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Hey everybody, long time, no smell.
I need some advice, and solid advice at that.
Here's the setting. I live in Tennessee. It was 30 minutes before dark on a two-lane road (one in each direction). I was heading east, and was just passed by a car, and a truck traveling west ( heading in my direction) was waiting on that car so that he could turn left (south). With no regard to me, he turned left with me travelling about 25 MPH down a slight decline. Needless to say, there were 100 different things I would do differently at this point, but I applied my brakes slightly "just in case" but to no avail; I really thought there was no way this bonehead couldn't see me. In that split second I had to make a decision, I decided to ram the truck since there was oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, and no time to bailout to my right (into mailboxes). I hit the truck in the back right quarterpanel, flipped over the truck and landed on my back in the middle of the road. With all the luck in the world and maybe a little more, I suffered a 3rd degree sprain of my right ankle, a bruised humerus, some stitches in my knee, and enough black and blue to fit in at Raiders mini-camp. No broken bones, no head pain, no spine trouble. Thank God for simple gifts.
Despite the fact that I am doing better (although still on my back typing this message during my 3rd day of bedrest), and should fully recover, my Trek 5200 was not so lucky. I plan to take it to my LBS, but remembered some advice I got a while back about going to an attorney with it first. I am positive it is totalled, as well as the bike clothes the EMTs cut off of me before my ambulance ride to the hospital.
My questions are simple....what should I do? Retain an attorney ASAP? Dig up my equipment receipts? What are my rights? Can I expect to be made whole again by the truck-owner's insurance company? How? What about my medical bills? Basically, what should I do?
Any experience would be welcome. Thanks in advance, and may all your rides be better than my last.

Scott
 

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Police report?

What does the police report say? I assume that it states that the other guy was clearly at fault? With that in hand, you should talk to your insurance agent about how things work in your area/state. Then you know how to proceed, which is most likely to contact the guilty party's insurance company. Don't sign anything as you don't know if there might be long term consquences of your injuries. It won't hurt to point that out to the insurance company. Be matter of fact and courteous, but clear that you have been injured significantly both physically and monetarily by the actions of their client. It may take a few months to sort this out. You may be able to get a check for the bike right away, but don't fall for the "just the parts that were damaged" mind set, as your bike took a major hit and is likely never going to be the same (unless you're sure that it is just scuffed up). Getting a lawyer involved should be held back as a potential threat to an uncooperative insurance company, not the starting point. A lawyer would take a very large chunk of any settlement that might result, and you may be able to do just as well without one.
 

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Unless you had a stop sign or yield sign its the truck drivers fault for causing the accident by making a left turn and failing to yield right of way to you. At the time of the accident their should have been an exchange of information. You should have his name and he should have yours. You didnt say if the Police investigated the accident, that would be helpful because they would have all the information. Its the drivers responsibility to call his insurance company-it wont do you any good to call them.

Call the driver and tell him you havent heard anything from his insurance company. That should get the ball rolling. If he has insurance you are going to get your bike fixed and some money for the bills and probably some more for pain and suffering. It could be up to 10k but probably less. If you think you need more then you get an attorney. Anyway you should have a call from the insurance company by noon on Monday. If not call the guy back and find out what the problem is.

If the guy in uninsured you have a problems. You will have to add up all your bills and take him to small claims. Typically you get a judgment-once again no attorney is needed. With the judgement you fill some papers with the Department of Licensing and he gets his license suspended for about 10 years or until he pays you. Typically you will eventually get paid Small Claims usually has about a 10,000 limit. If it goes over that you might need an attorney but it might cost more than its worth.

If this guy has insurance you will probably find the insurance company pretty easy to deal with. A 20k claim is something they pay all the time. The do get excited though on big claims.
 

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I wouldn't bother with an attorney.

In Tennessee, the small claims court is General Sessions Court. About $100 filing fee generally. $15,000 limit I believe.

But first.

The insurance policy you have for your car may cover you on a bicycle. Check. If so, they will go after the other guy. If he isn't insured, then your uninsured motorist coverage may cover the machine and injuries. If you think your insurance should, and the insurance company denies it, then see an attorney or study up on suing your own insurance company. Assuming you're willing to get another one!

