I was in a car accident on March 7th. I was on my way to work and about to jump on the freeway when a snow-bird from Ohio veered into my lane. The good part is that nobody was injured. The bad part was my car was totaled and the 88-year-old liability was able to drive her van. (with a huge dent on her door.) Ever since then I had been dealing with the snow-bird's insurance people. They're basically a bunch of robots that go by the book, and they don't let up one bit. I was expecting to have my car replaced or a good sum of money so I can walk into any lot of my choice and purchase another car. Unfortunately, that's not how it works which is a bummer. I'm not at fault and I figure I should get movie star treatment, and again I was wrong.
I don't know how these claims people figure out the numbers for a total collision, but they said my car was worth $2,600.00 and that's what they were going to pay me.
"That ain't good enough man...raise it up!" I said.
"That's the market value of your car, sir."
I didn't care about the market value because it's all a bunch of excuses to settle for less. It just didn't feel right. Over the course of several days of battling with this guy I got the price up to $3,107.06. Which still ain't good enough...so I got a lawyer.
It was becoming a headache with these people and he was talking to me as if I was some bum off the street. I blew a fuse at him because he just wasn't budging. (There's always exceptions to the rule.) I figured an attorney can needle these guys in my favor, and once again...I was wrong. The lawyer did his homework on the value on my car, and apparently so did the claims guy. He couldn't get me no more than the $3,107.06 which was what I got up to on my own without representation. Who needs a lawyer when I did the dirty work for him? What choice did I have but to settle for that amount?
The lawyer had the check ready for me sent by the snow-bird's insurance company. I drove to his office with my rental car also provided by the insurance company and picked up my check. The question here is what kind of prize am I going to get with this amount? I need to keep at least a grand for myself for other expenses, so that leave me with two thousand dollars for a car. Cash out the door. That's going to be tough.
I went to this one small car lot over in Seffner. The sales rep had three rides for me to choose from. Nothing seemed to be a catch except for the white Mazda that had a small dent on the driver door. The interior looked pretty clean and nothing was ripped up. The engine sounded solid and idled smoothly. It seemed like a bargain. I told the sales rep I had a few more errands to run and had to return the rental car as well.
By the time I was done it was too late to go back.
I went for my nightly walk around the neighborhood usually for an hour, but this time I extended it for another hour. I needed to walk off the stress. I returned about midnight. It was dark inside and I had to keep it quiet cause the folks were sleeping. As soon as I walked in the old man called for me. I thought maybe he needed some help. The living room became the old man's room. He sleeps in the recliner and doesn't move from there all day. (it's tough to see that.)
Do you remember the opening scene of the first Godfather movie where a couple of people came to visit Vito Corleone on his daughter's wedding day for help and justice? Well, that's how it felt in there with the old man. It was dark in the living room and we couldn't see each other.
"I know you're trying to do things on your own, but you need to communicate a little more" he says and continues.
"I'm going to give you my car as a gift and you got to put it under your name and all that jazz."
I stood in the dark, dumb-founded.
"I'll give you more details about it tomorrow."
All I could say was "thank you." I didn't know what else to say. I felt relieved.
The other night my old man had an accident and fell down trying to get to his recliner. I used brute strength to lift him off the floor and guide him to his chair. It ain't easy lifting dead weight because he has minimum use of his legs. I backed him up and of course its unconditional. Now in my situation he did the same for me. So with that said...
If you should ever fall...
I'll be there to catch ya.