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Discussion Starter #1
Some of you guys may remember that I had a guy fail to yield the right of way and turn left in front of me in October. I went into a skid and fell, but did not contact the car. I did not have collision coverage on my motorcycle, my company said the type of damage was not covered by my comprehensive, and the driver's insurance company refused to pay anything except for my medical bills. My dad's friend is an insurance guy, and last week got in contact with a lawyer who says that, based on the story that he heard, he thinks I would have a strong case against the driver and that I would most likely win a lawsuit if I chose to file one asking for damages.

I wondering if anyone has ANY experience in a situation like this. I sure don't.

I have a pretty clean driving record, no tickets, and am a college student with a pretty high GPA in a hard major. I haven't accepted any sort of settlement or payment from the insurance company yet, and went ahead and did all the repairs to my bike already and kept track of part costs. I was pretty severely inconvenienced by the whole thing, especially regarding classes. (I really wanted to write to the driver of the car and tell him off and let him know everything I had to deal with, but I held off and have not had any contact with him)

I think the deal is the lawyer will work for a percentage of the settlement, so do you all think it would be worthwhile to get the process started?
 

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Sic a lawyer on them.
 

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I guess it would depend on how much it cost to get the bike repaired. You might have more money in paying the lawyer.
 

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Our experience with a hit-and-run commercial truck driver might be different because a large company can and will stall as long as possible in the hope you'll give up,tire and settle or just go away. If a lawyer thinks you got a good chance of winning, he'll take the case on contingency, taking 30-40% of the final settlement as payment. Since it won't cost you anything, win or lose, why not? Once the insurance company knows you have a lawyer, they might be more inclined to settle. Then again....If you don't want this to take years, (we settled after 5 years; needed the money; didn't get much), you might write the insurance company, one more time, outlining your story, costs, inconvience, missed classes, etc. and tell them if they don't want to negotiate a settlement with you, then you feel compeled to retain a lawyer to assist you. I once had a company come to me at the end of the 1-year filing deadline and offer me a settlement not to sue. Good luck.
 

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Sue him. I sat on a jury of a motorcycle versus car lawsuit where the MOTORCYCLIST clearly was at fault (squid tried to pass a car on the right at about 80 mph on the freeway and plowed into the back of it when the car driver tried to change lanes back to the right). In a civil suit, we only needed 6 out of 8 jurors to vote one way or another and the four of us who could clearly see what had actually happened almost couldn't get two of the other four to vote in favor of the cager. One juror went so far as to say, "but that poor boy shouldn't have to go into debt to pay medical bills." She failed to see the connection that he had brought it onto himself.

Anything can happen in a civil jury trial and the injured ALWAYS has at least some measure of sympathy going for them - no matter who was at fault. You're in the right on this one AND you were injured. It would be hard for me to imagine a jury not ruling in your favor.
 

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So long as you wouldn't have to pay the lawyer anything UN:ESS you did win the lawsuit, I'd say that you have nothing to lose.....
 

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First, as everyone suggested, go with an attorney.

Second, do NOT write that letter to the other party involved, "giving him
a piece of your mind."
That would not look good if he brought that up in court.
From what you say, you've got a clean record and "good character" status.
Don't let a mean spirited letter ruin that for you.

Third, yes, get the attorney to work on a basis where he only gets paid
if you win the case.

All of your medical bills, pain and suffering, and attorney fees can be
recovered and you SHOULD include attorney's fees over and above the
others so that you get the fair amount that you deserve.

We have an attorney on the forum, derryman23.
Maybe he'll see this thread and post up some good advice for you.
 

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I am a bit confused. I thought Michigan was a no fault state when it came to car accidents. Have you checked this out with an insurance rep ?

I am still trying to figure out what no-fault insurance is and what it means in situations like this. I know when I was rear ended in a car ( I lived in Michigan at the time ) I talked to my attorney because I only had PL / PD and the car got totaled. He simply told me to write the car off and forget it. That it wasn't worth the headache trying to get a judgment and then collect on it.

Winning a case is one thing, trying to collect on the judgment is another. It can require more trips to court for garnishments, etc. If the guy ever moves out of the State, then your back to square one unless his insurance company pays the freight on the judgment.

Your best bet is to get a consultation with a lawyer before proceeding.

Chris
 

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Get a lawyer, pay him out of any settlement, and ONLY IF you win. If you don't win, you don't owe him a thing.

DO NOT CONTACT THE OTHER GUY, never, no way no how, let the lawyer do it. It will only hurt you in the long run, bad form, very bad. If he contacts you, tell him you can't talk to him he has to talk to your lawyer.

His insurance company is BS'ing you, they think that since you never made contact that no accident happened, so why did they pay medical? BS, total, sic a lawyer on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Michigan is a no-fault state, but what exactly that means is so convoluted it's not even funny. Add to that the fact that the other guy's insurance has me working with two different agents and one of them tells me that motorcycles are outside of the normal insurance laws and you have a very confused guy here...

I almost think that they were trying to wear me out and make me give up before I got any money. I had been back and forth with the two agents about who was handling the claim for my safety gear because the initial person I talked to (a third agent!) said the one would handle it, and then that person said the other was responsible, that person sent me back to the other, and then that agent said that it wasn't covered.

I'm going to go with the lawyer then and see what comes of it.
 

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Get a lawyer. I had a driver pull out in front of me in November and I avoided contact but ended up injured. Insurance will not pay even if you have uninsured drivers coverage if there was no contact. Live and learn!
I would get an lawyer if anyone could find the other driver.. Police and insurance company can't find her!! Yuor only recourse will be in a civil court and as others have said I don't see a jury ruling against you.

billp
 

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If you could report back what the lawyer said about the no fault law, I would appreciate it. I am still confused over it and cannot get a handle on its implications in " at fault " accidents.

