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What I learned after getting hit by a car while cycling

IMGP1575 It was exactly a year ago this past Sunday that while taking part in the 2010 Rev3 Knoxville Triathlon Race down in Tennessee that at roughly Mile 22 on the bike course I was flung into the air from my bike by a PT Cruiser that was determined at fault. I was fairly lucky in that my only bodily injuries was a fractured femoral condyle (femur).  My bike, wheelset and helmet were also fractured – which would ultimately require replacement.

Since then quite a few folks have asked me to elaborate on the accident a bit more, and that’s something I had been wanting to do, but was waiting for all the relevant insurance pieces to settle out first.  As of Tuesday, exactly 1 year later by date, that has been completed.  Interestingly, Tennessee is one of the very few states in the union that have only a 1-year statue of limitations on filing or processing claims or suits.

With that intro, I wanted to break down some of the pieces that may be of interest to everyone – should you find yourself in the same situation as I one day.  Keep in mind I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.  My objective was not to sue anyone, so if that is your objective – you’d likely take very different steps. My objective was simple: Make me whole again.  Both in the medical sense, but also in the bike equipment sense.  In other words, I’m simple to please.

The First Few Days:

In the days after the crash, the majority of my time was spent either at the hospital/medical offices, or on the phone with medical offices.  I was fairly astounded at how long the lag times could be for things like MRI’s and doctors appointments, due to the fact that I wasn’t considered to be in danger of dropping dead (though, saying I got hit by a car did get me some sympathy in getting earlier appointments).  The key item here was getting those MRI’s.

The first few offices were generally content with giving me a large pile of extra strength Advil and calling it a day.  It wasn’t until the pain fully persisted for two weeks that I finally got a local doctor to take a deeper look and get an MRI lined up.  This of course required more paperwork and validation from insurance.  After the MRI came back, it was determined that I had micro-fractures in my femur causing my pain – this was now close to 3 weeks after the incident! The biggest lesson learned here may be obvious – but it’s actually two parts.

Firstly, ensure you keep a log of every medical visit you have.  But more importantly – ensure that that medical office notes the time of the appointment.  Why is the time important?  See, when it comes time for the insurance company to reimburse you for lost work time it’s critical to have that detail by signed by that medical office. Despite having entered my time in my employers time system, and approved by my manager, I did not have the exact appointment times with notes from each and every doctor.  Thus they would not cover the lost time associated with it.  Since I’m a consultant and bill hourly, this is lost time…and thus lost money.

In addition to the initial medical frenzy (I explain more in depth in that follow-up link a few days after the crash), you’ll likely have a host of insurance related calls and probably a small bit of police related activity.  In may case, most of the issues centered around the insurance piece.  While the police had declared fault on the driver at the scene, the driver did not report the incident to his insurance company.  This actually caused me quite a few issues, as the driver insurance company (Allstate), couldn’t proceed forward on taking ownership of the incident since the driver wouldn’t respond to their requests.

(Side note: If you are the driver of a bicycle related incident – or really any incident – I highly suggest responding to your insurance company.  The driver in this case choose to ignore his insurance company for over a week.  Everything from calls to couriers to messengers, ignored.  He just pretended the incident never happened, never even reported it.  That rather ticked them off.  Not a good place to be in.  Just sayin’.)

Once you’ve got a open communication channel going with the drivers insurance company, you’re more or less set for the immediate future.

Medical Bills and Insurance Battles:

First up was the medical bills.  In my case I had initially provided my BlueCross Medical Coverage for all initial medical visits.  My employers coverage is typically excellent, and thus by the recommendation of everyone involved I just gave my health insurance card initially and then would let the at fault drivers auto coverage sort out re-imbursement later.

This worked rather well for the first month or so.  Then it all somewhat fell apart.  See, BlueCross decided that since the incident occurred on a roadway with a car involved, that my auto insurance coverage should actually take precedence.  They essentially wanted my Allstate Auto Coverage (ironically, the same as the at fault driver) to cover any and all costs of the incident – merely because a vehicle was involved.  This despite the fact that I wasn’t driving.

I argued: What if I didn’t have a car?

They said in that case they’d happily cover it, but since I did have a car with auto insurance, I had to get my Allstate Auto Insurance to cover it.  Of course, when I rang up Allstate, they said that while they could ‘entertain’ the concept of covering it – ultimately my coverage would only go up to $1,000 since I wasn’t driving, nor was my car involved.  And that’s even if they accepted the claim, which they said they likely wouldn’t.  Further, they said this would actually hurt my driving record with them, causing my insurance premiums to increase – despite the fact that I was neither at fault, nor even in a car.

