Biker is suing me 6 months later (I was in a car)

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by Themoonstone, May 12, 2017.

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  1. Themoonstone

    Themoonstone Guest

    So, about 6 months ago I was waiting to turn right onto a main road in a business district in Chicago (it is illegal to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk here I believe if you are over the age of 12 and I am also a biker). I looked on the sidewalk for pedestrians, saw none, and when 2 cars stopped (for the traffic light, but gave me space to pull onto the road from the side road), I started to proceed slowly. All of a sudden a man on a bike was in front of my car and I hit him (very,very slowly since I was clearly pulling onto a roadway from a small street). I obviously stopped, and it so happened that there was a detective in a car 2 cars from where I was so he stopped. We both asked the guy if he was okay. I was totally in shock because he came out of no where biking the wrong direction down the sidewalk when that is illegal! The guy ripped his pants, but seemed fine otherwise. I offered to call an ambulance and the actual cops, but he insisted he was fine, just a little shaken. He then got back on his bike and biked off on the sidewalk again! I just got served a notice today from his lawyer. I am at a loss. This was 6 months ago, we do not have a police report. I do not believe I am at fault. I did my due diligence as a driver, I believe. I checked both sides of the sidewalk, proceeded slowly into the road and as far as I am concerned, this man ran into me. What should I do? I called his attorney as soon as I got the notice. He didn't take photos or anything as far as I know. Not sure what proof he could even have. It's his word against mine, I think. Any advice for me?
     

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  2. butre

    butre Well-Known Member

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    think you could find that detective? he'd make a fine witness.
     
  3. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

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    well. as butre said if you can find that detective and present him as a witness in your response you can possibly quash this before it proceeds any further. also, where is he suing you? in what court (small claims)? is there an amount?

    if so, good luck to him. there are so many suspicious circumstances and lack of evidence that makes this a "he said/she said" case. the suspicious circumstances being why not file a police report right away, why not visit a hospital right away, and why sue someone 6 months later among others I am sure. also, this is just a notice from a lawyer and not an actual court filing. if you are right regarding fault and reports, looks like they are trying to scare you into settling and coughing up some money.

    I think as you mention the only thing that can turn this dispute is the nature and language of your testimony and response. you have to be very detail and unwavering in your response and testimony to as you have mentioned articulate that this was not your fault. you really should not have called his lawyer and do not do so again without consulting a lawyer. in any case, i think there is free consultations for lawyers if you do not have your own and for many small claims court you can counter claim lawyer fees and wages up to a certain amount if you win. I would include that in my response if applicable but I would consult your lawyer or find a free consultation for this.
     
  4. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Active Member

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    6 months is way gonna heal that scraped knee. He would need a police report to win any case, there's no insurance money for him because of that fact. Talk to your insurance company is a good start.

    Plus that witness would be a good line of defense.
     
  5. gary55

    gary55 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds real fishy to me. I doubt the courts would even hear a case for damages caused six months ago. If they do the guy doesn't have a winnable argument, as he was breaking the law in the cause of the accident. You are expected to to everything reasonable to insure not to impede the flow of traffic while entering a thoroughfare. Someone coming from a illegal point can't be expected. If so he could have fell from the sky, and you would be at fault. Did you check the legitimacy of the attorney. With the circumstances their is no way he would take it on a no win no pay clause. I'm thinking they are just trying to shake you down. The so called lawyer is probably a friend of his with some downloaded documents from the web. If they found out who you are the lawyer could have easily found and contacted your insurer. Did the lawyer even ask who your ins. provider is?
     
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  6. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

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    Turn it over to your insurance company and don't sweat it. That's why you pay them.
    When you are in an accident you sue the person driving and then it's up to the person to contact their insurance co.
     
