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Hit by a car, need some advice(35 posts)

Hit by a car, need some adviceBearE2
Jul 14, 2003 8:09 AM
So, I was hit by a car the other day but luckily I came out of it not too banged up. I called the police from the scene (the guy drove away but I got his license number and there were other witnesses and the police tracked him down) and told them what happened. A couple of other people also clearly saw that I had the right of way and it was clearly the driver's fault so that should be pretty cut and dry.

So my question is what do I do now, I took pictures of the bike immeadiately to show the damage. The rear wheel is bent so it is ruined, the replacable derailleur hanger was slightly bent but I took it off and bent it back (I had a race over the weekend) and there are scratches on the right shifter, seat, right pedal and the derailleur. the wheel is the only thing that NEEDS to be replaced.

I know other people have been hit by cars too, what is my next step? Do I just get an estimate and then submit to the guy or his insurance company and then get money? How long does this normally take? Will I get a lot of money or just enough to get the bike ridable? That was my only set of wheels so I can't ride till I either buy a cheap rear wheel or get this fixed.

Any comments would be much appreciated.
get lots of money...C-40
Jul 14, 2003 8:37 AM
Repairing the bike is the minor part of the job, but it's your right to get anything that was scratched or damaged replaced.

After you are sure that you have no lingering injuries, insist on $2000-4000 from the driver's insurance company to sign a waiver that releases the insurance company from any future responsibility.

I know two people who had wrecks that involved a driver at fault and got settlements in this range. Neither rider had significant injuries.

Also know a rider that suffered a broken kneecap, lost work time, and pretty much ended his cycling days. He got a settlement more like $20-30K.
Jul 14, 2003 8:55 AM
logic like that keeps our insurance rates sky-high (this IS the same bored in which people insist wearing a helmet decrease insurance rates, right?).

Submit to insurance exactly what you're out: A wheelset. I disagree that one has a 'right' to have 'anything that was scratched' replaced. Certainly, one has the right to have it repaired to condition. Admittingly, there arent many brake-lever scratch-repair shops, so that isnt going to happen, but what are are you really out on scratched components? Nothing.

If you want to 'teach the guy a lesson' (which he deserves if he ran), charge him with reckless, and hit & run. Take him to court for punitive damages. But dont be an ambulance chaser contribing to the insurance fiasco simply for your monetary gain.
also disagree...C-40
Jul 14, 2003 9:46 AM
If your car was just scratched, it would still get repaired. Brake levers and saddles can't be "repaired" so new ones are in order. The cost of bike parts is peanuts compared to most auto repair.

As for the injury settlement, the riders that I know didn't have to ask for any money. The insurance company made an upfront offer of $2000 (ten years ago) just to sign a waiver.
Jul 14, 2003 10:38 AM
Firstly, I dont cry every time someone dings my car; and despite your assertion, I wouldnt submit an insurnace claim for a scratch. Perhaps if I were convinced it would hurt resale, I would; But I really dont think STI has much resale value.

You recommended 2000-4000 dollars for a slightly damaged road-bike, yet you state the bike repair is 'peanuts' compared to auto repair? You didnt even know what his bike was valued at when you suggested that value.

what a laugh.
Jul 14, 2003 1:27 PM
The $2000 has nothing to do with the value of the bike, it's payment for pain and suffering and your signature on the waiver of the right to sue. This compensation is paid IN ADDITION to the cost of repairing the bike.

My friend who received $2000 got ran off the road, but neither he nor his bike were hurt one bit.
limited vocabulary?Steve_0
Jul 15, 2003 4:00 AM
the original poster started by saying he came out 'not too banged up'. Is that worth 2000 bucks? No.

Your looking for punition, which is fine, and I in fact agree with. My only point is, his filing a claim for 'pain and suffering' for a skinned knee will only serve to line his pockets, raise rates (in the long run), and the jer% that hit him is financially scott-free.

