When your car is struck by a cyclist, the first thing to determine is whether everyone is unhurt. Once that is taken care of, you may notice that your vehicle suffered some damage in the incident. You may be able to seek remuneration if the cyclist was at fault. Here’s how:
Determine fault and negligence
In many ways, damage incurred by a cyclist is the same as damage caused in the course of a two-car collision. Bicycles and cars are both governed by the rules of the road, meaning that in collisions, there will be one or more people at fault. In collisions between bicycles and cars, the driver and the cyclist are required to exchange their details, just as they would if both vehicles involved were cars.
If the cyclist does not stop to exchange information, you’re well within your rights to call the police, describing the rider and the bicycle. Once you have identified the person involved with the collision, you can proceed with the claim – provided damage was done to your car and the bicyclist was at fault in the accident.
Send a letter of demand
The actual mechanism for requesting damages is a letter of demand. You can send the letter to the other party by email, post, fax or simply by handing it to the person. In the letter, you should specify your preferred method of repayment, as well as the amount, when you want it by and the total costs you are seeking. You should also mention that legal action may result if you are not paid. You should copy the letter and keep the second version in your own records.
If the cyclist agrees that they were indeed at fault and that the amount is reasonable, they may pay without ever going through the court system. This is less certain in cycle cases than when two cars are involved, as cyclists don’t typically have insurance for their bikes. If the matter does turn into a court case, the letter of demand will become evidence that you are making a claim.
Take the matter to court
While in some cases letters of demand will lead to immediate payment or negotiation over price, in others, you won’t agree – and will be forced to go to court. In the ensuing case, the magistrate or assessor will determine fault and assess who should pay.
To find out more about making a claim for auto damages in NSW, reach out to Gerard Malouf & Partners, compensation lawyers who handle claims in a personalised way to get the best results for our clients.