I’ve even taken it upon myself to call road crews and road commissioners for Pulaski county, where this accident happened, and confirmed that there is, indeed, SUPPOSED to be a yield sign for drivers approaching the intersection from the “T” road. Problem is, they stopped putting signs up after they kept getting stolen. Did my insurance company both to do this? Of course not. They don’t really care.
I was taking my kids down to the Big Piney for a Father’s Day float trip. Or, so I thought.
I had gone past the turn for the road to the outfitters, then turned around and was coming back, making a left-hand turn onto the side lane “T” road that goes up to the float trip outfitters. It was unfamiliar territory, so I slowed way down and swung really wide in the intersection while I was trying to spot the side road (it meets at a 45 degree angle, so it was difficult to see coming from my direction). Once I could see for sure there really was a road going that way, I made one last visual scan to the right, to make sure no other traffic had snuck up on me while I was looking left.
I looked back left to spot my line and commit to my turn, and saw the front of a big old school bus, at the corner of the intersection, instead. I could tell is was moving – and headed straight at me. I knew hitting my brakes wouldn’t help, so I cut my wheel to the right hard, trying to turn away from the oncoming bus.
I got hit by the bus. The bus actually belonged to one of the outfitters in the area – Wilderness Ridge Resort, and they had a load of passengers headed to the put-in point. It was barely a second between the time I saw the bus, and the time I got hit by the bus. I never had a chance. The bus driver was doing about 40MPH (Posted speed limit 25MPH), and coming off a side “T” road, into an intersection with a main “through” road.
I took a few pictures immediately after the accident, and then later, after chatting with some people that had been on the bus who all seemed to agree that the bus driver was going way too fast, I came back later and took more pictures of the skid marks in the intersection.
After finding out, first, that the other driver lied his ass off about what happened (said he was stopped and I slid out and smashed into him. Asshole.); finding out the insurance companies let them cherry pick one of their friends, who happened to be on the bus, as a witness; and numerous other hassles with the insurance companies – both mine, American Family, and the other party’s, Nationwide – weeks later I finally get word from the other insurance company: They say it’s 100% my fault, because I just happened to be in this asshole’s way as he sped through the intersection.
Wait… WHAT?!? Seriously? You fucking sleazeball assholes? I know the insurance industry is basically a cesspool of sleaze, but… I’ve never seen such gross malfeasance and crazy bullshit to avoid paying a claim before. This is completely outrageous. Nationwide is both grossly dishonest, and completely unfair.
First, let me cite Missouri law, which defines an intersection:
Section 300.010. The following words and phrases when used in this ordinance mean:
(a) The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict;
By the very fact there was a collision between two vehicles traveling on different roadways, there is no legal question about this: This collision occurred IN AN INTERSECTION.
Second, let me cite Missouri Law, which defines the right-of-way in an intersection:
Right-of-way at intersection–signs at intersections–violation, penalty–additional penalties–definitions–order of suspension, contents, appeal.
1. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway, provided, however, there is no form of traffic control at such intersection.
2. When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the driver of the vehicle on the right. This subsection shall not apply to vehicles approaching each other from opposite directions when the driver of one of such vehicles is attempting to or is making a left turn.
I was already in the intersection. I was the vehicle on the right.
So, tell me this: How does Nationwide manage to come up with the determination that this accident was my fault? Because, of course… the sleazy turdballs will simply do anything: lie, ignore the law, distort the truth, anything; just to avoid paying a claim. I am outraged. It’s complete and utter bullshit. Saying the accident was my fault is legally wrong, technically wrong, morally wrong, and ethically wrong.
All I was doing was executing a reasonably prudent left hand turn, and this bus driver came flying off a side “T” road well above the speed limit, failed to yield, and just plowed me. This accident was NOT MY FAULT.
As much as I hated to do this, I had to end up settling with my own insurance company, just to be able to buy a replacement vehicle. Now, they essentially own my position in this dispute, and the case goes to “Subrogation” – the insurance industry’s equivalent of legal arbitration. Some faceless, nameless committee will look at the case and decide. Despite the law, the evidence, and everything else I have, this is not good, not good at all. Subrogation is an insurance industry body, and it’s always in the best interest of the insurance industry, as a whole, to always split liability so both companies can skim the deductible.
Needless to say, I’m pissed. It wasn’t bad enough just getting plowed by a bus. Nationwide has to screw me out of a rightful settlement, too. I’m still preparing my case for subrogation. I’ve got the law, I’ve got photographs, I’ve got a lot of stuff going into this. But, it’s taken an inordinate amount of my rage-fueled time, and I’m still not done.
I’m not happy with my own insurance company either. Cell phones have no service where the accident happened. I had to rely on the outfitter whose bus hit me, just to call my insurance company. I asked them to help me contact other parties, they said they would, but didn’t.
Furthermore, despite having lots of photographs of the accident scene as the vehicles came to rest, and the skid marks after the vehicles were moved, AmFam is totally glib about helping me with crash analysis. It’s not worth it, they say. They don’t give a fuck, either. Since I had still had full coverage (although the van was paid off), they take the attitude of, “Well just settle with us” (and then we’ll jack the fuck out of your rates to get our money back).
Even without the sign there, the law clearly states the bus driver had to yield anyway. Does the insurance industry care? Apparently not.
I have nothing good to say about the insurance industry. It really is a cesspool of sleaze.
Please, dear readers, do me a couple favors if you would:
1) If you ever go float on the Big Piney river in Missouri, DO NOT USE Wilderness Ridge Resort. There’s another outfitter just up the road – Rich’s Last Resort. Go there. Just look out for busses at the nearby intersection!
2) Avoid using Nationwide Insurance, and badmouth them as the sleazeball assholes they are, every chance you get.
It’s taken me a month so far to prepare my case for subrogation, no thanks to my own insurance company that refuses to help me with crash analysis, and will take me months longer once I’m done, to find out what happens in Subrogation. But, I’m almost certain I will be assessed enough liability so that my own insurance company gets to keep my deductible. The insurance industry sucks.
So does getting hit by a bus in the first place.