If you damage something make sure you pay for it
I damaged a small decorative fence at an HOA retirement complex in Seminole Florida. The town homes were landscaped with a decor fence at the end of the driveways. I backed my car up to in order to reverse back up the driveway to load up somethings for a friend. The friend was doing some house keeping work for a mutual associate that lived in the townhome. I did hit the fence and it pushed it forward a little bit. I looked at it and it looked like no big deal. The neighbor saw what happened and looked upset. After I loaded up the items I told my friend and the mutual associate that I was leaving. The mutual associate was always ready to bust my chops over any little thing I did so I did not tell him anything about the tiny decor fence that I hit. I did not think it was a big deal. I should have immediately told him about the incident. He found out about it and several weeks later. My friend contacted me with him on speaker phone asking if I had hit the fence. I admitted to it. He asked me why didn't I tell him? I had no good answer for this except it looked like a minor issue. If you are in an HOA complex there is no minor issue. Everything is accounted for even the most minor things. Something that might cost five dollars for a homeowner to repair in a non HOA could cost seventy five dollars in an HOA because a number of people are involved in an HOA repair. The HOA administrator or manager has to contact the Independent landscaper who has to go to the site and inspect the problem. He has to determine what parts and supplies are needed to correct the issue. He has to place an order with the correct supplier who will ship the items or the landscaper will have to send an employee out to pick it up. After the item is in stock he has to schedule a date with an employee or coordinate time with the work crew that handles that HOA complex. They have to make sure it fits in with the number of employees and time schedule for the day. It may only take 30 minutes to complete the actual task and it may require overtime pay if the crew is on a tight schedule. If I had notified him immediately a much lower price may have been agreed upon between the two of us. He may have looked at it and said well am responsible for repair how much do you think its going to cost. I could have said $40 it looks like it would only cost $10 or $20. He may have said $45 because he will have to settle it with HOA and it could cost a little more. I could have said well I have $40 cash on me can we just settle it now. He may agree or he may say no I need 45 I would have to go get additional 5 but it would be settled and I would be in the clear. The moment I left without bringing it to his attention. It put him into a situation where the HOA may have sent him a notice. When they sent that notice it added an additional cost onto the price. A HOA fine notice may have added an additional $10 to $20 dollars to the cost because HOA everything has a cost. I have learned that you want to settle property damage that is your fault as quick as possible before additional administration fees are added into the estimate total. He told me the total to repair the fence was $150.00 a price he said the HOA gave him. I was at liberty to whatever he said because I did not notify him immediately. He settled for $75.00. I agreed and my friend paid the $75.00 out of her pay. She was upset that I did not say something immediately but since I was doing her a favor picking up her things she agreed to take the liability. The worse part about my poor conduct was that it gave him an opportunity to once again bust my chops. Several months later my friend and I got into a closer relationship. I let her use my car to run some errands. While she was driving my car she took a phone call from our Mutual associate I mentioned. During the phone call she told him she was driving. If it was anything more than a simple matter to call her back later. He continued with the phone call a conversation that was argumentative in nature. It enraged, angered and added stressful anxiety to her while she was driving. Elements that clouded her thinking process thus affected her decision making and actions while she was behind the wheel of a car. When the conversation ended my friend subsequently made several driving errors and bad vehicle operation choices that led to two types of damage. Minor damage that was observable and major damage that was inconspicuous. The minor damage to the exterior was minor scrapes and scuff marks to the front bumper cover only observable from underneath the car. When my friend came home she immediately told me what happened. We looked at the bumper and I could not see any damage but when I laid down on the ground I saw what she was talking about. I could not determine if that had happened recently because it looked like old damage that had already been there. I hit a bump and the whole bumper came off in the road several months prior. She told me that after the phone call she felt very upset and it affected her driving. She detailed some bad driving judgements that were aggressive and may have indiscernible damage to the engine and suspension. She said, she was very sorry. I did not see anything to be concerned about the car was in good working order. She mentioned indiscernible damage I did not know the meaning of that so I looked it up. While I was looking it up she was on the phone with him and explained to him exactly what she did immediately after the phone call. She mentioned that she did notify him that she was driving and if this was anything more than a simple phone call to call back later when she was not behind the wheel driving. He acknowledged that she did make that statement and that he had ignored it. He said he was sorry that he continued a conversation that would obviously raise anger and stress poorly affecting her decision making process. He agreed to pay for all damages that resulted from her driving actions immediately after the phone call. I was shocked that he agreed to pay for all damages because most of the damage would be indiscernible impossible to see or clearly distinguish. Damage to mechanicals inside the engine excessive wear and tear to the suspension components. He knew he was liable and he immediately wanted to settle. He did state that he did not want to pay for any damage that I may have caused prior to the incident. He was only going to pay for damages she had made to the car after his phone call. I had a mechanic right up an estimate replacing everything that could have been damaged even though it could not be confirmed unless he pulled the engine. He inspected the suspension and only found normal wear and tear no issues. He check the alignment and it was good. He added an exhaust gasket and passenger side engine mount it was not broken but he said they usually break under multiple aggressive accelerations from a stop. It could have minor damage to the hydraulic fluid enclosure and would begin to leak with a hard bump or quick acceleration from a stop. We typed up a letter and emailed it with the estimate. He argued about the unseen damage to the inside of the engine. Responding that it could be perfectly fine it may not be damaged. She told him to look at it for an hour and we would call him back. During this time I had a compression test done and an HDS run at the Car dealer service center and it showed everything was good. The HDS cost was 1 hour at $185 I had to pay that immediately they ran the compression test for no charge. Before we pulled into my complex I used the launch function to accelerate from 0 to 50. My friend said I pedaled it when I shifted into second. So she wanted to give it a go as she is a better drive than I. When she launched the passenger side engine mount failed when she shifted into second gear she did not pedal it.
So we agreed that he would pay for the HDS the engine mount and 1/2 of the remaining estimate. He agreed to this to my surprise. He immediately sent the funds through pay pal. We were satisfied with the final outcome. I took a lesson at how quickly he handled the situation. The moment he realized his liability with the phone call he was ready to settle immediately. I think he spoke to his Attorney during that hour we gave him to look it over. The moment he escalated the conversation into an argument upsetting a driver almost anything other than casual talk opened him up to liability. Liability that could have been much more costly if Attorney's were involved. The following evening I was setting up the car for a video shoot. I forgot that the mechanic who did the HDS on the car had mentioned in passing I should check the data on my drive right chip. It totally slipped my mind until I noticed my Drive right chip was plugged into the obd2 port. I did not tell anyone about it not even my friend because I was not sure if it broke any privacy laws with the gps. It records real time data of all vehicle trips from start to stop. It logs everything from rpm, mph, engine load, oil pressure, throttle position, GPS, hard acceleration, hard brake, engine temp, battery charge, everything that the ECU manages in real time. I pulled up the log for
the trip time that my friend made when she took the phone call that she said aggravated her poor driving and operational decisions with the car. I was puzzled the GPS matched the drive location and route but there was no tell tale signs of any kind of aggressive or outrageous figures logged. RPM was rather low, MPH never exceeded 50, hard acceleration none. 1 hard brake. It look like she feathered it to be honest other logs when we took the car to get the estimate and to and from the dealer for the HDS. It even showed when they started the car and ran the HDS. The return trip from the dealer showed 2 hard accelerations, high engine load high RPM of 7500 just before the trip ended when the engine mount broke. I never mentioned it to her.