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Cyclist hit with bill from insurance company following crash

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Cyclist hit with bill from insurance company following crash

Old 02-11-15, 08:40 PM
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Cyclist hit with bill from insurance company following crash

From my local news: Cyclist gets hit with big bill from insurance company following crash - Edmonton | Globalnews.ca

Is this type of thing common?
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Old 02-11-15, 09:21 PM
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I don't think its unusual for insurance companies to go after people who cause damage to covered property.
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Old 02-11-15, 09:25 PM
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Yeah right, a bike hits an SUV and causes $6200 in damages. The insurance company and the driver are trying to take this guy to the cleaners.
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Old 02-11-15, 09:35 PM
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According to the linked news story

"The legal experts Global News spoke to admit this situation is quite uncommon."
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Old 02-11-15, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Yeah right, a bike hits an SUV and causes $6200 in damages. The insurance company and the driver are trying to take this guy to the cleaners.
maybe he bled on the leather seats

Last edited by seeker333; 02-25-15 at 06:34 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-11-15, 10:29 PM
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It's a straightforward case of a liability claim for property damage. If the cyclist was at fault, it's perfectly reasonable to expect him to pay for the damage he caused. I don't see why anybody here has a problem with it.

Certainly he has a right to dispute whether he's responsible, and/or the cost of the repairs, but we keep seeing cries for greater responsibility from motorists and what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

If the cyclist were to hit another cyclist, we'd expect him to pay for any damages, wouldn't we?
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Old 02-11-15, 10:36 PM
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30 yrs ago a cyclist blew through a stop sign and broadsided my car while I was a student at University. He was coming down a hill and going fast enough that he put a substantial dent in the side of my car and ended up breaking his collarbone. I drove him home after getting his contact information and confirming that he would pay for the damages. It never occurred to me that he wouldn't be responsible for my costs. I didn't go through insurance and it took him a while to pay as he had to take 6 wks off of work (he was a bus driver) but he eventually paid.

This doesn't sound like much of a news story. $6,000 seems like a lot of damage and the amount could easily be disputed if it was unreasonable, i.e. repainting more than necessary.
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Old 02-12-15, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
30 yrs ago a cyclist blew through a stop sign and broadsided my car while I was a student at University. He was coming down a hill and going fast enough that he put a substantial dent in the side of my car and ended up breaking his collarbone. I drove him home after getting his contact information and confirming that he would pay for the damages. It never occurred to me that he wouldn't be responsible for my costs. I didn't go through insurance and it took him a while to pay as he had to take 6 wks off of work (he was a bus driver) but he eventually paid.

This doesn't sound like much of a news story. $6,000 seems like a lot of damage and the amount could easily be disputed if it was unreasonable, i.e. repainting more than necessary.
You didn't have to twist his (broken) arm did you?

I agree, cyclist at fault, cyclist pays.
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Old 02-12-15, 07:52 AM
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Oddly, the article has someone recommending some kind of liability insurance. This may be a Canada-specific situation because in the U.S., liability is going to be the minimum you can purchase, although it's not uncommon at all for there to be a maximum payment of $50K or $100K per incident for medical injuries.

If this were the U.S., the primary claim would essentially go through the subrogation process, where the insurance carriers of the two people involved would go through a process similar to arbitration. They would determine which company had primary responsibility and how much each would end up paying. Of course, either party would be free to seek compensatory damages on their own.
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Old 02-12-15, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..

If the cyclist were to hit another cyclist, we'd expect him to pay for any damages, wouldn't we?
Good question and my knee-jerk response would be yes, but when it actually happened to me ... no. I just taped up my wounds, patched the bike up and went on. It was 100% his fault, but on a MUP (unregulated by traffic code), close to sundown (after which it closes) and witnesses didn't hang around after I collected myself. So liability would have been difficult if it came to a legal fight, and I just let it go.

