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Do I really need a lawyer?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do I really need a lawyer?

Old 08-09-09, 10:52 PM
  #51  
jay0k
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Eye witnesses, official police report, tickets issued? How does the insurance company knows who is at fault unless someone admits it? Sounds like you were hit and you were able to go to the police station under your own power.

I don't think you need a lawyer. The most you're likely to get is a new bike and at full retail you'll probably come out ahead.

If you were badly injured and your medical bills are going to get high then a lawyer is necessary to protect you.

Assuming the insurance company can determine fault this should be open and shut for them and you'll have a check for the bike in no time. If you choose to file for injury/medical that is handled separately. Sounds like you need dental work and that will be covered 100% and more than likely you'll get a little extra.

Getting a lawyer in this case sounds like more of a hassle than it's worth. If the insurance company plays game, and they might since determine fault might not be clear cut, then an attorney might be necessary.
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Old 08-10-09, 06:11 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by tkm View Post
That lawyer was trying to screw you then.

Most lawyers do the 33% thing, but they also handle all of the medical bills, contact with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, etc. Unless you like a lot of paperwork and calling, the 33% is well worth it.

Also, in auto cases, the lawyer takes 33% of everything, except the automobile. I don't know why the one you were speaking with was trying to get 33% of your bike. That's just getting greedy. Another lawyer would have probably let you have the full price of the bike.
After I had my accident I contacted a lawyer. They received 33% of the proceeds but they talked to everyone involved. The only person I talked to was the lawyer as stated above. Had I not had a lawyer I probably would have been in trouble. The other person got a lawyer and that lawyer and their insurance company was trying everything they could to shift blame on me. Every case if different but I will lawyer up every time.
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Old 08-10-09, 08:29 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by aham23 View Post
generally speaking this statement is wrong. unless you had a new bike they dont owe you for a new bike.the current market value of the damaged bike, before damaged, is fair. later.
The problem with this idea is you can't often buy a used bike that's equivalent to the one you're riding. If only some parts need to be replaced, those have to be new. As part of the total settlement costs, it's also a trivial difference, in many cases.

In my first accident, I only claimed the need for new shifters, saddle, helmet, a jersey and tights. The total was $1100. I got $6500, medical insurance got $1500 and the attorneys got $5,000.

I agree that if you're riding a cheap old bike you shouldn't expect replacement with a far better new one, but all of the damaged parts should be replaced with new ones.

In my last wreck, my whole bike was only a few months old and the 11 speed parts were three weeks old. I submitted claims for every part that was damaged, and got full MSRP for each item damaged. Even though my carbon frame only had a couple of nicks in the clearcoat, I insisted on payment for a new frame, since the old one was slammed down hard and might have unseen damage. I got $5,050 for damaged parts, $1,000 for pain and suffering and put the bike back together for $800 (wheel rebuild, shifters, saddle, helmet).
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Old 08-10-09, 08:49 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Another perspective here.

I got hit, the driver was ticketed, her insurance replaced my bike, my ruined clothes, my panniers (i was touring), bought my plane ticket home, paid my medical bills, and gave me a few thousand for pain & suffering.

No lawyer.

I've been told I could have got a lot of money with a lawyer, but I chose not to have that bitterness infecting my life for the many many months it would have taken.

If I had permanent injury, I probably would have decided differently, but I'm satisfied with what happened.
I think this is a very healthy perspective.


Plaintiff's lawyers do not work for free. So even if you get a relatively quick settlement with no litigation, you will share a portion of it with the lawyer.

The bigger problem is that by starting down the litigation pathway, you increase the non economic costs to yourself as well.

Thus, if you have minor injuries, with no ongoing problems, relatively small medical bills, and the insurance company is willing to pay for your property damage, your bills, and perhaps a small sum for your trouble, you're well served to take the money and move on.

If you have substantial injuries, ongoing medical issues, very large medical bills, or the insurance company is not willing to make a reasonable settlement of your small claim, then you need to talk to an attorney.
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Old 08-10-09, 09:48 PM
  #55  
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Update

I spoke with her insurance company, they haven't gotten a hold of the police report, but the agent was calling to know a bit about what happened and where I live, give me the reference number, ask about my medical status... Not too many questions, didn't get too detailed. She will be calling tomorrow to do a report on what happened.
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Old 08-10-09, 09:53 PM
  #56  
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I haven't even considered the lawyer route just yet. Only way I will is if I start getting low-balled/run-around from her insurance and I don't get what I deserve (medical/dental/work/bike)

I tried going into work this morning, but I realized it wasn't going to happen when it took me ten minutes to get my pants/socks/shoes on, and I couldn't even tie them. Went for a few hours :/
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Old 08-10-09, 10:21 PM
  #57  
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I think I'm going to start riding with a miniature helmet mounted camera to record everything... so in case I ever get hit, I can present the video footage as evidence if the guilty party hires a doosh-bag and tries to shift blame on me.

