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Old 09-27-08, 06:47 PM   #1
patrick8037
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dealing with auto insurance company after I've been hit by a car?

Yesterday I was struck by a car while making a delivery in downtown DC. The impact damaged my bike's frame beyond repair, effectively putting me out of work for now. Now, I've filed a claim with the driver's insurance and I expect them to cover everything. I'm just curious to know if anyone's ever been in this position where they were involved in an accident while on their bike, and if you've had to go through the insurance company to get things settled? If so, what has your experience been? Were you treated fairly and reimbursed properly?
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Old 09-27-08, 07:17 PM   #2
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I've been in that situation. Is there a police report? Did anybody get a ticket? In my case I had to hire an attorney. We added up the medical expences, lost wages, and the cost of my bike, then the lawyer tacked on a bit of pain and suffering and the insurance company settled out of court. Then the lawyer took 40% so I ended up with just enough to cover my out of pocket expences. I guess it was the attorney who was suffering

Anyway, it's usually not straight forward and insurance companies are notorious for not dealing fairly with anybody. Good luck.
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Old 09-27-08, 07:27 PM   #3
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There was a police report, and to be honest, I was too pissed off to notice whether the driver got cited or not. I assume he did because it was his fault and there were witnesses. I plan on getting a copy of the police report this week. Right now I'm playing ball with the insurance company, but I've been advised to float the idea of an attorney over their head if they become uncooperative. Ironically, I had 3 phone calls from ambulance chasers today.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:59 AM   #4
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My husband was hit by a car two different times. He made the mistake of NOT getting a police report the first time. The guys insurance company messed around for several months until my husband finally threatened to go to small claims court over it--that got them moving. Without a police report the insurance company said the fault was 50/50 and only paid a nominal amount. It was clearly the driver's fault since he passed my husband and then took a right directly in front of him. The second time my husband broke an arm and there was a police report, even though there were no witnesses. The police report said it was inconclusive since there were no witnesses that would come forward. This time, I believe it was my husband's fault (partially) for not taking the lane. The woman saw him at the curve but never looked again before making the right onto the freeway. Her insurance company contacted my husband right away and settled for a much better amount, probably due to the broken arm. Stay on top of it and keep bugging the heck out of them until you get what you think you deserve, just don't expect $10 million dollars.
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Old 09-28-08, 12:40 PM   #5
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...but I've been advised to float the idea of an attorney over their head if they become uncooperative...
i work for insurance companies, regarding the quoted part of your post, dont do that unless your serious about it. say "attorney or lawyer" and 90% of the time they will shut you down and drag it out for around 2 years ... really.

what they will probably do is ask for the replacement cost of the bike, and most companies will figure 10% "betterment" per year up to 70%. that means a $1000 bike that is 3 years old is worth $700 to an insurance company (but when you settle for the value, they get the damaged bike whole, not stripped), they could have different guidelines that varies the value/betterment though. each company is different unless regulated by state laws. but that the average that i see.

if its a $1000 bike and a bike shop can fix it for $500, they would pay the $500

when you are a claimant, an insrurance adjuster is not there to help you, they are there to pay you as little as possible for the damages, thats their job. some companies are fair and reasonable, but most are cut-throat when it comes to settlements.

the best thing you can do, is have a police report and document everything.

good luck
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Old 09-28-08, 03:37 PM   #6
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The ***** of this all is I can't work until I'm reimbursed for my bike, so not only am I out a bike, but I'm losing out on wages until I have a new bike.
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Old 09-28-08, 03:39 PM   #7
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The ***** of this all is I can't work until I'm reimbursed for my bike, so not only am I out a bike, but I'm losing out on wages until I have a new bike.
your lost wages are part of your compensation if you were in the right...
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Old 09-28-08, 04:35 PM   #8
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The ***** of this all is I can't work until I'm reimbursed for my bike, so not only am I out a bike, but I'm losing out on wages until I have a new bike.
Go rent a bike and charge it off on the insurance claim (same as if the guy totaled your car and you rented one). Make sure the insurance company knows that the cost of your claim goes up each week with that weeks cost of the rental plus 2 weeks past full payment by them to allow you to purchase a new bike. This may help the insurance company to settle with you quicker. The insurance company may want to split the checks - one check to cover the damages for a new bike and another check once you have the final receipt for the bike rental.

