Help me see more clearly... very sad story.

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by Ed~, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

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    I've been advised by a friend to delete details regarding this accident because it involved a fatality and the widow has yet to inform us how she intends handle the legalities. I wouldn't want to inadvertently provide the other party's insurance company lawyers with anything to twist and use against us.

    I am genuinely appreciative of everyone's words of support and also advice regarding this matter. Your experiences helped me put my own into perspective -even if my subconscious isn't listening and still doing its own mental acrobatics with my head.

    Thank you very much. You are all a great community to lean on.
    #1
  2. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    I have no advice to give but just want to say I'm really sorry for your loss. It certainly is awful for all involved. RIP to your friend, and many thoughts and prayers coming your way.
    #2
  3. cleandirt

    cleandirt Adventurer

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    I'm sorry for your loss and having to experience such a traumatic event. You seem to have a well thought out and generous point of view about the experience but the emotional side of it will surely be a heavy weight for some time. I don't have any advise concerning your questions, just wanted to express my condolences and hope you soon find some peace of mind.
    #3
  4. tlwood99

    tlwood99 Been here awhile

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    I don't really know what to say about the accident other than I am sorry for your friend's loss and for the obvious suffering of all involved.

    In answer to your question, I think you would be well advised to consult with a couple of personal injury lawyers. Generally they do not charge you for an initial consultation as they work on contingency (taking a portion of any recovery)

    Many states (most?) require that you have suffered some physical injury for you to recover for emotional damages. The only way to know the value of your claim is to talk to a lawyer (better 2) regarding your claim. Based upon what you have written, I think trying to pursue this without professional help would not be wise.

    Needless to say, your friend's family/estate certainly has a claim that they should pursue.

    Good luck to you.
    #4
  5. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Sorry to hear about your new friend.
    I personally would not want to make a dime off someone else's death.

    40 MPH, locked the brakes and slid for 30 feet, then impacted with enough force to be killed.
    That seems unlikely, in that the amount of force was high enough to do that much damage, but I guess it depends on how you hit.

    I think the accident could have been avoided, or reduced, had he been paying attention to the traffic. Its not hard to see someone slowing for a turn, you have to be on your toes anytime there are places drivers can turn left into.
    I assume someone might turn at those places.
    You would see traffic un bunch as the left turner slows for the turn, or just notice the car slowing. At least I hope I would.

    And riding with someone else is hard to do without letting it distract both riders.
    Another thing to pay attention to.
    #5
  6. Sport

    Sport Been here awhile

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    Compensate you for what, PTSD? You should only be able to (rightfully) sue for a demonstrated loss than you can directly attribute to the other driver. Would an eye witness on the side of the road have the ability to sue? What would be the difference between you and the witness, that you knew the fallen rider? The lawyer you'll no doubt be talking to may have another answer for you as he'll be getting 30-40% of what you'll be awarded, if successful.
    #6
  7. DOGSROOT

    DOGSROOT OUTSIDE

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    That is indeed a very sad story; I am sorry for your loss.

    I wish you, your friend's surviving family, and even the old lady all the best in dealing w/

    the inevitable aftermath of this tragedy.

    I commend you for your compassion for the old lady.

    You are right in saying that the system is deeply flawed vis-a-vis elderly drivers.

    I believe you should be reimbursed for any related doctor's, psychologist's , or grief consellor's bills,

    or time lost from work.

    It doesn't seem to me that you are due any financial compensation above and beyond that,

    but I am neither a legal expert, nor an American, so bear that in mind when weighing my advice.

    If a reputable lawyer tells you otherwise, well, that is a decision only you can make.

    Would that possibility affect your relationship w/ your late friends family?

    As supportive and helpful as ADV can be, it really does sound like you need some kind of grief counselling.

    Survivor's guilt is as real as it is incomprehensible for those who have never experienced it.

    The only other advice I would have would be to consider reaching out to your late friends wife and family.

    (You state that you haven't had any contact at all w/ them from your post-did you attend the funeral service?)

    Your anguish will diminish in time, but you will never forget your late friend, or this horrible experience, entirely.

    Hopefully discussing it here will be of some help.

    Godspeed.
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    #7
  8. shaddix

    shaddix Banned

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    He would have been traveling about 10mph if it was hard braking for a full second from 40mph with a 30 foot skid.
    #8
  9. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

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    edited
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  10. atomicalex

    atomicalex silly aluminum boxes

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    I am very sorry for your loss, and for your friend's family. I think it is honorable of you to avoid coming down on the old lady.

