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Cycled into car - which way forward?

I would appreciate your thoughts on the following. Sorry for the long post.

Someone (u18) I know didn't see a car at a crossroads where they were to give way, and cycled into it. The child was upset and left the scene as soon as possible, but luckily the car and witnesses stopped and swapped details. The child had a bruised elbow and later a stiff neck, but the bike was Ok after minor repairs and the child recovered within a few days. The car's wing was damaged and, apparently, grill and fog light. The driver reported that they can get it repaired for £1400, and gave this family the choice of going through the driver's car insurance or personal liability under Contents part of the cyclist's home insurance. It is dangerous to discuss fault in such a situation, especially when live, but the child simply didn't see the car which by all accounts was not speeding (the driver thought the car may even have been stationary upon impact, but the child doubts this), but we are all mindful aren't we of the hierarchy of vulnerable road users and a motorist's obligation to be able to stop.

My question to you: is there something I've overlooked when deciding this?

Driver's car insurance: repair would be through one of the insurer's repairers, probably therefore more; driver's premium would increase (slight schadenfreude admittedly but this person presented the family with the repair quote the same day before even asking how the child was); but is there a possibility of the car insurance pursuing the cyclist, which would be unpleasant and disproportionate - they are bound to, aren't they? Inevitably there would follow a fight about fault, where it does seem to be in the driver's favour. Would the home insurance company resist paying to the cyclist because of perceived fault, landing the cyclist family with both a larger bill and having had to deal with a car insurance firm?

Home insurance personal liability: reduced sum on payout; no pursuit of cyclist by car insurance; but cyclist cannot accept a sum to pay and then claim that against home insurance without home insurance agreeing first, which they might resist because they've essentially been presented with a privately agreed bill.

Clearly the home insurance company decide which route, but the family is trying to fully assess the issues first, and the home insurance is very difficult to get through to by phone thus far (online product, constantly on hold when phoned, and starting a new claim process requires an amount to be claimed, which won't exist until this is decided -chicken and egg).

Thank you.

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27 comments

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Jimmy Ray Will | 2 months ago
8 likes

This sounds to me to be one of those situations where everyone is trying to be nice, in a situation where niceties are not the order of the day. Doing so will only end in fall out and resentment on both sides no matter how good the intentions. 

Check that the family is covered by their home insurance. On the basis that their home insurance policy does come with third party liability cover, then they should be gravy. 

Assuming so, swap insurance details and let the relevant companies thrash it out. Tell the family not to get personally involved any further. 

I cycled into a car a few years ago. Poor road conditions left me unable to stop in time for an oncoming car, tried to go down the side, didn't make it. Long and short of it, I was cycling too fast for the conditions... my fault. 

Anyway, we swapped details, the driver sent me a letter, I forwarded it to my insurer (through BC membership / licence) and that was the end of our communications. My insurer contacted me, asked me to complete a load of paperwork and then I got on with my life. The driver never contacted me again, so I assume they were compensated. 

No need to be nice, just take the correct actions and move on. This is why we pay premiums. 

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Oldfatgit | 2 months ago
4 likes

Get the drivers insurance to talk to your [*] home insurance.

That's what you have public liability cover on your insurance for.

The drivers insurance will have to prove to the over insurers that the costs are proportional to the damage.

Do not offer to pay out your own pocket.

[*] use of you etc for ease.

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HeadDown replied to Oldfatgit | 2 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for the time taken to reply
Think they (yes they, not us!) are considering doing the right thing and putting the driver back in the position they were in previously, feeling it wasn't their fault. It's simply whether to use car insurance but risk that insurer being more aggressive pursuing the cyclist family (or the sum ending up more and then home insurance claims it back off the cyclist for at-fault (would they, could they?)) or settling between them and home insurance saying they won't pay as privately agreed.

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Oldfatgit replied to HeadDown | 2 months ago
7 likes

I am totally confused.

Are you asking on behalf of the car driver or the cyclist?

If obo the car driver ... then go through the car insurance as it *has* to be reported to them anyway.

How they pursue the cyclist is not the drivers (or your) concern.

If a sum of money has been agreed between the driver and the cyclist to make good, then insurance is a null point ... but the driver still *has* to notify their insurance and advise no claim.

No insurers will honour an agreement that has been made outside of their claim system between two individuals.

