Monday, November 17, 2014

THAT REALLY HAPPENED.

I'm sitting in my bed currently, at a total loss for what happened to me earlier this evening.

The short version: I was involved in a hit and run. 
The long version is bizarre and the more I think about it- the more I sit here and seethe because this is not at all how things are supposed to work. 

As a precursor- MN has a no-fault insurance system. Simply put, by law, everyone in the state who owns or operates a vehicle is required to have insurance. It's a misdemeanor if you don't. Each person also is supposed to carry uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured, in the event the person who hits you does NOT have insurance (or doesn't have ENOUGH insurance to cover your claim). Also, it makes it so there are certain minimum thresholds you have to hit in terms of damage/physical injury before you can go run and sue someone (tort reform, FTW!). Pretty simple, right? You get in a fender bender, as I did tonight, and you exchange insurance information- the insurance foots the bill..and often your premiums go up a bit, depending on number of offenses.. which is why people still aren't fond of accidents, but it's designed so everybody's covered and nobody has to sue each other (unless it's real bad). 

Let me set the scene: I'm on the entrance ramp to 94W right before the Lowry tunnel (this will only make sense to locals)- where 35W merges in, and the 11th street exit is, and what is generally known as a disaster area of 94W. I notice IMMEDIATELY the man next to me is trying to avoid doing the zipper merge on the entrance ramp -and is instead attempting to cut me off. (*NOTE: as all Minnesotan's know, the zipper merge is a point of contention..as Minnesotans are THE most passive aggressive drivers EVER and refuse to abide by the zipper merge) We end up merging appropriately, and I notice as he's behind me, he's allowing a large gap between our cars, and then will rapidly accelerate very close to my car. I keep watching him in my rearview, as safely as I can, as we're stop and go entering the freeway and I see it: he's looking down at his cell phone- which accounts for the erratic movement. He's making me really uncomfortable and I had a bad feeling from the get go, so I try to get a view of his license plate just in case I need it (oh the irony is palpable). 

I finally get on and after a short time, he's no longer behind me since there are many cars merging ahead of, and behind me. I usually try to get in the middle lane prior to the tunnel since it moves the best, and still allows me to exit on 394W after the tunnel.  I'm in the process of trying to spot a decent gap to get over, moving pretty slowly along, when I feel the impact: I'm hit from behind. 

I look up in my rearview in shock and honestly can't believe what I'm seeing: of all the people on the freeway, despite all the merging that went on in the 200 or so yards between the entrance ramp and this point, it's the zipper merge asshole who is behind me. 

I pull over, and what follows it the strangest 10 or so minutes of my life. I get out, and check out my bumper, feeling along the bottom, and notice there's a crack. This is what followed: 

Me: Ah.. there's a crack here. 

Zipper Asshole (ZA): What? Seriously? 

Me: yes, right here. 

ZA: <<feels crack>> 

Me: Can I have your insurance information? 

ZA: What? you can't be serious. 

Me: <<blank stare>> um... yes. 

ZA: You're seriously going to report that? 

Me: Um, yes. I at least need to see what the damage is. 

ZA: repeats multiple times, "you're serious. you're actually reporting this. really, we're doing this?" and takes a dozen or so photos of my car and his car. At one point he even says "I bet you were just WAITING for this." (this being the major pay day I'm cashing in to..maybe fix my bumper...?) 

Me: Uh yes. This is how No Fault works in MN. 

ZA: even though you slammed on the brakes unexpectedly. 

This is about the time he loses me. It'd been an obnoxious Monday, with obnoxious clients, and I was at my wits end. I'm guilty of "braking suddenly" on occasion- and when I do, I KNOW I do, because I'm looking in the rearview PRAYING the person behind me stops quick. I was no where near close to doing that tonight because I was just puttering along waiting for an entrance in the next lane over. 
So, in other words- NOW I'm pissed. 

Me: What? I didn't slam on my brakes. (I don't mention that in MN, there is practically a presumption of fault on behalf of the rear-ender, and not the rear-endee.. as that means you clearly weren't leaving enough space for a reaction time, but I'm pissed now, so I throw this out there:) I did see you texting and driving though. 

ZA: WHAT?! How? 

Me: uh, my rear view. 

ZA: so you were looking in your rear view while you were supposed to be driving during rush hour? 

Me: No. I saw you as we were getting on the freeway. 

ZA: I wasn't texting.Want to see my phone!? <<at this point I've struck a nerve and he's getting agitated. I'm getting nervous- it's dark, I'm alone, he's larger than me>>

Me: I'm not getting into this with you! This is what no fault is for. Can we just exchange information. 

