Hit by a car turning left, this cyclist decided to pursue a claim

Running London Cyclist I regularly hear stories of cyclists who’ve been hit by drivers who’ve been turning left, or who’ve come out of a junction without looking or any one of one of tens of other scenarios.

I decided to interview one such cyclist to hear about what he did next.

1. Can you please describe the incident?

I was cycling straight on at a junction, going with the traffic. A car then turned left at the junction without indicating, with me on the inside. I came off my bike and my back and shoulder took the impact of my fall. There were tens of witnesses who rushed to my help, but as I stood up and came to terms with what had happened the adrenalin was flying and I didn’t take any details, except those of the guilty driver, who luckily, had also stopped. He agreed to give me a discretionary sum to cover the repair of my bike and I walked home.

2. Many people are in an accident and simply think “That’s just my bad luck” and will pay for their own repairs and any bills. What convinced you to pursue a claim?

I remember reading one of your blog posts about what to do in the event of an accident, so I revisited it as soon as I got home. I realised the mistakes I had made in not calling an ambulance and not taking any witness details. I followed the guide on the post and called the relevant parties and was advised each step of the way.

3. How long did the process take, from the day you got in touch, to the day you received your claim?

All in all, it’s taken about 16 months. I anticipated that it would be drawn out, so I am more than happy with the outcome. I was back cycling within a day or two and I feel I’ve been thoroughly looked after each step of the way, both by the lawyers and the bicycle recovery/repair service. They always held my interests with utmost importance and were more than happy to answer any questions I had.

4. What was your opinion of the the bicycle recovery and repair service?

I thought it was great, they called to arrange a convenient time to collect my bike and asked some questions about the type of bike I would need to use as a courtesy. I was then in touch with them as they assessed the damage and completed the repair. It wasn’t long before my bike was back, good as new.

5. Did you have to appear in court?

No, the driver made me a generous out of court settlement.

6. Was it time consuming on your part to pursue the claim?

Absolutely not. After I got my bike back, I was probably in touch with the lawyers every month or so, to arrange a medical and to complete and sign paperwork. The medical took around an hour and the sum total of all the paperwork probably took that too.

7. Would you recommend the service to fellow cyclists?

Yes, I couldn’t speak more highly of it.

If you’re ever in an accident yourself or you have been in the past and you’d like to get some advice on whether you should be making a claim, Hanry is the person to speak to. If you fill in the details below, he’ll get in touch.

Fill out my online form.

See also: 58% of cyclists have been involved in an accident

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

11 Responses to Hit by a car turning left, this cyclist decided to pursue a claim

  1. Scott 01/08/2014 at 12:07 pm #

    Agreed. I have a claim underway at the moment after initially speaking to Hanry.

    The driver was adamant that I was at fault (despite being hit by them whilst travelling straight on in a designated cycle lane, they were turning right from the opposite lane in this case), but the third party insurers have now accepted liability I am told so now we just have some medical details and paperwork to sort out and hopefully it can be wrapped up and I can be back on my (proper, faster) bike.

    I would probably recommend getting insurance for these situations, as I expect it would be an even simpler process in such clear cut circumstances

  2. Kie 01/08/2014 at 12:33 pm #

    I was knocked off a few weeks back, same scenario, luckily I landed on my feet and the bike wasn’t damaged. Never did get the details, the b*****d drove off.

    That whole witness thing is something you have to repeat to youself over and over / If you witness a serious accident then hang around, all too often witnesses walk off and police want to speak to them judging by news stories.

    • Andreas 01/08/2014 at 3:38 pm #

      Yep, that’s one of the biggest takeaways. Always grab witness details or if you are a witness for an incident make sure you leave your number with the individual. It’s not unheard of for the police to lose details of witnesses to incidents like this.

  3. John 01/08/2014 at 4:41 pm #

    I would take issue with the comment “I realised the mistakes I had made in not calling an ambulance” – If you needed an ambulance at the time then one should be called but as you ” walked home”, it is obvious you didn’t need one. Ambulances and A&E departments exist for emergencies not for providing evidence should you decide to sue the driver sometime later – If you still hurt after walking home, make an appointment with your GP

  4. Spencer 03/08/2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Since commuting by bicycle I have had a few near misses (last being a lady driver on the phone who turned across me without indicating, I barely stopped in time, she didn’t stop, didn’t even put her phone down as I shouted at her).

    However I have had one collission which was my own fault (going between stationary traffic in a jam and pulling from in front of a high sided van into the adjacent lane which wasn’t stationary…). Thankfully I was able to walk away from it, apologised to the driver and offered him my details (I have insurance), however he seemed pretty shook up refusing my details and constantly asking if I was alright, was I hurt, etc. Ended shaking hands and walked away with my now slightly bent bike in hand.

