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Experience in dealing with insurance after being hit by car?

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Experience in dealing with insurance after being hit by car?

Old 06-08-05, 06:50 PM
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DiegoFrogs
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Last night I was hit by a car (brand new 16 year old driver... Hey, we were all there at some point.) Without giving away too much of the specifics, her mother had to come LATER with the insurance information and her Drivers license, which had led me to believe that she had none at first! THe cop on the scene knows that I had head and tail lights, and was operating properly in the roadway.

Stiches on my chin, in my mouth... surgical removal of two teeth, one dislocated shoulder, one busted hand, one leg puncture and one busted knee later (it's been a LONG day) should all be covered under my father's automobile insurance under the No-Fault clause, according to the officer (who still hasn't come to take my statement...)

My question is, how lucky have you all been in having an older (and, I'm sure the insurance company will argue, cheap as hell) custom equipped fixed gear conversion replaced by an insurance company? It was a 1986 Schwinn World Sport. What steps should I go through? Is it better to take what's left to a (20 mile drive) fixed friendly frame builder for an assesment and replacement estimate (and is it possible to even estimate this? It would take me MONTHS to find a frame with horizontal dropouts that fits me so well. That's got to be worth something), or should I take it to a place here right in the city (where the original frame probably originated from 20 years ago...)? What have been your experiences with replacements from insurance companies? I know that the medical aspects of my claim will be well tended to because there's a certain undeniability that I needed those, but how do they decide what replacement is acceptable?


Thanks,
a very tired, "whistles when he talks" Jim

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Old 06-08-05, 08:24 PM
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man, that sucks. I have had several acquaintances and buddies that met cars in the past; most survived, and the insurance company paid REPLACEMENT costs equivalent to a new bike. Don't bring single-speed to the fore. Let 'em replace the bike with a nice midline road bike. They did the damage. Then do what you need to get a ride that you like.
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Old 06-08-05, 08:49 PM
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Umm...hello...pain and suffering? You deserve to get a custom made bike for you, your lawyer, and each of your immediate family. Please don't take the first offer. Them teeth ain't gonna grow back. And your're always going to feel a tinge of pain in that shoulder, knee and hand.

Good luck.
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Old 06-08-05, 09:00 PM
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That's kinda what I thought. I just thought that a quality replacement would be an IRO Jamie Roy, with the fenders and rack that were destroyed. I'm not looking for a Cinelli or anything... I'll put any extra cash into a Bell Metro helmet fund... which I was NOT using when I was hit. The good news is I'll live to ride another day, the bad news is I'll look like a cable guy until I get my teeth replaced with titanium inserts in 8 months once I've healed.
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Old 06-08-05, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs
That's kinda what I thought. I just thought that a quality replacement would be an IRO Jamie Roy, with the fenders and rack that were destroyed. I'm not looking for a Cinelli or anything... I'll put any extra cash into a Bell Metro helmet fund... which I was NOT using when I was hit. The good news is I'll live to ride another day, the bad news is I'll look like a cable guy until I get my teeth replaced with titanium inserts in 8 months once I've healed.
Sorry to hear about your accident. You'll have to report back on how the titanium inserts feel compared to aluminum or steel inserts.
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Old 06-08-05, 10:11 PM
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Jim-

That's awful.

I'm glad you're -- at least relatively -- ok. If you get bored, take a look at this thread:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...highlight=gods

It's me . . . bragging about my brand spanking new bike, then reporting how it got totaled about two weeks later In my case, the insurance company was great to work with, but the "driver" of the parked car was clearly, and legally, at fault.

You got hurt. I hate to say it, but . . . you might want to get an attorney.

You can always push it forward on your own and--if the insurance company gets cagey--get an attorney involved at that point, but . . . you got hurt. Who knows what kind of physical therapy/ongoing care you might need. You can always rein the attorney in if they're inappropriately going for blood.

I wish you all the best. The bike is the bike. You can always get another, one way or the other.

I hope you heal quickly and completely, then come back riding stronger than ever.

You also may want to (cross)post this on Road Cycling. Many more hits there....

Best,
Neil

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Old 06-08-05, 10:24 PM
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The insurance company does what insurance companies do: minimize costs and liability.

