PERSONAL INJURY LAW
LIFE & THE LAW
(813) 259-0022 | www.distasiofirm.com
AN ATTORNEY GETS INTO A CAR ACCIDENT Practice What You Preach
“Nobody ever expects to be in a car crash.”
I’ve said some variation of that phrase to clients for years now, and it remains as accurate as ever. Not long ago, I had the unfortunate privilege of experiencing just how true it is. I also got to experience for myself just how mind-blowingly frustrating the process of dealing with insurance after a car accident can be. Like most everyone else, my accident happened under the most mundane of circumstances. It was a Saturday, and Faith and I decided to go out for lunch. We pulled up to the corner of Kennedy and Dale Mabry, where we sat at the light. We’ve been there countless times, as I’m sure you have. Faith and I were talking to each other, me in the driver’s seat and her in the passenger seat, waiting for the light to turn green. Before it did, though, we were jolted by a large bang. Another car had rear-ended us. Because we were at the light, I wasn’t paying any attention to our rearview mirror. We didn’t have any chance to brace for impact. One second everything was normal, and the next, it was very much not. Faith immediately experienced low back pain and neck stiffness. Unfortunately, her pain has not resolved. Once the shock subsided, my attorney training kicked in, and I sprang into action. I quickly got out of the car to inspect the damage. I was quite surprised given the size of the impact that there was not more damage to my rear bumper. Faith tells me that she now knows how clients feel when insurance companies claim you cannot get hurt from rear end car accidents unless your rear bumper is totally destroyed.
I thought this was about as clear-cut and stress- free as an accident can be because the other driver immediately accepted blame. He pulled out his phone, opened the USAA app, and filed the claim in front of my very own eyes. He obviously felt bad, so I didn’t think there was any need to call the cops, file a report, and get him ticketed. There was no way in the world his insurance company would make things difficult over such an obvious accident. I should’ve known better. It wasn’t long after the accident that I got a call from the insurer, informing me that they wouldn’t approve payment for my repairs. They hadn’t been able to contact the insured, they told me, and couldn’t authorize payment until they did. I could, they suggested, go through my own insurance, which would be faster. That route, of course, would cost me my $500 deductible, not that USAA cared. I was apoplectic. Isn’t the whole point of the app to allow this process to be handled quickly and conveniently? They were definitely just dragging their feet.
At this point, I revealed that I was a personal injury attorney and that we were either going to do this the easy way or the hard way. I set a date by which they were to approve the repair. If not, I was filing suit against their driver. They ignored my demand. So now, I have filed a lawsuit against the driver to force the insurance company to take responsibility for repairing my vehicle. Had I just filed a police report, I’m sure it would’ve moved much quicker, but I was trying to do another driver a solid. The insurance company wasn’t just being callous toward me, but to their own customer, as well. If they’ll do this to a personal injury attorney in the most black-and- white accident imaginable, it’s safe to say they’ll do it to anyone.
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