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Got whacked by a cager, questions on dealing with their insurance company.

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Got whacked by a cager, questions on dealing with their insurance company.

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Old 01-18-12, 10:30 AM
  #1  
when
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Got whacked by a cager, questions on dealing with their insurance company.

Basically, I got hit, they were at fault, my bike got skooshed, so I have to drive while we work it out. Can't say anything else as it hasn't been settled.

First, I have to drive 28 miles a day total to and from work that I would otherwise be biking, and the insurance company is balking at me saying they should pay the $100 or so in mileage at the IRS rate of $0.55/mile.

I don't really care much, but it's the principle of the thing. If I was hit in a car and needed a rental, then presumably they would cover that so I'm not sure what the deal is here.

Additionally, what is generally the level of bike damage that I should accept nothing less than a total bike replacement? My (aluminum) frame is bent, the rack is bent, as is one wheel. I had a bike shop write a damage assessment up and I submitted that to them. (there may be other stuff of course)

I've been to a doc to check me out and he said I bruised some ribs but other things might show up later.

Any other thoughts on dealing with other people's insurance companies after a bike accident appreciated.

ed: They paid out, full story in post #44.

Last edited by when; 01-24-12 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 01-18-12, 10:45 AM
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If your aluminum frame is bent, I would be getting a new one. While I understand the properties of steel much better (deal with it in my day job), I wouldn't ever try to bend an aluminum frame back into place and deem it to be safe. And I'd put my P.E. stamp on that. Anything that is damaged, should be replaced with totally new parts. My father in law is a quad from a faultly wheel, so if they balk at replacing anything that is bent, I would just mention that you would hate to end up as a quad b/c they refused to replace anything that you deemed unsafe.

I'm still dealing with the insurance company from when I got hit in July. The delay is not neccessarily their fault, but they are going to have to buy me a new fork. It is steel, and the fork is bent. Unfortunately for them, it is from a Holdsworth Record from the 70's, so replacing it will be costly.

There is an economy of scale issue here. Generally speaking, the cost of replacing your entire getup is relatively small compared to minor body and paint work on a vehicle. That paired with the potential for injury b/c they are cheaping out should be pointed out constantly.
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Old 01-18-12, 10:51 AM
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Is your insurance company handling something? If not, I would just look into accident Lawyer. It is in the other side of insurance company's best interest to pay you as little as possible, as late as possible, and reduce any rights you might have on the accident. And it sounds like they are already on that route.
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Old 01-18-12, 11:00 AM
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In the middle of it right now. I was hit on 10/16 and it took the driver's insurance company till 11/30 to admit fault (she passed a yield sign then merged across a solid white line into me but swore it was my fault for being there). I was afraid I'd be forced to sue but they finally came around (thanks mostly to an awesome guy who stopped to help me and clearly told the police and insurance company how the accident happened).

Sounds like your damage is similar to mine (bent AL frame, cracked front rim, bent RD, rashed up pedals and brifters). Once I got the word they admitted fault, I took the bike to the shop where I bought it (Performance Bike Shop) and had one of their good mechanics go over it. He put a set of alignment gauges on to verify the frame was bent and wrote up that the cost for parts and labor to replace the frame and other damaged parts exceeded the value of the bike. He placed the value at the MSRP ($750 in this case) and wrote it all up. I sent that to the insurance company along with the cost for a new helmet ($40). Got a call a couple of days later and received a check for $800 a few days later (never figured out how the adjuster depreciated the bike but ended up paying more than MSRP but I wasn't about to argue).

I was off work for a month and a half (broken right clavicle) and will settle the lost wages (fortunately, I had sick leave to cover the time so didn't have to wrry about paying bills) and medical (my insurance has been paying for everything so they will be reimbursed for their costs and I will be reimbursed for deductibles) as well as pain & suffering when the doctor declares me "healed". Not looking for a big payout but it will definately be $10K+ because of the lost wages.

Make sure you are careful what you say to their insurance company and document everything. Good luck.
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Old 01-18-12, 11:05 AM
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If your doctor said you have bruised ribs then you have medical injuries, this is key to making it worthwhile to talk to a lawyer.

As to the bike, take it in to a reputable local bike shop and have them assess the damage and recommend repair or replacement, and get written quotes from them.

Do not sign any releases (medical or otherwise), or cash any checks from the other person's insurance agency until your own attorney says it is okay to do so.

These are my opinions, I am not an expert, I am not an attorney, ignore everything I just posted.
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Old 01-18-12, 12:49 PM
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I hope you got a police report.
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Old 01-18-12, 12:58 PM
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If you're really sure you have no upcoming medical bills, then come up with your own number and tell the cager's insurance company you'll settle for $X.