When you get hit and the only damage is to your $600 commuter, the company is happy to pay a few hundred bucks to settle things and get you off their back and out of the books.

When it involves extensive property damage and personal injury claims...Well, their job is to do their damndest to screw you over. You pretty much need to retain counsel now.

At any rate, you're entitled to the replacement cost of your damaged property. If it can't be replaced, you're entitled to the cost of a reasonable substitute. This is the "value" of your bike.
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Old 06-09-05, 05:26 AM
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A few words from someone who spent 10 years handling claims. First, have a qualified doctor assess your injuries, not an attorney. All your reasonable medical bills should be paid without haggling. You can put a price on your own pain and suffering, but be honest with yourself and stand firm with the claims adjustor. Will you need future rehab or physio? Understand that if you get an attorney, he will want to send you to a few specialists, plus some type of therapy 3-4 times a week, in order to build HIS case for YOUR suffering. He is also going to keep 30% of whatever you get. The last study I read stated that on average, having an attorney increases the payout by $2k, but only $100 of that ends up in the injured party's pocket.

Stand firm on getting the bike replaced with one of "Like kind and quality". You know what your bike is worth, but it's up to them to replace it. Be prepared to prove that this bike was something special, not just some 19 year old Schwinn. If there's something unique about the fit, make sure you get that point across to them.

Keep us updated. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. Although I'm not familiar with PA as far as insurance regs, I've seen enough claims to know how this should turn out. While I cannot offer advice, I can offer opinions and insight into how the system works.
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Old 06-09-05, 10:11 AM
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Although the attorney will be an advocate for you, any referrals "to specialists, physical therapy etc" will likely come out of your half of whatever settlement is obtained. 30% is a lowball percentage. Some states attorney will want upto 50% of proceeds. This does not necessarily include the "expenses" which will be added on top. Attorneys are good at increasing the payout and know the ins and outs of negotiating (ie extorting/threatening) the insurance companies but a great deal of what they obtain over and above what the company might finally reasonably may offer will go.... to the attorney. Prima facie you have a significant 'pain and injury' aspect to this accident. This is intangible. The uncertainty over any disability can be problematic. If you are pretty much back to usual state of health in 3-4mo post injury and all medical procedures are done and finished you likely will not have any disability. Lingering pains and functional losses take awhile to manifest and can be difficult to parse out. In that scenario (hopefully NOT yours), attorneys have little incentive for closure and can drag out proceedings for months or years, though immediate medical costs will grudgingly be covered and you may be supplied with a nice bike as a replacement. Those are the easy parts to handle. The pain and suffering component will be bone to be long and lovingly chewed over by every one but you. Steve
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Old 06-09-05, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for eveyone's help.

I'm going to have an estimate done by a local bicycle shop as soon as I feel like going out of the house. It's been hot as hell here (one of the reasons that I had been riding near and after dusk), and bandages are no fun outdoors. My appearance without them will make people physically ill... I wasn't exactly a Clark Kent type to begin with, but I felt much more comfortable with nice teeth than I do now.
One of my questions was in respect to which bicycle shop you guys think would give me the most accurate estimate? There's a guy 20 miles from here that builds fixed gear frames (mostly through shipping... they're too "boutique" for the folks around here, except me), and I thought that he might best understand the unique challenges presented by building up a replacement fixed gear. There's also a shop about 3 miles from here, and they're really good, but fixed gears aren't necessarily their forte. It seems like the different perspectives might effect a "replacement value" estimate. I want good teeth (and the no-fault laws here help me a good deal... no worries there), but I'm not really interested in hi-tech track bikes, since that's not exactly an equal trade (I had been lusting for one, but realize that they're not adequate for the way and places that I ride...). The frame builder I was talking about actually has some IRO's in stock. I'd like an IRO Rob Roy. If my knee doesn't get any better, a geared cyclocross bike may actually be a better choice for a replacement... possibly a Jamis Nova (I had been lusting for one of these as well...).

