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Hit by a van! What would you do?

mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
edited October 2014 in Commuting general
So, as I was cycling into work yesterday, I got hit by a van driver. Annoyingly, it was about 200m from the office!

What happened was; I was filtering down the right hand side of a queue of stationary/very slow moving traffic, when a van driver suddenly decided to turn right into a side road. I was only a car length or so behind him and was riding further out from the traffic to stay out of his blind spot. At no point did I see him signal, he simply turned right. My only option was to hit the brakes and throw myself into the right hand turn with him, however, I ended up bouncing off of his front quarter and hit the deck :-(

Now the difficutly is that he is adament that he did signal, although I have a witness that says he wasn't, and he wouldn't provide his details. Since he was in a company marked van, I went round to the unit (about 50m round the corner as it happened) and took his reg. no. When I asked to speak to his boss, I was told he wasn't in. So, I rang the police and reported the incident.

Currently, I am waiting to hear back from the police who want to speak to him, my witness and myself but I haven't heard back from them yet. But I am concerned that the longer I wait to speak to the company about the substatial damage to my bike (my best bike at that!) the less likely I am to get their insurance to cover the cost of my repairs, and maybe even my injuries?

So I am wondering, firstly, was I in the right to be overtaking the stationary traffic? and secondly; what to do about beginning to make a claim for my bike? I am assuming I need to hear back from the police so that liability can be ascertained before I can really start to make the claim?

This has never happened to me before, so I'm a bit in the dark! And my apologies for the long post.

The other thing I am worried about is whether my carbon frame has survived the hit and how to check this out? It has not visible cracks or chips, but it was a big hit, mostly absorbed by me though?

And, so you all know, I am fine, except for some neck/back pain, bruising, and a few minor cuts.

Thanks for reading and for any help!
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  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Get well soon.

    Get to your GP so that your injuries are recorded, get photos of anything visible.

    Get the details of the witness(es).

    The police will be seperate to the insurance company. Get the details of the insurance company and get the ball rolling.

    An LBS should be able to assess and value any damage to the bike.

    This scenario is extremely familiar to me, happens almost daily (not the actual collision!). Unfortunately you'ev just got to keep an eye out, but you were doing nothing wrong by passing stationary traffic. Did the driver look in his mirror?

    He either looked, saw you and pulled out anyway, or he pulled out without looking. Which puts a big heap of fault on his shoulders before you get onto the indicators. Did he flick the indicator as he turned? I see that very often. No mirrors, no shoulder check, just pull out and put the indicator on after they've turned :roll:
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Cheers.

    So far, I have been to the on site nurse at work and logged the injuries etc. As the driver failed to give details, I am usure who to contact. I am assuming the company is liable as it is their van?

    Regarding the indicators, I never saw any at any point. Neither did my witness (whose details were passed to the police).

    I am just extremely annoyed about the whole thing really - hence want to get things sorted out soon.

    Visible Damage to the bike so far is knackered pedals (Look Keo Carbon/Titanium) and spokes popped from the hub of the rear wheel (SRAM S30 AL sprint) - will get the LBS to have a check over once I get the ball rolling with a claim then!

    Thanks.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Give the company a phone.

    Tell them to report the incident to their insurance, then get their insurance details so you can make a claim.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I've had near misses like this before, drivers waiting in queues of traffic suddenly deciding to do a U turn or a right turn to get out of the traffic without indicating or looking... If he refused to give his details then surely it's pretty much a hit and run... The guy is clearly an rshole, get Russell Jones and Walker (no win no fee) onto it....
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  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Alrighty then! Thanks for your help! I will do that. I have an incident number from the police - will they need that? Or as it was only yesterday morning, shall I get them to infrom their insurance and just see where it leads?

    Thanks again.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    There are quite a few similar reports on the internet - of course will be judged on their own merit, but in many cases some blame was given to the cyclist for performing a 'dangerous manoevre'.
  • jonomc4jonomc4 Posts: 891
    edited May 2012
    When I was hit by a car (T-Boned) with him making a right turn whilst coming from the opposite direction (in uk) - all he did was give me his name (couldn't be certain it was him). I used my phone to take a photo of his face and his car including number plate. Because he refused to give me his insurance details I then contacted my own insurance (and here is the point about getting separate bike insurance.

    My insurance company - firstly told me to take my bike to the LBS and get a quote for the damage - this I did and they then paid the bill so the bike could be repaired immediately (two weeks later it was fully repaired and I used the opportunity to upgrade a few bits with some extra of my own cash).
    Secondly they contacted the insurance company of the car driver and explained all that was going on
    Thirdly I was told to contact the police. The police came to my house that evening and took a full statement (I had written out a full description and diagram before they came). They also took the details of my witness.
    Fourthly - they told me to get a personal injury lawyer signed up - it was easy for me as the witness to the accident happened to work for a personal injury law firm :)

    Because I had sustained injuries in the crash (I had to go to A and E) - I have to, by law, inform the police of the crash.

