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  • Legal help please – rear end shunt car vs bike, insurer refusing liability
  • Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    My blood pressure is through the roof right now. I need some advice please!

    The facts: I was involved in an accident while I was on my bike. A car drove into me from behind, destroying my bike. I was not injured (although the effects of all this on my blood pressure are not insignificant!)
    I am an experienced cyclist, and I have done the journey/manoeuvre in question hundreds of times (> 225 according to my Garmin).
    After the driver got out to shout at me, he drove away without exchanging details (whilst I was on the phone to the police).
    He was apprehended a short way down the road by the police.
    He didn’t report the accident to his insurer (he should have) – the first they knew of it was when I called them several days later.

    The disputed bit which I, unfortunately, cannot prove:
    The driver was annoyed at me for filtering in front of him ~40m before the junction. He beeped his horn at me, then drove his car at me, intentionally.

    There are no witnesses on record, at the time I didn’t think to canvas any help.
    There is unfortunately no CCTV or dashcam evidence.
    I do not have bike insurance.

    Anyway, despite my evidence (the call to the police, the damage to my bike, the damage to THE FRONT OF his car, my version of events), his insurer have somehow decided to accept his version of events that I cut in front of him. This is nonsense and is a ridiculous conclusion considering the damage incurred.

    I don’t really know how they can do this – it’s so unfair. They are basing the decision entirely on the statement of a charlatan asking me to ‘prove’ that I didn’t cut in front of him. Obviously I cannot do this but I don’t feel like I have a case to answer. I explained (over the phone) that I believe the burden of proof lies with them / the driver, but they claimed “that’s not how this works”. I want to go back to his insurer and explain the absurdity of all of this. But having spoken to their representative on the phone today, I think any letter will just be ignored.

    Now I’ve got that off my chest: WWSTWD? Lawyer? Citizen’s advice?

    P.S. As hilarious as it would be, I’m not really in the mood for sausage/DOT fluid/Bomber-related retribution ideas.

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    More details for those interested:

    It follows on from this thread:

    Someone just rammed me with their car – advice please

    I was riding up to the roundabout, intending to turn (slight) right. To do this, I get into the just-left-of-middle of the 2nd of three lanes. There is no doubt that this is the ‘correct’ place to be. This sounds like a scary junction (and it is, I suppose), but at rush hour the traffic is always slow so I’m filtering between cars until the last 40m or so. Then I pick a ‘gap’ between cars and start queuing. On this occasion, the guy I was in front of was clearly irritated and attempted a ridiculous close pass to get around me, but there was no space for him to do this, so he was forced to stop behind traffic again and I made my way in front of him once more (in hindsight, I shouldn’t have done this). He leans on the horn, I give him the usual shrug (intended to mean ‘deal with it’. Again, maybe this wasn’t sensible).
    He then drives into the back of me. I presume this was intended as a ‘nudge’ but the ham-footed clown drove over the back of my bike, destroying the wheel and frame.

    P.P.S. The damage is going to cost me ~£1000. I could claim this on my home insurance I suppose, although the excess is £500 which is a bit annoying. My home insurance have already told me that if I make a claim, they wouldn’t bother to go to the car insurer chasing liability / reclaiming their losses etc. That seems absurd to me too.
    I get legal cover with my home insurance if I pay the excess.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Burden of proof is on you unfortunately.

    What happened with the Police?

    It sounds like you aren’t insured?

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    1. Get in touch with Cycling UK, they should be able to help even if you’re not a member.
    2. Name and shame his insurer.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Drivers insurer is acting in what driver has told them

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Free Member

    Have you checked with your home insurance? Might be some cover on there. Mine has a specific cycling bit as well as the usual

    Premier Icon austy
    Free Member

    If this has been recorded on your garmin can you not use this as evidence?

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    Drivers insurer is acting in what driver has told them

    True, I guess. Maybe I should have tried that tactic when (in a sudden snowstorm) I slid a car into the back of someone else’s…

    It sounds like you aren’t insured?

    Have you checked with your home insurance?

    Might want to read the post again…? 🙂

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Bez has it – time for a full bore no win no fee lawyer and sue his and the insurers arse.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    IIRC the liability is his (the other driver) that is backed off to insurance. You should be going after him with an ambulance chaser. His dealings with his insurance company are his affair.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    IIRC the liability is his (the other driver) that is backed off to insurance. You should be going after him with an ambulance chaser. His dealings with his insurance company are his affair.