Being the persistent one that I am, I fought this for months.  Eventually the only resolution was not paying anyone.  I had to wait until the at fault drivers insurance piece would reimburse me the cost of the medical bills.  And I couldn’t do that until I was certain there would be no further medical bills This wasn’t ideal for anyone.

Had I been very seriously injured – this could have been substantial, in my case, my medical bills were low enough that I was pretty much able to keep it in limbo, but that was hardly ideal. While in theory the at fault drivers insurance could have become primary for the bills, in reality none of those details are available when you’re in a hospital after the crash ringing up bills.  Down the road, yes.  Initially, no.

As noted above – the biggest lesson learned here is to stand your ground with your insurance provider.  The second item is to keep copies of all your medical bills, and scan them in to your computer.  This is critical when afterwards they need to reimburse you.

image Additionally, I kept a record of every medical bill in an Excel spreadsheet, to be able to easily reference.  Also, I kept track of who had paid – if anyone.

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This made life so much easier later on, having an easy to reference folder in my computer full of scanned invoices, lined up to the Excel sheet.

Equipment Replacement (aka: I’m getting a new bike!):

For most of you here, the next biggest item is: But my bike is crushed! In my case, my carbon race wheels were visibly cracked and crumpled, and my bike frame was deemed to be in need of replacement.

Since I had a Cervelo bike, the process was actually fairly straightforward.  I merely went to my local bike shop that I bought the bike through, and they pretty much took care of everything.  Cervelo has a bike replacement program for crashes that offers a decent discount on replacement (though, cost wasn’t an issue since the at fault driver was paying for any/all replacement at face value).

They specifically note certain crash scenarios in the form that this covers, though I don’t have a copy of it.  It’s a standard form that all of their official dealers have. In my case, I was adamant that the bike frame be replaced.

Had I ever wanted to resell the bike, I’d otherwise have to declare that not only had it been in a crash – but had crashed with a car.  Cervelo’s policy is simply replacement when any motor vehicle is involved, so I didn’t have to push much at all.  In the case of carbon frames, where structural damage can be unseen, I didn’t want to take any chances.  I didn’t want to be screaming down a hill at 50+MPH and have the bike simply snap on a bump due to an unseen crack.  It just wasn’t worth my life to take that chance.

Outside of the bike, keep in mind there are other items that you may not immediately consider:

1) Wheels
2) Tires (in my case, these were $90 each)
3) New Helmet I was fairly lucky in that the above was pretty much it, aside from the bike itself.

Oh, and I charged for the tire glue too. :)

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Remember that once you crash with your helmet, you must replace it.  In my case, that meant a new aero helmet – but regardless of how it may look – you have to replace it for it to be functional next time. It should be noted that Allstate (at fault drivers insurance) did try and depreciate my bike, helmet and wheel costs (1 year old).  However, I pushed back significantly.

I reminded them they were getting off rather easily.  Had he seriously/significantly injured me, my costs could have been much higher than a measly few thousand to replace the bike.  The depreciation estimates were only a few hundred bucks lost, but it was the principal on it.  Needless to say, I won than battle. Finally, in my case, I paid out of pocket the differential cost to go ahead and change framesets slightly from my original P2C to a P3C instead.  You just need to work this out with your local bike shop, and they can take care of it for you.

Time away from work (Lost Wages):

As I alluded to early, insurance providers will cover time away from work.  But it turns out that this was something I didn’t correctly document.  While I had documented it clearly with my employer, I didn’t have ‘Doctors notes’ from each and every doctor documenting the time spent with them, as well as commuting time to their offices.  All time that took me away from work.

Ultimately, I was unable to get reimbursed for this time directly, which was a couple thousand dollars. As I noted above, my primary recommendation here is that in addition to keeping track of the exact times and hours in an Excel sheet, that you also request and scan in doctors notes from each and every visit.

image

While I’m guessing I probably could have continued to fight more for the time lost, it was ultimately costing me just as much time fighting for it as simply ignoring it.

‘Pain and suffering’:

Finally, last but not least, the mysterious ‘pain and suffering’ amount.  I didn’t set out to make money off of getting hit by a car, so I wasn’t one to try and milk this. Essentially, once you and the at fault driver determine that all medical bills are accounted for, as well as all property damage bills (equipment) and lost wages, they then determine an amount to give you for pain and suffering.

