car crash

Shortly before I graduated from undergrad, I was in small car wreck. I was pulling into the pump at a gas station, and someone backed into my car from the side. They were presumably backing up as part of a 3-point turn so they could exit the gas station.

I finished pulling into the pump, and this guy pulled into a parking space somewhere. Then we talked. I told him I was sorry about what happened, and we exchanged insurance information. I didn't plan to call his insurance company because I didn't care much about this car, and it seemed like it would increase his rates.

The next day, I realized I had given him the wrong insurance information. I called him up, and gave him the correct information. However, on the phone, he seemed to think that I had hit his car. I disagreed about this, but I was going to let the insurance company handle it.

Later, I got a call from my insurance company about it. I told them that the guy backed into my car, so they decided not to pay him.

Later still, I got "served" a letter saying I was being sued in small claims court for the cost of this guy's bumper repair: $500. This meant I needed to show up in court without a lawyer and defend myself in front of a small claims judge. I also needed to file something with the court. I decided to counter sue, since this could be taken care of the same day, and I was upset with him. I got a quote from an auto-repair shop for my bumper -- which was literally held onto my car with duct tape at this point -- for $1000.

The trial date arrived. I was prepared. I had diagrams showing the gas station, and where we both were. I had also done debate in High School.

It started with him. He gave his speech saying what he thought happened. He mentioned that I had given him the wrong insurance information, and that I had apologized after the accidence, evidence of my evilness, and my guilt. When it came time for me to speak, he interrupted me constantly, which was apparently within the rules of small claims court. My main argument was that I couldn't physically hit his car the way he claimed. My car would need to have travelled sideways.

The judge ruled in his favor. I hand delivered $500 to his house. He told me that he had done me a favor my filing in small claims court, because otherwise I would be paying lots of lawyer fees. This incident is the only negative thing on my credit report, but it was enough to deny me a credit card 6 years later.

Anyway, it was upsetting.

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