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Hit by car on morning commute

Old 04-07-09, 04:37 PM
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haighter
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Hit by car on morning commute

Hi all, I'm a new poster to the board but been reading for quite some time.

Thought I'd share a little story and get some thoughts and reaction from you all.


Basically, a couple weeks ago on my morning ride to work, a car pulled a turn in front of me and I t-boned the passenger door. I sustained a sizable laceration above my left eye that required stitches and had some aches and pains in my body. I guess I'd consider myself lucky. The same can't be said about my bike. I ride an '87 Cannondale road bike that was in fabulous condition with mostly stock parts. The front wheel was tacoed, fork cracked, and one of the pedals snapped. I'm currently in the process of filing an insurance claim and expect to have someone from the insurance company come by and look at my bike in the next few days. FYI, the police report puts the driver at fault.

After the accident, the frame had some sizable scratches on it from the car. Once I was feeling better, I decided that I'd completely disassemble and rebuild the bike with new wheels, pedals, brakes, and fork. Since I wasn't likely to try and match the fork to the frame, I decided to strip the frame to bare metal and repaint it. Looking back, this was probably a foolish idea, as the bike is not in the condition it was after the accident. Regardless, as of now, the bike is in pieces, without paint. I fear that the insurance company is only going to cover the fork and wheel, whereas if I had left it in the mangled condition they might be more likely to reimburse either a total overhaul or cover the cost of a new bike.

I know most of you probably aren't insurance claim adjusters and it's hard to tell the extent of the damage without pictures, but what are people's thoughts on what I'm entitled to. I'm under the assumption my medical bills will be taken care of, so I'm really only worrying about my bike at this point. I was going to repaint it myself, but do you think perhaps a powder coating of frame + new fork is in order? Also, the fork was original 1987 Cannondale, and the odds of replacing it are slim. I'm assuming I'll have to get a new one, but how would they value a fork that's over 21 years old? Any personal experiences, hunches, or thoughts are welcome. I'm kinda new to cycling and this was my first accident while riding, so I'm sort-of in the dark when it comes to all this stuff. Thanks!
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Old 04-07-09, 04:41 PM
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Got any pictures from the crash? Perhaps the police took some photos. Might be your only salvation.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:49 PM
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A guy at work got hit and his bike totaled. He said the insurance co. gave him the new price for the model of his bike. No depreciation. His bike wasn't that old maybe a few years old.

A bike of yours may be considered a classic. Not sure what they would do. I don't think they have a blue book or something like that for bikes.

I don't think bike values are on the radar of insurance adjusters. Also, $1.5K of property is nothing compared to what the costs would have been (for property damage) had you been in a car.

Insurance companies can be a *****. I think they would be much more concerned about any medical claims you might have, as the bike value is peanuts compared to that.

Good luck.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:51 PM
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I don't have any pics from the crash, no. The police report lists damage to my bike as "moderate" (on a scale that ranges: [none-minor-moderate-major]).

I took some pictures of the bike as I was taking it apart as reference for when I put it back together, but I'm not sure they aptly depict the damage to the paint.


I do however still have the cracked fork, bent wheel, and busted pedal. They are just not on the bike, but rather in storage at my house.
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Old 04-07-09, 05:15 PM
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Get an estimate for the damaged items from a local bike shop (or shops) including labor to replace (same as any car accident; they don't hand you a new fender for your car and say "you put it on"). At the very least, you're entitled to that.

I had a similar occurrence several years back, I was on my race bike. The insurance adjuster was pretty shocked when he got the bill. I think he figured "a few hundred bucks, and we'll be clear of this chump".

Handlebars
2 Dura Ace shifters
Mavic Helium front wheel & tire
Reynolds Ouzo Pro Fork
+ various other parts and labor
Helmet
Bibs

I think it was an eye opener for the insurance company. Bikes are just toys, right?

Last edited by Kojak; 04-07-09 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 04-07-09, 05:48 PM
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Vintage Cannondale bike on eBay for $100.

