May 23, 2023

A Parent's Biggest Fear v. 2.0

(I feel like this is very similar to my post in November 2021, called "A Parent's Biggest Fear", which is why I titled this the way I did.)

I've written way too many times about the series of "misfortunes" we've had over the last year--things just seem to be going wrong, and just when I think our luck must be turning around, something else happens. When we got home from Cedar Point yesterday evening, Jerry and I were working on cooking dinner. Eli had gone fishing with a couple of friends and Noah was in his room.

(Someone commented that I may want to remove some details from this just in case lawyers should happen to get involved. So I'm going to remove some of it--hopefully it will still make sense.)

I got a phone call from Eli and he was really upset. I couldn't get much info from him because I could hear a woman in the background yelling at him. From what I could gather, they had gotten in a car accident and she was yelling at him. I tried to calm him down, but the woman was still yelling and I told him to call the police and not talk to the woman at all (meanwhile, Jerry and Noah ran out the door to head to the accident scene).

I had no idea it would be as bad as it was. (Thankfully, it was not Eli's fault, which I'll explain)

Most importantly, Eli has only minor injuries. Physically, the seatbelt actually tightened so hard that it rubbed his skin away enough to cause it to bleed across his lap; his nose hurts pretty badly because of the airbag hitting his glasses; his wrist and knee are also injured (minor, but not cool for someone who loves to lift weights and play baseball). Mentally, he's very shaken up. He said he keeps hearing the noise of the accident replaying in his head and he's afraid to drive or even be in a car.

Eli's car after the accident

As far as the accident... what happened is that Eli was driving home from fishing when someone pulled out in front of him (when he had the right of way). He had no time to react before crashing into the other car. 

Eli said he saw her pull out and heard the crash practically simultaneously and then the next thing he knew, his ears were ringing really badly and he felt some pain here and there. He got out of the car and ran to check on the other driver. She was okay; but she got out of the car and started yelling at him. Eli didn't know what to do and he called me.

The police arrived to write the accident report and said that it was immediately clear what had happened (based on the position of the cars, there was no question that she'd pulled out in front of Eli--she was 100% at fault). It turned out that she shouldn't have even been driving--her license was suspended. So, she was driving with a suspended license when she pulled out in front of MY KID causing a serious car accident--he could have been killed!

I am SO GRATEFUL that Eli is okay and I'm also grateful that the woman is uninjured. (If she had gotten hurt, Eli would have felt bad, even knowing that it wasn't his fault.) The Jeep (Patriot) is completely totaled, as is the woman's car.

I'm just stunned. Yesterday, I was just kind of taking it one beat at a time, trying to think calmly about the situation. Today, it really hit me--Eli could easily have been seriously injured or even killed last night. And the woman who caused it was screaming at him, trying to make him feel like he was to blame for the whole thing.

I'm not sure what's going to happen next. Jerry called the insurance company today, and they are supposed to contact us about an agent coming out to look at the damage to the car. Eli feels terrible about the car being totaled (we've never had a problem with that Jeep and it had a lot of good miles left on it). We don't have full coverage on it (just the necessary liability insurance), so I'm not sure how the law works as far as any compensation for the damages. I imagine we'll learn that from the insurance agency.

As angry as I am, I just can't say enough how glad I am that Eli is okay. We had a fun day at Cedar Point and it changed so quickly in an instant. It's scary to even think about what could have happened!


  1. First I’m so so happy that Eli is okay! Second depending on the stats that you live in either your insurance company will handle the damages to your car and the. Get reimbursed from her insurance company. The other option is that you contact her company directly and they will handle the damages to your car and any rental car that you need.

    Get Eli to a doctor asap to be checked out! He’s going to be sore for a few days but you want to make sure it’s nothing more than bruises.

  2. I'm so glad Eli is okay--my husband was in a similar accident that totaled his Jeep Renegade in 2020 (someone hit him as they were making an illegal turn) and it really is so jarring to realize how badly things can go in these brief instances. Hope Eli recovers quickly.