I could always get a Nova and build up an old raliegh, Peugeot, motobecane... with the parts that I still have (I'm a hoarder, but don't have an extra frame) once I feel a little better.
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Old 06-09-05, 10:27 AM
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In regards to the titanium inserts... I'm fairly certain that titanium has a similar lattice parameter to the crystalline calcium structure that composes the underlying structure of the teeth, so it'll "mesh" better with and physically bond with the bone. Also, it'll cut almost 7 grams over steel or aluminum. I'll be THAT much faster on the road and trail once I get better again. If I haven't gotten fat before then (can yogurt make a dude fat?) :-)
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Old 06-09-05, 11:49 AM
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Regardless of what they say the max you can get from Progressive is what's on the policy. Chances are if they have Progressive they are carrying state minimum, in OH that's 12.5/25/7.5 ie $12,500/person per policy period with a max of $25,000 per policy period aggregate. The last number is the PD or property damage, your bike, which would be $7,500 max. Keep in mind that's OH but PA should be similar.

The reality is people that are carrying state minimum don't have any assets to speak of. So, if your settlement is more than their policy limit, they have no assets to attach. That in insurance terms means you're SOL.

Progressive plays hardball also, in other words, they ain't scared by no attorney.
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Old 06-09-05, 01:07 PM
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Woah, sounds like you really got chewed up. I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

I have had dealings with insurance companies, and I have usually done OK. They will really drag thier feet though, hoping that you will give up, or forget about it. Take your bike to a bike shop and have them "appraise" it. Make sure they know that this is an insurance deal, and that you will be shopping at thier store. Most shops will be quite generous in thier appraisal. Also, make sure that you get any reciepts that you have for stuff that was, or was not on your bike. Usually, you can claim for that too, even if it was a repacement part. Remember, a couple of thousand dollars for a bike is *nothing* to an insurance co. What they are really scared of is a civil suit for your injuries. That could cost them $$$
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Old 06-09-05, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by darkmother
Remember, a couple of thousand dollars for a bike is *nothing* to an insurance co. What they are really scared of is a civil suit for your injuries. That could cost them $$$
Not more than the policy limits. And no, they won't fork out more than they have to for property damage either.
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Old 06-09-05, 03:26 PM
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Question about lawyers: I understand that the lawyer's cut of the award can be large if they take the case on a contingency (no money from you up front). Can you simply pay your lawyer by the hour instead and keep the award? Sure, there will be more risk since you might get nothing more than your medical expenses from the insurance company, but I'd think it would help you keep more of the excess.
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Old 06-09-05, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Expatriate
Not more than the policy limits. And no, they won't fork out more than they have to for property damage either.
Just remember, policy limits is usually like $1,000,000 or so. So, it's a lot.
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Old 06-09-05, 03:57 PM
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She has Progressive insurance... Policy limit is probably more like $15,000. Think like the Safe-Auto Commercials ("We keep you legal for less!", minimum coverage, etc.) My state's "No-Fault" law seems to be helping pretty well. I was able to go to the emergency room, pick up prescriptions, have oral surgery and have follow ups with my doctor, all being billed to my automobile insurance company. However they get the money from progressive is irrelevant, and saves me a LOT of a headache.

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Old 06-09-05, 04:14 PM
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All this talk about Al versus titanium teeth and nobody has mentioned carbon yet? Just think how much faster your teeth could chatter when you were cold....

Anyways, insurance limits don't reflect personal damage limits. You can always sue for civil damages irrespective of the policy. And a surprising number of people carry low policy limits because they're cheap, stupid, or riak-taking, not because they're poor.

Yes, you can theoreticaly get a lawyer to help you by the hour. it may be harder to do, as most personal injury specialists only work on commission. And you'll have to make sure you find an extremely ethical one: the advatnage of commission is that it ties your income to his.