This number is derived using strange formulas that ultimately look at the total cost of the incident.  I had read quite a bit about this on the Internet, and the general consensus is that one could get up to three times the amount of the incident. Again, I didn’t ask for anything – so I merely was curious what they’d be offering. Turns out, they offered a whopping $1,200.  This was actually less than the lost wages I had that they wouldn’t reimburse me for.

My goal simply became to get the lost wages amount and call that my pain and suffering piece.  After a bit of negotiation, I got slightly closer, but realistically not much more than a few entry fees for local races. I fully recognize that had I had a lawyer, I would likely have been able to ‘settle’ for significantly more.  Well into the many tens of thousands of dollars more.

But again – that wasn’t my goal.  I just wanted my bike replaced, my bones healed and my expenses reimbursed.  Simple as that.

USAT and Rev3 Considerations:

Some folks have asked what coverage USAT would have provided, given the incident occurred in a race.  This is because USAT carries insurance for any race participant on the day of the race, covering medical expenses related to an incident.  This insurance does carry a deductible that must be paid for by the participant, and is also secondary to any insurance the athlete already has.

Since my insurance was primary, it didn’t make sense for me to pursue that avenue.  Thus, I can’t speak to how that would have worked out in the long term. As for Rev3, they left a brief nice note on my race report post, but that’s actually all I heard from them since race day.  I don’t know if they ever filed an official incident form with USAT.

I do know however that they did utilize the emergency contact information I had listed, which was for my parents – my Mom specifically.  It was Mothers day, at 5AM West Coast time when she received the call.  Not quite the Mothers Day present she wanted to hear – since initially the only information passed was simply that I had been hit by a car,  with no further detail.

I also don’t know if anything was changed this year at the Knoxville race to minimize the chance of the accident occurring again (this being one of the very few intersections that was unmonitored).  I have nothing to say bad about the race and would do a Rev3 event in the future if it fit my schedule.

Summary:

Hopefully you found this useful.  As I said at the beginning – this is simply my story of the post-event pieces.  It doesn’t mean it was handled perfectly, nor does it mean it was handled badly.  It was simply handled the way it was.

The purpose of the post was merely to offer a glimpse of the process, primarily related to the insurance pieces.  Had I been more seriously injured, I probably would have focused on that more.  And had I had other goals in mind (a huge settlement), then clearly I would have had hired a lawyer.  But in my case, I just wanted to be whole again…and to simply get back to racing.

From a riding perspective, I can’t honestly say I’ve changed much.  I’ve always been incredibly cautious about cars out on the roads.  You just have to pay attention to each and every car – no matter how far ahead they are.

In the case of the incident, the car had stopped at his stop sign (I had none) and waited so I could only assume he had planned to wait until after I passed.  His last second decision to challenge me simply wasn’t something I could counter in a race environment.

As always, my only word of advice is always to be aware of everything around you, especially near stop signs and intersections.  In training I make a point of always sitting up and slowing a bit when I come to intersections, driveways or yield signs.  Increasing visibility is key. I’m hugely thankful that I wasn’t injured worse than I was, and just as thankful that I was able to make a relatively quick and complete recovery.

Hopefully if you find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll find a speed recovery as well.

Thanks for reading!

44 Comments

  1. First time I'm reading this story - very glad that you're ok and the damage was "easily" fixed. On a quasi-political note, makes me thankful that I live in a country with socialized medicine - I expect for many the aftermath of dealing with insurance companies and the like are worse than the actual accident.

    Reply
    • Matt replied

      It seems the US healthcare system helped Ray make a full recovery.

      Reply
  2. Amazing to see how the US-way of insuring works. Paying your insurance fees every month only to find your insurance company trying to discourage you to file a claim once you need it. Sure, they're commercial organizations trying to make the largest profit possible, but this goes against the entire idea of insuring yourself, in my opinion.

    Quite glad things are not as bad in the Netherlands as you describe them here. Good thing you were persistent though, got pretty much what you were supposed to get (kudo's for not trying to get a lot more out of it) I guess.

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  3. Francis E. Sweeney, Jr., Esq.

    It's good to see you recovered well from your accident. As a current IM triathlete and former 2x USTS Championship qualifier in 1986 and 1987(I know, I'm old), I'm also an attorney who represents injured individuals.

    It's not surprising that Allstate offered you "next to nothing" for your pain and suffering. Insurance companies are in the business to make money not to fairly pay claims. The problems I have seen on more than one occasion with those that "represent themselves" is that they vastly underestimate the long term effects of their injuries. As I tell my clients when settling their case: "you can't reopen this if things get worse in the future". Good luck to you. Love your blog.

