don’t make me be that guy

May 5, 2009

Last week I told you about waking up flat on my back in a gas station parking lot while paramedics cut my prized possessions off of me. According to the several witness statements, it happened a bit like this:

bike accident 1

That’s State Street in Pleasant Grove, which must be a sister city to Golden Valley, where the Keebler Elves’ less desirable cousins live. I lived in Pleasant Grove at the time, and often rode my bike to work in Orem, about 6 miles south of my house.

I know that diagram, in all its glory, makes State Street look like the autobahn, but really, it’s no big deal. It’s six lanes, with a turning (chicken) lane in the middle, and very large shoulders where we cyclists can hang out. You know. To the right of that magic white line.

So as you can see from my very professional and descriptive diagram, I was just riding along, minding my business, heading to work. And, actually, that’s the last thing I remember.

What the several witnesses tell me happened is that the light in the intersection BEHIND me changed, and the traffic, heretofore stopped, was now not stopped, and a large delivery truck, the one so gloriously depicted in my diagram, swerved from that north bound left lane to beat the oncoming traffic and get to the gas station. Where I was.

I slammed into the passenger door, my head/helmet breaking the window, my flailing arm ripping the oversized mirror off, crumpling my helmet, my wheel, and the front of the frame. And then I woke up on my back.

And so the insurance adjuster for the delivery company comes to my office a few days later to discuss it. I tell him, dude, you don’t have to worry about me, I’m not one of THOSE guys, this should be really easy. Just replace my stuff and cover my medical bills. We’re good.

He smiled. But not one of those smiles that make you feel better. This was the other kind of smile.

“Well, my job is to decide what our liability it. You know, assign percentages of blame.”

But, but, your guy swerved across 4 lanes, right into me, while I was just riding along, on the shoulder of the road.

“Sure, but it’s never ALL one party’s fault. Maybe you should have been watching out more carefully.”

I shook him off. Dude, I said. My stuff, including my helmet, my bike, my messenger bag, my sweatshirt, can’t cost you more than about $1500.

“Oh, that stuff is separate. We don’t replace stuff. We decide how much you could sell it for today, and give you that.”

Wait, like my sweatshirt? You mean, you decide that I’ve had my sweatshirt for a year, and now I could sell it for $10 and that’s what you give me?

“You got it.”

And my helmet?

“Same.”

Okay, look, I don’t want to be that other kind of guy. I don’t want to retire on this, I don’t want the driver of the truck killed or anything. Just replace my dirt bag stuff and cover my medical.

He smiled that smile again. And now so did I, this time with HIS kind of smile.

In the end, I avoided spinal fusion surgery (against the surgeon’s advice, but since the prognosis was only like 50/50, I rolled the dice), and then bought a sparkling new minivan with the money his company gave me. Oh, and a new sweatshirt and helmet. My messenger bag I just had repaired. Don’t want to get too crazy. Cuz I’m not that guy.

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9 Responses to “don’t make me be that guy”

  1. Rick S Says:

    could this have something to do with why your hands are always so cold? You need to go back for round 2 and get more funding. Maddy needs a car in a few months.

    I ride State a couple times a week. Come join me and we can find a way to get Maddy her car.

  2. KanyonKris Says:

    From your diagram it looks like the truck t-boned you, but you say you hit the passenger side. My guess is the driver saw you at the last second and tried to avoid you by swerving left thus swiping you with the passenger side – is this right? (According to the witnesses.)

    So this insurance guy was as sleazy as the personal injury lawyers make them out to be? He really started negotiations by trying to screw you over? Did you consult a lawyer or go it solo?

    Thanks to this story my wife has gone from DefCon 1 to 3 in concern I’m going to get hit on my road bike.

  3. rookieroadracer Says:

    Awesome! I absolutely love stories like that. I was once rear-ended at a crosswalk, that had people in it, on my motorcycle. The kid that rear-ended me admitted that he was PICKING PIMPLES ON HIS NECK IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR when he hit me, but that he STOPPED AS SOON AS HE HEARD THE CRUNCH! All I wanted was my bike fixed. Doctors wanted me to do all sorts of stuff, but I figured I’d heal eventually and didn’t want to spend the summer days after work in PT & at the chiropracter. Turns out that’s what I had to do, just to get my bike fixed. Probably cost them 10x what it would have to just fix my bike. I understand these guys have to minimize expenses against the people trying to fleece them, but really, when the party they are representing is at fault and the victim says “oh, just replace my stuff and we’ll call it square” they should hand you a check, a pen to sign off on future suits, and then do a little dance before the ink of your signiture is even dry.

  4. bikemike Says:

    i got hit by a personal injury attorney, boy, talk about the slime at the bottom of the kiddie pool.
    his insurance company wouldn’t even let him in the room when we went before a judge for a pre-trial settlement.

    what a poopie head.

  5. mark Says:

    Had a pretty similar thing happen on the way to a ride once, except it was a blazer instead of a delivery truck, and we were in a car driving to the trailhead instead of pedaling. And it was a two lane road with an island instead of six lanes. But other than that it was exactly the same.

    My friend, whose car we were in, got about $3K for his totaled ’94 corolla. I got about $6k for medical bills and damage to my bike that was on the roof. The dude in the passenger seat, let’s call him Levi Love, got $80k because he broke his foot. I think Levi Love was the only one who hired an attorney.

  6. fish Says:

    I had exactly that same conversation with an insurance adjuster after I smashed the passenger side glass on a small truck that pulled in front of me after cutting across a median. I never lost consciousness though. Same story – they decided to play hard ball while I was being nice about it.

  7. erol Says:

    sorry brother, but i promise you that you don’t have to be “that guy” to hire appropriate representation. you need a lawyer on speed dial for these situations. you dont have to be faking injuries and sueing people to need lawyers. i have learned this recently dug, a good lawyer is worth every penny in what he or she will save you in grief as much as green. one call and they will be happy to get off with just buying your stuff. you are being more than generous and they are taking advantage of you, not the converse.

  8. tohellandback1st Says:

    if it’s YOUR insurance company (and policy) you are dealing with, they will usually replace your stuff. if it’s someone else’s company, they start in with the depreciation stuff… “we don’t want to make you better off than you were before and since you didn’t have a brand new helmet…”

    we’ve all heard how a new car loses half its value as you drive it off the lot; well, apparently, so does that sweatshirt, as soon as you walk out of the store.

    i learned this when my neighbor’s new ac flooded my hardwood floor…i ended up going through my own insurance and paying the $500 deductible since it was cheaper than replacing the floor with what the ac company’s insurance wanted to pay me. of course, now, i risk being dropped by my insurance company if it happens again.


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