Thankful Day 10: Things that don’t suck

Yesterday was a perfect example of why I am trying to focus on things I am thankful for this month, instead of spiraling into my dark hole of hatred and rage just because things don’t go my way.

Of course, having your grandfather die and then getting sued aren’t exactly small potatoes in the “things not going my way” category. But I’m going to start with the thankful parts.

I am thankful that my husband has a stable job and can support our family. I am thankful Little Evan wore underwear ALL DAY (in public and during nap!) without a single accident. I am also thankful he understands sad faces and did his very best to cheer me up with hugs and kisses until my face was happy again. I am especially thankful for Motrin and Oreos.

So now, the stuff that sucks. My mom’s dad has been in assisted living, then memory care, then a nursing home for a really long time now so his passing wasn’t a surprise. Alzheimers is a terrible disease. He was such a terrific Grandpa when we were growing up – he always worked so hard to make sure we had a good time when we came to visit. We called him “Tricky Grandpa” and his favorite joke was giving “fisherman’s handshakes”, where he’d grab your hand and wiggle it and reel you in. He was still giving them a couple years ago when we took Little Evan up to meet him, even though he didn’t really understand who he was.

My mother’s family doesn’t do funerals, which is kind of a relief (traveling alone with 2 kids sounds like a nightmare even though I would absolutely do it) but until we have his memorial service (probably in the spring) I won’t really get to say goodbye. So instead I’ll focus on some of the very best memories of my childhood.

My siblings & I with Grandma & Grandpa at their cottage

AND THEN. I came home yesterday morning and discovered papers stuck in my front door that said I was being sued because I am a terrible, horrible, negligent person who caused all sorts of damages and pain and suffering when I crashed my minivan into someone’s car. Except that NEVER HAPPENED. More than a year ago I was in a fender bender in a basketball court that was being used as a parking lot for our polling place. I had put the van in reverse and was drifting backwards slowly (it was a crazy scene with tons of pedestrians) so a truck a few feet to my left could get out of his parking spot. The driver suing me backed up out of HIS parking spot at the same time (except faster, with his foot on the gas) and my back bumper dented his back driver’s side panel. We exchanged insurance info and left – because it was such a TINY THING no one wanted to call the police – and after we both gave our statements to both carriers they BOTH DECIDED I wasn’t at fault. Since I was in a lane of traffic and he was backing out of a space, he had the greater responsibility to not back into my way. I thought it was over.

Now he says I owe him $15,000. Seriously.

In the paperwork from the lawyer, it specifically says I was the one backing out of a parking space. How can someone just lie like that?! Especially after I’m sure he made statements to the insurance company saying that wasn’t the case. It sounds to me like some ambulance-chasing law firm told him he had a case (although the damage to his car couldn’t possible have cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix and was entirely cosmetic so I have no idea why he even CALLED a lawyer) and they had to change the story to file it.

Angry doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

After a few frantic hours on the internet, the state’s legal site and a couple emails, it looks like my insurance company is going to reopen the case and represent me. (True fact: I had no idea they did that. I had already figured out how to file the Appearance paperwork with the court, printed it, filled it out and was putting the kids in the car when my agent told me they would help. I was all set to represent myself, Elle Woods style. I object!!) I have no idea what happens now and no idea if I will have to go to court and testify. As much of a hassle as it would be, I would LOVE to get up and show his lawyer my photos (because yeah, I went back the next day and took a dozen photos of the location AND a dozen photos of my car, all timestamped, so you can see the complete lack of damage because I am smart. Lawyered!) and also point out that since the insurance company said it was HIS fault perhaps I should be suing, seeing as how I was 7 months pregnant at the time and gee, my back is starting to act up.

And now I am thankful I have somewhere to get all that off my chest, because bottling up my rage was giving me a migraine.

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23 Responses to “Thankful Day 10: Things that don’t suck”

  1. Swistle says:

    What a great photo of you guys and your grandparents! I’m sorry about your grandpa.

    The lawsuit thing is ridiculous and intolerable and I’m so glad the insurance company is going to help, and I hope this is one of those things where the judge takes one look at the documentation and asks the guy if he’s crazy, and then pounds his hammer thing and says “Get outta my courtroom and stop wasting my time, ya nutcase!”

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss and all of the stress. Judge Judy would tear that guy a new one.

    • bebehblog says:

      I keep imagining myself on The People’s Court and the judge looking at the guy and going “ARE YOU SERIOUS WITH THIS??!!” It’s helping keep me sane.

  3. Cole says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your grandpa sounds like a wonderful man.

    Then lawsuit thing sucks – when it rains it pours! Maybe it will get thrown out and he’ll be fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit…

  4. Shari says:

    I’m so sorry about your Grandpa. I’ve been there with all four grandparents – two within the last year – and know how deeply it hurts. Like you said, it’s so important and comforting to focus on the special memories. They are indeed something to be cherished.

    Sending your family all good thoughts.

  5. Other Erin says:

    So sorry hon.

    As sad as this is, it’s not uncommon in hard economic times for people to try their hand and long shot lawsuits. Say you were the type of person who doesn’t like a fight and had money – you might have offered $5,000 just for him to go away and that’s probably the risk he’s taking. But he’s a slimy loser and you’ll be fine, if not justifiably angry and annoyed.

  6. Sarah says:

    Ugh, I’m so sorry for all that stress. So sorry for your loss and sorry that people are money grubbing jerks! And awww that your son is learning empathy and could help make you fell better!

