hello adelaide cyclists,
last thursday i got door-ed on my way home for lunch. heading south on pultney st a parked van didn't look before opening his door.
my chin and cheek took the brunt of it, but nothing a bit of surgical glue and three stiches couldn't deal with. medically i'm fine. the bike seemed mostly ok. front wheel a bit untrue and a slightly bent rear derailleur but figured just needed a service.
i put the bike in the shop on friday but as its the fun time of year it couldn't get looked at untill today. got a call from the mechanic and he said that the fork (carbon) might be a bit weak and that i should consider replacing it.
the question is: does the driver need to pay for my bike repairs? when i though it was just a service i figured i wouldn't bother, but if its gonna be more then it might be worth the effort chasing up.
the day is a bit fuzzy but i remember talking to a police officer at the hospital and he said that the driver was at fault and was fined and that he was responsible for any medical bills but not the bike repair. but that sounds fishy, he caused an accident with damage to another vehicle, surely he'd have to pay for it.
anyone with any experience?
worst thing about all this: i missed the bupa challenge tour!
EDIT: thanks everyone for all the advice and comments. the adelaide cyclists community is truly one of the most supportive. i'll keep everyone updated with the outcome
EDIT 2: i wrote a letter to the driver informing him that i was holding him liable for the damage to my bike with attached quotes. a couple of days later he gave me a call and was disputing some of the damage, i told him to go to the bike shop and get things explained there. He did that but still wasn't convinced that my fork needed replacement - after all it could still be ok. i can kind of see where he's coming from but mostly didn't want to bother arguing too much so i took his offer of paying half of the bill.
took avantiplus unley a week to get the fork in, realised it was the wrong fork so another week after that to actually got it done and installed. color scheme doesn't match (white and red fork for a mostly blue bike) so it's looking pretty unique. the driver paid his half and i picked it up yesterday.
once again thanks to everyone for their input and support through this forum. i probably should have stood my ground more and made him pay for the whole thing but i really didn't want to drag this out any more then it already had.
Yeah, the driver ought to pay. I think as mentioned it's a matter of sending a letter of demand.
Be prepared for it to take a while.
Others e.g Angus have given most of it here - e.g see the ad to the right.
Two other resources.
SA Law Handbook , astoundingly useful government publication, explains law of common matters such as this very clearly. Worth looking at.
SA government also runs a Free legal help telephone line. for quick basic information, what do do. But is brief general information only, they cant discuss specifics of your case.
Principle is usually - if someone's action causes you financial loss - they could reasonably anticipate or could have prevented - they have to restore things to how they were before hand. You break it, you pay for it.
As you know there are two branches of law: criminal (individual vs the State; criminal law broken; offence committed) and civil (ie issues between two individuals; agreements, or disagreements; contracts) . Police deal with criminal law. Damages is civil law; the police wont get involved; is between yourself and the motorist. Which might be why the policeman said what he did?
[You mentioned your medical bills. Medical bills are handled via the government compulsory third party insurance part of the car licence. Motor Accident Commission uses an insurance company, Allianz (?), to run the scheme. Allianz collect the premiums we all pay when we renew motor registration; if you get injured, they pay your costs (ie doctor bills them not Medicare). They may then hassle the driver who was at fault, to get some of their money back. Happens automaticaly, you are covered, no need to worry (usually)
In civil matters, need to establish, who is officially seen as responsible, for causing the damage, & to what extent. May be easier than it sounds. In traffic crashes - police file a report, assigning formal responsiblity to one or the other. Often, the person held at fault, has also broken some traffic law. So if the cops held the driver responsible for causing the crash. And said the driver had broken a law. And issued the driver with a fine not merely a caution. Is pretty clear grounds, the driver was the one responsible for causing it all. And if they caused it all - they have to fix it.
In terms of letters - as others say - is fairly standard. E.g document your expenses (receipts or quotes). Then write to the driver, giving details of event; damage; pointing out you believe them at fault; ask them to cover cost of repair of damage they caused. Most will respond to the letter and sort it from that. Worth getting good advice, on how to word the letter. Maybe ask a lawyer, or the legal helpline, make sure most of the important stuff is in.
