SPOKANE, Wash. - A local family is struggling to get back on the road after a school bus hit their parked vehicle last week. They say despite the accident not being their fault, the process to start repairs and secure a rental vehicle has been a frustrating one.
An afternoon school pick-up for Brittnie Nixon and her children started off normal. She had just loaded them up and was about to walk around to open her driver's side door.
"I put my kids in the car and it started raining," she said. "A bus had come and dropped off some kids. I was going to go around, but the bus was starting to go, so I just waited."
She says she had no way of stopping the accident.
"He was just too close to my car," she said. "He was making a left-hand turn, and his back end just hit and kept going, kept hitting (my SUV)."
Her children were inside the vehicle when it was hit, and she says they are still a bit shaken up.
"My kids were very scared," she said. "My 10-year-old who has autism secluded himself and was just like, 'I saw the glass break.'"
Brittnie says she's grateful no one was hurt, and also for the sincerity of the driver responsible.
"The bus driver was so nice," she said. "He apologized."
Because children were involved in both her vehicle and on the bus, she said they did call the police. She says one officer wasn't the only one who responded to the scene.
"The (Harlows Bus Service) manager came to talk to me personally, said I'd be taken care of," she said. "And here it is, days later, no car. I can't take my family anywhere."
The accident happened Thursday afternoon. Her damaged SUV was towed to her home, and as of Tuesday afternoon, she was still without suitable wheels to get her children around.
"I worry what if something happens to them," she said. "We made so many calls. We left voicemails to vice presidents. The bus manager said 'you have the same numbers I do.'"
Her next call was to our Help Me Hayley who also started working the phones Tuesday. She quickly got in touch with the VP of Harlows Bus Service who worked to make things right. He ensured a company rep personally reached out to Brittnie who provided contact information for the preliminary adjuster working the incident.
Brittnie says while she was initially told she may have to pay for the rental herself until she could be reimbursed, she was notified late Tuesday afternoon that they were going to be taking care of that for her. She will have a rental vehicle with enough seats for her family as early as Tuesday evening.
"I am grateful for (Hayley)," she said. "I was calling all of Friday and never got ahold of anyone."
Hayley reached out to the insurance company for the bus, Nationwide, to ask why their response was delayed. They told her they could not comment on an individual claim.
Experts in the industry say delays like this are unfortunately common, and sometimes are even longer than what Brittnie experienced before calling Hayley. If this happens to you and you're getting nowhere securing a rental vehicle after an accident, consider reaching out to your insurance provider even if the incident was not your fault. Also, double-check your policy to see what exactly is covered, specifically when it comes to rental vehicles.