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Old 12-14-10, 02:22 PM   #1
That Linux Guy
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Got creamed by a car today.

I was on the SE corner of 2 very busy roads waiting to cross headed east. When it was my right away, eastbound traffic started going. A black Explorer went straight while a red Taurus was waiting for me to cross before turning right. A silver Infiniti in the center lane was trying to make a right turn and thought that the Taurus was letting him turn so he guns it. He hits the rear half of my bike which sends me into this presumably awesome flip/twist thing, only to land on my face. Broken nose, cut lip, broken tooth, mess up jaw in 2 spots, messed up thumb and a badly bruised hip. The bike suffered a waved front wheel, mangled front sprockets, right crank arm and front dureilur (that I can tell so far). The driver got a scratched up front bumper and will soon have points on his license for reckless driving. Making an illegal turn and hitting a pedestrian isn't cheap to his insurance or a court.

I just thought I'd share since y'all can probably appreciate this a bit more. My family and friends are glad I'm ok but I don't think the people in my life really realize how dangerous it is sometimes. I'm going to call a lawyer because I'm sure the driver's insurance agency won't give me much. I'm not trying to get millions of dollars (like that dumbass who spilled hot coffee on herself and got a fat settlement), but being payed for my injuries (and my bus-pass, bike repair bills or the cost of a new bike) are due at least.

Now I'm lost on what to do. Do I call a lawyer? Do I call the insurance agency? I've never been hit by a car nor have I ever gotten any real injuries from cycling. Not to this magnitude at least. Skinned elbows and knees at the worst. Frankly, I'm pretty shaken up about it. It just happened so fast. I'm good with cars (despite not owning one) and I'm very good about telling what make/model and approximate year a car is but this happened so fast, I had no idea what kind of car he was driving. All I saw was a silver car.

Have you gotten hit on the bike-commute? If so, what came of the aftermath?
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Old 12-14-10, 02:27 PM   #2
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Your instinct is correct -- call a lawyer and don't wait around to get worked by your insurer. The insurance industry didn't become one of the largest concerns in history fairly paying out claims to unrepresented injured people.
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Old 12-14-10, 02:34 PM   #3
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I'm sorry to hear about your accident. Its good that you can still walk, but it definitely sounds like you got hurt pretty badly. If you'd just had a slight scape, and the bike was trashed, then you can certainly try to get it resolved without a lawyer. Now that real injuries are involved things get more expensive and more complicated. Certain a new bike is without a question in order. The medical bills become the next issue. Neither of those should be hard. My understanding is that you don't want to settle until all your injuries are fully addressed. Also note in places such as NY state YOUR medical insurance will NOT cover you for the injuries you sustained in an accident. Your insurance carrier is going to tell you that it is the driver's insruance that should cover you. Thankfully when I was hit, my injuries were very minor (a jambed thumb and they needed to release the pressure from under my nail), so NY state No Fault kicked in. The driver's insurance agent was very helpful to get my reinbursements completed in about a week... many agents are @ss-h@les and will go out of your way to make your like misarable. Some like the carrier I had to deal with, justed wanted to settle quickly for a reasonable amount. Since you have some injuries that are going to take longer to heal that will certainly complicate your claim.

Best of luck!
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Old 12-14-10, 02:49 PM   #4
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Definitely speak with a lawyer, preferably someone with experience in such cases. You might also talk to your LBS, they might know someone or at least a local advocacy group who could help.

Make sure you have all documentation, police reports, witness statements, medical visits, LBS repair/replacement list, etc. Also, don't sign anything by the other drivers insurance agent until you have a lawyer check it out first.

I am glad to hear you are relatively okay. Unfortunately there are both good and bad experiences with these proceedings. Sometimes the other persons insurance agency is more than fair and everything goes smoothly. However, there are times when it feels you are being victimized when they try to settle quickly.
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Old 12-14-10, 02:58 PM   #5
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I think you have a good attitude and you know you might be a bit naive. Let me also say that there is a lot of misinformation that gets communicated in forums like this one when it comes to legal matters... unless you hear it from a lawyer, don't believe it.