They'll need to justify that number internally, so it'll help if you can validate it like you're doing with the IRS mileage number. Any lost wages due to doctor's appointments or whatever, property damage (don't forget clothing, bike accessories), real financial damages you can document.

There are some time restrictions if things get litigious so if you think they're not playing square with you, or dragging their heels, that's the time to be thinking lawyer.
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Old 01-18-12, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
I hope you got a police report.
Sure did, but when I went down to the station and pulled it it was only about 50% accurate. I filed an addendum with the PD's records department, emailed the officer, and filed my corrections with the ins. co. as well.
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Old 01-18-12, 03:36 PM
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I had a collision with a car in September; thankfully (for me) it was clear to all parties that the driver was at fault. My bike suffered a bent frame, fork, and front wheel, and the driver's insurance gave me replacement value for the bike, plus my helmet (even though it wasn't damaged - I guess they look at it like an infant car seat - once it's been in an accident, you shouldn't use it again), plus the clothing that the paramedics had to cut off me.

I'm not surprised they're balking at your mileage claim. Yes, if you had been driving, insurance would pay for your rental, but not your fuel. At least, that's my experience.
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Old 01-18-12, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by groovestew View Post

I'm not surprised they're balking at your mileage claim. Yes, if you had been driving, insurance would pay for your rental, but not your fuel. At least, that's my experience.
I'm actually thinking of going and renting a bike at $110 a week. I wonder if they would pay for that.
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Old 01-18-12, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by treebound View Post
If your doctor said you have bruised ribs then you have medical injuries, this is key to making it worthwhile to talk to a lawyer.
+1, get a lawyer ASAP
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Old 01-18-12, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by when View Post
I'm actually thinking of going and renting a bike at $110 a week. I wonder if they would pay for that.
That is exactly what I was about to recommend. 1. it gets you back on a bike. 2. The longer the insurance company delays, the more they have to pay - just make sure they understand your claim goes up $110 plus tax each week they delay.

With the auto, they would claim you have upgraded your transport, but in kind bicycle rental blows that claim out. An insurance company paid for a bike rental when I got hit. It was a good opportunity for a long test rides on a bike I was interested in.

If you had a helmet on, the helmet was in a collision and should be replaced at full price. Helmet manufacturers say to never use a helmet that has been in a collision even if you SEE NO damage. The insurance companies know this but some will play dumb on the issue.

Include in your claim even the slightest damage to clothing, shoes and other accessaries. That way, your final settlement may be closer to fair.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:29 PM
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I talked about the mileage to the adjuster, and he said "well, we don't normally pay for mileage, but if you bike every day, I'll put quite a bit towards 'mental anguish' because if I biked every day and now had to drive that would probably drive me nuts."

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Old 01-19-12, 05:27 PM
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they won't pay for gas. I just had my car smashed and I got a rental that was a real pig and my gas was out of pocket. everything else was on them.
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Old 01-19-12, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by when View Post
I talked about the mileage to the adjuster, and he said "well, we don't normally pay for mileage, but if you bike every day, I'll put quite a bit towards 'mental anguish' because if I biked every day and now had to drive that would probably drive me nuts."

That is a very good sign the the adjuster wants to clear this one off his books quickly. Just make sure you do not have any hidden injuries.
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Old 01-19-12, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tanguy frame View Post
they won't pay for gas. I just had my car smashed and I got a rental that was a real pig and my gas was out of pocket. everything else was on them.
Actually, that makes some sense - you would have had to buy gas for your car if it hadn't been wrecked. The most that it would make sense for them to pay for would be the difference in mileage between your car and your rental car, and probably only that if no rental car that had mileage as good as your car was available.
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Old 01-19-12, 11:26 PM
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and usually you'll get to keep the damaged bike as they don't want to have to deal with disposing of it!
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Old 01-19-12, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
and usually you'll get to keep the damaged bike as they don't want to have to deal with disposing of it!
That was a mistake I made when my bike got smashed - didn't even inquire about the possibility of getting (or buying back) the damaged bike. Only the frame was wrecked - the wheels and Ultegra components were all ok, but it was probably just dumped in a landfill.
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Old 01-19-12, 11:35 PM
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Being that I have zero sympathy for insurance companies for various reasons, personal and here say cases I would utter the words "my back has been pretty sore"

When I was hit by a car, I was partially in the wrong for riding on the sidewalk against traffic (young and dumb) but she turned right on a red right in front of me so I would say 50-50. I quoted them what my bike cost for replacement by adding up each individual parts cost and settled with that since I was not hurt at all. I had a check for a new bike within a week because I told them I had a race coming up I needed it for (which really was the case). They were more than happy to send out a check for roughly $1500 because I was willing to sign off as that was all I was needing.

