Buying a Vehicle, Bike Month, We’re Back In!

Buying a Vehicle, Bike Month, We’re Back In!

Welcome to the Newsletter

Rana Law Group Newsletter

In this issue:

  • Buying a Used Vehicle?
  • May is National Bike Month
  • Back in the Office

Buying a Used Vehicle?

If you go into the dealer and ask for the CARFAX on a vehicle you plan on buying, you are all set, correct?  Not so fast.  Unfortunately, the CARFAX history is not going to always have the full story.  Things like flood damage and rebuilt engines are often NOT in the reports.  Dealers know this and exploit this loophole.  Carfax did a marketing campaign to get consumers to ask them to “Show me the CARFAX”, which forced dealers to buy their product.  This cost auto dealers money, however, they soon learned they could use CARFAX as a shield to hide behind when they sold a vehicle they knew was not listed properly in the CARFAX.  If a consumer later returned, complaining they were sold a lemon, the dealer could hide behind the CARFAX report and claim they had no idea.  In reality, dealers perform vehicle inspections, which reveal some of the hidden defects which may not appear on a CARFAX report.  Some less than scrupulous dealers may buy the vehicle cheaply, knowing they can flip it for a profit and claim no knowledge of the hidden defects.

Right now, used cars are selling fast, similar to the housing market.  If you want to be safe, pay for an independent inspection from a mechanic you trust.  This can be risky because the car may sell before you can perform the inspection, however, a little money and due diligence can prevent a headache later.  If you end up a victim of car fraud, Missouri has strong consumer protection laws.  Call our office for help if this happens to you.

May is National Bike Month

Biking is great for transportation, exercise and family bonding.  While I highly encourage everyone to embrace biking, as an injury lawyer that has unfortunately represented my fair share of injured bicyclists, I urge extreme caution.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put out an excellent pamphlet on bicycle safety for adults.  I encourage anyone thinking of riding on the streets to carefully review this information and follow all of its safety suggestions.  Most importantly, bicyclists are considered vehicles on the road and must follow the same traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles.

In the unfortunate event you are involved in a collision while biking, there are a couple of items to consider.  Liability and fault for a collision involving a bicycle is assessed the same way a motor vehicle collision would be assessed.  This includes comparative fault, which looks at the actions of the bicyclist to see if the bicyclist did anything wrong and, therefore, deserves some fault for the collision.  For instance, speeding and failure to yield are two factors which come into play and, if the bicyclist violated the rules of the road, could diminish or bar compensation.

Oftentimes, however, many crashes involving a vehicle vs. bicycle involve the vehicle driver not seeing the bicyclist due to distracted driving or being under the influence, resulting in a hit and run.  If the at fault driver sticks around and has insurance, the bicyclist can make a claim against the driver’s auto insurance for property damage and injuries.  In the event of a hit and run, the bicyclist can make an  automobile insurance claim with their own auto insurance.  If the bicyclist does not have auto insurance, sometimes living with someone who does have an auto insurance policy can offer coverage protection.  Another option, which I recommend to anyone who bikes as their only form of transportation, is getting an insurance policy which is not associated with a vehicle.  Remember, the law in Missouri states that ALL drivers using the road, regardless of whether they own a vehicle, must carry auto insurance.  I recommend you speak to an insurance agent to determine whether insurance may be appropriate in your situation.  If you are involved in a crash, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney to quickly assess what steps need to be taken in your potential case to ensure you are protected.

It’s Great to Be Back in the Office

Thanks to St. Louis County’s Reopen STL Order, I am happy to announce that our office will be returning to full on-site staffing.  Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm and Saturday/Sunday by appointment only.

I want to sincerely thank everyone at Rana Law Group for working efficiently and safely from home and doing their best under less than ideal conditions.  A special thank you to our wonderful clients who were very understanding as we tried to navigate the “new normal” of working remotely during this period.  With the reduced case counts and increased vaccinations, I am hopeful the entire St. Louis community will emerge from this health crisis stronger than before.  We even have five new tenants occupying the office green space!

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