Need advice about no-fault claim payment

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Anonymous's picture

"Last June, I got doored by a person who opened a cab's right door as the cab, coming from the main road on Queens Boulevard, was getting on the ""service road"" on which I was riding, the driver was slowing, waiting for me to pass him on his right (my lane was empty in front of me), but the passenger opened the door wide open, I slammed into it at 17 mph. The bill for the bike check-up, my helmet, my pedals, brake parts, tape,etc. $805. I sent the bill and pictures of the bike to Gerber & Gerber, PLLC, law firm representing the cab company. I just received their offer : $194.51.

I feel I have been robbed. This no-fault law is not fair, especially because these taxis don't even have an insurance company but a law firm to represent them. I was really hurt in that accident. They paid for my medical expenses (which my insurance would have paid almost in full, I would have had to pay $10 for each visit). I did not have surgery, but my right collarbone has been displaced and is still painful (more than my left one which I broke in another accident ever was) when I am lying on it (in a bed for exemple), and my shoulder surgeon told me the only way to correct that is to operate.
Is there anything I can do to get more reimbursed for the bike (apart from asking the law firm for more)?
Thank you for your advice.


Anonymous's picture
Mitch (not verified)
No Fault

Hi Stephane,
Sorry to hear about your accident. I have been and still am dealing with similar issues in NJ. Eventually I'd like to post to this website what I've learned for the benefit of others who are dealing with these unfortunate situations... but it's a work in progress and I'm not sure what the best forum is for getting the information out there... in the meantime call me anytime... I can share what I've learned so far and hope I can help. (973) 706-8636.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
any lost time from work?

i believe no fault is for medical bills, lost wages and injuries only.
the damage to your bike and gear will probably need to be settled in another manner.
the cab company had to give you a insurance company name and number, call them and make a property damage claim
ok and contact a bike lawyer for the real scoop

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)
Need advice about no-fault claim payment

I'm surprised to hear that this is a no-fault situation. I think you should hire your own counsel and send them a letter stating that you will open a case for $x based on your pain and the damages to your bike.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
The Peoples Court... Save yourself the lawyers fees, sue for damages and pain and suffering.

P.S. I believe that the incentive for both parties to agree to participate is that the TV show Producer pays the judgement - up to the maximum of $5,000. I believe the Peoples Court is taped in NYC.

Anonymous's picture
Ron (not verified)
Do yourself a favor...

"You tried to do the right thing and they are now taking advantage of you. They are doing this b/c you do not know what your rights are, the specifics of the law as it relates to the accident. They do.

Do yourself a favor.... talk to a lawyer. If you do this right, this will never end up in court, but will settle. Given the circumstances, you should make out fine (and not have to pay anything to the lawyer unless he/she gets you compensated).

I am not an advocate of litigation as a first course of action, but you are clearly getting the run-around (much the way I was before I got ""lawyered-up"").

If you want a referral, email me. The lawyer I used was rather good.

Good luck.

Anonymous's picture
Matt P. (not verified)

Not to criticize, but you should have talked to a laywer on Day 1. I was struck by a car in '04, and the driver fled. I suffered a separated shoulder. I filed claims against my own insurance company. They stalled me and tried to nickel-and-dime me.

I got a lawyer. In the end, my lawyer convinced an arbitrator that my injury met the threshold for a permanent and/or disfiguring condition. He awarded me the maximum allowed under my uninsured motorist coverage...much, much, much more than $194.

Anonymous's picture
Richard (not verified)
I've Been Through This


Sorry about your accident. I've been through this before. Feel free to call me at 212 763 8501.


Anonymous's picture
David Oliner (not verified)
I am no expert, but...

"my understanding of no fault is that it provides coverage for medical expenses and loss of wages. Property damage and pain and suffering are additional claims. In order to sue for pain and suffering you must reach the threashold of a serious injury. I think you are well beyond that.

As a practical matter, cabs have very small insurance policies. The law firm that contacted you probably works for some low end el cheapo taxi cab insurance company. It is their job to pay as little as possible, frustrate you so much that you ultimately accept whatever pitance is offered. Also bear in mind that cab/insurance company will undoubtly claim that you were at fault in trying to pass the cab on the right.

