The Chainlink

A friend of mine who I occasionally ride with in the AM from Oak Park to the Loop was hit by a car on Monday just west of the intersection of Washington and Homan.  He was riding in the bike lane on Washington.  As you cross Homan into Garfield Park, the road splits to the north (Schrader Blvd) and south (Washington Blvd).  The driver crossed from the lane on the left of the bike lane (which is clearly marked and bends south onto Washington through the split) right onto Schrader NB, mowing down my friend, who was right next to her.  Not only is the bike lane marked all the way through the split, but there is a right turn lane to the right of the bike lane, so there's zero excuse for a driver to cross the bike lane.  

He's OK - a little road rash, sore ribs.  The crash ruined his rear wheel, cranks and bars.  He had a trip to the ER and will have some med bills.  

The driver initially fled the scene, but a another driver who saw the incident gave chase, caught her, and somehow convinced/compelled her to return to the scene.  She was completely belligerent and accused my friend of causing the accident.  Police and paramedics arrived.  The police acted fairly and took a full report.  The driver told some unbelievable story about how she was being harassed and is the victim here.  The driver who pursued the driver who hit my friend was driving a commercial vehicle with a front-mounted video recorder that was running and which he think captured the accident.  That guy alerted the police officer and gave him a copy of the recording (how he did this I don't know).

So yesterday my friend gets a call from the driver's insurer, Geico.  Although (1) the police report has not been finalized (the investigating officer says it will be ready early next week after they review the video) and (2) Geico has not even called the police to see what they say, Geico has concluded that no one is at fault and that my friend should be responsible for 50% of his damages.  Based on a discussion with the police officer, the police appear to have concluded the driver was 100% at fault, but we have to wait to see the report.

Although he has only begun to fight, it just shows that you can be victimized not only by drivers but by their insurers, even where the police properly do their job.

(Incidents like this are extremely frequent at this intersection, either with cars making right turns onto Schrader from the left lane or cars exiting Schrader onto Washington and plowing through whatever is in their way--there are no stop signs.)

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My layman's $0.02, based on my own experience:

Call Active Trans' crash support hotline at 312-869-4357.

Then consult a lawyer that specializes in bicyclists rights. There are various ones in Chicago and the crash hotline can provide you with a list of them.

Until you have talked to a lawyer do not answer the phone when the insurance company calls.

Then you already knew that insurance companies are not in the business of paying money to people who should be paid :-)  Even one's "own" insurance company is not one's friend.  


Andy Moss said:

It's a damn good thing I am a lawyer who specializes in suing insurance companies....  The Active Trans suggestion is helpful.


Then you also know that you shouldn't be discussing this case in an online forum.

Andy Moss said:

It's a damn good thing I am a lawyer who specializes in suing insurance companies....  The Active Trans suggestion is helpful.

Duppie said:

My layman's $0.02, based on my own experience:

Call Active Trans' crash support hotline at 312-869-4357.

Then consult a lawyer that specializes in bicyclists rights. There are various ones in Chicago and the crash hotline can provide you with a list of them.

Until you have talked to a lawyer do not answer the phone when the insurance company calls.

Is the Geico call a first step towards getting your friend to accept a mini-settlement and sign a release?

Also-- the way you described the perp's behavior upon returning to the scene . . . police h a t e that chit; no doubt it worked against her.

Please encourage your friend NOT to talk to Geico. Preserve all physical evidence (damaged bike, clothing and anything else) and take photos of it (including any remaining evidence of injuries) and make those calls to the crash support hotline and a lawyer.  

h' said:

Is the Geico call a first step towards getting your friend to accept a mini-settlement and sign a release?

Also-- the way you described the perp's behavior upon returning to the scene . . . police h a t e that chit; no doubt it worked against her.

Do NOT fall into the trap of answering. There are several individuals on this forum who offer more heat than light on just about any subject. Leave them in a non-responsive posture. Capiche?

Andy Moss said:

Says who? On what basis could you possibly think that?

Andy,

I'd be happy to help. Please tell your friend to review the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers website at www.IllinoisBicycleLaw.com and to contact me. My cell is 312-208-7702. Tell them to call anytime.

Not a very good one then...

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

Have them contact a competent attorney who specializes in these things; several are on this forum and advertise on it.

Preserve all evidence.  Get a good estimate but have no repairs made until the attorney OKs them.

Andy Moss said:

It's a damn good thing I am a lawyer who specializes in suing insurance companies....  The Active Trans suggestion is helpful.

Duppie said:

My layman's $0.02, based on my own experience:

Call Active Trans' crash support hotline at 312-869-4357.

Then consult a lawyer that specializes in bicyclists rights. There are various ones in Chicago and the crash hotline can provide you with a list of them.

Until you have talked to a lawyer do not answer the phone when the insurance company calls.

Andy,  I hope your friend recovers quickly and can get back onto a bike without any lingering issues/fears.  This kind of accident collision sucks.  I hope they throw the book at this person for leaving the scene.  Partial credit for coming back after being chased-down but that doesn't really count for very much.   

Humans stop when they run over someone.  Those that don't/won't and run away  pretty much lose the right to claim that label in my book.

I've had a couple of incidents where the other party's attorney called me and told that their clients were filing suit, which, at both times, were clear that the incidents were their fault.

I hung up and told them to talk to my attorney, and both times, my insurance called me days after that and told me that the other party settled.

My take is that:

1. Don't talk to their attorneys without your own present

2. Get your own lawyer

3. Never admit fault to them

4. They will always try to do this, no matter who was at fault

I'd say that you should talk to Mike Keating. His company logo is on the right: Illinois Bicycle Lawyers.

Curious whether this sort of rationale applies to threads where people are complaining about a police officer who appears to be using unnecessary force when dealing with cyclists who are reportedly in the bike lane but complaining about the intrusion of the vehicle of the off-duty officer?

My immediate reaction when I read that thread was "why not report the incident to the police rather than air it on this forum?" And especially since the kinds of remarks made about police in general were rather ugly. In fact on their Facebook site it was especially regrettable. I note after just looking that the ugliest remark about "hating cops" in that thread seems to have been expunged.

But again the question needs to be addressed, why was that thread on this forum allowed to continue without there being any similar kinds of admonishments from you? I ask in the interest of fairness to all parties including the police officer who was probably discussed here before ever hearing anything from his superiors.

His union representative would probably be quite eager to get copies of that thread, don't you think?


notoriousDUG said:

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

Please don't muck up this thread with your bitter personal vendettas relating to mysterious other discussions that only the individual targeted by your harassment would be aware of. For someone who's been kicking around the 'net for so many years and even had their own website, what, 15 years ago(?), you seem to have a really hard time understanding how a discussion board functions.

O said:

Curious whether this sort of rationale applies to threads where people are complaining about a police officer who appears to be using unnecessary force when dealing with cyclists who are reportedly in the bike lane but complaining about the intrusion of the vehicle of the off-duty officer?

My immediate reaction when I read that thread was "why not report the incident to the police rather than air it on this forum?" And especially since the kinds of remarks made about police in general were rather ugly. In fact on their Facebook site it was especially regrettable. I note after just looking that the ugliest remark about "hating cops" in that thread seems to have been expunged.

But again the question needs to be addressed, why was that thread on this forum allowed to continue without there being any similar kinds of admonishments from you? I ask in the interest of fairness to all parties including the police officer who was probably discussed here before ever hearing anything from his superiors.

His union representative would probably be quite eager to get copies of that thread, don't you think?


notoriousDUG said:

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

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