Thursday, November 29, 2012

I was hit by a big rig - need your help

(Update:  Gallegher Bassett contacted me and stated the client, PFG Transco,  offered to pay me my money.  In return, I am removing the contact information for the people involved.  However, I am not removing the story.  This should be a warning to companies who do unethical things - in the age of social media, we consumers do have ways to state our case.  We don't have no choice but to take it when a company decides to cheat us, thinking that we have no recourse.  Denying an insurance claim without investigating any of the facts is unethical, as is putting truckers on the road who are dangerous.  I can't do much about the second thing, but I at least got the money I was out due to that driver's lack of skill. 

I want to thank those of you who made calls, who tweeted, and who worked to right this wrong on my behalf.  You are fantastic and I appreciate every one of you.)

Facebook readers will know I was hit by a big rig the other day, a truck by PFG Transco, Inc. HR's email address is the only one I can find:  (deleted upon request).

It was November 19th and I was driving home from a doctor's appointment (where else would I be going?) and I was stopped at a red light, waiting to go straight. A big rig, an 18 wheeler, pulled into the turn lane left of me.  The light was green so he went. He was too close and he hit me, knocking off my side mirror, and I might add, scaring the crap out of me. (You who have been on chemo for a few years might not think that's such a bad thing.....).

I was shocked and slightly terrified.  I'm not supposed to die in a car accident, but of cancer!  How dare this truck take away my remaining months!  The scraping noises it made sounded like he had taken off the entire side of the car and not just the side mirror, and in fact, we have noticed bumper damage since.  I jumped to the right to get away in case the back of his truck came in through the window as he completed the turn, but fortunately, it didn't.  He drove off down the street. Stunned,  I honked and honked, trying to make him take notice, my back aching from the sudden movements.  He didn't stop, so all the cars had gone and I was in the front at a red, and his lane was still green, so I jumped over and followed.

At a red light, I hopped out of the car, banged on his window, and yelled "Hey!  You just hit me."  


And him right before I knocked:


We chatted a bit.  He apologized, hadn't realized, seemed very nice and wanted to pay himself so he didn't get fired, which I was willing to do if if wasn't too much money. (I wasn't going to trust him with a check.)   He said it would be cheap, and pulled out his wallet, but I wasn't so sure.  But, if my husband agreed, than I would too.   He then said then said to follow up to Outback Steakhouse up the street.  I asked him why, and he said he had to make a drop there.  So, I called my husband, explained to meet us at Outback .

As he began driving into Outback, I saw that he was hitting their sign.  I grabbed my camera!  

He seemed to be stuck.  I backed up although he had plenty of room.  He eventually gave up and drove away:.

You can't see it in this video but he cut off a blue car to the left, and he straddled lines several times to make turns.  I had no idea where he was going and so I put down the phone and called the 800 number on the back of his truck for "safety" and reported that he had just hit me.  Then I saw him make a couple more driving errors and since I had no idea where he was going I called 9-11.  While I'd agreed to meet with him and my husband to see if we could handle this privately, he was not demonstrating good driving and I thought it was best to do the right thing and for all I knew, he was going to leave town.

I was on the phone with CHP the whole time -they were calling it a hit and run and they were telling me to be careful.  I told them not to worry, he was a nice guy.  Hah!  

He finally pulled over behind a gas station.  Hindsight says he was trying to get away from me, but at the time I thought he was just looking for a place to park.  So, I told him (with CHP listening) that because of his bad driving and crossing lines and almost hitting somebody else, and hitting the Outback sign, I felt I needed to handle this properly so I'd called the authorities.

All of that should be recorded as it was a 9-11 call.  

I contacted my husband and told him where we were.  

The man was extremely apologetic, said he was a family man, was just supporting his wife and kids and he would get fired for hitting me.  He was very sorry, he said it numerous times.  I felt terrible and said I was sorry too, I even patted him on the shoulder.  His name is Fernando, and he'd been driving a truck for 6 months.   We talked until the CHP arrived.  I shared with him my own son's struggle to find a job and I knew how tough it was.

Well, the CHP arrived and then my husband.  The CHP helped us exchange information.  But, they said that the accident was actually in Sacramento City Police Boundaries and the police don't come out to take reports.  So, we would handle this through our insurance company.  I told Fernando that I would get an estimate and call him that night with the costs and we could still handle it off-book if he wanted - I really did feel terrible.  So, we got an estimate that day, for only $200.00 (still hadn't noticed the bumper) and I called Fernando on his company phone and left a message saying it was only $200.00 and if he would call me back, we'd take care of it that way.

He didn't call back, so we dealt with it through insurance.

This morning, I got a phone call, waking me up, from their insurance company, Gallagher Bassett, who hilariously bill themselves as the most ethical company in the world.  They took my statement and then told me they immediately ruled in favor of the driver. 


