Greetings kind readers. If you're not up to date on all my past confused and somewhat incoherent ramblings, you're surely welcome to take a crack at them here.
On to the good stuff:
I'm pretty sure that some of you out there don't know about my cycling accident. I was hit by a car while cycling on an errand run from home. It was a relatively slow mishap, but when it's car vs. bike, it matters not. I was thrown to the pavement, mid-intersection. Face down. My poor bike lying next to me.
I was not at liberty to discuss the details of the matter, especially on any social media as was told to me by my legal team. So unless we had a face to face visit, you may never had heard about any of this.
Lot's of bruising, swelling on both legs from the knee down. In the end, the main bodily injury was a fracture to my right foot.
As for my 2015 Soma Double Cross in all it's woodie-fendered, leather saddled, feather weight steel glory, it took a pretty good hit. The frame and fork were bent out of alignment - not much, but enough. The front wheel and cockpit were thoroughly destroyed and thus determined to be a total loss by those in charge of determining proper reimbursement.
Getting back to normal from that point has been long. Frustrating. Maddening. Yeah, I wanted to scream sometimes. The "road to recovery" as they say, started with a lot of do-nothing. No riding. No swimming. No walking. No hiking. No driving. Jeeze. Can I hit my head repeatedly with a wooden stick? Cause that's what I felt like doing for the first few weeks.
It's been about 4 months now and my foot is doing much better, although not totally back to normal. I can ride. Swim. Hike. Life is good again.
And since the legal part of all this is settled, wanted to share 5 things I learned while going through the legal & insurance process. What an eye-opener.
1. Everything is Better when Riding-In-The-Right
As a cyclist, if you're in a crash with another vehicle (bike, car, bus etc.) there is at least a wee bit of comfort afterward that comes from knowing that you were riding-in-the-right.
Anyone watching should be able to tell that the accident wasn't your fault.
Understandably, cycling invokes an awesome realization of liberty and freedom.
Yay! Liberty from a rolling cage that's stuck in traffic. Whoot! Freedom is wind in your face and the ability change direction and short cut traffic protocols all too easily.
But as an old school cyclist (or just an old guy on a bike - take your pick) I have learned that cycling the streets with traffic can be akin to swimming with sharks. Don't do anything that makes your self more vulnerable or a target. You are somewhat hated by motorists just by cycling on the streets in the first place.
Sad, yes. Should it stop you? NO. Many of the motorists out there are cyclist too. They're on your side.
With that in mind, remember your helmet. Hand signals. Stop at intersections. Merge correctly. Lights and reflectors.
Riding-Right helps you avoid an incident in the first place and puts you in the plaintiff position when the lawyers take over if something does happen.
2. You Are In Charge Of Your Legal Case
Sure, you have a good cycling attorney on your side, right? For me it was Thomas Forsyth & team http://bicycleattorney.net/about/ who was excellent by the way, but it's your show. And now you have a lot of work to do.
My nights and weekends were booked until further notice. Lots of paper work. Emails and attachments. My scanner was hot with outgoing documents.
Doctor visits. Followups. All needed to be logged, documented and subsequent paperwork copied and sent to the legal team.
I also spent quite a lot time on the phone listening to that oh so lovely on-hold "music" courtesy of my medical insurance provider. How I want that time back.
Sick days. Human Resources Dept. Alternative working arrangements. More documentation, emails and attachments.
Stick to it, do it all, do it promptly. Promptly.
At some point down the line, it'll be too late to submit that medical invoice or other expense that you found at the bottom of your backpack.
That part of the legal negotiation may well be over, and well, pfffft, that expense is now yours.
3. Your Car Insurance May Be Involved
Make sure your uninsured/under insured motorist (auto insurance) option is maxed out.
If the defendant was driving a motor vehicle (as opposed to another cyclist) and their insurance coverage for injuries are too low, your attorney can work with your insurance company to supplement the rest of your settlement from your own uninsured/under-insured coverage.
Adding uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage is usually inexpensive.
4. Your Net Settlement Amount Won't be as Much as You Expect
Well, duh. And there may be some lofty numbers floated about when you first start the legal process. Don't get too excited, because your net amount won't be that much. The legal process is what it is, nothing against my attorney. No one's getting rich in all this, except I suspect - the insurance companies.
I'm looking at one of my documents called "Contingency Fee Settlement" which is the final breakdown of the money and where it all went.
- Attorneys Fee (A large amount, but worth it)
- Police Report Fee
- DMV Records Fee
- Medical Records & Billing Fee
- Medical Lean
This last one is mystifying to me and swipes a large part of your settlement.
I don't know how this ever got started, but once the medical insurance company is aware that you're getting a settlement, they are entitled to all the money they paid out on your behalf for medical expenses.
In fact, at least in my case - they got their paws on their cut before I did.
5. Be Patient
This could be moved to number one on the list, but I saved it for last.
The gears of law, justice, insurance and all things arcane, gargantuan & out of your control move slowly.
Get used to it. Get on with life. New developments in your case will catch up with you down the road. Not easy, but it's the best way.
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