A little incident on a country road

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by TheBadBunny, Jan 13, 2008.

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  1. TheBadBunny

    TheBadBunny Guest

    Alrighty, then. I've decided a VERY bright lighting kit that's bright enough to be seen in full daylight is my next project. This Friday, the 11th of January 2008, I got plastered by a car while riding my (not yet motorized) bicycle back from work. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, while I was riding on the right edge of the shoulder of the road, not even in the traffic lane itself. Some kid (who later said "I didn't even see you!"), who must have been right on the white line, if not a little bit over it, came flying up behind me and whacked me with his passenger-side mirror, tearing his mirror completely off and leaving me with a broken arm, and the left side of my abdomen looks as if a herd of buffalo stampeded over it. But here's the part that really frosts me: he stopped maybe 200 or 300 feet past where I landed, face first with my bicycle on top of me, and got out and talked to his buddy for 10 minutes before checking to see if I was even alive. I finally dug my cell phone out of my pocket with my good arm and called 911 myself. But THIS is the part that REALLY frosts me: while I was lying in the grass, waiting for the ambulance in agony, I asked the little swine to write down his insurance information for me, and he said "don't worry, I'll pay for the mirror."

    And, of course, now everyone at work is going to say "I told you so!" :mad:
    Ok, I'm through venting.

    Now I need some advice. Although it was still light out when the accident happened (it was about six o'clock, but I had my taillight and headlight on already), it was dark by the time the leisurely cop who was sent to investigate showed up, since and one of the kid's buddies had helpfully turned my lights off and lifted the bicycle off of my back, I'm worried that he might put in his report that I was riding at night without a light. To make matters worse, I did not get a chance to talk to him. He said he would come talk to me in the hospital but never showed up, so everything in his report comes from the kid. Advice, anyone? Do I need to get a lawyer?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2008

  2. mickey

    mickey Guest

    First, thank God you weren't maimed or killed. We've had 4 bike riders killed in my county in the last couple of years, 3 by the same drunk teenager in 2 separate instances.

    File your bills against his insurance. That should be in the police report. Unless you were riding on a restricted access road, you had the right of way.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2008
  3. kerf

    kerf Guest

    If it were me, I would at least speak with an attorney. Not only did you sustain injury but you've lost the use of your arm for the time being. The pain and suffering should also be an issue. If you don't watch out, they'll sue you for the damage to the car! Unfortunately, sometimes justice comes to those with the biggest stick. Good luck and thank the Almighty you're alive.

    I don't know if it would have changed anything but I run a red two bulb 12v marker light om the rear of my bike that flashes. Its the type you see on the sides of tractor trailers, seems to get attention.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2008
  4. Abeagle

    Abeagle Guest

    Definitely call an attorney and call the police dept to get your statement on the record.
    I am glad you were not hurt any worse than you were. Hope you heal fully and fast.
  5. I think you can also file a police report with your version of the accident.
    You gotta be careful with these things.
    People can lie in a heartbeat and it sounds like this sc.. will do just that.
    I'd get a lawyer stat.
  6. smapadatha

    smapadatha Guest

    First, I'm very sorry to hear about your accident. Second, I agree with the others who said that your top priority right now should be hooking up with the best personal injury attorney available in your area. My ex-wife was a paralegal in a large firm and I used to hear about these types of cases all the time.

    FWIW, my advice would be:
    1. The woods are swarming with PI attorneys because the settlements are so high. Don't hire the first attorney you meet up with. Interview *them*. It sounds like you have a plaintiff's dream case and you should remember that you are doing the attorney you select a favor. Most attorneys you speak with will try to convince you that they are doing *you* a favor.

    In the U.S., you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of employment, long term treatment (years down the line), and much, much more! Ka-ching!

    2. I wouldn't sweat the light situation too much. Your attorney will probably be able to get the kid to admit that he turned the light off, or at least that you had a light on the bike when the accident occurred. If the kid has insurance, you are golden.