If you want punition, sue for punitive damages. Don't inflate losses.
Don't get me started. Insurance rates don't go up becausebill
Jul 14, 2003 10:13 AM
someone asks to be compensated for what he lost. The reasons for increases are many and varied -- surely if there were no claims, the insurance companies could charge less for premiums (the real question being, would they?), but reasonable compensation is supposed to be what they are there for. The far more significant reason for recent increases is not whether our hero gets his derailer fixed but how heavily the insurance company was invested in Enron. For those following my previous posts, in which I argue that your not wearing a helmet could increase my premiums, please note that I never said that it was because the insurance companies would lose if they didn't. They calculate loss records on logic known only to them and charge premiums calculated to make them money forever and always. That ain't the same thing as someone's owing it to the system not to receive fair compensation.
You don't need to split hairs. If the component is damaged, even cosmetically, assuming that there is no way to restore it to condition efficiently and that there is no real market in equivalent used parts, which there aren't, you are entitled under the law to a new part. You needn't have to compromise your confidence in your frame, either -- a bent derailer can be rebent only so many times. Make a reasonable case for reasonable compensation. Help yourself, help the system.
If you weren't hurt, don't make a claim for being hurt. If you were, but not seriously, I certainly would ask for a small settlement. The insurance company would like to wrap it up as much as you would. Again, help yourself, help the system. Don't be greedy, but you needn't short yourself, either.
I would not rush into a settlement of personal injury issues. If you really are fine, great. Sometimes, though, particularly depending on your age, issues can pop up days or even weeks (occasionally months) later.
Are you for real?Steve_0
Jul 14, 2003 10:27 AM
you think rates dont go up in response to insurance payout? As evidenced by the people on this bored, all too many people inflate their 'losses'.

Sure, if his levers were broken, demand they replace them. But theyre fully functional, just a little scratched. If he had fallen in a race, on his on accord, he wouldnt rush out to replace them; he'd save his money and live with the scratches. He didnt 'lose' anything.

Somehow I really doubt you'd go out and replace the levers with the insurance money. More likely you'd just apply to the next overpriced bike or upgrade.
Dude, how's about I come over your house and key yourbill
Jul 14, 2003 10:45 AM
frame, bend your derailer a bit and then bend it back, and file away on your shifters for a bit? Then we can have a beer while I make a "fair" offer on buying your bike. In its current condition, of course.
If he took the money and bought an upgrade, then it's his choice. He's under no obligation to do anything with that money -- he lost something, he gets paid for it, and whatever he chooses to do with his compensation is his business. And if you think that insurance rates depend on whether our hero gets another $150 for his shifters or even another $1,000 for his frame, you need to go back to business school. The reason why those other guys were offered $2,000 to close the case is because it's worth more for the insurance company to close the case than to parse the damages. Because it's efficient. That's business.
I'm a lawyer who has worked both sides of the fence and know both quite well, thank you very much. Insurance companies are evil, inherently and unavoidably, but adjustors are not (or, usually not). They are interested in fairness, because it's good for everyone, including the companies, including themselves.
To answer your question, yes, I am for real.
...well if you didSteve_0
Jul 14, 2003 10:56 AM
Certainly, if you key'd my car and damaged my bike, your insurance company wouldnt pay out for such action. And I'd be a fool to submit it to my OWN insurance company BECAUSE IT INCREASES RATES. I'd simply sue you for compensation.

I'm not against compensation for losses. I'm against inflating insurance for losses which weren't truly incurred.

Again, what did he lose? a perfect finish on a lever? youguys are too uptight and too material if you cry over scratched brakelevers and pedals. I think some people on this board should spend less time on their bikes and more time in the third world; It's amazing hour self-centered and greedy Americans can be.
methinks you miss my point. You know, the most aggressive,bill
Jul 14, 2003 11:36 AM
worrisome clients I have are the ones who say, "Of course, I'm not trying to be like those other people."
I would have to say, that would be you, Steve-O. Virtually without fail, those are the least reasonable when it comes to resolving the case.
The point I was making, which you did not address, is not whether the damage was done intentionally, the point is that there was damage. For reasons unclear to me, you distinguish between "making the guy pay" and "making the insurance company pay," as if the dollars were different in your pocket. It's your loss, either way. It's business, dude. You are not a private attorney general. It is not your job to punish (the issue of punitive damages aside, which is a clear windfall, which, actually, insurance companies in many states will pay for other than clearly intentional acts -- but I digress, as did you). You are a citizen who lost something.
For another thing, getting an individual to pay anything is expensive and difficult and pretty clearly inefficient unless the amounts are much greater.
Who should I sue?jrescpa
Jul 14, 2003 1:33 PM
I was cleaning my bike after Saturday's Century and I noticed a big chip on my rear left chain stay. Should I sue the rock or my club for damages?

