Yesterday was Bike to Work Day in Colorado. I went out early and hit up the local group ride at 6:30am and then following the after ride coffee/pastry rode into the office. No more than 100 yards from work, I was riding South in the bicycle lane at 20+mph when a truck turned immediately in front of me across the lane heading West. All I remember is the snapshot of realization that the truck was there, and I was going to hit it, In my mind it sounded like an explosion and I briefly recall seeing things flying through the air. I landed 15’ from the road. The driver stopped immediately, and there were lots of folks who came to my aid.
The good news is that I am in one piece and no broken bones (no idea how I was so lucky). The bad news is that the driver came over to me once he exited the vehicle saying he was so sorry and that he had fu@#ed up and that he had no license. I replied that is was ok, that i was still alive and asked “you do have insurance right?” He said “No”.
The reason for this post is to ask for advice on how to proceed. The driver was ticketed for no license and no insurance and has a court date. I went by ambulance to the hospital for x-rays and CT-scans as there were concerns about fractured ribs and hip. I also have had previous spinal surgery so that was a consideration. I have notified my insurance company, but have not heard from them yet. I understand that I might be able to claim on my vehicle policy on the uninsured motorist part. I really don’t know the sum of the expenses yet, but they will be non-trivial. Bike replacement alone is $15-19k, but there are medical costs, accessories like phone, helmet, etc, lost earnings, and so on.
One of my friends has suggested a personal injury attorney. I am really not sure where to start, and if anyone has had a similar experience would love some input!
I suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in bicycle/auto accidents. Auto insurance law will likely apply - but someone who understands the ins and outs of bikes will help. My understanding is that every state has different laws for these things, so make sure they are Colorado based
I was hit by a driver last summer who had (relatively bad) insurance and am still back and forth with their insurance company. Hopefully your insurance will cover most things from a practical standpoint (replacement cost, etc.) but honestly you need to talk to someone familiar with the law in your state
You may or may not be able to use your own (vehicle or home) insurance. Getting money out of the guy with no insurance is not likely. See if you can get a local attorney to consult for cheap. As someone who is recovering from broken bones in a somewhat similar situation (no applicable insurance and unlikely-to-recover-from-the-tortfeasor… and piles of piles of medical bills… yay America…), I feel for you.
Glad you’re okay. Obviously a lawyer will be more helpful negotiating this, but if there is any chance the guy was on-the-clock for a job you might able to go after the employer. “Truck” sounds like a personal pickup in this case, but there is probably a difference between for travel personal errands vs a landscaper transporting stuff for his boss to today’s jobsite.
That’s awful. Glad you’re OK to type this. I want to see this $19k bike.
I had this exact same experience. Took an F150 FORD logo right to the hip. Bumper hit the crank center. Upper body messed up his hood. Flew across 3.5 lanes of traffic, landed, and had this same conversation. I only had a $650 Giant hardtail though.
I’ve got bad news:
You know what you should do? Nothing. There’s nothing to sue for. You’ll spend a lot of time and collect nothing. Call the cops if they’ll jail him, but he’s just going to get out in short order and keep on keeping on.
It’s OK to be angry about this - it’s not fair. You’re not going to fix or get back at this guy who doesn’t care if life is good. Chill out over the weekend, browse some websites, and order something with a sweet paint job. Maybe don’t spend $19k - I promise the $5k bike is just as good.
Glad you are relatively OK. Worth a discussion with a lawyer for sure. Very unlikely you’ll ever see a penny from the dude without a license or insurance, but hopefully there is an angle you can work with your home and/or auto insurance. Sucks if you have to eat the costs, but so much better than being seriously hurt in the long run.
Glad things weren’t worse, these guys are located in Fort Collins:
I don’t have any experience with them, they say they have free consultations, so it couldn’t hurt to see what they have to say.
This is a quote from their website:
“When you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be uncertain as to where recovery will come from, especially if the person who hit you was uninsured or underinsured. We pay close attention to all insurance issues and, because of our experience providing insurance defense, know what sources can be tapped, including the UM/UIM provision in your automobile policy.
Many clients have offered testimonials about our professionalism and how we helped them move forward after a serious injury.”
I was hit by a truck last September. In Michigan YOUR insurance pays and reimburses you for medical bills, time off work and all things related to the medical side. The driver’s insurance (if they have it) pays for property damage and pain and suffering.
I’m a public defender, which is probably the type counsel that will be appointed to the driver in the criminal matter.
Any personal injury lawyer should be able to handle your civil matter.
Feel free to message me if you have questions about the criminal case and any contact you get from the District Attorneys. Obviously I can’t offer direct legal advice, but can give general answers if anything seems odd/surprising or questions about the process.
Sorry to hear and get legal help. I was rear end by a minivan who decide it was a good ideal to fled with me trapped under the van. Luckily I was dead center under it and my front wheel jammed against the driver’s wheel well. It happened in the middle of a roundabout and luckily the car in front stopped and another block the rear. The driver had minimal legally required insurance coverage and that barely paid for the medical expenses. My counsel help me with a claim against my vehicle insurance coverage. That got DW off my back with a new X5. She still gives a fierce resistance ever time I want to ride outside and it’s been almost 4 years since the accident.
Did you rear end the truck? In my state, the “driver” in the rear is assumed to be at fault but the minivan driver that hit me wasn’t even ticketed!
It doesn’t matter if they have insurance or not. The court can garnish their future wages for however long it takes. For example, if the guy is a deadbeat (as it sounds he is) then the state will seize his money and give it to you for however many years it takes for you to receive your court awarded sum. Insurance just protects the individual from a lawsuit by paying some or all of it.
I just wanted to post a follow up on this. Firstly, thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts and advice!
As far as recovery goes, my ribs on the left side are bruised which is the single greatest source of pain and inconvenience as it is hard to breath deeply, and coughing or laughing is painful. All in all though, I do feel incredibly lucky!
I have spoken to a local attorney who specializes in these types of accidents, but it did not sound like he thought there would be much point in following that path. Where things are currently, is that the medical expenses likely come to no more than $1000 in deductibles as I have excellent insurance. I have been off of work for 3 days, have plenty of sick time. I have spoken to my insurance agent, and my household insurance will apparently cover my property damages (new bike, helmet, phone, etc) and I will be out of pocket my deductible $2k. They will attempt to recover the deductible from the at-fault party, and if successful return that to me.
To answer the one question of whether I rear ended the truck - no. The truck turned across my path failing to yield to oncoming traffic. I hit the front quarter panel (large dent just behind the wheel well where my hip impacted).
So if I take no further action I am out of pocket around $3k, but eventually end up with a new bike and will hopefully be back on the road soon. The new bike is not as exciting as it should be yet, because I was attached to the old one, and it requires me to get my head around some equipment changes (disc brake - I have multiple sets of rim brake wheels that I used). I am sure that once I get on the new bike it will become the exciting new thing, but I have a lot of hoops to jump through first and then whatever time it will take to get it built.
Yeah, just got over bruised ribs myself. It suuuuuucks.
I would suggest acupuncture. It was very helpful for me….my rib muscles were spasming and the treatment helped calm them down and provide some relief. It didn’t solve the issue, but made it more manageable.
Have you thought about donating or volunteering at a safe and healthy streets advocacy group? Share your story with your local city, county and state representative. Long term, I believe, we need to provide better instruction to drivers (during and after licensing) how to share roads with cyclists and pedestrians.
What a wake up incident and that it took place on bike to work day too.