Call a personal injury lawyer, s/he'll make sure all the papers get filed, all the discussions get documented, all the costs get recorded. Then there will be a discussion of settlement and you'll get some money. It's how things are done. It's possible to do this yourself but it takes a lot of time to learn the system and a simple screw up on your part or sneaky move by the insurance company could mean you get zero. I might try it if I were out of work or retired, otherwise I'm calling a lawyer.

Yes, I've done it. Right hook by a van, broken shoulder, broken bike, lost wages, medical bills, had a helpful witness, one meeting with a lawyer, some phone calls with the lawyer, signed the papers.
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Old 12-14-10, 06:33 PM   #6
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Lawyer up, but do some research first on any potential attorney.

I was once involved in an auto accident that totaled out my van. Had to get a lawyer when calls to the commercial driver at fault's insurance were rerouted to a third party medical billing firm. Went with one recommended by the boss, but should've done my homework. The lawyer in question was the son of the owner of the state's largest State Farm agency. The guy relocated his office twice without notifying me. And to top it all off, when my day in court came, my wife was there- it was then the judge informed us that she could have filed a secondary claim of her own. The attorney never bothered to let us know that option was even available.

In summary, glad you're okay, get a lawyer, hold out for a new bike, and discuss the possibility of your wife filing a claim of her own. She now has to wake up to your bruised mug everyday...
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Old 12-14-10, 06:48 PM   #7
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Haha, no wife here no1mad. Almost went down that road but that's another story that's vaguely bicycle related,

That's good to know. I called my favorite LBS to ask about any lawyers they had recommendations since they probably get people bringing in accident wrecked rigs at times. My HR manager recommended one to me and he's a very well-known PI lawyer around these parts. She said that this lawyer was good and helped her get a fair settlement in a recent auto accident. I'll do some research on him and see what this cat is all about. Hopefully I won't find out he's a member of some Anti-Bicycle group or something.

For anyone else wondering about what to do after getting hit, I've been researching the topic and I found a good article in my RSS Feed from Commute By Bike.

http://www.commutebybike.com/2010/12...cle-collision/
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Old 12-14-10, 07:13 PM   #8
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Did the guy drive away or stopped? Did you call the cops and file a report? If there is no police report, then that accident didn't happen. That sounds serious. I hope you did file a report and will get a good lawyer and a decent chunk on cash out of this.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:18 PM   #9
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Yikes, sorry to hear about this, especially the injuries! I hope your recovery goes smoothly and the settlement comes out well.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:56 PM   #10
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I hate hearing these stories, but its a good reminder to be safe while riding or driving.

Be aware that injuries from this accident can come up later after the fact. My mother-in -law's boyfriend got hit by a car while commuting and a few weeks later after his shoulder surgery he was having issues with his knee it turned out his knee cap was fractured. It was highly likely that was from the accident and the guys insurance paid for the surgery. Make sure you are all healed up before signing anything that says you are fine. I hope everything works out realatively well for you.
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Old 12-14-10, 11:23 PM   #11
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I'm glad you're largely intact, and that you're doing the right things to get your injuries taken care of.

