Truck driver engrossed on phone hits car; Polite owner comes to rescue

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The truck driver initially disagreed, but confessed after being shown my dashcam footage.

BHPian TGDI recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

This post is about how I received money from the vehicle owner after a hit-and-run incident.

It was a weekday afternoon in the usual Bangalore traffic. I had taken my mother to a hospital on Miller's Road and was returning to our place in Andhra Pradesh after the appointment. We were discussing where to have lunch and what to eat for our late lunch. It was a six-lane road near Mekhri Circle, and there was slow-moving traffic. I was in the extreme right lane following the traffic when suddenly I heard a loud bang and realized that a Mahindra pickup truck had hit my Kia Sonet pretty hard. The driver of the pickup truck was watching videos on his phone and found my car in front of him at the last minute. In a desperate maneuver to escape, the trolley of the pickup truck made contact, leading to the accident. I stopped immediately, and he came to my left-hand side showing the usual symbol of "what are you doing?" It was then I saw his phone mounted on the mobile stand on the dashboard and some videos playing, probably a video call or some reels. I asked him to stop on the side, and he nodded his head in agreement. I let him pass in the front to avoid losing him. Immediately, before I even realized, he turned on the left signal, jumped lanes, and made a left turn to escape. I was in the extreme right lane and decided to move ahead as there was no way I could cross two lanes in that traffic and made that left turn to catch him. At this point, I still hadn't seen the damage to my car. I didn't expect such a deep cut to my quarter panel. I would have probably reacted differently in panic. I went ahead and found a suitable place to stop and checked. The truck hit my car so hard that the metal of my quarter panel had a deep cut near the petrol tank (see the attached image). This was the first accident involving my car since I bought it exactly a year ago. I had just renewed my own damage insurance for the second year after proudly claiming the NCB, and after just a couple of days, this happened.

I proceeded to my place and was lost in deep thoughts about what I could have done and what I should do now to feel better. I immediately complained on Twitter, tagging Bangalore Traffic Police. I checked my dashcam and found the number of the pickup truck. Although the accident was not recorded since the dashcam is only on the front, only the sound of the impact and the pickup truck's image were captured. The police replied, asking me to go to the nearest police station and file a written complaint. Three days later, I went to Bangalore and tried to file a complaint at the police station. They were least interested in this issue and suggested that since there was no damage to a person, claiming third-party insurance for such small damage (according to them, it's small) was not worth my time and effort, and once the complaint is filed, the car should be kept at the police station (not sure how true this is).

I then decided to take the matter into my own hands and switched on my inner detective mode. I started searching the number on the Vahan portal and found that the owner's name was mostly masked (attached is the image).

I tried contacting the Mahindra showroom in the hope of finding the owner's contact, but they didn't provide any information. I tried contacting the insurance company (as per the Vahan search portal), but they too didn't provide any information.

I tried running the masked words through a crossword solver and after some trials found the company's name that owns the pickup truck: South India Agencies.

I then tried calling the company and received no response. I then started searching for the owner/CEO of the company and found it to be an elderly gentleman, Mr. P. Das. My next agenda was to get his contact details. I found his LinkedIn profile and using data scraping websites, I found his official email address. I then wrote a detailed email to him, providing the dashcam footage and damage photos, and called it a day. To be honest, I had almost zero hopes of getting a response.

But to my utter shock, I received a response from the company's HR in less than 24 hrs requesting for my contact details. I immediately got a call from their logistics manager who was apologetic and promised to settle the matter amicably after some internal discussions. I maintained a calm composure throughout and was never rude in my tone. I saved all the call recordings and emails for my future reference.

The logistics manager then transferred the case to another manager who was a soft-spoken gentleman. He initially talked to the driver who refused any such accident until the proof was shown to him, after which he had no option but to confess. The manager then asked about my expectations. My expectations were simple from the beginning: I would show my car to the authorized Kia body shop and get a quote for the repairs, and I expected that to be reimbursed by the company. As per quotations from multiple body shops, the quote varied from 25k-30k. The manager initially tried to settle by paying 15k, which is apparently the limit that he can process without any additional approvals. I, however, expressed my disagreement, and after a week, the manager got those additional approvals and settled by paying 25k to my account. This whole ordeal took approximately 3 weeks. The manager then requested an NOC. Before he could even ask, I had already written a thank-you note to Mr. P. Das, the owner of South India Agencies, thanking him profusely for the maturity with which he dealt with the entire matter. He replied with an apology note for the accident that happened and asked me to call him, providing his personal number, in case I face any more issues in this regard. I was very happy with myself and thankful to all the good persons involved in this ordeal.

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