Saturday, December 10, 2011

So, we all got out of the car and within a few seconds several people ran up to us to ask us if we were ok.
Dazed and disoriented we all looked at each other to see if we had any cuts or bruises, whiplash or such. A few minor cuts and scratches from the flying glass. For some reason the glass that exploded into gazillions of small pieces was super sharp and splintery.
I have had my windows broken before and have never before scene that glass have so many tiny slivers. Perhaps because it was very dark tinted side windows and special tempered rear hatch , I can't say.

Anyway I started assessing the damage figuring that we had minimal damage, after all we were on our way to the coast for some warm weather and vacation, so to speak.
I am one of those guys that usually can fix anything with duct tape, some plastic and a few hits of the hammer, with that we could just hobble to our destination.T before I noticed that the whole rear end of the car was pushed into the left back tire causing it to be somewhat immobile.
Not an easy fix, this car isn't going anywhere.

The first person to arrive was the toll taker who asked if we were ok and handed me my change from the 500 peso note and the toll receipt. I had completely forgotten that I was due change in the excitement. In retrospect I should have asked for a refund since we never exceeded more than 25 meters from the toll booth........dream on.....

After about another minute there appeared several medics and a Qualitas Insurance agent or at least he was wearing their logo on his long sleeved shirt. He immediately said that the Auto Pisa insurance would cover the damage and wanted some basic information.

Then a few minutes later someone came over and handed me my computer case. I had taken a cursory look at the contents of the car but hadn't notice that my computer case was missing.

Having the case returned was pretty positive especially when you know that they could have kept it pending primary examination returning it later less a few items. I usually have all my important stuff in it, camera, chargers, Kindle etc, and some peso stash in one of the zipped compartments.
Upon opening up the case my heart stopped a beat.

What I saw first was my Panasonic HD camera flattened out a tad, with the screen showing a zillion cracks in it and the battery door completely missing. On the case were also the telltale signs that it had hit the dirt and was covered in road and asphalt dust.
Looking at the case further there were holes in the ballistic nylon which appear to be made from dragging on a rough surface. My Vaio laptop turned on, which was reassuring, next I checked my Kindle, that seemed to work, so at least the damage was minimal.

My wife was talking to the Insurance guy I was summoned to the Caseta and shown that under the rear tires of the trailer which was still stopped peeking out about 35 feet from the booth, laying under those rear tires were several plastic bags with distinctive green and red color bands of the Christmas season bags that Liverpool uses. Those happened to be a few of the bags that we had just purchased and placed inside the back area of the car.
They said they would move the truck when the police arrived and also handed me miscellaneous items that were in various little cubicles around the front console.
Stuff like, keys, business cards, pens and the garage door opener remote, change,note pads, old autopista receipts and basically anything that was in the front of the car.

All that stuff flew out all the way from the front of the car, through the window (which disintegrated) and landed outside the car some of which was still underneath the wheels of the trailer.

After about 5 or 10 minutes the Federal Police showed up and introduced themselves and asked if we were OK, asked what had happened and asked for my drivers license and car registration and papers.
I handed over the items and his partner went to talk to the driver of the truck.

A few minutes later he returned and asked us for our insurance papers. It was at that time that he said the driver was not insured and that he would pay us in cash for the damage to the car.

Ok, but how do we know if and what the damage is at this point?
He said give him an amount and think of how much you want for the car and the damaged contents.

He also mentioned that the driver had no license.

Great, no license , no insurance. We had already called the phone number on our car insurance packet and had talked to the customer service people. They said that the adjuster will be there in 40 minutes.

The time was 11:20

We were still parked in the lane of traffic and after the police took a few photos of the damage, they asked us to move over to the right side of the road so the Caseta lane could be reopened.

While the tractor rig was moving I was summoned over to where the various bags and items were and was asked to pick up "my Stuff" off the road.

I figured that all would be resolved, after all, we had insurance, I had a drivers licenses after all, how bad could it get.....The important thing was that we were OK, the doggies were a little shaken up from flying around the car, but aside from one side air bag , broken glass, the car being about 2 ft shorter, we were OK.

The I learned the "Process" in Mexico is different. How different it is, especially when the other guy has no insurance. What happens is that our insurance company doesn't want to do much for us, unless we rally and help negotiate to get the guy to pay for the damage.
Huh? I thought that all I need was my insurance, get the car fixed or get a replacement car, they pay for a rental car, we are all happy campers.
What happened next was that for the next 6 hours, we were on the side of the road, having the Federallies on our side, asking us if we wanted to have the truck impounded and having it held until we got paid. The insurance guy meanwhile was figuring out how to get the guy to come up with money so they wouldn't have to pay, after a few hours, what they came up with was an unacceptable solution.
There was standoff. The only way it was going to be settle was by the Local Minister of something. It would take court dates, appointments, we would have to find all the paperwork for everything that we were claiming that was damaged, to prove of our loss. In the meantime the were going to impound our car and the tractor but not the trailer.
Well if they release the trailer, we loose our bargaining chips, in my mind....the Federallies agreed.
It was about 3 o'clock when the owner of the trailer showed up and wanted the load.
The Federallies were not going to see that happen. but it was also time that they were at the end of their shift.......

More to chapter soon.


- Mexican Trailrunner said...

This is making me want to sell my car and walk and take buses only.

Still glad you guys got out of this crash intact. Can't wait for the next installment. . .

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Was that the same toll booth with the bad history???

Felipe Zapata said...

¡Viva Mexico!

Tancho said...

MT,, there is an advantage of public and commercial was at the first cadets all the other issues where at the last cadets on the GDL-Tepic autopista. are right, life in Mexico is life, and I am one.happy guy for still living.
Now if the shoe was on the other foot, I would probably be hauled off to the clink.

Calypso said...

A real mess amigo - it is pretty obvious this is NOT going to end up being a 'sweet' insurance claim matter.

As has been suggested - this is Mexico where you are still wrong, even if you are right, when it comes to car accidents.

Yours of course was totally unavoidable and a matter of being in the wrong place I suppose.

It will be interesting to follow...the rest of the story.

Nancy said...

Wow, Tancho, please don't wait too long for the next installment, I am on the edge of my seat!

So glad you're ok but tell the rest, quick!

Anonymous said...

I an not suprised that insurance agents SOB act just like those NOB. Weasels is the word that comes to mind.
Was the quick response because it happened at the toll plaza and they needed to clear it?
Nancy is right. Please don't make us wait too long for the rest. take care.

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

¡Aye CARAMBA! We're so glad to hear that you and the Mrs. and the doggies are okay. I can tell this is going to be a nightmare store...please continue!

p.s. It looks like we're both getting new cars!