LINK

Insurance adjusters have seen and paid for expensive bikes before but they probably won't even send anybody to look at your bike for this much. Tell them you want to buy a whole used comparable bike from eBay or Craig's List, tell them it'll be cheaper than getting the wrecked one fixed, give them a price and some ads and they'll probably do it and they'll offer to let you keep the wrecked one for $50.
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Old 04-07-09, 05:54 PM
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I got smoked a few years back by an old dude in a Cadillac. I was in pain but all my body parts seemed to be in their proper places so I opted to go home instead of the ER. I loaded my crumpled bike in the guys Caddy and he gave me a lift home. Within 10 minutes of getting home my phone was ringing. It was the adjuster offering me cash. I laughed at her first offer, and second, and third, so on. I explained to her that after I stopped bleeding and spoke to half a dozen lawyers and doctors, I'd get back to her. On my time. On my terms. I could hear her chewing on her fingernails over the phone.

Anyway, point I'm trying to make is don't let the insurance people pressure you. YOU hold the cards. YOU could have been killed. You TELL them what they owe you. And definitely make 100% sure you are good physically before signing anything or accepting any money.

Good luck

~

Last edited by knoregs; 04-07-09 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 04-07-09, 05:55 PM
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Try to convince them that the frame had to be stripped to look for cracks.
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Old 04-07-09, 06:08 PM
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You messed up by touching the bike. How bad of a problem it is depends on the adjuster.

I think the best way out is to carry the bike to a bike shop for a repair estimate. I guess the insurance company could be entitled to simply "total" the bike and hand you a check for $100. That would make a lot more sense than paying to fix it.
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Old 04-07-09, 06:14 PM
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You made a big mistake by disassembling your bike...it's better to keep everything intact until after the insurance process. You need "documentation" of your loss, and by taking apart your bike you've made that more difficult.

Take photos of your injuries as they heal over time...that too will help document what you've gone through.

Take your bike to your LBS and see if you can have them declare it "totalled". In particular, check the frame and wheels to see if they are safe to ride (I strongly suspect they are not, given the impact and their age).

Assuming your bike is totalled, find a new model "comparable" bike. So, if yours was a mid-range bike with mid-range components, look for a new C-dale or Trek that is in the same class. Tell the adjuster that's the bike you want to replace yours. Their duty is to "make you whole" and getting you back on a comparable ride is part of it.

Also, be aware that you may be getting a much larger check than you're expecting. Part of the process of clearing a claim is to compensate you for "contigencies" and/or "pain and suffering". You may be looking at $2-10,000 for contingencies...especially given that you had head injuries.

Finally - you can deal with the adjuster on your own, but if you feel like they're jacking you around, you may want to consult with an attorney (or, threaten to).
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Old 04-07-09, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
You messed up by touching the bike. How bad of a problem it is depends on the adjuster.

I think the best way out is to carry the bike to a bike shop for a repair estimate. I guess the insurance company could be entitled to simply "total" the bike and hand you a check for $100. That would make a lot more sense than paying to fix it.
Why would they only give me $100? I know that bike mentioned above on eBay is going for $100, but I've also seen comparable bikes for $500. By no means was my bike worth a thousand bucks, but it was definitely worth way more than 100. Also, let's say they total it for 100, what can I be expected to buy with that short of a Huffy?
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Old 04-07-09, 06:19 PM
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I do agree that I probably shouldn't have touched the bike. In all honesty, I just moved out on my own and thus have never really had to worry about insurance in my life before this incident. That being said, I also didn't think they'd send someone out here to look at the bike. Part of the issue now is that they bike is in pieces. There are many LBS within walking distance/bus ride of my house so I guess I can bag it all up and stroll by. But would they be able to gauge the damage in this state?
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Old 04-07-09, 06:23 PM
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Oh, also forgot to mention this little nugget. When I was on the phone with the other party's insurance rep I disclosed that I disassembled the bike. He said that wasn't an issue. I'm hoping that rings true when he sees the extent to which it was taken apart - that is stripped to bare metal.
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Old 04-07-09, 06:26 PM
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i really doubt that an aluminum frame involved in a wreck where the fork was destroyed is safe to ride. an LBS worth its salt would quickly confirm this, no matter what dreams you might personally have had about a rebuild (even an insurance company would not risk you getting back on that post-wreck bike only to find out later that the impending sudden catastrophic failure was caused by the initial wreck they should have covered).