    Yes, even a letter before action might prompt him to revisit his insurer.

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    If this has been recorded on your garmin can you not use this as evidence?

    This is a decent point but it might rely on you having “snap to roads” switched off on the device: the triangulated GPS data may well be accurate enough (depending on signal) to make it clear when and where you manoeuvred, but if it’s storing data that’s been corrected to align with mapping data then this might not be reliable.

    Premier Icon krixmeister
    Full Member

    Burden of proof is on you unfortunately.

    I’m not doubting this is accurate, but as someone who didn’t grow up in the UK I find this astounding. In (as far as I know) all states in the US, if someone rear-ends you the burden of proof is on them, to prove there were extenuating circumstances. Otherwise the assumption is the driver of the car that did the rear-ending was showing undue care/attention.

    Premier Icon julians
    Full Member

    The two people above me have it, you shouldnt be going to the insurers of the bloke that hit you , you should be going to the bloke that hit you, if he chooses to use his insurers to pay/handle/fight your claim that’s his choice.

    However this may be one to chalk up to experience and move on , I suspect if its raising your blood pressure at this stage, then going legal with no insurance/legal cover working on your behalf will raise your blood pressure further.

    If yoiu have home insurance they sometime shave free legal cover that may be able to help in this scenario, might be worth looking into this.

    Premier Icon belugabob
    Free Member

    The fact that he drove off should count against him, surely?
    Also, the person running into somebody from behind is generally consiser to be the one at fault, unless proven otherwise, and then they should be the ones doing the proving.
    If neither of these are the case, then how do any claims ever get settled, if you can just blame the victim?

    Premier Icon Blackflag
    Full Member

    Lawyer up.

    I struggled with an insurance claim against a driver who hit me on a roundabout. AXA didn’t want to know until i got a “no win no fee” lawyer on the case. Then it all got sorted quite easily.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    You should be going after him with an ambulance chaser.

    as these earn by taking a slice of the personal injury damages you’re awarded, and there doesn’t seem to have been any in this case, will they be interested? Best bet might be house insurance, etc – if that covers you they may fight on your behalf?

    As much as I don’t want to, every new post I read like this tips me slightly more towards getting a front/rear camera combo 😐

    Premier Icon shooterman
    Full Member

    Is there a police report?

    Was he prosecuted for failing to stop / report / remain?

    As above, his insurers are really nothing to do with you. It’s insurance the driver has to pick up the tab if he is found at fault. You don’t sue his insurance company, you sue him.

    The fact that he hit you from behind is a good evidential arrow in your quiver. Approaching a roundabout his speed ought to have been appropriate to the road layout and he ought to have been going at a low enough speed to have been able to stop given the multi lane road layout.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    as these earn by taking a slice of the personal injury damages you’re awarded, and there doesn’t seem to have been any in this case, will they be interested?

    Sadly, almost certainly not. I had this a few years ago when I got pulled out on, smashed bike but luckily no injury. Had to sort it out myself with their insurance.

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    1. Get in touch with Cycling UK, they should be able to help even if you’re not a member.

    I think that sounds like a good place to start. Does anyone have an email contact for them? The website only links Twitter and Facebook (I don’t use either).

    2. Name and shame his insurer.

    It’s Privilege

    The fact that he drove off should count against him, surely?

    You would think so, yes. I’d have thought his account should be considered completely unreliable. More than that – his statement to the police offered a different version of events than the statement to his insurer. He basically told the police ‘SMIDSY’ (to get out of the assault charge) but didn’t dispute that he’d run straight into the back of me (the police have pictures of damage which basically prove this to be the case anyway). Whereas to his insurer he told a different tale of my riding into the side of him and he hasn’t sent them pictures of the damage. It’s maddening.

    Also, the person running into somebody from behind is generally consiser to be the one at fault, unless proven otherwise, and then they should be the ones doing the proving.
    If neither of these are the case, then how do any claims ever get settled, if you can just blame the victim?

    Quite.

    As much as I don’t want to, every new post I read like this tips me slightly more towards getting a front/rear camera combo 😐

    I feel the same. If I’d had a rear camera (and it had worked etc), this guy would quite probably be in court on assault charges. The ‘blame’ wouldn’t even be in doubt.

    If anything though, I’d think legal cover right now would be very useful.

    If this has been recorded on your garmin can you not use this as evidence?