    End result - I got about £3,500 in total payments for injuries and repairs. The driver got 6 points for careless driving and an £800 fine. I image his insurance costs have gone up a lot since.

    Take what you can from my experience (there is some good practice in there) - but mostly I strongly advise all cyclist to be separately insured - it isn't only theft that can happen to us! And if injured you must contact the police - if hurt more seriously get a personal injury lawyer!
  • jonomc4jonomc4 Posts: 891
    BTW- my brother was hit by a lorry who made a right turn without indicating - he won the case. But was left in a wheelchair.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    SOme useful info here (albeit for motorbikes):

    http://www.accident-claim-expert.co.uk/ ... ation.html

    I think you have a very good case, and can't see a reason for 'contribtory negligence'. Just a case of arguing that what you was doing was within the law, you were aware of the road and could not have anticipated the van.

    However I personally never filter like this. Just too much can happen - as the above proves - whilst they may be at fault, I'd rather not risk injury. Relying on the law isn't enough unfortunately.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    jonomc4 wrote:
    When I was hit by a car (T-Boned) with him making a right turn whilst coming from the opposite direction (in uk) - all he did was give me his name (couldn't be certain it was him). I used my phone to take a photo of his face and his car including number plate. Because he refused to give me his insurance details I then contacted my own insurance (and here is the point about getting separate bike insurance.

    My insurance company - firstly told me to take my bike to the LBS and get a quote for the damage - this I did and they then paid the bill so the bike could be repaired immediately (two weeks later it was fully repaired and I used the opportunity to upgrade a few bits with some extra of my own cash).
    Secondly they contacted the insurance company of the car driver and explained all that was going on
    Thirdly I was told to contact the police. The police came to my house that evening and took a full statement (I had written out a full description and diagram before they came). They also took the details of my witness.
    Fourthly - they told me to get a personal injury lawyer signed up - it was easy for me as the witness to the accident happened to work for a personal injury law firm :)

    Because I had sustained injuries in the crash (I had to go to A and E) - I have to, by law, inform the police of the crash.

    End result - I got about £3,500 in total payments for injuries and repairs. The driver got 6 points for careless driving and an £800 fine. I image his insurance costs have gone up a lot since.

    Take what you can from my experience (there is some good practice in there) - but mostly I strongly advise all cyclist to be separately insured - it isn't only theft that can happen to us! And if injured you must contact the police - if hurt more seriously get a personal injury lawyer!

    Yep I had a similar accident in 2009, except that I couldn't talk to the driver as I was more or less out cold on the tarmac after he "T boned" me... Plenty of witnesses though and the police were called and took statements so there was no question about who was at fault. I got about £5500 in total (new bike to replace the written off one, medical expenses, compensation etc). Police encouraged me to go for compensation, however the driver only got sent on a driving course - no points or fine. I wouldn't have gone for compensation but he was only willing to pay me about £200 which wouldn't have even covered half the ruined bike let alone everything else...
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  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Thanks for all your input guys! It is most appreciated/helpful.

    I'll update the thread as and when I have an outcome!
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Company refusing to give details, as the company owner is mates with the driver.
  • tomb353tomb353 Posts: 196
    sounds like the van driver has committed some quite serious traffic offences by refusing to give his details at the scene and then not reporting the incident himself. This may be one of the reasons the police are interested, nice easy conviction for them as he'll end up confessing as soon as he opens his mouth. In your place I would keep pestering the police and make sure that it gets dealt with by a traffic officer, the police should help you get his details and in the process intiate a prosecution of the driver.

    Can't advise on the rights / worngs and insurance side of it, but best of luck with it.
    vendor of bicycle baskets & other stuff www.tynebicycle.co.uk
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  • tomb353tomb353 Posts: 196
    this is quite good on the legal obligation to exchange details:

    http://ukcyclerules.com/2011/02/08/when ... r-details/
    vendor of bicycle baskets & other stuff www.tynebicycle.co.uk
    www.tynebicycle.co.uk/blog
    Kinesis Tripster
    Gazelle NY Cab
    Surly Steamroller
    Cannondale F100
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    mattwood wrote:
    Company refusing to give details, as the company owner is mates with the driver.

    The they're breaking the law.

    Phone the officer who's dealing with your case and let them know.

    Edit: Actually, if he's going to play hardball then get some no win, no fee people on the case. The prospect of having to pay damages AND legal fees might make him think twice about it.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    mattwood wrote:
    Company refusing to give details, as the company owner is mates with the driver.
    If you have a registration number your solicitor should be able to look up the insurance details. I'd recommend Russell Jones and Walker.

    As others have stated they're also breaking the law, and I'm sure the Police will be able to get the insurance details for you.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    This is one of the reasons I joined British Cycling, for their legal support.