Were you in a crosswalk or in the traffic lane when this happened?
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Old 12-15-10, 04:08 AM   #12
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Also note in places such as NY state YOUR medical insurance will NOT cover you for the injuries you sustained in an accident. Your insurance carrier is going to tell you that it is the driver's insurance that should cover you.
This raises an interesting issue that I am not sure what the right answer is and consequently am not sure what I should do if I'm in an accident where someone else is at fault (or what to advise others to do). I was in an accident with my bicycle where I hit a pothole. When I went to the ER they asked me a whole bunch of times if I was hit and I kept having to insist that no, I wasn't. They seemed real disappointed at this and at first I couldn't figure out why they cared if they got paid by a driver's insurance or by my health insurance company. The best I can figure is that my health insurance company has a negotiated rate with them that is considerably less than what they can charge the driver's insurance company or me personally for that matter. So what happens if you tell the hospital you were hit by a car but it is subsequently determined that you were at fault or for some other reason the driver's insurance company won't pay (or maybe it was an uninsured driver). Can you be stuck with the bill in that case? I'm guessing the answer is yes and if so then aren't you way better off telling the ER people you simply crashed and let them bill your health insurance, at least until you know the driver's insurance will be good for it? I'm asking this because I don't know the answer but it would be good to know before hand just in case. It sounds like making the wrong decision at the ER could potentially be very costly.
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Old 12-15-10, 04:52 AM   #13
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...I'm not trying to get millions of dollars (like that dumbass who spilled hot coffee on herself and got a fat settlement...
Not to derail the thread, but that case wasn't the judicial malfeasance example it is commonly portrayed to be.

Make sure even the minor bumps and scrapes received in the crash are documented, follow the doctor's instructions explicitly, and keep a written record of your recovery! Five years after I quit policing I was still being called to testify in court cases involving minor traffic accidents I had worked. Not to say that your accident will go to court, but if it does, the records you keep now will make the difference.
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Old 12-15-10, 05:12 AM   #14
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I'd second/third/whatever-count-it-is getting legal opinion on the way forward (I live in the UK so know very little about the law in the US relating to traffic accidents).

Don't forget that the insurance company's best interests involve paying you as little as possible and getting you to go away and quit bugging them as fast as possible. If they can pin the blame on you in any way, that's also in their interests because it potentially means that not only do they not have to pay you at all but the other driver could look to have you pay for the damage to his car. Your (financial) best interests involve getting as much as possible as quickly as possible. Obviously your healing/recovery is more important than the compensation, but you still need your costs covered at the absolute minimum.

It can never hurt to keep detailed notes, taken as soon as possible after the event so it's fresh. If you've got notes you wrote (and dated) as soon as you were able that's always going to be better than leaving yourself open to the accusation that you don't really remember what happened because it was several months back and everything is a bit hazy. If you don't need the notes then the worst case is you end up with a bunch of papers in a file somewhere.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:53 AM   #15
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As for my accident, I was in the cross-walk. The driver stopped, I cussed him out while my face was numb and I still had all kinds of adrenaline. Once the adrenaline and shock wore off, I was in pain just trying to stop the blood. The driver called 911, Police showed up and then the ambulance. Florida Highway Patrol came and gave the crash report while I was in the ER. When it happened, the car seemingly came out of nowhere. I didn't realize that he was making an illegal right turn from the wrong lane until the FHP officer told me. 1 witness stopped despite this being the busiest intersection in the SW part of town.

After resting for a day, I am noticing things wrong that I didn't feel yesterday. Right shoulder, left hip... Hopefully nothing else will come up. I just wish the swelling in my face would go down. I'll be calling the lawyer soon and making a couple more Dr's appts. Yay! Thank you all for your warm wishes.

On one hand I just want to get this all dealt with and move on but on the other hand I just keep replaying it in my head. I start shaking just thinking about it.
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Old 12-15-10, 08:03 AM   #16
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Please keep the updates coming. Speedy recovery!
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Old 12-15-10, 09:29 AM   #17
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As for my accident, I was in the cross-walk. The driver stopped, I cussed him out while my face was numb and I still had all kinds of adrenaline. Once the adrenaline and shock wore off, I was in pain just trying to stop the blood. The driver called 911, Police showed up and then the ambulance. Florida Highway Patrol came and gave the crash report while I was in the ER. When it happened, the car seemingly came out of nowhere. I didn't realize that he was making an illegal right turn from the wrong lane until the FHP officer told me. 1 witness stopped despite this being the busiest intersection in the SW part of town.

