On the way home from Utah two days ago, we had the lovely opportunity to be involved in an automobile accident while passing through Las Vegas. We were parked outside a gas station and behind me was a fellow waiting to pull in to a gas pump. I backed into him and I don't even really know why. I did check behind me when I pulled out. My back windshield was very salt-encrusted from the soggy weather and salt-covered roads in Utah, and he was parked at a funny angle where I don't think I could see his cab through my rear view mirror. Nevertheless, I can't really point to either of these as the root cause of the accident.
The impact was minor; nobody was injured. I hopped out immediately to survey the damage and the first thing going through my mind was, "Oh, great. Now my car insurance is going to go up." (I haven't had good experiences with auto insurance companies in the past ...)
The guy I hit got out of his truck. He was a big burly guy with tattoos and at least a hundred pounds on me. Strangely enough, though, I wasn't anywhere close to being intimidated. I offered my apologies and suggested we trade insurance information, to which he balked. I was surprised by his unwillingness to share his information with me, and I have to be honest that my attitude wasn't very good for a few moments after that.
I did get my policy information out and before I knew it, he was on his cell phone with my insurance company making a claim! Later, I found out that he had been in an accident recently where the "other guy" tried to pin the whole thing on him, which was why he wasn't keen to share his information with me and was quick to call my insurance company.
We did eventually swap information. I later made a call to the insurance company to report my side of the story (which in theory is the same with his story, judging by what I heard of his side of the conversation while he was on the phone with the insurance guy). I also did instruct my wife to get out with the camera and take as many pictures as she could. It never hurts to have those! So, here's a few of them that sort of tell the story.
His bumper was higher than mine, so we did not collide bumper-to-bumper. I struck the back right bumper's corner with the back right of my mini-van. You can see in this next picture that his truck was already pretty beat up to begin with. If you look at his bumper on the right of this picture, you can see a little gray dust on his bumper. This is the salt and perhaps a bit of gray paint from my van. His bumper, to me, is only minimally damaged more than it was before the impact. It was already pressed up and in from earlier damage, so I can't even really judge what is new and what was old.
My van, on the other hand, was damaged much more. As you can see in this picture, the right side of the back door of the van has been pressed in. The depth of damage is about one inch, maybe an inch-and-a-half. The door is still fully functional, but the paint is cracked and it will be messy when it starts to flake and the body start to rust. It's also pretty ugly, and unlike the other guy's truck, it is out of character with the appearance of the rest of the van.
I detest the process we're about to go through, though, as we get contacted by the insurance agents, have to get the damage appraised, and then get bad offer after bad offer from the insurance company to cover the damages. Such a mess.
As an aside, while we were in the parking lot dealing with the accident, who would happen to show up at the exact same gas station? My home teacher! It was so random that my home teacher would show up at the scene of an accident I've been involved in five hours away from home. He, too, was returning from visiting family in Utah and happened to stop at the same place to get gas and take a break with his wife and kids. We didn't really need him there, but it was just a funny coincidence that he showed up. He'll probably remind me of this for years to come that he shows up whenever we need him most, even a whole state away!
Additionally, we did catch another picture of the sky above us as we were on our way home. This little bit of rainbow high in the sky was so strange that we just had to get a picture of it. I'm curious to know what it's called, as I'm sure it has a name, but it eludes me ...