Yesterday on the way to work, Mr. ATK and I were in our first car accident in India. On one hand, it’s amazing that it has taken this long. On the other hand, this wasn’t the first accident Bassy the Ambassador was in. She had been hit by an Indian general in one encounter when we weren’t in the car. The General made sure to repeat the fact that he was a general several times on the phone with Mr. ATK. He did not pay for the damage to the car. (But it was only scraped paint so it wasn’t a big deal). The other accident occurred with MamaTK and Best FriendTK in the car. Bassy hit a motorcycle who turned in front of her. It was from a stop so no one got hurt. The car just knocked the motorcycle over and scraped up our license plate a bit.
This time the ATKs were on our way to work when we drove through an uncontrolled T intersection—we were in the part that has the right of way, by the way. As we were just passing the intersecting road, a car turned right (which is the equivalent to a lefthand turn for us) and hit us in the back right tire. Luckily, neither car was going very fast, but still there was the big *crunch* resulting in a dented wheel well for us and a cracked headlight and busted bumper for the other driver.
So we pull over and Viki gets out of the car to go confront the other driver. Mr. ATK is about to get out too, until I reminded him that security briefings tell us to always stay in our car. You see crowds gather quickly at accidents in India, and even at 7:30 in the morning, ours was no exception. People pulled over and got out of their cars even—just for a little fender bender. Folks who were going about their morning business stopped what they were doing and came over. In our case, since it was really a minor accident and no one was hurt, there was no animus from the crowd, just debates on who was at fault.
Before I get into this any further, let me present Exhibit A—a diagram of the scene of the accident (courtesy of Microsoft Paint).
I think this shows the whole story. I guess the point of contact may have been up a smidge on our car, but it’s Microsoft Paint. It’s not an exact science.
So, Mr. ATK and I are sitting in the car while Viki the driver is out arguing with the other driver. He comes back to the car and is like, “She says it’s my fault. She won’t pay. What do you want to do?” Now, I cannot think of one example in America where the above situation would play out and the turning driver would not have been at fault*—perhaps if there were a light or stop sign that the non-turning driver ran through. But this was uncontrolled, so that certainly wasn’t the situation in this case.
Mr. ATK gets out of the car (I stay in, despite the fact that it’s like 100 degrees in the car) and he starts arguing with the lady. She is all, “I had started my turn when you came through. (If that were the case, I imagine the fronts of our cars would have collided. Not the front of her car with the back/side of ours.) …More arguing… until finally Mr. ATK calls the Embassy roving patrol to stop by. So they show up to take pictures at the scene and talk to the folks. Meanwhile, cars are still trying to drive on the road where this large crowd is gathered. Hilariously, two different police cars passed the scene but neither stopped.
In the end the lady who hit us called her brother as she continued to maintain that we were at fault. I suppose she wanted her brother to come back her up. I think for a second she was trying to pull the whole, “Well, we were both at fault” thing, but Mr. ATK was unyielding. He was all, “Nope. You hit us. Not our fault.” When brother showed up (and he brought their mom too) he was like, “How much do we owe you?” So I guess it didn’t go her way.
This reminds me of when horrible person Lynn Marie Eccleston (alias Lynn M. Klug; alias Lynn Rogers) of Baraboo, Wisconsin hit my brand new Ford Focus while it was parked on a residential street in Sun Prairie (driving recklessly, I assume). She did not have insurance and promised to pay and stupidly I trusted her. (She did leave a note. Though in retrospect, I imagine she only did that because people saw her hit my car.) I didn't contact the cops or my insurance (god, I'm an idiot.) Guess who never paid up the $800 worth of damage she had caused? Horrible person Lynn Eccleston, that's who. And she strung me along for a long with promises until she stopped returning my calls. And then I got married and moved to India.
Still I wish I had checked her out on CCAPS before taking anything she said at face value. Alas, I looked her up too late.
*If you can think of a similar situation where we would have been at fault, feel free to post in the comments. Mr. ATK and I have been trying to come up with some and we've really only come up with two pretty weak possibilities.