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BikeyDavey92 replied to Oldfatgit | 2 months ago
2 likes

As someone who works in Insurance completely agree with this. This is why you have the product and even if everyone is well intentioned, you can avoid any type of misdeed by going the more structured path here 

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Rich_cb | 2 months ago
2 likes

Assuming the cyclist is old enough to be held legally responsible for the crash and there is no doubt over fault etc then your best option is to claim on your home insurance.

The car insurance company will almost certainly pursue the cyclist for the cost of the repair if the driver makes a claim on their car insurance.

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HeadDown replied to Rich_cb | 2 months ago
0 likes

Thank you for the reply
The child was cycling and is mid teenage years. I guess the driver would need to pursue a civil claim, if the cycling wasn't pursued by police as dangerous (ie an offence in itself), which is more hassle than it's worth maybe. Pointless against a minor, they've insufficient assets against which to enforce probably.
However, the family feel that would be doing the dishonourable thing by the driver, if indeed they were blameless and the child came out when they shouldn't have. So, the question remains; do you let the driver do it through their car insurance and risk it getting uglier when home insurance says we won't cover the cyclist's personal liability claim etc, or privately settle and then home insurance refuses because they privately agreed a sum.

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Oldfatgit replied to HeadDown | 2 months ago
3 likes

"So, the question remains; do you let the driver do it through their car insurance "

If you are asking on behalf of the cyclist who caused the collision ... this is not their call to make.
This is the call of the driver to make.

As a driver, I would *have* no choice to report the collision or risk voiding the insurance .. so if I've got to report it, might as well let the insurance company pursue the claim and take away the stress.

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Rich_cb replied to HeadDown | 2 months ago
3 likes

The driver is contractually obliged to inform their insurance company. If they do so then you must get your insurance involved.

If the minor is covered by your home insurance then a civil claim will be worth pursuing as most home insurance policies have liability cover extending to seven figures.

Either insurance company will get very legal very quickly so it might be easiest just to let the two companies thrash out the details rather than act as a go between.

I'd check if the cyclist is actually covered by your home insurance and if they are just relax and let the insurance companies fight it out.

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Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
1 like

Slightly confused by this story, the cylist did a runner, yet seems to be identified and speaking to the driver a bit further down the story...

Seems a strange collection of items to get damaged too - a wing, grill and fog light, all in the same sort of area, but if the bike was fine with minor repairs, then it seems like a disproportionate amount of damage on the car. 

Difficult to know what I'd do. Definitely ask for proof of the damage at the very least, and an official quotation for the repairs etc. The good soul in me would say offer to cover the repairs, these things happen and hopefully a lesson learnt for next time, the bad soul says if no insurance and so on, refuse to pay, or at least settle for a lesser amount (subject to accurate damage and costings)

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HeadDown replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for replying.
The dad says he went out after the kid arrived home in tears and that's how they all ended up together in their kitchen. Driver was perfectly nice, partner who then turned up a bit more business like. They produced a repairer's quote later that same day I think.
Cars dent easily, it would appear. Very easily.

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David9694 replied to HeadDown | 2 months ago
2 likes

The old "one-two" seems familiar, but even if the collision happened at breakfast time, the bit about the £1400 quote appearing same day doesn't sit at all well with me. 

you must get an insurance company involved on the rider's side - don't attempt any more direct dealings.

has anyone made a report to the police? 
 

 

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stonojnr replied to David9694 | 2 months ago
2 likes

If its a car made in the last 10-15 years, very easy to rack up 1400 quid in repairs, even if the damage appears minor to the eye, because everything is built in modules and front valance, wings, grills, you can't just buy the bit you need it comes in one chunk and so you have to cost replacing the whole thing.

I was quoted over 1k to fix some front low speed crash damage, airbags didnt even go off,on a car that visibly looked to have just a bent number plate, because the crash repair place wanted to replace a whole chunk of bumper that was barely scratched and respray it too.

Suspect there's a bit of a game going on in the crash repair business thesedays to inflate their costs, which the insurer pays, via increased premiums to their customers.

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David9694 replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
2 likes

It was how quickly this figure emerged that concerns me. 

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Benthic | 2 months ago
0 likes

Ultimately, the claimant will need to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent.

The error was the cyclist providing details in the first place. Section 170 of the Road Traffic 1988 Act only requires drivers of mechanically propelled vehicles to provide details, not cyclists. Too late now.

How formal is the motorist's claim so far? A written demand, or more casual communication?

