Tag Archive for Insurance companies

Morning Links: Two endorsements for Villaraigosa, Great Streets Strategic Plan, and insurance bike value rip-offs

Writing for an automotive website, a third-generation Californian endorses former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for governor in tomorrow’s primary election, in part because of his support for bicycling, CicLAvia and transit.

He’s got my vote, as well, for many of the reasons listed in the article.

As well as pushing through LA County’s Measure R that increased sales taxes half a cent to fund transportation projects. Then Villaraigosa got the federal government to adopt the America Fast Forward program that has allowed Metro to expand rapidly.

Besides, Antonio Villaraigosa is the only gubernatorial candidate — or LA mayor — I’ve actually ridden and chatted with at CicLAvia.

But no matter who you support, get out there and Bike the Vote tomorrow.

I’m happy to report that my brother and his kitty litter panniers have finished the first leg of his trip, from Grand Junction CO to Denver, with a brief stop at the Continental Divide.

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Los Angeles released its new Great Streets Strategic Plan.

I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing yet, but it doesn’t seem to include anything about the mayor actually showing up to defend any of the beleaguered projects already in place.

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Must read piece from bike lawyer Bob Mionske, on how insurance companies are undervaluing bicycles damaged in crashes to avoid paying the full value. And more importantly, how you can fight back.

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Local

More bad news from South LA, where a man was shot and killed in a drive-by as he rode his bike on the 200 block of East 95th Street shortly after midnight Sunday morning.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has proposed mostly cosmetic upgrades for Hollywood Boulevard. Let’s demand that they include protected bike lanes, and a pedestrian plaza at Hollywood and Highland, in any makeover.

A new bike boulevard is under construction in Los Angeles. That’s LA County, not the city.

 

State

Apparently never having heard of induced demand, San Diego is replacing a 1950’s era four lane bridge in Mission Bay with two separate bridges with three lanes each. But at least they’re adding protected bike lanes in each direction.

Streetsblog says Caltrans’ Chief of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety has made great strides in just two years, but clearly has a long way to go to change the state DOT’s car-centric culture.

A San Francisco writer says the city doesn’t have an e-scooter problem, it has a car problem.

Frightening news from San Francisco, where a man was beaten with a metal pipe by a thief who stole his bicycle, then threatened a second man to steal his bike, as well.

Sad news from the Oakland Hills, where a bicycle tour guide for Backroads was killed in a head-on collision with the driver of an SUV.

 

National

Carshare company Lyft is buying bikeshare provider Motivate, the parent company of bikeshare systems in New York, DC, Chicago and San Francisco.

Viva, Las Vegas, which may be the least likely candidate to make the Bicycle Friendly Community list.

Complete Streets volunteers in Phoenix resign en masse to protest inaction at city hall.

Inspiring story from my hometown, as a young man fights back to graduate from high school after he was paralyzed by a sleeping driver as he was walking in a bike lane.

A Tulsa OK writer says the shop manager and wrench for a local bikemaker could be the luckiest man in town because he’s the most content in his work.

A Wisconsin letter writer says the real problem is bike riders refuse to share the road with drivers, even though he owns one himself. A bike, that is, not a bike rider.

Detroit names a bike and pedestrian bridge after the father of Michigan’s rails-to-trails movement.

Infuriating story from Kentucky, where a woman recounts being left lying alone in the street with a broken back as she watched the driver who slammed into her bike just drive away without stopping.

Russian pianist and composer Daniil Trifonov is one of us, which may not have been the best thing in this case. He was forced to cancel his upcoming tour to premier his latest work, after injuring his ankle in a New York bike crash.

A native New Yorker says channel your bike rage into something more productive, like attending community board meetings to demand more bike lanes.

Maryland mountain bikers ride to honor a bike-riding Baltimore cop who was killed in a collision while responding to a call.

Florida bicyclists ride to remember a young mother and daughter who were killed by a street racing teenager doing 102 mph on a surface street.

 

International

After Quebec quadrupled traffic fines for bicyclists, one rider received $381 worth of tickets for bad brakes and not having front and rear reflectors, even though he had red taillight.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Canadian careless driver says he’s now haunted by death after killing a bicyclist, and has ruined countless lives — including his own.

A Toronto insurance company says drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians all break the rules.

