bicycle damaged by a car driver in an accident

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jmtaylor73

bicycle damaged by a car driver in an accident

Postby jmtaylor73 » 13 Feb 2008, 6:14pm

Dear cyclists,

I'd be grateful for any advice ... as I don't really know what to do. Thank you in advance anyone who can help!

I was hit 3 weeks ago by a driver who pulled straight out from a side road in London without looking. I was on a London cycle route as well (smithfield market). I landed on the bike after being struck and damaged the bike, but only bruised and battered myself. I had a witness and I also went to the Police station to give them my account of the road traffic accident including a statement of my take on who was liable (the driver of course).

The bike sustained damage to the wheels and large scratches on the frame. I took it to a bike shop for a quote for repairs and they said I shouldn't be repairing an aluminium frame which was 7 years old that had been in an accident as you couldn't guarantee that the frame hadn't sustained structural damage. Although to repair the wheels would cost £200.

So as requested by the car driver's insurers, I got a quote for a replacement Giant SCR1 for the Giant OCR1 that was damaged. The car driver's insurance company have said that with bicycles they don't pay up for like for like replacement and would knock 10% off the value of the original for each year owned. So for a £725 bike bought in 2000 they'd give me £217.

I maintained my bike and like trigger's broom have had new wheels, components over the last few years so I don't see why depreciation has such an impact on the value.

An equivalent SCR1 bike would be £850 (SCR replaced the OCR). Surely given that I didn't ask to be knocked off and I'm the 3rd party when the driver was liable I should at least be entitled to a replacement bike. I also wouldn't be happy with a second hand bike for long commutes to work as I do like to know the full history of a bike I depend on.

Does anyone else have any pearls of wisdom to offer. I can't shell out £600 to get the equivalent bike and I don't see why I should get an inferior bike after not being at fault. Hiring a solicitor would cost a few hundred I guess so I'm not sure that's worth it either.

Cheers
James

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Cunobelin
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Postby Cunobelin » 13 Feb 2008, 7:03pm

Are you a member - If so contact the CTC legal Dept.......

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 13 Feb 2008, 7:54pm

Proper legal advice is worth any amount of homespun stuff on here.

I'll still offer a couple of points.

1/ I understand that the 'No win, no fee system', which replaced legal aid, applies to personal injury. So, if you were injured, a solicitor would deal with the damage to the bike as part and parcel, but if no injury, you might have to pay for representation. In fact, if you are confident of what you are doing, you can pursue a claim yourself through the civil courts, what used to be known as the small claims court. (Info available from Citizens Advice or similar and the Courts Service provides an excellent series of leaflets telling you how to go on.)

2/ There was a piece about similar circumstances to yours in a Mag., probably Cycling + about 18 months ago I think, where their resident legal eagle explained that the pro rata reduction in the value of the claim is how insurance companies deal with their own policyholders. This apparently has no legal standing with third parties, such as you. According to her, you are not automatically entitled to new for old, but you are entitled to be put in the position you were in before the accident so if getting a better one than yours used to be is the only way to do it, they have to suck it.

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meic
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Postby meic » 13 Feb 2008, 11:28pm

I had a similar problem after a motorcycle accident. I didnt recieve payment until they recieved a letter informing them that I was taking them to the small claims court. I directed the claim at the driver NOT the insurance company. I dont know who I should have directed it to but it made sense to go for the driver as they did it and let the insurance company act for them if they will.
I put in claims for the purchase of replacement equipment with receipts for buying equivalent items. This was for my clothes and crash helmet. I was paid out before it went to court so I dont know what a judge would decide.
I think I gave them an amount and said if they could find the things for less then I would happily accept them instead.

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Ben Lovejoy
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Postby Ben Lovejoy » 14 Feb 2008, 1:43am

Thirdcrank is right: the insurance company is perfectly entitled to argue that you should not end up in a better position than before, so I would tell them if they can source you a secondhand replacement of similar age, with similar spec and in similar condition, you will accept it - failing that, you want the nearest equivalent, and if all that is available is a new one, then that's what they'll have to provide.
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Postby gaz » 14 Feb 2008, 9:49am

Many years ago the CTC helped me with a claim. I had been riding past a set of road works when the plastic stripy tape between the cones caught round my handlebars and pulled me on to the deck.

