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Advice on What's Fair

Old 10-25-16, 06:53 PM
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tigat
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Advice on What's Fair

A little over a month ago, I was hit head on by a big SUV-cumulative speed of about 35 to 40 (my 10, his 25 to 30). The driver, who cut across into my lane, just flat out didn't see me in the morning light and shadows. His insurance is taking full responsibility for medical and property damage.

The end result was a frame that snapped clean through on the top tube, both seat stays above the brake bridge, the drive side seat stay just above the hub, and a crack in the carbon fiber rear wheel (I'm not sure if this was part of the original load or collateral damage as the bike was launched down the road--I was too busy face planting in the windshield and bouncing onto the road to track the bike's trajectory). The brake lever was smashed. I wouldn't think about using any of the parts without x-rays, testing.

Here's the rub: for those not familiar with the bike from my previous posts, it is a one off, the result of an engineering exercise by Trek, with help from SRAM and Shimano, to push the envelope on a one-handed control system. The end result was a SRAM hydraulic brake lever with the shifting guts removed and replaced by a housing that holds deconstructed di2 climbing buttons. SRAM engineered and built the splitter that apportions fluid to the back and front rim brake calipers (at the time, the Domane did not have a disc option).

At the end of the day, the bike was a $15k plus collection of parts, but a priceless engineering result. Changes in the SRAM lever, the Domane frame (now direct mount or disc), and other parts make rebuilding-reusing components virtually impossible.

The insurance company has been sitting on the parts list and description for a bit, but has promised to get back to me this week. I am not looking to take advantage of anyone, but truly don't know how I might replace this bike. I'd be interested in thoughts from the wise ones on how to approach the discussion.
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Old 10-25-16, 07:10 PM
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Sorry to hear about this. I assume you've seen this? http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/784360-if-you-ve-been-hit-motor-vehicle-all-members-read.html

You really need a lawyer.
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Old 10-25-16, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Sorry to hear about this. I assume you've seen this? http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/784360-if-you-ve-been-hit-motor-vehicle-all-members-read.html

You really need a lawyer.
Great advice. I am a lawyer and we mine social media posts all the time, so caution or even better silence is sound practice.

This one is a little different, in that I have an admission of liability, and I'm just looking for thoughts on a fair property settlement in a somewhat unique situation.
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Old 10-25-16, 08:10 PM
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Sincere sympathy

First things first - I trust you are OK.

I must say I think I would be coming across as much more frustrated / angry than you - well done.

I hope you have a positive experience with the driver's insurance company.
I would certainly endorse the idea of a lawyer. While your bike was unique I somehow think there must be quite a few precedents for claims related to 'irreplaceable' items.

Thought: Having done it once, can Trek/SRAM/Shimano provide a $ estimate for a replacement (albeit I appreciate the $ may well be incredibly high)?

On basis of the message re not sharing on public forum, I do not expect a response to this.
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Old 10-25-16, 10:38 PM
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Whoa ... What a set of facts.

IMHO, you should be made whole ... That means whatever it takes to get you back to where you were before the crash. Have you tried contacting the people involved with your first bike to see what it would cost?
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Old 10-26-16, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Whoa ... What a set of facts.

IMHO, you should be made whole ... That means whatever it takes to get you back to where you were before the crash. Have you tried contacting the people involved with your first bike to see what it would cost?

I totally agree with Vic. Your particular situation is unique and as such requires a unique approach to a proper settlement. I guess the real question is how would you get a new bike with the same setup/configuration and how much that would cost.

Sorry to hear about the incident but glad it wasn't any worse.
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Old 10-26-16, 07:44 AM
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The insurance company can turn this into a win-win publicity campaign for all involved. If the original equipment companies are unable or unwilling to replicate the original bike, they along with the insurance company could sponsor a project to build a new bike with a similar end-result in mind. A road/racing bike optimized for one-handed operation. And if they open the project up up to various teams including manufacturers, mobility and engineering firms and schools there could be multiple entrants and the resulting bikes could even be donated to others at the end of the competition.

This could also provide good publicity for groups that assist those who need assistance in coping with special physical needs as they, too could get involved.

The net result would be that you (and possibly others) would receive a new state-of-the-art bicycle, and cycling accessability technology may get a boost both technically and entrepeneurally.
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Old 10-26-16, 07:59 AM
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I'm thinking that $15,000 sounds like a lot for a bicycle but it's really not that much for an accident settlement. Fortunately it doesn't sound like there was a significant bodily injury involved. That's where the big money can go. The other driver has been paying his insurance premiums, probably for years, to cover himself in just these kinds of situations. If that's what the bicycle cost, that's what they should pay. And I'd haggle for letting you keep the wrecked bike too.
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Old 10-26-16, 08:03 AM
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Riding a bike like that and doing only 10mph???? You should have received a summons......

In all seriousness, first and foremost, you appear to be largely uninjured, so count your lucky stars for that..

With the bike, I have no idea. I've never had great luck recouping full costs after a loss. Can you get quotes from all the organizations that assembled your bike?
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Old 10-27-16, 01:33 PM
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It may be like on pawn stars somebody has a custom motorcycle, car etc and they have 50,000.00 in it and it really is only worth a third of that to somebody else. Hopefully you will get a fair settlement but depreciation will enter into it. depending on the final number it might be best to settle without going to court as that tends to take some time to get on the docket and all the other fees. When I had a bike accident and had to have surgery they messed up and caused me a long hosiptal stay and a much longer recovery than was normal. On the other hand they saved my life so I figured a christmas card and thanks was the better response.
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Old 10-27-16, 03:14 PM
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Sound advice from all and some creative solutions to boot. Thank you.
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Old 10-27-16, 03:29 PM
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As you are probably aware you are not entitled to a new bicycle but the value of a used bicycle as you described.
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Old 10-27-16, 03:51 PM
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"Fair" would be for them simply replace the damaged items. That means for the to contact Trek and SRAM and pay them to one-off replacement parts for your one-off original parts.
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Old 10-27-16, 09:00 PM
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Again thanks. I'm very much appreciating the different perspectives, and it actually raises interesting questions, like the distinction (if any) between uniquely custom (the sparkling pink flames and chrome tipped crackle exhaust on a hot rod), precious and irreplaceable (the quilt grandma made, frayed and faded, but filled with priceless memories), and adaptive (in this case, a bike designed and built to meet a certain need that not many folks have).


