Bumper-To-Bumper Madness

, , , , , | Legal | November 5, 2018

(I decide to go get fast food and bring my dog with me. The line is pretty long and I’m closer to the white SUV in front of me than I normally would be. Usually my dog sits very calmly in the back seat, but for whatever reason, she picks that afternoon to sneak up behind me and lick the back of my ear. This startles me into taking my foot off the brake, and given how little space there is between me and the SUV, I end up rolling into her bumper. Given how slowly I am moving, my car barely taps her vehicle. I immediately roll down my window and start apologizing, and figure she will pull out of line so we can exchange insurance. Instead, she turns off her car, blocking the entire line, and gets out of her car to start screaming at me.)

Woman: “What the f***?! You smashed into my car! What is f****** wrong with you?! I felt my entire body jerking; I think you injured my back! I’m calling the police!”

(The woman holds up the entire line while calling the police. Since both our windows are down, I get to hear her conversation with 911.)

Woman: “Hello, yes? I want to report a car accident. The car behind me rammed into my car and completely destroyed my bumper! My car is completely destroyed, and I think I am injured, as well! My whole body hurts; my back and neck are in agony!”

(She continues to rant at the emergency operator, and seems to reluctantly answer some questions. At some point the operator must advise her to move her vehicle if possible, because she ends the call by rolling her eyes and finally pulling into a parking spot. I pull into a spot nearby. Lo and behold, the only damage done to her car is a small dent that’s MAYBE an inch long. After shrieking at somebody on the phone for a while — her window is rolled up now and I can only judge from body language — she gets out of her car and taps on my window.)

Woman: “Give me your info!”

Me: *figuring her theatrics are because she intends to scam her way into a big insurance pay-out* “I think it would be better for both of us if we wait for the police.”

Woman: “FINE!”

(The woman then proceeds to make a big show of photographing the “damage” and glaring at me. After a few minutes, thanks to her exaggerations, two police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck all arrive on the scene, anticipating a totaled vehicle and injured passenger. Instead they find her very uninjured and moving energetically around her car taking pictures of a tiny dent from a thousand angles. One of the firemen actually looks around as if he’s worried they came to the wrong place. After a few seconds of confusion, however, I get to enjoy watching nine emergency workers go from baffled to PISSED. She must pick up on their mood, because she starts to defensively whine about “back and neck pain” and, in a laughable attempt to legitimize her “injuries,” asks the paramedic for “a heating pad.”)

Paramedic: *leveling her with the iciest glare I’ve seen in some time* “We don’t carry things like that, ma’am; we’re equipped to handle emergencies.”

(At that point, two police officers talk to us separately. After some questions to get all the facts, I get to give my side of things at last.)

Officer: “Were you at fault?”

Me: “Yes, but I was in the drive-thru. My foot wasn’t even on the accelerator. I was going maybe three miles per hour. I barely tapped her car; in fact, I’m pretty sure the only reason there is any damage at all is because my licence plate is bent, so the corner dented her bumper. There is absolutely no way I could have injured her, and frankly I’d like it on record that I think she is attempting to make a fraudulent insurance claim.”

(I’m pretty worked up at this attempt to scam me, and so I can’t blame the officer for chuckling at my “on the record” comment. She tells me to take a deep breath, and patiently explains that with so little damage this is a civil matter and I’m better off taking a lot of pictures and warning my insurance company. She does smile and promise to be “thorough” in her report, which I assume is cop speak for “call her a lunatic who wastes emergency resources.” I do what the officer advises and warn my insurance. A few weeks later, I see that they pay her out only $750 for repairs, which is absolutely fair; I did still damage her car, however slightly. I show the letter to my father later that week since he works in insurance and has been a huge help during the process.)

Dad: “You know, I bet if she’d been calm and just asked for you info like a normal person, she’d have gotten a couple thousand out of the deal, maybe even a free rental car for the day it was in the shop. But since she kicked up such a fuss, they must have had one of their people go out and actually appraise the damage. People like that are always their own worst enemy.”

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