Bottom line. The dude should be grateful he was not injured. Bikes can be replaced, skulls can't.
what, pray tell, does one have to do with the other? what godbill
Jul 14, 2003 1:56 PM
do you follow (or, possibly, what logic do you follow) that prevents you from being both grateful for not smashing your skull and desirous of recouping your losses? I don't understand. If you personally don't want to make a claim because of a value system teaching that flesh is the only thing that matters, power to you, and may I have $10,000 for one of those slick Colnagos? As a material thing, the money shouldn't matter to you. If I can't have the money and material things do matter, please explain to me your point. Yes, bikes can be replaced, but they cost money to do so. So, money is what our legal system provides. Keeps us from shooting each other.
and if someone caused me to scrach a new record shifterColnagoFE
Jul 14, 2003 2:51 PM
i'd want a new one as a replacement. if this wasnt the case i should also be free to go up and key people's new cars because it really doesnt affect the performance of the car any.
difft storySteve_0
Jul 15, 2003 3:51 AM
keying the car affects resale. scratching a record shifter doesnt.
It certainly does affect resale!ColnagoFE
Jul 15, 2003 6:37 AM
I wouldn't pay as much for a bike with a scratched, crashed shifter as one in perfect condition.
as you miss mine, mr bill, for I did address your point...Steve_0
Jul 15, 2003 3:55 AM
I'm not denying there was damage; I'm denying there was loss. Scratched components are not a loss, in my eye.

Apparentely it is in the eyes of a lawyer.

Peace out,


ps - I fail to see your point on my unreasonableness; I would think someone wanting fair compensation for loss, as opposed to damage, is quite resonable.
Business 101 & totally disagree with your viewc722061
Jul 14, 2003 4:06 PM
Insurance is a business of making money. They increases premium because they want to get more money to pay off some loses instead of accepting losses on their business. So, blame on greedy insurance company

Our guy here just asked what he should do. I'd say he should ask for the replacement of what in his bike that got damage. Not only that, he should ask for doctor's fee of treating his cut and bruises. Fair to be fair.

BTW, Do not rant on how greedy we are. We are just asking for fair compensation in this case. If you do not like Americans then shut your pile hole and use it for different message boards.
fair enough...Steve_0
Jul 15, 2003 3:49 AM
like i said, i agree he is entitled to replacement. I dont think he's entitled to 2000-4000 dollars minimum; that's not fair compensation; that's greedy.
I somewhat agreeColnagoFE
Jul 15, 2003 6:41 AM
If they guy was riding a 10 year old bike that was on its last legs then asking for a new bike is overkill. Ins adjusters will depreciate ANY bike. I was on a 4 month old Merlin XL that didn't have a scratch on it and they depreciated that.
Not always truepitt83
Jul 15, 2003 10:02 AM
If you're filing under homeowners insurance, they'll likely replace your losses with new merchandise. Same as if someone steals your stuff; you get new of like quality. An adjuster will determine that.

Interesting ?. Is a bike truly depreciable? I mean, you can't easily find a 10 yr old component and assume it's a replacement part? Hardly seems worth the insurance company's time to save $500 to adjust value. Buy a new bike of like quality and be done with it seems the prudent approach.

And, FWIW, I would want an entirely new bike from the accident. You don't really know the condition of the frame, etc. Easier to get an estim,ate for a new bike of similar quality than guess on how to fix yours. As for what happens to your wreck, well' bonus parts for you since the insurance company surely doesn't wnat it.
Jul 14, 2003 10:46 AM
Oh, man, not only should you sue this troglodyte for every penny he has, but you should talk to the DA, and make sure he gets jail time as well! These insurance company apologists must be smoking crack!!
No, what you are going to do is to sue THE DRIVER, not the insurance company. He hit you, then he committed a felony by fleeing the scene. If you sue him for more than his insurance will cover, well, maybe he'll have to work 2 jobs. Too bad.
Added incentive for suing him: now no insurance company will touch him, and he won't be able to afford to drive.
now this guy I agree with.Steve_0
Jul 14, 2003 11:01 AM
As I said initially, stick it too him; sue for punition. Inflating claims (needlessly replacing parts)doesnt cost him a dime.
Here's where I get off the bus. If the DA is interested, youbill
Jul 14, 2003 11:26 AM
should by all means cooperate and press charges. It's your duty as a citizen. But it doesn't necessarily add to the value of the tort claim, nor should it. What the defendant does after the tort is complete is really a separate issue. In the right case, I have argued that the drunken defendant's leaving the scene increased the mental distress of the injured person (who actually had stood there and cried in pain and frustration, watching the car leave), but I'm not sure that it ever mattered very much, and I didn't try to make it matter very much. These insurance guys can smell BS a mile away; your job is to play it straight while avoiding selling yourself short.
They don't fix your car with duct tape - do they?filtersweep
Jul 14, 2003 8:46 AM
I'd deal directly with his insurance company- particularly if he was cited for leaving the scene (they will love that). When fixed, your bike should be in the same condition as it was prior to the crash- not just rideable- same as if your car were hit.
re: Hit by a car, need some adviceFender
Jul 14, 2003 8:50 AM
First thing is get to get your bike checked out by a shop for any damage you may have not noticed and an estimate for your repairs. You might even want to take your bike to a second shop just for reassurance on damage. Rear wheel, new dropout, possibly new handlebars (even if not damaged, might be a good idea) seem to be the bear necessities. If the guy offers to pay out of his own pocket I would just replace this just to get your bike up and running ASAP. If you have to go through his insurance, get everything replaced and add in medical expenses. It will take longer, but you'll get more money.