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  4. Wes

    nice to see insurance companies still suck.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I'm glad to hear that you were made quasi-whole and didn't suffer any permanent injuries. I would also be intersted to hear how you dealt psychologically with not training for awhile. I've recently injured my achilles (too much speed work) and not running is making me kind of nuts.

    Thanks for the post.

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  7. I definitely fear the first time something like this happens to me. Happy you posted your experience and the path you had to take.

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  8. Rob

    As impressive as it is to continue on with the race after the accident I would not suggest doing so to even the toughest out there. Imagine if complications later arose? Go to the hospital and get checked out right away - then its on record. If you tripped and fell during your run (and subsequently make things worse) I am sure any insurance company would weasel there way out of paying claiming you should have gone to the hospital first and now you can't really prove the accident with the car was the true cause of your injuries.

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  9. Your incident is also briefly mentioned in the latest edition of Inside Triathlon. There is an article that discusses race safety and they speak with a Rev3 official and note that a race participant at Knoxville was hit by a car.

    Hopefully for everyone's sake, better preventative measures are taken in the future.

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  10. dutchmegently

    Hi DCRM,

    Long-time listener, first-time caller. Another Dutchie too - hoi Maarten!

    I just wanted to comment on your approach to lawsuits. 15 years ago I had a career-ending (olympic-hopeful swimmer) injury after a front-tire blow-out at 85kph (53mph in American money) that caused my collarbone to disappear. The doctors did not identify the shoulder problem - though to be fair, they were focused on the head trauma and the coma - and discharged me after a week despite my complaints that my arm was kind of useless. When the injury was eventually discovered by my GP he initiated an investigation that resulted in the traumatologists being found guilty of negligence (or "malpractice" in american money). I endured four surgeries over three years, lost two years of university, almost had my arm amputated and ended up with one of my ribs inserted into my shoulder.

    The potential for financial compensation as a result of all this was considerable, but like you I decided that I wanted restitution but not profit. Accidents happen and people make mistakes; life is tough, get over it.

    I've never regretted my decision, though I still miss swimming terribly. Until today, however, I had not mentioned this experience for years. The reason? The looks of shock - and occasional anger - from people who could not believe that I passed up free money.

    I wonder if you'll experience the same...

    Glad to see you healed, and thanks for keeping the spirit of humanity burning!

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  11. Thanks for the recap on all the events that occurred Ray. Hopefully none of us will ever need your advice on handling a situation like this!

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  12. Thanks for telling your story. I learned quite a bit from reading it.
    As far as bike crashes go, I am very familiar. I am a Firefighter in the Northern Virginia area and have responded to many in my career, some not nearly as lucky as you. You are very lucky.
    On a side note, have you read "The Long Run", by Matt Long, a NY City Fireman who, while cycling, was run over by a tour bus and almost (probably should have) died? He was told he would never walk again. It's a great, easy read.

    Lastly, do you have an email address where you can be contacted? Mine is FFCaldwell at Verizon.net.
    Thanks and I hope to hear from you.
    Caldwell Clarke

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  13. MB

    Ray, this is just excellent (and that's coming from a lawyer). Thanks for posting.

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  14. Thanks so much for the detailed summary, I think this will be helpful to a lot of people who find themselves in the unfortunate event of a crash. Glad that you weren't hurt worse. Very useful blog, as always.

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  15. Hey all, Please do also carry some tag like http://www.roadid.com with you too please which carries notes about your blood type and any allergies.

    Be safe and enjoy it to the max!

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  16. You are a good and admirable man. I agree with your approach on what you sought for damages. Thank you for posting an honest approach at dealing with the insurance companies and I am glad you were not seriously injured!

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  17. Kevin T

    I am a bodily injury adjuster and I just wanted to throw out a couple thoughts.

    The most important thing with insurance is the state you are in and the laws regulating the insurance company. Your experience was much different because you were more than likely dealing with a Tennessee policy and a Virginia Policy on your vehicle.

    Let's say you were a Minnestoa resident. You would have a BI claim with the at-fault insurance company and then you would go back to your own policy for medical and wage loss. Your bills would have been paid in 30 days or less and you would have been reimbursed out of the policy for MD appts for lost wages.

    With that said, Minnesota residents pay much more for insurance than Tennessee residents and Virginia residents as the state of MN requires more coverage.

    When it comes to a pain and suffering portion we take your medical bills, subtract the cost of any radiology charges - MRI, CT Scans and plug them into a computer program which will tell us a P&S number to offer.

