Accident advice

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Accident advice

Postby rdwaltonut » Mon May 20, 2013 1:42 pm

Recently, I was involved in a rear-end accident. I was riding in a bike lane, coming up to an intersection, and checked for my partner. the reason I checked for my partner at this time was that the lane ahead was clear and there were no indicators signalling. I looked away for 1.5 secs, at most, and when I looked back, a car had stopped in the bike lane, waiting for pedestrians in the cross walk. I ran into them and smashed their rear wind screen. The police issued no citations for the accident, but the insurance company for the driver is trying to hold me at fault. Is there some way to counter this without legal intervention? Or am I obligated to pay the insurance company for the damages?
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by BNA » Mon May 20, 2013 2:06 pm

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Re: Accident advice

Postby human909 » Mon May 20, 2013 2:06 pm

rdwaltonut wrote:Recently, I was involved in a rear-end accident. I was riding in a bike lane, coming up to an intersection, and checked for my partner. the reason I checked for my partner at this time was that the lane ahead was clear and there were no indicators signalling. I looked away for 1.5 secs, at most, and when I looked back, a car had stopped in the bike lane, waiting for pedestrians in the cross walk. I ran into them and smashed their rear wind screen. The police issued no citations for the accident, but the insurance company for the driver is trying to hold me at fault. Is there some way to counter this without legal intervention? Or am I obligated to pay the insurance company for the damages?


Two options you either need to recognise liability and pay the insurance company or not recognise liability and run the risk of them taking you to civil court.

From your description it does seem like you might be at fault. But maybe the slow moving car pulled in and stopped in front of the fast moving cyclist??
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Re: Accident advice

Postby Summernight » Mon May 20, 2013 2:26 pm

Major questions in my mind are whether the car was allowed to drive into the bike lane or not and if so, whether the car changed lanes and properly gave way to vehicles already in the lane. Usually the person who rear-ended is at fault, although I was stupid once years ago and changed lanes in front of a bus (thinking I and the bus had sufficient room before having to stop in traffic) and the bus hit the rear-side of the car as the driver said he couldn't brake in time (although I thought differently, but whatever). I was at fault because of the lane change even though he rear-ended me.

If you fight it will probably end up at court. You could pay the amount they claim, try and negotiate a smaller amount to pay with the insurer (without admitting liability and so you don't have to go to court - 'settling on a commercial basis' is what I've heard said) or fight it. It is usually more cost effective to pay up (although it sticks in the craw if you think you weren't at fault).

Of course, this is an internet forum...
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Re: Accident advice

Postby mikedufty » Mon May 20, 2013 3:01 pm

So if the car hadn't stopped, would you have hit the pedestrians on the cross walk?
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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Mon May 20, 2013 3:30 pm

rdwaltonut wrote:... and when I looked back, a car had stopped in the bike lane, waiting for pedestrians in the cross walk. I ran into them and smashed their rear wind screen. ...


Looks like a clear case of a driver making an unsafe lane change - after all, they are obliged to give way as they had to have crossed a give-way line if you had a designated cycle lane. I would have been chasing them up for damages, not the other way around!

But... NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE ROAD! 1.5 seconds for a head check when passing stationary traffic (you said you looked for indicators)??!? Trust no-one, they are all trying to kill you!
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Re: Accident advice

Postby jules21 » Mon May 20, 2013 3:35 pm

a court will, with 99.9% certainty, distribute the blame for this sort of incident. as such, do not offer to pay the full amount.

as you've rear-ended another vehicle, it's highly likely you will be found liable for at least a decent proportion of the costs. if i were you, i'd consider offering 50% of the costs without prejudice (i.e. no admission of liability). if you're talking the cost of a rear windscreen only, that's a small amount of money. the insurance company would have to be pretty keen to reject that and still take you to court, and risk the court judging that to be a waste of everyone's time.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Mon May 20, 2013 3:46 pm

jules21 wrote: ... as you've rear-ended another vehicle, it's highly likely you will be found liable for at least a decent proportion of the costs. ...