Considering he chose to drive away, I would send the claim to his insurance company and have his rates increased for the next 7 years! Also, if possible press charges and make it into an official report. Having a cop on the scene does not mean it's going on record (cop told me that when I was hit).

I was hit and the driver offered to pay up since it was only about $600 in damage and he did not want to get it on this record. He even gave me $100 on the spot and when I called him a few days later, he sent a check for the remainder even before he received an estimate from a shop (which I had mailed).
no breaks or possibility of permanent injury?ColnagoFE
Jul 14, 2003 9:11 AM
if not then deal with the ins co...get them to replace your bike and whatever else you can get without fighting too much. i don't see the need to get a lawyer involved. if no injury forget about cashing in big. you should get your property replaced and maybe a small pain and suffering amount, but the big $ are for long term or permanent injury cases.
I was rear ended in Aprilniteschaos
Jul 14, 2003 9:56 AM
I had my lower back messed up pretty badly and neck strain. My rear wheel was destroyed along with the derailer hanger and the cranks we bent. I have had everything replace, but have yet to be fully repaid. I had to get a lawyer to help keep all the medical paperwork and insurance stuff straight. Be prepared for a long hard fight for anything. I just wanted to have things back the way they were before the crash plus my physical therapy covered, but with insurance fraud as it is they were skeptical of everthing. This was the other guy's insurance company that is, as he was at fault.
re: Hit by a car, need some adviceBearE2
Jul 14, 2003 11:37 AM
Thank you everyone for your input. I'm not trying to break the back here or anything, I just want to be fairly compensated. I definitely need the rear wheel replaced and I'm taking the bike in to make sure there is no underlying damage to the frame or derailleur.

My thinking is that I have a relatively new bike, I got it in February, that has never been crashed and I just get hit by a car. Why should I have to live with all these scratches and scraps on my bike when I didn't cause any of it. I wouldn't say that I deserve financial compensation for a whole new bike or even replacement parts but I feel I should get some money for it.

The part that really angers me is that it was a hit and run. Luckily other people were there to see it and one girl even followed the guy to his house in addition to calling the police. I am definitely having the DA press charges because this guy should not be on the road driving like this.

Thanks again.
when you receive payment for your damages....Fender
Jul 14, 2003 11:43 AM
make sure you send the girl who followed him to his house flowers or a gift certificate for dinner at a nice place as a way of saying thanks. =) or at least a thank you note.

Now since your frame was practically new, why not have his insursance pay for a factory paint job? just a thought.
re: Hit by a car, need some adviceDERICK
Jul 14, 2003 2:00 PM
Dont forget to save the reciepts from having the bike checked out. If the shop charges you, those costs should be passed on to the insurance company also. I was hit a year ago and the shop was very helpful. The shop wrote an estimate using full retail price for everything and the highest labor rate. If the shop isn't cooperating with you find one that will. The insurance company paid it without question and never asked if it had actually been fixed. There's a reason it's called "compensation". It's to compensate you for your loss. What you do with it is your own business.

Dont feel guilty about asking to replace any scratched part and forget Steve-o. The simple fact is that the driver damaged your bike. He pays insurance to protect himself. The insurance company will get it back from him one way or another.
My two cents...jtolleson
Jul 14, 2003 4:07 PM
you don't need a lawyer for a claim this size. It doesn't increase your recovery and results in the lawyer taking part of your settlement. (CAVEAT -- this isn't legal advice, I'm not representing you, blah blah blah, one gal's opinion).