Apparently, he said he hadn't hit me, he didn't know me, there was no damage and he had no idea what I was talking about.  He lied to me about being a good man and about wanting to do the right thing.  My side of the story didn't matter at all, as I had no proof he did it so why they called me?   I have no idea. 

The fact that I'd called their company hot line immediately saying he'd hit me, that I followed him halfway around town, that I'd called the CHP - none of that means he hit me,  according to them. I'm just a crazy lady, I guess, following big rigs around and making up accidents and calling 800 numbers and the CHP for no reason.    That is just what this terminally ill woman does for fun in her spare time. Follow trucks and pretend they hit her.  Because, I don't have enough problems  in my life, clearly, I need to create more.

Here is a screenshot of the calls I made.  You can see that I was nervous and messed up dialing the truck's reporting number a couple of times, called my husband (Doug) in between and then called 9-11.

$200.00 is nothing for the "most ethical company in the world" to do the right thing but it is a lot for me at Christmas time.  Apparently there is no justice in this world, especially for me.

Maybe you should call  Gallagher/Basset and leave a message for (name and number deleted upon request) and let her know what you think about calling a terminally ill lady and pretending to get a statement when it has already been decided.   Or, you  may want to call the trucking company and let them know how you feel about having drivers of that caliber on the road with your children: (number deleted upon request).  They might also be interested in this post.

If you would like to tell Fernando  what you think about his lies, his company line is: (number deleted upon request.)  Feel free to leave a message - I called him and he hung up on me.  He's a good, family man, after all.  I'm sure he would like a letter telling him what an honorable person he is.

After all, I'm sure he immediately reported the accident I caught on video at Outback, which is is probably required to do.  Oh wait, he didn't, the insurance company told me they had no knowledge of it (but wanted me to send them the video.)  So, they could cover it up?  No chance.

Outback will have it with my testimony today.

If you have any advice for getting my rightful $200.00 from these people, I would be happy to hear it.


  1. Small claims court. The insurance company won't want to mess with it when they can get rid of you for $200. And you would be a dangerous witness against them! Good luck.

  2. Dealing with insurance is not fair. Whether it was his fault or not you never win. I am dealing with an accident where I was asleep in bed and a SUV hit a tractor trailer which came off the road damaged a telephone pole, took out my neighbor's fence and bushes, totaled my car, damaged my house and destroyed my front yard. There is not enough insurance to cover all the damage. Since I had the most and went over what my insurance covers I will never recover my losses and all this while I was sleeping. So be happy it's only $200.

  3. Wow, Sandy, I'm really sorry that happened to you. Maybe you can file a lawsuit too - looks like I may have to.

    Just as I don't compare people's health issues, I wouldn't say it is "only" $200.00. You have no idea how much $200.00 could mean to me. I never say to people who complain of a bad back that they should be happy they don't have cancer - people's "bad things" are never made better by hearing that somebody else has it worse.

    Both things are bad and I feel for you. The point is not really the money, it was how I never even had a chance to get my damages repaired. I was lied to from the beginning.

    The point is also - and I didn't make this clear - that that driver is a really bad driver. He hit me, he hit that sign, he cut off other cars and he was straddling lines. If I had anybody else in the car with me I would have caught a lot more of it. The next accident could be a lot worse than a mirror, and the company would rather keep him on the road.

  4. Ann,
    Copy and paste your blog and re-post on facebook. Many large corporations now have public relations services that scour the internet for feedback to their company. Having this type of feedback/happening is definitely not desirable for any company. This day-and-age having this type behavior publicly known (and facebook is one avenue, your blog another) usually gets responses.

  5. Also...keep in mind...seems like any insurance (i.e. health insurance included), when in doubt at first deny, deny to see if you give up. Unfortunately I do not have any law connections but an inquiry on how to do this in small-claims court definitely sounds like a good idea.

  6. What the heck is YOUR insurance company doing? Give them a call. They are supposed to be fighting this battle for you, right? The Facebook thing is a very excellent idea. Ask people to share it. I'd be glad to.

  7. I checked the trucking company - they don't have a facebook page but I did send an email to "sales." They are the only ones I know will read emails.

    As for my insurance: Our deductible is $200.00. Our damages were $213.00. So, they have no motivation to help. We could get a check for $13.00 from them. Instead, I think that the trucking company needs to pay up. They damaged my car, and I'm not asking for a penny beyond my costs, even though that was scary and my back hurts from twisting away from it.

    I am arranging to get the 9-11 call and will post it here when I do.

    1. Ann, your insurance company DOES have motivation to help. It's their job. Do you have a local agent? Talk to them.

      If you're not at fault, you shouldn't have a deductible (at least not in NC) just like if an uninsured motorist hit you. They should fight the other company and take care of it.

