Thursday, February 28, 2013

Accident Leads To Anger, Jealousy - And A Need To Move On

Dear Tazi:

A few years ago I was in a car accident. I was not hurt, but my car was totaled. It was an old car, with over 300,000 miles and not much book value to it, but it ran. The person who hit me was uninsured, and had almost no assets so I couldn't even sue him personally to collect on my loss. My insurance company paid me a just under $1,000, but there was no way I would find a reliable used car for that kind of money - I looked! I ended up having to buy a new car.

The guy who hit me was held for financial responsibility and had his license suspended. He filed for bankruptcy a few months later, and discharged this claim against him, and got his license back. I thought that was the last I would ever see or hear of him, but then a few weeks ago the local paper reported that he won $10,000 on the lottery! In the story he was quoted as saying he planned to buy a new car, since he lost his in an accident a few years ago and blah, blah, blah...

Tazi, I wanted to punch this guy in the face! Who does he think he is? I had to borrow money and pay interest on it to get a used car through a dealership and am still paying it off and this guy gets to drive something new? How fair is that? I contacted my lawyer to ask if I had a case against him but was told that I don't; the initial case was settled when I collected against my own insurance. I looked the guy's phone number up and left a message, but he never returned it. I have written a letter to the local paper explaining why the guy doesn't have a car, but it didn't get printed. I just feel like this guy owes me something. Right now, I am resisting the urge to break the windows on his new car.

My girlfriend says I should let this go, that I needed a new car anyway and that the insurance settlement gave me my down payment. This is true, but I can't let go that this guy gets a new car interest free. What's your take on things, Tazi?

Angry and Aggravated

Dear Angry and Aggravated:

My take on things is that you got dealt a horrible hand in this situation and that busting out this other man's windows - or in any other way harassing him - will only make things worse for you. As hard as this is, you need to let go of your anger; if you can't do that on your own, try seeking professional help from a licensed counselor.

Not to make you angrier, but you are only seeing one side of the story - your own. Has it occurred to you that this other man's life has probably not been a bed of roses these past few years? You say that he had "almost no assets" and then had to declare bankruptcy. He had to be hard up if he could not pay financial responsibility of less than $1,000.  Bankruptcy is not a choice to be made lightly.

With a recent bankruptcy on his credit, this man is probably seen by many as unreliable. This will have made it difficult for him to find a job or advance at a job or rent an apartment. He will also be unable to finance a car, and after Uncle Sam takes his share of the lottery winnings, this man will have about $7,000 left over. I realize that is $6,000 more than you got for your car, but it is hardly enough to buy a new car; in today's market it might buy a 10 year old vehicle (not including sales tax, registration fees, etc.). Are you feeling a bit better now?

Life has handed you lemons, I am not denying you that, but I doubt the other guy's life is the bowl of cherries you think it is. Concentrate on moving on with your own life, and seeing the positive side of the situation. As your girlfriend pointed out, you needed a new car, and the insurance settlement gave you more than you would have received in trade for your old car; as you have pointed out, you were not injured in the accident. Those are two things to be thankful for; I suggest you keep busy by looking for more.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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