After resting for a day, I am noticing things wrong that I didn't feel yesterday. Right shoulder, left hip... Hopefully nothing else will come up. I just wish the swelling in my face would go down. I'll be calling the lawyer soon and making a couple more Dr's appts. Yay! Thank you all for your warm wishes.

On one hand I just want to get this all dealt with and move on but on the other hand I just keep replaying it in my head. I start shaking just thinking about it.
Oh, OK, so your chances of getting something out of this are good if you get a good lawyer. There is nothing wrong with wanting some decent compen$ation for what was done to you, pain and suffering caused by someone's stupidity need to be rewarded and the one who caused it needs to be punished, and financial punishment is the best there is. Make sure you get checked out thoroughly. Damage to the jaw can have unpleasant consequences for life, it's no joking matter.

I truly wish you good luck and speedy recovery and a decent compensation for what has happened. Yes, please keep us updated. Cheers!
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Old 12-15-10, 10:01 AM   #18
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Here's hoping you have a speedy recovery. While I see some possible misinformation above, I think most of the advice is sound. I would definitely agree that you need to seek a good attorney. Get some good personal recommendations. Consider interviewing a couple or three, just like you would to hire an employee. It would be best if you could find one who does a lot of pedestrian cases, if not bicycle cases, as they'll be more likely to focus on your needs, rather than the general needs of most auto accident victims.

Seek as much medical attention as you need. Do NOT be stoic. This has the triple purpose of a) ensuring you get the care you need, b) building the document base needed to support your claim and c) medical bills will largely determine the size of your settlement.

Most of all, though, get healthy.

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Old 12-15-10, 10:13 AM   #19
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Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
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Old 12-15-10, 10:47 AM   #20
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Glad that you are OKAY. A few thoughts:

Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee - they keep a percentage of what you get from the accident. If your losses are not that great (replacing a bike, bus pass etc - probably under $2000) then the lawyer won't get much out of it, and will be reluctant to represent you. You may be better off documenting your losses and going to the drivers insurance company.

It was not clear to me what the configuration of the lanes was - was the right most lane a right turn only lane? - was it legal for the silver infinity to be making a right turn from the center lane? If the right most lane allowed either going straight or turning right, then you should have positioned yourself in the center of the right lane, possibly a little to the left of the center, this would have allowed the right turning car to pass you on the right and make his turn,and would have made you more visible to the cars in the center lane. If right turns were allowed from both the right most lane and the center lane, then you should have been in the center lane.

Heal well,
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Old 12-15-10, 10:54 AM   #21
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Not to derail the thread, but that case wasn't the judicial malfeasance example it is commonly portrayed to be.

Make sure even the minor bumps and scrapes received in the crash are documented, follow the doctor's instructions explicitly, and keep a written record of your recovery! Five years after I quit policing I was still being called to testify in court cases involving minor traffic accidents I had worked. Not to say that your accident will go to court, but if it does, the records you keep now will make the difference.

Sorry to hear you got hit, and glad to hear you're getting care. The above advice is good advice, and don't be surprised if you discover new problems in the next week or so as you start feeling better.
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Old 12-15-10, 11:13 AM   #22
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This raises an interesting issue that I am not sure what the right answer is and consequently am not sure what I should do if I'm in an accident where someone else is at fault (or what to advise others to do). I was in an accident with my bicycle where I hit a pothole. When I went to the ER they asked me a whole bunch of times if I was hit and I kept having to insist that no, I wasn't. They seemed real disappointed at this and at first I couldn't figure out why they cared if they got paid by a driver's insurance or by my health insurance company. The best I can figure is that my health insurance company has a negotiated rate with them that is considerably less than what they can charge the driver's insurance company or me personally for that matter. So what happens if you tell the hospital you were hit by a car but it is subsequently determined that you were at fault or for some other reason the driver's insurance company won't pay (or maybe it was an uninsured driver). Can you be stuck with the bill in that case? I'm guessing the answer is yes and if so then aren't you way better off telling the ER people you simply crashed and let them bill your health insurance, at least until you know the driver's insurance will be good for it? I'm asking this because I don't know the answer but it would be good to know before hand just in case. It sounds like making the wrong decision at the ER could potentially be very costly.
I suspect andrelam's mistaken about this, I have no proof of NY insurance specifics but I do know how insurance works in general. Your health insurance company will almost certainly cover the cost initially, and then if they think they can recover from someone else like an at-fault driver's insurance they'll go after them. They'll also attach a claim to any personal injury lawsuit you file so if your insurance company pays your hospital bill and you sue the driver, your insurance company will collect from your settlement before you get your cash. I can't imagine a scenario where your health insurance would deny you emergency room coverage because the accident wasn't your fault.