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HeadDown replied to Benthic | 2 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for the reply.
The child's early teens so didn't give details but ran home, I gather. The dad then went out to see what had happened apparently and the driver ended up in their kitchen for most the morning in shock from the initial incident. It wasn't really a 'play it hardball' situation I think, where people withhold info. I think it was talked about in their kitchen and nothing formal received.

As an aside, it seems a bit unfair on car owners generally if a cyclist does damage the car and refuses to cooperate. I guess the driver would need to pursue a civil claim, if the cycling wasn't pursued by police as dangerous (ie an offence in itself), which is more hassle than it's worth maybe. Pointless against a minor, they've insufficient assets against which to enforce probably.

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WiznaeMe replied to Benthic | 2 months ago
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Benthic wrote:

The error was the cyclist providing details in the first place. Section 170 of the Road Traffic 1988 Act only requires drivers of mechanically propelled vehicles to provide details, not cyclists. Too late now.

legally correct, morally wrong.  Are you suggesting that people should damage property and then make off?

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Benthic replied to WiznaeMe | 2 months ago
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WiznaeMe wrote:

legally correct, morally wrong.  Are you suggesting that people should damage property and then make off?

Thank you for your opinion.

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HoarseMann | 2 months ago
1 like

Many years ago, an uninsured, unlicenced driver in a vehicle with no MOT and registered as scrapped with the DVLA, ran into the back of my car.

They tried to do a runner, but thankfully their car was incapacitated. Weirdly, they actually then gave me their real contact details - they were an 18 year old living at home.

However, when it all became clear they were not insured, I had no option but to claim on my fully comp insurance. There was no hope of getting any money out of the teenager. They claimed poverty, the parents said they didn't know where he lived most of the time as he 'dosses down at other peoples houses' (which I suspect was a lie). I had legal cover on my insurance and a few stern solicitors letters to the parents did eventually get them to cough up to cover the £250 excess.

I think I would just suck it up and be glad the kid is ok. What would this person have done if the damage had been caused by a wild animal, such as a deer, jumping out in front of the vehicle?

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bikeman01 replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
1 like

Unless they have legal cover with the house insurance they could be looking at a big bill to defend themselves because the house insurer wont want to pay no questions asked.

I would look to engage one of the cycling win no fee personal accident solicitors on the basis that the boy sustained injury. And leave them to fight it out.

Unless it is clear cut that the boy is at fault, and its not up to laymen to decide, there is an onus on car drivers to look out for cyclists so you may be surprised that the car insurer doesnt fight it.

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HoarseMann replied to bikeman01 | 2 months ago
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bikeman01 wrote:

I would look to engage one of the cycling win no fee personal accident solicitors on the basis that the boy sustained injury. And leave them to fight it out..

Ah, the old claim, counter-claim, approach. That might well work for the young cyclists family.

As you say, drivers are duty bound to operate their vehicle safely around vulnerable road users, especially children. Even if a child ran out in front of a vehicle, it is still likely to be the driver at fault if they had not been driving to the conditions and failed to anticipate the collision; no matter who notionally had priority.

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stonojnr replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
0 likes

Just remember next time your car insurance quote goes up, this will be one of the reasons why.

Read the ops version of how the cyclist crashed into the car.

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HeadDown replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
1 like

Thanks for the reply. If it'd been a deer then I guess they'd claim on the fully comp insurance indeed. But the insurer wouldn't then consider pursuing a deer for the settlement!

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HoarseMann replied to HeadDown | 2 months ago
3 likes
HeadDown wrote:

Thanks for the reply. If it'd been a deer then I guess they'd claim on the fully comp insurance indeed. But the insurer wouldn't then consider pursuing a deer for the settlement!

I was musing that the driver might not need to tell the insurer they know the identity of the child cyclist. If they told the insurer that a child had cycled into their stationary vehicle and run off, then it would just then be a matter of their excess and a claim on their insurance.

To be fair, I'm not really sure the driver is in a position to offer not going via their car insurance. You are supposed to inform your insurance company if you've been involved in a collision, no matter what.

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HeadDown replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
0 likes

Good point

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WiznaeMe replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
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HoarseMann]</p>

<p>[quote=HeadDown

wrote:

it would just then be a matter of their excess and a claim on their insurance.

And an increase in the drivers premium for the next few years.

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HoarseMann replied to WiznaeMe | 2 months ago
0 likes

Yes, even though I had protected no-claims and it was deemed a no-fault claim, my premium did go up. However, I shopped around and got a cheaper quote than what I was paying previously, from another insurance company (that's with declaring the claim saga).

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