I had been advised by my boss to settle amicably, send the injured party a fruit basket before it goes to mediation or court because she can sue me within the next 6 months. Some expat friends told me not to contact her at all, wait and see. I thought basic courtesy was to at least call her and see if she felt better, but I never got the chance.
The English speaking officer assigned to this case called me Monday afternoon and said she wanted 10,000 NT for her scooter damages and we made an appointment to meet for Wednesday. My friend Ellen whose an English teacher at my kid's school, had her insurance lady meet me Monday after school and suffice to say getting basic insurance was painless and fast, but too late.
At our Wednesday show-down I got the meeting place wrong, I was at the Loudong McDonald's and everyone was waiting for me at the Yilan McDonald's. Having to drive back like that stressed me out and then I was hit with the reality that she wanted me to now pay 20,000 NT which came out to 70% of me to blame and 30% her. I agreed. If this went to court I would have to pay the 2 fines of driving without a license and uninsured. I had a customary gift bag, a big prickly pineapple, Taiwanese cake and gourmet local coffee. Everyone was cordial.
My new insurance lady hand wrote 3 identical documents and we all signed a settlement, she can't sue me. She didn't know I wasn't insured and it would make no difference now if she knew. I paid her 10,000 in cash and will bank transfer the second half next payday. I felt severely shocked, numb that I was paying so much. I saw her scooter damages receipt, so many little things added up. Her scooter is three years old and now is totally new. I paid twice as more in damages as my own scooter is worth. Of course if I were insured the insurance company would of paid it all. That also included her hospital bills which were minuscule, like 480 NT (thank God for the Taiwanese health care system).
I didn't get a decent look at her scooter after the accident but it seemed fine to me. It was her body I was mostly concerned about.
The disappearance in my finances didn't end there. I went to the DMV and was slapped with fees for being late on paying taxes, tolls, inspection tests. They didn't get my new address change either from immigration or the post office, I never received a bill. I had to have let the DMV know I changed my address. They also wouldn't let me change my address until I paid all my bills (which I did, but still need to go back and change my address).
Friday I took my car in to be inspected and was hit with a higher inspection fee for being late and more toll bills that they failed to include in when I was there 4 days before. In Taiwan there is an electronic tolling system (eTag) where a blue laser scans a sticker on your windshield and accrues to a prepaid account. I still need to find my card (I never got it with my car and forgot to deal with it). Maybe a local car shop where I can put more money on it or 7-11 can give me a new card.
My car didn't pass the inspection. My coworker kindly was there and took me to his mechanic and they fixed my rear right break for 800 NT. We waited for over 2 hours and watched a Danny De Vito/ Rhea Pearlman family movie, "Matilda" based on the kid's book. My kid and I in our predicament laughed out loud in the air conditioned Michelin shop in Loudong. Little things like that, the help of friends and strangers and a cup of great coffee got me thru that Friday afternoon at the end of a crap week. I had planned a weekend massage, but now I can't afford one.
The mechanic and my friend were prepping me for how to pass using the hand-break with the button in and getting through with a prayer. The mechanic in the end took my car back to the DMV testing garage himself (he didn't have to do that) and it passed! I wouldn't know what to do if it didn't; drive a ghost car which means I didn't learn anything or replace the breaking system for 7,000 NT. I have to go and have it inspected every 6 months because the car is over 10 years old.
I paid for 2 return tickets to Borneo and a 2 week holiday but we didn't go anywhere. I'm looking at the big picture, counting my blessings and counting the days 'til we are on a plane to Denver. Until then its living off tutoring money which can be unstable and keeping life even more simple.
- Kathy (杜 言 艷)
- Yilan, Taiwan
- I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.