The Bicycle Wheels Of Justice Keep Turning

, , , , , , | Legal | October 11, 2018

My college friend called me one day asking for advice. A few days before, she was hit by a car making a right turn across a crosswalk. My friend was on her bike but had the right of way. At first, the driver didn’t stop, and instead started off down the street before wisely deciding to return to the scene. My friend suffered no injuries, but her bike was badly damaged. A cop was called to the scene to take a report. My friend decided that she didn’t want to press charges as long as the driver paid to repair the bike, my friend’s main method of transport around the city. The cop agreed not to issue a ticket, but gave my friend his contact information and told her to let him know if there was any trouble.

The reason my friend called was that after taking the bike to her local bike shop and getting an estimate on repairs, she called the driver up to arrange payment. The driver didn’t want to pay, claiming she couldn’t afford it. She pleaded with my friend, saying that she just couldn’t do it.

My dad is a lawyer, and often gives free advice to my friends, so she was wondering what suggestions he had. My dad laughed when he told her the story. He knew exactly what to do, and wrote it all down for her in an email to recite when she called the driver back.

She called the woman back and politely told her that the agreement was to pay for the bike repairs in exchange for no ticket or summons being issued. If the driver was now reneging on that agreement, my friend would call the cop who came to the scene and request he issue the summons. The driver would have to pay a fine, and her insurance company would likely raise her rates.

My friend’s bike was repaired within the week.

To this day, my dad can’t believe that driver was so dumb as to try to weasel out of what was literally a gift from my friend of not letting her insurance company know what she did.

Ensuring That Insuring Is The Law

, , , , | Legal | October 10, 2018

(I work in a call center for a large insurance company. Two things are important to know: first, just because I am not in an office talking face to face, it does not mean that I know less than other agents; I had to pass the same test and get the same licence they did. Second, for those who don’t know, Maryland has some of the stricter insurance laws in the country. They fine you per day you don’t have insurance on a car that is registered, coming to about $2,500 per year per car, with no maximum. They also usually aren’t willing to allow you to even start paying on the fine until you have insurance again.)

Customer: “I just got back from MVA [Maryland DMV] and was trying to renew the registration on my car, and they told me that I have a fine to pay because of you guys.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Let me see if I can find your policy and get this sorted out for you. Do you have your policy number or phone number?”

(The customer gives me his phone number and I try to find a policy for him. Eventually I do, but I find a problem right away.)

Me: “Sir, is it possible that you have the policy under a different phone number?”

Customer: “No. That is the only phone number I have ever had.”

Me: “Okay, well, I found a policy that you had with us, but it cancelled two years ago.”

Customer: “Is that why you are fining me?”

Me: “No, sir. We are not fining you. The state of Maryland is probably fining you for having a vehicle registered and not having insurance on it.”

Customer: “How the h*** would they know?”

Me: “All insurance companies that operate in the state of Maryland are required to report when policies start and end on vehicles.”

Customer: “So, you told them to fine me. You guys are going to pay this fine, then. Why was my policy cancelled in the first place?”

Me: “The policy cancelled due to non-payment. And we don’t tell the state to fine you; we can only report your insurance status with us. For all we knew, you reinsured elsewhere.”

Customer: “Well, I didn’t. So, you guys are going to pay off my fine and tell MVA that I have insurance so that I can drive again.”

Me: “We won’t pay the fine for you — it is your responsibility to keep insurance on your car — but I can try to get you reinsured with us.”

Customer: “NO! I don’t need your g**d*** insurance. I let that policy cancel because I realised how much I’ve paid in insurance over the years and never had an accident. I don’t want to be a part of your scam anymore. Just tell the state I have insurance so that I can drive again. And pay my fine; it’s your fault, anyway.”

Me: “You want us to pay $5,000 for you and lie to the state for you so that you can go back to breaking the law?”

Customer: “I’m not paying for your scam anymore! You do what I say!”

Me: “We are not doing that. Have a nice day.”

Finding Fraudulent Uses For Their 3-Iron

, , , , , | Legal | October 9, 2018

(Our town is hit by a tornado, along with two other towns. This incident takes place the day after. My husband and I are walking through the streets with a chainsaw helping to cut and move fallen trees where needed, to clear roads for emergency crews and traffic, and to clear driveways so people who still have undamaged cars can get them out. It’s been a long, slow process and we’ve been at it for several hours, starting about eight am. We stop so we can grab some water from our backpacks, and we witness two people up the block hitting the side of their car with a golf club. There does not appear to be any other damage on the car apart from what they are doing.)

Husband: *sounding confused* “What is she doing?”

Me: “Probably going to try to scam her insurance for a new car.”

Husband: “Think she has actually looked at some of the other storm damaged cars?”

Me: “Probably not, or she wouldn’t be hitting the side of the car that is currently facing her perfectly undamaged house. Sadly, even though the damage is going to obviously look like it’s intentional, by the time her claims adjuster gets to her, they are probably just going to give in and not argue with her so they can get things done and move on to others.”

(The people looked around at this time and saw us standing there watching them. They immediately put the golf club in the garage and went back in the house. While there were thankfully no fatalities and only minor injuries from the storm, these frauds made me sick. I thought about the people displaced until they could get their houses tested for soundness so they could start repairs, and the handful of people who lost their houses entirely, along with the people with totaled cars. We do have relief efforts out here, along with every conceivable insurance company, but it’s going to be a long road, and we have just barely begun. I hope those people got what they deserve.)

You’ve Found Area 51

, , , , | Legal | October 8, 2018

(I’m on a long road trip with my two young children. The youngest is only six weeks old. She is crying to eat, so I pull off the highway at the nearest exit. The only thing around is a decrepit-looking barn, so I turn into the driveway to be met with a locked gate. I turn around and park. Within seconds, two police vans pull up and block me in.)

Officer: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I just wanted to feed my baby. Should I leave?”

Officer: “No, that’s fine.”

(The officers then watched as I unbuckled my daughter from her car seat, and once I was sitting in the front seat with her, they pulled away. Now, I can’t stop thinking… what the heck was in that barn?)

Making A U-Turn On That Ticket

, , , , , | Legal | October 7, 2018

(I am out running errands in the afternoon with a friend and have passed my turn. We have to turn around, and there is a sign posted at the intersection forbidding U-turns between the hours of ten pm and six am. Directly across the intersection from us is a police cruiser. Knowing we’re fine, I make the U-turn, and not ten seconds later, there are flashing lights behind us. I pull into a parking lot and the officer approaches.)

Officer: “Hello. Do you know why I pulled you over?”

Me: “Honestly… no. Not a clue.”

Officer: *gestures back toward the intersection* “You made an illegal U-turn back there. There’s a sign.”

Me: *confused* “I don’t think I did. Are you sure?”

Officer: “Yes… I’m sure.”

(He does not sound 100% sure anymore.)

Me: “But it’s 4:30 in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure the sign said no U-turns from ten pm until six in the morning.”

Friend: “We checked the sign!”

(The officer is now looking just as confused as I am. He looks at his little clipboard and is clearly doing mental math.)

Officer: “Well, I’m just going to let you off with a warning. You have a nice day.”

(He walked back to his cruiser and drove away, still looking a little dazed.)

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