‘A lorry tale’ of persistence
In the beginning of last year, I had an accident. A huge lorry tried to overtake me from the inside lane and hit the passenger side of my car carrying my three children. The lorry in question was foreign registered. I had never been struck with that magnitude ever in my life and they say that the first of everything is unique and memorable. Isn’t it? This has twist and turns, Sherlock Holmes moments, incident report to police, talks with Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), foreign insurance company, company dealing with foreign insurance and the core of everything is that foreign registered lorry that collided my car. I will tell you from the beginning which I call it ‘A lorry tale’ of persistence.
It was around 7.50 am, a light drizzle and slow moving traffic on the 12th of March 2018. I was driving around 12-13 mph in a 30 mph limit road. I was doing my morning school run in the north circular road. As I was approaching a junction where the road gets narrower, I saw a lorry behind me in the rear view mirror, never realising that it was trying to squeeze past me. But it did and the next thing I heard was a loud ‘bang’. It hit the passenger side of my car where my then 10 months old baby was sitting. I stopped the car. It was still raining and I was shivering with fear. I had no idea what to do or how to react. The first thing was to check on my kids. Thankfully, everyone was fine except for the crying because of the massive hit on my car. After checking on their well being, I looked at my car. It was hugely damaged. Then I turned to look at the lorry. The sheer size of it made me thank my stars. Without knowing how to react, I started walking towards the lorry. The driver of the lorry came out and like a little girl I said, ‘LOOK WHAT YOU DID!’
To my utter disbelief, instead of apologising, the driver came forward to shake his hands with me by saying, ‘can’t speak english’. I was taken aback and took a step back when I saw him taking my personal space. I rushed back to the car as my kids were getting restless. I took a photograph of the lorry from a distance. Thankfully, the car was in a drivable condition. So I decided to drop off my kids.
Upon reaching home, I called up Met police to register the accident. The case was filed. However, shortly I received an email saying, ‘because the lorry was foreign registered, we have to close the case’ but they had provided a leaflet for Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). That was a good point to know.
So my next call of action was to ring MIB. I called them up and they asked me about the details of the accident and the registration number of the lorry. Because I took the photograph of the lorry, I could present that piece of information to them. That was easy, wasn’t it? But wait, the story takes a sharp turn here. They asked me about the country to which the lorry was registered and I had no answer to that question. Other than the number plate, I did not have any information about that lorry. They said that without that vital piece of detail, they wouldn’t be able to proceed to find the insurance details of the lorry. So a dead end.
I was disappointed and upset. I zoomed in the photograph of the lorry from all possible angles. The name of the country was not visible in the photograph. Now, there was only one way left and that was to check the registration details of all the countries in the European Union. I tried searching for random countries but it was not matching and it was getting infuriating. It was quite a challenge but I learnt a lot about registration numbers though:-)
I saw so many number plates, how they are registered according to regions with each alphabet and number with their own identity and significance that I was ready to check in a systematic order. When it comes to order, there are no one better than children to do it. I called for help. It was my then 10 year old boy. When they get a task like that, they come prepared. My eldest one brought his magnifying glass just in case.
We started alphabetically and in doing so, within a few minutes we found out that the lorry belonged to Bulgaria. It was truly a Sherlock Holmes moment for us. Time for fist pumps and high fives. It felt out of the world.
The following morning, I called up MIB again. This time with all the information. I put the receiver down with the name of the insurance company and the company that deals with that insurance company in the UK. What an amazing feeling! I had the name of the insurance company and with that the driver could be traced and my car could be repaired. Here’s a link in case you need it https://mib.org.uk
I called up the company. A lady answered the call and asked me to send all the details with photographs. It was the beginning. I was happy that at least I had a start. But the real battle for me was the acceptance of liability by the third party. With hundreds of email exchanges, phone calls, inspection of my car, quotes of settlement, they finally decided to accept liability. I am thankful to the case handler of the company. We had discussions, disagreements, moments of despair over one year but she delivered. I call it women power:-)
My car came back repaired and I received my final discharge form. Today, I sent her a thank you note by saying that ‘she was excellent’ and I immediately got a reply saying that ‘it was possible because I was pleasant throughout’. I guess a few kind words in the moments of heat go a long way:-)
I don’t know the best way to describe my euphoria! Persistence, empowerment, information, right channels, communication and not giving up – all of them! I wouldn’t lie but I was scared to drive after that incident but I had no option. I still get a bit jittery when I see a lorry but life goes on rather you drive on. Isn’t it?
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