Perhaps bicycle liability insurance, or liability plus medical, would be a good thing after all. Not mandatory of course, but if someone who rode a lot had an insurance company behind them, and could make a claim against it, his insurance would deal with the other party. Had I something like that, I might not have a six-inch scar on my forearm now.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
Oddly, the article has someone recommending some kind of liability insurance. This may be a Canada-specific situation because in the U.S., liability is going to be the minimum you can purchase, although it's not uncommon at all for there to be a maximum payment of $50K or $100K per incident for medical injuries.

If this were the U.S., the primary claim would essentially go through the subrogation process, where the insurance carriers of the two people involved would go through a process similar to arbitration. They would determine which company had primary responsibility and how much each would end up paying. Of course, either party would be free to seek compensatory damages on their own.
In the US the article would be referring to an Umbrella Policy, or excess liability policy - personal claim protection.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:20 AM
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$6,200...I'd say they were on a fishing trip, trying to get as much money as they can. I'd want itemized list of the damages with a repair receipt.

But I do think he is liable for reasonable cost of damages. I actually was in this situation once. I ran into the door of a car and caused about $900 damage with my bike. His insurance (big name company - can't remember who) was actually pretty cool about it and ate the deductible. So I wrote the guy a check for $400 and learned an expensive lesson.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
In the US the article would be referring to an Umbrella Policy, or excess liability policy - personal claim protection.
Right, but most people don't have a PIP or umbrella policy above and beyond what is standard.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:28 AM
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while the actual dollar amount may in dispute, the responsibility is not.
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Old 02-12-15, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
This doesn't sound like much of a news story. $6,000 seems like a lot of damage and the amount could easily be disputed if it was unreasonable, i.e. repainting more than necessary.
It would help if the article would describe what they're charging for. OTOH, tear the bumper cover on a fairly new vehicle, and that can be a couple thou right up front, not counting labor. Throw in some paint damage, a cracked taillight and a few days in a rental car while it's in the shop and costs can add up in a hurry.

I've been slowly pricing out all the body panels I'd need to get my Saturn looking good, and new part prices are ridiculous. $250 each for headlight assemblies, (though by not getting in a rush, I've got new off-brand ones on the way for $26 each) $160 each for taillights, $250 for the fender (unpainted), etc., and this is for a 17 year old car I paid $700 for. Of course, junkyard parts are a lot cheaper, but not always a viable option for a car less than 3-4 years old. (And often not for the most common replacement parts; I doubt I'll ever find the parts to make my parking brake work the way it's supposed to because just about every junkyard Saturn with a compatible handle is either also broken in the same way or already stripped of those bits.) If he hit someone's fresh-off-the-lot current year model SUV, it wouldn't take all that much to rack up $6-7k with labor.
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Old 02-12-15, 03:10 PM
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The link says:

Kafara’s injuries kept him off his feet for months.
That implies he hit it pretty hard, which makes substantial damage more likely.
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Old 02-12-15, 07:37 PM
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Glad to see some sanity in comments here. Cyclist seems to admit being at fault, damage may be high but as everyone has noted, that's what things cost. I bet they'd settle for less.

A couple of years ago a guy posted in this forum that he had run into a turning car while he was descending a steep hill ON A FIXIE WITHOUT BRAKES. Auto traffic was stopped, but he did not know why and admitted he could not stop anyway. So he flew by on the shoulder, only to find as he cleared an SUV blocking his view that someone had stopped to allow an oncoming vehicle to turn across his path.

He hit that car broadside, hard, at what he said might have been 40mph, though that seems unlikely. Miraculously he was not hurt. However he panicked, got back on the bike and rode away, even as the driver and other motorists converged to survey the damage.

Prevailing opinion here was that he was not at fault, and should have stayed there as he could certainly have recovered damages from the driver's insurance. After all, cyclists are allowed to pass on the right, right?

