If you are hurt in a crash with a car your lawyer should help you get your bike repaired or replaced as part of their work on your injury claim, at least I do in my practice. What if you weren’t injured but your carbon frame got whacked. Here are some steps to consider in handling your claim.
- Take good quality pictures of the damage. Don’t rely on the adjuster to understand bike frame damage. Include the photos with your claim.
- Keep your frame until your case is fully settled. If the insurance company replaces the frame or a part they are entitled to have you give them what they replace.
- Have your frame inspected by a shop you trust. Get a written estimate which includes a description of each component needing repair or replacement.
- If the shop is recommending replacing your frame, have them put it in writing and have them explain why. If you’re like me, you wouldn’t ride a carbon frame after a collision with a car, even with no visible cracks. But the insurance company will require more than your opinion. They may rely on the opinion of the shop if they strongly explain the safety concerns and industry standard.
- If visual inspection reveals no visible cracks and the adjuster doesn’t want to replace it, get an estimate for having the frame or carbon component disassembled and shipped for x-ray inspection. The cost should be part of your property damage claim. You may get resistance from the adjuster, sometimes they will go ahead and pay the replacement depending on the adjuster and the significance of the collision rather than pay for the testing and the replacement as well.
- Florida requires all cars to be insured with at least $10,000 in Property Damage Liability insurance which pays for property damage the driver causes in an accident. But what if your bike is worth more than $10,000? You may get lucky if the driver has a bigger policy covering $25,000 or more in damage. If not, you will have to look to the driver or owner of the car to personally pay the difference. This is hard to collect without a lawyer. Just make sure you don’t accept the $10,000 offered by their insurance company, sign a release and then call a lawyer.
- You may have had other personal property damaged or destroyed in the crash. Things like your bike computer, lights, sunglasses, helmet and clothing are all part of your property damage claim. Again, keep all of these items and take good quality photos of the damaged items. Have your bike shop give you replacement costs for each and include them in your claim. The insurance company will reduce what they pay due to age and depreciation but this is often negotiable.
If you have questions about your particular situation, just give us a call.