Getting an insurance claim properly settled

by comm88   June 14, 2012  

Hi Honourable Cyclists

Me is well peed off!

I went out for a lunch time 30 way back on 16 February. A good day, if cold. Had me longs on and a hi viz jacket on. What could go wrong?

On a public road, up by some Roman ruins in Silchester, a stupid dog launched itself at me, bringing me down heavily. It cost me 5 stitches in my eyebrow, damaged my helmet, ripped my gloves, lacerated my skin, destroyed the knee of my De Marchi longs, tore my jacket and worse - dented my lovely aluminium Trek 2200!!

The silly dog owner simply said, "What can I say? Sorry, mate." And wanted to leave it at that.

Not good enough. He had pet insurance. I got his name, address, number and the Police.

Police were great. Head injury - so called the ambulance. I was stitched up at the side of the road.

So I had two reports - Police & Paramedics.

Here we are, 14 June - no settlement and now the lousy dog owner's insurance company want me to undergo a medical examination "to inspect injuries sustained".

I am not claiming for personal injury but a crown fell out the following day, loosened my dentist said by the impact of the fall and sent a note to say so to the insurance company.

They have all the reports, lots of photos, a dentist's affidavit, my bloodstained face and wrecked clothing - and still I am fighting to get a pay out.

So, what's the point of insurance if it takes FOREVER to pay out?

Anybody else experienced such tardiness in settling a claim, simple or otherwise?

But frankly, I wish I'd never bothered with the claim - although it works out at about £200+ of wrecked top quality gear (Assos gloves, De Marchi longs, Nike overshoes etc) and I've now missed the winter sales!

I also wish I'd screwed them for my bike, whiplash, extensive personal injury and loss of earnings too. Would've made the whole thing somewhat worthwhile!

All I ever wanted was what was right - payment for ruined clothing and damage to my teeth. Not even a claim for my lovely bike being damaged! And I did nothing wrong whatsoever.

What has been your experience over clashes with insurers when right has clearly been on your side?

I'd really love to know!!


Honest John, who is a whole lot uglier now than he was before!

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

T-boned by car in 2009, broken ankle.

Took an easy 6 months for the insurers to do their bit and decide responsibility although driver was already done for undue care and attention. 3months to get a medical exam sorted is actually pretty quick.

Insurance claims are never quick when there is an injury. Not quite sure what you expect? The medical exam will determine severity of injury and length of time for recovery and limitations put on later life. Doesn't really matter how serious the injury is.

I'm now 3 years down the line for me and this is to cover funding for a research position so be thankful it's moving quickly and your job isn't dependent on it.

Insurance companies are not exactly in the business of throwing cash at every claim that comes your way. Just accept you've got to shell out just now and that you'll be reimbursed.

Weasel is as weasel does

posted by axisofweasel [24 posts]
14th June 2012 - 16:28


Sounds like you tripped over a dog? If you speak to AmbulanceChasers4u you could sue the owner and the council too for not providing proper signage? Just be careful the dog owner doesn't counter-sue to cover the counseling the dog has had to undergo.

posted by alecangus [14 posts]
14th June 2012 - 16:45

1 Like

I also got knocked off by a car, back in November last year. Took most of the impact on face and knee - have some lasting scars and a bit of lasting pain in the knee - and the bike took a pasting. The claim is just about to be settled, and that's with a swift admission of liability by the driver. So you're still well within the normal range for a claim to be processed and settled.

Since you havent yet signed a settlement, you could add your injuries to the claim. Tell them that, if they want a medical assessment, you'll be adding the injuries you had previously decided not to claim for. If they see the claim going up, they're more likely to settle sooner if it means they'll avoid it.

