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OK, so I'm riding home on my regular commute 3 weeks ago today @ 5 pm or so, on a clear and dry side street with no traffic. Seemingly from out of nowhere I spot a large dog heading towards me from the other side of the street. Having dealt with car-chasing dogs when I lived in rural areas, I think I expected the dog to kind of circle behind and try to nip at my heels.
But no, this has to be one of the dumbest canines out there--the dog intercepts me on a direct collision course with my front wheel! I go down hard, not over the bars but to the left and my left side takes the blow. I'm dazed and my head and hip hurt. Like most accidents this all happens much quicker than it takes to describe it. Two women come running out from the same place as the dog and ask me if I'm hurt. I say "you need to keep your dog on a leash!" (It's the law here in San Antonio.)
I get up and in usual cyclist fashion proceed to check if the bike is OK. Something's not right with the headset so I decide to call my wife to come pick me up. Meanwhile the woman/dog owner tells me that the dog has never done anything like that, but her kids accidentally let the dog run out the door when the saw their grandmother arrive (the other woman). The dog is fine, didn't even yelp.
Dog owner calls her husband and he arrives from work while I'm waiting for my wife. I show him my broken helmet and road rash on my hip, and mention that I want to get the bike checked out at a bike shop and that I expect them to pay my out of pocket on these things. The wife gives me their name, address, and phone # and he makes friendly noises about knowing a couple of good bike shops, having friends who ride, etc. My wife arrives and I pack the bike into the trunk and tell him I'll be in touch.
The next week I've ordered a replacement helmet, had the bike checked out ($12 adjustment, no steerer tube cracks or other hidden damage)--$76 total. I call and tell him the total, and that I'll be bringing receipts by his house after I receive the helmet. He says he trusts me, doesn't need receipts.
Helmet arrives on a Friday, I plan to bring receipts on following Monday. Over the weekend, though, I realize I've been having gradual onset of pain on the left side of my chest, to the point where I wake up every time I roll over. On Sunday I go to a walk-in clinic and get an x-ray, which confirms my suspicion that I have a broken rib. The bill is almost $300, but with my insurance the co-pay is only $30.
I call him before going by his house and mention that I had this diagnosis, and the extra $30. The next day I go to his house and knock, he answers but says he doesn't have any checks and is home alone w/the kids so can I come back after he goes to an ATM? Says he'll leave the money in his mailbox in an envelope. I give him copies of the receipts and say sure, I'll be by after work--but when I get there, there’s no money in the box and no one answers the door.
By this time I'm feeling "played" and say so in a phone message I leave on his cell. I also say that I'll be by at the end of the week for the $$$, no more excuses about taking responsibility for his dog and this accident. I get there this morning, his wife answers the door and says she needs to call her husband about it. When she comes back to the door, she says they've decided to hire a lawyer. I say fine, expect to hear from my lawyer and walk away.
Without getting into a rant (more and more people seem to have no common sense, little ethical/moral sense, and an inability to put themselves in someone else's shoes etc. etc.), I'm up for ideas on how to proceed. Of course I'm pissed off, but I'm also telling myself: don't get mad, get even. I contacted via the web a well-known and at least somewhat reputable liability lawyer who claims to have experience with bike accidents. Got an email acknowledgment but it’s Friday so I don’t expect anything further til next week.
But now I'm thinking that this may be too small potatoes for a liability lawsuit, that no good lawyer will want the case on contingency only. I can claim some other legitimate expenses (torn jersey, rip in my messenger bag) plus pain and suffering, but it's just not up there with death or permanent disability that translates into thousands of dollars of fees for the attorney.
In addition to out-of-pocket receipts, I have the medical report plus photos of my bruised and very colorful hip in several stages of color. But there were just 3 witnesses to the accident: me, and their 2 family members. That doesn't seem to be good odds if they change their stories.
Any other ideas on how to proceed? Should I just write it off? It’s not that I can’t afford to eat without the $106, but right now I’m not at a point where I can just leave it all alone and walk away without some kind of further action.
 

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I'm not a lawyer, but I know how to make good tacos!

Anyway, I read the whole story and that really sucks on the accident and the reneging by the family. BUT, hopefully, the father is just talking about hiring a lawyer to PROTECT himself from a bigger lawsuit....in case you come back with even more injuries or want more money. Sounds like when you came back with a medical issue he got scared....can't blame him for that necessarily.

