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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In mid-June I dumped my Ninja 250R at an intersection in Connecticut while out riding with a friend. We were doing the speed limit and were just out having a nice ride. An earlier downpour had washed a great deal of gravel and sand into the intersection and I was too busy looking through the turn to notice the gravel until I was right on top of it. By then it was too late and the bike slid out from under me. I went to the hospital and the Ninja was declared a total loss by my insurance company.
I finally healed and received a check from my insurance company for what I had paid for the bike plus towing fees. I used that payment to purchase another, identical Ninja 250 and will be riding again soon.
Today I received a notice from my insurance company that they intend to slap me with a surcharge on my insurance because they have determined I was "more than 50% at fault" in the accident. I'm not sure if this is standard operating proceedure and they're just hoping I won't contest it, because I've told them several times the accident never would have happened if the gravel and sand weren't all over the road. I stressed to them that the road conditions were the deciding factor in my crashing that day. Had the road been clear I would have made the turn without incident, since I was not traveling at a high rate of speed and even if I had completey "zoned out" I could've avoided crashing except for the inability to brake safely. While I was clearly at fault in not observing the road conditions in time, is that considered being "more than 50% at fault'? Are car drivers who come upon black ice "more than 50% at fault" if they crash?
I have the opportunity to appeal the insurance company's finding, but it involves a $50 non-refundable fee to do so. Has anyone appealed such a finding and won? Or am I just "throwing good money after bad" in trying to fight what I feel was an unfair determination?
 

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Never heard anything like this...lawyer time!
 

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I had an accident in my car last year where upon initial description of the situation, anyone would have said I rear-ended the other person and was at fault. But I fought it for months and won because it was not so cut and dry and I supplied a good amount of evidence to support my case..

This was last October and I just got my money back. Was it worth it? Yes. I hate letting insurance and the court system get one over on me without putting up a fight.

Get a lawyer or at least consult one for an experienced opinion.
 

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Depends on your companys policy. The company I have is very strict. If you have more then 2 accidents and/or 2 moving violations they give you the boot.

Look at it from their point of view. There was no one else involved, leaving you at "fault". I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I'm just saying thats how they see it. Whether there is gravel on the road or not, you gota be in control of your bike. You should have seen the gravel and responded correctly. They are going to treat it as, hey if he didn't see the gravel once, what makes us so sure hes going to see it next time. They don't want to keep dishing out money for a new bike.

Like the MSF course book says... Even though they are called "Accidents" doesn't mean they are unavoidable. If everyone is doing everything they "should" be doing, there should be no accidents. Gives a hole example about how even though one driver was blinded by the sunlight, the other driver should have been going the sleep limit and have time to react, yada yada.

Don't get me wrong, i'm with you. I don't think you should have to pay a surcharge. That MSF shit if in a perfect world... very unlikely. I'm just saying that is how they are going to treat it. i would fight it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Depends on your companys policy. The company I have is very strict. If you have more then 2 accidents and/or 2 moving violations they give you the boot.

Look at it from their point of view. There was no one else involved, leaving you at "fault". I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I'm just saying thats how they see it. Whether there is gravel on the road or not, you gota be in control of your bike. You should have seen the gravel and responded correctly. They are going to treat it as, hey if he didn't see the gravel once, what makes us so sure hes going to see it next time. They don't want to keep dishing out money for a new bike.

Like the MSF course book says... Even though they are called "Accidents" doesn't mean they are unavoidable. If everyone is doing everything they "should" be doing, there should be no accidents. Gives a hole example about how even though one driver was blinded by the sunlight, the other driver should have been going the sleep limit and have time to react, yada yada.

Don't get me wrong, i'm with you. I don't think you should have to pay a surcharge. That MSF shit if in a perfect world... very unlikely. I'm just saying that is how they are going to treat it. i would fight it.
Well, that's one of the things I don't understand. I have had my motorcycle endorsement since 1980 and have never dropped my bike and this was my 3rd. Never put in a claim at all. My "safe driver" refund has been at the max for years and I haven't received a ticket in over a decade. Cops that stop me for a busted taillight appologize and comment on what a "good driving record" I have. Which makes me think the insurance company is doing this because most people don't bother to appeal because of the $50 non-refundable fee to do so.
 

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I'd pay the $50 and fight it. In the end, if you lose, the $50 won't even make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's what I'll probably do, Cali. There's just something about this surcharge business that smacks of taking advantage of customers because they always have. Like anything else, most people just lay down and get rolled over by big companies with the "you can't fight city hall" mentality. I think my insurance company is just trying to recoup a few bucks here and hoping I'll just shut up and take it.
I'm not sure what the insurance in your part of the country is like, but don't be surprised if they try pulling this on you too.
 