Why?
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Re: Accident advice

Postby jules21 » Mon May 20, 2013 3:54 pm

twizzle wrote:Why?

because of the possibility he failed to keep a safe distance behind the car, and didn't stop in time. while that may not have been the cause of the collision in reality, the driver is unlikely to admit to wrongdoing. the court will weigh up the balance of probabilities and distribute blame, based on those. i say that without having heard all the details, including the driver's statement - i'm just going on how i suspect it will probably play out.

a mate of mine got hit from behind by a car, while on his bike. they were both taking off from the lights. he only got 80%, despite the court accepting the driver drove into the back of him - and the driver was, according to my mate, a complete moron who basically admitted to what he did but thought it was OK as he only hit a cyclist. the magistrate muttered something about how he could have gotten out of the way. they rarely give it 100/0.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby cp123 » Mon May 20, 2013 4:14 pm

are cars allowed to stop where this driver did? ie, pulling into a bike lane to pick up a passenger etc - i mean is that legal? Did his actions contribute to the situation at all?
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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Mon May 20, 2013 4:53 pm

jules21 wrote:
twizzle wrote:Why?

because of the possibility he failed to keep a safe distance behind the car, and didn't stop in time. while that may not have been the cause of the collision in reality, the driver is unlikely to admit to wrongdoing. the court will weigh up the balance of probabilities and distribute blame, based on those. i say that without having heard all the details, including the driver's statement - i'm just going on how i suspect it will probably play out.

a mate of mine got hit from behind by a car, while on his bike. they were both taking off from the lights. he only got 80%, despite the court accepting the driver drove into the back of him - and the driver was, according to my mate, a complete moron who basically admitted to what he did but thought it was OK as he only hit a cyclist. the magistrate muttered something about how he could have gotten out of the way. they rarely give it 100/0.


OP : "I was riding in a bike lane"
And he had a witness behind him.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby jules21 » Mon May 20, 2013 4:56 pm

twizzle wrote:OP : "I was riding in a bike lane"
And he had a witness behind him.

he also said he was looking backwards when he hit the car. there's no way he can honestly argue he was completely blameless. he can lie, but so can the motorist.

for the price of a windscreen, i'd cough up (50% or so). i'm unsure if there was more damage.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Mon May 20, 2013 5:07 pm

jules21 wrote:
twizzle wrote:OP : "I was riding in a bike lane"
And he had a witness behind him.

he also said he was looking backwards when he hit the car. there's no way he can honestly argue he was completely blameless. he can lie, but so can the motorist.

for the price of a windscreen, i'd cough up (50% or so). i'm unsure if there was more damage.


He did a head-check behind him, no different to doing a mirror check in a car. The accident was caused because the car turned across a lane without giving way to the vehicle in the lane!

Not disagreeing that it was a dumb situation to get into... but the give way line is there for a reason! Even if the car is indicating to turn left -the bicycle has its own specialty lane, so a bicycle isn't required to give way because it's not passing on the left.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby jules21 » Mon May 20, 2013 5:11 pm

twizzle wrote:He did a head-check behind him, no different to doing a mirror check in a car. The accident was caused because the car turned across a lane without giving way to the vehicle in the lane!

i'm not trying to be argumentative, but you're basing that on what the OP wrote. the driver and insurance company, if it went to court, would surely try and cast doubt on that. if the witness is his partner, then their testimony will carry less weight than an independent witness.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Mon May 20, 2013 5:34 pm

jules21 wrote:
twizzle wrote:He did a head-check behind him, no different to doing a mirror check in a car. The accident was caused because the car turned across a lane without giving way to the vehicle in the lane!

i'm not trying to be argumentative, but you're basing that on what the OP wrote. the driver and insurance company, if it went to court, would surely try and cast doubt on that. if the witness is his partner, then their testimony will carry less weight than an independent witness.


So, the alternative view to "failed to give way by the car" is "cyclist rode into the car for fun". The police didn't charge anyone, which means they are going for a "no fault" situation... except the insurer is trying to avoid paying out on the stupidity of the driver. If the police report says the car was stopped across the cycle lane, blocking it, who is more likely to be at fault?

