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got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA area(14 posts)

got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA areaMade in Taiwan
Aug 5, 2001 12:27 PM
an 83 yr old lady in a Ford (early 80's modle Lincoln look-a-like) going north bound turned left right in front of me while i was going south bound on the same street. She had to stop at a stop sign to turn left, but didn't wait for all the traffic to clear, hit me. I tried to brake but couldn't stop in time, instead of speed away out of my path, or stop before my path, she just keep her car rolling at a fast walk pace. Her front wheel was in my path, there was no way i could weave behind her so i opted ot weave in front of her. There is no question that i have the right of way, so to minimize the damage, i weaved in front of her. Since her car was still rolling, she clipped me right in the rear wheel.
I took off flying (10-15 feet), bounced on the the ground a couple of times, got the wind knocked out of me.

final analysis of the bike:
rear wheel taco'ed (rim broke in two places)
left seat stay bent (frame is unsalvagable)
one of my D/A bar-end shifter damaged(bought couple of weeks ago)
D/A rear derailler damaged (also bought couple of weeks ago)
fork bent

Me:
scrapped my right elbow pretty bad
both right and left thigh scrapped, bruised and swollen
left shin scrapped, bruised and swollen
two cuts on my lower left shin (7 stitches on one of the cuts)
tail bone fractured

all she could say was why was i barelling down the street? my computer shows 33mph max speed (i was prolly going 20mph at the time), and speed limit there is 45mph.

She told the cops that i was riding on the side walk, which i wasn't. I'm not sure if the cops believed her, I had bicycle cloths on, and therefore i don't "look-like" someone who would ride on the sidewalk. besides, There are parking spaces along the curb, and i was riding on the LEFT of the parking spaces. I was practically riding in the middle of the most-right-hand-side lane.

so now, after about 10 x-rays of my hip/shin/ankle and stitches in the ER, i'm left with a hugh medical bill (foreign student health insurance is in-active during summer) and having to replace parts of my bike (1999 Trek 2200, with lots of upgrades and modifications).

she think it's an accident that was my fault, and i have a feeling that she thinks that i can just get a replacement bike at Sears for 200 bucks and all i needed was a couple of band-aids instead of 7 stitches, not to mention the fractured tailbone (so far the only thing that i can stand to sit on is the toilet, and i have to get a foam donut to sit on). So i think i will probably need to sue her insurance company. any recommendations for a lawyer in the upland/ontario/Alta Loma (so cal) area that is familiar with cycling issues?

I know i shouldn't have any problem getting replacement parts/frame for my bike, but how much compensation should one request for pain and suffering? (i can't sit, can barely walk, can only sleep on my stomach, sore upper buttock/tail bone area) and I have to miss the Cool Breeze century, since i can't and have no ride, which i have already paid for.

some old people should just give up driving.
re: got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA areamike mcmahon
Aug 5, 2001 12:53 PM
Send me an e-mail. I may be able to help you deal with the insurance company. If you can't reach a fair settlement, I can refer you to some attorneys in the Inland Empire.
re: got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA areapeloton
Aug 5, 2001 3:05 PM
Can't help you with an attory there, but sorry to hear about your accident. You might want to e-mail Doug Sloan. I'm sure he must know of a collegue in your area. Good luck with the insurance company
re: got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA areaCar Magnet
Aug 5, 2001 3:13 PM
First off, I'm glad you were not injured worse. Same thing happened to me back in Nov. so I feel your pain and know what you're going through. I hope the police were summoned and the driver was cited. Witnesses? I hope someone saw what happened and can verify your story. By all means, retain the services of an attorney, DO NOT talk to the driver, her insurance company and/or your insurance company until you have an attorney. Try to stay calm and don't do anything physical until you have medical clearance. Also don't touch your bike!! Don't remove or alter anything. It's now evidence and you'll need it. If it's any consolation, GET WELL SOON!!
re: got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA areaMade in Taiwan
Aug 5, 2001 3:29 PM
I still have to wait for another 9 days to take off my stitches, but i won't know how long it will be for my tail bone to heal, i really don't like the idea of taking X rays of it every other week/month, b/c it's in the wee-wee area (i might end up with *REALLY* ugly kids).

Only one out of the 3 policemen was somewhat sympathetic, the other two fall under the "poor-old-lady-might-loose-her-life-saving-because-the-damn-bike-dude-is-gonna-sue-with-sleazy-lawyer" catagory. Thank god that the cop that was sympathetic is the one who is going to do the police report.
re: got hit by 83yr. old lady, need lawyer in Upland, CA areaCar Magnet
Aug 5, 2001 4:17 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about the x-rays, I got bombed and am still getting bombed with'em. But then again, I'm done having kids ;-)
The tailbone thing takes some time. Wait till you start PT before trying any physical activities (with doctor's approval of course). BTW I wouldn't lose any sleep over what might happen to that lady. She should have been paying attention or had somebody else drive. I'm in total agreement that after a certain age, individuals should not only have their sight/hearing checked but also be required to pass the driving test every year.
Sorry, but there's one thing I have a question about...nutmegger
Aug 5, 2001 6:53 PM
You said she had a stop sign and made a left turn. You didn't say that she failed to stop at the stop sign. You were coming from the opposite direction. Was there a stop sign for you as well? It seems odd that the intersection would have a stop sign for only one direction of traffic. Also you said that she didn't wait for all the traffic to clear. If you were already in the intersection going 20 mph and she turned left after her stop, how was she able to hit you at a "fast walk pace" before you cleared the intersection? Don't mean to doubt you but it's common for folks to hold back pertinent information at times like this when it doesn't support their case.
some clearing upMade in Taiwan
Aug 5, 2001 8:35 PM
I didn't mean to hold back any informations, it's just that the roads here is a little weird. And i appreciate nutmegger for carefully reading my post. hopefully my further explaination will clear it up for everyone. Picture this: the birds eye view of the accident site looks like an "H"

the left vertical line of the "H" is the south bound lane.