Last edited by siberian; 08-10-09 at 10:21 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-10-09, 10:38 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by mrvrsick View Post
I haven't even considered the lawyer route just yet. Only way I will is if I start getting low-balled/run-around from her insurance and I don't get what I deserve (medical/dental/work/bike)

I tried going into work this morning, but I realized it wasn't going to happen when it took me ten minutes to get my pants/socks/shoes on, and I couldn't even tie them. Went for a few hours :/
I got hit a few weeks ago. Didn't hire an attorney but I spoke to one that does a lot of bike injury work. He recommended that I read this: http://www.911law.com/evidence_wins_bicycle_cases.html.

FWIW, the paramedics told me basically the same thing.

Last edited by GP; 08-10-09 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:40 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by mrvrsick View Post
I haven't even considered the lawyer route just yet. Only way I will is if I start getting low-balled/run-around from her insurance and I don't get what I deserve (medical/dental/work/bike)

I tried going into work this morning, but I realized it wasn't going to happen when it took me ten minutes to get my pants/socks/shoes on, and I couldn't even tie them. Went for a few hours :/
I would agree with that approach, but keep track of all medical expenses and time lost from work. In my most recent wreck, I was proactive, took pictures of all the damaged components along with links to the Excel Sports website, to document a reasonable value for each item. I even asked for a replacement frame, since my nearly-new carbon frame got slammed down hard. I e-mailed a lengthy letter with all the photos and links to Allstate. Allstate wrote me check for over $5,000 very quickly.

Even though I had a nagging back pain for over a month, they only offered me $1,000 in pain and suffering since I had no medical bills. I told them I'd been through this process before and received $5400 for pain and suffering, which was twice my medical bills, and thought that offer was low.

Allstate wanted all of my "salvage" parts - frame, fork, bent rims, spokes, shoes, helmet, saddle stems and bars. I mentioned that I could get a $1,000 discount on a new LOOK frame, if I traded in the damaged frame and asked if I could keep it. The agent got defensive and said that would be fraud to get paid for the frame and then get to keep it (even though it had no resale value?). I told them that they had better up their offer, or I'd contact the same attorneys I used a few years ago. Then things would really get expensive. Allstate called back about two weeks later, singing a different tune. Rather than offer me more money, they offered to let me keep the salavage. Kind of a no-brainer, since the salvage had no value (much like a crumpled fender removed from a car). I settled for that deal, since it was easy.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:56 AM
  #60  
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Unless you are seriously hurt I would try to negotiate directly with the insurance company about compensation. If you received bodily injuries as a result of the accident I would see a PI lawyer first.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:02 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
Actually, yes, he can commit to something by talking to the insurance company first, and what he could possibly say can be twisted and could be devastating to his case, and could eliminate the possibility of his being able to recove a dime.

No, this country is not in a litigous mess by people zealously asserting their rights. Unless one happens to know the law, know what your are saying and the legal ramifications of any statement you may give, GET A LAWYER.

Starting out with an attorney is not stupid. Your response is stupid. Perhaps you've heard the old addage, "he who represents himself has a fool for a client". If not, you have now.

Stop giving legal advice unless you are an attorneyl You advice is bad legal advice that can only serve to injure someone.


Nuff said.

RD
If this didn't come from an attorney or someone somehow related to one I'll be shocked. Your old addage was probably written by a lawyer. There are numerous testimonies on this post alone of people who were treated fairly by insurance companies without padding some greedy attorney's pockets.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:16 AM
  #62  
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Sure get a lawyer, 2+ years later I'm riding a piece of crap bike because I haven't seen a penny, I think I've spoken to my lawyer twice, otherwise I get tossed to his lackeys, and I cannot forget what happened because I need to remember the details in case this goes to trial.

If nothing is broken, and you have not missed time from work, listen to the insurance company, let them make an offer. You can lawyer get a lawyer later, but in 2+ years we haven't even received a settlement offer.

