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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've been hit/brushed by cars more times than I can count. I've commuted on a bike on and off for over 10 years and have gotten knocked off the road, across curbs, onto the street, etc...

Well, Saturday somebody finally really nailed me. I'm surprisingly unscathed. Very sore with moderately tweaked wrist and back and some bumps, bruises and cuts, but no broken bones. The bike, on the other hand, isn't so lucky. The frame is out and at least one shifter, one hub and the stem/fork are dead. So, has anyone faced this? Fortunately, the driver did stop and I have their info. They've submitted to insurance so I'll be dealing with them. What should I expect?
 

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With my last time being hit the insurance company called me the next Monday to get my side of the story. I was hit on a Saturday. I told my side then the agent called the driver and got her story a few minutes later I got a call saying it was the drivers fault and then I was asked the typical questions about my bike and if I went to see a doctor. I didn't see a doctor so pretty much they wanted receipts for my bike and things that were damaged in the accident. A few days later my check came and later that week I was riding a new bike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds pretty reasonable. I'm kind of concerned since I'm going to have to replace the bike and I'm not sure how that'll be handled with regards to what they feel is suitable replacement. I guess I'll find out.
 

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sohare said:
Sounds pretty reasonable. I'm kind of concerned since I'm going to have to replace the bike and I'm not sure how that'll be handled with regards to what they feel is suitable replacement. I guess I'll find out.
Wait a minute! It's not what THEY feel is a suitable replacement. It's what YOU feel is a suitable replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's how I feel. I don't think that I can reasonably insist that they buy me a Colnago C50 loaded up with full Record and lots of nice extras, but I do feel like the bike has to be comparable (which is actually quite a difficult distinction in the bike world as we all know) and should fit and I shouldn't have to go hunt all over the place for it. I'll bargain hunt for myself, but I won't do it for an insurance company. Being that my bike was 3 years old, but in perfect condition and meticulously maintained, you can't even compare apples with apples since all of the frame materials have changed, wheelsets have changed, popular build ups have changed. Even from year to year, a lot of models change geometry and if a 2004 model fit very nicely, it's not a foregone conclusion that the same bike in 2006 will fit at all. What a pain.
 

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sohare said:
That's how I feel. I don't think that I can reasonably insist that they buy me a Colnago C50 loaded up with full Record and lots of nice extras, but I do feel like the bike has to be comparable (which is actually quite a difficult distinction in the bike world as we all know) and should fit and I shouldn't have to go hunt all over the place for it. I'll bargain hunt for myself, but I won't do it for an insurance company. Being that my bike was 3 years old, but in perfect condition and meticulously maintained, you can't even compare apples with apples since all of the frame materials have changed, wheelsets have changed, popular build ups have changed. Even from year to year, a lot of models change geometry and if a 2004 model fit very nicely, it's not a foregone conclusion that the same bike in 2006 will fit at all. What a pain.

The purpose of insurance is to bring those affected back to the pre-accident state. Given that you are not trying to be unreasonable or trying to claim medical issues that aren't really there. The adjuster will likely be very agreeable to replacing your bike with a similar quality one without getting too picky. Hopefully you can find one you really like. Good luck and have fun shopping.
 

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I don't know how it is in all states. I know, in California, and with a "cost of replacement," policy, it would be the cost of the bike that is a direct replacement, minus a depreciation. Bikes are considered sporting goods and in Calfornia, they depreciate 10% per year. Three years old, then your replacement cost for the bike, minus 30% is likely what they will offer you. Of course, you may be surprised that they offer you better than that. It's really hard to say. It depends on how likely they feel you could successfully sue for damages. If it was definately the driver's fault, then you may likely get a good settlement. Do let us know how it turns out in the end.

The shame is it's a dangerous world out there for cyclists since they don't have the protection of 3 tons of steel around them. There are drivers I believe should not be allowed to drive because they don't even have a clue how distracted they are.
 

· jaded bitter joy crusher
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You should see a doctor before you sign anything from the insurance company. A colleague of mine was in a car accident a couple of months ago. She felt fine right afterward, but about a week later, her neck started really hurting and it turned out that she had serious soft-tissue damage in the neck that's needed a lot of care since then. She told me that according to her doctor it's quite common for back or neck injuries to take some time to be felt. You may want to get an examination and X-ray to see whether there's an injury that you don't feel yet.
 

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Fredke said:
You should see a doctor before you sign anything from the insurance company. A colleague of mine was in a car accident a couple of months ago. She felt fine right afterward, but about a week later, her neck started really hurting and it turned out that she had serious soft-tissue damage in the neck that's needed a lot of care since then. She told me that according to her doctor it's quite common for back or neck injuries to take some time to be felt. You may want to get an examination and X-ray to see whether there's an injury that you don't feel yet.
might as well get a full physical on the insurance companies' dime...
 

