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Old 02-19-07, 07:31 PM   #1
raerae428
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insurance settlement

So, 6 months ago I was doored pretty badly--riding in the bike lane when a guy in a parked car abruptly flung out their door. I got his insurance info and dealing w/ them has been totally okay.

Right away, the insurance company paid about $200 to cover bike repairs, and has now offered me a settlement of $1900 to cover all medical and close the case.

I wasn't hurt that badly; the worst injury was a separated shoulder which took a couple of months to heal and I had to wear a sling. I went to some sessions of physical therapy and to a chiropractor once healed to get the shoulder bones back in place and deal w/ other neck/back issues from the accident, total bills were about $500.

Should I accept this offer ($1900)? Should I ask for more? I have no idea what an average or reasonable settlement would be.
Thanks.
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Old 02-19-07, 07:43 PM   #2
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You should ask an attorney, either here, or in consultation. There are some pitfalls to settling a case that you would want to avoid.
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Old 02-19-07, 08:30 PM   #3
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It is 4 months since your shoulder healed. If you are sure it feels better take the money. Call your doctor and ask the chance of recurring problems. Another course would be to ask the insurance to wait another 6 months to make settlement.
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Old 02-19-07, 08:35 PM   #4
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This is a tough decision. You now know what the insurance company thinks is a good deal for them and enough money that you will accept it without taking them to court.
In your 50's or 60's, your shoulder will likely give you problems and pain. What is the right amount of money to asked for now for the later pain and problems.
Is getting a lawyer who will take 1/4 to 1/3 (depending on state) of any settlement worth it. Whatever you do, if you get a lawyer, make sure it is on a contingency basis (you do not have to pay the lawyer if he loses the case).
Will a lawyer even take your case? May not be likely to yield a large enough payday for the lawyer.

Whatever you decide, one thing you can do for your shoulder is to keep riding and consider a light or medium weight lifting program. It has helped my dislocated shoulder from 30 years ago. I do now have pain from that 30 year old injury.

Consider never riding in the door zone again.
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Old 02-20-07, 08:35 AM   #5
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As an attorney who practices personal injury, my advice is to get an attorney to advise you, but from my experience, if the driver was clearly at fault, a separated shoulder is worth much, much more than what they are offereing you.

But get an attorney.
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Old 02-20-07, 09:04 AM   #6
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You may want to take the cash and run.... or cycle away... if you get an attorney the original offer will most likely be rescinded and you will need to come up with a lot of documentation from your docs etc to justify a bigger pay-out.. and docs don't particularly care to provide info like that as it requires a lot of their time and opens them up to close scrutiny from an insurance company... this speaking from my experience with healthcare pros during a food poisoning case.. they all clammed up and wouldn't provide a professional opinion to the attornies from either side although they had no problem diagnosing and treating food poisoning in the emergency room for three days....

it you're in good shape, your bike is in good shape and you have no other reason aside from the desire for more cash... I'd save myself the aggravation and pain of a lawsuit against an insurance company...

although... more cash is always nice..

Additionally, if you can't get any proof that you deserve additional compensation... you'll wind up with nothing except some attorney bills.
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Old 02-20-07, 09:15 AM   #7
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Were you out of work, or otherwise limted because of your injury? You could come back with a counter-offer.

If you accept the settlement, the insurance company will want you to sign a release waiving all future claims. You could try to negotiate an exception for future medical expenses related to the injury.

A consultation with a lawyer might be a good idea. You don't need to go the lawsuit route, but you should find out what is customary in these cases. Have you asked your insurance company their opnion?
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Old 02-20-07, 12:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raerae428
So, 6 months ago I was doored pretty badly--riding in the bike lane when a guy in a parked car abruptly flung out their door. I got his insurance info and dealing w/ them has been totally okay.

Right away, the insurance company paid about $200 to cover bike repairs, and has now offered me a settlement of $1900 to cover all medical and close the case.

