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Old 06-29-2011, 09:59 PM   #132
JagLite
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Oddometer: 1,093
Pissed Online Experts

Antiquewidow, welcome to the world of online experts. All of us

It is quite maddening to read what some will say about you, your situation, your attitude, your intelligence, and more. The foul posts are usually written by ones who do NOT read your first post carefully and then they feel the need to make asinine comments, ask stupid questions, and say you are lying.

One thing I learned long ago is that we are who we are.
That means, if we are a person who does lie, cheat, steal, break laws, and so on, we expect that everyone is like us. So naturally, people like that post up poop.

On the other hand if we are a basically honest person, one who does not lie, cheat, steal, etc., EVEN if we could get away with it, we accept what someone says as being true. And we are sad when we find at times that someone has lied to us, stolen from us, cheated us.

Those who choose to be dishonest laugh at us "stupid people" who try to live honestly. Then they wonder why their relationships never last, they can't keep a job (or get a good one), get lied to, cheated, and robbed by their own "friends", and still they think they are smarter than the rest of us. They are very sad people, and I have known too many of them. I have learned to be more careful when dealing with unknown people, knowing that so many do lie. About everything. For the "fun" of it.

So, when you posted up your account of the crash, most of us accept what you say without doubt or question. The others, try to ignore their ignorance as best you can. Most of us want to help you in a bad situation.

Many of us are very interested in the apparent bend in the axle on the RIGHT side of the wheel. I have not come up with a plausible cause for that to result FROM the crash. Once the fork broke there was NO load on that side of the axle. Axles do not bend easily, they are very strong. Have I missed a picture of the left side of the (wheel) axle? I don't recall seeing anything about the left side. When the fork broke it transferred all the weight to the left fork leg and the axle on the left side of the wheel. Even that load shouldn't be able to bend the axle without hitting something hard. If the bike had tumbled when it crashed it could have hit the street hard enough to bend the left side, maybe, but not the right side. And I don't think the bike tumbled, I believe it slid on its side, is that correct?

I have been discussing this with the other engineers here in the office trying to figure out possible scenarios that could cause the fork to fail in that way and we don't have any real good answers. As has been suggested, we agree the leg casting most likely had a tiny flaw, few castings are without some weak areas and they are designed with that knowledge. But probably there was more involved to make it shatter. We do wonder about a few details that your lawyer (Jaws) will likely want to investigate.

1. The dealer does the new bike set up from the crate. Who installed the front wheel? Was it installed by the dealer or did it come in the crate from the factory already mounted? (I have seen new bikes crated both ways)

2. How many miles were on the bike when you bought it and can the odometer be run backwards?

3. Did the front suspension feel "normal" to you? If the axle was already bent and forced into place by over tightening the clamp bolts it could have been forcing the fork tube(s) out of line and adding a lot of stiction. Meaning the suspension would seem stiff both down and up.

4. Is there any sign of damage repair done that would show the bike had been wrecked in some way prior to you taking delivery? A good mechanic should be able to look real close for any signs. Paint overspray, tool marks on bolts, etc.

5. Did the dealer ever have the bike out of his shop (and sight) prior to you picking it up? Like did one of the "new" guys disconnect the odo and take it for a ride? That has happened too often. (I knew one who did it regularly)

Now, as for an attorney, I have some experience to offer suggestions for you to consider.

They are all sharks. So, get Jaws on your side.
You don't need to like them, you just need to know they are smart and tough. And know that they will also try to get the most money in a settlement, for themselves, and give you what they can't keep. Just the way it is.

BMW will not want to go to court, they will settle, they just want to get you to sign a release absolving them of any further responsibility. They, or actually their sharks, will want to get you to sign for the least amount of money they can so you need to decide, as has been mentioned, what you will settle for.

Will BMW take this as a serious concern and replace all the forks on that model? Not a chance. Your failure is an exceptionally rare event that was likely caused by more than one thing. ( combination of: a faulty casting, a bent axle, a new kid doing the set up, etc.) Unfortunately you paid the price with a crash. Fortunately, you were not run over and killed by a soccer mom with a car full of kiddies that would live the rest of their lives reliving the nightmare. BMW will probably point at the dealer, the dealer will point at the factory and neither will do anything until forced to.

A good shark (Jaws, remember) will research fatal motorcycle crashes involving BMW's and particularly your bike to see how many riders have been killed. Then he will get pictures of the wrecked bikes and look for failed fork castings. If he finds any, he will have powerful ammunition to take to BMW's sharks. (They are used to swimming with each other, it is just a game for them but beware the innocent victim!)

One last point in dealing with Jaws.
They will work on splitting the awards, nothing out of your pocket (ha!).
Meaning, they don't make a penny until they win for you.
Often the agreement is 50%.
Don't agree to that.

The fine print will say they get 50% PLUS expenses in that agreement and their "expenses" (research, filing, postage, and on and on...) will often be HUGE!

One case comes to mind where the victim who hired the shark received 20% of the total even though it was the typical 50% agreement. She didn't even cover her medical bills but the shark came out great for doing basically nothing.

I suggest you talk with at least three sharks who specialize in product liability and don't sign an agreement until you hear what each one says about your case. (Ignore the "You have a great case" crud, they tell everyone that). You want to know exactly what they are going to do. Most will want to just write a letter to BMW threatening a lawsuit and then recommend you take what they offer (if it is enough for him) and be done with it.

I suggest you tell the one you decide to hire that you will not agree to the standard split. You (probably) want the complete purchase price of the bike back plus "pain and suffering". It is up to you to decide what that is worth to you but BMW sharks will not go for an unreasonable amount so you aren't going to be a millionaire as some seem to think you should.

I suggest you write the agreement that you will split 50/50 the amount OVER the total above. (Bike price plus pain & suffering)
He won't want to do that of course, but when you tell him that you can get a book like "Lawsuits for Dummies" and write your own letter to BMW and get that amount without hiring him, he may be more reasonable and willing to work with you, instead of just working you over. In reality, Jaws should only be entitled to that, a percentage of the amount over what is your just reward but the LAW has nothing to do with justice.

A shark that won't go for a split of the award over the base (in this case, bike plus pain & suffering) is not going to try to do any more than you can do yourself as there is no money in it for him.

You can skip the shark and go direct but BMW sharks will just drag their feet and stall and do nothing. May be worth a try though. Sometimes the sharks recognize the threat of getting another shark involved will motivate them to at least make an offer to settle. I have found this to be the way I prefer to go. Let them know I will bring in Jaws if I have to but would prefer to settle this without him. Works for me. So far anyway...

I used "he" for Jaws but I have seen some vicious females too.


Now, for all you sharks reading this, I mean no disrespect.
Sharks are a necessary evil in this society.
If you have more suggestions to help our friend, speak up.

For the rest of you BMW riders, there is no way to make sure your forks won't fail the next time you ride no matter how many miles you have put on them. However, this is exceptionally rare and if you have already put some miles of hard riding on them, they "should" be ok. You can make sure the axle slides through both forks without binding. You can examine closely for cracks but I doubt you will find anything. This type of failure is not a slow progressive cracking but it is a sudden fracture of the casting. No warning. You could look into replacing the forks with another brand as a few have done. There are lots of forks available used and some may bolt on without much work.
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