement is in direct conflict with Fletcher’s, and that he has to support his client. In other words, my story and the police’s story mean nothing, because Fletcher said differently.

On January 31[sup]st[/sup], a claims adjuster from Fletcher’s company comes by to look at my car. He says he’s already seen Fletcher, and after examining mine he says that looking at the damage it’s definitely Fletcher’s fault. Unfortuneately, the adjuster isn’t the one who makes the final decision in that company. The adjuster’s estimate of the cost of repair work on my car (which needs a whole new door and some work on the splashguard under the front fender) jibes with that of the independent repair and body work guy I patronize: about US$1000 .

It is now February 24[sup]th[/sup]. Fletcher’s insurance guy still hasn’t made his ruling on fault, therefore nobody has any money yet.

I have no side view mirror on my driver’s side, making my car technically illegal (I could get ticketed for it if the cops wanted to pull me over) and not that cool to drive on the highway. The housing for the mirror is gone, leaving a bunch of jagged fiberglass spikes where it used to be attached. The hole in my door is covered in duct tape and leaks cold air into my car, as does the (un-duct taped) hole in the splashguard. I need to get it fixed. I can’t get it fixed until my insurance gets through. My insurance can’t get through until Fletcher’s does. Fletcher’s agent is apparently a complete and total ass, just like Fletcher’s father.

I’m pissed.

Get a lawyer.

I second that. Get a lawyer, see if your parents know one. My brother had something similar happen-the other person’s insurance company was stalling, etc. The attorney sent one letter, and he got the money to fix his car.
(and stories like those are why I make sure I use an insurance company with a good reputation. I’ve never had to use them, but I know that they’d be good about it if I did.)

I third that. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always Small Claims…

Before you get a lawyer, call your insurance company and see if they will lean on the other insurance company. They might even be willing to advance the money for getting it fixed.

Question: Did anyone besides you hear him acknowledge fault? Maybe a cop? If so, let your lawyer give 'em both barrels!!!

Our insurance won’t do shit til his follows up.

Lawyer? Maybe.

Unfortuneately, nobody else heard him acknowledge fault because we were alone on a deserted road for half an hour before hte cops and his dad showed up.

[hijack]
In my overly tired state, I could have sworn that said "there’s always Santa Clause…
[/hijack]

See, it’s at this point that you need to call his insurance company, and explain to them that because of the length of time they are taking to process the claim, you are forced to seek legal representation for the additional inconvenience caused by not being able to get you’re car fixed in a timely manner. Almost the same thing happened to my sister. Accident happened, clearly the other person’s fault, and the insurance company dragged their feet taking care of the claim. My dad called and gave them once chance to pay the amount it would cost to fix the car, after than, he got a lawyer. Cost just to fix the vehicle? About $1000…amount they ended up paying because they were jerks? $7000.

Good luck! After my first car accident, it took 6 months to get my car fixed, and it wasn’t drivable in the meantime. The next accident, my car got totalled, and I lucked out and got paid out 6 weeks later. Before my sister switched insurance companies, she said that 1-2 months was average. (Disclaimer - none of her accidents were her fault).