if they don't act honestly and pay for a new bike of reasonable equivalent value, then don't sign off on it and bone up for the lawyer (it'd pay for itself, anyway).

best of luck to you!
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Old 04-07-09, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by haighter View Post
Why would they only give me $100? I know that bike mentioned above on eBay is going for $100, but I've also seen comparable bikes for $500. By no means was my bike worth a thousand bucks, but it was definitely worth way more than 100. Also, let's say they total it for 100, what can I be expected to buy with that short of a Huffy?
They probably will give you $500, really they're used to dealing with much bigger settlements concerning BMWs and Escalades. The point is you should have some examples of what you would be willing to accept - that being a complete bicycle in very good used condition. Look at some completed auctions and look at some current ads and when you give them a number they'll probably just write you out the check and it'll be your responsibility to make sure it's enough to get a replacement. Wouldn't hurt to let them know a new one would be $1000 or so.

https://www.cannondale.com/bikes/09/c...el-9RA97T.html
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Old 04-07-09, 06:53 PM
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Many years ago (about twenty now) I worked in the property/casualty insurance industry. I was a technical person - not an agent or an adjuster... But I can tell you a little about your situation from professional and personal experience.

First, your injuries matter a lot more to the insurance company than the replacement cost of your bike. You probably knew that already.

Second, how your sitaution gets handled (re: the bke) will vary GREATLY based on the insurer handling your claim. Also, your personal claim history may come into play; that is, how many and what types of claims you've made in the past... Some folks treat their insurance policies as glorified ATM's, and insurers deal a little closer to the vest with those people.

Finally, many companies will not even send an adjuster out on a small loss ( a few hundred dollars). It is quite likely that they'll simply ask for the year, make and model of the bike and then call a couple of shops to get an idea of it's value. A major insurer probably won't worry about individual parts - they'll just write a check for the whole bike.

Hope this helps you a little...
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Old 04-07-09, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Vintage Cannondale bike on eBay for $100.

LINK

Insurance adjusters have seen and paid for expensive bikes before but they probably won't even send anybody to look at your bike for this much. Tell them you want to buy a whole used comparable bike from eBay or Craig's List, tell them it'll be cheaper than getting the wrecked one fixed, give them a price and some ads and they'll probably do it and they'll offer to let you keep the wrecked one for $50.
I second that thought^^^. DiabloScott saved me some typing.

Also, do not sign/endorse an insurance company check for your injuries until you get compensation for your bike. You will most likely get one check and your stitches, in Louisiana and most other US states, are worth $5000 no questions asked. Take the 5K and use some of it for your bike, assuming you are not hurt more than you think you are. Sign a check and you are DONE! No going back. Keep telling them how bad you feel, how much you are in pain until you get the 5K check. They WILL give it to you without getting lawyers involved. You may have to see an MD, get a couple X-rays, none of which can prove you are NOT in pain.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 04-07-09 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 04-07-09, 07:08 PM
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I was hit by a truck while riding to work two years ago. My bike was a two year old semi-custom bike at the time. My LBS disassembled the bike and returned the frame to the builder for inspection---at which time the LBS told me the frame was bent and likely totalled. They then inspected all the parts and wrote a very optimistic and thorough estimate for parts replacement. So I submitted the estimate for the new parts AND a new frame to the insurance company. This is after I was paid for my pain and suffering, all medical bills were covered, AND the adjuster wrote me a check for what I told her I lost in the crash(helmet, kit, shoes, socks, glasses, iPod, lights, and whatever else I wanted).

I was paid(having to go to the adjuster's supervisor) the full amount of the estimate AND was able to keep the frame and parts. It's a good thing, too, because it turned out the frame only needed paint. So I made out like a bandit.