File against the driver in small claims court. In most jurisdictions, the small claims limit is now up to about $5k or more, which should be plenty. Document the needed bike repair.

He'll turn it into his insurer, perhaps, and you'll get a call from an adjuster. Otherwise, just have your documentation for your hearing. The fact that it was a hit-and-run is in fact relevant in my mind and in some states would entitle you to punitive damages (though many places those are capped at things like two times actual damages, etc... it isn't a lottery ticket).

Get a couple grand to take care of your ride and move on. Let the criminal justice system do the rest (as appropriate).
here is the most thorough guide I've ever come acrossLinuxDude
Jul 14, 2003 10:18 PM
BTW, this comes from a book entitled: "Urban Biker's Tricks & Tips"

Hope it helps.


What to do when hit by a motorist

At the crash site

1. If knocked down, stay down if it's safe. Don't get up until police arrive. Because, if you get up right away, the motorist might not stop. And witnesses might not come forward.
2. Have someone call the police (and ambulance if necessary).
3. Information to record:
· Motorist info: name, address, phone #, license #, plate #, make & color of car, insurance co. name, insurance policy #.
· Location; nearest street address, time, date, weather condition and direction of travel by all parties.
· Witness info: yell out, "Did anyone see what happened?", name, address, phone #, don't ask them to describe the crash now.
· Police officer (sir): name, badge #, police report #, where to call to get report.

4. If you can't ride your bike from the scene, lock it when you leave.

At the hospital

1. Don't sign anything. You might be admitting blame.
2. Get damaged clothes and parts for evidence

After you get home

1. Writer down everything you can remember about the crash.
2. Take photos of any clothes or bike equipment that got damaged get a repair estimate for your bike from a bike-repair shop. And if clothes were damaged, find out the replacement cost.
3. Look for witnesses near the crash site.
4. Tape record or write down their statements and ask for their signature.

Asking for money after a crash

What the insurance companies usually pay for:

· Medical costs
· Damaged property (clothes, bicycle, glasses)
· Wages you lost due to time off
· "Pain & suffering" (two to three times your medical costs)


You might not need a lawyer if:

· Police have clearly cited the motorist (and not you) for doing something wrong.
· The motorist is insured.
· You're willing to negotiate with the insurance company.
· Your area has no-fault insurance: the motorist's insurance automatically covers your medical expenses.

You might need a lawyer if:

· The motorist tries to get you to pay for vehicle damages. The motorist might back down if you have a lawyer.

How to find a lawyer:

· Find lawyers in your city who handle bicycle cases. They often charge nothing unless they help win your case, and then charge only a part of your settlement.

What a lawyer should charge you:

1. If a lawyer helps you get money ("a settlement") from the motorist or insurer, they should get a percentage of the money. If you receive no money, a lawyer should not charge you.
2. Some lawyers charge extra for certain items, such as deliveries. Make sure they take those charges out of their percentage of the settlement so you don't ay extra.
3. Some layers charge one percentage to negotiate with an insurer, and charge a higher percentage if your case goes to court. Ask about that up front. Ask your lawyer to charge the same in both situations.
4. Before you hire any lawyer, always ask them to put their charges in writing.

Making a demand package

What it does:
· It's what lawyers send and insurance companies expect—but you can do it yourself.
· Goes to insurer or motorist (if not insured).
· Proves why they should give you money.
· Tells exactly what happened
· Shows what you lost that you want to get paid for.
· Send it after you've gotten all your medical bills—especially if treatment takes a long time.

Cover-letter example

John Smith
329 Sixth Street
Los York, Calibraska 72303

July 3, 1999

Claims Department
All Farm Insurance
666 Paved Road
Los York, Calibraska 70000

To Whom It Concerns:

This is to request a settlement regarding the crash I had with your insured, John Doe, policy #3224196BO, on June 1, 1999.

I've enclosed material showing that your insured is at fault in the crash. The material also shows that I've Incurred $7,620.42 in damages, to wit:

Medical care
good advice. although, you pretty much won't get a lawyerbill
Jul 15, 2003 2:10 AM
to take the case for some scratched shifters and an emergency room visit, so I wouldn't even bother trying. Just do it yourself.