It was April 6, 2011. I had just gotten my first real road bicycle a few months back and was looking forward to my first year of real cycling.
I was on one of my favorite courses, a challenging and hilly set of roads in and around Hershey. I was coming fast down a hill when an SUV heading the opposite way started turning into my path.
I braked and took evasive action but lost control. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the side of the road. My whole body was throbbing with pain, especially my right shoulder where I landed on the road at a speed of about 25 miles an hour.
I was lucky to be alive. Had another vehicle been coming on the other side behind the SUV, I could have easily been run over as I lie there.
Some great people who lived nearby came to my rescue. They called the cops and the ambulance. The SUV was gone, license plate and all. I’ll probably never know who was driving that SUV or whether the driver ever even saw me.
Long story short, I had a severely separated right shoulder. I would need an operation. I would be out of work at least eight weeks. It would be months before I could ride again, if ever.
One Saturday afternoon early in my recovery I was reading a bicycling magazine I subscribe to. There’s a monthly column by an attorney who specializes in the law as it relates to cycling. I remember reading an article he wrote about what you should do if you are involved in an accident.
But all of the cases the article talked about had to do with a collision between a vehicle and a cyclist. Pretty cut and dry.
My case was different. Nobody hit me, but I wouldn’t have ended up sprawled all over the road if that driver had not turned into my path.
I qualified for short-term disability and I didn’t miss any pay from work, but I had to use up eight weeks of sick time that I had accumulated over several years. It was all gone.
The surgeon said there was no guarantee my right shoulder would ever return to normal. I couldn’t help my wife with things like mowing the lawn, carrying heavy boxes and taking the laundry up and down the stairs. There were a million other little things I couldn’t do. And I had lost months of cycling, running and fitness that I’d never get back.
It didn’t seem fair but it didn’t seem as though I could do anything about it. How do you bring a case against a driver who is at fault when you don’t even know who that driver is?
It didn’t seem fair, but it didn’t seem as though there was anything I could do about it. Did I even have a case? Was there a lawyer out there who could even tell me?
Motivated by curiosity and figuring I had nothing to lose, I went online, punched in some key search words, and a bunch of area law firms showed up at the top of the list.
One was Freeburn and Hamilton, a firm I knew nothing about. There was another firm with which I was familiar. I sent an e-mail to both, telling them of my unique situation and asking if they could help.
I couldn’t believe it when, not five minutes later on a Saturday afternoon, I got a call from Dick Freeburn.
He didn’t make any promises, but he seemed to think I had a case. He said he’d look into it. I was just dumbfounded the guy got back to me so quick.
Not long after, I met with Dick in his office and I signed the standard agreement. A few weeks later, his investigator called to tell me it looked like I really did have a case.
It took well over a year, but Dick kept at it. I’d hear from him every once in a while. He’d give an update and copy me on the documents he had sent and received on my case.
Then, Dick contacted me to tell me that the insurance company had agreed to a settlement. Not long after, he called back to tell me that he had found a way to get more money from the insurance company on my behalf.
I didn’t always understand what Dick was talking about. This is deep-in-the-weeds insurance stuff, the kind where you need someone like Dick on your side. I didn’t have to understand everything, That’s why you hire an attorney like Dick Freeburn.
Going into this I had no idea I would get anything. Dick got me more money to compensate me for my loss than I could have imagined. I could not be happier with the outcome.
I’ve been back on the road cycling for some time now. It’s great. There are more and more of us cyclists on the road.
As for that other law firm I contacted that Saturday? I can’t remember their name. They never got back to me.
But Dick Freeburn? I’ll never forget that name. And if you’re a cyclist in central Pennsylvania, you should remember his name too.