Thanks and good luck with your pursuit of this.

Chris
 

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BillP
You actually have another recourse in this and that is to sue your insurance company for the damages. It is the same if a lawyer made a mistake which deprived you from getting a settlement. You don't have to grin and bear it. Sue the lawyer for negligence and get reimbursed.

Likewise in hit and run accidents where you don't even know who the person is that caused the damages the Insurance company is still on the hook to pay. From your accident it seems that there is a police report and the insurance company knows the individual that caused your accident. It's the insurance company's problem to find the individual...not yours. Obviously if there were witnesses to the accident it helps verify the event.

I would recommend sitting down with a lawyer and getting some advise from them. Don't listen to the insurance company and their rules. Get the money you deserve.
 

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Assuming you're suing someone with money (never, ever sue poor people!), the next thing to figure out is what are your actual damages. These numbers are going to determine what payout you are entitled to assuming you win, and would normally include:

1) Actual costs for repairing your vehicle, which is easy enough.

2) Cost for any medical treatment you required that hasn't already been reimbursed by the OP (that's "other party", in other words, the guy who failed to yield). This would still be a damage even if you had your own insurance to cover the cost. Often, this cost includes transportation costs to/from the doctor's office, so keep a close tab on the gas receipts, parking, mileage, etc.

3) Loss of income. For example, if you were a laborer making $10 per hour, and the injury caused you to miss 100 hours of work, you would claim a loss of income of $1000. Please note that you have to document ACTUAL lost income - if you received paid sick leave to recover, you wouldn't be able to claim a monetary loss on the use of your sick leave for this purpose.

I suspect however, that since you said you were a student, you may not have had income for the point in time; in which case, you may still have a claim to damages in terms of foregone tuition; in other words, but were it not for the fact that you were home in pain, you would have attended class, so you have a loss amounting to whatever the per-class rate is for your coursework. For example, if you're paying $1000 to take a course that consists of 10 classroom appearances, and you missed 5 of them due to your injury, then you have a damage of $500. Again, you need to document the absences somehow. Work with your professor and/or the dean to determine the best way to do so.

Alternately, if you can't document missed class but are so far behind that you believe you will flunk or otherwise under-perform in your coursework, you may want to discuss withdrawing for the current semester as an option with your school. You would thus forego the entire semester's tuition, which then becomes a financial damage you can claim. Usually this requires permission from someone important at your school, which has the added bonus of demonstrating that you were able to convince someone else that you are indeed suffering a hardship as a result of this accident, which strengthens your claim in court, and may even give you a witness to call on if the case goes to trial.

4) "Pain and suffering" - this one gets a bit nebulous - too many factors to sort out here, you would really need a proper lawyer to assist you.

5) Anything else than can be quantified as a damage.

Bear in mind also that assuming you win, your lawyer working on contingency will get 33-40% of whatever actual settlement you receive. Therefore, you'll want to make sure they can negotiate a good enough settlement that you won't be out of pocket on any of your hard damages.
 

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bookman1995 said:
(never, ever sue poor people!),
I did! I sued this low life scumbag in small claims court for not having any insurance. He ran into the back of my car for inattention and then lied about having insurance. The officer working the crash wrote him for no proof of insurance and I used that information in small claims. I also indicated to him in a registered letter that I was going to do a judgment suspension on his drivers license. We never even made it to court. After he found out that I could have his drivers license suspended, he managed to come up with the 2400 bucks it took to fix my car.
:lol:
 

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bookman1995 said:
Assuming you're suing someone with money (never, ever sue poor people)
Huh? What does them being poor have to do with anything?

Because they are poor, means we should excuse them from their
responsibilities for injuring another person?



downinit25i,

One other thing that you might want to keep in mind.
Don't settle with the insurance company on medical bills.
Make them pay for the current medical bills, but also have a stipulation
that ANY and ALL future medical problems that can be associated to this
wreck will be paid in full, by them.
This is one thing people tend to forget... and 5 years down the road
they have some joint problem or something that is obviously related
to the prior injury, you won't have any way to make them pay, UNLESS
you get it in writing.
 

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You got that right, the adjuster will be real hot and heavy to get you to sign away your right to have them pay for later problems with the injury.
 

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I'm an attorney, and while I don't do personal injury, I am a litigator.

The reason you don't sue people without money is because you are throwing good money after bad - you spend more dollars on litigation than you are able to collect, and the only winner is the lawyer.

On the other hand, if your fee agreement with your attorney is on a 'contingency basis' - meaning your attorney's fees are determined by the amount you recover, as long as you collect SOMETHING, it's worth your while dollar wise (but may not be worth your personal investment in emotion and in time committed to the lawsuit).

As for Downinit's case, if the insurance company has already agreed to pay your medical bills, that means they've already admitted liability and the only issue left is damages. Were you to sue, the issues should be limited to damages. At least that's how it would go down in Illinois.

As for how this crazy no-fault crap would effect liability, I can't tell you.

Definitely get a personal injury attorney that will work on a contingency. If it's not worth following up on, you'll find out quick. Consultation will be free. Good luck.

- Dan
 

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Git one!

There are lawyers the deal exclusively with bikers. Get one! They know what to do and how to represent a motorcyclist. A quick consultation will tell you exactly what you can expect and whether it is worth the effort. Any other babbling on this subject is wasting your time.

Enjoy the ride!
 
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