You can't go and automatically blame the person behind in an accident - yet you have given advice that he should just admit liability and cough up 50%. NEVER. ADMIT. LIABILITY.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby jules21 » Mon May 20, 2013 5:38 pm

he himself admitted he hit the car while looking backwards. if he was to be honest about that and i was the insurer, i'd be taking that as a virtual admission of guilt on his part. a clear-cut case to me would be "i was riding along and a car cut in front of me, i had nowhere to go and hit the rear of it". that's not how it was described here.

i wasn't advising admitting liability - a no-prejudice "make the claim go away" offer isn't that.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby Summernight » Mon May 20, 2013 5:38 pm

Not to mention that if it was near an intersection there might be a road rule somewhere in the ACT rules that says that a car can drive in a bike lane within x metres of an intersection to turn left (or whatever).
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Re: Accident advice

Postby jules21 » Mon May 20, 2013 5:43 pm

Summernight wrote:Not to mention that if it was near an intersection there might be a road rule somewhere in the ACT rules that says that a car can drive in a bike lane within x metres of an intersection to turn left (or whatever).

i think they can, but they can't merge on top of a cyclist. this seems a bit grey to me, as there isn't a clear point at which it is safe to merge, or not. this is a reason why most of these incidents don't go anywhere with the cops.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby Summernight » Mon May 20, 2013 5:50 pm

Agreed. :)

I love insurers (not). Personally I'd go hard ball at them and say your insured failed to give way when merging and that therefore he is liable for the damage to (bike/helmet/etc) and I'll pay 10% of the cost on a without prejudice no liability basis just to get this matter to go away and apart from that you can get stuffed (and then see whether they come back with a counteroffer). But I'm not the OP.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby m@ » Mon May 20, 2013 6:03 pm

My first response would be to politely decline.

The insurer knows they will get less than the amount they're claiming if they take it to court, and the OP can throw his expenses into the pot as well (helmet, clothes, repairs to the bike). Just not worth their time for a couple of hundred bucks.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby human909 » Mon May 20, 2013 7:24 pm

m@ wrote:My first response would be to politely decline.

The insurer knows they will get less than the amount they're claiming if they take it to court, and the OP can throw his expenses into the pot as well (helmet, clothes, repairs to the bike). Just not worth their time for a couple of hundred bucks.


Um.... Which pot is this? The OP cannot claim HIS expenses when he is a defendent!
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Re: Accident advice

Postby macca33 » Mon May 20, 2013 7:45 pm

The OP is responsible - he hit a static object. It doesn't mater why it was stopped there, even though in this case, it was giving way to pedestrians at a marked crosswalk. He took his eyes off the road in front for (in his estimation) 1.5 seconds - I dunno how it can be interpreted in any other way. No, the coppers did not fine the cyclist - no person was injured and they probably thought the damage and resultant expense would be more than enough in the circumstances.

It makes me LOL when people immediately climb aboard the "it was the car / driver's fault" bandwagon, even after the cyclist here has admitted liability (inattention) on this very forum.

Put the boot on the other foot, if a car hit you - you would DEMAND that the driver pay for the damage to your bike / kit, etc.

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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Mon May 20, 2013 9:40 pm

macca33 wrote:Crazy days..


You're one of those people who thinks it's O.K. to pull into the lane in front of a semi stopping at lights etc., aren't you?

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Re: Accident advice

Postby m@ » Mon May 20, 2013 11:06 pm

human909 wrote:
m@ wrote:My first response would be to politely decline.

The insurer knows they will get less than the amount they're claiming if they take it to court, and the OP can throw his expenses into the pot as well (helmet, clothes, repairs to the bike). Just not worth their time for a couple of hundred bucks.


Um.... Which pot is this? The OP cannot claim HIS expenses when he is a defendent!

Sure he can, by lodging a counterclaim. If he does so before the hearing, both claim and counterclaim are assessed at once.

But I really doubt it would come to that; the insurer doesn't want to go to court, they just want to scare him into paying up.
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Re: Accident advice

Postby macca33 » Mon May 20, 2013 11:24 pm

twizzle wrote:
macca33 wrote:Crazy days..


You're one of those people who thinks it's O.K. to pull into the lane in front of a semi stopping at lights etc., aren't you?

Sent from my iThingy...




Umm no I wouldn't, that would be a tad silly. It seems you are not the internet oracle judge of character / possessor of knowledge that you believe yourself to be...carry on...
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Re: Accident advice

Postby twizzle » Tue May 21, 2013 6:35 am

macca33 wrote:
twizzle wrote:
macca33 wrote:Crazy days..


You're one of those people who thinks it's O.K. to pull into the lane in front of a semi stopping at lights etc., aren't you?

Sent from my iThingy...




Umm no I wouldn't, that would be a tad silly. It seems you are not the internet oracle judge of character / possessor of knowledge that you believe yourself to be...carry on...


Then, based purely on his description, why is the op's situation any different?


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