A tip - give them a deadline to reply e.g "I look forward to hearing from you by 14th Feb" . Because if they decide to give you a hard time - bin your letter without replying - you can then make something of it.
Is useful, also, if it needs to go further. Most State organisations, in dispute resolution - want people to try to sort things out on their own first. A letter with a date - and no response - shows you did try to sort it out and got nowhere, through no fault of yours. That is the cue, the organisations need, to act.
All I can give is general stuff, from my own general knowledge, but hopefuly will put you in the picture. I dont know the specifics of your circumstances, - those can matter - a lot turns on specific details. See what others say, get professional advice if you think you need it, and best of luck.
wow! what a reply!
thanks for the info. good easy to understand version of how things work :) this is far and beyond what i was expecting from anyone.
I was doored but stopped just in time with no harm done, it was just outside a BP servo with 2 police cars witnessing it and the female driver being fined on the spot for opening a door to oncoming traffic without due care(or similar wording)!
The police officers said they would file a report, send me a report number should i find a cliam for whiplash or injury later.
I had nothing to claim but did ask my lawyer(not a compensation specialist) what I should do if something had happened.
He said there are ambulance chaser legal firms who cater for exactly that but sadly they are also usually the only winners.
Best course of action I was told to try the civil way and make contact, show your out of pocket exspense and see if they come to the party, have that letter of claim written by a legal firm though to give the 1st impression that you are serious!
Sorry to hear about the incident.
good to hear you weren't injured. the wording of the letter seems paramount.
Car registration includes third party insurance, which covers the cost of damage to a third party, that is, a person. This is why your medical bills are covered. Insurance that covers damage to someone's property is not compulsory. How easy it will be to recover the cost of your bike will depend on whether the other driver had insurance that will cover property damage. Generally, if drivers have independant insurance, it will cover property damage (comprehensive or third party, property, fire and theft).
Assuming that it is the driver's fault, then if the driver has insurance it is quite simple to recoup the cost of a new bike. You just send a quote for repairs to the driver, who will then forward it on to the insurance company.
However, it isn't so simple if the driver does not have insurance. Yes, you can send him/her a letter of demand, but if they don't have the money to pay then you will have to sue them, which is a long and painful process. Small claims court hears claims up to $6000. And then even if the court does order that the driver pay your costs, actually getting the money from the driver is another matter.
I'm hoping that, being a van parked in the middle of the city during the day, the van was a work vehicle of some sort and the company would be likely to have independent insurance.
I think your first step would be to contact the driver and find out whether they have insurance. If so, get a quote for repairs/a new bike and send it to the driver, who will forward it to the insurance company. The insurance company will then get the police report which will state whether the fault was caused by the other driver (presumably yes). The insurance company may want a few different quotes for repairs. From there, payout should be quite straightforward.
If the driver doesn't have insurance, you should send a letter of demand (I think someone attached a sample to their post). Then wait and see if you get a reply.
My advice is to be nice, be nice, be nice. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Don't get angry until being nice doesn't work any more.
thanks for the help. hopefully the small claims court doesn't have to get involved. polite honesty is probably the way to go. he appears to be liable but there's no need to get angry. it was just careless, not intentional
You are in a better position to claim for property (bike damage) because the police said that the driver has been fined. If the driver and/or the his insurance company hassles too much, remember that you are in a good position. If need be, even go to small claims court.
Id get a whole new bike. Bikes are NOT designed to hit objects at speed or even walking pace lol!
Ive seen my share of NASTY crashes from crew not replacing forks/stems/bars/seat post after accidents.
Your whole bike could be bent. Your cranks could be bent and cause you chronic knee issues later on.
Not wanting to make you paranoid but ALWAYS put bodies before bikes...
Another reason I ride so much alloy stuff cos you can just cut it in half and drop it at the recycling depot on the way to the city.
well i don't think the rest of the bike is an issue. its a alloy body but carbon forks. i'll replace the forks before doing any serious cycling.
thanks, very helpful.
hopefully it does't go so far as minor civil action