    In your case you probably took the low range of their offer, but you did not need a lot of medical care to get you to pre-accident status and the fact you were able to finish the race is another factor that may have been looked at.

    We run numbers on attorney rep'd files vs not attorney rep'd files and our settlements are identical based on the amount of medical care. What separates attorney rep'd files vs non attorney rep'd is the level of medical care. No surprise you see Attorneys referred many of their clients to certain medical providers.

    Once last thing, All State is notorious for playing hardball when it comes to their BI claims and even their own insureds when it comes to Medpay or PIP.

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  18. Your health insurance company really doesn't have the option of not paying for your medical bills. They are contractually obligated to do so. That is what the thousands of dollars either you or your employer are paying in premiums for each year.

    If this happens in a state like Virginia, your car insurance very well may come into play if you have a medical payments provision (which everyone should get as it not very expensive and provides reimbursement when injured by another). However, the fact that you have med pay on your car provides no safe haven for your health insurance company or for the person who hit (which really comes down to their car insurance company). You get to recover from all 3 sources -- as well as you should. All of these entities are being paid for the insurance policies that have been purchased by either you or the person who hit you. The payments you are receiving are just the products of these contracts. Remember these insurance companies have no problem collecting premiums and they have no problem denying claims, providing you misinformation (such as your health insurance company telling you that they didn't have to pay), or holding their insureds to the absolute language of their contracts.

    In some limited circumstances your health insurance company maybe entitled to recover the money it paid on your behalf, but, again that is in limited circumstances and it does not relieve them of their responsibility to pay the bills initially.

    You are correct that you probably didn't need a lawyer in your circumstance. With minor injuries that resolve quickly a lawyer isn't going to get you much more (if at all) then you can get on your own and almost certainly not enough more to cover the fee and the costs. However, I would recommend calling a lawyer so that people can understand what all their rights are. Depending on the insurance companies for information is a lose-lose proposition. Remember, insurance companies are in the game of collecting premiums not paying out claims.

    The USAT insurance is actually pretty good. It acts as primary if you don't have health insurance and secondary if you have health insurance. As secondary, it covers (after a small deductible) all of your out of pocket expenses. Note that if a claim is to be made it has to be done within 6 months of the date of injury, the race needs to file an incident report, and it pays on bills for up to a year outside of the initial date. While you have to advocate for yourself to make sure that these steps are taken, I have to say from my own personal experience of being injured in a race in summer of 2011, that the USAT's company has been very easy to deal with and prompt in their dealings with me.

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  19. Well looks like this article is a couple years old now, but I've just came here today to the first time. I am sitting here reading this,...in a sling,...the broken collar bone kind.

    No car involved though,..I just hit a patch of ice in a shaded area on an otherwise 40 degree sunny day.

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  20. Lou Briones

    Thanks for sharing your incident. Glad you weren't hurt more seriously. It's a coincidence to state here that I was in an accident where Allstate was the insurer of the person that hit me, too. I won't make this long, but like you, I only wanted to get back on the road. I didn't seem to be hurt badly, just some bruises and scrapes. I was training for my first ironman triathlon and it was my race bike that I was riding. A policeman came and wrote up an accident report placing full blame on the driver. The guy had turned into me as we were crossing an intersection. It was obvious he wasn't watching where he was going because his car kept coming even after it was on top of my back wheel while I was still clipped in. Long story short, the damages were about $800 and the guy turned in the accident report to Allstate. The Allstate rep unbelievably, told me they thought I was at fault and they weren't going to pay anything! I got so mad I hired a lawyer. 18 months later, Allstate agreed to pay $10,000 for the incident. I discovered I don't like the process of using a lawyer to sue an insurance company. Allstate tried to cheat me but the lawyer's tactics didn't please me either. BTW, I only received a small portion of the payment. Lawyer, doctors, chiropractor, et al, took the lion's share. P.S. I fixed my bike with my own money and successfully completed my first ironman.

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  21. DoubleAA

    Thank you for sharing! I have begun my own ordeal most recently. I just got the CHP report back confirming the drivers liability for having made a right turn as I was riding next to her. I have done a lot of similar things for documentation that you have but its always good to hear someone layout how their process went after-the-fact to confirm some self-doubt I have had. Thanks!

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  22. Querfeldein

    After a similar (but slightly serious) accident at an intersection, where I narrowly avoided a car but still crashed, I've made it a rule to always call the police, and not make a "spur of the moment" decision that everything will be alright. You won't know how much you're hurting (I didn't even realise I was bleeding from my knee and elbow, nor did I realise the damage to my bike and clothes), and you won't make rational decisions when you're full of adrenaline. Make a plan of what you will do (call the police) and absolutely stick to it. I sent the driver away, and ended up paying for everything either myself or through my own insurance. I won't make that mistake again.