    A good idea – I’ve looked into this. The GPX track just shows a fairly straight smooth line up the road but I don’t think it’s sensitive enough to show that I was/wasn’t moving at the time or when I filtered to the right. The speed data doesn’t show the collision, either (because I was stopped, and then nudged forward only a few feet so it didn’t register, I think).

    as these earn by taking a slice of the personal injury damages you’re awarded, and there doesn’t seem to have been any in this case, will they be interested?

    I’ve read this elsewhere too. Perhaps Cycling UK will take more of an interest. I’m very green with all of this stuff – I’ve never had cause to consult a lawyer for anything so I don’t really know where to start.

    Is there a police report?
    Was he prosecuted for failing to stop / report / remain?

    This is another major frustration in the case. Yes. He wasn’t prosecuted since the police stopped him a few minutes after the accident. He has apparently subsequently claimed that he ‘was going to’ call the police when he got home. The statutory requirement is to report it ‘as soon as possible’, but there’s an absolute requirement to do so within 24 hours. I’d argue that it was possible for him to have stopped. He did, in fact, stop to get out of the car and shout at me, and then apologise, saying that he would exchange details, before driving off. I’ve asked the police to review that decision but they’ve been pretty impotent so far.

    Thanks for all the comments so far. More opinions / advice are of course welcome!

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    there’s some really shit advuce on this thread.
    Get yourself in touch with the lawyers CTC use and get them on the case. The mere fact that he left the scene of an accident should be enough to put him in the shit.
    TBH the police should be doing him for that too

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    @thegeneralist see my edit above 🙁

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    It’s Privilege

    I had a policy with them once, had a bit of an argument about an absurd fee they charged me, they backed down, haven’t used them since.

    He wasn’t prosecuted since the police stopped him a few minutes after the accident.

    Yeah, I was thinking early in that that was unfortunate because it nullifies failure to report.

    Why did they spot him? Happened to spot the damage on his car, or responding to the call from you, or…?

    Premier Icon andybrad
    Full Member

    Why is the burden of proof on the cyclist? hes been hit. from behind while stationary.

    simply ask for their details on how to take them to court. small claims.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Full Member

    You should be able to get a report / statement from the police of the incident as recorded by them.

    Whether you can or not, good luck…

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    Check the garmin GPS raw data – you can view it in excel or a text editor.

    I did this when hit by a driver turning right. It even showed when the bike was moved 30 minutes after the accident. You’ll probably get the slowing to a stop, then the bike being nudged a few feet a short time later on the next data fix.

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    I’ve stopped road riding as the next driver that hits me, I’ll just kick them to death. The amount of crap drivers spout when in an accident, even when caught, they get away with it. Apparently saying I didn’t see you, then going to drive off (but couldn’t) and leaving me with life changing injuries – cops weren’t interested. I’ve been hit too many times now.

    Hit from behind then it’s his fault – just the driver is trying to say you cut him up. It’s always the person hitting someone from behind who is at fault.

    You may have to lawyer up. Leigh Day are good too.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    Or Slater Gordon. I’m using them for a serious injury claim ATM. So far, so good. AIUI, their cost are awarded separate from any claim value.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    I’ve read this elsewhere too. Perhaps Cycling UK will take more of an interest. I’m very green with all of this stuff – I’ve never had cause to consult a lawyer for anything so I don’t really know where to start.

    I don’t think CTC would be very interested for non-members beyond passing you their lawers details.

    Or Slater Gordon. I’m using them for a serious injury claim ATM. So far, so good. AIUI, their cost are awarded separate from any claim value.

    Their costs are based on the value of your award, so for a serious injury, well worth their time and effort. For the price of a bike and helmet, not so much.

    You could, as suggested up there go for the small claims court route but you’d be suing the driver and not his insurer, he would then have to get them to get them to settle or pay himself. Probably not a bad idea as a last resort. I looked into it once, I think £35 is the maximum financial risk, google money claim online.

    Premier Icon bigyan
    Free Member

    Basically you will need to issue court proceedings to recover your losses, he or his insurers may settle before it reaches court, but it sounds like they will just ignore you unless you instigate proceedings against them.

    Principles aside you may also wish to consider whether it is worth the hassle or not if it is not clear cut and you will be paying costs.

    Document everything (stick to facts)

    Did you get checked for injuries?

    Bike will need a shop to assess/quote for repair/replacement.