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That's what I'll probably do, Cali. There's just something about this surcharge business that smacks of taking advantage of customers because they always have. Like anything else, most people just lay down and get rolled over by big companies with the "you can't fight city hall" mentality. I think my insurance company is just trying to recoup a few bucks here and hoping I'll just shut up and take it.
I'm not sure what the insurance in your part of the country is like, but don't be surprised if they try pulling this on you too.

Well, good luck with that. Let us know how it goes. I hope that doesn't happen to me ::knock on wood::
 

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That's what I'll probably do, Cali. There's just something about this surcharge business that smacks of taking advantage of customers because they always have. Like anything else, most people just lay down and get rolled over by big companies with the "you can't fight city hall" mentality. I think my insurance company is just trying to recoup a few bucks here and hoping I'll just shut up and take it.
I'm not sure what the insurance in your part of the country is like, but don't be surprised if they try pulling this on you too.
It sounds like BS but if it was stipulated in your policy then there's not much you can do about the charge I guess.

Either way... Like was said above, if you don't try, you definately lose. If you try, you may still lose but at least you didn't take what you thought was an unjust decision without being heard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your right, Kuro. It's worth $50 to not wake up every morning from now on thinking I got screwed. That's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
 

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How much is this surcharge?
+1

Is it your "deductible" or something else? Because my insurance comp told me that if i'm not at fault i don't pay the deductible attatched to my policy. And if i am, i have to pay it. Needless to say, i'd fight if only for your peace of mind...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
+1

Is it your "deductible" or something else? Because my insurance comp told me that if i'm not at fault i don't pay the deductible attatched to my policy. And if i am, i have to pay it. Needless to say, i'd fight if only for your peace of mind...
That's one of the problems. There is NO surcharge amount on the letter the insurance company sent me. Just a notice that they are planning on charging me a surcharge unless I appeal. It could be a negligable amount, or it could be hundreds of dollars every year for several years. Most likely the latter as that's what they've always done here in Massachusetts.

At this point I think it's worth the effort to fight it no matter what the determination in dollars may be. I don't think I should have to be responsible for the DPW not maintaing safe streets. There is another thread going here currently where a biker was taken down by a massive oil slick that hadn't been cleared from the road. I think it's the same scenario. If the DPW isn't doing their job or has no concern for two-wheeled traffic the resulting crash shouldn't fall on me to disprove. The crash happened several hours after the downpour that caused the intersection to be covered in sand and gravel. It was a major intersection that should have been swept before anyone had traction problems and it was not. I may have a difficult time going against the insurance company's traditional mindset, but I refuse to just lay down and blindly pay for something that is obviously not "more than 50%" my fault. My check for the appeal will be posted tomorrow.
 

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The crash happened several hours after the downpour that caused the intersection to be covered in sand and gravel. It was a major intersection that should have been swept before anyone had traction problems and it was not.
You can't win if you don't fight...but c'mon.

The NE is about the only part of the country I haven't lived in...I've never heard of street sweepers after a rain...maybe it's common up there :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We're talking serious crap on the road here. Enough that if a cager who didn't know there was a 90-degree turn coming up would've slid to the curb too. We've had nothing but downpours every friggin' day here in NE for weeks now. Something not normal for NE summers or expected by DPW road crews.
 

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True to Faith (Hill), check with an attorney. You might even be able to go after the town where your accident happened for not having clean roads with safe driving conditions.
 

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I just gotta ask if your not 50% or greater at fault for the accident then who is? the gravel? god?

If no one is at fault then there couldn't have been an accident.

I also gotta agree, expecting the DPW to clean up the gravel and road so you don't have to be bothered with looking for road hazards c'mon. What next other drivers have to look out for you so you don't have to look out for them--granted some idiots already behave that way.

It sucks but after an accident I think it's pretty common for the insurance company to raise the rates for a certain amount of time. If that's what the surcharge is then it's likely written in the policy and if you don't want to be charged more then you need to be found not at fault. So appeal and convince whoever that there's no way possible you could have detected the hazardous condition, avoided it, and avoided wrecking.

As for black ice for a cager, if conditions are appropriate for possible black ice and you don't take action to check for it and drive appropriately to avoid getting screwed by it then yes you'll become at fault for losing control on it and crashing. Just because it's not another car or extremely noticeable doesn't mean you can ignore the risk factors and drive as if the risk couldn't possibly exist.
 
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