  3. Hugs, what a scary and tough situation for all of you!

  4. That is so scary. I am so glad he's ok. But I know he's shaken up inside and that can take a minute to heal from. I pray for his physical and mental health. And on top of all of this, that lady was so mean to him :( I'm glad the police reassured him it wasn't his fault.

  5. Oh Katie! I'm so sorry this happened to your son and your whole family. And I'm going to email you some lawyer-ish advice. Big hugs. This really, really, REALLY sucks.

  6. Did Jerry call HER insurance? Yours shouldn't even need to be involved. Even though you only had liability, since she is at fault, her insurance will have to pay you fair market value of the Jeep. I'm sorry that happened, I'm more concerned about Eli's PTSD from accident, I had a bad accident in college and it still affects me. With inflation, hopefully you will turn out ahead on the car and he be able to get something nicer.

  7. So glad Eli is ok. Your insurance company should be able to handle the details with her insurance company. I second the advice just to get Eli checked out...things like neck or back injuries can show up later and you want to be able to get compensated if he has medical bills for injuries related to the accident. Lastly, I'd suggest editing some of the details out about the accident and the other party just in case something gets disputed and lawyers have to get involved. Having all of it out on a public blog might not be a great idea. Likely it won't come to that but better safe than sorry.

  8. Oh my gosh! I am SO sorry you guys are going through this! I am so glad to hear Eli is physically ok and everyone else involved was too! An accident like that could scar anybody mentally but especially a young, new driver, I can't even imagine. Sending all the positive vibes and love your way! <3

  9. Katie, I'm so glad Eli is o.k. So so glad...I know it's a little weird, but I feel like you and your family are my family. :)

  10. My son had exactly the same thing happen right before he finished high school as he was taking his sister and her friend home from school. Guy pulled out and he couldn't stop in time. Car was totaled really only because it wasn't worth much in the first place (not as substantial of damage as yours). Police found the other guy at fault. His insurance company tried to low ball us on paying us for our vehicle, but hubs finally settled on kind of the middle blue book range for it (which unfortunately was not enough to buy another vehicle as quality as we had, but helped). Do not take the first offer from her company. Negotiate best you can. So sorry for all of you to go through this. Glad no one was seriously hurt, but still...yucky.

  11. SO glad Eli is okay! (And the other party, as angering as this is!) My husband and I hit a drunk man (we weren't at fault, and he was banged up, but survived), who was crossing the street in a very dim lit area at night. It took us a good 6 months to be able to drive down that street again. It's going to take him time to get his nerve up again. I feel for him though. It's tough as a teenager to figure out how to process the feelings that come along with an accident of this type.

  12. I'm so glad Eli is ok. That is so scary. I had a transport ambulance (no one in it they transfer people to appts) pull across 3 lanes of traffic and hit me and the cops came and said it was no ones fault. I think they knew each other. I was on my way to the eye dr and was lucky I could still drive my car, my eye dr was shocked I still came. I was very upset and it is a scary thing to go through.

  13. Scary stuff! So glad everyone is ok. I don't know how it works in MI, but if this woman's license was suspended I'm not sure her insurance will cover the loss at all since she obviously wasn't following the provisions of her policy (if she even has one). Fingers crossed you can get some kind of compensation for your vehicle.

  14. Oh wow Katie. I'm thinking she was texting, and they can figure that out. It's illegal, plus every thing she did is illegal. People aren't paying attention, and it's getting worse all the time. Eli did nothing wrong, and I hope he quits feeling bad for her, and her yelling at him...nut case.

  15. Super scary for you (and Eli).I think the yelling by this woman was all about trying to make Eli feel bad and doubt himself, while she creates a scenario that puts him at fault. My daughter also totaled her car and immediately called me versus the police -- so stressful that I have PTSD and am immediately anxious when I see her number light up my phone! I hope her insurance pays up (that's how it should go; or you could sue her if she doesn't have coverage). Eli should be made whole!! Sorry this happened!!


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