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Lawyer

Old 11-29-21, 10:16 AM
  #1  
EdGear
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Lawyer

I was hit by a car while riding my bike.
I am recovering, hopefully fully.
My bike was severely damaged.
I was lucky.

I filed a police report.

The driver's insurance has admitted fault and set up property and medical claims for the accident.
The property claims can be resolved as soon as I file.
I have 2 years to resolve the medical claims, but the adjuster said they were likely to make a settlement offer.

The other insurance company wants me to sign releases for medical, employment information.
I am looking at starting to file claims.

I'm a little worried about signing the medical and employment releases.
I imagine they need medical information for paying claims.
Can't I let my medical insurance company deal with them?

I asked at a bike shop and they rate bike damage and can give repair or replacement cost.
And that the other insurance could offer a pro-rated value for bikes worth, or I could sue.
I don't trust the CF frame, I'm not sure they can prove the damage.
My bike has essentially lost all resale value.
I want my bike replaced.

Do I need a lawyer?
Or does someone have advice on doing this on my own?

Thanks.
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Old 11-29-21, 10:32 AM
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A lawyer can cost you a goodly amount of what you might be awarded in a settlement. I'd be inclined to see what they offer before I involved a lawyer. Their offer may be reasonable. If they lowball you, then you can get a lawyer.
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Old 11-29-21, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
A lawyer can cost you a goodly amount of what you might be awarded in a settlement. I'd be inclined to see what they offer before I involved a lawyer. Their offer may be reasonable. If they lowball you, then you can get a lawyer.
The standard fee for a personal injury lawyer is one third of your pain and suffering settlement (property damages and lost wages excluded from this). It seems like a lot up front, but lawyers can typically negotiate a far higher settlement than if a victim tries to do everything solo. It makes sense for OP to at least consult some attorneys now, because it will cost nothing up front.

OP, see if you can locate a local carbon fiber expert to look at your frame. They'll be able to tell if it's totaled. If I were you, I'd also audio record every conversation with the other side's insurance company (assuming you live in a one-party-consent state). However, it's still probably best to say, "Here is my lawyer's contact information. Direct any inquiries to them."
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Old 11-29-21, 04:58 PM
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I wouldn't be signing anything until I've recovered, out of the hospital and thinking straight. Can't tell you whether to get a lawyer. However you probably should talk to one and make a decision.

The biggest motivation for getting an attorney would be if any of your injuries will have long term consequence. I think. Or just that you feel you need to win big.
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Old 11-29-21, 05:10 PM
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Do you have your own auto insurance policy? Give them a call and see if they'll help you out. If nothing else, they'll at least be able to tell you the usual process for handling claims since they're used to doing that; it's possible that you can file a claim with them and they'll pursue the other insurance company for you.
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Old 11-29-21, 06:32 PM
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Get a lawyer. You don’t know what you don’t know. Here are a few bicycle lawyers:

https://www.vaccaroandwhite.com

https://www.humanpoweredlaw.com/

Even if you are not in their state, they can refer you to another law firm in your state.
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Old 11-30-21, 05:43 AM
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When I was hit, I hired an attorney. The driver's insurance company was not happy when they called me to ask me to release records, and I told them to contact my lawyer. Their initial settlement offer was ridiculously low, but after dealing with the lawyer, I ended up with a check much larger than what they wanted to settle for, even after attorney fees.

It's up to you, however. Many attorneys offer a "no fee unless successful" agreement.
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Old 11-30-21, 05:54 AM
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If it is just the bike, I doubt you need an attorney.

If you sustained injuries and pain, I would absolutely hire one. You don't pay them if they take the case, their fee is 1/3 of the settlement or judgement. At the minimum, I would not sign anything or discuss settlement with the insurance company until having discussed with at least two different attorneys.....if you were injured
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Old 11-30-21, 06:33 PM
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I got whacked by a car a few years ago. Driver was obviously fully at fault. My injuries took me to the emergency room twice and to the hospital for surgery. It was about eight weeks before I got on a bike again. My bike was totaled. I quickly realized that it was me against the driver's insurance company. So I got an attorney, fast.

His fee was not 33% of the pain and suffering amount. I won't disclose what it was but it was well worth it from my point of view. He worked hard for what he got.

You should consider that you need someone on your side. His insurance company wants to minimize its pay-out.
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Old 11-30-21, 07:27 PM
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The other guys Insurance Company is there to lose as little money as possible. Is always worth hiring an attorney for an hour advice and to review the release documents before signing them and handing them back. As somebody else said don't deal with it until you are recovered and can think clearly.
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Old 11-30-21, 07:58 PM
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There are websites where you can go and state your case and lawyers can review it and decide if they want to take your case on contingency.

Maybe search for "contingency lawyer" if you're interested.
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Old 11-30-21, 09:58 PM
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Get a lawyer! Don’t even talk to either insurance company let your lawyer do it for you. A lawyer has an interest in you the insurance company is interested only in their bottom line.
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Old 11-30-21, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by EdGear View Post
...I want my bike replaced. Do I need a lawyer?
Yes...