    3. If you live in the U.S., your 2nd priority should be buying the book "How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim" from Nolo Press, and pay particular attention to the section on watching your lawyer. (http://www.nolo.com/product.cfm/ObjectID/DA77A617-5E9E-42F3-8E17385C77C8AB8E/104/)

    4. If you have auto insurance, you might want to call them and see if they can at least recommend an attorney. They may also get involved in your coverage. Insurance companies know the best attorneys but they usually won't share the names. It's worth a try though.

    5. In *general* though, treat attorney referrals with a great deal of suspicion, especially referrals from other attorneys. Attornies consider clients to be like poker chips. When you get a referral from one attorney to another, it's usually because he owes the other guy a favor and wants to throw some business his way; not because the other attorney is qualified.

    The thing to remember about an attorney is that you are not a human being to them. You're just a potential source of revenue. That may sound cynical, but if you'd been to as many holiday parties and dinner parties, etc., as I have, and been surrounded by attorneys telling stories, you'd see what I mean. It's not personal. An attorney looks at you (and your case) like a doctor looks at a slide under a microscope.

    6. Because of your injuries, it's probably not a good idea for you to ride until the case is settled. Know what I mean? When you do get back on the road, get the safety vest that city workers are issued; blinding neon cloth with lots of mylar. It really does help.

    I know that this advice seems cold and even grasping, using the system for a high dollar settlement, blah, blah. But the fact is, this is the modern equivalent of circling the wagons and defending yourself. Depending on your age and profession, your injuries can seriously impact you for the next few years, and there is nothing wrong with expecting that dufus driver to take responsibility for his actions.

    Best wishes and best of luck to you,


    P.S. About Large's comment that people will lie in a heartbeat... When you get a copy of the police report; when you get to the deposition stage, etc.; don't be surprised if the defendant suddenly claims you were riding all over the road with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a loaded shotgun in the other. Don't sweat it. That's just how the game is played. Just clearly and consistently say what actually happened and you will prevail.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2008
  7. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Sorry to hear about the accident. Sam's advice sounds good. Something to keep in mind: Years ago (seems like a lifetime), I worked for an insurance company. It cost them about $25,000 in attorneys fees etc. to go to court in even the most trivial case. You could look at that as them having a choice between going to court, or just giving you some of that money.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2008
  8. iRide Customs

    iRide Customs Member

    Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you have a speedy recovery. At least you can feel at ease knowing you can sue the carp out of the little bass tard.
  9. TheBadBunny

    TheBadBunny Guest

    Good news & bad news

    Okay. Good news: I had a followup appointment with an orthopedist today, and my arm is not broken all the way through the humerus. I have a fractured "greater tuberosity," a small protuberance near the top of the humerus. The doc said that there it is displaced a tiny bit, but not enough to require surgery. Her advice was to wait about a week until the fracture begins to calcify so that I don't have to worry about the muscles in my upper arm displacing the fragment further and come back in for a follwup x-ray. If the fragment hasn't become further displaced in that time, I can go back to work with my arm in a sling. Ergo, it doesn't look as if my medical bills are going to be high, and I'm not in a great deal of pain. Hopefully that will make the case easy to settle quickly.

    Bad news: I got a copy of the police report today, and the guy that hit me DIDN'T EVEN GET A TICKET! This has been gnawing at me like a cancer all day long.
  10. Scottm

    Scottm Guest

    About the only smart thing that kid did was stop, and thankfully he did. Hit and run drivers are evil. I hope all goes well for you.
  11. BSA

    BSA Guest

    It makes me stiff with rage that people do that sort of thing. Get as much as possible out of them in the courts.

  12. TheBadBunny

    TheBadBunny Guest

    Hey all! You might not remember me because I was only on the board for about a month or two starting in January '08. I was dead broke and looking for some form of inexpensive transportation to make the 13-mile commute to work with. Then I got hit by an SUV (why is it always an SUV?) while commuting to work on my (nonmotorized) 12-speed Alpine, and hassles with the driver's insurance company took up all my spare time. Anyway, for those of you who DO remember, and for the benefit of those who may find themselves in a similar situation, it's all over now, and I finally got my settlement this month! Here are some of the highlights of the ordeal.