Those stupid TV court shows, require that both parties agree to submit to them. Not going to happen.

Small claims court is an option, but the insurance lawyers know to ask for a trial before the court, which means that the case just gets dragged on forever.

I think a lawyer's letter, threatening to sue for pain and suffering and property damage, might coax a better settlement offer. At least pay for getting your bike fixed. If you want I can do that (but not much more) for you. Failing that you need to see a negligence lawyer, who will actually sue, and several years later will take a third out of what you get. I have a Court Street lawyer friend, who is fairly sucessfull at this stuff. I think your case might be too small him, but he is networked with all of these guys. I think there are ""bike"" lawyers that advertise in Transportation Alternatives newsletter.

I know it isn't fair.

I was hit by a car, while walking with the light in a crosswalk. Knocked out, taken to the emergency room. spent a night under observation and it was years before I saw anything more that the no fault benefits.

Sorry about the accident, if I can help, email me."

Anonymous's picture
Brad Ensminger (not verified)
My Opinion

First, I hope you persue the hospital treatment you think necessary, to insure proper healing. Don’t let the opposing lawyers discourage you. Your health is the most important thing.

I was cut-off by a taxi while riding my bike. I tried to contact the taxi driver’s insurance company. They were difficult and avoided dealing with me. They refused to pay my bills.

I finally got a response by hiring a lawyer specializing in bike cases. He got a settlement that included all expenses and more. The whole process probably took about 6 months. My suggestion is to go this route.

Good luck.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Nice post - couple counter points

I don't mean to nitpick, while it is true the insurance coverage required by cabs is small*, it appears Stepahne's claim is quite small as in hundreds, or a couple thousand dollars. That amount should be suitable enough for small claims court, including those TV shows.

Both parties get paid by the TV show to appear, ~$500, maybe more, if I remember correctly. For a cabbie that is an incentive well worth pursuing in lieu forgoing a day's earnings given the assumption he's going to be sued anyways. Not to mention the ego stroking benefits of seeing oneself on TV.

*IIRC, $25,000/50,0000 which is an incredulous farce as it is much lower than what is required by statute for non-commercial drivers (meaning: you). The TL&C successfully shot down proposed legislation a few years back, when Rudy was Mayor, to increase the liability limits. At least that is what I remember when I had a NYS drivers license.

Anonymous's picture
Stéphane (not verified)

Thanks for all this information. It gives me some hope. Actually, I did not pass the cab on the right, it never made it to my lane, only the door, wide open, blocked my way. I was riding straight on the left side of my lane (not to be doored on the right by a driver who might be leaving his parked car), the cab arrived from the left and the driver must have slowed down at the last second not to cut me, (at the time I was already a bit paranoid and would have never passed it on the right had I seen it). The passenger admitted to the police she had opened the door without looking while the cab was moving, the driver could not speak, he kept jumping and pulling at his hair. Interestingly enough, the passenger immediately called her husband to let him know what she had just done, I had to ask a passer-by to call 911!

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)

If you're not broke and can pay for your own medical expense for the time being, but just wanted to be paid for the hassle, I think you should see a lawyer. It will likely be a while before you'll see any payment. Or they may advice you what to do instead.

If you need the money now, Small Claim Court would be faster (a month or two).

Just because you accept the settlement from the cabbie's insurance, it doesn't automatically means you can not sue later. Just read the fine prints carefully.

Last, what about the passenger who actually flung the door open?

Anonymous's picture
Stéphane (not verified)

"I did not want to sue. I just wanted to be fairly compensated for my bike damage. The fact that my shoulder does bother me and that I was ""just"" expecting this compensation upsets me. I will check about the Small Claims Court.
I called 311 to find who represented the cab (I just had some basic information on the police report). I asked about the passenger and was told by the TLC that she was not responsible and that I had to deal with the cab's insurance company (in that case, a law firm).


Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
talk to a lawyer

don't believe what 311 or the TLC tells you. bicycle personal injury lawyer will give you a correct answer.
there are certain parameters that have to be met in order to sue, you may or may not have met the threshold for that. personal injury lawyer can correctly inform you.
it is not a good system , but better than nj.
i am sure you will get reimbursed for your bike, it will just take a little plugging away.

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