I had just dropped off my daughter at kindergarten later than expected and was trying to figure out how to proceed with my day. The next step would be to drop off my son and then the rest of the day was flexible. So, I initiated my routine k-turn. I saw a car park to the left and then it began to back up. I stopped and thought that for sure the backing up car would as well. As that car was still moving, I honked and heard a crash.
I saw the driver’s face and wondered if I knew her. She turned to look towards me and said “Chedva???” We each parked properly and exited our cars. The driver was a former co-worker of mine. We had last worked together three years ago and had been in touch over social media since then. Today was her first day back after maternity leave and I was in my notice period for being laid off at my previous workplace. We each had a lot on our minds and were happy to see each other.
We surveyed the damage, took pictures and exchanged information. She was very apologetic and took full responsibility. I said that I would get a quote to repair my car, as it had the most damage. Her car had a small dent, but she wasn’t rushing to fix it.
Determining the Damage
So now I knew what some of my day was going to look like. I dropped off my son and called up the most convenient car repair place. They said I could come right over, so that’s what I did. After calling over the body specialist, it was determined that a paint job and a part replacement would return my car to its previous state. However, the part wasn’t in stock and they couldn’t provide a quote on the spot.
A few days later, I got the quote and it was substantial. I sent it to my friend and she responded that she will contact the insurance agent. The agent then asked us each to explain what occurred to determine how to proceed. As the case seemed to be in my favor, I was not concerned at all, but I did want my car fixed.
It took a few more days for the agent to call me back and suggest that I get a second quote. She suggested that I go to a different mechanic which was just as reputable as the first. So I did. The second mechanic explained that he could polish the part instead of replacing it, reducing the quote by 70%. He was very reassuring and so I forwarded that back to the agent.
Answer from the Agent
The agent then told me that in this case, it is recommended that both drivers divide the combined cost of the repair of both cars.
I was so confused. Wasn’t it totally clear that it wasn’t my fault? Why was I paying for the damage that someone else caused me? Wasn’t that the point of being insured?
It took a few back and forths of explanations for me to understand that this was a scenario called “no-fault”, meaning that really, by the book, we were both at fault. Apparently, k-turns are a liability, the same way backing up is. Both are not going with traffic.
It still didn’t feel good to me that my car had gotten the brunt of it, but we were splitting the expense evenly - 50/50.
Applying it to Relationships
And then I thought about it more. How many times in life are we hurt by someone’s words or subtle actions? They may have not intended to even impact us. It was just a matter of bad timing. In every interpersonal scenario, there are at least two sides to the story and both might be at fault. Chances are that no side is completely right or wrong. It is usually a combination and in order to move forward, both parties have to split responsibility to repair the damages.
This can happen on the go, at home or in the office. In the office, a sour comment can create a difficult atmosphere to work in. As time goes by, a misunderstanding or non-intentional miscommunication can blow out of proportions if not reconciled right away. The best thing to do is clear the air and remind each other that you are both driving down the same roads towards similar goals.
It is not easy to take a step back and admit that you overstepped your place, especially when admitting will force you to do the next step of fixing the damage caused. However, hopefully, by being humble and broadening your view, the other party will be gracious and step up as well.
Then, together you can repair and move forward.
As Project Manager at Tribe Creative, Chedva is happy to share her knowledge in all parts of the process as well as her creative thinking which has brought her this far. She is currently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her family of five, trying to find joy in the routine and creating positive memories when there is a change of plan.