Big crash this morning!

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by PETE T, 18 Jun 2008.

  1. PETE T

    PETE T New Member


    Cycling to work this morning,going through New Cross.

    Traffic had stopped at a zebra crossing so I went up the inside in the cycle lane.

    The passenger of a van opened his door!
    I smashed in to the door and then in to the railings!

    It shook me up big time and I could not breath which was scary.
    I was taken to hospital,no broken bones but muscle tissue damage in shoulder and arm and lots of bruising and road rash!
    The Police arrived and took the guys details.
    My bike is not too bad ,front wheel slightly buckled,and scrapes to brake levers etc.
    What shall I do now? Do i claim damages to me and the bike?
    Shall I contact a solicitor or just work out the cost of the bike damage and send the van man the bill?

    Its really hard typing left handed !


  2. Riding in Circles

    Riding in Circles Veteran

    Did he do it intentionally to get you?
  3. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member


    One lesson learned the tough way I guess! ;)
  4. andyfromotley

    andyfromotley New Member

    Otley, west yorks
    glad youre not too badly hurt!!
  5. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    Yes! You should push for assult and hope that there was witnesses. Thats what i would do.I would also make the stupid B****d pay for the damage to my bike and get compensation. But i'm guessing you would need witnesses which if the police were good, then they should of got some.
    We had a guy purposly wait till the person infront of me on a bike had got to his door and swung it open. The guy had seen it and was ready to swerve out and said a big well done to the guy. He even kept the door open so i had to move out and so did the person behind. Luckily we werent going too fast because we were on the way back from a club ride but the person infront thought about going to the police station to report it.
    I would push for assult though, and wold have wanted the police to sort him out while i was still there.
  6. Regulator

    Regulator Scourge of stale, pale, male snowflakes.

    Contact a solicitor specialising in cycling incidents. I would recommend Rusell, Jones & Walker (who are the CTC's solicitors) or Field, Fisher Waterhouse solicitors. Both will give you sound and impartial advice, and have solicitors who are cyclists themselves!

    If you do contact a solicitor, listen to what they say. Don't be tempted to settle too soon - you only get one bite of the cherry with personal injury claims and the long term effects take time to be assessed. Your injuries weren't minor - muscle damage in a shoulder can (although we hope in your case doesn't) lead to permanent impairment.

    I didn't read this as being a deliberate act but I wasn't there, so I'm not sure whether it will get anywhere with the police - stupidity by the passenger in the van doesn't meant that it was intentional (i.e. an assault). If you feel it was deliberate, then by all means chase the police.
  7. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Pete, try to get a crash damage assessment done on the bike by a good bike shop - they should be able to tell you if anything else is wrong and advise/quote on the cost of repairs.

    Edit: and what regulator said re: legal advice
  8. Andy Pandy

    Andy Pandy New Member

    Contact CTC and make a personal injury claim. Get your bike check out as there may be damage to the forks and frame.
  9. OP
    PETE T

    PETE T New Member

    Thanks for all the was not intentional,you should have seen the blokes face,he was white as a sheet and shaking more than me !


  10. Maz

    Maz Guru

    Sounds really nasty...Glad you seem OK.
    Did you call the ambulance/police or someone else?
  11. OP
    PETE T

    PETE T New Member

    The van driver called the ambulance.the police arrived just after them!
  12. Origamist

    Origamist Guru


    Get someone to take photos of your injuries - they might come in handy as evidence.
  13. Bollo

    Bollo Chaaaaaa!

    What everyone else said. I had an accident in November with similar sounding levels of damage to myself and my bike. Like you, the driver was at fault (the HC warns about door opening, someone will be along in a minute with the 'Rule No') but apart from the driving error was otherwise reasonable, concerned etc.

    Definitely contact a solicitors that specialise in cycling incidents. When the driver's insurance company get involved, their sole concern will be to reduce any payout by any means necessary. Logic, fairness and common sense now become largely irrelevent, so prepare yourself.

    Their tactics will include contributary negligence claims - examples include not wearing a helmet, even if you suffered no head injury (they tried this one on me), no hi-viz even if the incident happened in full daylight (me again). In your case, they will also try to blame you for cycling the 'door zone'. A specialist solictor will be able to fight these counter-claims from a position of knowledge. Once his insurers realise that your solicitors are serious, they will usually settle a reasonable claim as it will be more cost-effective than a fight through the courts.

    Don't consider the small claims court. You can only claim for the bike damage, small claims will not settle personal injury claims as the limit will be too high. It will cost you £50 win-or-lose that you can't claim back. Small claims cannot impose a 'punitive' fine. You will have to represent yourself and do all the legwork. CTC can provide a small-claims pack, but that's the limit for third-part involvement.

    Finally the police. Forget them. Get the incident number and the attending officer's details for the insurance, but they will do nothing. Mine was a clear case of careless driving, caught on camera. Not interested.
  14. redjedi

    redjedi Über Member

    Sounds like an honest accident, although a bit careless of the passenger.

    I can't offer any legal help as I have never had an accident yet *touches wood*, but I hope you get well soon and your steed isn't too badly damaged.
  15. Bollo

    Bollo Chaaaaaa!

    I must admit I wrestled with the idea of getting all official on the driver's @ss, as at first I thought it was just the bike damage I was dealing with and I'm not a 'compensation culture' kinda guy. I was eventually talked into going the legal route by my wife, and I'm glad I did as it turned out that I'd done more damage than I first thought. After the cuts and bruises had healed I was left with some reasonably unpleasant shoulder injuries that stopped me from driving for over a month. Unless you get the legal ball rolling straight away, it then becomes more difficult to start things off later on when you realise that you have suffered some real damage.

    Once on the legal route I played it very straight, even declaring an existing neck problem that might have 'overlapped' with the accident injury. I felt happier doing this as the eventual payout was commensurate with what had happened rather than a lottery win.
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