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  1. #1
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Pain & Suffering settlements

    Hi folks,

    Unfortunately last Sunday I was a victim of being hit by a motor vehicle whilst riding my bike; completely the fault of the driver. Fortunately I survived, with just 4 fractured bones and a severely bruised leg. 911 was called to the scene and the driver was cited by police, so insurance is in the works of getting everything taking care off.

    I was wondering if any of you BF folks have gone through similar situations and what your experience has been pain and suffering settlements. How much were you able to ask for? How was the amount determined? etc.

    Thanks!
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
    2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 1983 Univega Nuovo Sport, GT Team LOTTO
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  2. #2
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    I'm a lawyer & deal with these types of issues. The answer to your question varies a lot depending on location. Settlements are much more generous in some areas than others. Also important is the length of time for recovery, time off work, necessity of rehab, and whether there will be residual effects and, if so, how much. A rough rule of thumb is 3x economic losses, but this is so rough as to be almost useless.

    Is there anyone in your area that you can ask, who might be more knowledgeable? You may be reluctant to hire a lawyer because you don't want to pay a fee on money you "would have gotten anyway". One solution: after the drivers insurance company makes what seems to be a final offer, go to a lawyer & offer to pay a fee on what they can get you above the offer. IOW, if the offer is x, and the lawyer gets you x+y, you pay the fee only on y. Or you could pay at an hourly rate (as opposed to a percentage fee) to have a lawyer review your case and get an opinion. Try to get someone experienced in personal injury law. Also, if you are asked to sign any releases in exchange for payment of your property loss or medical bills, read carefully and make sure you're not giving up your right to noneconomic (p&s) damages. Good luck & hope you're back on the road soon.

    Dan
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  3. #3
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Thanks Dan. Yes, I'm in Portland, OR so there are lawyers in the area that are experienced in this sort of thing. I appreciate the insight.
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
    2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 1983 Univega Nuovo Sport, GT Team LOTTO
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  4. #4
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    I've done a lot of these cases. The insurance company will not really negotiate seriously until your treatment is done and you get a letter from your doctor (they charge for this) with a diagnosos and prognosis. You send that in with a "demand", which the insurance adjuster ridicules. They will want you to make another "demand." At that point, you are negotiating against yourself and have already lost. A good lawyer will not send in another demand. He or she would tell the adjuster to get a counter offer in or a lawsuit will be filed. That raises the costs for the insurance company; so a counter offer usually gets submitted.

    I've never seen anyone come out ahead without a lawyer. The adjusters are trained and have the benefit of a network of settlements that they can draw on. You don't.

    As the other poster said, the value will vary with a lot of things that you haven't told us. One is your age. The other is where the bones are that have been fractured.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by rideabike; 05-17-09 at 07:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    I'm sorry to hear that you were in an accident an in a lot of pain. This doesn't really help after the fact, but might help people in the future.

    Speaking to a Lawyer & PI recently about an accident to which I was a witness, if you're ever near or involved in an accident, whip out your cell phone camera/video recorder and start making records of everything you can possibly see. License plates, vehicles, people, damage, injuries, traffic lights, traffic signs, anything that you can possibly think of.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Also don't forget the income tax aspects of legal awards and settlements.

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    What are the income tax aspects of awards/settlements? Are they treated as ordinary income?

  8. #8
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Pringle View Post
    What are the income tax aspects of awards/settlements? Are they treated as ordinary income?
    Generally, P&S and reimbursement of out of pocket expenses are not taxable, but payment of lost wages are. Speak to a tax pro to be sure.
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    You need to know the tax consequences on personal injury awards and settlements. Don't think that its all yours and not Uncle Sam's or your state. Get a tax professional to help. They usually subscribe to a tax library service usually online but costly. Or you can do a search on Google.

  10. #10
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input people. Got a new question for ya.

    Property Settlement: Basically, I gave a list to MY insurance of what all was damaged, length of time owned, and new replacement price. My insurance said they would pass it on to the motorists insurance to see what they'd pay, after depreciation, etc, etc.

    Well about 1.5 weeks went buy since the accident, and the OTHER insurance company had yet to get a statement from the motorist that hit me. I got a call from MY insurance company saying they had settled the PROPERTY claim for me and had a check in the mail already. Basically MY property adjuster sounded of the attitude that they were tired of waiting for the OTHER company so they cut me a check for everything on my list minus what MY insurance company judged as depreciation, and MINUS my deductible. Then, they said when the OTHER insurance company gets around to deciding what they'll pay on my property, they'll use whatever money is recovered to pay my deductible back first, and then keep the rest as reimbursement.

    Now, what gets me is that it almost sounds too good to be true. I'm happy with what MY insurance company is sending me, but...here's what I mean:

    For example, say my total property claims were $1000. MY insurance company said "ok", depreciated it by 20%, then minused my deductible ($500). So ($1000*.8)-$500=$300. So in the example i get $300 now. Then say the OTHER insurance company does their assessment and says "Well, we're only gonna pay $600". So MY insurance says they'd pay my deductible back to me first ($500) and then take the rest at reimbursement. So all-in-all I get $300+$500=$800 and the insurance company gets only $100? Does this seem right to you folks?
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
    2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 1983 Univega Nuovo Sport, GT Team LOTTO
    Looking for GT Course ~ 58cm PM Me!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    Do not cash the check!! Send it bact to your company and tell them you will accept nothing less the replacement costs.
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


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  12. #12
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milice View Post
    Do not cash the check!! Send it bact to your company and tell them you will accept nothing less the replacement costs.
    Hmm, it's a thought. I should mention though too that under my renter's insurance full replacement cost is covered. I just buy the stuff and send them my receipts and they reimburse me. Dunno if I should still push the issue.
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
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  13. #13
    tsl
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    Nope. It don't sound right at all.