Bear in mind, insurance companies are in the business of paying out as little as they can - that's just how they make money. So don't be afraid to play the game with them - it's just a negotiation.

posted by step-hent [718 posts]
14th June 2012 - 17:18


accident March 2011 and have had two insurance companies refusing to take the claim, drivers own insurance and company car insurance. He was using the car for personal use but hadn't phoned the reg through. Eventually I expect I will get paid, they are just dragging it out and hoping i'll go away. The time limits the companies have to investigate claims is pretty long. My lawyer kept me updated but there's a lot of waiting for stuff to happen.

posted by musicalmarc [92 posts]
14th June 2012 - 20:43


Firstly, this was not the dogs fault! The owner has been polite, cooperative and most important insured! Lawyers; now that’s a question that needs to be considered using all the facts! Just a quick lesson in law; the dog owner must have had a ‘Duty of Care’; check (to other road users). Must have breached that duty; check (dog not on lead, I assume?). You must have suffered a loss; check (bike+clothing+injury).That the loss was foreseeable; check (if you fail to control dog by road, someone could get hurt). It must be fair and reasonable given ALL the circumstances (including that you did not beat the dog/owner to death call them a c**t etc) to succeed in your claim. All looks good; case closed. If it was that simple, and it should be, lawyers would not drive flash cars. Unfortunately most cases take ages and the lawyers coin it in £hundreds per hour; hence the adverts. If they are arguing that you were not injured then you SHOULD be on the home straight considering that you had your injuries treated by an unrelated professional. Good luck, be patient and don’t blame the dog! Incidentally those roman remains are the best preserved roman town in Britain! And I have spent many happy hours cycling all the roads around that area (without running anyone’s dog over) Ahh! the nostalgia!

posted by SideBurn [913 posts]
15th June 2012 - 10:58


I think where insurance is concerned that the companies know that people go for the cheapest quote; consequently they need to be tight wads or go out of business. They must hear enough bullshit from from the guilty/innocent parties to keep them amused for years; Jasper Carrot springs to mind (He did not know which way to run; so I ran over him). The law looks simple until you try and apply it to the facts, the bullshit and then theres what you can prove! Before you even get to the witness statements which seem to describe two completely different events. And claim to have seen stuff which could not possibly have been witnessed by one person in one place! I have studied law for a long time; changing the law is a constant demand but the reality is even small changes can have far reaching and unforseen consequences, best left alone!!
I have often wondered about British Cycling's claim advisory service; sounds like a load of b*****ks. I used them (BCF)many years ago and they were pretty poor

posted by SideBurn [913 posts]
15th June 2012 - 17:00

1 Like

Interesting that you've found BC unhelpful - most people I spoke to seem to rate them. I wasn't a member of BC at the time of my accident, so I used CycleAid (a trading name for a solicitors firm in Preston) who specialise in cycling claims. They've been very good - pretty responsive, giving helpful and realistic advice. I recommend them to anyone who has had a similar incident.

posted by step-hent [718 posts]
15th June 2012 - 17:15

1 Like

i got knocked off by a white van driver in july 2011, finally settled jan 6th 2012. only got settled that quickly by me doing all the work for the insurance and getting to a point where i phoned the company every day and generally went along the lines of 'hi its russell, its tuesday morning! whats been done? i will call you tuesday afternoon.'

literally called them at least everyday and asked what work they had done on my case and mentioned provarication a few times.

if the case is in your favour hastle the fuck out of them.

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
15th June 2012 - 20:16


Thanx for all the advice, guys. Really appreciate it. I guess I'll just put up and shut up for now and accept whatever comes.

But my point was this - what a tardy business insurance is and the law should be changed or created to force insurance companies to act with professional alacrity - and get (genuine) claims sorted with all possible speed.

The dog, btw, launched itself at me, either in an effort to play, to get to its owner standing on the ruins, or simply because it don't like fat old blokes on road bikes dressed in lycra!! The latter sounds about right.

Ride safe, everyone. Respect the law and other road users and revel in every moment spent in the saddle. Every mile is always a pleasure.

posted by comm88 [79 posts]
18th June 2012 - 13:26


Update ...

Hi Riders

Got an update from Leigh Day today, whom I had criticised before for not doing their job. I take that back, with all good grace. I don't know the law, or how slow it works, which is why I started this post - to see what others had experienced.

It seems it is a tardy process and it is slow. Three months is about right and they did tell me that.