As for all the questions you were asked, it probably has to do with the driver's liability auto insurance. The first parties to make claims against the insurance are the first ones to get paid, and if the coverage is exceeded the insurance stops paying. So if a driver has $10k in liability a lot of people can get stiffed and hospitals are used to the game and want to be first in line.
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Old 12-15-10, 11:47 AM   #23
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I would be careful what you say here and in other public forums. Assume that anything you write could later become evidence in a trial. If there is any contradiction between what you say here and your testimony, that could be used to discredit you. Note: I am not a lawyer, and perhaps I am being paranoid.

RE: McDonalds coffee case: first of all she didn't get milllions, she got less than $600,000 (actual amount is confidential), the coffee was served at a temperature too hot to even drink, a temperature much hotter than competitors, had caused hundreds of prior injuries, and McDonalds did nothing to correct it. Furthermore, the plaintiff offered to settle for a mere $20,000 (more or less her medical bills and lost wages) and McDonalds flatly refused.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck...;s_Restaurants

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Old 12-15-10, 06:21 PM   #24
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DiabloScott has described the law pretty well (at least in the jurisdictions I'm familiar with), and I agree that andrelam is almost certainly misinformed. But DiabloScott is somewhat off in suggesting that the insurance company will necessarily get a bite out of any settlement. This is only the case in special circumstances when the insurance company has paid for something up front and you recover money meant to pay for that as part of the settlement--in that case, the insurance company will rightly seek reimbursement (the concept is called subrogation).

Also, I echo the others--the McDonald's hot coffee settlement has been ridiculously misrepresented in the court of urban legend. Don't be ashamed to go after compensation when you've been harmed.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:39 PM   #25
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So I spoke to lawyer this morning, one of the best personal injury firms in Northern Florida (recommended by almost everyone I've spoken to), they described this as a two-fold process. First is the bike. Geico will be contacting me regarding the bike, I'll get it looked at and an assessment of damages done by my LBS, who'll give the information to Geico. The lawyer said once they figure out whether the bike is deemed repairable, they'll cut me a check for that pretty quick.

Meanwhile, she told me to keep following up with medical care. My cut lip will heal and my broken tooth was going to break anyway (the meds I've been on for years have done a real number on my teeth and I've been looking into getting dentures for a while now) so the only real "serious" injury so far is my broken nose. Even for that, it's not a serious break but still broken. The doctor described it as "not severely displaced" so I may not need any kind of nose splint thing.

Basically the medical stuff can take longer to get taken care of because it takes time to figure out what's really damaged.

On top of it all, I'm getting a cold. :/ Meh.

I stand corrected on the McDonalds Hot Coffee issue. Honestly, I was regurgitating the info I've heard, much like we often do. However, I've illustrated my point that I don't feel the relatively small amount of pain I've experienced is worth a butt-load of money. Yes, I feel like I should get *something* for this whole thing but I also realize that it comes with the territory. I've never hoped for getting hit by a car but after commuting full-time for over a year now I knew it was going to happen eventually. It's an unfortunate part of sharing the road with cars, fellow bikes, and pedestrians. Accidents happen.

I will keep everyone updated on how this all goes down. Going to contact the Ear/Nose/Throat doctor tomorrow and set up an appointment.
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