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    • Joel replied

      As you realize, it's always important to call and get an accident report. Even though the driver didn't hit you, the fact that he caused your crash (if it can be proven) is enough to invoke financial liability in most states.

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  23. zp2001

    Glad to hear it worked out and you are OK. I am happy to have found your website.

    My accident was in 2007. Riding down a street a driver swung their car door open and hit me int he back of bike. I had no idea what happened and found myself flying through the air. I just held onto the handlebars and basically nose dived the bike into the pavement. Driver got out screaming and yelling at me as I lay bloodied in the street. Good news was that i had a slight fracture on my nose (helmet really saved me) and cuts and bruises. The worst was a chipped front tooth. NY State laws states the driver at fault since they must look before opening a door.

    Anyway, their insurance was great. they paid all bills directly to dentist and hospital. I worked with my LBS to get the bike back together. this was the hardest part as getting a new frame meant i had to wait until the new models came out since the current year was out of stock. Cannondale was great. The bike shop wrote up a bill and i submitted for full refund to driver's insurance. no questions asked.

    Lastly, I was like you. I was not out to sue or make any money. however they sent someone to my house about 6 months later to measure my scars. I had none over 1/4" left. I asked what for and their reply was that they wanted to finalize settlement. well, OK. I got a call about a week later that started with all the usually legal jargon and telling me if i accept their settlement i won;t be able to collect anything later. They then told me they would send me a check.. for $20k. I almost dropped the phone. I guess Karma bit that driver in the arse.

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  24. Lucas Bassoli

    Glad to know your okay, I've been reading your blog for a few weeks and really like how in depth you are. I'm 15 and started cycling with a Fuji road bike and after a month got in an accident with a less than a month old bike :( other known as my baby haha is there anything you can tell me to bring up my hopes haha I've been in and out of doctors offices and therapy and am wondering how long everything is going to take. Again, I love your website!!

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    • Rainmaker replied

      Eek, sorry to hear! The only advice I'd give is definitely don't rush recovery, despite how much you may want to. It almost always results in a longer recovery.

      Get well!

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  25. jimbo

    Hi,

    I'll be clear up front I'm from the UK and I have no idea how American medical insurance works, we get it free at the point of need, so I'll leave well alone there

    I do though have similar experience with lawyers and insurance companies. Your point about depreciation is well made. In my experience insurance companies are always nice until payout time, even if you're found not at fault and you have associated police documentation. Always push back and fight the depreciation estimate as much as possible.

    Like you I was lucky to escape pretty unscathed from something which could've be really nasty. The insurance company wanted to pay me £300 for a £2500 piece of kit which resulted in a 9 month fight and a lawyers getting involved. I didn't want the lawyer to get me £10000 for damages I just wanted the cost of my bike back.

    It can be very frustrating but stick at it and you will win....

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  26. Steve Hancock

    saw your post.. and i live on the Rev3 course in Knoxville that you were riding on. I usually stand on the side of the road and watch your race... I missed the 2011 race that you were injured in brecause on May 5 of 2011 I was on a training ride in the same area you were hit.. and I was hit by a man in a 2002 mustang. the man told the local police that he saw me 100 yards before he hit me.. he told the officer that he had insurance (which was a lie) he produced a proof of insurance card.. (that was false)... he said he had a fight with his wife. and a bad morning at work. and so on his way home he hit me. est. 65 mph.. while i was riding on the right hand side of the white line on a major Tn. state why. .. like you luckily i have no recollection of being hit... i do however remember.. waking up in the kudzu... with 13 broken vertebra. with whats called explosion fractures in 4 of them. ... This man also contributed three separate open tib fib fractures.. and an acetabula that was broken into three pieces, to my well being.. also i no longer have full use of my left leg. I cant make love to my wife of 32 years, I piss through a straw now... I have chronic a debilitating pain that makes me grind my teeth to a pulp.. nightly... after 2 years... Like you I have good insurance.. but thats only about 80 percent. of the cost. and after the deductibles.. and the fact i can no longer earn a living..( its a funny thing... just as soon as you can not predict with any certainty when you might shit on yourself.. employers.. don't want to hire you) ...i will have bills that i owe heath providers for the rest of my life... and i will pay everyone them ...... by god....... Anyway, Ive got a great family, and i am still here.. I have a daughter getting married this fall. to a great guy. and i have learned a lot.. i am even well enough to say that in some ways i am a better person.. because of this...... I can tell you that very few of us know how much we all have a lot to be thankful for.. I lost a my brand new Colnago CLX.. in this accident.. but that doesn't matter... somehow.. . i was in the best shape of my adult life.. and that along, with God, and some real good surgeons. at UT Hospital.. and thats why i here.. From my front door i watch the REV 3 ers in the rain this year.. they all look so good.. in the cold rain.. i just walked down to the road and watched and cried a little... i miss it so bad. i miss every thing about riding my bike.. i will find something else..
    I hope to see you come cannonballing down this road in front of my house next year dude...along with the hundreds of other.. who ride ... you know who you are...
    I look forward to seeing rides go by my house everyday.. ... the sound of the wind...whistling of those carbon rims.... Ahhhhhhhhhhhh...