To Leigh Day's credit - although the dog owner has disputed my account of events - they are prepared to pursue my claim because they feel I've got a worthy case.

I like the fact that they came back to me over comments I'd made on this very forum. It tells me they read what is said and that they do care about the service they provide. In itself, that's a welcome strike in the right direction because far too many companies don't care about the service they provide ... or their customers.

Quite honestly, I do now feel that my decision to have BCF membership is justified because at last that I have someone in my corner who is prepared to fight for my cause. And if we lose then at least we'll have tried.

If you're riding without insurance and legal representation then I think you're bonkers, but that's just me. Join the BCF or CTC and get yourself sorted with proper insurance and backup, that's my advice from this experience.

With humbly apologetic hindsight, I have to thank Leigh Day - they have somewhat restored my faith in the legal process and they too are prepared to fight for what seems to be right. Big up for them and total egg on my face for me.

Ride strong, ride safe. Live the miles and love 'em.

posted by comm88 [79 posts]
18th June 2012 - 13:38


Do you think that they contacted you despite this blog (coincidence?) or because of? But as you say it is good that they seem to be enthusiasts. Back in February I started a blog asking if anyone had a positive experience of BC insurance; no replies. But I was asking more about 3rd party insurance (what if it is my fault?). One of the reasons I am in BC is for the insurance/legal protection (despite my negative statement above!)and would like to know if it is money well spent. Good luck and can you keep me/us informed!

posted by SideBurn [913 posts]
18th June 2012 - 14:32


Thnx, SideBurn. Really appreciate your concern over this.

To be honest, I have been contacting Leigh Day often to stir things along.

Like you, I'm a "responsible" road rider, who is also a car owner.

So, I'm a great believer in two things:

1. No one, but no one, should be able to buy a bike to take on the roads without having passed a Government or Police authorised test - yes, a Road Cycling Proficiency test, if you like. That should be mandated as a "licence" to buy a bike. You can't take any other vehicle on the road without due certification. Why should you be able to ride on our very dangerous roads without having passed a formal bike test to say you're qualified?

2. Every cycle rider on the road should be insured. If you damage a car with your pedal or handle bars, or hit a pedestrian, or a dog (!), or any other animal and it is your fault, you should have to pay. You will probably need insurance to do that.

I like that Leigh Day are backing me as fully as possible and as far as they can. As a responsible road rider I would not be without my BC insurance. It's like my helmet to me - I won't leave home without it!

Having seen the owner's testimony from the dog owner's insurance company disputing my version of events, my wife was all but resigned to writing it all off and just forgetting about the whole thing.

Leigh Day persuaded me otherwise, so a black day has turned just a little bit brighter because they are on my side, trying to help me out.

Otherwise, where would I be now?

Swimming with the sharks, those ambulance chasers, who are merely looking for a fast buck and who couldn't care less about me or any of us.

Then I'd simply be writing off me 5 stitches and me seriously damaged kit. And be justly upset that life just ain't fair. But whoever said it would be??

Btw, it knocked me out that he claimed I was doing 40mph at the time of the collision!!

I wish!!!!!

Ride safe everyone ... and get yourselves insured!

posted by comm88 [79 posts]
18th June 2012 - 17:01

1 Like

I agree with what you say. The reason I like having 3rd party insurance is because many years ago a very steady and mild mannered friend decided to show us young pups how to descend. And crashed into a new Rolls Royce Silver Spur. The most expensive car you could buy at time. Whoops!! The owner calmed down when my friend said he was insured; but the driver did not bother to follow it up!

posted by SideBurn [913 posts]
18th June 2012 - 22:33


My thanx to everyone who posted a comment in reply to this post. The good news is that I got a settlement that was 3.5 times more than I wanted!! Result!

I'm very happy now - but can't thank Leigh Day & Co enough, or praise my British Cycling membership too highly.

Every rider should have it.

The risks these days are simply too great to ride without proper backup and legal resources.

posted by comm88 [79 posts]
29th October 2012 - 15:04