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It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..(15 posts)

It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..Mike Prince
Jul 16, 2003 7:56 AM
Out for a ride last night in Mississippi (away from my NC home) and I get blindsided by a 16 year old kid in his mom's Taurus. He was making a left turn and did not see me, but he nailed me. I ruined his hood, windshield and was vaulted into the air. Quite spectacular to the witnesses I am sure. Totally his fault (concurred by the driver and one witness) and the police/ambulance showed up so all paperwork was filed.

Now for the important stuff. Other than some major road rash and soreness today, I am OK. Helmet saved me as a brand spankin' new Pneumo gave it up for my noggin. If I still had a bike I would probably ride today.

My bike (a mid-80's lugged steel Centurion, 105 6-spd in absolute pristine condition - my spare bike) is toast. Broken frame, taco'd front wheel, broken bars and I'm sure more damage when I look at it tonight at the hotel.

So:
- What should I expect his ins. co. to do about the bike? I think that they should pay the cost of an equivalent steel bike with 105-level components at least. Or will they say my old bike was worth very little and try to low ball me? Also, the new helmet, shorts and jersey I was wearing were destroyed and that's probably $300+ additional at least to the claim.

- Medical stuff I'm less concerned about as I went through this with a car accident 3 yrs. ago and know the game there. I'm going to my doc when I get home Friday and will go from there.

Any advice from my comrades out there? I do want to get the property damage worked out quickly. The medical stuff will take time as I heal. I want to avoid lawyers and the like as I would prefer to keep this simple.

Thanks
Mike
re: It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..gtscottie
Jul 16, 2003 9:14 AM
IMHO the insurance company will try to pay as little as possible. However you should get back a bike the equivalent of what you had. It will be hard to estimate a cost for the bike as well as an exact year. Often the insurance company will find a new bike to match the components etc... and work out some sort of depreciation rate. If you are luck they will just pay out the new price but don't hold your breath. I would go to my LBS and get them to price out the components and frame etc... and present that to the insurance company and see where they go from there. The clothing will be a no brainer the cost can be easily figured out.

Good luck and glad to hear you weren't hurt too bad. We had two people killed on a tandem but Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada this weakend. They were run over by a Semi driving on the shoulder of the road. A USA couple in their early fifties on holidays....how sad is that!
Get an estimate from a LBS...biknben
Jul 16, 2003 9:44 AM
Get a detailed estimate from a bike shop. Anything with a scratch gets put on the estimate. This estimate should include your helmet and clothing. Present that to the insurance company. They will most likely offer only a depreciated value for the damaged items.

State laws may govern how you go about doing all this and how much money you will get. I got hit in NJ a couple months ago. NJ law required me to make a medical claim to MY car insurance and a property damage claim to the driver's insurance. NJ also assigns at least 20% liability to all parties involved in an accident (even though driver was cited for failure to stop). I automatically lost 20% of my estimate. In the end, I was able to replace what NEEDED to be replaced and will live with some cosmetic damage.
For once, a cyclist is in the catbird seat.purplepaul
Jul 16, 2003 10:40 AM
I'm not saying you can retire, but that kid and his parents better be praying really, really hard that you don't go to a lawyer as all of their assets are vulnerable to you. Don't discount your injuries so quickly. There really is nothing worse than accepting the bare minimum offer only to find out that you have recurring pain and/or physical difficulties that show up later. And, no, this doesn't necessarily mean that they're bogus.

In order to minimize your losses, I would recommend contacting the best lawyer and doctor you can immediately. If there truly is nothing wrong with you, at least you should be able to get a new Merlin for your pain from the kid's negligence. And his license should be revoked. He's a menace who clearly isn't mature enough to be in control of a ton of moving metal.
advice from an insurance claims adjuster...merckx56
Jul 16, 2003 12:38 PM
I work for one of the three biggest auto insurers in the country (can't tell you which...)
On the bike, argue hard for a new bike that is equivalent value to your old bike. They'll try to tell you that it's worth less than you want because it's old. You want replacement value in today's dollars. I'm sure that the insured's PD limits are high enough so it won't be an issue there. You should probably get a 105 equipped rig/alu or steel. You will also want to ask for your clothing and helmet to be replaced as well, as they were damaged as a direct result of the insured driver's negligence. Some q's to ask: Was the minor driver listed on the policy? If not, why was he driving the vehicle, and did he have permission? What was the scope of that permission? What was the purpose of the minor using the vehicle? (that's important in determining liabilty!)
Their BI limits will cover your medical bills, but DO NOT accept a check labeled "Final payment". The statute of limitations on BI is three years in all 50 states, meaning you have three years to continue to seek medical treatment.
it will be simple, just don't take any BS from the adjuster for the insured. If you have any questions, email me @ mmerrill@sc.rr.com or m_merrill1@yahoo.com.
Perfect. Thanks.Mike Prince
Jul 16, 2003 12:49 PM
Good info. This is what I was looking for. Thanks so much. I'll shoot you an email if I feel unsure about anything.

All I want to do is ride....although I am starting to get VERY sore. Tomorrow will be interesting.