I think I would try ONCE to reiterate that you just want your $106 out-of-pocket expenses covered (if that's what you want). Maybe you can offer to sign a waiver to further action...i.e., case closed. He'd be an idiot to want to pay lawyer's fees and endure a court case under those circumstances.

Sure, the family members could try to change their stories, but under oath, that could open up more problems for them. What kind of story could they make up....that you kicked the dog and fell over? :rolleyes:

Just my $0.02...good luck!

**
 

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You blew it. You didn't call the POLICE when the accident occurred. Now you've got no proof but a "he said/she said".

The costs are piddly in light of your injuries. I'd write it off as a learning lesson.

Most lawyers will give free initial consultations, so it wouldn't hurt to visit one. Ask at a local bike shop for a lawyer that's known to be "bike friendly"; most shops know at least one, and they're likely a cyclist, too. If you want to "win" just on principle, you could ask the lawyer to draft a threatening letter and see if you can call their bluff. Or, ask the lawyer if small claims court would be a worthwhile option.

In the future, don't leave the scene and call the police.
 

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You can probably still file an accident report with the police since you were injured. It would be helpful if you had witnesses. I'm no lawyer either. If the owners of the dog are home owners, their home owners insurance should take care of the damages. You need to talk to a lawyer. An acquaintance of mine went through a similar ordeal. He obtained a lawyer. It was a long process, but he collected. His was worse, he fractured his pelvis. Good luck.
 

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If you are only looking for a small amount of money, take them to small claims court. I'm not sure that they could deny that the accident was their fault and in small claims court, you only have to prove you case by a preponderance of the evidence. There is really no excuse for having their dog loose in the road although a lot of people think that if the dog escaped by accident, they are not responsible.

I'm sure you could get the $106 dollars you seek. I'm surprised they would hire a lawyer. I would have you sign a waiver and give you the money.
 

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shoerhino said:
If you are only looking for a small amount of money, take them to small claims court. I'm not sure that they could deny that the accident was their fault and in small claims court, you only have to prove you case by a preponderance of the evidence. There is really no excuse for having their dog loose in the road although a lot of people think that if the dog escaped by accident, they are not responsible.

I'm sure you could get the $106 dollars you seek. I'm surprised they would hire a lawyer. I would have you sign a waiver and give you the money.
+1

Small claims exists for exactly this reason. File the paperwork and force him into court. More than likely, he will pay you rather than go. In my opinion, you are being a little silly by not putting the cost of your jersey, shorts, bag, bar tape, etc on there. Their dog jumping you is their fault...you should accept no blame here. They have to make you whole again...and that means replacing every stitch damaged and every piece scratched. I don't know about where you live, but in many places you could probably have that dog put down....at the very least the owner would be ticketed.

If you choose to be the victim and let them slide, then that is your choice and may God bless the meek....but you need not do so. I certainly wouldn't.
 

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If they have a home, they have homeowners insurance. If they refuse to give you that information, go to the police.
 

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Their dog jumping you is their fault...you should accept no blame here.
Try to remember and write down anything you saw or heard that ties the dog to its owner(s). One of the counters in cases like this is to claim ignorance of who the dog belongs to, sometimes accompanied by bringing the dog out of town temporarily. Believe it or not, you might be asked to prove that the dog who harmed you was, in fact, the dog belonging to the party who initially agreed to settle this amicably.
 

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File the police report and then go after the dog as a dangerous animal.

At the very least you can help others by having that canine locked up at all times.

As for the other stuff... small claims court. They'd be stupid to bring a lawyer into small claims for $110. The lawyer fees alone will cost more than that.
 

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$106?? You spent more than that in the value of your time typing your post.

Of course he's not going to pay you any money now. You scared him into hiring a lawyer once you brought up the medical bill (a whopping $30) who will advise him not to pay anything as doing so will be admitting guilt.

You probably would have gotten the $76, but in your effort to get the other $30 you'll probably now end up with either zero, or spending more time and money than it's worth to get the $106.

Move on.
 

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depends now on how much you want your pound of flesh.

If you really want to get this guy, hire your own lawyer and go for five figures.