Since you actually got hurt a bit (sounds like you did) and you were honestly doing what you were supposed to do, I would quote them the cost of whatever new bike you have been eyeing plus a little bit. If you tell them you are willing to sign off after paying for a new bike it would be in their best interests to do so as quick as possible. A $2-3k bike is a very small amount compared to piles of medical bills and legal fees.

Once also when driving I had a wreck with another car, we were only going about 5mph and the guy who I hit (he was also uninsured) managed to get about $3000 from my insurance company claiming he had back paid, which in such a small incident is very very unlikely.

Good luck, insurance companies can be a ***** to deal with but remember you are the victim in this case and a good lawyer could get you much more than you will probably ask for and the insurance companies know that and will try to convince you other wise. Also since it sounds like the driver was a complete b**** acting like you should not have been where you were supposed to be, I would push to get her charged with negligent driving (not looking where you are going is pretty negligent) to make her realize what she did was serious and could have easily killed you.
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Old 01-20-12, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
That was a mistake I made when my bike got smashed - didn't even inquire about the possibility of getting (or buying back) the damaged bike. Only the frame was wrecked - the wheels and Ultegra components were all ok, but it was probably just dumped in a landfill.
Not worth even asking, they want to reduce your claim way too much.

If you want the old bike, dumpster dive for a couple of weeks.
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Old 01-20-12, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by nubcake View Post
Being that I have zero sympathy for insurance companies for various reasons, personal and here say cases I would utter the words "my back has been pretty sore"

When I was hit by a car, I was partially in the wrong for riding on the sidewalk against traffic (young and dumb) but she turned right on a red right in front of me so I would say 50-50. I quoted them what my bike cost for replacement by adding up each individual parts cost and settled with that since I was not hurt at all. I had a check for a new bike within a week because I told them I had a race coming up I needed it for (which really was the case). They were more than happy to send out a check for roughly $1500 because I was willing to sign off as that was all I was needing.


Once also when driving I had a wreck with another car, we were only going about 5mph and the guy who I hit (he was also uninsured) managed to get about $3000 from my insurance company claiming he had back paid, which in such a small incident is very very unlikely.

Good luck, insurance companies can be a ***** to deal with but remember you are the victim in this case and a good lawyer could get you much more than you will probably ask for and the insurance companies know that and will try to convince you other wise. Also since it sounds like the driver was a complete b**** acting like you should not have been where you were supposed to be, I would push to get her charged with negligent driving (not looking where you are going is pretty negligent) to make her realize what she did was serious and could have easily killed you.
I wouldn't recommend trying to defraud the insurance company, unless your back actually was sore. Insurance companies may be ***** to deal with, but so are people who file fraudulent claims against insurance companies.
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Old 01-20-12, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by nubcake View Post
Being that I have zero sympathy for insurance companies for various reasons, personal and here say cases I would utter the words "my back has been pretty sore."
That's clearly the high ethical ground when dealing with those despicable bottom feeding insurance companies. Could any act be nobler than insurance fraud?

Originally Posted by nubcake View Post
Good luck, insurance companies can be a ***** to deal with
Those low lives insist on suspecting that people lie to them - you know, claim non-existent back pain in order to inflate a claim. Why are they so paranoid? Don't they know that people are fundamentally honest?

Originally Posted by nubcake View Post
... a good lawyer could get you much more than you will probably ask for and the insurance companies know that and will try to convince you other wise.
Back in the real world, lawyers work on contingencies, and are most interested in cases where they will get paid. A wrecked bike frame and bruised ribs may not leave much wiggle room. Particularly if the injured party is able to continue commuting by bike - demonstrated by his her bike rental subsequent to the accident. I suspect that lawyers will not be chomping at the bit to take a case where they might win an extra couple of hundred dollars.
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Old 01-20-12, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
and usually you'll get to keep the damaged bike as they don't want to have to deal with disposing of it!
I was not allowed to keep my damaged bike. The insurance company "bought" it off me for the price of a replacement. Took my helmet too.
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Old 01-20-12, 03:14 PM
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I'd be cautious about renting a bicycle if you're also planning to claim medical injuries. Insurance lawyers love to find the most minor of contradictions to claimed injuries so they can yell 'fraud', and I'm pretty sure that you'd have a tough time proving injury if you're still out riding to work.
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Old 01-20-12, 08:49 PM
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As far as getting your bike back goes. It depends where it is right now. If it is at a shop the odds are that they will just leave it at the shop or tell the owner to dispose of it. If it is at your house, I would suggest never mentioning it.

I am aware of several cases, with automobiles, where, once they paid the claim, the insurance company has lost all interest in the physical automobile.

But, wait until the claim is entirely settles before even mentioning it.
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