    Please talk to a lawyer - the mental impact of the crash is heavy, and it is part of the scene. Your insurance can always subrogate...
    #10
  11. AzItLies

    AzItLies Been here awhile

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    Very Sad indeed. Hate to hear of these... unfortunately they are not that uncommon for us as motorcyclists.

    I'd say yes to pursuing compensation for the trauma, stress etc you are experiencing. Someone else was at fault for that, not you.

    I've noticed that a lot of our roads have medians that kind of hide other drivers / riders. With trees, shrubs etc blocking our view, people can suddenly pop up in a left turning situation unexpectedly.

    It's a very very scary thought, when watching that carefully... and asking; 'what if they didn't see me and pulled right in front at the very last second?'

    Sounds like that's exactly what you witnessed happen to your friend.

    The unfortunate thing is, all we really got in this type of situation: 1) be as visible as possible, colors, headlight modulators, weaving back and forth, etc, and 2) emergency swerving.

    But there's no guarantee everyone is going to see us. Even when we do everything possible to be seen, someone 90 years old that probably shouldn't be driving may still do something they shouldn't (or anyone on a cell, or distracted at any age, or yelling at kids in the back seat, etc etc etc).

    Another sad thing that seems to take place in these situations: The driver who was 'at fault' sometimes just gets a fine: 'failure to yield'. I've heard that can just be a 50 dollar fine. The reasoning is 'Yes, motorcycles are hard to see'. That's how such a low fine is justified by some judges.

    Sounds that clearly, beyond any doubt, She was 'at fault'. Now we'll see what the charges are.

    Sorry for your loss OP, that would severely traumatize anyone.
    #11
  12. nickgindy

    nickgindy Doing it Wrong

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    I personally don't see her insurance company compensating you for anything. The risk of being injured and not being able to work is unfortunately a part of being self employed and they will argue on those terms.
    You are definitely suffering from some ptsd. It is going to be a hard long road to get through but with each day it will get better and better. I spent my life as a police officer (joined the Air Force at 18) and through my deployments (seen someone get there head blown off a few days after my 21st bday in Iraq) and my many completely fucked up situations I've seen and experience as a city Police officer the last 3 years and its normal for some of the images to kind of take over your brain for a bit. Luckily I have trained myself to be able to go to bed and wake up refreshed. Of course this doesn't always work. I have one event that sticks out that gives me cold chills to this day. I had a senile 92 year old Tuskegee Airman pull a gun on me because he thought he was back in WW2 still. I'm in the middle of his driveway with no cover or concealment within 20 feet. I could have at anytime justifiably killed him. It was gun on gun for a good minute (felt like 2000years). Luckily his age got the best of him and he got tired dropping his gun down and I was able to rush up and grab it from him. 10 minutes late he realized we were the Police. Bothered me for months and still stands out and I've been in many other tense situations. (present during a police action shooting last week. officer was shot in the hand and suspect was killed)
    My advice is to stay active in something. Take some martial arts, go on walks, join a bowling league, anything.. just stay active. It helps burn away the stress of the terrible tragic event and help you slowly to deal with it. It is going to be something very hard to get over. You just need to stay busy with something. I'm not a religious person but I can say everything happens for a reason. You're still here for a reason so keep that motivation and do something positive with it. You have already started by sharing your story and reaching out. I guarantee everyone who reads this thread will have it in the back of their minds now... especially when they are riding. Motorcycling is a dangerous hobby and unfortunately the risk of injury or loss of life is part of the risks of being a motorcyclist.

    Also do not be afraid to visit a chaplain or call a crisis hotline if it becomes to overwhelming. It does not mean your crazy or losing it. Depression is a very powerful chemical in your body and it can change your thought process to rationalize things you would never normally do. Feel free to send me a pm if need be.
    #12
  13. Ol'NumNuts

    Ol'NumNuts Getting Stupider

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    Hey, my sincere condolences for all involved...

    About 3 yrs ago I was working at a clients country property (Tradesman/Builder) when a huge noise- like I imagine a helicopter crashing would sound - happened right out front.... It was a similar accident to yours.... A guy mid 30's had just picked up his wife's brand spanking new bike and was giving it a run on the dead straight sealed country road on his way home from work. He had full face helmet, t-shirt, jeans and sneakers on... He was riding with the sun at his back so had a clear view ahead- except this was a small rise in the road.... The 90+ yo driver heading the opposite way with the sun full in his eyes when he turned directly in front of the bike, into his driveway of 45 odd years... As perhaps he's done many thousands of times before...
    The bike was going full tilt- very, very fast.... I heard the unmistakable howl of a bike engine peaking through gears and winding out for some few seconds before impact... there was no skid- no time to brake-
    The bike was unrecognisable- compressed like a pretzel and torn asunder...
    The rider's torso, mostly de-limbed and de-gloved hit the car on the way over and flew around 40 metres (100-120 feet) landing in what appeared to be a 'blast zone'.... Wreckage and body pieces, etc, literally littered/scattered everywhere....
    I arrived (running flat out) maybe 30-45 seconds after impact, dust cloud still spreading, old guy splattered with glass, blood, etc and ok but terribly, terribly shaken- unable to get words out...