Montreal responds to the death of a bike rider last year by banning cars from a mountain road through the city, even if drivers don’t like it.

The London Standard recommended celebrating yesterday’s World Bicycle Day by exploring unusual parts of city. Seriously, there’s no better way to get to know any city — whether your own or anywhere else.

London’s Telegraph says hotel hopping by bicycle may be the next big travel trend.

A London nonprofit is rebuilding old bikes to give refugees a new lease on life.

A writer for the Guardian says requiring ebike riders to carry insurance, like the European Union recently ordered, will slow the growth of ebiking when we should be encouraging it.

Caught on video: A British bike rider just barely avoids getting doored by the passenger of a moving car.

A Malta newspaper says poorly designed roads are putting bicyclists in danger. Pretty much like everywhere in the US.

Mumbai bike riders celebrate World Bicycle Day with a two-wheeled flash mob, while India’s vice president calls bicycling the best and cheapest form of exercise.

Auto-centric cities are the main barrier to promoting bicycling in Iran. Pretty much like everywhere else.

A Kiwi radio host apologizes to the motorist who ran over him on his bike, calling himself a moron for not paying attention to the traffic light because his mind was on the book he read the night before.

An Australian pro-driving extremist group is targeting bike riders with doctored photos and death threats both online and on the road; naturally, police in New South Wales have responded by ticketing bike riders for not wearing a helmet.

The Korea Times looks back at the introduction of bicycling in the country; the first bike on record in Korea was a Penny Farthing ridden by an American naval officer in 1884, though the bicycling craze soon spread to the country’s royal family.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nearly two dozen cyclists were treated for injuries when bad pavement caused a mass crash in a Maryland bike race.

Once again, a pro cyclist has been sidelined by a collision, as Dimension Data’s Lachlan Morton suffers a broken arm when he’s struck by a driver while training in Colorado.

 

Finally…

Don’t bring a knife to a car fight. Nothing like getting rescued by Sherlock Holmes. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up on both stories.

And maybe it’s not just drivers who drive us crazy.

 

The Danger in Dog Day Afternoons

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 
 

Recently, at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Open House, JJ Hoffman was telling me a story about her daily encounter with dog a couple of years ago. JJ said every day when she was riding to work she’d meet up with this same woman who was walking her dog unleashed.

Every day the dog took after JJ, which set the woman off who would run yelling behind her dog. It got so bad that JJ had the pepper spray out before she got to the street where she’d meet up with the dog. All that dog wanted, JJ said, was a taste of her calf.

JJ really didn’t want to spray the dog, though spraying the owner was tempting, and, luckily for everybody, JJ never actually had to take action.

Like JJ, I really like dogs. The dogs are doing what their instincts tell them to do: to chase prey. Irresponsible dog owners are another matter. They put the cyclist, the dog, and especially themselves in danger.

Bitten by a Dog

In California, if you are bitten by a dog, the owner is at fault. It doesn’t matter if the dog is leashed or not. It doesn’t matter if the owner knew or didn’t know that the dog had a “vicious nature.” California holds owners to “strict liability.” If you are bitten, the owner is liable for your injuries. There is no “free bite” in California.

Collision with or because of a Dog

When a dog begins chasing a cyclist, most cyclists tend to try to outrun the dog. When that happens, the dog’s brain goes into get-the-fleeing-prey mode, and the race is on.

Whether or not you can really outrun the dog, the real danger is in possibly colliding with the dog or colliding with something else because you lose control of the bike or you hit a pot hole or even getting hit by a motor vehicle when swerving or not being able to stop at a light or an intersection.

If you suffer serious personal injuries or your bike is damaged, again, the dog owner can be held liable. Your bicycle accident attorney should be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Compensation for Dog-related Collisions or Bites

The dog owner may be held negligent for:

  • Ineffective control of the dog.
  • Violation of the leash law and other Animal Control Ordinances.
  • Inadequate supervision or management of the dog.
  • Putting the dog in a condition in which the owner could have seen that the dog could cause injury to somebody.

Individual cities also may have their own animal control ordinances. For instance, one city limits the number of dogs that can be walked by one person at a time and a number of cities consider it a misdemeanor if a dog is tied to a parking meter, sign or bus bench without food or water nearby.

