I was sitting in a conference room just a few days ago with my clients, a now grieving widow and her devastated daughter when the Mediator finally walks into the room to convey the insurance company’s offer for the fatal bicycle crash case we were fighting for. A local landscape company with a 1$ million dollar policy and liable for the death of a local cyclist has denied even making an offer to the surviving family to this point in the case. He opens by saying, “Do not be insulted, they are only willing to pay $12,000.00.”
Do not be insulted? Are you kidding me? My clients are in tears now. This negotiation has to change and it has to change right now. After hours of discussing the strengths and weaknesses, the evidence, expert witnesses, etc., in this case with the Mediator – this is their offer to our 1 Million dollar demand. $12k? That doesn’t even cover a decent funeral. The mediator was smart enough to mention that he felt they would pay at least 6 digits… probably between $100k-$150k, but that “they wanted to send a message that they will never pay anything near 1 million.”
My response was swift and simple. I knew they were going to play games. I knew they were simply sending a message. I knew immediately what to do, I wanted to send a message of my own. I wanted them to know that I don’t play games. The value of this case to my clients far exceeds any dollar amount. This family doesn’t need any money. They are pretty well off enough without the money. This case was a case in principle for them. They want to make a difference for future wrecks such as this one. To be truthful, my clients would have walked away from the case entirely if the landscape company had simply apologized for the bike wreck in the beginning. Instead, they attempted to cover it up and dismiss any wrong doing on their part.
With this in mind, my response was not difficult to formulate. I stood up and pushed away from the table stating simply: “You can tell them we will happily see them in court.” End of story. Not interested in wasting another minute or putting my clients, now in tears, through any more of the “games” so often associated with this process. My intention was simple and straight forward, settle for policy limits or take it to trial and risk the jury awarding something less or something far greater than 1 million. That message was received loud and clear. As we were leaving the mediator came rushing in and asked for a counter offer assuring me that the insurance company is indeed willing to pay 6 digits, maybe even up to $300k. This of course is a vast improvement from the $12K they initially offered, but fell far short of the real value of the case.
The mediator insisted that I give them a counter offer. Perfect, I now had another opportunity to “send a message” to these clowns. I thought for a moment, looked at my clients whose eyes seemed to be pleading for me to honor their belief in this case, then I said: “Sure, please tell the insurance company that we can accept a full and global settlement on all of my clients’ claims for $1 million dollars minus $12K. I believe that would be a 6 digit figure of $988,000.00.” Looking at me in disbelief, the mediator said they will never go for that. “I know,” I said. Returning to the room he said they denied that offer and that there is nothing more for us to do here today. Wishing us well he ushered us out with a great interest in following our case. He mentioned he will keep track of this one as it is very unique.
Looking back on this mediation it occurs to me that an effective attorney will know not only what is best for the case and for his clients in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of his/her case, but will also know how to manage the clients’ hopes, fears, and desires. In this case, it was predictable that the insurance company would low ball us. While I expected an opening offer around $200k, it was shocking to get such a low ball offer of only $12k! My clients were pissed. It became instantly clear that no settlement would be reached today. My focus then turned on gathering as much information about their position and tactics as possible while ALSO making sure they received a like manner and equally shocking response. This case is not so cut and dry – and I am not at liberty to discuss the case details yet, but it is safe to say that the case can go either really well for my clients or really poorly. They already know this. I have spoken at great lengths with them regarding the pros and cons. The insurance company has been attempting to beat us up for about a year now on this and has yet to even make an offer. They clearly expected us to give into the intimidation and fear tactics of their negotiation strategy and hoped we would accept a little something as opposed to the nothing they feel would get at trial. This is exactly why a shocking response to them was required. Walking away and forcing them into court is exactly what it took for them to go from $12k to $300k. Our shocking response was well received and yet it is only the beginning.
I’m confident that in this case we will do even better given more time with them, and more opportunities for evidence gathering and depositions, etc. The mediator had been doing this for 40+ years and didn’t even feel we had a case at first. (Which undoubtedly influenced the insurance company). But by the end he was changing his opinion and very intrigued by our position, to the point of asking permission to follow the case closely to see how it develops.
The point of the story is, that even if you don’t think you have a good bike crash case you should consult with our office and determine whether not you in fact have a case. The other point is, that sometimes you just have to know when to walk away from a bad negotiation to actually make it into a good negotiation and ultimately get what you and your clients want.
Bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know were injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed bicycle accident lawyer in Arizona, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. Ben can find you help anywhere in the country.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire united states. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the country. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. Having competed in 8 Ironman triathlons, numerous local and national cycling races, and a successful finish in the Race Across the West, 2016, he really knows what it is like to ride and race a bike. The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases.
Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches the police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the united states every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
- the applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- your cyclist’s rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
- the process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
- the value of your case and what you might expect as compensation.
You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of bike accident attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. there is never an obligation for a complimentary consultation with Mr. dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at email@example.com
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to mesa, phoenix, tucson, yuma, gilbert, peoria, glendale, scottsdale, ahwatukee, tempe, chandler, prescott, sedona, flagstaff, surprise, kingman, page, lake havasu city, payson, goodyear, buckeye, queen creek, paradise valley, show low, winslow, maricopa, nogales, globe, avondale, cave creek, fountain hills, apache junction, carefree, wickenburg, pinetop-lakeside, strawberry, anthem, safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and can assist in representation in all 50 states.