Be sure and include any and all accessories that were even slightly damage. If you were wearing a helmet, include that in the claim, as all helmet manufacturers tell you not to use a helmet if it has ever been in an accident.

Be ready to fight the insurance company and threaten to get a lawyer involved if they are not willing to work with you and "make you whole". An insurance/legal term which if used properly can help your claim go smother and recover more of your cost.
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Old 09-28-08, 04:39 PM   #9
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your lost wages are part of your compensation if you were in the right...
normally only if due to physical injury and often only if the motorist carries that coverage.
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Old 09-28-08, 04:53 PM   #10
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normally only if due to physical injury and often only if the motorist carries that coverage.
FWIW, Determination of damages and liability thereof have nothing to do with the insurance coverage maintained by the party at fault.
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Old 09-28-08, 05:38 PM   #11
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FWIW, Determination of damages and liability thereof have nothing to do with the insurance coverage maintained by the party at fault.
True but the insurance coverage is a major part of determining what the insurance company will pay for. After that the motorist either has to volunteer the added money or you have to sue them for it. A reason that you must be very careful about any waivers you sign to get the insurance check, if they include any wording that could prevent you from suing for non-coverage items.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:20 PM   #12
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Good luck with your claim. I got hit a month ago in a case that was clearly the driver's fault--he received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way at a stop sign. The adjuster is dragging her feet and taking a week to return each of my phone calls. Like everyone has said, document everything and don't give up.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:02 PM   #13
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I went through this recently. What can I say, Australia's a great place to have a bike accident...

1) Police automatically attended the scene and investigated, as soon as the ambulance was caused.
2) TAC paid ambulance and medical expenses
3) The driver lodged a claim for her car, so I just rang her up and told her that I wanted to add my bike onto her claim
4) Insurance company rang me up, told me to get two quotes for the bike, and send photos
5) Sent the quotes, bought a new bike, insurance company sent me a cheque for the cost of the bike, helmet, and rear rack.

No lawyers. No argy bargy.

Of course, it felt a bit more complicated than that (particularly due to the nuances of whether I got to keep the wrecked bike or not - looks like I do), but those were the actual steps.

It's still impressive to think that in that split second, something like $7000 of car, bike and human damage was caused.

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Old 09-28-08, 10:33 PM   #14
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The best way to motivate insurance companies is to go ahead and sue the driver. He'll turn it over to the insurance co. and they'll call you with their b.s. reasons to not pay, or not pay in full. Your response is "well, send someone to court to tell the judge that lie" and we'll see what happens.

You have to set a firm deadline (the court date) and show NO FEAR of their lies. The reason it works is that you're right, and they now have a really ticked off client who is making lots of noise. bk
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Old 09-29-08, 12:10 AM   #15
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>The best way...is to go ahead and sue...

Whee, glad I'm not in that country!

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Old 09-29-08, 01:12 AM   #16
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The ***** of this all is I can't work until I'm reimbursed for my bike, so not only am I out a bike, but I'm losing out on wages until I have a new bike.
oh man, looks like this thing is snowballing

like i said ... it could get drug out for years ... if the bike is worth fixing - fix it, if not - buy a new one even if its a basic cheapo get ya there bike.

a judge/lawyer will likely ask "why couldnt you go to work?" ("i didnt have a bike" isnt good enough of an answer (( a good reason can quickly turn into a poor excuse in someone elses eyes)) & "what other methods did you attempt to get to work ?" followed by "you couldnt get a ride from a friend/coworker ?, borrow a bike ?, walk ? , rent a bike ?, rent a car ?, use public transportation ? ...". the other thing is ... in most states if they make a fair offer for the damaged properties, no "rental" or "aquired transportation costs" will be honored after the date they offer a reasonable settlement amount regardless if it is accepted.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:25 AM   #17
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What kind of bike is/was it? How did it get totaled without you sustaining and injures.

In general, they're going depriciate whatever it was you had. If you were riding a 10 year old $300 bike store bike I wouldnt plan on getting much for it.

Back in the day I wrote alot of insurance estimates.....honest estimates. We were the 'go to' dealer for insurance companies.

Example: A 1990 bike with a chromolly frame and 105 components was bought for $400. It gets totaled in an accident.