ZA: <<huffs back to his car to get insurance stuff. At this point I'm convinced he's about to drive off so I take down his plates, make and model of the car. He actually returns and has it in hand, comes back. I've gotten mine out as well at this point. He asks for my ID and starts to take down my information.>> What's your name? 

Me: Kelly. 

ZA: <<he's SNEERING/yelling/being scary at this point as he scream-spells it out>>: K-E-L....L...WITH AN I-E? 

Me: K-E-L-L-Y. <<I gesture with my insurance card so he can take down the rest of the information. He grabs it.>> 

ZA: you're seriously reporting this. 

Me: Look. I just want to get the information and get it looked at in case there's damage that's not readily apparent under the undercarriage. <<I can only imagine my use of the phrase 'undercarriage' prompts his next retort, which pissed me off enough to warrant my response, which was effectively the end of our exchange- and actually, this happened to M not too long ago. What LOOKED like a superficial crack was $1,200 in damage underneath his car.>>

ZA: What, are you a MECHANIC or something!?!? 

Me: <<at this point I think I laughed a little because, a) what kind of a response is that? b) if he thought he was being a smart ass by calling me a mechanic I just knew he'd love [and by that I mean HATE] what I was going to say next.. and c) I paid a lot of money for this degree and SOMETIMES it's nice to scare people with it..even if it was totally unwarranted because we have NO FAULT so I don't HAVE to threaten to sue you with my law degree, d) I felt like he was being insanely condescending and bullying me due to my apparent age and size, so I responded with a laugh and the truth: Nope, actually, I'm a lawyer.

ZA: What? Oh yea- where. 

Me: <<I think I snort-laughed again or something here because WHAT!?>> Uh, I'm not telling you that. <<Yah, definitely need the small angry man knowing where I WORK>>

<<at this point the exact sequence of events escapes me, but it devolves pretty quickly from here. As best I recall, this is how it happened:>>

ZA: Well, it's not my fault, I'm not going to give you my information. So, call go ahead and sue me. << second time I was told this today.. oy vey>>

Me: I have no idea if I even said anything, if I did it may have been something like, "are you going to give me your information?" but I do recall him throwing my insurance card back into my open car door, and then at some point he responded with: 

ZA: go ahead, take my plates, they're right there. Call the cops. 

Me: Uh, if you leave, I will. And I already have your plates. 

ZA hops back in his car and fucking leaves.  I'm sitting there shaking and pissed off. Pissed that I was alone, and that as a small young woman, he thought he could bully me into not getting his information or reporting the claim. Pissed that I was even scared in the first place, but realizing that making him mad to the point of putting myself in danger was not worth it. Pissed that even though we have this fucking system set up to make it easy to just exchange information and BE DONE WITH IT- he chose to be an absolute asshole. Pissed I have to drag myself to the Minneapolis Police Department tomorrow morning and file a report (but you bet you're ass I'm going to, and follow it through to completion, including tracking down his insurance information).

I just.. ugh. I struggle with people who aren't afraid of, or don't abide by, social constructs like laws. 

Hope he wasn't banking on me not having any follow through because he's about to experience a whole hell-storm of follow through. 





12 comments:

  1. Yesssssss!!! I mean, this sucks. But you're a complete badass.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ARE YOU A MECHANIC?! What kind of stupid question is that? I'm glad you're okay, first. Second, I'm sorry he was a total jerk face loser. Throw the book at him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm sorry this happened to you. He will get what he deserves...and I hope your able to give it to him! You handled it so much better than I would have!

    ReplyDelete
  4. So freaking frustrating. (And love how you wrote it with your internal thoughts in red, made it easier to understand!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. OH EM GEE, KELLY!! First...yes..thank goodness you're ok. And second, put that asshole in his place.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Whatta D! But way to stand up for yourself. :) I have to say I was gleefully waiting for you to pull the lawyer card on his ass. Of course you already caught his license plate! Ugh, some people. And I'm with Lo, Kelly B. JD. BA. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ugh, this completely sucks!! Assholes are THE WORST.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ugh, KellY. With a Y, not an IE. This sucks on so many levels, and to put the icing on the cake, it was a shitty Monday. Please, please give an update on how this is all panning out. What a dickbag.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Noooo!! Did you call the cops? What ended up happening? How un-Minnesotan of him! #Jerk

    ReplyDelete
  10. I cannot believe you told him you're a LAWYER and he gambled with you not going to the police station to file a report. Ummmm what?! I hope you get this all straightened out, it totally sucks that this happened to you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. OMG! People are SO STUPID! Jason and I had a somewhat similar situation a few years ago and we ended up busting an illegal immigrant the cops had been looking for {LONG story}. I'm so sorry this happened but this post makes me somewhat happy just because your story telling is amazing! And also because I just don't get why the zipper merge is so flippin' hard for people.

    ReplyDelete