If you aren't insured, then gather all receipts, copy, send a demand letter to the driver and his insurance company.

I hope you have a police report.

If the other driver is cited, then your burden of proof is easier in a trial. Look up negligence per se.

Have fun!
 

· You're Not the Boss of Me
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As an attorney, whether or not a non-injury accident requires legal counsel is, I think, a close call. You'll pay a contingency plus hard costs to settle a claim that is probably relatively modest, and in a case where, based on your description (if I understood it) liability is probably uncontested.

Get medical and equipment expenses total and make a demand on the driver, including a request that he put his insurance carrier on notice of your claim. Your demand must be large enough to include some wiggle room for settlement, AND should cover non-economic damages (pain, suffering, inconvenience). Impose a deadline.

If you get the run around, or ignored, counsel may be your only option. But don't start too low... it never works in settlement negotiations to INCREASE one's demand. But keep it low enough to motivate them to respond. For example, if I had $100 in meds, $1500 in equipment damage, etc., I may open with a $4000 demand, but YMMV. If you are missing time off work (lost wages), then it may go up. Some folks adhere to a "three times out-of-pocket losses" calculation for settlement... ie., $2000 out-of-pocket means $6000 settlement. But rules of thumb are made to be broken.

Also, if your health insurer paid for your medical visit, they technically have a lien on settlement proceeds enough to cover what they paid. If you made a health insurance claim, send them a letter notifying them of any claim you are asserting against the driver.

I am not licensed in your state, am offering only some preliminary thoughts, not to be relied on as legal advice. DISCLAIMER!
 

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mandovoodoo said:
The insurance policy you have for your car may cover you on a bicycle. Check. If so, they will go after the other guy. If he isn't insured, then your uninsured motorist coverage may cover the machine and injuries. If you think your insurance should, and the insurance company denies it, then see an attorney or study up on suing your own insurance company. Assuming you're willing to get another one!

If you aren't insured, then gather all receipts, copy, send a demand letter to the driver and his insurance company.

I hope you have a police report.

If the other driver is cited, then your burden of proof is easier in a trial. Look up negligence per se.

Have fun!
Everything I have ever heard counters this claim. Your car insurance won't pay for your bike if it was damaged on the roof of your car why would they pay if your car wasn't involved? Unless Tenn. has some strange coverage norms... But if you can't get the guy to pay (screwed if no police report) then look to your homeowner's policy or renters policy.

And get a lawyer. His insurance won't pay unless they are made to. Just the sad way it is.
 

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jtolleson said:
As an attorney, whether or not a non-injury accident requires legal counsel is, I think, a close call. You'll pay a contingency plus hard costs to settle a claim that is probably relatively modest, and in a case where, based on your description (if I understood it) liability is probably uncontested.

Get medical and equipment expenses total and make a demand on the driver, including a request that he put his insurance carrier on notice of your claim. Your demand must be large enough to include some wiggle room for settlement, AND should cover non-economic damages (pain, suffering, inconvenience). Impose a deadline.

If you get the run around, or ignored, counsel may be your only option. But don't start too low... it never works in settlement negotiations to INCREASE one's demand. But keep it low enough to motivate them to respond. For example, if I had $100 in meds, $1500 in equipment damage, etc., I may open with a $4000 demand, but YMMV. If you are missing time off work (lost wages), then it may go up. Some folks adhere to a "three times out-of-pocket losses" calculation for settlement... ie., $2000 out-of-pocket means $6000 settlement. But rules of thumb are made to be broken.

Also, if your health insurer paid for your medical visit, they technically have a lien on settlement proceeds enough to cover what they paid. If you made a health insurance claim, send them a letter notifying them of any claim you are asserting against the driver.

I am not licensed in your state, am offering only some preliminary thoughts, not to be relied on as legal advice. DISCLAIMER!
my non-legal opinion after going through this personally...if you're injured or suspect you might be injured and need long-term medical care/rehab then get an attorney. If you are not injured and just have property damage then settle it yourself.
 
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