Whats an equivalent replacement? It sure as heck isnt a carbon framed 10 speed 105 STI bike.


At this point you 'think' your bikes totaled. Until you get 2 estimates its not. A good shop will charge you for the estimate (I think we charged $20) and will tack that fee onto the estimate. Our estimate fees were refundable if a bike was repaired/replaced by us.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:26 AM   #18
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oh man, looks like this thing is snowballing

like i said ... it could get drug out for years ... if the bike is worth fixing - fix it, if not - buy a new one even if its a basic cheapo get ya there bike.

a judge/lawyer will likely ask "why couldnt you go to work?" ("i didnt have a bike" isnt good enough of an answer (( a good reason can quickly turn into a poor excuse in someone elses eyes)) & "what other methods did you attempt to get to work ?" followed by "you couldnt get a ride from a friend/coworker ?, borrow a bike ?, walk ? , rent a bike ?, rent a car ?, use public transportation ? ...". the other thing is ... in most states if they make a fair offer for the damaged properties, no "rental" or "aquired transportation costs" will be honored after the date they offer a reasonable settlement amount regardless if it is accepted.
Correct. My question for you is, 'Why haven't you picked up a $10 bike from the Goodwill, CL or the Salvation Army?' Its not the insurance companies job to pay you because you dont want to work.'
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Old 09-29-08, 05:50 AM   #19
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As soon as the insurance company insults you with an offer, which they will, ask to speak to a superior. When you get the superior, inform them of what you want for a settlement. Be sure to add on a quite a bit for pain and suffering. You can always take a little less to make them feel like they won something. If they hem and haw around, thank them for their time and advise them that you are going to contact an attorney as you hang up the phone. Do not play nice as their job is to give it to the little guy.

Any attorney who does not seek his legal fees as part of the settlement is a POS that should be avoided.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:51 AM   #20
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I can't work because I'm a messenger. My bike is my work.

The bike in question was a 1987 Bianchi Brava with upgraded wheelset. The actual value is hard to gauge as its a discontinued model.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:28 AM   #21
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your a messenger - bummer

can it be fixed ? or would it cost less to replace it with something similar ?

the quick way - just doing a quick google, an 05 Brava had an MSRP of around $700 (i have no idea if this newer model is similar to what yours is or not), so for something that old they would likely take 70% betterment off $700 and offer you $210. usually the only time they will allow for "value adjustments" using this method for upgrades (like the wheels) is if you still had the receipt for the wheels or they may take your word on what the wheels cost you when you replaced them. so if you payed $200 for wheels, they would likely only add 50% ($100) of the parts upgrade material only bumping an offer to $310. (some may give you nothing extra and consider your upgrades as normal maintenance of a wear and tear item) if you tell them they were $1000 wheels, they will most likely send someone to document what you have on the bike and try to put a value on it. same goes if you don agree on the value, they will probably sendsomeone out to look at what you have.

the easy way - they would have a 2or3 bike shops tell them what they would sell a comparable used bike for and use that as the value.

as far as "pain and suffering", the standard here in illinois is to ask for 3x the medical bills (you have to pay your bills out of that money)

if there are no medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering is gonna be pretty low (insultingly low to most)

Last edited by CCR; 09-29-08 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:41 AM   #22
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It can be, but I prefer keeping it single speed. *rimshot*

The frame was bent beyond use. The rear left tubes were bent an inch to the left. The brake mounting bridge is nearly poking out the other side. Even if it could be bent back, the frame would not have the same strength it had before.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:42 AM   #23
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Target and Wal-mart have cheap bikes you can buy to get you through this so if your lost wages are a concern for your living expenses and not the argument for a bigger insurance settlement then go buy a cheap bike and keep working.

Now if you are injured and cannot ride then that is anther situation. Otherwse get a cheap bike and go back to work and get the replacement bike once things settle.
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Old 09-30-08, 09:39 AM   #24
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I wouldn't expect a cheapo Target or Wal-Mart bike to last a day with what I do. Plus my second job is offering to let me pick up extra shifts to make up for what I'm losing. Lost wages are the least of my concern. I'm going after the reimbursement of my bike, my medical bills, and pain and suffering. Lost wages will only be icing on the cake.
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