  7. Anakah says:

    I don’t really comment on blogs, but your story about your grandpa and then the sucky lawsuit timing really pulled at my heart. So I just wanted to say that, as an attorney who does insurance defense and who represents people like you (and your insurance company) in these types of cases, do not worry one little bit about that silly lawsuit! Seriously, put the paperwork in a drawer after your lawyer (paid for by the insurance company) calls you to talk about things. These get filed all of the time and you won’t have to pay a dime (that’s what insurance is for! Yay for that.) and your insurance company’s attorney will handle pretty much everything. I doubt there will even be a hearing and 99% of the time these types of cases settle pretty early on. If he’s only asking for $15,000, then he’ll likely take any money your insurance company throws at him to make him go away. I know it’s hard to imagine paying someone like that, but for insurance companies, it’s all about economics. It’s a lot more expensive to pay an attorney to vigorously defend a trivial lawsuit than to settle for a diminimus amount, if possible. Just wanted to ease your mind a little!

    • bebehblog says:

      Thank you so much for commenting. I read it on my phone this morning and I’ve been focusing on it all day when I start freaking out again. I will be SO MAD if my insurance company ends up paying him, but I would rather let them handle it than do it on my own. Thank God that’s an option.

  8. malanda says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I’m sorry you have to deal with such a jerk with this lawsuit. People are so sue happy now these days that is sickening.

    A huge woohoo for your little guy doing great with potty training. My son is around your son’s age and we just recently started as well. It’s been going well so far. I would love to hear any tips you have regarding it.

  9. TMae says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. That picture is adorable, and such a wonderful way to remember your grandfather.

    As for the dude in the pick up truck. Poor guy underestimated you, no?

  10. barbra says:

    I am so so sorry for the loss of your grandpa. My thoughts are with you and your family – I hope your mother is doing okay.

    As for the lawsuit, ditto what Anakah said. I’m a defense litigation paralegal (mostly employment, but I did a short stint in auto PI at the beginning of my career) and these sort of cases get filed all the time. The plaintiff firm is probably one of those huge firms that rely on quantity rather than quality. If they can can get a token amount out 30 bunk cases before depos and motion practice, that’s more money than putting the work into a single legit case and taking it all the way through (less than 1% of cases actually get to trial). It’s really crappy (and why I prefer defense) but it’s all about money.
    No matter what happens, your insurance company will take care of everything – you probably won’t even have to deal with the lawyer more than once, if at all. And they will certainly pay for everything.
    It’s okay to be upset about all this happening at once. It really sucks. Sigh deeply and carry on – things will get better.

  11. Kimberly says:

    If I didn’t live across the Sound, I would deliver you some Oreos.

  12. Your insurance company should definitely take care of everything for you–that’s why you pay them! If there’s a settlement, I’m sure your insurance company will also take care of that. It’s so stressful to deal with people that blatantly lie about an accident. Recently I was involved in an accident (the other driver’s fault) and police had to be called and the other driver was still trying to say it was mine. So, it’s totally horrible to deal with. I hope you can get it figured out soon!

    And I’m very sorry about losing your grandpa. :(

  13. Carrie says:

    Ugh! What a mess. Sorry about your Grandpa. :(

    I agree with the others that your insurance should take care of this…they sure as heck don’t want to pay for it!

  14. Nicole says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know if you knew that when I was a nurse, I worked almost exclusively with people who had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and they are terrible diseases, particularly for the victims’ families and friends. They often respond well to visits from children, though, and I’m glad you brought yours to him.

    As for the suit, your rage is completely justified! You have it taken care of now, but if you ever need a consultation, don’t hesitate to call. Nick’s not admitted in CT, but he can look at your papers, and refer you to someone who is. I’m glad the insurance company is representing you. They’ll have your back! I hope they can make it all go away quickly.

  15. Denae says:

    There isnt much I can say. I am sorry about your grandpa and drivers suck. I have dealt with both recently. ((Hugs))

  16. merin says:

    So sorry to hear about your Grandpa Suzanne. Thinking of you and your family.

    I’m sure you were getting wild and crazy in your minivan. At a polling place. While you were 7 months pregnant. What a jackass (not you, the other guy!!). Did you tell the insurance company that you had a toddler at home, because anyone who has kids would understand that you MUST have been going slow because you were out of your house alone and maybe in no hurry to get home!! Perhaps you even had a stack of magazines to read in the car! (Am I the only one who does this?)

    I hope it all goes away fast!

    Merin

  17. Julie S says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your grandpa.

    And the lawsuit thing is ridiculous. I hope it gets resolved quickly!

  18. […] bebehblog on November 12, 2011 TweetThis week was…not so good. Obviously. My low point was Thursday, when I fought with the kids nonstop all day, the house was a total […]

  19. SarahMC says:

    Sorry this is a bit late, Suzanne, but I am so sorry to hear about your grandpa. May his memory be a blessing to you!
    And I am outraged on your behalf about the lawsuit! That must be so upsetting. How can people live with themselves? I hope it gets resolved quickly and painlessly, and that next week is a better one.

  20. Darling girl, What a stressful time you have had, but what a fearless way you have handled it. Things have to get better, hopefully the worse has passed. Thinking of you fondly and always in my prayers. Love, Gma Gayle

  21. andrea says:

    Oh, man! When it rain it pours :( Sorry about all of these things. That photo of you, your siblings and your grandparents is precious. Hold on to it and to all those great memories of him!
    I hope the car thing gets sorted out. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!? Oh, I would be angry too!! (I kind of am, for you). xxo

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