Many injured bike riders make the mistake of waiting to get a settlement check months and years after a crash with a negligent truck or car driver. With a smashed bike, cracked helmet, broken GPS or cycle computer and perhaps bloody cycling clothes, a number of injured athletes, bicycle commuters and bike racers replace their ruined equipment and kits, and unintentionally give the insurance companies an "interest free loan" in the process. How is this possible ?
When a bicycle accident case is reported to a truck or car driver’s motor vehicle liability, the claims adjuster "sets reserves." In other words, the insurance company’s employee puts aside money to pay the claims. It is plural because many car insurance policies provide for coverage for PROPERTY DAMAGE ("PD claims") as well as BODILY INJURY ("BI claims"). The longer they have the use of this money, to invest, place in reserves, keep on their books, the better their bottom line (and the worse the injured cyclist’s !).
However, many injured cyclists either do not know to request reimbursement for their property losses and often settle their cases at the wrong times and for the wrong amounts. Virginia biker injury lawyer Doug Landau of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. points out that bicycles, components, equipment and clothing do not "heal" over time. Unlike physical injuries, which take different amounts of time to heal among cyclists, damaged property stays damaged unless it is fixed, or in the cases of helmets, frames and glasses, replaced. It is important to assemble the proof of losses after a bicycle accident. Sending copies of the sales receipts, photographs of the equipment claimed to have been damaged in the car wreck or clothing cut apart by the EMTs after an accident with a negligent trucker. Without documentary and photographic support, most insurance adjusters will not fully appreciate the claimed losses and their settlement offers to the injured bikers will be much less than the actual losses caused by their insured motor vehicle operators. In tomorrow’s post, W&OD Trail bike crash lawyer Landau will look at how to legally and properly get two settlement checks from the same negligent driver’s car insurance company.