Saturday, December 3, 2005 - Phuket, Thailand
Somewhere in Bangkok - photo by Lee Johnson
Lawyers are good
On the advice of my lawyers I acquiesced. I love lawyers, always have. Most of my good friends are lawyers. Sometimes a cure, sometimes a curse, the ability to look at a situation and make a decision based on fact rather than emotion is exactly what I needed.
After looking at the case along with the police report and the picture of the accident scene it was obvious that I was being set up. As you recall the police had spray-painted an outline of the bikes at the accident scene. However the police report has the accident occurring 6 meters away from their own spray marks. Furthermore it’s 6 meters in the opposite direction of travel, a physical impossibility but it does coincide with the other person’s version of events. In fact all evidence in the report has been fabricated to directly correspond with other person’s version. This includes the sudden appearance of a phantom truck that forced me to go around and hit him in his lane. Of course even though the report has me hitting him in his lane, the spray marks, even after the significant collision, still has his bike in my lane. It defies all logic.
My lawyers’ advice was simple, we could go to court, sometime over the next few months, and most likely win the case. However, the much cheaper solution would be to simply make an offer, legally close the case which would bar future claims, and have everything settled immediately. I chose the latter. Other than the money, the stress of dragging this out was not worth it.
The lawyers made all the appropriate phone calls and negotiations and we settled on 6000bht, about $175.00. By the sound of things, that would cover his bike repairs, his medical bills, and his lost wages for a week and I suspect a few extra thousand baht thrown in for good measure. Morally it was difficult pill to swallow. Being honest and doing the right thing does not necessarily mean that the outcome will always be in your favour. My legal bill for two lawyers, over an hour of service and multiple phone calls was 1000bht ($28.00) and the bill for my bike repair was about 4000bht ($117.00).
This incident has taught me a few lessons. Primarily, I’ve learnt how to accept a situation that is out of my control and be at peace with it. This incident could have caused me great stress but I didn’t allow that. It was the one thing I could control.
One police officer did restore my fate in people here though. When I went down to the police station to finalize the agreement and make the payment I met a very intelligent police sergeant who spoke excellent English. We chatted about all sorts of things. He looked at the pictures and realized right away that I was being set up. He talked to me quite openly about it saying that this is one thing that he hates about his co-workers and about the system. He was very blunt and direct. Going as far as saying that he loves his job but hates the politics of it and hates the people he has to work with. He made it very clear that, unlike other officers, he doesn’t care whether I am a foreigner or a local. Although he did try to intercede on my behalf, the captain wouldn’t even listen to him. He said to me that that was a big problem; because of the hierarchy officers were just suppose to kiss ass and not speak out of turn. His words, which I thought were quite eloquent, were “we have mouths to stuff food into but we can’t use them to speak.”
Back to normal
So, everything is settled and I am back into my routine. The training is going increasingly well. The toe I broke on my right foot two or three weeks ago is healing nicely. Thankfully I’m left-handed so I don’t kick nearly as much with my right leg. Although for the first week I couldn’t stand properly on the foot anyway, it didn’t stop me from training. Over the past few days that I’ve been finally able to put full power into my right kicks.