I'm not a lawyer, I'm not giving you legal advice, just sharing my experience and telling you what I would do next time around. Good luck.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:34 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by tkm View Post
To the OP--you will most certainly get retail replacement value for your bike and your doctor's bills paid for, but don't expect much else if you go it alone. If you're ok with that, then you should be satisfied.
This all depends on the extent of your injuries. You will get replacement cost, medical bills, disability for loss income due to the inability to work, and maybe pain and suffering payments. The lawyer is only going to be able to get you more money for pain and suffering or in the unlikely event that you do not get compensated, for the other three, fairly. Remember you did not win the lottery you should only be compensated to the point where you were before the incident.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:37 AM
  #64  
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I work at a law office as a paralegal and someone who has been in a few car accidents, I think you should get an attorney. It's really not that expensive dependign on how far this case goes, but I highly doubt it will get too complicated. Most likely you will have your attorney talk to the ins. company and he/she will get you more money than you would have gotten by yourself. It's really difficult to deal w/ insurance companies. They can be a PITA, so it's best to just have an attorney take care of it for you. I'm not saying you should go be some leech and sue this guy for everything b/c I don't think that's right. But I do think you should get whatever settlement you and your lawyer think is fair.
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Old 08-11-09, 11:15 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by azwhelan View Post
There are numerous testimonies on this post alone of people who were treated fairly by insurance companies without padding some greedy attorney's pockets.
I'm not an attorney running person, but there are times they are worth their weight in gold ... others not so much. The hard part can be deciding when to pull the trigger. While numerous people feel they were treated fairly it doesn't necessarily follow that they were. I guarantee that even in a best case scenario the insurance co and their lawyers have a goal to make you happy and go away for the least amount of money. In a worst case their goal is to make you go away for the least amount ... or no money.

The other sides insurance company often is only interested in their bottom line. My ex got rear ended in her car while on the shoulder completely off the road, flashers on, with a flat tire. The driver of that car fled on foot and the owner who was drunk and a passenger claimed she did not know the person driving her home. Because my ex suffered no medical injuries and drove a low value car attorneys would not take the case on contingency and the low ball insurance co claimed my ex was 50% at fault. She ended up accepting that cause she had to have transportation to get to work. It probably would have been worth it for her to pay for a couple of hours of attorney time to get a letter or phone call, but she didn't have the cash at the time.

Property damage is pretty simple, as you move into more complex medical injuries a lot more issues come into play and the average individual rapidly moves out of their area of expertise while an insurance co deals with thousands of these kinds of cases daily. Even the most generous companies will shade those gray areas to their side ... others will out and out try to screw you.

Originally Posted by mrvrsick View Post
I tried going into work this morning, but I realized it wasn't going to happen when it took me ten minutes to get my pants/socks/shoes on, and I couldn't even tie them. Went for a few hours :/
At least 3 days post accident and unable to perform the most basic of personal activities without pain 100% caused by someone else ... we can debate the cost, but there is undeniably a cost above and beyond out of pocket expenses. That's not being money grubbing. Even if the job pays sick leave, that is sick leave no longer available for a legitimate sickness in the future.



Originally Posted by mrvrsick View Post
Update

I spoke with her insurance company, they haven't gotten a hold of the police report, but the agent was calling to know a bit about what happened and where I live, give me the reference number, ask about my medical status... Not too many questions, didn't get too detailed. She will be calling tomorrow to do a report on what happened.
Bold added, but this is what the attorney that posted earlier was talking about. Not saying it happened in this case, but insurance companies have used slips of the tongue and irrelevant information from these kind of interviews to deny or reduce claims. Some people are equipped by nature or experience to deal with a situation like that ... some aren't and often don't even know that they are not.

Again this is not directed at the OP, just using some of his facts. He mentioned dental damage, beyond the immediate dental bill it can have long term impacts. He could be more susceptible to periodontal disease and long term expensive care. It is also possible this could lead to a loss of taste and enjoyment of food etc. I had an uncle that had some teeth pulled and it substantially impacted his ability to taste food. If someone diminished my ability to enjoy food for the next 40-50 years I would consider that a pretty major damage. ... though it might help my power to weight!

This case would be getting in a gray area for me, but I would probably follow the OP's selected route. Though I would probably find a bike experienced attorney and have a free consult to become aware of red flags to watch for.

In my experience, competent attorneys will tell you if they really are not needed and give some tips on what to do. Frankly it is not worth it to them either invest hours into a case where their portion of the settlement would be minimal.
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Old 08-11-09, 11:35 AM
  #66  
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In nearly every instance, if you have to ask or are even THINKING "Do I need a lawyer?", you should get a lawyer ASAP. Insurance companies love jerking around helpless folks who provide them with no incentive to take care of their claims quickly and in their favor. It's a different story when a lawyer, armed with knowledge of the law and legal letterhead, confronts them. The best thing that can happen is your attorney turns a year long (or longer...if memory serves me correctly, insurance companies have up to two years to process a claim) ordeal into a month long process that gets recoups all of your expenses and then some, negating any impact of layers fees. The worst case scenario is you STILL recoup all of your expenses but slightly less due to lawyers fees. BOTH are better than getting jerked around by an insurance company who are pros at jerking lawyerless folks around. After all, why would an insurance company even care about taking care of you? They make no money in that process.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-09, 11:35 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by jay0k View Post
Eye witnesses, official police report, tickets issued? How does the insurance company knows who is at fault unless someone admits it?
Even if the party say's it was their fault the insurance company makes their own decision of fault. Many times applying a percent of fault and then a percent of the value or cost based on that.