I and a few others did not think he should have left the scene (he could have had internal injuries if the hit was that bad) but doubted that insurance or law enforcement would have looked kindly on him and his lack of brakes.
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Old 02-12-15, 08:34 PM
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I have a car and thus car insurance. I wonder what it covers for my cycling activities. I guess I should call and find out. Does anyone know what coverage they have for cycling?
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Old 02-12-15, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Good question and my knee-jerk response would be yes, but when it actually happened to me ... no. I just taped up my wounds, patched the bike up and went on. It was 100% his fault, but on a MUP (unregulated by traffic code), close to sundown (after which it closes) and witnesses didn't hang around after I collected myself. So liability would have been difficult if it came to a legal fight, and I just let it go.

Perhaps bicycle liability insurance, or liability plus medical, ... I might not have a six-inch scar on my forearm now.
Just because someone dodged hi responsibility, or lack of witnesses made it difficult to prove doesn't mean he wasn't responsible and obligated to pay. Liability insurance makes money available to pay for damages one causes, but it doesn't magically make people more honest. Likewise, medical insurance might help pay hospital/surgical bills, but it doesn't prevent scars.

A couple of years ago, I slammed into the side of a van at night. IMO it was purely my fault and I expected to pay for the dent I put into it's side. Fortunately it was an old truck, and the owners had already planned on replacing it so they gave me a pass. (it probably helped that I was only shaken up, but not injured and wasn't going to press them for any injuries).
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Old 02-12-15, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I have a car and thus car insurance. I wonder what it covers for my cycling activities. I guess I should call and find out. Does anyone know what coverage they have for cycling?
In NYS it covers you for PIP in any accident involving a motor vehicle (whether you're driving, walking or whatever). But the liability side covers the listed car only, regardless of who's driving, unless you paid for a "drive other car" endorsement. I don't know if "drive other car" includes bicycles. If you have, or are considering buying that coverage, it's something to ask.
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Old 02-12-15, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In NYS it covers you for PIP in any accident involving a motor vehicle (whether you're driving, walking or whatever). But the liability side covers the listed car only, regardless of who's driving, unless you paid for a "drive other car" endorsement. I don't know if "drive other car" includes bicycles. If you have, or are considering buying that coverage, it's something to ask.
Interesting. I better ask!

New York State is the only state I know of that does not define a bicycle as a vehicle. A person on a bike is defined as traffic, which is functionally equivalent, I guess, but I wonder how it fits in, if at all, with the "driving other car" thing of insurance.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
New York State is the only state I know of that does not define a bicycle as a vehicle.
California defines a bicycle as a "human-powered device" and explicitly differentiates it as not being a vehicle. But the rider of a bicycle is subject to the same 'rights and responsibilities' as a vehicle operator with certain specified exceptions.

My homeowners insurance liability coverage applies to most types of damage I may accidentally inflict on others when not operating a motor vehicle, including crashing into them while cycling.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
California defines a bicycle as a "human-powered device" and explicitly differentiates it as not being a vehicle. But the rider of a bicycle is subject to the same 'rights and responsibilities' as a vehicle operator with certain specified exceptions.
OK, another weird definition, but it works, I guess.
My homeowners insurance liability coverage applies to most types of damage I may accidentally inflict on others when not operating a motor vehicle, including crashing into them while cycling.
Oh right, I will check the homeowner's policy, too. I bet that will cover me. The guy in this story ought to have homeowner's or renter's insurance. Nearly everyone should.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
...

Oh right, I will check the homeowner's policy, too. I bet that will cover me. ...
it might or it might not. Homeowner liability coverage is related to the home and immediate vicinity, ie. someone crashes because you threw shoveled snow out into the road. So it doesn't afford you broad personal liability off your property. I believe that you can add personal liability coverage that travels with you, but that needs to be researched.

As for your auto policy, I used to have "drive other car" but if I remember correctly, it was about creating umbrella protection if I drove an uninsured or underinsured car, excluding my own. So even if it covered a bike, it would only cover a borrowed bike.
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Old 02-13-15, 08:08 AM
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Just to add some more detail from my own experience mentioned in my post above. I asked my auto insurance co. and the answer was "no" not covered. My homeowner's was State Farm and the agent laughed in my face (over the phone) when I asked and then said no. So don't assume you are covered just because you have policies.
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