Minimal damage to the bike (broken rear light, wheel out of true or something similar), a few cuts, grazes and bruises to myself.

It took a long time to settle but the local authorities insurer eventually paid out more for the injuries than for the damage. Sadly being so long ago I can't remember the amount but the injuries were trivial and I wasn't expecting anything for them.

The CTC legal department also made it clear that had I simply been to see the Doctor and had a precise record of the injuries the compensation would have been greater.

In this and other cases that legal department have helped me with they also wanted to know if I had incurred costs for alternative transport whilst the bike was awaiting repair. In my case I had not but clearly this could also be claimed for, especially if it's your only bike and your main means of transport.

You should expect some compensation for being "bruised and battered" in addition to the comments made by others in the posts above. It will help your case if you saw your Doctor or even took photos of the injuries. Such compensation might itself bridge the gap between what they're offering and what you need to replace the bike.

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Postby 2Tubs » 14 Feb 2008, 12:30pm

Ben Lovejoy wrote:Thirdcrank is right: the insurance company is perfectly entitled to argue that you should not end up in a better position than before, so I would tell them if they can source you a secondhand replacement of similar age, with similar spec and in similar condition, you will accept it - failing that, you want the nearest equivalent, and if all that is available is a new one, then that's what they'll have to provide.

True,

But if it's the case that you can't source a suitable, equal replacement within their offer I'd certainly think about further negotiations.

In addition, if you have injuries, I'd start talking about compensation for those, that might make them play fairly over your financial loss as that may run into thousands.

If you do nothing else, take some legal advice. Ingore all advice on this board (including mine) except gettign legal advice. You can get legal advice for free. Talk to Citizens Advice Bureau CAB

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Postby eileithyia » 14 Feb 2008, 4:38pm

I'm witht he others on here get some legal advise, go thru CTC if you are member it is what you pay for.

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Postby stoobs » 14 Feb 2008, 5:15pm

Please see my posting in:

http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t ... highlight=

I'm not a big one for people who "think" in forums without knowing the facts, but I have the feeling that a lot of lawyer types are only interested in pursuing personal injury claims, with a bike thrown in at the end. No injury claim - no interest.

In this case, the insurance company are fobbing you off, as they fobbed me off. I was not interested in the insurance company. You don't care what their policy is, you want a new bike, and rightly so.

If you go to small claims court (which you can do online for about £10!) and you win (which you wil with a witness) then it will cost them more. Don't even talk to the insurers.

Also, tactically, you are NOT claiming for a new bike - you are claiming for new tyres, new wheels, new handlebars, new saddle and anything else that was scratched. You will also notice on reflection that your clothes got damaged - new top, new trousers, new shoes (Do you get my drift here?) This will soon add up to more than a new bike - at which point, you settle for just a new bike! You may think that you are doing them a favour by making a modest claim, and not including everything that was damaged. However, this is not the case - they will exploit any weakness that they perceive. Stick by your guns!

My claim was against the driver, and I didn't care who paid her bills. I claimed for a new bike against her, as I had replaced everything on it, and upgraded, several times over. By the end of it, and with the incompetence of her insurance company, my original bill for £499 had gone up to close to £1000. Insurance companies tend to treat cyclists with disdain, and try to swing the lead. Don't let them do it. Small claims allows you to pursue the wrongdoer at minmal cost to you, and maximum stress to the miscreant. Contact me if you want more help.

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Postby stoobs » 14 Feb 2008, 5:26pm

Ben Lovejoy wrote:Thirdcrank is right: the insurance company is perfectly entitled to argue that you should not end up in a better position than before, so I would tell them if they can source you a secondhand replacement of similar age, with similar spec and in similar condition, you will accept it - failing that, you want the nearest equivalent, and if all that is available is a new one, then that's what they'll have to provide.


Ben is right - the insurance company can argue what they like. However, you don't care. They can argue that the sky is pink - but they would be wrong, and it's irrelevant. So too is their policy towards you. They are assuming a position of authority which they DO NOT HAVE over you. If you ignore their "rules" and don't play their game, then they'll have to go and bully someone else.