    I called emergency services and was required to remain on-site for an hour or so...

    Clearly there are two big differences..
    1) I was not involved in the accident and
    2) All involved were strangers to me...

    Regardless, it would be impossible to witness such a violent incident and not be 'touched', 'scarred', whatever the case may be... To be involved personally must only deepen any effect... To be unaffected would be 'inhuman'...

    I was offered counselling, etc but for me personally, well I spoke at length with a mate that had done a couple of tours of Afghanistan recently and seen 'stuff' and another that was an Emergency Paramedic and saw 'plenty'...
    That was very helpful to me and there counsel helped me greatly...
    I don't want to seem trite... But their advice and my experience now is that, with time, it does get better...

    Stay healthy and well, all my best for you and yours...

    ONN
    #13
  14. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I know how fragile the body can be, after an easy low speed fall the wrong way almost killed me (dirt riding). Its pot luck in some respects.

    As a person with 40 years of riding without ever having an issue with a car or truck, and very few what I would call close calls, in a bad area for riding (New Jersey), I am in the camp that almost nothing is unavoidable.

    I know plenty of riders who crash and say there was nothing they could have done.
    That might be true after they got into the situation, but part of staying safe is not getting into the situation in the first place, and part is knowing how to get out of it.

    Your friend would be alive if he was going a little slower and watching the cars expecting someone to turn.
    Since he had non street tires on the bike, that calls for extra caution as braking performance is lower.
    And I have to say, that might be the one time I might lay the bike down, as I do not want to impact something directly.


    Its easy to let your guard down, nice day, having fun, riding with a friend, not expecting anything bad to happen, just a glance in the mirror at the wrong time, or just thinking about where to go, how fast does the other person want to go, is he too close, too far back, and suddenly there is a car in your lane and there is 'nothing you can do'.

    Its got to be tough dealing with what happened.
    I have come across bad crashes right after they happened, and had friends crash and get hurt badly in the dirt, but nothing like what happened to you.
    #14
  15. duck

    duck Banned

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    I'm sorry you had to witness this and know first hand how it can mess with your head.

    I had something similar happen to me a couple of years ago. I didn't know the rider personally but had spent about ten minutes chatting it up with the him in the motorcycle waiting area for the ferry we had just gotten off of when he T-boned a left-turning minivan and died instantly about 20 feet in front of me.

    I was in the left lane and he was in the right lane slightly behind me with both of us doing about 25 (the speed limit) after getting off of the ferry. The light turned yellow. I chose to stop. He chose to wick it up a little to make the light, which he did. The driver of the oncoming minivan also wanted to make it through the yellow and I suspect did not see the rider as his view of the other bike was probably blocked by me on my bike. I don't feel any guilt about this because I see it as just a very bad set of circumstances but it did reinforce for me how easy it is not to be seen on a bike. I also learned to be wary of situations like this in the future.

    Ironically, when we were chatting he made mention of the fact that after decades of riding he'd recently switched to a FF helmet which he was wearing that day. However, since he was doing about 30ish at the time of impact the overall trauma made that irrelevant.

    Having spoken to the rider just prior and it being the only time in my life where I've seen someone die it did really mess with my head for several days. On top of that, the day prior I had come extremely close to getting taken out by a driver who pulled a surprise U-turn in front of me without looking or giving any indication of what he was about to do. (No slowing, no brake lights, nothing. He just whipped the steering wheel to the left out of nowhere.)

    I did give some serious consideration to giving up riding and didn't ride for a few days. I wasn't really afraid to ride per se but what happened impressed upon me how dangerous riding really is since, ATGATT or not, our bodies are very exposed bags of bones that did not evolve to survive high speed impacts with large metal objects.

    It probably took me a week or so to fully process it or whatever and get back to normal but it definitely did leave a permanent scar in my psyche. It left me with a very vivid memory that to this day replays in my mind much more often than I'd like but I put it in perspective with the realization that life is series of very good and very bad experiences and everything in between. And hopefully it makes me a safer rider.

    I am not a psychologist and the only advice I can give you is that hopefully, with time, you'll be able to put it behind you. I did choose not to give up riding but that's a decision you have to make for yourself.