  7. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

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    You can sue for 2 years in CA for personal injury.
    You can sue for 3 years in CA for property damage. Check your State.
    First do not talk to their lawyer, say nothing. Let them prove everything.
    Maybe the bicycle ran into your car?
    Then he will have to show treatment for his injuries. No injuries no $$$.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  8. gary55

    gary55 Well-Known Member

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    Well your right on the 2 year limitation. I'm still curious if the "lawyer" asked who his insurance carrier is. Generally a lawyer will always go for the deepest pockets to increase the amount their % of the award could potentially come to.
    Was the notice from the lawyer a copy of the notice he is filing to small claims? Have you checked with the court system to see if a request for a hearing in this mater has been filed against you?
    I would guess that the dockets in chi town are very busy, and would provide ample time for you to get your ins. company involved should you ever get a official order to appear.
    Still I'm kinda hard headed in these kind of things, and would want to see if he's scamming me. If you didn't do anything wrong your ins. lawyers would chew him up pretty easy, and would probably be the least stressful approach.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  9. TheMoonstoneBike

    TheMoonstoneBike New Member

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    Thank you all for weighing in!! I will call my insurance company today. The two page letter in the mail that I got from the lawyer said the following, "Please be advised that I have been retained by Mr. [XXXXX] to represent him in a claim for injuries sustained due to your negligence. Enclosed is my copy of Attorney's Lien. Please forward to your insurance carrier so we may discuss the claim and possibly resolve it in a manner convenient for all parties." The second page just says, "You are hereby notified that the above named claimant has placed in my hands as her attorney for suit or collection, a claim, demand, or cause of action against you for injuries sustained due to your negligence on or about the 22nd of XXXX 2016, and has agreed to pay me..." (more details on what the attorney will get paid).

    So, to respond to some of the advice/questions above.

    1. No, the lawyer did not even give details of anything at all in the notice
    2. I did look up the law firm and it is a legitimate firm (or so it appears).
    3. I agree, I should not have called the lawyers office, but I wanted to find out what the hell this even was about since the letter said absolutely nothing and I didn't really even know the dude's name (it could be any random person!)
    4. I agree they are trying to scare me and scam some money from me/my insurance.
    5. I will call my insurance company later today and let them deal with it. I hope they do not give him anything and do not increase my rates!!!
    6. Lesson learned, people suck and I should have called the police anyways even though he insisted he was fine and rode off.
     
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  10. 1983JZR3W

    1983JZR3W Member

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    One question......you said the detective and you asked the guy on the bike if he was all right. The lawyer said the above named claimant has named this attorney as" her" attorney for suit or collection. Was it a male or female that hit your car? That alone sounds a bit scamish to me.
     
  11. TheMoonstoneBike

    TheMoonstoneBike New Member

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    It did say "her" in the letter, but the person was male (or appeared to be so and has a male name). There were 2 typos in the letter. The date part said 22th instead of 22nd and her instead of his/him.

    I just got off the phone with my insurance and the investigator said this sounds fishy to him. Turns out he guy filed a police report a week later (I was never contacted by the police at all). In that report, he said a week later he discovered he broke his leg and drove himself to the ER. The investigator is doing some research into this...hopefully, it ends up being dropped, but regardless, my insurance will take care of it. It would likely raise my premiums a bit, but I guess that's just the curse I have to live with for assuming this guy wasn't an asshole and acknowledged he was at fault for being on the sidewalk and riding out in front of a car (moving slowly, but still).
     
  12. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Active Member

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    It may be from a stock paperwork?
    Maybe you ran over a tranny?

    Now you know how police stay in business - all they are is a mobile witness to events for insurance purposes. I guess they prevent escalation of additional collateral damage too.

    As I mentioned, no police report and I dunno how they're gonna press charges months later.

    I like your argument - they were the ones operating illegally and ran into you and the proof is the victim at the time did not call the police to report an accident.

    Either of you on behalf of your own insurance companies could have called the police, which likely will result in this case based on here-say being dissolved / dismissed.

    No police report means no insurance moneys move anywhere, and for them to go after you civilly outside insurance is negligence to report the crime when it was happening.

    Its an expensive lesson.

    I hate police situations. I always photo the attacking cars plate first and demand cash immediately from the driver under threat of calling the police.

    Last wreck destroyed my 50$ pants and the driver only had 10$ after I won the hit and run race. I always rather take the cash than have to interact with cops and most people would rather drop cash than wait on cops too.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017