GRRR I hate it when I work out a reply that takes 10 minutes to type, then the server times out when I try to post and I lose my response!!!
So anyway... a little update for the masses.
About 6 weeks ago I was out for a lunch meeting with the guys at work (a monthly thing we do now). I pulled into the restaurant's (tiny) parking lot and take the spot on the end, then walk in and sit down. A couple minutes later a co-worker shows and and sits next to me, then moments after this the waitress comes by and asks us if anyone has a "gold car". I responded "no, mine's kind of an off-white"... at which point the guy who sat next to me says "yeah, yours is kind of gold" and the waitress says "the folks over by the window there said they saw someone hit your car... they wrote down the license plate number". Only NOW did the guy next to me say "yeah, there's a big dent. A crease in the middle of the passenger door. I was wondering when that happened, I didn't remember there being a dent there before..."
According to the witnesses, apparently the dude backed out of his spot and into my passenger door ("both cars shook"), then circled the block a few times to check out the damages before visiting the bank across the street and driving off. I saw him as he was leaving the bank when they pointed out that it was the same guy.
So I called the local police to report the thing, and they drove around the area trying to find the dude (didn't) before checking in with me at the restaurant. I gave them the plate number and they pulled the info (matched the description by the witness, fortunately), then said they'd try to get the camera footage from the restaurant before tracking down the guy to cite him for leaving the scene. I called my insurance to give them the police report number and file a claim, then went on with life while waiting for news.
Fast forward to about three weeks ago - I get a call back from my insurance company asking what I wanted to do about the claim. I had heard nothing about the process since I filed the claim, so I was all sorts-of-happy to hear what information they had gathered. I tracked down the police report to get the information needed to file the claim after hearing that they had it, and after discussing options decided to try and file the insurance claim against the other party's policy.
To my surprise (and relief), he was insured - so I called the insurers up and started the claim. The police did find this dude - apparently some 18 year old kid who "didn't realize" he had hit me because his music was "really loud", but admitted fault. The adjuster who contacted me had a no-questions-asked attitude towards which body shop I wanted for the work; "get a quote and send it to me so I can get you paid before vacation". So, I took the car back to the same guy I've been using and sent his quote over... and a few days later a check for nearly $2400 arrived.
For the last week now the car has been at the shop getting massaged. The bonus is that the shop is going to take out the surface rust that was starting to develop over the passenger wheel well as a part of the refinish work on the passenger side - and at my request, the rust over the driver's rear wheel well too for only $300 extra in labor since all the paint is already on hand as part of the insurance work.
And so, the drive to 300,000 miles will continue soon enough...