I got hit by a car this morning. A SUV driver drove straight though a round-about, with me half way though.
I'm ok (legs pretty bruised), but my bike is close to snapped in half (a crack 3/4 around the down-tube, wheels bent out, etc etc).
I have the driver's details, and the details of a witness who saw it happen and I've been to hospital and I've done the police report thing.
I contacted the driver's insurer and they basically wouldn't deal with me. They said to either get her to make a claim or else to get a lawyer.
I'm sure others here have been though this before - any advice for me?
The way I dealt with this when I had a minor vehicle collision with another vehicle (my fault entirely) was for the claimant (the owner of the car I hit) to send a "letter of demand" to me (the guilty party,) outlining the damages, then I sent it to my insurance company with a claim form and the excess payment. The insurance company took care of the rest. No lawyer was involved.
I hope the SUV driver is amenable to doing the right thing.
Sorry to hear about your adventure.
First thing look after your health.
Then I would make enquires about the cost of getting your bike fixed.
Leave it a few days so any injuries you have have become evident.
Decide what you would be happy with ($25,000,000 for pain and suffering will probably need good justification and likely to go to court).
Get some competent legal advice.
Reassess what a reasonable thing is.
Then put in your claim for damages with the driver.
If the driver chooses to get their insurance company involved is up to them.
If you are a BikeSA member they have a legal service which is perfect for things like this. Lawyers are fantastic, but you need to know one (well) or have spare money around. If you use a lawyer that works on "contingency" you may well not get your bike replaced. as they only see a case through if there is some good for them. First option is the best and less complicated.
The very same thing happened to me back in January. I sustained a shoulder injury which is still being treated. I obtained a quote for repairs to my bike and forwarded it to the other party. It is their choice whether they decide to go through their insurance or pay you themselves. My bike was written off so the other party chose to claim on their insurance. The problem there is that the other insurance co will not pay out until the claimant pays their excess, which in this case was $500. The claimant could not afford to pay it in one lump so entered into a payment agreement to pay $50 per week for 10 weeks! It had already been a month before they came to this agreement so it meant I would have had to wait another 10 weeks! I approached my home and contents insurance co (Bupa) and they agreed to pay me under my contents insurance and they would pursue the other insurance co for the money. I also contacted the lawyer associated with bike SA and had a free first visit to discuss my claim. They were very helpful and will represent me to obtain the best treatment and outcome regarding my injuries.
Hope this helps, it really sucks going through this and I hope your injuries are not serious. Don't assume you are fine until you give yourself plenty of time for all injuries to surface.
Elaine raises a very good point Nick, if your H&C insurance, or other insurance covers it, claim through them and they deal with the other parties insurer.
Can we do that because mine was the very same situation, a driver entered a roundabout and failed to give way to me and the cops said no charges would be laid, which I thought sucked!
Glad to hear you are OK, and +1 to Adam's reply.
Sorry to hear about that..... glad you are OK. The last time I did the statistics - your average cyclist will get hit once a decade, maybe 3 times if they are unlucky. Most of the time it is the drivers fault, as here (fail to give way??). Most of the time, the cyclist ends up bruised and battered and very shaken - but fortunately nothing worse.
What to do? The earlier posts more or less cover it. My approach below, --- I have zero legal training just some ideas, you might find something useful.
Most (a) make it difficult for a motorist who just wants to ignore it, thus hoping you will give up and go away (b) also encourages the motorist to see that though he skittled you and it was his fault - you are trying to do the right thing and be reasonable and fair.
If the amount you wish to claim is small (hundreds?) - draft a letter to the driver. (0.5)
In it say
-date and time of collision, and place
-state that the police hold them responsible for causing the crash, not you. You therefore hold them responsible for causing damage to your bike. (1)
-as they caused damaged - you expect them to make reparation (ie foot the bill, to put things back to how they were before).(2)
-give them details of the costs. Make sure you have paperwork to back these up e.g list prices, quotes, bills, estimates. The purpose , is to stop the driver arguing.about what the costs to you actually are. (3).
