Advice much needed

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
bingley
Posts: 3
Joined: 25 Feb 2012, 4:32pm

Advice much needed

Postby bingley » 25 Feb 2012, 5:22pm

My first post, hopefully in the right section..

I cycle to work daily,and have done so for many years now ( a 14 mile round trip).

Heading home yesterday, I reached the local dual carriageway at about 2PM, nice sunny afternoon, light traffic, then suddenly an almighty bang and I am off my bike and spinning down the road on my back. The end of my handlebars had been clipped by a cars' door mirror.

The owner of said car stopped and eventually got out of her car to see what she had done, among her first comments to me was that she was very sorry but had not seen me as she had been dazzled by the sun. I quoted the highway code and asked her why she had not slowed to a speed appropriate to the visibility.

There then followed a lengthy conversation in which I declined the use of an ambulance (it seemed a tad unnecessary given that my only injury was a dislocated finger, I thought that the ambulance service might be put to better use elsewhere). The car driver (a young lady of about 24 years) then asked if it would be ok if she phoned her mother.

A long story shortened (a bit), mother arrives on scene and wastes no time in photographing my hand. Mother then proceeds to plead with me not to deal with matters via her daughters' car insurance as this will cause her premiums to escalate. I stood my ground and insisted that I have their contact details, at this point Mother states that they will be suing me for damage to the car.

I told the mother what her daughter had said (very sorry,blinded by sun etc). To which Mother said... That her daughter had never said any such thing, there were no witnesses, my word against theirs etc.

I was left to walk the last 2 miles of my journey home with a broken bike and a badly dislocated finger.

Thoughts on my mind currently:
I am very lucky, the outcome of this could have been so much worse.
Do I contact the insurers to process a claim?
What are the chances of me being sued (I was hit from behind, Mother now suggests that I swerved into path of daughters' car!).

Please can somone restore my faith in humanity? At no stage did these "people" show the slightest concern for my well being or attempt to assist me getting home.

stork
Posts: 208
Joined: 18 Feb 2008, 8:19pm

Re: Advice much needed

Postby stork » 25 Feb 2012, 7:38pm

I'd contact the driver's insurance company and lodge a claim with them. If you are a CTC member, you may wish to contact the legal advice scheme.

Also, report it to the police. As I understand it, the driver commits an offence if they fail to report the accident themselves, given that it has resulted in injury. This is quite apart from any offence of careless driving they may have committed.

daveg
Posts: 388
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 10:46pm
Location: Chapel Allerton. Leeds

Re: Advice much needed

Postby daveg » 25 Feb 2012, 7:49pm

What I find sad is the lack of concern for the person and the protect against litigiation attitude.

I'd agree that reporting to the police is very important. It;s unlikey that they will do anything, but it is a legal duty to report an accident. If you make a report and she doesn't then that is an offence in itself.

If you don't go through insurance you leave yourslef open to getting the run around. It's daft not to.

Hope it works out well and that you can get back on the bike sharpish
If it wasn't for cars, there wouldn't be the amount of tarmac that there is.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28793
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Advice much needed

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Feb 2012, 8:04pm


snibgo
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Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: Advice much needed

Postby snibgo » 25 Feb 2012, 8:39pm

Welcome to the forum -- but sorry about the circumstances. Very glad the injuries weren't more severe.

I suggest you (not necessarily in this order):

1. Report this to the police, ideally with a pre-written statement, including the conversations you had with the driver and mother.
2. Get yourself medically examined.
3. Get the bike examined. The frame may be damaged in a way you cannot see.
4. Decide what you would like to happen to the driver. Prosecuted for dangerous/careless driving? IMHO, this would be reasonable, but it's not my call.

The mother is trying to frighten you off. The driver almost certainly has a duty to report this to her insurers, which will do nasty things to her premium. The mother knows this, so wants to scare you off. IMHO she has no chance of successfully sueing you.

Remember, they were frightened -- quite possibly more frightened than you. But the driver created the situation and (in my view) needs to face the consequences.