      Now if you have one of those Internet-only firms, it you might not have a agent to make sure the process gets started for you.

  8. I wonder if he was drunk? Did you smell alcohol? If his voice was recorded on the phonecall perhaps it can be shown he was slurring. If so, he ought to have the book thrown at him.
    Sorry you had to go through this (shock and annoyance). Good for you, though, Ann - fight for justice and teach the insurance company that they cannot ignore individuals! All the best,

  9. File a lawsuit in small claims court. You don't need an attorney to do so, and your 911 calls and phone pictures/video would be enough for the trucking company to give you the money just to make you shut up.

    If you found an attorney willing to take it on contingency, that attorney will hound the trucking company incessantly, with threats of negative publicity.

    Do you have a news station with an "On your side" team? You may want to check, that's free AND negative publicity for the trucking company.

    In the grand scheme, you are right, $200 and a pulled muscle isn't the end of the world, but what if that negligent driver in the wild hit someone with a heart condition and a busted mirror killed them?

    Glad you are ok, sore muscles aside.

  10. What he did, given your account, is bad. But you weren't hurt. Your car received minimal damage. You've provided evidence that you made several phone calls and took two videos while driving -- all illegal. I understand that you are very angry, but was it necessary to publish his home address? How would you feel if he published yours? Counting your blessings and moving on looks like a good option. Good luck.

    1. "Anonymous" it is not illegal to make hands-free calls in California, which is what I did. I have bluetooth and a CD stand stand (which is very cool). As for the videos, in one I was not moving. In the other, I put it down as soon as I knew we would be moving again, so I did something illegal for about one minute and obviously, I was safe about it, which is the point of the law.

      I wish I had tested to see if I could turn it around and put it in my CD case and record that way, as you would have caught some examples of spectacularly bad driving by that trucker.

      Not once did the CHP ever ask me if I was on a cell phone hands-free or not anyway, you may be allowed to call them that way, I don't know. But, it doesn't matter, my phone was housed.

      As for the guy's address, I gave him a chance. I called him and told him what was happening and he had the opportunity to make it right. But, he chose to lie to me on numerous occasions, while all the while stating he is a good and honorable family man. So, I am okay with putting his information out there so people can write him a letter telling him the meaning of honor. I would of course, not want him hurt or bothered or anything, but I don't believe my readers are the kind of people who would consider it. I did have a snapshot of his driver's listens and that is not posted for personal reason.

      I'm not the count your blessings and move on type if I have been wronged, lied to and my property damaged and it's possible to make good from that. More power to you if you are though, nothing wrong with being passive if that is who you are meant to be. I'm just not that passive and I intend to get my rightful money.

    2. Anonymous,

      $200 may seem "minimal" to you, but it certainly isn't for everyone. Ann was not in the wrong here and she should not be made to feel that way. This driver should not be operating a big rig, period. He could kill someone next.

  11. I'm from New Jersey - and we just went through a hurricane- and I had a BMX following all that November 9th. I am also Italian- with a 2 year old. If I get on the phone for you- I will put a good bet on your getting your $. People hate talking to me on the phone when I am mad. Otherwise- does your local news have a "shame on you" or any kind of public company shaming piece every week? call them!

  12. Ann, your blog post does make it clear that this driver needs to be off the road.

  13. Ann, you are the bomb. Publish away. He gave you no alternative. $200.00 is $200.00. People are strapped these days and most families having to deal with cancer and medical expenses know what $200.00 can buy. In Maryland, we have what is called the Office of The Attorney General, and they have a division called The Insurance Commission. Please find out about your state structure and see if you can call them about Gallagher Bassett. You can file a complaint (free of charge) and have the company and their practices investigated.

    Stephanie, in Maryland

  14. Unfricking-believable! I'm calling the numbers you listed today.

  15. I wrote to the insurance company and told them I would put their SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOUR out on every social network available to me. I would make sure everyone knew how heartless they are. I am looking for their facebook so I can give it to them there too. We will get that money for you!
    Lisa ( who is walking a friend thru terminal glioblastoma)

  16. I would call your local news station and let them have the story. Baaadd publicity for the company will get them moving on your claim.

  17. An update - I got a call I was unable to answer and they are re-evaluating. Today I got a letter with the denial that didn't even have my name correct. :rolleyes: They didn't look into it at all, not even to the point where they know my name, and I even called the trucking company the minute the accident happened. They just denied me. Not sure that is even legal, to ignore the proof that was offered.

    The insurance commissioner is involved as well. We will see what happens but it looks like I will get my rightful money. And, that is thanks to all of you. I will post as soon as I get more information.


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