Otherwise, just forget the money and drive past his place several times a day until you see the dog out and then run the dog over.
 

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Oh dear !!!
The dogs owners certainly are rat bags and do not deserve a dog.
I an sorry that I can not offer advise as I live in a different country,but things such a house insurance (it they have it) tend to cover (AT LEAST PARTIALY YOURE MISFORTUNE )
Failing all that visit the dog owner tell him what you think of him and and punch him on thE nose !!
All best wishes
Doug. Henri.
 

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I don't know what state you're in, but the law is probably similar to the following in California. File suit in small claims court - no attorneys are permitted for either side and you can recover up to $7,500. Document your damages - which you've already done. Bring photos of the damaged items. Ask the court to award not only for your out of pocket losses, but also for the time you spent feeling lousy due to headaches, rib pain and whatever else you experienced. Each day you walked around in pain is worth something. How much would someone have to pay you to experience a broken rib? That's worth $x a day for how many weeks? You get the idea. Figure out what sounds reasonable to ask for, and don't short change yourself. If you did it properly here, you'd likely be awarded the $7,500 limit.

There is nothing further to say to these people, henceforth known as the "defendants." If the defendants deny what happened, make sure you tell the court that the defendants admitted their dog caused your injury and they agreed to pay your damages. Chances are you'll never get to court. Their homeowner's insurer will call and try to settle after you have the lawsuit served. Insist on the maximum small claims amount, and don't listen to the insurance adjuster's BS re why he/she is beng "generous" offering you $500. Good luck, TB
 

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tbsurf said:
I don't know what state you're in, but the law is probably similar to the following in California. File suit in small claims court - no attorneys are permitted for either side and you can recover up to $7,500. Document your damages - which you've already done. Bring photos of the damaged items. Ask the court to award not only for your out of pocket losses, but also for the time you spent feeling lousy due to headaches, rib pain and whatever else you experienced. Each day you walked around in pain is worth something. How much would someone have to pay you to experience a broken rib? That's worth $x a day for how many weeks? You get the idea. Figure out what sounds reasonable to ask for, and don't short change yourself. If you did it properly here, you'd likely be awarded the $7,500 limit.

There is nothing further to say to these people, henceforth known as the "defendants." If the defendants deny what happened, make sure you tell the court that the defendants admitted their dog caused your injury and they agreed to pay your damages. Chances are you'll never get to court. Their homeowner's insurer will call and try to settle after you have the lawsuit served. Insist on the maximum small claims amount, and don't listen to the insurance adjuster's BS re why he/she is beng "generous" offering you $500. Good luck, TB
God Bless The Litigious States of America!

:rolleyes:
 

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If you let your dog roam free and it attacks and damages someone and then you refuse to pay the ridiculously low amount he asked for...you are an idiot and deserve to be sued. The problem with americans these days is they do not believe they are accountable for anything. That dog will roam free and likely hurt someone again if the owners are not held accountable for this incident. The next cyclist could break a hip in the fall, or worse. The original poster has an obligation to see this through in my mind. What if the next cyclist is a child...who left his helmet at home?
 

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RJP Diver said:
$106?? You spent more than that in the value of your time typing your post.

Of course he's not going to pay you any money now. You scared him into hiring a lawyer once you brought up the medical bill (a whopping $30) who will advise him not to pay anything as doing so will be admitting guilt.

You probably would have gotten the $76, but in your effort to get the other $30 you'll probably now end up with either zero, or spending more time and money than it's worth to get the $106.

Move on.
Came here to say exactly this.:thumbsup:
 

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The advice I've heard is to always get checked by a doctor after a collision.

In Texas lawyers are allowed in small claims court. This makes things expensive quickly, defeating the purpose. I don't see a lawyer being interested in such a small claim.

It costs money to file in small claims court (look up the fees).
 

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i disagree with the "move on" attitude thats all to common in these situations... Moving on is exactly why people get away with crap like this.

File the police report.

Small claims court for sure, without a lawyer. Its clearly not needed in this situation.

You could also contact an attorney and have a demand letter drafted for very little money. And include the costs of the attorney fee's in the demand letter. If they refuse to respond or resolve the matter. Goto small claims court.

Its appalling how many people are so quick to walk away from a situation of holding someone to their legal obligations when they are at fault for a given situation.
 
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