Last week, after I sent you my newsletter, I went grocery shopping.  On my way back home, I was on Rte. 19 which is not well developed with housing but is a state owned road between many small towns.  It was 4:25 pm, dusk and I even had my headlights on as it gets dark so much earlier now.  One car passed me and as soon as I could see the back of his car, a deer jumped out like he/she had been just waiting for him to pass.  Of course, he went right into the drivers’ side of my car. I cannot tell you if it was male or female as it happened so quickly.  I heard the loud thump and my car started making loud noises like I was driving on a completely flat tire.  I put on my emergency flashers as I wanted to avoid any more accidents.

My first thought was to stop but I needed to find a wide enough spot on the side of the road to pull over.  I ended up between two houses, one on either side of the road.  I avoided the driveways because I did not want to block any house. I was stunned but whole.  NO injuries.  So I sat there for a few minutes gathering my thoughts.  My first thought was I better get out and check what is causing all the noise.  I could not fully open my door and had to strongly push it open enough so I could squeeze out.  That is when I noticed all the damage to my left fender, the hood and the lights were all over the place.  I went around the car to make sure nothing else was damaged and came back and tried to get the piece of metal or plastic that was on my tire and causing the entire racket. I looked around to see if anyone had seen what happened but no one was around and the two houses on opposite sides were too far for me to walk.

I was going to call AAA when I realized that the deer might be in the middle of the road and perhaps causing another accident. I squeezed back into the car and put the heat on and I called 911 and told them I had hit a deer.  I was asked the address but could only tell them that it was RTE 19 and between Wales and Brimfield.  I could not see addresses on the houses as they were too far away.  I was shaking by now and the operator finally found me on her “radar”.  I wonder what pinged as I don’t have a smart phone, only a flip top .   I wish I had thought to ask her but hopefully, I can find out another way.

The police arrived and it was amazing to me to see them in action. They did not approach too close as they were scanning for their safety also. I did not open my door; I just opened the window so I could converse with them.  First, they wanted to know if I was injured and then was I the owner of the car. Of course, the normal Q for license, they had already gotten my registration from checking me in the computer in their car.

They were very solicitous and even asked if I had had a drink.  I laughed and said I had been grocery shopping. He apologized for asking but it was part of what they had to do. There was no doubt that a deer had been part of this accident as he left behind some of his/her fur and blood. Another officer arrived and he asked me how far away from where I was, did the accident occur?  I know I looked dumb as I just stared at him, how do you measure that?

One of the officers lifted whatever was on my tire enough to stay and then made sure that I could drive the vehicle. I tell you, I could not stop shaking and they kept asking if I was OK. I am very fortunate that I had no injuries even though the next day, my wrists and thumbs ached a lot but that must have been from grabbing the steering wheel hard when the collision occurred.

Wouldn’t you know by the time I got home, it was Friday night and passed 5:00pm so my insurance rep was not at the office? I called my son Steve as I felt helpless to know what to do next.  This was a whole different experience and I needed to get someone else’s opinion as to what to do now. I had contacted the police so now I needed to contact my primary insurance company.  They were very good and took down the information and gave me a claim number. Wouldn’t you know that I just changed insurance carriers on Nov 1 as I was tired of having to pay an additional $100 a year with the former company that I had had for 10 years. (Boy, am I glad I did)

I knew no auto body shop or person and my question kept being: “What do I do next?” especially since it was the weekend and we were expecting a huge Northeaster which did come and all schools and businesses were closed.  We had two storms on two days and both days, I needed to be plowed and shoveled.  I think I was frustrated because I did not know the protocol or the next steps and I couldn’t do anything about the mess I was in.  I called many people trying to find out where a good, honest auto body would be.  I was quite nervous because I know a woman; especially an elderly woman can be taken advantage of because most of us do not know the workings of a car. I finally reached my insurance rep on Tuesday and she suggested Baldyga’s for the body work on my car.

I need to say that I was guided and taken care throughout this ordeal even when I did not think I was.  It turns out that Balyda’s is a preferred provider auto body shop of my new insurance company, Plymouth Rock Assurance company, which means that if I am not satisfied with the work done, that they will step up and fight for me.  I would not have to deal with the auto shop alone, the insurance company guarantees it. This insurance company also has preferred-provider agreements with enterprise and Hertz for covered car rentals.  In fact. I was concerned because I live in a small rural town on a mountain where I need a bigger car than a 4 door sedan which they wanted to give me and the representative of Enterprise in the office of Plymouth Rock is going to see that I get 4 wheel drive and a vehicle that rides a little higher than a sedan because of the amount snow I get. If it wasn’t winter, I would not have minded a plain 4 door sedan but not in winter.

Then….the adjuster came, which I needed but I was dreading it because I have a 2004 Toyota Rav 4 with only 138,000 miles on it.  It is not worth much on book value but it has lived only half of its life so far. I did not want it totaled because I could never get another car that was in such good shape for the money the insurance company could give me.   I explained that to the adjuster and he worked hard so it would not have to be totaled. He has his own office in his car so he went out to do all the figures. I looked at his face when he came back in the house and I knew it was not good news.  When he came in, I told him I had been praying for the courage to accept whatever the decision was.  He laughed and said he had been praying also that the total would come back in my favor.  As we had scanned my car, we both noticed more damage on the back door on the driver’s side.  The deer must have bounced there too as there was a little fur and blood and a small dent. Of course, that made the repair cost even higher.  I told him if they could just cover the little puncture in the door with paint so it would not rust, that I could live with the dent which is actually minimal. I have an appointment with Baldyga’s Monday morning and he will make the final termination as no one has lifted the hood yet to see just how much damage occurred. If there has been more damage, I will need to accept it.

I know some of you might be bored with such a long story but I wrote it in the hopes that it might help someone who has an accident and was as ignorant of me as to the procedures. I also want to spread good news about Plymouth Rock Assurance Company.  Would you like another laugh?  When I went to the Police Station to get my police report (I called when I got there so they could bring it out to me so I would not have to squeeze out of my car.) I only knew my insurance was called Plymouth Rock, so when I read it and saw Plymouth Rock Assurance Company, I mentioned to the office that it should be Insurance not Assurance. He laughed and said that the computer did that itself.  I asked my insurance company and they chuckled as the owner of the insurance company wanted people to be ASSURED as well as INSURED.  I thought that was a great thing to do.  You see how we are taken care of even when we don’t know it.  Words are very powerful and that company is living up to its name.

It is snowing again; we are certainly having an early winter.  After the stress of last week as well as all the signs of wellbeing I have been given, I would like this newsletter to be one of lightness and humor.  Please chuckle and laugh with me.

Lee Harris’ forecast is right on the money

Jayme Price is at it again, there is much to look forward to.

I know this is about Thanksgiving but it also is about accidental events in your life.

What an example he is.  He lifted more people that day

Love and Light

Mary Grace