    Hopefully I have learnt a valuable lesson.

  5. Barton 07/08/2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I was a witness in a bike on bike collision at RAGBRAI two weeks ago (yes, US, but it still applies I think). What happened isn’t important, but the fact that one person was obviously at fault is. Two carbon bikes were destroyed and one cyclist’s kneed was triple in size before we could even get her extricated from her bike.

    Neither “victim” wanted to exchange information, they were very much in shock, they just wanted to keep going (even though it was obvious they were going no where). I had the person responsible show me his driver’s ID and insurance card, took a picture of each, took a picture of each mangled bike and then put my card into the back pocket of each “victim,” thinking they may not care now, but they might after the adrenaline was gone.

    Sure enough, by the end of the day, each had called me wanting the information I had gathered. The one with the mangled knee called from the hospital bed as she had torn a few ligaments: her bike was an S-Works. The other one had an Orbea of some kind I didn’t recognize. I’ve since been contacted by all three insurance agents/claims specialists, the specialist for the person at fault keeps trying to get me to change my story, or to agree to altered versions.

    The morale of the story is, if you witness an event, give a hand to the person and do everything YOU can to help out, whether they think they want it at the time or not. You know you’d want someone to be there for you as well.

  6. bob 07/08/2014 at 10:00 pm #

    I don’t agree with the compensation culture and professional claims companies (so called ambulance chasers).

    I was knocked off my bike by a cyclist who T-Boned me. His fault, he admitted it. I had a minor injury but was fine walking. He agreed to pay for the repairs and my cab home. I thought that was fair enough. job done. He was trying to speed away but done the decent thing and stopped.

    If someone has a genuine injury which has affected them, then fair enough there may be a case to follow up with the doc and discuss with the other party. I also appreciate that sometimes injury’s don’t manifest themselves for some time after the incident.

  7. Al 18/08/2014 at 3:06 pm #

    I was hit head-on by a car turning out of a junction. My bike was extensively damaged, my helmet had a large dent in it so it’s fortunate I was wearing one, I went to a doctor for a check-up but fortunately they gave me the all clear barring a few cuts, grazes and muscle pain – I could have made more of a deal of it at the time but I consider myself an honest person.

    Although the driver agreed to pay for damages at the scene she has since ignored my calls. The bike isn’t worth a lot (£4-500) but it’s the principal of the thing, It stopped me cycling for several months as my confidence was badly shaken, plus the time and cost of fixing the damage to the bike (it cost me £200 to get it in working order again).

    I did everything I thought I should do, I took the driver’s details and witnesses who agreed the driver was at fault, took pictures of the scene, I filed a Police ‘non-injury collision report form’ later that day which resulted in a me simply receiving a template letter asking me to tick a box to say it was being handled by my insurance company, I returned the form plus a note to the Police explaining the incident was not resolved but naturally I got no response. I filled in a DVLA ‘Request information about a vehicle’s registered keeper’ form so I now have the driver’s correct address, so I am trying to pursue a claim myself threatening the driver with small claims court action.

    I initially contacted CAMS but they were unwilling to take on the matter because I was told the value of the claim wasn’t worth pursuing as I suffered no injury, so I feel like they should be simply named PIS ‘personal-injury-services’ rather than ‘cycling accident management services’.

  8. Diana 31/08/2014 at 6:31 pm #

    I recently started biking around my area in London. Unfortunately, only after 2 days of biking I already had problems. I can’t believe that London is so bike unfriendly, such a big disappointment. Riding in traffic is always a challenge as the cars don’t give priority to bikers. And then when I was walking on the pavement with my bike next to me, a women screamed that I am not supposed to be on the pavement. As I was walking next to the bike and not riding it, I was quite revolted, did she expect to walk in the traffic?
    Another day, I was riding my bike on the pavement for a few meters, at night, heading towards the point where I was dropping my bike off. The pavement was clear, there was only one person walking his dog. Then he started screaming that I am not allowed to be on the pavement and that I should fuck off and go back to my country if I don’t like this rule.
    Like, seriously?

    • Max 03/09/2014 at 8:51 am #

      Don’t ride on pavements. It’s illegal you see.

  9. Max 03/09/2014 at 8:50 am #

    Sorry for all of the people who have problems with cars and other vehicles using your cycle roads.

    Motorised vehicles generally have insurance and small plates with a unique identifying combination of letters and numbers. They are thus identifiable and accountable.

    When a cyclist causes damage to a car they can just ride off through the traffic laughing.

    Compulsory insurance and visible identification should be the next step. Not to punish them but merely to make them identifiable and accountable. This would reduce the amount of law breaking from the minority and improve safety, it would also go some way to healing the rift between vehicle drivers and cyclists.

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