the RIGHT vertical line of the "H" is the Nourth bound land. Both vertical lines are about 3 car lengths apart.

the horizontal line that connects the two vertical line is about 3 car lengths long, hereafter will be refered to as "the turning strip"

so, if you're coming up north, and want to turn left, you turn left into "the turning strip", so your car is now heading west, but you havn't cross the south bound lanes yet. At this point, nutmegger, there is a stop sign. It is there for cars that are one "the turning strip" to wait til all south bound traffic is cleared. The south bound traffic does not have a stop sign or traffic light, they are thoroughfares (sp?), not a 4 way stop intersection. I didn't see her until she was 3 or 5 feet past the stop sign (she's beginning to cross the south bound lanes) I'm not disputing whether she stopped for the stop sign, i'm disputing that she didn't wait for all the southbound traffic to clear. At the time, there were no cars but there was one cyclist, ME!!!

So there i was traveling south bound, going along at about 20mph, i see her begin to cross the south bound lanes (again, i'm not saying that she didn't stop). She saw me, I tried to brake, lock up my rear wheel, if she stopped where she was, and she could have because she was only going at "fast walking pace" i would only have to weave one foot in fornt of her. Or, she could have suddenly accelerated, and she could have possibily speed away while i weave behind her car. However, luck was not with me, instead of stopping or speeding up, she just let her car rolled (speculation: she probably was stunned at my speed, and just let off the gas, but not apply the brake). Here i am, going straight toward her front wheel, i'm trying to brake while seeing when she is going to stop, she isn't, so instead of banging into her front door, i tried to weave and go in front of her (since i still have the right of way) but i wasn't able to turn sharply. In addition, since she was still rolling at that quick walking pace, my left ankle contacted her front bumper, and i went off flying. I hope this cleared it up, 15 years in this country and i can only barely put a sentence together.
some clearing upDog
Aug 6, 2001 5:40 AM
I'd start by calling her insurance company. Be prepared to forward all your bills and documentation of your bike costs.

The elderly lady was likely confused, and either "remembers" it wrong or will lie, making it appear to be your fault. I've seen it many times. The elderly are so fearful of losing their license or insurance, fearful of being without "wheels," that they will come up with a story you can't even imagine now. But, hopeful the documentation by the cops on the scene will help. Remember, they cops do not assign fault - that's up to the court.

Start by indicating to her insurer that you want to be reasonable, and make a reasonable demand. If the insurer isn't responsive, then you might seek out a cycling specialist attorney in your area. I'll help with a referral.

Also, think about the fact that anything you say to anyone, short of a lawyer in private, could be used against you, including these posts.

Doug
SUE da beeotch.nm
Aug 6, 2001 4:58 AM
nm
was she cited?ColnagoFE
Aug 6, 2001 6:34 AM
was there even a police report made? if not you're gonna have a tougher time proving your case.
Jumpin' da gunjtolleson
Aug 6, 2001 6:38 AM
I know I'm not the only lawyer on this board, and you've already gotten some sound advice. But here's my two cents...

Litigation is costly, time consuming, and more emotionally draining that you would imagine. Also, your claim is worth, what, maybe $2500? Do you really want to sign a contingency fee agreement to obtain a settlement that you'll have to share before you have gotten a bottom-line offer from her insurer?

I'd recommend starting with a claim and negotiating with the insurer for the value of bike damage, medicals, and using a soft figure for waiving your personal injury (pain and suffering). Get their bottom line offer and decide if you can live with it.

You can also file a suit against the driver in small claims court (you are below the small claims threshold). It takes a suit that would take several years and be expensive and turns it into a 1 hour (or less) court appearance and forms you can do yourself. If the insurer steps in a gets her a lawyer and bumps it to a higher forum (state level trial court... is that Superior Ct. in California?) you can always do a voluntary dismissal and then evaluate your options or get a lawyer.

Try to negotiate and be done with it. Posturing aside, liability here is going to be pretty clear. I think you can make a deal (with or without a small claims filing) and that contacting counsel on a claim of this size is overkill and will cost YOU money.

PS -- if you decide to go the litigation route, I don't think you need a lawyer who specializes in cycling-related claims, especially given the modest amount of damages. I'd just find a decent PI lawyer who does the insurance claim game well.
depends on the stateColnagoFE
Aug 6, 2001 9:00 AM
i got a lawyer and the contingency fee didn't included PIP benefits and property damage. Thus the $ for bike and medical bills were all mine. Lawyer got money from the final settlement which was settled out of court. Biggest benefit...I didn't have to deal with the a$$hole adjusters. It was worth it just for that aspect.
depends on the statejtolleson
Aug 6, 2001 9:35 AM
This bike claim won't be a PIP claim anywhere (for folks unfortunate enough to live in no-fault states...)