    Reply
  27. Matt

    All the documentation, back and forth with insurance companies, and negotiations makes my head spin.

    You are a better man than I. I would have hired a lawyer to seek a higher settlement.

    Reply
    • Steve Hancock replied

      Well i can tell you that i had a great attorney and the thing is…. in Tn.. if you don't have any insurance… well its on the person you hit…..pretty much no questions asked. its just the way the law is in a conservative state… like TN. they even have a clause in TN law for insurance companies..like the ones that insure all of us… BCBS etc.. to come after any settlement monies you get from being hit by some fool… for instance.. if …a Truck operated by a large trucking company runs over you… and you have a half million in hospital claims.. and you cannot be made whole… by the hospital… ie… they cant make you good as new… then your only recourse is to sue the trucking company…. and they have to pay you something because you cant be put back together….made whole… well in TN the insurance folks are entitled to any and all monies you receive….. up to that half million they had to pay out…. and they will get theirs before you see a dime…
      that is evil.. i mean…. it sort of steals your insurance premiums that you have payed for the last 50 years and never used… until you really needed it.. so your insurance company will step in front of your wheelchair to get their filthy lucre …
      .its sad but this is a really backward state that way… TN education ranks among the lowest in the nation and thats how it shows up …...in local elections… and laws like this… that are shoved through by really slick shark suited politicians.. with red ties...

      Reply
  28. UnkowCyclist

    Well, nice that I stumbled on this blog. I was searching - law suits from cyclists being hit by a car. First and foremost, I'm glad you did not sustain major injuries and it certainly sounds like you are back out there.

    Without going into a lot of detail (this is my weekend to think about what I'm going to do), I was hit by a car in PA while participating in a tri.

    Your story and mine have some similarities; I did sustain a head injury. Along with other broken bones and lots of other injuries.

    I've done everything you've stated above except keeping track of my time off. I'm not an hourly employee or a consultant. So, I've only logged a few days off and worked from home or the office; having to have someone drive me back and forth.

    So now I'm playing the same game you did but as one of the comments suggested, I'm probably going to do the attorney thing...my pain and suffering will last for at least a year.

    Best to you and your next tri season. As for me, I'm not sure I will ever get on a bike again.

    Reply
  29. Peter

    I was hit back in Sept and would recommend letting your personal auto insurance handle the medical claims. That's what they are there for and will go after the at fault party later. I broke several bones but didn't hit my head at all. Having my auto insurance there to handle everything like they did was wonderful as I was in no condition to be haggling with my health ins or anyone else. They have taken care of me very well. I also have an attorney that will be handling everything and would highly recommend finding one that you feel like you can trust.

    If you don't get a lawyer make sure to keep this in mind. Don't rush into a settlement. Many states have laws allowing you to keep the claim open for several years just in case something related to the incident occurs. You might have to have hardware removed, more surgery or some other complication happen months later. Settling the claim early removes the at fault party from liability and leaves you with the bill.

    Reply
  30. It's good that you're all healed up! The driver should have to go back to driving school.

    Reply
  31. Julia

    Question: Did you have to fight with courts at all? Your write up seems to assume the driver was at fault. I was doored a few months ago, and the driver's insurance is refusing to pay, and he is trying to fight the court against his ticket of opening his door into traffic (illinois state law), that he was not at fault. Same as you, just trying to get reimbursed for my totaled bike and medical bills.

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Yeah, in my case the drive was found at-fault at the scene of the accident. Thus, making things fairly easy.

      It didn't help the driver that he then ignored is own insurance company for over a week, so they were already kinda ticked at him.