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Even if you're "fine," their insurance ought to give you some money for generally being beat up. Don't be like "oh, whatev, I'm fine." Say something like, "I was injured, but I'm not yet certain how serious it is."

With the bike, get an estimate from a friendly LBS, pronto. Make sure it says something like "Repair cost would exceed bike's value. Replacement cost for a 2006 equivalent bike would be..." Also itemize a list of EVERY piece of kit you had on, with the full retail for each.

At least, that's what I did. I had it all ready and waiting when their agent returned my call. I got a reasonable replacement sum for my bike -- far more than what they would've come up with -- retail for my castelli shorts, atmos helmet, etc., and a small but comforting sum for my road rash.



Remember, they're getting off cheap whatever happens. A big injury lawsuit (even just from one broken bone) would cost them thousands; even a "minor fender bender" to a modern car is a $5,000 repair bill, easy.
 

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My recent experience

Several months ago, I was hit by a car while commuting home. My bike was slightly damaged and my Giro Atmos helmet was cracked. I also had a broken tooth, which required expensive dental work, and a badly bruised hip. The driver's insurance company was very responsive. They settled the property damage (bike and helmet) claim immediately without my having to sign any release. Then they waited for all of my medical care to end before we negotiated a settlement for my bodily injuries and a release.

Immediately after the accident, I took my bike to my LBS (the place from which I bought it and the place I patronize regularly). I left it there and the insurance adjuster inspected the bike at the LBS. I wasn't there for the inspection, but I understand that he was impressed by the high ticket price bikes there and wrote a check immediately to cover the full repair costs for my modest commuter bike and the cost of a new Atmos helmet. If you have a good relationship with your LBS, I would take your bike there and have the insurance adjuster inspect it there and talk to the LBS people. It definitely worked for me.

Insofar as your personal injuries are concerned, I would search other posts here for what others have experienced. Before you sign a release, wait a few weeks, get a check up by a doctor and if you have any significant problems, seek legal counsel. If your personal injuries are minor, the insurance company probably will pay you some nominal sum. What that sum may varies by where you live and the insurance company involved. To find out what is a reasonable amount, I would talk to other people in your area who have been involved in auto accidents.
 

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Slowly does it!

If you can get your equipment settled for separately then go for it. Be careful about settling medical / Deciding if you are alright. I got hit in the middle of Feb this year and was taken too hospital - bruised badly, cuts etc.
Well, the bruises are nearly gone now but tomorrow I will be getting an xray on my elbow because at a certain angle I get really sharp pain - up to now I just shrugged it off because
I hurt so bad everywhere from the bruising but now it looks like it might be broken or cracked. Won't matter to me about her insurance - she didn't give me any details.
 

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If you are not sure about your injury do not sign anything more than a property damage release. Check the statute of limitations in your state regarding bodily injury claims, you have that long to decide what you will do regarding the injury claim.

If your bicycle is no longer available they owe you for LKQ (like kind and quality). However, like previous posters have said they only owe you ACV (actual cash value). That's replacement cost of LKQ less depreciation. That is a negotiable amount, stick to your guns but be reasonable, that is the key to getting them to cooperate. If you think they are going to pay you full replacement cost you will be disappointed.

If you have home owners insurance of your own it may cover your bike as well, subject to a deductible. This may end up being more that the ACV, but claims against your policy work against you in the long run so be careful and think it over.

Best of luck and I'm glad to hear you are ok.
 

· Colorado Springs, CO
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What will you get? Naturally, whatever you negotiate for!

I'm not saying to negotiate something that isn't more than your damage. But, if you don't assert your position that you want a replacement for what is damaged, then you'll get exactly what you asked for -- less than what you were expecting.

If you have the receipt for your bicycle, use this as a guide to calculate the present worth. Then tack on some inflation for the past three years, and come up with a replacement value for the bike. Then, go shopping for replacements/comparable bicycles and determine a reasonable price. If there is a delta between your calculated value and the value of the new bike, then keep negotiating until you get the replacement value. You're probably going to be working with some insurance adjuster that isn't very familiar with bicycles or their expense. So, you'll have to be ready with your facts to educate the agent on what the bike world is all about. And, it's probably more expensive than the agent ever dreamed of.

Depreciation and such can be negated if you do your negotiation properly. What you are expected is a replacement and some compensation for other losses (injury, broken helmet, ripped up bicycling clothing, compensation for your time loss for dealing with all of this, etc., etc.,). Make a list, throw EVERYTHING into the negotiation start, but before hand decide what you are willing to give away during the negotiation to the settlement.