    In this case, the driver was a nice looking kid who didn't look old enough to have been driving very long so I suspect inexperience was most likely a contributing factor. He was obviously at fault but I do have some empathy for him as he will have to live with this for the rest of his life.
    #15
  16. WildmanSam

    WildmanSam Adventurer

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    i witnessed an event nearly identical to yours except i was not on my motorcycle, nor did i know the rider who died.

    i was following behind the rider when a truck, stopped, making a left turn got rear ended and pushed into our lane. the biker had zero time to react and collided with the front pillar. his rate of speed was much higher than yours and he somersaulted multiple times before landing in the drainage ditch. i was the first one to call 911 and make contact with him, raising his visor and doing my best to console his last few minutes of gasping for air while choking on blood.

    [​IMG]
    that was the car that rear ended the truck.

    [​IMG]
    this is the truck he hit at 55mph and his jacket which was cut off my paramedics.

    [​IMG]
    his bike. and directly behind it my truck.

    it was another almost blameless situation; the driver of the car was a teenage boy who had just got his license. a lawsuit would do little to console the family that lost their father.

    i understand the feeling of anger after an event like this and almost feeling compelled to file some sort of lawsuit to find some sort of compensation. maybe both mental and monetary.

    life is fragile, all we can do is weigh the risks of our daily actions. i know if i had a family i would probably take the tags off my bike.
    #16
  17. Cerberus83

    Cerberus83 The Wingman

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    I don't have an answer to your question, but I would like to express my condolences. I also wanted to thank you for sharing your story. If it makes you feel any better, I was so moved by it that I finally decided to get a life insurance (signed the papers today).

    Though I understand, I respectfully disagree. Yes, there is an inherit risk riding a motorcycle, but one can die by just walking down the street... Maybe I'm saying this now that I don't have kids and maybe that may change in a year or two, but I don't think that we should quit doing what we like/love especially since I don't think anyone can change their destiny.
    #17
  18. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

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    Just a few days ago I was emailed a link to Martin Luther King Jr. memorial website to commemorate the date he was shot (April 4, 1968). On the website a quote stuck with me steeped in my sorrow over the motorcycle accident:

    "You don't have anything to say about when you die. And you don't have anything to say about why you die. Or how you die. But you gonna die. Your only choice is what you die for." -MLK 1968

    I keep thinking of this quote in relation to my friend and wondered why. He didn't really die for any great cause, wasn't leading folks when he went down or was martyred for any particular belief. And yet the quote lingered in my head.

    Today I realize what King was referring to is not an examination of death so much as a comment on how we choose to live in the limited time we have left. That the foreknowledge of death's inevitability should inform us in our lives.

    That was the key. My friend was indeed a generous man who raised kids of his own and fostered others. He was generous with his time and with his joy of motorcycling, sharing with me maps and info on local and state park riding trails with great enthusiasm after discovering his new neighbor also rides, and specifically rides dual-sports. He had a clear understanding of right and wrong yet never needed to impose his values on others. But above all I remember his infective but self deprecating smile always seemed to say, the hell with it, let's go riding.

    His life was about spreading good and experiencing joy in his own way. Clearly one of his great joys in life was riding. While some may say that in the end motorcycles was the cause of his death, his partner and wife of 39 years knew better.

    "He would have wanted it this way, to go out doing what he loved on a beautiful sunny day."

    Our friend left us too soon. Those many, many friends and family he left behind that will mourn our loss for his sudden departure.
    #18
  19. RFVC600R

    RFVC600R SAND EATER!

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    Every time I see someone riding ANY motorcycle, I asked god to watch out for them.

    The road is crazy....
    #19
  20. jimhaleyscomet

    jimhaleyscomet Adventurer

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    I hope you can find a lawyer to sue because you have definitely been injured by the woman's actions. Only when it gets expensive for insurance companies to cover folks who should not be driving will they take steps to prevent these kind of accidents. Perhaps holding the insurance company accountable will help ease your pain.

    It is not about bankrupting some 90 year old lady. It is about making the insurance company pay so perhaps the insurance companies start telling folks (either very inexperienced or very old or very distracted) that they should not be driving by quoting very high rates. Perhaps, they will start educating the policy holders to use their indicators and/or look for other vehicles.

    I get that an elderly or inexperienced person may be capable of driving around low speed roads. But getting out on two way roads with speed limits in excess of 35 mph is very dangerous to them and to others.

    Not signalling before cutting left across a two lane road is a serious failure of driving skills. But for some reason we give folks a "pass" when in fact what they did was vehicular man-slaughter. So I believe it is morally correct for you to sue but only if it eases your pain and helps you recover. Not if it turns into an ordeal that just increases your pain.
    #20