I wasn't hurt that badly; the worst injury was a separated shoulder which took a couple of months to heal and I had to wear a sling. I went to some sessions of physical therapy and to a chiropractor once healed to get the shoulder bones back in place and deal w/ other neck/back issues from the accident, total bills were about $500.

Should I accept this offer ($1900)? Should I ask for more? I have no idea what an average or reasonable settlement would be.
Thanks.
Assuming you have no long term injuries or permanent loss of function and your total losses were $700, that leaves $1200 for pain and suffering and lost wages/vacation/sick leave from work. Seems reasonable. If you were to ask for more, on what basis would you make the claim?

If you had neck or back problems from the crash, you might want to make sure that you aren't going to have long-term complications before you accept the settlement. I expect that you will be giving up any future claims as a result of accepting the settlement.

Read over anything you are asked to sign and if you don't understand the implications, get a lawyer to explain it to you. Every word in the settlement paperwork is there for a reason.
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Old 02-20-07, 12:10 PM   #9
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I'll say it again, talk with an attorney. The people who are saying don't talk with an attorney DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Sorry to shout, but it's true. You need to at least get some advice. Talk to an attorney.
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Old 02-20-07, 01:31 PM   #10
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You shouldn't be asking for legal advice in a message board. TALK TO AN ATTORNEY, usually the initial meeting is free.
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Old 02-20-07, 06:15 PM   #11
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Came across a website that might be useful to you.
http://www.biketraffic.org/content.php?id=30_0_6_0
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Old 02-20-07, 08:47 PM   #12
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fyi:

get a personal injury lawyer who does not charge unless there is a settlement (it's written in the sign-on stuff). a lawyer who is bicycle friendly is the better!

sounds like you had a share of pain and suffering due to driver mistake.
your lawyer will be able to direct you in the best route.

good luck in your case; glad you were able to list this concern.

tomg ($35k usd, post car/bicycle slam-dance, w/ legal rep).


ps: give it about 2 -3 years to settle!
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Old 02-21-07, 09:24 PM   #13
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thanks for the advice, although. . .

I really appreciate the responses.
My main reason for posting here was to see what experiences others have had, and possibly amounts of settlements from insurance companies. If anyone has anything like that to relate, I would be very grateful.

All the encouragement to see an attorney may have an effect, although I've been reluctant since I'm fairly certain I do not want to take the time to pursue the case. I suppose it couldn't hurt. I will restate though, I'm not really looking for legal advice here.

thanks again
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Old 02-22-07, 04:54 AM   #14
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I also agree, talk with a Lawyer, you don't know the laws. I would advise talking to one that handles Cycling and Motorcycle issues, b y the way, to get a batter take on whether the settlement is fair or if there need to be additional codicils for future issues.

I'm not telling you yo try to take them to the cleaners, but am suggesting you look at the possibility of future issues with your shoulder. At least you'll have a better idea if they are being fair, though!
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Old 02-22-07, 08:18 AM   #15
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I don't agree with everyone who says to get a lawyer and try to milk this.
The question is, do you think this is a good settlement? If so, then why want more, how white trashy do you want to be?
Look, if you think you are going to be hurting from this for the rest of your life then by all means go for it, but ask yourself why you are really wanting to go further?
As long as ones medical bills, lost wages, and other monies that they are out are fully covered, then I see no reason to go any further than that. (assuming this WAS an accident and not some "I didn't see you because I was too drunk" deal)
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Old 02-22-07, 08:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
I don't agree with everyone who says to get a lawyer and try to milk this.
The question is, do you think this is a good settlement? If so, then why want more, how white trashy do you want to be?
Look, if you think you are going to be hurting from this for the rest of your life then by all means go for it, but ask yourself why you are really wanting to go further?
As long as ones medical bills, lost wages, and other monies that they are out are fully covered, then I see no reason to go any further than that. (assuming this WAS an accident and not some "I didn't see you because I was too drunk" deal)
First of all, I am not a lawyer, and laws are different in different places. Paying a lawyer for an hour of his/her time, to read the settlement, and explain it to you in English, can be money well spent, if there are clauses in there that would leave you wishing you had not signed it, at some point in the future. That is really why people recommend that you get a lawyer, to review the settlement.
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Old 02-22-07, 09:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wogsterca
First of all, I am not a lawyer, and laws are different in different places. Paying a lawyer for an hour of his/her time, to read the settlement, and explain it to you in English, can be money well spent, if there are clauses in there that would leave you wishing you had not signed it, at some point in the future. That is really why people recommend that you get a lawyer, to review the settlement.
But his questions were:
Should I accept this settlement?
Should I ask for more?

