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Accident claim advice

pedgepukpedgepuk Posts: 7
edited October 2017 in Commuting chat
I was involved in an accident with a London bus nearly 3 years ago which I posted here not too long after it happened and have been dealing with one of the 'no win no fee' law firms since.

To briefly describe what happened, I was deliberately barged by a driver of a double decker bus on my commute home into another cyclist where the bike was then written off after the driver went over it. I sustained injuries, ended up in A&E, was off work for several days, and have had to commute by public transport ever since the accident in November 2014. This of course has incurred costs from my own pocket since I didn't have a bike to commute. It took just over 8 months for me to get back to normal health.

The solicitors have been very slow, and I have had six different people look at my claim due to people leaving or other reasons which I'm not happy with, since the new person has had to go through the file again and again.

Nonetheless, a new litigation exec is now onboard wanting to put closure to the case and resolve a settlement with the bus company as it's reaching 3 years.

The bus company admitted liability towards the end of 2015 after I attended court along with a witness who was on the bus at the time. The bus driver was fined and disqualified from driving although he failed to turn up, and no representation was made on his behalf. The bus company also fired him after receiving information from my witness.

The interim payment for the replacement of my bike was only received in April of this year, meaning that I'm aiming to provide commuting expenses until then, which amounts to a near £4,000. This does seem excessive although I had no alternative to get in to work to London.

The solicitor has now said that the bus company insurers will look at this figure and the likelihood of the commuting costs be paid out to be null. She has said that I should have kept my costs down to a minimum under the RTA protocol to which I disagree. She also stated that the insurers will ask why I never took a loan out or borrow from friends and family to purchase a bike any sooner. This I find ridiculous as I was in the middle of buying a house and would never request money from others.

I also incurred other costs which the solicitor has said I would not have a chance in receiving compensation for.

My opinion is that if I've incurred costs at no fault of my own, and the interim payment only arrived this year, why would my expenses to get to work not be paid or a substantial portion be paid.

I'd appreciate any advice on the above which would help replying back to the solicitor.

Many thanks. P

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    You should keep costs to a minimum. Wouldn't an interest free loan have been the Better option to fund your bike? I'd have thought your lawyer should have given you advice before now.

    Settlement will take a long time as you say it took 8 months to get back your health. Surely you will be allowed travel expenses until you were fit enough to ride ?

    You say you'd never borrow from others? Isn't that what people do to get a house? You can't really claim that.

    Good luck with the claim.
  • The reason for not covering cost for commuting is more because that’s what anyone else in general would have to do. If yourbike broke for innocent reasons or you couldn’t ride it etc, you would still incur the same costs of public transport. It’s like getting a hire car but expecting to claim for the fuel.

    Whereas the bus company is responsible for compensation for your bike and any personal injury they cannot be held responsible for your choice of commute afterwards. Although there is a certain irony in having to get a bus to work and the extortionate costs of London public transport
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 2,992
    I'm having a bun fight with an insurer about similar costings. I ended up driving to work for 2 months because the bike wasn't rideable, and I was waiting for the insurer to make a decision to either write the bike off, or give me cash for a new one.
    The cost of the mileage on the car was more than the cost of buying a new bike... but I couldn't make that decision, had no idea how long the bike was going to be out of action for etc.
    Expecting that to be taken to civil court for consideration...
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 4,586
    cougie wrote:
    it took 8 months to get back your health. Surely you will be allowed travel expenses until you were fit enough to ride ?
    I'd agree with that (from a common sense point of view, which might not match the legal view) but you should minimise the costs i.e. not taking a cab every day when you could've got the tube.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    What level of injuries did you sustain? And how serious were your issues for 8 months? If either of those were as significant as it sounds on first read then the payout for those will far outweigh any travel costs normally.

    I got knocked off last year - broken collarbone and damaged ligaments etc. It was just over a month before I was allowed to drive again (albeit painfully), during which time I claimed for mileage of anyone providing lifts and occasional taxis where this was not viable (even the odd train journey). It was another couple of months physio etc before I was able to cycle again, during which time I claimed for my mileage for journeys where I would have cycled. Bike was replaced and I was able to use it after 3 months or so but couldnt do long mileage without pain for maybe 10-12 months. All told, the travel expenses were less than £400 but the claim ended up costing them £25,000 including around £5,000 for an operation for frozen shoulder and lots of physio.