The point is, in my case the insurance company was clueless about bicycles. Even if they had to pay for a custom Seven(and my bike was a lot less expensive than that), it's still a whole lot less than they're accustomed to paying for injuries and auto repair/replacement. Submit a big estimate. You may be surprised.

I was in a car crash last year. Some kid rear-ended me and pushed me into another car. His company paid $1500 for 6 weeks of rental car, $5000 for the ER visit, $600 for the ambulance, and $14000 to total my car. Compare that to the $7000 I was paid in my bike incident, and it's easier for them not to fight and just pay. If you got a lawyer they'd pay more just for your pain.

However, if I get hit again and don't die, I'm suing the hell out of the driver. Daddy needs a WATERFORD. :-)

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Old 04-07-09, 07:22 PM
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Just tell the insurance company that you took the bike apart to inspect for internal damage to the headset and bottom bracket. That you removed the paint to inspect for metal stress on the frame (small stress fractures that cannot be seen through paint and can be common on Al frames). Radiography to look for the same fractures probably would have cost $1,000.

Get a repair estimate from the bike shop for parts and labor (assembly of the bike after painting). That is parts plus $150.
Get a separate estimate from a custom painter in your area ($200-$350).
Include money for a replacement helmet and any damaged clothing or shoes.
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Old 04-07-09, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
Finally, many companies will not even send an adjuster out on a small loss ( a few hundred dollars). It is quite likely that they'll simply ask for the year, make and model of the bike and then call a couple of shops to get an idea of it's value.
Oh good point, you should have ready the names of some local bike stores and give them to the person who calls. When I had a bike stolen they wanted to know who the local dealer was for that brand and when the insurance company called them directly the bike store manager was used to talking to insurance companies about stuff like that.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Vintage Cannondale bike on eBay for $100.

LINK

Insurance adjusters have seen and paid for expensive bikes before but they probably won't even send anybody to look at your bike for this much. Tell them you want to buy a whole used comparable bike from eBay or Craig's List, tell them it'll be cheaper than getting the wrecked one fixed, give them a price and some ads and they'll probably do it and they'll offer to let you keep the wrecked one for $50.
I don't know about really old stuff, but generally speaking isn't one due *replacement value*, meaning "what it costs to buy a new one, or equivalent if it's not made anymore"?
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Old 04-08-09, 05:43 AM
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Citing a used model isn't really valid in this case. You don't really know what kind of condition the used bike is in. If they kick on paying $500, I'd take it to a bike shop and ask them to certify that as far as they can tell, the bike was well maintained prior to the accident. That makes it more valuable than a random rusty heap on eBay. If they insist on paying the used value (I can't imagine that they would) then you insist on taking the used bike to the bike shop and having them pay the labor and parts to bring it back up to the condition your bike was in before the crash. I'm sure they'll just pay for a new bike at that point.
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Old 04-08-09, 07:08 AM
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Just mention that your neck has been hurting ever since the crash. You are not sure that you need to seek treatment or see a lawyer, but you do think they should buy you your brand new dream bike. Yeah, that would make me feel a lot better, I am sure.

I wouldn't screw around arguing for pennies. Your old bike is trash, brand new replacement or you see a lawyer.
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Old 04-08-09, 08:30 AM
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It's the insurance company's job to assess the value of the bike and come back to you with what they will pay, so let them. Give them the information they need to do it - model and year, price when new, types of components, and the contact information for some bike shops that can help them figure out a fair amount for a comparable new bike or a used bike that is in like-new condition. If you can't get a comparable bike for the amount of money they give you, then you need to tell them that when they tell you how much they want to pay.

Don't play games with them by faking injuries. If you've got lingering pain, go to the doctor and let them reimburse you for the medical bills. Be honest with them and you are more likely to be dealt with in an honest manner. If they start jerking you around, tell them you are going to hire a lawyer, and then hire one.
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Old 04-08-09, 08:41 AM
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I think their responsibility is to "make you whole" again, explaining total compensation (without depretiation). Since you can probably no longer get that bike new, they'll likely give you the value of a contemporary, equivilant model. Hopefully, taking in apart and stripping it down won't affect value.
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