Not:
I am consufused, should I get a lawyer?
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Old 02-22-07, 11:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
But his questions were:
Should I accept this settlement?
Should I ask for more?

Not:
I am consufused, should I get a lawyer?
OP needs to talk to someone who knows what is customary in you situation and in your area.
There are knowledgable people on BF, but most of us are not lawyers and most of us don't live in his town.

A lawyer would get him the information he needs, and bring up any other considerations. Never need turn into a lawsuit. If he doesn't want to consult a lawyer, he should talk to his insurance company. They should be able to look at the offer and tell if it is normal or not, and if there is any thing else he should ask for.
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Old 02-22-07, 11:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
But his questions were:
Should I accept this settlement?
Should I ask for more?

Not:
I am consufused, should I get a lawyer?
A lawyer familiar with local law in his area, upon reviewing the settlement, can answer the questions a lot better then those of us who are not lawyers, are not familiar with local law, and have not seen the settlement.
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Old 02-22-07, 11:40 AM   #20
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Yes, pay lawyers half your money.

Seriously, nobody needs a lawyer for something this simple.

People here act like it is winning the lottery to get hit by a car. No wonder insurance rates are so high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
As an attorney who practices personal injury, my advice is to get an attorney to advise you, but from my experience, if the driver was clearly at fault, a separated shoulder is worth much, much more than what they are offereing you.

But get an attorney.
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Old 02-22-07, 12:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
Yes, pay lawyers half your money.

Seriously, nobody needs a lawyer for something this simple.

People here act like it is winning the lottery to get hit by a car. No wonder insurance rates are so high.
Its not something that simple, the OP has a separated shoulder. Once he settles, he can never get anymore form the insurance company.

As an attorney, I am refraining from giving legal advice other than to advise him to have an attorney look at his entire case to give him an opinion.

You, who are not attorney, have the audacity to give legal advice? And you are also giving medical advice, since you seem to think his injuries are minimal. Leave medical and legal opinions to professionals, you are way out of your league.
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Old 02-22-07, 04:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Its not something that simple, the OP has a separated shoulder. Once he settles, he can never get anymore form the insurance company.

As an attorney, I am refraining from giving legal advice other than to advise him to have an attorney look at his entire case to give him an opinion.

You, who are not attorney, have the audacity to give legal advice? And you are also giving medical advice, since you seem to think his injuries are minimal. Leave medical and legal opinions to professionals, you are way out of your league.
+1

if you are having second thoughts about the settlement, speak to a lawyer, and definitely speak to your doctor. you dont want to have to eat the bills down the line for a chronic injury that wasnt your fault. Make sure your shoulder has healed completely, or at least the the risk for recurrent pain/injury is low.
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Old 02-22-07, 04:42 PM   #23
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I'll throw in just for weight.

Want to build a bridge: get an engineer.

Want to fix a broken arm: get a doctor.

Want to determine the legal implications of a settlement with an insurance company: get an attorney! This is what they do. Obviously the insurance company thinks you have a valid claim. The insurance company will only have their best interest in mind. Get a professional who is paid to have your best interests in mind.

What's the worse that happens...? You pay him or her a few hundred dollars to avoid getting screwed by other lawyers. You don't bring a knife to a gun fight.
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