[Edited for spelling.]
Last edited by snibgo on 25 Feb 2012, 9:33pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Wildduck
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Re: Advice much needed

Postby Wildduck » 25 Feb 2012, 9:00pm

Ditto the last post.
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Malaconotus
Posts: 1846
Joined: 30 Jul 2010, 11:31pm
Location: Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Re: Advice much needed

Postby Malaconotus » 25 Feb 2012, 9:43pm

Report to the police. Get a lawyer. Follow the advice linked upthread.

And DON'T feel bad or down. You are the one that got run over. You did nothing wrong. If the other party are underhand and nasty enough to try and turn the blame on you, take them for every penny you can. It is them that should be feeling bad.

And IME, while you were lucky with the extent of your injuries, you were unlucky to meet someone as unpleasant and self-serving as the mother. Most people are better than that.

snibgo
Posts: 4604
Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: Advice much needed

Postby snibgo » 25 Feb 2012, 9:46pm

I should also have endorsed thirdcrank's link, and the links from there. If you are a CTC member, or have an insurance that covers legal stuff, consulting a solicitor could be very useful.

And perhaps the most important advice: get well soon, and don't let this put you off cycling.

eileithyia
Posts: 7984
Joined: 31 Jan 2007, 6:46pm
Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: Advice much needed

Postby eileithyia » 25 Feb 2012, 9:47pm

Endorse all that has been said, daughter was in the wrong, you have been injured, might not be able to work(?), have a broken bike, damaged clothing(?) and therefore out of pocket due to her carelessness.

Being blinded by the sun is not an excuse.

I hope during in all the time it took to discuss and for mother to arrive you got her Reg No.
Inform the police, Inform her insurers, get medical care and get all damages properly assessed, contact CTC re legal support.

Welcome to the forum, sorry the circumstaces are not happier and speedy recovery.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

downfader
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Joined: 8 Feb 2009, 10:09pm
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Re: Advice much needed

Postby downfader » 25 Feb 2012, 9:52pm

Thirdcrank's link and Snibgo's advice are good and salient.

If you are a member of the CTC (or any of many of the other large cycling groups or campaigns) you will have insurance and legal cover. Phone their helpline and they will put you in touch with someone. If you're not a member you can contact RJW solicitors independently.

Photograph/video your injuries and bike damage. Keep records of travel costs, etc.

Ambler
Posts: 300
Joined: 1 Jul 2011, 10:40pm
Location: Cumbria

Re: Advice much needed

Postby Ambler » 25 Feb 2012, 10:08pm

Just remember you may be more injured than you think.
My son fell off my bike (his own fault) and was fine at first.
He suffered whiplash (very painful) and was off work for 8 weeks.
The pain only started after a couple of days and was very intense.

You are in the right here and don't let them or their insurers persuade you otherwise.

roadvader
Posts: 116
Joined: 9 Feb 2012, 9:05pm

Re: Advice much needed

Postby roadvader » 26 Feb 2012, 12:42pm

Ambler wrote:Just remember you may be more injured than you think.
My son fell off my bike (his own fault) and was fine at first.
He suffered whiplash (very painful) and was off work for 8 weeks.
The pain only started after a couple of days and was very intense.

You are in the right here and don't let them or their insurers persuade you otherwise.


agree id follow this through.
:)
sorry love not tonight im shaving my legs...

thirdcrank
Posts: 28793
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Advice much needed

Postby thirdcrank » 26 Feb 2012, 5:36pm

snibgo wrote:.... 1. Report this to the police, ideally with a pre-written statement, including the conversations you had with the driver and mother.....


My own comments on different types of statement:-

After things like avoiding the risk of being hit by another vehicle, first aid, and things of that immediate sort, collection and preservation of evidence is important. Your own record of the event, made as soon as possible having regard to the really immediate stuff, will be invaluable later. Record everything you can think of: what happened, time, day. date. location. reg no type and colour of other vehicle, weather conditions, visibility, state of road surface. This doesn't need any legalese. Date and sign it. If additional material comes to light later, make a separate record, rather than editing the first. Retain all records you make.

