This week I met with Scott Cooper of the law firm Schmidt Kramer in Harrisburg to discuss my accident. One of my concerns was that my auto insurance policy states that I have a limited tort option. Scott informed me that since I was on a motorcycle that I have full tort options because the motorcycle is not considered a passenger vehicle. Scott was very friendly and cleared up many concerns that I had.
I have since delivered several pay stubs, photos of my motorcycle, a photo of my back injury, the estimate of repairs needed for the motorcycle, my health plan book, and signed off forms so that he can contact my family doctor, Hershey Medical Center, my insurance company, and my employer. Two things that I am still working on is an itemized list of the motorcycle gear I was wearing at the time of the accident with a replacement cost, and a follow up appointment with a specialist to look at my rib injury. Even though I was told nothing was broken, I continue to have pain in my ribs on my right side. This prevents me from lifting anything, pulling any doors open with my right hand, sleeping on my right side, and hurts like hell when I sneeze.
The crew at Velocity have been wonderful to deal with. They picked up my motorcycle at the scene of the accident, have gone over the motorcycle with a fine-tooth comb to make sure they identify all parts of the bike that need repaired, and have helped my itemize my list of gear and prices.
I have not heard anything from my insurance provider (Erie) except the day of the accident when they called me to inform me that they would not cover any of my medical expenses. How thoughtful and perfect timing of them. Nor have I heard from the other parties insurance company.
I received this letter in the mail today from my auto insurance company which is Erie Insurance.
“Section 1714 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law regarding ineligible claimants reads as follows:
An owner of a currently registered motor vehicle who does not have financial responsibility or an operator or occupant of a recreational vehicle not intended for highway use, motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, motorized pedalcycle or like type vehicle required to be registered under this Title cannot recover First Party Benefits.
Based on the above mention state law, Erie Insurance is unable to extend coverage for any medical bills and/or income loss arising from this accident under the First Party Benefits portion of this policy.”
Well that sucks! I really need to think about moving out of this state.
I was involved in a motorcycle accident this morning. It hurt. But I’m alive. That’s the important part.
I was going south on Front Street in Harrisburg, PA traveling in the left lane and about to get on I83 South. Traffic was flowing through the traffic light at Front Street and Paxton Street. As I approached the intersection an SUV from the center lane turned left in front of me. He was less than a car length in front of me when he was in the center lane. He did not use a turn signal. As he came into my lane I immediately tried to turn left but he was turning sharper and sharper giving me less room to maneuver. I applied my brakes but it wasn’t going to be enough. I collided with the side of the SUV then found myself tumbling and rolling down the street. I watched my bike slide as I was thrashed around. I was trying to get a glimpse behind me and prayed that there were no vehicles behind me as I slide down the road.
I ended up in a standing position and walked off the side of the street. I looked around myself for a second. Arms were where they should be. Legs were in one piece. Hands were there. Ouch, my knee hurts. I’m alive! Fuck, I hurt. Fuck, I was just in an accident. A guy appeared on the sidewalk beside me. He asked if I was ok. I told him I thought so. I’m alive right? That is good. He said he saw everything. I asked where the hell was the guy in the truck! Then the guy from the SUV appeared with his wife. He was an older man. He said “Taking a wide turn?” like he was insinuating I did something wrong. I said “Why the fuck did you turn in front of me?!” He looked like a deer in headlights. I repeated my question. No response. Then the cop was there to calm me down. I wanted to pummel this guy into a bleeding pulp on the side walk as his wife looked on. But I didn’t. But I wanted to!
I calmed down and sat down on the sidewalk. Took my helmet off. My knee hurt and I was afraid the padding in my motorcycle pants may have slid allowing my knee to come in contact with the road. I unzipped the side of my Olympia pants and rolled up my pants. Knee was in one piece. The impact of my knee with the pad was enough to scrape the skin a little bit. My ribs on the right side hurt and my lower right back hurt. I told them to call an ambulance. I wasn’t taking any chances.
The ambulance came and I was strapped up with a collar and loaded in to the ambulance. Even though I was just a few blocks from Harrisburg Hospital they informed me that they needed to take me to Hershey Medical Center because Harrisburg Hospital doesn’t have a trauma unit. As I was being loaded into the ambulance and was looking straight up at the sky, listening to the sounds of what was going on around me and seeing the doors close behind me I couldn’t help but think of my friends and family. The thought of my parents getting “the phone call” brought tears to my eyes. I did not want them to experience that. It really broke my heart with those thoughts going through my mind.
I arrived at Hershey Medical Center and was taken in for a CAT scan. They injected iodine into my IV to look for internal bleeding and to see how my ribs looked. After what seems forever waiting they came back and said they don’t seem to see any breaks or fractures. But they said that’s not 100% accurate and there’s always a chance they missed something. That’s reassuring. The doctor said my liver is behind my ribs where I said it hurt and they wanted to make sure it was ok. They released me and told me to take 400mg of Ibuprofin for the pain.
I teared up again when I had to give the lady my dad’s phone number so that he could be contacted. For some reason I felt guilty of putting him through that experience.
Now Erie Insurance has been calling me all day. One guy said that I would need it towed to a dealership and that I have a $500 deductible. I told him it wasn’t my fault! He said I would still need to pay the deductible and that if the other person’s insurance covered it, they would reimburse me. Screw that! I don’t want to pay for anything! He hit me! Then I received a call from another lady from Erie who informed me that they would not cover any of my medical expenses because I was on a motorcycle. I told her I should be covered under my auto policy. She informed me that in the state of Pennsylvania, insurance companies will not cover motorcyclists for any medical treatment and that it would need to be covered by my health insurance. Thank you Pennsylvania for being such a fucked up state! Why should I have to max out my medical benefits because this idiot breaks the law and causes me to go to the hospital?!
Aside from that, I decided I needed to contact an attorney. Apparently my insurance company has no info on this other person. All of that info is with the Harrisburg City police. I called them to ask about a police report and they simply told me I would need to go downtown to the second floor and request the report. What?! I pay my taxes, was involved in an accident and can’t get the report faxed to my insurance company or something? Nope. Ok, F you insurance, F you Pennsylvania, F you stupid drivers, and F you Harrisburg police!
I will call Velocity Cycle in the morning and see if they can tow the bike to their shop. Someone from Erie should be there to look at it on Wednesday. Also going to schedule an appointment with my family doctor so she can look me over. I also want to photograph my lower back somehow to document that rash. Not sure if my jacket slid up a bit to allow that to happen or if I landed on something. There is a gray scuff mark across my wind shield that looks as thought it may be from my jacket eve though I don’t remember being in front of my bike at any point. It was a blur.
There’s a lot going through my mind right now. Thought of how bad it could have been. Thankfulness that my gear did it’s job. Thankful that SOMEONE was looking out for me today. Worry that I was so close to death. I’m pondering riding and what it means to me. I enjoy it. It feels good to ride through the cool air and just be out there in the environment. All of the wonderful people I’ve met through riding and all of the amazing places I’ve seen by motorcycle mean a lot to me. It’s all just a part of my life experiences. It’s too soon for me to say whether I’ll ride again or not.
Damn, now my pinky hurts too. Sigh…