But you DO almost definitely want to see a lawyer at some point, even if you have to pay him for a few hours of his time to get advice (don't sign a contingency contract yet). WHile I can't summarize all the relevant potential tort liabilities here, and don't know anything about insurance law in your state, this sounds like it's beyond what most people can handle pro se.

incidentally, your best bet is probably to focus on the personal injury aspect and forget about the bike for now. There's going to be a lot more play in those numbers. It's easier to get an extra $500 on a $20,000 claim for damages than on a $500 bike claim.
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Old 06-09-05, 08:41 PM
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Again, thanks for everyone's input. I'd like to reiterate that the cost of medical care will not be an issue... My automobile insurance pays for everything, then they seek reimbursement from the other party and her insurance company. The lawyers are probably on salary with my insurance company, so that's really none of my concern. I was really only curious as to the process as it pertains to bicycle replacement value, and I'm not looking to screw the young lady out of a custom track bike, I'd actually love to have my old schwinn back, if I could. Some folks have answered my question in this regard without any discrepancies both here and in PM's. Thank you for your input.
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Old 06-09-05, 09:19 PM
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I was involved in an accident earlier this year. My bike was a couple weeks old. I suffered a bruised rib and some road rash but the bike was totaled. The person who hit me their insurance did all the work. I had to submit receipts for everything. No receipt = no $. The insurance would not take an estimate from the bike shop to replace everything like helmet, pedals, and pump. So I got screwed outta that but the check came within a week. I never had to go to my insurance for anything. Good luck and be sure to save all the receipts for medical and everything else you can.
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Old 06-10-05, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ivan_yulaev
Just remember, policy limits is usually like $1,000,000 or so. So, it's a lot.
Not even close. The average auto policy limit rarely exceeds $50-100k.

Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs
However they get the money from progressive is irrelevant, and saves me a LOT of a headache.
It's called subrogation. You're assigning your right of recovery to your insurance company. They'll put them on notice of claim, then send a demand after you're paid. If there's a dispute, the next step is arbitration. From there it could go to suit, but for the amount of your claim, that's highly unlikely. It's rare for a company attorney to get involved. Property damage and bodily injury will be handled separately, as the PD is usually settled quickly, and BI can drag out. As long as your carrier does right by you, no-fault is a great system.

Again, you're unlikely to get your bike back, but you're certainly entitled to a similar one. It's unlikely that they would pay for frame repair, as that would then make them liable should anything happen to the bike in the future - structure wise.
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Old 06-10-05, 01:33 AM
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Can somone please tell me why this topic is in the Bicycle Mechanic section of this form?
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Old 06-10-05, 01:50 AM
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His question really has to do with getting his bike repaired. A little consumer education never hurt though.
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Old 06-10-05, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs
She has Progressive insurance... Policy limit is probably more like $15,000.
How can that be? I'm not aware of the laws in the states, but here minimum liability coverage is definately over 1 million. Is 15 grand the limit for property damage only? What about personal injury, etc?
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Old 06-10-05, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs
My question is, how lucky have you all been in having an older (and, I'm sure the insurance company will argue, cheap as hell) custom equipped fixed gear conversion replaced by an insurance company? It was a 1986 Schwinn World Sport. What steps should I go through? Is it better to take what's left to a (20 mile drive) fixed friendly frame builder for an assesment and replacement estimate (and is it possible to even estimate this? It would take me MONTHS to find a frame with horizontal dropouts that fits me so well. That's got to be worth something), or should I take it to a place here right in the city (where the original frame probably originated from 20 years ago...)?
Jim,

Is this just like your bike (attached)?? Nice!

Now that my bitterness over your travesty has resolved a bit . . . let's see if I can take a stab at your original question: the bike.

Since it's a 20 year-old bike, I would get all the sources that I could to help you with this . . . then take the highest estimate to the claims adjuster.

1) I would scour the 'Net for comparable bikes being sold, eBay, Craigslist . . . just Google your exact bike and see what you can find.

2) I would go to that "fixed friendly frame builder" for his estimate.

3) I would go to the shop right in the city where it likely originated.

You should talk to these shops, explaining what happened. Nobody has to be unethical here, but you need to be made whole. If your bike is a pristine example of a collectible bike, replacement value has to reflect that. Most decent shops understand the drill. Just let them know that this is an insurance gig. IOW: you're not saying "cheat." You're just not saying "Look, Dude: I gotta' do this on the cheap."

The fact that your bike cannot just be bought at Performance Bike (or equivalent) could work to your advantage. The fewer comparables the insurance company has to consider, the more they have to rely on the experience of your experts in setting the price.

Good luck!
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