A little incident on a country road



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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.