    I was hit by a motorist on April 27. The motorist was ticketed for failure to yield. My injuries were minor, but the entire front end of my bike was wiped out.

    My LBS inspected my bike and completed a quote, I faxed it to the insurance company, and the very next day they mailed a check for the full amount. No bullshirt about depreciation on my nine-year-old bike.

    As for the liability side, that takes a bit longer. I had the foresight to get a claim number in the two hours between the accident and seeing my doc. All my medical expenses have been billed directly to that claim number by both my doc and the radiologist.

    Lost wages should be paid soon. They pay 80% of the gross. The reason this is taking longer is that the standard New York State paperwork asked for my average weekly wages for the past year. The week I was out of work I'd been scheduled for two extra shifts to cover for vacationing co-workers. They needed extra documentation for that.

    I did not pursue P&S.

    I don't understand why your insurance company is involved. Do they have bike insurance policies in Oregon?
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  14. #14
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milice View Post
    Do not cash the check!! Send it bact to your company and tell them you will accept nothing less the replacement costs.
    It does sound right. As to depreciated value (acv) v replacement cost, that really depends on the policy that you're using for coverage. If it says replacement cost, then thats what you should demand.

    Basically, you've been paying your premiums for the coverage you've purchased (be that acv or replacement cost). For the premiums, your company agreed to pay the damages (as defined in the policy) less your deductable. But they become subrogated to your rights against the driver to the extent of the $ they paid you, but you get your deductable before they get anything. The driver's liability for property damage is the lesser of acv, replacement cost or repair (sound like tsl's damages were for repair which was less than the value of the bike or his policy provided replacement value). So if the other company says they will pay only $600, your company can take the 100 and walk away or sue the other driver & try to get the rest of the $. In this case, its probably not worth it. Again, don't sign a general release to the other driver or his/her insurance company if you still want to pursue the p&s.

    Dan
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
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  15. #15
    Surf Bum
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    In my experience with car accidents (neither of which was my fault), it was absolutely fine to let my insurance company handle the property damage side and then get my deductible back for me later (which they did in both cases). It's much faster and I ended up getting the same amount I'd have gotten anyway, or even better, and I didn't have to hassle with the other guy's insurance company. It also did not effect my insurance rates at all because I was not at fault in the accidents.

    Then if you want to get the best settlement on the injury side of things, you really need to get an attorney. Yes, they'll get like 1/3 of the total, but that 2/3 you keep will be more than you'd have gotten on your own anyway. In my experience anyway...

  16. #16
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    sound like tsl's damages were for repair which was less than the value of the bike or his policy provided replacement value
    Wow. I completely left out in my previous post that everything is going through the motorist's insurance. I figured that was a given.

    This is why I don't understand why the OP (and chinarider, apparently) are going through their own insurance companies. Why would you file a claim with your own insurance, when A) you were not in a car, and B) the motorist is liable?

    Seems to me like involving middlemen unnecessarily.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


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  17. #17
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Wow. I completely left out in my previous post that everything is going through the motorist's insurance. I figured that was a given.

    This is why I don't understand why the OP (and chinarider, apparently) are going through their own insurance companies. Why would you file a claim with your own insurance, when A) you were not in a car, and B) the motorist is liable?

    Seems to me like involving middlemen unnecessarily.
    A) Because in my state Personal Injury Insurance is part of our auto policies
    B) For much the same reasons as Pacificalist mentioned, and Chinarider explained...less hassle & faster.
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
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  18. #18
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    It does sound right. As to depreciated value (acv) v replacement cost, that really depends on the policy that you're using for coverage. If it says replacement cost, then thats what you should demand.

    Basically, you've been paying your premiums for the coverage you've purchased (be that acv or replacement cost). For the premiums, your company agreed to pay the damages (as defined in the policy) less your deductable. But they become subrogated to your rights against the driver to the extent of the $ they paid you, but you get your deductable before they get anything. The driver's liability for property damage is the lesser of acv, replacement cost or repair (sound like tsl's damages were for repair which was less than the value of the bike or his policy provided replacement value). So if the other company says they will pay only $600, your company can take the 100 and walk away or sue the other driver & try to get the rest of the $. In this case, its probably not worth it. Again, don't sign a general release to the other driver or his/her insurance company if you still want to pursue the p&s.

    Dan
    Thanks Dan, I appreciate it. I should have my mom bake you some banana bread or something
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
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  19. #19
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDL View Post
    Thanks Dan, I appreciate it. I should have my mom bake you some banana bread or something
    My bill is in the mail.
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
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  20. #20
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Wow. I completely left out in my previous post that everything is going through the motorist's insurance. I figured that was a given.
    So when you said the lbs did a quote & they paid the full amount, was the quote repair cost or to replace the bike? If the quote was for repair, I assume they paid it because it was less than the value of the bike. If they paid cost of a new bike to replace a nine year old one, frankly I'm scratching my head. Maybe it was easier just to pay you and be rid of you.

    This is why I don't understand why the OP (and chinarider, apparently) are going through their own insurance companies. Why would you file a claim with your own insurance, when A) you were not in a car, and B) the motorist is liable?

    Seems to me like involving middlemen unnecessarily.
    A)Homeowners or renters insurance will often cover something like this(depending on the individual state's laws on nofault auto insurance, med bills & wage loss may be paid by either your or the driver's auto insurance-this can be complicated). B) As others have said, its easier & faster. If you have the coverage, you can collect without having to prove liability. And your own company to whom you're paying premiums is often (not always) more accomodating than a stranger company. If the accident wasn't your fault it shouldn't effect your rates.

    Dan
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
    2006 Trek Pilot 1.2

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
    Bertrand Russell

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