In my case, I had already had the indignity and danger of doing a Superman impression over the bonnet of a car, and then had them telling me that I was harrassing the driver (yes, but legally so - I checked with the police), that I should have taken evasive action (impossible), that I was on the wrong side of the road (difficult with a crash barrier, and a witness who said otherwise), and that my bike was worthless (proved with online quotes from Wiggle). Each time they pushed back, I increased my resolve, and realised that more and more of my kit had got damaged. They stalled a little in court, too, but each time I had a hearing (3 times only), they always seemed to coincide with my working far away, so I claimed expenses, too. Silly insurers.

At court, a barrister even asked me if I had legal training, to which I replied "No, I just followed the on-line instructions - even a monkey could do it". It's easy to do, and it gives you great power over the insurers.

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Postby meic » 14 Feb 2008, 11:30pm

Stoobs

What was a Barrister doing at a small claims court?
The whole point of small claims is that neither party can escalate the costs by involving solicitors' fees.

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Postby Ben Lovejoy » 14 Feb 2008, 11:50pm

meic wrote:What was a Barrister doing at a small claims court?
The whole point of small claims is that neither party can escalate the costs by involving solicitors' fees.

Yes, neither solicitors nor barristers are permitted to be present ...
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meic
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Postby meic » 15 Feb 2008, 12:15am

Not entirely so.
The "other side" bought a solicitor along once but the judge asked us if we agreed to her being present.

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Postby stoobs » 15 Feb 2008, 12:25am

Ben Lovejoy wrote:
meic wrote:What was a Barrister doing at a small claims court?
The whole point of small claims is that neither party can escalate the costs by involving solicitors' fees.

Yes, neither solicitors nor barristers are permitted to be present ...


Perhaps I've not used the right word. You sound so sure, but you weren't there. However, a court-resident legal bod who was advocate for the defendant? Are you sure of your facts?

Granted, you're not allowed to claim their expenses, but does that preclude the insurers of said "mad driver" using legal professionals? Regardless of outcome, they would not have been able to claim those costs against me. So, I agree about the costs, but I think that you're on thin ice when saying that solicitors or barristers are not permitted to be present.

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Re: bicycle damaged by a car driver in an accident

Postby meekychuppet » 15 Feb 2008, 3:04pm

jmtaylor73 wrote:Dear cyclists,

I'd be grateful for any advice ... as I don't really know what to do. Thank you in advance anyone who can help!

I was hit 3 weeks ago by a driver who pulled straight out from a side road in London without looking. I was on a London cycle route as well (smithfield market). I landed on the bike after being struck and damaged the bike, but only bruised and battered myself. I had a witness and I also went to the Police station to give them my account of the road traffic accident including a statement of my take on who was liable (the driver of course).

The bike sustained damage to the wheels and large scratches on the frame. I took it to a bike shop for a quote for repairs and they said I shouldn't be repairing an aluminium frame which was 7 years old that had been in an accident as you couldn't guarantee that the frame hadn't sustained structural damage. Although to repair the wheels would cost £200.

So as requested by the car driver's insurers, I got a quote for a replacement Giant SCR1 for the Giant OCR1 that was damaged. The car driver's insurance company have said that with bicycles they don't pay up for like for like replacement and would knock 10% off the value of the original for each year owned. So for a £725 bike bought in 2000 they'd give me £217.

I maintained my bike and like trigger's broom have had new wheels, components over the last few years so I don't see why depreciation has such an impact on the value.

An equivalent SCR1 bike would be £850 (SCR replaced the OCR). Surely given that I didn't ask to be knocked off and I'm the 3rd party when the driver was liable I should at least be entitled to a replacement bike. I also wouldn't be happy with a second hand bike for long commutes to work as I do like to know the full history of a bike I depend on.

Does anyone else have any pearls of wisdom to offer. I can't shell out £600 to get the equivalent bike and I don't see why I should get an inferior bike after not being at fault. Hiring a solicitor would cost a few hundred I guess so I'm not sure that's worth it either.

Cheers
James


I was hit recently - it wasn't hard to get what was due, after all, I had some terrible injuries. I used the first solicitor I found online.