    :mad: The cop never spoke to me at the scene because I was being tended to by paramedics, so he never gave the driver a ticket because he didn't know if I was going with or against traffic. I called him a few days after and filled him in on what had happened and asked him to A) amend the police report with my side of the story so the insurance company wouldn't have any room to wiggle out of their liability, and B) give the jerk a ticket so he'll remember he has to SHARE THE ROAD no matter how large his vehicle is. The cop never did either one, and sure enough, because of the information missing from the police report, the insurance company decided it needed to do an investigation, delaying my settlement for months while I was struggling to pay the medical bills.

    :grin: My hospital bill came out to about $11,000.00. I sent the bill to the insurance company and basically told the hospital I was dead broke and couldn't pay them. They gave me a "financial assistance" form to fill out and send back. They reviewed the form and dropped my bill to less than $1000.00. I forgot to tell the insurance company about this, what with all the excitement and everything. :cool:

    :grin: The insurance company finally settled with me for $25,000.00 -- $11,000.00 for the hospital bill, $2000.00 for the orthopedic care, and $12,000.00 for pain, suffering (or, as I prefer to see it, for having to deal with them for five months).

    The transportation problem that brought me here has been solved. The first thing I did was buy a Currie Mountain Trailz electric bike to ride to work on. Ignore the Currie naysayers. It may not be the fastest electric bike on the market, but it turned that grueling 1.5-hour, hilly 13-mile commute into a 45-minute breeze, and with two 10-amp-hour battery packs on it, I have a range of well over 30 miles with light pedaling, even if I have to climb a few steep hills. I was pretty happy with it...until I saw a picture of AugieDog's Currie gas-electric hybrid. And I'm buying a used car from a friend next weekend...which I intend to use as little as possible, especially after I make a gas-electric hybrid out of MY Currie!

    Anyway...for those of you who are in my position, and from other cycling forums I've browsed, you are legion, hang in there and don't give up, and don't be afraid to be aggressive with the insurance company. It's all they understand. And if you disagree with the police report, ask the officer to amend it, and follow up to make sure he does it. Cops are lazy as **** about paperwork. :shock:

  13. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Robert, congratulations!

    Your story was troubling. Someone mentioned something about "stiff with rage" over these idiots getting off with a slap of the wrist after they have used something with the characteristics of some weapons of war on another human being and then saying something lame like "I didn't see you". I'm angry right now just thinking about it.

    but your story has at least worked out fairly well. I'm troubled about that cop's indifference, though. Anyway, it's good to hear that things worked out well. And it sounds like you got a good bike out of the deal.
  14. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Glad it's working out as well as can be expected Bunny. I look forward to seeing your bike. I once worked in the insurance industry (not selling it), so something that might be appropriate to mention here: This is for anyone who might find themselves dealing with an insurance company. If an insurance company starts to act like they might jerk you around. A. Let them know (preferably politely) that if you are not satisfied, you will be contacting your State Insurance Commissioner with your complaint; and B. Contact that Commissioner if you do have a complaint. Silly as it seems in these days of revolving-door government appointed jobs, the Commissioner probably does track such things in case anyone ever asks what they really do for a living.
  15. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    That's a good result. Glad things worked out from this unfortunate situation.
  16. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    well at times it is not best to wish to settle fast - that's up to you
    maybe -- even when we wish to - settlement can come VERY SLOWLY..

    how it works at many times ---

    doctor bills times three --
    1/3 for doctors
    1/3 for lawyer
    1/3 for you

    I would want to straighten out the police report
    sometimes later on - we realize that - we have more injuries than thought

    Ride That Thing - Mountainman
  17. yea something kinda like that just happened in my town in marysville but they thought the guy was dead and took of but they got caught for a hit and run later justice serves at times
  18. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Glad to hear you weren't injured any worse. Doesn't take much to get killed on 2 wheels.

    Be 100% honest in giving the cop details about your accident. ALSO,,, be sure to read over the police report,,, & be in total agreement with it,,,, BEFORE you sign !!! One little mistake can cost you the entire case !
  19. true that hey it sounds as the spare cash will be nice though
  20. shiloh0.KY

    shiloh0.KY New Member

    i feel for ya, guess it makes me wonder what my first getting plastered will be like.