    At the end, I wouldnt have cared if they paid the travel costs, as they were small fry in comparison.

    You were going through the process of buying a house, costing hundreds of thousands, and you couldnt afford a couple of hundred for a cheap commuter bike at the time? That is unreasonable on your part to my view.

    If you were unable to ride for 8 months then its perfectly valid that they have to bear the cost but you have a duty to minimise the cost and check before incurring substantial or arguable costs to be on the safe side. I tried to get an automatic hire car for a couple of weeks because I couldnt change gear so couldnt do long journeys required for work but my lawyer said they might well not pay it so I soldiered on.

    After those 8 months (maybe sooner - depending on what you mean by not back to full health during that time) then you could have sourced a bike. It didnt have to be the ultimate replacement for your original, it could have been a cheap runaround. So after that time if you have continued with costly commuting then that was your choice, not something they forced you into.
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,162
    My solicitor has been fantastic after my accident in Feb this year.

    I had my bike valued and paid for within 8 weeks.

    I'm still not over my injuries and receiving weekly physio, all of which is being recorded and shall be included in my final settlement claim.

    I wish you the best of luck with yours, but I wouldn't be expecting the world.
    Specialized Allez Sprint Disc --- Specialized S-Works SL7

    IG: RhinosWorkshop
  • andyh01andyh01 Posts: 571
    Some of comments on here are dumb founding. I had a reletively fairly minor T bone accident where to didn't accept liability at first first it took for to witness to come forward who was reluctant as theyd flashed them out and was worried they'd themselves be in trouble. Anyway as happens I work in insurance industry, my socilitor told me I couldn't claim for this n that including travel expenses of £500 ish time off work or appointments parking. I successfully argued and when I asked to escalate n take to ombudsman they agreed to include these as seperate headings which I received compo for irrespective of reletively low costings to overall settlement.
    Op by using public transport you kept your costs low it's not as though you got a cab each day there n bk. My argument was if I was in car n couldn't drive said car whilst sorting liability I would've been in credit hire via insurer either courtesy if deemed own fault or paid by to if at fault.
    Any reasonable costs are recoverable as long as direct flow from accident. As say time off work in sickpay and pensions contribution that employer can claim, time off for appointment s Inc out of pocket expenses -hot food may be a push as could take pack lunch but if out for 8hrs or so maybe... Worth a try. Parking any additional cost you otherwise incurred that u wouldn't of orreandly have done if not it weren't for accident... For which driver already been convicted n therefore I assume liability cannot be disputed!
  • andyh01andyh01 Posts: 571
    It also took my claim about 3 years to settle due to slow litigation n challenges t/p insurer made which due to lenght of time fell outside of moj portal so cost t/p insurer more in fees id also hazard a guess that if big bus co they may well be self insured meaning your dealing with average Jo n not proper insurer who'd just want clear their liability line once they've received settlement pack.
    Has your socilitor sent out settlement pack for you to agree? If they've then add on what you see as missing
    If they start been funny also remind them how you feel your case as been handled by them
  • Thanks for all your replies so far. I can see a few responses which in reality isn't as simple as it seems.

    Yes I was buying a house but due to personal circumstances, I was asked to keep my monthly credit card expenditure to a minimum, not take out any loans/credit, avoid big purchases etc by my mortgage broker otherwise I'd risk being declined or receive a lower mortgage. There was no alternative and I had to sell the last property for reasons outside my control.

    I posed the question to the various paralegals, litigation execs etc on when I can claim my travel expenses to; was it until I receive the interim payment for the bike, or until I was back to full health (8 months after the accident). None could confirm this until the current paralegal dealing with the case. I have provided a full itemised statement from Transport for London for my commuting by train to work from November 2014 to April 2017 (when I received the interim payment for the bike). There was never cabs nor limos or helicopters involved.

    The solicitors have been poor imo with their advice and the draft claim suggests just under £200 travel expenses loss which doesn't even cover 1 month. This is what I'm arguing with.