    But check any household insurance policies you've got, they might include legal support for situations like this.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Thanks - I have legal support through work, and the case file has been updated with the fact they won't provide details and that the company owner was being a colossal [email protected] on the phone to me, trying to say it was my own fault and being generally aggressive, which the police have also been informed of.

    I will probably end up going for the no-win-no-fee types, I just thought (foolishly?) that things might have gone a bit smoother than this.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Luck of the draw I guess. I was hit by a guy in a company car who was 100% apologetic, offered to drive me home, told his work and the insurance co first thing the next morning, admitted fault straight away etc, and that all worked out well, but I know I got lucky....apart from being hit!
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • blablablacksheepblablablacksheep Posts: 1,627
    Filtering is perfectly legal to do, the problem comes when either traffic moves off and you arent going fast enough to then filter back into it quick enough, can cause issues.

    And like in your case traffic turning right when you filtering down their side.

    It hard to prove who is wrong without video of what happened, thus helmet cams so popular, as it very much "he said, she said".

    Insurance times can take a long time to settle the costs, were you insured out of interest?
    London2Brighton Challange 100k!
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  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    So the police rang me today;

    As it stands, the company refuse liability, so its all hinging on my witness giving a statement. It seems the most the will come out of it is to claim for my injuries/bike and the police will try to get a 'driving without due care and attention' conviction out of it, if I am willing to cooperate.

    It has been recommended I speak to a solicitor, So I will do that as well.

    Also, the police did say that it would be worth getting insurance in the future (which I will now do) and to investigate any companies that will process a retrospective claim for the repair/replacements. Any help on this last point would be very helpful too!

    Thanks again for all your input!
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    What do you mean by process a claim? You mean put a value to the stuff that was damaged? Any LBS should do it.

    Or do you mean a solicitor to help claw the money back from B**tard & Son's White Van Company? In that case, either the legal people you mentioned from work, any legal cover you've got through a household insurance policy, or Russel Jones and Walker.

    Given how they've behaved I'd be very happy to claim ££££ for injuries and damage, and secure a conviction for the driving.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Soory if I was a bit vague with 'preocess a claim'. What I meant was that the police officer that I spoke to recommended I seek out a cycle insurance policy that would allow me to make a claim retrospectively.

    I went and spoke to the LBS and they basically said to replace the frame and damaged wheel and pedals at the very least, though they themselves wouldn't put a value on it.

    My gut feeling was to make a claim for injuries, the fact i now have to get the train to work until I feel fit enough to start riding again and for the damage to my bike, and to go for the convicition.

    So I now have to wait to hear back from the police after they have spoken to my witness and see if there is a case to answer - if there is, then that would basically be an admission of liability if found guilty, which would be nice :)
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    They probably won't, because the accident happened before you had insurance. But that doesn't mean Russell, Jones & Walker aren't worth a call, or British Cycling/CTC to see if there's anyone else they recommend.

    *Do* make the claim for injuries, even bruising. If you've been in pain, unable to sleep, unable to ride, had to take time off work etc because someone else is innatentive and a pleb then they should pay.

    I don't know why the LBS wouldn't give you a valuation, essentially, ask them to replace what needs to be replaced, they then send the bill to the insurers. Or you pay it and get reimbursed when/if you win. Or they write down how much the new frame etc would cost and you include that in the claim, that's the safest way to do it.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Yeah - I agree and will be doing most of that tbh!

    As regards the LBS, I think its because they can't be bothered really - the guys there are excellent but it seems they prfer no to deal with the higher end stuff for whatever reason. Either way, I will be going to another LBS to service my needs!
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Just a quick update!

    The police spoke to my witness. However, he isn't willing to give an official statement that would lead to a conviction as he only works round the corner from the driver in question.

    He has provided the police with his details and a short statement and says he would be willing to cooperate with my solicitor to help me secure some compo for the bike and injuries.

    So today I plan to ring Russel, Jones & Walker, assuming they operate a no-win-no-fee basis as they seem to come highly recommended. If there is anyone else that you would recommend please do say so!

    Thanks again - hopefully things will go well and swiftly!
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Well, got back from Riga today and found a lovely letter from the solicitors saying the 'defendant' is claiming 50/50 and that he basically did nothing wrong.

    As you may guess, I'll not be accepting this so the solicitors have contacted my witness and we shall see where to go from there...
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Damn, sounds like this I'd being a real pain. Opinions are split, but I'm very grateful for my helmet camera in removing any doubt about what happened. (I was hit by a car the day after my last post on this!)
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • mattwoodmattwood Posts: 148
    Yeah it pretty much is, but hopefully my witness can remember as far back as may and will corroborate my version of events. I think it helps my mind that the police would have prosecuted if my witness was willing to go to court, so I'll keep pursuing this one slowly but surely.

    I do remember seeing that you had an incident at about the same time. Glad to see you're still around to fight the good fight at the very least.
  • Father JackFather Jack Posts: 3,508
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
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