    You can DIY small claims, I would consult a lawyer about realistic chance of success. (bear in mind if you hire a lawyer to act for you they get paid for their time, win or loose). Given the situation I would not feel bad about using a no win no fee ambulance chaser

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    , I think £35 is the maximum financial risk, google money claim online.

    That may be the initial fee, but if it goes any distance at all it will be significantly more.

    Premier Icon fatoldgit
    Full Member

    Be careful about instructing a No win – No Fee team.

    The other party has actually done the correct thing in passing on all correspondence to his insurance company ( regardless of how accurate his side of the story may or may not be )
    As a result of his side of events the insurer has decided they , and as such , him are not liable for your costs.

    If a no win no fee team does take on without being informed of this fact they may well land you with a bill if they are unable to get the insurers to change their mind about liability and pay out, further to rub it in his insurer may also pursue you for their costs.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is right, but it is what folks pay insurance for, to deal with the aftermath of events,

    In some cases it’s best to walk away, even when you are right 😢

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    This is another major frustration in the case. Yes. He wasn’t prosecuted since the police stopped him a few minutes after the accident. He has apparently subsequently claimed that he ‘was going to’ call the police when he got home. The statutory requirement is to report it ‘as soon as possible’, but there’s an absolute requirement to do so within 24 hours. I’d argue that it was possible for him to have stopped. He did, in fact, stop to get out of the car and shout at me, and then apologise, saying that he would exchange details, before driving off. I’ve asked the police to review that decision but they’ve been pretty impotent so far.

    There are two different offences. s170(2) and s170(3) of the road traffic act. They are often prosecuted together (i.e. you broke both so get charged with both) but breaching either one is an offence, which carries significant points and insurers are very attentive to for obvious reasons. In England its likely the fines, surcharge, and prosecution costs would be about the same as buying you a new bike too – so a wise person might have been asking the insurer to sort it out in the hope that the police decided not to prosecute!

    s170(2) requires the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle involved in an accident to stop and give his details to anyone with a reasonable cause requesting them to do so.

    He did stop, and you had reasonable grounds to request his details, so his only possible defence would be if you didn’t actually ask for them.

    s170(3) requires anyone who doesn’t do the above to report the accident to the police as soon as possible (and alway in 24 hrs).

    By being stopped very soon after he has a reasonable argument that he was on his way to the cop shop right at that moment.

    if the police have decided he didn’t break the law I suggest you get back in touch with them pointing out the requirements of s170(2). Usually cops are quite switched on to that and find it very dodgy to leave the scene of an accident. Often (as far as I can see, especially in England) they don’t bother prosecuting if they believe its all going to get resolved by insurers. You may find the cops who dealt with it are willing to reconsider their NFA decision (without needing to go over their head, but if necessary you can) just by sharing the insurance statement that he denies any fault*. One thing to be aware of is that sometimes civil cases get protracted waiting for the resolution of criminal cases (the opposite can also be true that the criminal case can sometimes be resolved or even dropped of the insurers have agreed to pay). You may also want to ask them why, if the statement admits he didn’t see a cyclist on the road, they have not considered prosecuting under s3 of the RTA.

    *if you can’t get it resolved that way there must be a way (but may need a lawyer) to get the police statement which contradicts the insurance one and the photos.

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    That may be the initial fee, but if it goes any distance at all it will be significantly more.

    How so? it would be a small claims action (unless the bike is VERY expensive), likely it woould be more unless if was a cheap bike – but probably still <£100.

    Premier Icon damascus
    Free Member

    1st rule of insurance, fob them off, 25% of people will give up. That’s 25% extra profit.

    I would be asking the police for a voice recording of your phone call. You might be lucky and caught him saying something in the background. If not its an accurate account of events with times and will form part of your case.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    How so?

    Expenses, if he loses – insurers would have representation. Unless English rules are different to Scots, or things have changed?

    Premier Icon ofked
    Free Member

    English rules are different to Scottish. Your liability to their expenses is very limited if you lose. MSE has a good guide

    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/small-claims-court/

    Advice on here is pretty good: you have no contract with their insurer so do not have to deal with them, you can sue directly and if it is for a small, fixed amount, the small claims court is good if a no win no fee solicitor won’t take you on.

    Having said that, if it’s winding you up that much, is it worth it?

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Interesting, cheers

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    Moral of the story, lie on the floor and scream 😥

    Premier Icon doomanic
    Full Member

    Hit from behind? Have you developed a sore neck by any chance? That would get the ambulance chasers interested.

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