The Chainlink

Good morning. About an hour ago, I was hit by a car while riding on the Lakefront Trail. We waited to receive a formal accident report from CPD. I was fortunate enough to get away with only some scrapes and contusions, nothing serious. However, my front rim is completely bent, my crankset is bent, my seat post is bent and it appears that my rear derailleur is broken as well.

My question is what is the procedure for filing an insurance claim after the crash? I have the driver's insurance information, but I only have familiarity from when I was rear-ended several years ago in a car. Should I expect a hassle from the insurance company? Will I need the services of an attorney? Any help would be necessary.

I do have photos of my bike from after the accident, but did not feel the need to post them at this time.

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An attorney is really only necessary if you will be filing a claim for bodily injuries. That having been said, make absolutely sure that you have no personal injuries that have not yet expressed themselves prior to waiving the right to assert that claim. Property claims should be pretty straightforward, and you can likely handle it yourself. Get two or three estimates from bike shops to repair or replace any of the items damaged as a result of the crash. Submit them to the insurance company for processing. Wait for check. Glad it wasn't worse.

Call the Active Transportation Alliance's Crash Support Hotline: 312.869.HELP. 

They should be able to guide you.

http://www.activetrans.org/crashsupport/hotline

I called the helpline and went to http://www.illinoisbicyclelaw.com/.

I filed a claim in the same manner last fall when we were hit my a car (myself and two children were involved). I received less hassle from the guys insurance company than I did from the police since his statement to them indicated he was in the wrong. I talked to an insurance agent 2 days after our crash, sent estimates for my bike's repair, and agreed to make this a settlement in full. I did receive pain and suffering but my kids did not. Hopefully things are fairly clear who was in the wrong and it will go off without a hitch. Definitely call the hotline for additional tips.

I think we passed you. Were you the one that an ambulance was coming north on the path for and somebody from a group that had rented bikes hit you?

No, that was not me.

So, the insurance company contacted me directly to clear up things. As I assumed, the bike is totaled. They did offer me an injury settlement which in addition to the bike replacement funds will be applied to a new city bike. My scabs have gone away and the bruises have faded. I just missed riding during the pleasant late Spring for a few weeks.

Of course the Insurance Company contacted your directly.   In Negotiation Class the Insurance company settlement approach was explained to us.  BEFORE the person has a chance to hire a lawyer, the insurance company wants to get in there and settle.   For example, if a kid's bicycle is damaged by a driver, the insurance company shows up at the house with a brand new bicycle and a release.  The objective.  Have the kid "want" the new bicycle and get the parent to sign the release before it can be determined if long term damage exists.

Its only been 16 days since your crash.  I hope you got good legal advice and a full clearance from a doctor before you signed the release.

Oh yes, the other rule.  If you meet a nice person, screw'em.

Many big car insurance companies (like State Farm) will let the injured parties enter the claim for injury done from one of their customers' coverage right on the internet.  Most of their websites now have such pages, so once you get the responsible party's insurance coverage information, name, address, date of birth, and so on, it is a simple matter to enter the information and file the claim.  The insurance company will then call both parties that day.  Assuming the car driver stated he was involved, medical costs and the price of damage to the bike (or often replacing the cost of the entire bike) will be reimbursed.  They pay you, and they recoup by raising the responsible person's rates - it is that simple!  Sorry you went through this, but you are lucky inasmuch as you got the driver's information - lots of times the cars just keep on driving (hit and run) and pretend they didn't know what was going on so many of us are not getting reimbursed for accidents we have been in.  However, even then a police report may be filed as in the city it is still possible the accident was caught on a camera if it happened at an intersection and you know the exact time of the incident.

That's an incredible deal FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANY.  They would love to settle all of their cases for "medical costs and the damages to the Bike".  The thing is that the law says that you are entitled to a lot more than that.  Pain and Suffering, compensation for lost work,   actual damages (not just to the Bike) and so forth.    But that's part of the "con game" run by insurance companies.   Try to settle for a pittance by making it "easy".     And fast... as this way longer term damage also does not arise until after the claim is settled. 

SlowCoachOnTheRoad said:

Many big car insurance companies (like State Farm) will let the injured parties enter the claim for injury done from one of their customers' coverage right on the internet.  Most of their websites now have such pages, so once you get the responsible party's insurance coverage information, name, address, date of birth, and so on, it is a simple matter to enter the information and file the claim.  The insurance company will then call both parties that day.  Assuming the car driver stated he was involved, medical costs and the price of damage to the bike (or often replacing the cost of the entire bike) will be reimbursed.  They pay you, and they recoup by raising the responsible person's rates - it is that simple!  Sorry you went through this, but you are lucky inasmuch as you got the driver's information - lots of times the cars just keep on driving (hit and run) and pretend they didn't know what was going on so many of us are not getting reimbursed for accidents we have been in.  However, even then a police report may be filed as in the city it is still possible the accident was caught on a camera if it happened at an intersection and you know the exact time of the incident.

The injury settlement I received far exceeded the costs of my injuries and any pain/suffering, so I'm content. I'm going to run it past my counsel one more time before I sign.

Related note: does anyone know of any organizations that would take a used bike frame? It was the only part of the bike to survive the wreck and I would love for it to be reused as opposed to junked. I don't have any means of transporting it anywhere though...

Like everyone else, I'm glad you are ok!

If you are sure the frame is not structurally damaged and it was a decent bike to start with (not a department store bike)  I'm guessing that any of the local bike salvage operations will take the frame. The Recyclery if you are up north (Rogers Park) or Working Bikes if you are in the middle of town or near south, Westtown Bikes http://westtownbikes.org/donate if the bike is around Humboldt Park/Wicker Park or Blackstone if you are further south (Hyde Park). 

If the bike is downtown or the near south side I'd be happy to fetch the frame and make sure it gets to Working Bikes. 

Louis Silverman said:

The injury settlement I received far exceeded the costs of my injuries and any pain/suffering, so I'm content. I'm going to run it past my counsel one more time before I sign.

Related note: does anyone know of any organizations that would take a used bike frame? It was the only part of the bike to survive the wreck and I would love for it to be reused as opposed to junked. I don't have any means of transporting it anywhere though...

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