Get a physical! You get thrown off a bike a even 5-10 MPH it's gonna hurt and damage to your body may not be noticeable until it is too late (i.e., after you settled). The wrist damage is especially troubling to hear -- it could be very minor and fixed with ibuprofen and rest or something really serious that could require surgery and physical therapy to rectify. You'll need some X-rays to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong.

And, once the deal is done, don't sign it right away. Give yourself a day or two to think it over and make certain that you get what you were expecting.

The amount of money involved in this may not been a lot, but come up with a contingency plan to get a lawyer involved if this gets ugly. It's like using a nuke to swat a fly, but you might want to have this ready/in your hip pocket in case things get ugly.

I am happy that you are OK. Getting through this with minor dings and bruises to your body is a good thing -- it could have been a lot worse. Sorry your bike caught the brunt of the accident, but better your bike get damaged than you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everybody. Sounds like I better get dug in and ready for a battle. I think everyone is familiar with how this goes in the car world (and so are insurance companies) but it's much muddier water in the bike world. I've been worried about the issue of depreciation from the beginning but it sounds as though this can be negotiated. From experience with cars, "replacement value" is never enough to adequately replace the vehicle lost and you can't expect to hunt down a used bike like you can a used car. Nor should you be expected to in a situation like this.

Suppose the current model year of the bike you are replacing is, in your opinion and perhaps that of an "expert", inferior to the model year being replaced. I guess you just make that argument with some sort of documentation and stand your ground?
 

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Sounds very much like what happened to me last summer. I was hit and thrown to the ground pretty hard. I turned down the ambulance ride, but later that day went to have myself checked out at a clinic. My bike frame was wrecked along with a few other miscellaneous parts, but many parts and the wheels were OK. The driver admitted fault right there on the scene in front of police officers.

I contacted my insurance company that day, and the driver's insurance company got back to me a few days later. They were willing to compensate for replacement costs for just the broken parts, not a whole new bike or anything. They asked me for a description of the bike and my estimate of damages, and they also said that they would check with their sources to come up with their own estimate. They got back to me about a week or so later and basically agreed with my estimate, but they wanted to pay a salvage cost for the bike and also take the bike. I told them that I'd rather keep the bike and negotiate a different dollar amount just for replacement of the broken parts. They got back to me a few days later and agreed to that. In the end it was relatively fair and I finally got a check about a month after the actual incident. I was actually able to build up a new bike and had a few hundred dollars left over.

Now medical expenses are another story, as my state (Minnesota) is a "no-fault" insurance state. This means that medical and property damage costs are separated, and the criteria for paying medical expenses is much more stringent. According to the rules, I would have needed to be seriously f$%#'ed up in order for the driver's insurance company to pay my expenses, i.e. hurt bad enough to miss work or have thousands of dollars of medical expenses. Some bruises, strained muscles, need for chiropractic work, taking an ambulance ride, or even seeing a doc and getting a prescription for pain killers will not cut it, and *my* medical insurance will need to cover it. It sucks.

I know that I pretty much let the driver's insurance off easy, and I'm sure they were very happy to pay me out for damages to my bike. I probably could have gotten a lawyer and pressed them for a lot more, and I might have actually gotten it. If I was hurt worse, I probably would have done that. But in the end I think the settlement was reasonable given the circumstances.
 

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sohare said:
Thanks everybody. Sounds like I better get dug in and ready for a battle.
Any bike shops near you?

My sister got totalled on her roadie (80's schwinn) and the bike shop said that the cheapest she could get a road bike, period, was $600. She stuck to her guns and after a few conversations got the $600.

Take in your pile of twisted metal to your LBS, and find out how much a similarly equipped new bike will cost. Get a copy of the MSRP, and stick to it.

Auto insurance is used to dealing in the 10's to 100's K of damage, and shouldn't bat an eye at a couple grand for a new ride. You just may have to talk to them a couple times and be firm.

Don't pay attention to the talk about depreciation. It's replacement value that counts.
 

· Colorado Springs, CO
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Don't go for parts and fixing up anything. If your bike looks seriously messed up, frame bent/broke, etc., then let the insurance company buy you a new bike and give them the old broken one. Bike versus car (or pavement) at speed probably results in more damage than you can see or correct. A new bike is what to hold out for. Also get a new helment. Things probably happened so fast you don't know how hard or if you hit the pavement with your head. Better to replace the helment (add it to the list too for the insurance company) than to have one with a hairline crack that you don't know about. Get them to replace your cycling clothing too, it probably got trashed along the way of the crash and that stuff ain't cheap.

Good point that wasserbox made -- insurance companies are used to dealing in the 10K and up range. A couple thousand dollars isn't going to make them bat an eye at settling for a resonable amount. Just make sure you are doing the reasonable amount setting as these guys probably aren't too savvy about what bicycles cost or these days -- you'll probably have to do the convincing.
 
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