Some cities have ordinances specific to a breed. In Santa Monica a pit bull on public property must be muzzled.

The dog owner may be held responsible for compensating you for:

  • Medical bills from doctors, emergency rooms, hospitals, therapists, plastic surgeons, and for prescriptions.
  • Future medical bills to remove scars or to repair disfigurements. If the money for medical care is not recovered at this time, your health insurance might not cover any future medical procedures you need later, calling them “cosmetic.”
  • Time you had to take off from work resulting in lost income.
  • Lost future earnings because of disfigurement or disabilities.
  • Emotional counseling.
  • Pain and suffering.

Of course you can only recover compensation for injuries you suffer and care you actually need.

Hesitations to Holding an Owner Liable

One of the major hesitations a cyclist who is bitten by a dog often has in reporting a dog bite is the fear that the dog will be destroyed. A dog that has no history of biting is rarely “put down.”

The court takes into account the severity of the bite and the number of times it has bitten. It may rule that a dog must be muzzled in public or restrained in a particular way, such as kept behind a certain type of fence of a certain height.

Self-Defense

We all have heard that we have the right to defend ourselves against an attack from another person. What few people realize is that the law says you can defend yourself as much as is necessary to foil the attack. Your defense must be proportionate to the attack, and when the danger is past, so is your right to defend yourself.

This is a common law concept, and there is no explicit statement in common law that this also applies in a dog attack. More and more dog owners are counter-suing for compensation when their dog has been injured either intentionally or through someone else’s negligence.

So if you are going to use self defense, be sure that it is proportionate to the attack and that once the attack is over you stop, similar to how you would defend yourself with a human. That is a legally defensible act, though you could still find yourself in a lawsuit with the dog owner.

Personally, I subscribe to the belief that it’s rare to find a bad dog, but bad owners are much too plentiful.

*Sponsored post

 

Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend

 

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 
 

Behind the warm and fuzzy jingles, the precocious animal mascots, and the deep-voiced spokespersons, insurance companies are faceless, heartless corporations whose one purpose is to increase premiums and to decrease payouts in order to make the biggest profits possible.

Simply put, THAT is why you need your own lawyer if you have a bike accident.

If insurance companies were “fair,” I’d be out of a job. I am pretty confident that unemployment due to insurance companies deciding to do the “right thing” is not something I have to worry about in my lifetime.

The reality is, after you have had a bike accident and the friendly insurance adjuster calls you, his (or her), goal is to come up with a reason not to pay you. If he can’t outright deny you compensation for your damages, he wants to diminish your case so the company has to pay you as little as possible.

Rest assured, everything you say to that nice insurance adjustor can and will be used against you in a court of law. That is why I – and every other personal injury lawyer – will tell you to refuse to speak to an insurance adjuster or insurance representative. Give the adjustor your lawyer’s name and phone number and hang up.

If you cooperate with the insurance adjuster and you are offered a settlement, it is likely that you are getting 10 cents on the dollar of the value of your case. I was once told by an adjuster that he received a bonus if he could settle a case within 48-hours.

Let me tell you about a case I handled. A client who had a Los Angeles bike accident injured his shoulder. He talked with the kindly insurance adjuster who sympathized and sent him to a doctor (an insurance company sending you to a doctor is a rare occurrence).

SURPRISE! The doctor recommended by the insurance company said my client’s shoulder was fine. The company offered my client $5,000 to settle his case.

My client’s shoulder really hurt. He finally engaged a lawyer (me), and I sent him to a doctor. The doctor I sent him to diagnosed a torn rotator cuff. He underwent surgery. We settled the case for $150,000.

Never forget that insurance companies have more knowledge than you do. They also employ an army of lawyers. They can throw more resources at your case than you even know exist. They have all the power, all the money, and the wherewithal to fight you when you are fighting alone.

You need an experienced personal injury lawyer to level the playing field. I have written here before about how to choose a lawyer, but it bears repeating to say you should look at how or where you got the referral, the lawyer’s experience in your type of case, and the results the lawyer has achieved.

Now go increase your uninsured motorist insurance to the maximum the insurance company will permit, and the next time you see an insurance company commercial, remember, they are not your friend.

*California Vehicle Code 21200: A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle. . .

For more than 25 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at [email protected].

*Sponsored post

 

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