-you would prefer this can be sorted out amicably, without recourse to the courts (4)
-Ilook forward to hearing from you within say 7 days of the date of the letter. (5)
-give them your mail address, email, home phone, mobile. (6)
-get one of those red& yellow express-post prepaid delivery envelopes (7)
(0.5) - take it up with the driver - not the driver's insurance company. The driver is the one who caused the damage to you, who owes you. Is up to them to pay you. As a matter of decency, they need to do it promptly. How they finance that payment (Ee.g by claiming on their insurance) - that's their issue, not yours.
(1) When you report a crash to SAPOL , SAPOL formally say, who was to blame for causing the crash in terms of breaking traffic law. If the driver wants to argue whose fault it is - he can take it up with the cops and wont get very far
.(2) In brief, the legal principle, as far as I understand - is if you cause damage, you are obliged pay reparation; you are expected to do this, and if you stuff around, the wounded party can ask the court to make you do it. Ie you broke it - you need to fix it. How much you need to fix it - well, you have to make things like they were, before you caused the problem. , You put things back to how they were before.
(3) That's how much it's gonna take, tp put things back to how they were before. Make sure amounts are backed up by eg quotes, list prices, etc from a third party (this can be e.g catalogue price, doctors estimate etc). That way you know they are fair, and the driver can check the third party (in theory ) and verify that. That approach cuts out any argument or delay from the driver, that costs are unreasonable, or you are just out for what you can get.
(4) Big hint to them, threat of legal action if they don't want to behave like adults. Also shows clearly if they do want to do the right thing - you are very happy to act decently with them also. In reality, they know this is being carried out int the shadow of the law and the courts.
(5) and (6) are my stock standard stuff , for businesses who think they can ignore it and hope it will go away (many do). The law is they have to make a reasonable effort, even if they dont want to, to sort things out. You are already doing your bit - taking the initiative; setting it down, reasonably, and in writing. Up to them now...
Giving a time limit - no confusion for them, how quickly you want to hear from them ("Oh, sorry, I thought you weren't in a hurry for it, so sorry!"). It also means if they try to ignore it - you can make that count in court (M'Lud, I wrote to them twice, gave them 7 phone numbers, and did not hear a thing from them. they broke it, and they don't want to fix it, I feel I have made reasonable efforts, but they just don't seem interested.... ). Initial letter, maybe 7 days; future correspondence also needs a time limit, say 14 days.
(7) ensures delivery on time; AND there is a peel-off sticker you can keep, for proof of posting and tracking ("I never got the letter..." )
Yes all this is a lot of work.
No, you shouldnt have to do it.
However is one of those things, where you need to put the work in at this stage, to set yourself up well, for later on.
Free legal advice -
the following are actually available, on demand, and very helpful.
Itd go first to (a) SA Legal Services commission Legal Helpline (chat to a lawyer on the phone, for free)
For more understanding, go then to (b) SA Legal Services Commission on-line law handbook - excellent and readable, with setions on civil matters like this
(c) RAA if you are a member
(d) maybe Office of Business and Consumer Affairs - they kinda can advise on disputes like this. They tend to sound a bit abrupt - seems merely they need to be fairly quick to find out the type of help you want,
Many law firms have a reduced fee for initial consult, sy 30 min. SA Law Society co-ordinate that, via a roster - phone them up and get names of firms..
I hope you are feeling OK today. Not too many aches.
You do have a police report number right? You need it.
Honestly,if you do have an insurance company get them to handle it. Even if you do I recommend you contact this site's great supporter TGB Lawyers and ask to see Barney Gask for an obligation free consult. He will help you sort it all out with no stress and get you what you are entitled to and maybe some things you didn't realise, from the driver and from the MAC (medical).
It will all be sorted out and you will be riding again on a new bike in a short period of time. Have confidence in that.
They are also holding a special seminar about the impact of the state gov changes and insurace for cyclists in a couple of weeks. All are invite to attend this early evening seminar. More details here.