Cycling in Sydney Australia
I was recently hit by a car, which attempted to overtake me in a single-lane from behind, but ended up hitting my right side, and swiping me into the median strip.
The driver has admitted fault, and the police have charged them.
However, their third-party insurance has been somewhat...frustrating to deal with. I was riding a fairly decent bike, but I also had a backpack with all my electronics in it (laptop, tablet, phone, BT keyboard etc.) After several months of trying to follow them up, they finally came back today and said they won't cover electronics that were damaged, as they say you can't prove it was damaged in the collision. (I did send in photos of the dings/scratches - some of it is visible damage, some of it is things like the screen being half-dead, or the digitiser not working properly etc.) I believe insurance is saying they don't believe the collision was hard enough to cause any damage to electronics.
Does anybody have any advice on how to handle this? Or any particularly good resources or write-ups?
Also - I'm in Sydney - any good lawyers that specialise in this sort of thing?
Bicycle NSW has a relationship with a legal company for initial advice for members.
Even if you are not a member you could approach the same company as they may be experienced in this area
Insurance companies always start out with an "ambit" settlement. The'll try to fob you off as cheaply as possible and offer all sorts of reasons as to what they will or will not pay. One friend who was formerly in a senior role in an insurance company in Queensland told me that the first thing to do is to ask them what their disputes resolution procedure is. Pursue that first, then if you're not satisfied, start talking seriously to them about meeting them in court. If you get to the latter stage, be prepared to follow through with it. The other option is to pursue the driver through the courts for any shortfall if that's needed. Nothing quite like an angry client bad mouthing their insurer for not paying up on claims! That might also be worth mentioning to the insurer.
Insurance companies will always try to minimise their payout. Dabba's advice is good. However, as part of the settlement with the company, you will be required to sign an agreement to make no further claim against their client.
I'd suggest approaching the lawyers mentioned in Bill Parker's post above.
Thanks for the suggestion - I did ring that law firm earlier - however, they said they only handle personal injury (i.e. compensation for your injuries), not property damage.
If getting a remedy from the insurer gets too hard, denting the car they insure on every panel will surely cost them... muhaha
And ... if you are really cheesed off, you can check random plates online with RMS to find even more cars they insure ;-)
Surely you jest...randomly attacking cars isn't going to help Victor get his electronics replaced. The corollary is the car driver who is cut off by a cyclist, so decides to run the next few cyclists off the road as revenge. Neither scenario is one we want in our society.
I don't see the corollary. The car just gets damaged, nobody knows by whom.
Regardless, it's not about fixing electronics it's about putting costs upon a dodgy business.
Approaching lawyers a good idea....but quite costly too.
I had an issue with an insurance company that didn't wish to pay for the value of my bike......very frustrating. Also, given I wasn't the customer meant I had to do a lot of chasing them.
Whichever insurance company you are dealing with - look up the complaints process (they all have one). Lodge a formal complaint in that you aren't happy with the outcome offered. This will mean that your case will move to someone else to review it. A fresh set of eyes may give a different outcome. Pursue this approach first. Often the payout value is smaller then them wasting time with you.
If no joy with that - progress it to the financial ombudsmen - https://www.fos.org.au/resolving-disputes/our-dispute-resolution-pr.... It is also a good resource in how to navigate the process.
All the best!
Yep, the problem is that you have no contractual relationship with the insurer. In this case, as they've already said no, you could write to the car owner and leave it to them to decide whether to chase their own insurer.
The letter should cover:
- What happened, who's been charged / admitted fault
- A description of the damage, itemized $, maybe photos
- Politely requesting that the matter be settled for $x
- State that if you do not receive the funds within say 14 days, that you will lodge a claim with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) (aka small claims tribunal.)
Do your research on NCAT beforehand. Show in the letter that you are prepared and serious about taking it to court if need be.
The letter has more weight if written on a legal firms' letterhead (either ask a lawyer friend, or a pay a layer to write it...if you pay, you have to decide whether it's worth doing).
The person may decide to pay up to avoid the hassle of court. Even if they don't, and then get a court summons, they may change their mind and pay up. Or, they might let it go to court and not show up, in which case they'll get a judgement against them. Or, they could be a dick and have their day in court. You should only write the letter if you are prepared to stand in court, and think you can defend the "you did this after the accident" argument.
Good luck! Post the outcome back here in due course.
PS, INAL (I am not a lawyer)
I've in the past claimed against my home & contents insurance (bike is a portable) and they were easy to deal with. I had to pay the excess on it but this was refunded once the investigated the incident and they knew the other party was at fault. I'm not sure if they went after the other party to get the money back?
If you are a member of BNSW their insurance policy will cover you and they may even have lawyers (I know Bicycle Network do). You can write the 3 letters of demand and then hand the whole thing over to a lawyer. From what I have heard the first consultation is free and after that they are charging you in 15 minute increments.