      Reply
  32. Tom Gallagher

    I was hit a week ago while riding in a dedicated bike lane at the posted speed limit25mph)... A car tried to pass me and made a right hand turn into me. The proverbial RIGHT HOOK .... Driver said she never saw me and was ticketed for failure to yield. I am very, very banged up with bruises and road rash all over my body. My hand became infected and the hematoma in my lower right side has prevented me from doing several very routine task. I don't need the money but this depreciation thing is going to make me retain a lawyer. I have a bike vacation planned for the 1st week in October and it appears I won't have an equivalent bike by that time. ( I was riding a Madone 5.9 full dura ace with a $1200 wheel set. Damages came to $3900 before Trek said not to ride the frame. I don't feel I should have to spend one cent of my own money to get back on a high end quality bike. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • DC Rainmaker replied

      I'd be working with their insurance and being clear and upfront with them in terms of saying: Look, make me whole again from a bike standpoint and I'll be happy, otherwise I'll involve lawyers. You're choice.

      I suspect that might make them focus on things.

      Reply
  33. Soren Cicchini

    I think refusing the ambulance and completing the race was a poor decision. If the insurance company knew that the bicycle was in good enough shape for you to complete the cycle leg, and that your injuries were so slight that you not only did that, but then completed the run leg of a triathlon, I suspect you would not have received anything. They can argue that you and you bike left the accident scene in good enough shape to compete in the Elite class of a triathlon, so you must therefore be looking for someone to pay for damage and injuries that you incurred later.

    Reply
    • DC Rainmaker replied

      The bike was visibly damaged/cracked, there was no real argument there.

      As for injuries, it's actually interesting, the specific type of fracture I received the doctors noted could only come from substantial impact. It was one of the reasons that I was able to get back to running fairly quickly (weeks later), because it wouldn't have had any impact on it.

      I'd agree that continuing probably wasn't ideal, but in a state of shock you feel surprisingly well.

      Reply
  34. Jim

    My wife was hit head on by a car in 2011. Her helmet saved her life. I counted six separate cracks inside it. She has a mild traumatic brain injury, and had to retire early. The driver was heading straight into the sun, at 7:30am, and made a left turn, directly into my wife who was going the opposite direction, on the far right side of the road. He never saw her. Even with the helmet on, the only reason she is alive is neither she nor the car was going very fast. She flew right across the car and landed on her head.

    Lesson learned for us is you can never have too much insurance. The driver had a $100,000 policy, same as we did. We later learned that if we'd had a $250,000 policy, our insurance would have stepped in, after the first $100,000 in expenses, but because our policy was the same amount, no help. Between medical, pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings, we could have used that extra $150,000. But no amount of money can replace a career.

    Second lesson, in a serious accident, is you need to lawyer up immediately, even in a slam dunk, driver was at fault case, to protect your interest. It may hurt to watch the lawyer get one third off the top, but you need them to go against the insurance and medical industries.

    Reply
  35. Helen Simone

    Hit by elderly women , I was headed west, on 2 lane highway, 75. Km,s into a ride, a car was stopped at a stop sign, I was past the car when she made a right turn , knocking me off my bike, onto left lane, lucky for me no oncoming traffic, she had my bike under the front of her car, I think that is when she realized that maybe something was wrong,

    Cars went around me without stopping, I am bleeding, bad left knee, cuts, helmet cracked, I finally wiggled to my bike and dialled 911 as she was not!

    50 days later knee still open wound, need MRI, whiplash,

    Insurance after many phone class paperwork is giving me a bike replacement it was only 2 months old Giant defy.
    Chiro, massage, clothes,

    But Ontario has no fault and my injuries are, so far considered non usable, need major , I consider mine major, as I am 60. And don't bounce 3 times at 25 km,s hit by car very well!

    Reply
  36. Griffin

    This write up has actually been very educational and reassuring. I was hit by a lexus SUV not even a week ago. I was hit on my bike while riding to work. The driver didn't see me at all. They claimed fault for the accident both at the scene and to their insurance company. This has been extremely helpful for my case. I too have chosen not to obtain a lawyer. I really don't feel it's necessary. I have a sprained ankle and some scratches...That's It! I am very lucky and thankful to be alive.

    The driver's insurance has already agreed to pay for the following: Damage to my bike (or replacement cost), Missed days from work, all medical bills related to the incident, and a settlement of some sort. If the accident had been even slightly more severe, I would have considered hiring a lawyer.

    Thank you Ray for compiling this and putting it up here. It has actually alleviated a lot of my suspicions about this kind of accident. I fully plan to start riding again when i'm able and brave enough. Thanks again.

    Reply

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