...Prove Their Worth...

"Problems worthy of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back." - Piet Hein

A kind of running diary and rambling pieces on my struggles with assorted books, classes, and other things, as they happen. You must be pretty bored to be reading this...

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Fuck yeah. I win. Allow me to explain.

As I wrote earlier, I got into a fender-bender car accident on Tuesday. The idiot I collided with pulled out from a shopping center onto a road without making sure there wasn't anyone on said road. Clearly, he is the liable party, morally and legally. Right?

Well, so I thought on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I got a rather nasty phonecall from my insurance company, Geico. They wanted to do an audiotaped statement of what I claim took place, because my account of what happened was "significantly at odds" with that of the other guy. Of course, I gave them the statement. They refused to tell me what, exactly, the other guy said, pending Geico getting a similar taped statement from him. They explained to me that since there were no witnesses, the case could come down to a 'word against word' situation, in which I would have to make my claim through my insurance, and he through his, and we'd both pay our deductibles (500 smackers for me), and wouldn't be able to get them back. Which would blow. Especially since I was not at fault!

So I started thinking about ways for him to lie about what happened. That is, what COULD he have said, that would be "significantly at odds" with what actually happened, and yet seem plausible? I came up with just two things.

One, he could claim that I was wildly speeding. I could prove this to be highly implausible, if not impossible, due to where the collision took place. Simply put, my car, a '96 Geo Prizm could not accelerate to more than at most about 30 mph in the space it had available to do so. It ain't a very beefy car. Not only that, but in such a scenario, he'd still be liable, because it doesn't matter much if I'm speeding, he's still supposed to yield to traffic. So this option didn't worry me much: I could deball it easily.

The other option was nastier. He could rotate the accident picture through ninety degrees, and claim that it was I who pulled out from the parking lot and nailed him. In this scenario, he'd be on the main road, moving in the direction opposite the one in which I had been moving in reality. The point of doing it this way is that the damage patterns on the car would fit this scenario, as well as what actually happened.

Well, that scared me. Remember, no eyewitnesses, minor fenderbender, etc. He might be able to get away with it (I thought)! I drove back to the accident scene armed with a digital camera. Lo and behold, there was a bit of debris on the spot where the accident took place. (Shards of headlight plastic/glass/whatever.) Even better, they were in such a place that they did not support the ninety-degree-rotated scenario, thanks to the details of the intersection and turning pockets and whatnot. And, it turns out that there is a Stop sign where the guy pulled out, so it's a double-violation in that sense. So, I took lots of pictures.

Then, this morning, I attempted to find the police officer who had stopped at the accident scene, whose name I did not get thanks to stupidity. That didn't pan out, unfortunately. Due to the current sniper murders in my area (Maryland), the police departments are real flustered, and they couldn't figure out who had stopped at the accident scene. Ah well.

When I got home, I got a call from Geico. The guy admitted lying in his taped questioning by Geico! Now, his new account matched mine, meaning he admitted liability. See, yesterday, in a non-taped statement, he'd claimed that I hit him in a mall parking lot. Ha! The fucktard is dumber than I'd expected, since claiming that is a huge chance, given the possibility of me proving otherwise. At least the pi/2 rotation has some elegance to it, and it'd almost work if not for the detailed geometry of the intersection of the mall exit with the road!

He's still denying that he had a Stop sign - but I don't care. I'll prove it's there if need be, but all I really want is to get my car's bumber and hood fixed, and to have the moral satisfaction of feeding him his metaphorical balls, purréed. Which the whole "oops, I've lied" thing covers, so yay.

Now I just have to reach his insurance company! It seems to be rather small, and the number is always busy. And they take their sweet time returning calls. Luckily, in this case, I've a corporate giant on my side, and if they try to fuck with me, I'll sic Geico on their asses. Hopefully, that won't be necessary.

In other news, I'm making some real progress in Baez and Munian. I'm actually following their exposition about the double cover between SO(3) and SU(2), spin-j representations of SU(2), projective representations, and the applicability of the above to physics, which seems to come down to the distinction between fermions and bosons. It's great stuff, and I'll try to write more about it later.


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