From a market value perspective, I have a pretty good sense of how insurance adjusters look at the first two items. I don't have much of a sense of how the third category is judged.
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Old 10-28-16, 10:54 PM
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You are entitled to be made whole. If that can be done with replacement parts, including specialty made custom parts and cost for assembly, so be it. If the bicycle is totaled, there is no blue book for bicycles and Ebay will not price a similar custom, so you are entitled to whatever it would cost for Trek and SRAM to make you the same bicycle, even if the replacement cost is more than you paid for it originally.

Too many adjusters try to hit bicycles with a 33% per year depreciation. That is BS. Most of members here have bicycles last at least 10 years if treated reasonably and not in a collision. Accept nothing less than 0% for first year and only 10% for each year after.
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Old 10-28-16, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Too many adjusters try to hit bicycles with a 33% per year depreciation. That is BS. Most of members here have bicycles last at least 10 years if treated reasonably and not in a collision. Accept nothing less than 0% for first year and only 10% for each year after.
I disagree. Accept nothing less than a working bicycle in good condition of equivalent or greater spec.
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Old 10-29-16, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
I disagree. Accept nothing less than a working bicycle in good condition of equivalent or greater spec.
So if his bicycle is 10 years old and was in excellent condition, you would accept a bicycle in good condition as long as it was spec'd the same.
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Old 10-29-16, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
So if his bicycle is 10 years old and was in excellent condition, you would accept a bicycle in good condition as long as it was spec'd the same.
As a alternative to 33% first year, 10% / year depreciation and a $250 check?
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Old 10-29-16, 06:45 AM
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I don't think the "rule" that you are entitled to the depreciated value of the bike fits here. Under most circumstances the depreciated value of the bike makes the injured party whole. It does not in the case.

You had a bike that you could control/shift with one hand. I take it that this is a necessity for the OP. I think that under these circumstances, the OP should be entitled to a similar bike subject to one caveat which is that the price may get so crazy that no judge would grant this in damages.
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Old 10-29-16, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I don't think the "rule" that you are entitled to the depreciated value of the bike fits here. Under most circumstances the depreciated value of the bike makes the injured party whole. It does not in the case.

You had a bike that you could control/shift with one hand. I take it that this is a necessity for the OP. I think that under these circumstances, the OP should be entitled to a similar bike subject to one caveat which is that the price may get so crazy that no judge would grant this in damages.
I agree that the OP should be made whole. I disagree with the caveat. After all, Fords hit Rolls Royces, and the RR owner is not penalized simply because his vehicle is pricey.
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Old 10-29-16, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
I agree that the OP should be made whole. I disagree with the caveat. After all, Fords hit Rolls Royces, and the RR owner is not penalized simply because his vehicle is pricey.
You have to ask yourself whether a judge or jury will award say $50,000 for a bike (assuming that this is what it would cost to engineer a similar bike).

We might think a bike is as valuable as a BMW; a lot of people might disagree.

It's hard to say but there might be a dollar number at which a judge or a jury will just say to heck with this.
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Old 10-29-16, 07:06 AM
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I see it like this: Used bicycle + pain and suffering = new bicycle.

Last edited by GrandaddyBiker; 10-29-16 at 07:07 AM. Reason: a
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Old 10-29-16, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You have to ask yourself whether a judge or jury will award say $50,000 for a bike (assuming that this is what it would cost to engineer a similar bike).

We might think a bike is as valuable as a BMW; a lot of people might disagree.

It's hard to say but there might be a dollar number at which a judge or a jury will just say to heck with this.
We do not know whether the OP is physically handicapped and needs this bike as transportation. If so, I think any jury would bring home a verdict that would allow another bike to be made.
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Old 10-29-16, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
We do not know whether the OP is physically handicapped and needs this bike as transportation. If so, I think any jury would bring home a verdict that would allow another bike to be made.
There may be reasons, as you point out, that push the equities towards the OP.

My point is that this is not up to you or to me to decide what this is worth but it is up to the common sense of a judge and a jury. There may be a number that is so high that it will not be awarded; or you may be right and the sky is the limit. Bottom line is that it is these sorts of considerations that drive the bargaining.

I could be wrong; so could you. There is no hard and fast rule on what is "fair."

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Old 10-29-16, 07:52 AM
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OP being a lawyer knows better than I how a judge or jury might react and what the statutes and precedents are, and I think is asking how fair it would be to take it how far. Who knows, maybe he'll use these answers in court arguments as what reasonable cyclists consider to be fair.

It would be fair, in my opinion, to have the bike replaced with one of similar quality and having all of the previous functionality. If there is no such thing available I wouldn't think it fair to commission a team of engineers to design and fabricate a new prototype because he's lost the end product, not all of the effort and expense of research and development and prototype production. Maybe the Shimano (or Trek) people can build a new one, and the other party paying the cost of that would be fair in my opinion. If all of that is impractical, the cash value of the bike.

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