IMHO if they can screw you they will. Get a lawyer.
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Old 08-11-09, 12:22 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by mrvrsick View Post
Do they have a place where such price can be set? What about upgrades/accessories? Like a KBB for bikes?

I'd like to see it. Just sayin' but if they totaled a bike with full dura-ace, they better not be trying to give me enough to get just 105
Considering how cheap bicycles are and how much the other stuff is going to cost, it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect replacement cost (ie, the cost of a new bike).
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Old 08-11-09, 12:37 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Scorer75 View Post
Sure get a lawyer, 2+ years later I'm riding a piece of crap bike because I haven't seen a penny, I think I've spoken to my lawyer twice, otherwise I get tossed to his lackeys, and I cannot forget what happened because I need to remember the details in case this goes to trial.

If nothing is broken, and you have not missed time from work, listen to the insurance company, let them make an offer. You can lawyer get a lawyer later, but in 2+ years we haven't even received a settlement offer.

I'm not a lawyer, I'm not giving you legal advice, just sharing my experience and telling you what I would do next time around. Good luck.
When the insurance company of the driver who hit me refused to pay me anything, claiming I was equally at fault, I could either cower and go away or get an attorney. There were no other options. The insurance company essentially sent me a bluff letter to see what I'd do.

Since the driver got a careless driving ticket for making a right hand turn in front of me, while I was in a bike lane, I thought I had a good case. The problem is that cases that don't involve major permanent injury fall to the back burner. My attorney did nothing for a year, so I called and complained. It took 18 months to get a settlement, but the wait didn't concern me, since my equipmment damages were only $800 and I paid another $300 (out of $3,000) in medical expenses. I eventually got a check for $5900, after they deducted $600 for expenses incurred in compiling documents for the case. Well worth the wait.
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Old 08-11-09, 12:47 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
As far as I'm concerned, unless there was intent to hurt the you, that's all you really deserve. What's fair it to be compensated for your bills, damages, time lost if appropriate, and a little extra for your trouble and to cover potential recuring injuries. Anything more is BS.
People are also required to take due/reasonable care. If they neglect to do that, there should be consequences. It doesn't make sense that anyone should bear the costs of another person's carelessness.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-11-09 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 08-11-09, 01:39 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by mrvrsick View Post
I tried going into work this morning, but I realized it wasn't going to happen when it took me ten minutes to get my pants/socks/shoes on, and I couldn't even tie them. Went for a few hours :/
You said that you have no permanent injuries. Are you 100% sure? Given what you describe I'd reconsider.
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Old 08-11-09, 01:56 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by tkm View Post
That lawyer was trying to screw you then.

Most lawyers do the 33% thing, but they also handle all of the medical bills, contact with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, etc. Unless you like a lot of paperwork and calling, the 33% is well worth it.

Also, in auto cases, the lawyer takes 33% of everything, except the automobile. I don't know why the one you were speaking with was trying to get 33% of your bike. That's just getting greedy. Another lawyer would have probably let you have the full price of the bike.
The process is confusing but the paperwork is pretty simple. You need collect alot of receipts and have to add them up.
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Old 08-11-09, 02:52 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Bearonabike View Post
You said that you have no permanent injuries. Are you 100% sure? Given what you describe I'd reconsider.
Right now the body is just sore, but not nearly as much as yesterday.
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Old 08-11-09, 03:17 PM
  #74  
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Get a Lawyer, since you are in So Cal there are a handful of bike accident specific Lawyers.. They advertise in the Competitor or Race Place Mags that are usually available at your local bike shop..

The problem with compensation with a claims adjuster is that they think everyone on the road is riding a 200.00 special from Walmart.. I've been hit twice and collected twice but it was a major hassle going through the insurance adjuster.. They just don't believe you when you tell that replacing your bike will cost in the thousands.. The 2nd accident I had, the person who hit me admitted fault and was put in the police report.. I still had to take her to small claims to get my money for my bike + injuries..

I think small claims in California is 5000.00 max..

If you need to see a doctor a great rehab facility in our area has free sports injury screening on Sunday.. It is Casa Colina in Pomona, not too far from you..

http://www.casacolina.org/img/shared..._Screening.pdf

Last edited by socalrider; 08-11-09 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 08-11-09, 03:29 PM
  #75  
enjoi
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i think you would be better off buying a judge
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