Back in February I wrote a "Woe Is Me" piece after being brought down rather badly (5 stitches in my eyebrow, Trek 2300 seriously damaged, clothing ripped etc) by a loose dog on a public road, albeit out in the countryside. Dog owner had pet insurance. I had the Police and some terrific Paramedics who sewed me up by the road.
But I also had British Cycling Membership. I gave them the details and they put me onto their solicitors Leigh Day. After a rather shaky start to my claim, things escalated rapidly. But the dog owner's insurance company contested my claim and denied liability!
Yep, can you believe it?
I've got fotos, medical reports, Police reports, physical damage - and yet they deny responsibility? Tell me, just how does that work? Who's worse? The (many) insurance scammers, or the companies who simply refuse to pay up when the people they insure are clearly to blame?
Leigh Day have been absolutely great!!! (They are good fun to work with too!) They advised me thoroughly at all stages, dealt with the whole process for me, took the dog owner's testimony apart (it was full of blatant untruths!) and engineered a situation where the insurers paid out 3.5 times what I was expecting/hoping to receive - although only if I allowed them to deny liability!!! Que? Yes, quite.
Without Leigh Day's help, the only alternative would have been a personal suit against the dog owner after having paid a Barrister's fee to review the evidence and tell me if whether we had a case, or not.
And me - I did nothing wrong at all. Just rode me bike, one lunch time.
Thank goodness I had my BC Membership. Like my helmet and burner phone, I would never ride without it and I'm proud to say I've been a BC member for years.
What have I learned from all this?
1. Get insurance to ride - whatever you do and wherever you ride! Join British Cycling now! And ride safe in the knowledge that you have backup and legal protection.
2. If you have an incident - pray there's a witness(es) and get their name(s) and address(es)
3. If you're hurt - get the Police involved.
4. Take fotos and record all the evidence.
It has taken from 16 Feb to now to get this all sorted.
But without BC Membership and Leigh Day's help, I would simply have taken it on the chin and in the eye.
BIG, BIG UP for British Cycling and for Leigh Day. I am proud to be associated with them both because they look out for and look after the little guy.
You don't have to ride with risk. It's easy to get the law on your side. Take it from one who knows and who found out the hard way that it's easier to get things done when you've got someone working for you who knows exactly what they're doing.
So ... ride hard, ride safe and enjoy every mile.