    I kept my costs to a minimum as had no alternative, and my mode of transport was the train to do a near daily 3hr return commute.

    My injuries weren't major, cuts, grazes, stitches here and there to legs and arms, bruising, perinea damage and walking wasn't back to normal until 8 months later. Gladly I didn't break anything or sustain major injuries like some I've read about.

    This is simply to compensate losses I incurred through no fault of my own, for the bus company to acknowledge that their excuses of "our cctv was corrupted" was a cover up until my witness came forward. Had the witness not been on the bus at the time, then there would have been no case and a short fused dangerous London bus driver would have still been out on the road until this day, and possibly killing a cyclist.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    I am sorry, I still dont get this.

    You had the money to rack up £4K in travel expenses because you couldnt afford to spend a couple of hundred on a bike? That just doesnt make any sense. It doesnt add up, literally.

    OK, so maybe you couldnt ride for 8 months although that doesnt seem certain if you had just some cuts, grazes and stitches. So maybe you can claim for this period but you would need an independant medical assessment to say that you werent able to use your normal mode of transport (bike) for that period in order to justify that the travel expenses are a direct result of the fault.

    So if the 8 month period represents £1K of the travel expenses, you racked up a further £3K after you were back to full health because you couldnt/didnt want to buy a bike - you could certainly afford a bike because it would have cost less than the travel expenses you were paying out in the hope of recouping later on.

    I can sense and sympathise with your sense of injustice but I am sorry, from a legal and financial perspective this just comes across like you are trying it on and the claim is unwarranted. It looks like you chose to continue commuting by public transport well beyond any point that it was related to the accident but are hoping to get the liable party to pay this cost.

    Maybe you always commuted by public transport some days and cycled just occasionally - and saw this as an excuse to get someone else to cover the costs that you would have incurred anyway?

    I dont want to see the bad in this and accuse you of anything but as I said, unless you are not giving the salient information to allow us to judge this properly then what little you have told means that this does not come across as a reasonable claim.

    Hopefully you see the post in a constructive light - I am not looking to attack or argue with you, simply to make sense of this?
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    pedgepuk wrote:

    This is simply to compensate losses I incurred through no fault of my own, .


    I agree and sympathise and think that you are entitled to all of your travel costs as they are low and you have, as has been said, fulfilled your obligation to mitigate cost.

    But you are dealing with a no win no fee - meaning no win, no commission for the 'legal exec'. Why do you think these guys are changing all of the time - they are not winning the cases and bringing in fee income to their firm.

    I'm not suggesting that fee based litigation via a law firm would result in a better outcome but the only one with your interests at heart is yourself. That is the reality. I think you should demand that your costs get claimed for or a proper justification as to why not be made. Whilst I would not provoke them by suggesting they are taking the easy way out you will be entitled to escalate the issue within the firm and by whatever regulator binds these people.

    Good luck.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • andyh01andyh01 Posts: 571
    T/p have already accepted their driver is guilty and have therefore accepted liability.
    T/P insurers have to put the innocent victims back in as close to the same position as they enjoyed immediately prior to the accident.
    Depending if the no win no fee is the newer ones where socilitor gets succession fee eg 25% of any compensation you receive it's in their interest to get as much was possible.
    Although due to lenght of taken its probably outside the MOJ portal which means socilitor can charge their fees paid for by T/p insurer.
    Provided obviously not fraudulent but down to TP to prove as it's taken in good faith n if found to be fraudulent would forfeit claim and would have to sign statement of truth.
    It's not for your socilitor to decide to quantify financial loss this is easy part as will have proof eg receipts etc
  • andyh01andyh01 Posts: 571
    What is harder to quantify is the injury albeit the Ogden table be used but things like pain n suffering ect get as much as you can on settlement pack as reasonable and be used to negotiate out of court settlement as to insurer may well come bk with part 36 offer which if not accepted and goes to court you'd have to win a better offer or get nothing
    Again though it's not down to your socilitor to tell you your losses its down to you to show them your losses and add the headings in accordingly. It's TP that pays it so long as reasonable.
    As said if was in a car you'd get credit hire ect until yours is repaired ect
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