People seem to attach disproportionate significance to insisting on making a statement to the police. If a case is going to court and you are a potential witness, at that stage the police will almost certainly need a statement. In England and Wales, this has two main purposes and so might involve two separate statements, especially if the case is sufficiently serious to involve a number of officers investigating it. The first is as a "version." This is an account of what the witness knows. The second (the CJA statement) is for serving on the defence to avoid as far as possible, the need for witnesses to attend court to give undisputed evidence. Types one and two may be rolled into one in a straightforward case, but in anything more complicated, where the version is likely to be much more detailed including things which are not admissible as evidence, the CPS may edit the version to make a CJA statement. (The Criminal Justice Act 1967 allows a witness's statement to be read out in their absence in certain circumstances.)

The other type of statement - often referred to as a "voluntary" - is a statement which might be made by a suspect being interviewed under caution. There has always been some disagreement about ststements under caution following road accidents. In laymen's terms only suspects need be cautioned and that's how I was trained to deal with this. Some forces, and the West Riding, later West Yorkshire Constabulary was one, treated all parties to every collision as suspects, presumably to be on the safe side. IMHO it's just a backside covering excercise and might easily be counter-productive.

For whatever purpose a written statement is made and whoever writes it, it's their statement so they should ensure it only contains things they would be happy to repeat on oath/ affirmation.

bingley
Posts: 3
Joined: 25 Feb 2012, 4:32pm

Re: Advice much needed

Postby bingley » 26 Feb 2012, 9:21pm

Thank you,one and all, for your words of advice and reassurance. This whole episode was really getting me down (perhaps due in part to the real and not to be underestimated shock to the system, as it were). Yes, I wish that my first post on this forum had been a happier one, but I am so very lucky to still be here and able to post messages.

The police have been informed and have taken statements. I arrived home after the accident (having walked the last 2 miles of my journey) and within minutes the police phoned to take my statement. The PC seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that my bike had been struck from behind, so I suspect that mother and daughter have already told some untruths.

Thoroughly cleaned and inspected my bike today (an old but loved Ridgeback Cyclone, for those interested) and cannot see any evidence of frame damage. With considerable trepidation I shall resume my daily commute on it tomorrow. I was sorely tempted to use alternative transport, but I am determined not to be beaten by this, as you all rightly point out, I am the innocent party in all this.

I am certain that many of you will be frustrated (rightly so) to hear that I am still in some inner turmoil as to what to do next about all this. The thought uppermost in my mind currently seems to be that if daughters car insurance premiums were to escalate to the point where she was unable to continue driving, then the roads might be safer for this..

I will of course keep you all up to date with things as this progresses, and thanks again, your kind words have helped me so very much.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28793
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Advice much needed

Postby thirdcrank » 26 Feb 2012, 9:41pm

bingley wrote: ... I am certain that many of you will be frustrated (rightly so) to hear that I am still in some inner turmoil as to what to do next about all this. ...


I've no idea what you know already about this type of thing so here are a few points to help you to make up your mind.

The main police responsibilty with something like this is to investigate alleged criminal offences and if there is sufficient evidence submit a file to the CPS for a possible prosecution, whose outcome might be a conviction and punishment eg fine and licece endorsed for careless driving.

In the absence of independent witnesses a prosecution would be unlikely. If there were to be a prosecution, in the event of a not guilty plea, you would normally be expected to give evidence in a magistrates' court

If you want compensation for your injuries, damage to property etc., then that is a civil matter, which only you can start. You can do a DIY job and at least one forum member has done so and achieved a satisfactory result, but that's not for everybody and my earlier link explains how to get legal assistance. If your injuries are small - as I'm sure we all hope - then any compo will also be small, but permanent disability adds up. Civil claims end up in court relatively rarely as the parties are encouraged to negotiate and settle rather than litigate. A decent solicitor would sort all this bit out, including advice on whether you were wasting your time.