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I wouldn't be signing anything until I've recovered, out of the hospital and thinking straight.
Good Advice if possible, a lawyer would know...
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Old 12-05-21, 02:10 PM
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They want medical records relating to the accident to verify your injuries. If they want past medical records they want to make sure you’re not trying to recover for a pre-existing condition. Your providers (insurer and medical) will almost certainly not release either unless you authorize it to do so.
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Old 12-05-21, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I'm working on the property claim.
I'm investigating lawyers.
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Old 12-06-21, 01:49 PM
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I’m going to say it one more time, don’t do anything at all without a lawyer. Nothing at all!

Last edited by Bmach; 12-06-21 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 12-06-21, 04:10 PM
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There's an old saying: The man who represents himself has got a fool for a client.
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Old 12-07-21, 09:29 AM
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indyfabz
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
There's an old saying: The man who represents himself has got a fool for a client.
Generally, but I represented myself when I got hit by a taxi. No damage to my person, but the bike needed a new rear wheel and RD. Driver admitted total fault and wanted to take care of the damage himself, without police or insurance company involvement. Considering it was a custom Bike Friday and I had no idea if the frame had been bent, I was not going to let that happen. The accident literally happened outside of a police station. Still took the cops 10 min. to show up.

After I got an estimate I contacted the driver's insurance company. At first they seemed cooperative, but then they started dicking around. I finally told them if they didn't have a check to me by the end of the week I was going to take them to court and might develop some lower back pain in mean time. They called me back within the hour and told me they were willing to give me a check that day. Their office was pretty close to my house. They delivered it to my house via bike messenger and stuck in my mail slot.
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Old 12-07-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Generally, but I represented myself when I got hit by a taxi. No damage to my person, but the bike needed a new rear wheel and RD. Driver admitted total fault and wanted to take care of the damage himself, without police or insurance company involvement. Considering it was a custom Bike Friday and I had no idea if the frame had been bent, I was not going to let that happen. The accident literally happened outside of a police station. Still took the cops 10 min. to show up.

After I got an estimate I contacted the driver's insurance company. At first they seemed cooperative, but then they started dicking around. I finally told them if they didn't have a check to me by the end of the week I was going to take them to court and might develop some lower back pain in mean time. They called me back within the hour and told me they were willing to give me a check that day. Their office was pretty close to my house. They delivered it to my house via bike messenger and stuck in my mail slot.
Aren't you in "the business," though? Maybe a different branch, but still in the business. If not, my mistake.
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Old 12-07-21, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Aren't you in "the business," though? Maybe a different branch, but still in the business. If not, my mistake.
If you're asking me if I am a lawyer, the answer is yes. Mostly a transactional one in a niche market.
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Old 12-07-21, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
If you're asking me if I am a lawyer, the answer is yes. Mostly a transactional one in a niche market.
Yes, so way more general knowledge/experience on the subject than the average Joe/Jill riding their bike, unless the bike is a Cervelo. Wait, dentists ride Cervelos, correct? What about lawyers? I know you ride the coated Ti Enjin.
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Old 12-07-21, 02:55 PM
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In the USA there are tort lawyers that specialize in such claims. The trick is to find one that is a good negotiator and one that is not going to want a big payday for themselves. Worthwhile to write down the situation as best you can and then send it to multiple attorneys and evaluate their responses.

The attorneys I have worked with were not good negotiators and I had to drive the end result. Many attorneys will bill you regardless of the results and they will bill at their hourly rate and 15 minutes is rolled up to an hour and they charge at that rate even when they have clerical staff do the typing or copying of filing at the courthouse.

Insurance companies have literally thousands of attorneys in their employ and it is very much a David and Goliath situation. I had a $14,000 claim a few years ago for damage to my property and the agent for the insurance company offered me $7,000. I told the agent that if I had to go to court it would be for the amount of the loss in market value to my house or more than $50,000 and two days later they agreed to the $14,000 payment. They expected me to settle for the $7,000 as evidently most of the time people do.
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Old 12-08-21, 01:37 PM
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I would suggest looking up bikelaw.com
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Old 12-09-21, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Yes, so way more general knowledge/experience on the subject than the average Joe/Jill riding their bike, unless the bike is a Cervelo. Wait, dentists ride Cervelos, correct? What about lawyers? I know you ride the coated Ti Enjin.
Never did anything close to tort/injury law. But my education and experience came in handy. Driver admitted 100% fault at the scene. Damages were relatively minimal. IIRC, less than $300. Ultimately, no insurance company in its right mind is going to fight that in small claims court because they would lose and have to pay not only the damages but court costs on top of that. They dicked around so I had to play the lawyer card.

Don't know the preferred bike of lawyers. However, I did know a dentist who rode a Serotta Ti, demonstrating that some stereotypes have some basis in reality.
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Old 12-09-21, 10:16 AM
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I thought lawyers flew Beechcraft Bonanza's. Didn't know they had a bicycle favorite too. <grin>
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