Thanks
Mike
a couple more things...merckx56
Jul 16, 2003 1:10 PM
Their adjuster will want to do an in-person contact(IPC) to get a medical auth form signed. It's just to get copies of your med bills. Be cogniscent of the fact that your are asking for them to pay your medical bills when he is at your home/work/or wherever. I'm not saying to feign symptoms, but don't lift anything if you are claiming a back problem. A good adjuster will have a bit of scheister lawyer in him/her...much like I do!
Take advantage of the doctors and chiropractors.
They will try to argue that you had SOME liability in the accident, it's their job. Personally, I'd okay it, pay you and be done with it.
If the police came, get your own copy of the police report and study it a little bit.
Please keep me abreast of what's going on. There can be several variables and ways that they will try to skirt their liability. I'll be your resource, if needed!
Mark
re: It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..russw19
Jul 16, 2003 4:00 PM
The kid's insurance may try to lowball you.. but in this case, I doubt it. You were pretty severly hit, there are witnesses and a police report in your favour. That insurance company is probably hoping you don't sue for a million dollars. My stepmom works for an insurance company and so I have heard of people suing for more over less. I think most insurance companies are becomming reasonable when people file reasonable claims. You could drag this out with medical and ask for a ton of pain and suffering, and they probably will be thinking you will. So if you are reasonable on the bike, they will probably just pay.

So for your bike, ask for replacement value of a good steel Shimano 105 bike. Something like a Lemond Alpe d' Huez. Retails aroung $1400. They shouldn't have any problem paying that. And get a replacement reciept (if you don't still have the originals) for your clothing and helmet. What the company may do is give you X amount of money and give you more when you buy new stuff dependent on the price of what you buy. For example they may credit you $35 for your shorts, but if you buy and have a reciept for a pair that was $80, they will mail you the difference.

I went thru this this winter with my own insurance as my bike was stolen. They balked at my claim that my bike was worth $4500, but when I sent them the reciepts, they paid me.

Also, protect yourself... get a lawyer! The insurance company has a bunch of them all out to protect them, not you! So get one for yourself and add his fees into your claim. You are well within your rights to do so. At least pay one a hundred bucks to look at the settlement before you sign it. Have them make sure it's fair.

Best of luck to you,
Russ
don't get a lawyer...merckx56
Jul 16, 2003 6:14 PM
if one isn't needed. you won't get your settlement any quicker. I tend to move slower when some a'hole lawyer is calling me everyday. This is an easy open and shut. You can't add the lawyers' fees into your case and some states don't allow for pain and suffering if the injury wasn't critical. Some insurance policies don't pay it anyway. The big bad insurance company isn't out to screw you! Believe when I tell you that an insurance company lawyer NEVER sees a file like this! It's up to the claims rep to work the case and close it, to the benefit of all invoved!
don't get a lawyer...purplepaul
Jul 16, 2003 10:09 PM
I appreciate what you are saying merckx56 but, with all due respect, this shouldn't be closed to the benefit of all involved. It should benefit the injured party. The kid who hit him, his parents and insurance company should be sweating bullets. If the kid gets off easily because all the insurance had to do was pay for a new bike and some clothes, he won't really appreciate what he's done. Ditto the parents, unless they're really special. That kid should not be on the road, not in a car anyway. Maybe when he's turned 21. One objective should be to make insuring him so expensive that the parents will just drive him where he needs to go. As I'm sure you're aware, the only way to do this is to make his demographic expensive. If most 17 males who caused this kind of damage and injury got off so lightly, they wouldn't be particularly expensive to insure.

I say, get a lawyer and make sure you don't get screwed. Maybe the insurance company isn't out to screw anybody. But their lawyers certainly are.
I think you missed the point...merckx56
Jul 17, 2003 7:00 AM
it will benefit the injured party. The kid likely will get points on his license, his insurance as well as his parents insurance will go up and I pretty sure that he'll get punished by his parents. They probably are that "special" considering he was driving a Taurus.
Second, the lawyers for the insurance company will never see this case/file. you can't just raise rates for a certain demographic as it would violate state statute. All states require compnaies that operate in that state to file their rates. You can have variances over the filed range, but it's illegal to gouge.
Punitive damages have been made illegal by many states as well.
What I said before is SOP for most adjusters and companies. If you are open and honest and easy to deal with, you get paid what you fully deserve. The moment you become difficult and get lawyers involved, most adjusters will start dragging feet and you'll likely get less $. I can argue this case from both sides. I won't do it here, as it's moot, but liability questions are flying around in my head!
re: It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..J2
Jul 17, 2003 5:01 AM
oh man, mike, hate to hear that. let me know if you need me to do anything for you in town. and if you feel like riding you can use one of my bikes. my zeus is down at the moment but the fondriest is ready if you need it. i could also get the coppi running so you have decent choice. they all will be a size small but i'm sure we can make one of them fit fairly well for you. just let me know.
john
re: It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..Mike Prince
Jul 17, 2003 7:03 AM
Thanks John. I wish I could ride right now. Yesterday I may have believed I got hit by a car. Today I feel like the kid was driving a dump truck. Man am I sore. Sleeping and dressing myself are life's primary challenges now.

If I feel better through the weekend, I may bring the Steelman back to Memphis with me next week. Then I'll have a shot in the Thursday night Ellis Rd. sprint :)

I'm OK, just sore. I just want to get another bike somewhat quickly to replace the other one.
re: It's contagious...I got hit by a car - need advice..J2
Jul 17, 2003 9:52 AM
glad to hear your ok. J sent us all an email. again, if you need anything in town... and the offer on the bikes stands anytime you need them, you are more than welcome to any i have.
thanks (nm)Mike Prince
Jul 17, 2003 1:00 PM