On a daily basis I call insurers to discuss our clients’ claims and the insurer’s stance on liability.
What stands out during these calls is the bizarre excuses put forward in an attempt to deny responsibility. I thought it was about time to share some of the Cycle Law Scotland team’s favourites.
The most common has to be “the cyclist came out of nowhere.”
I wouldn't say that I don't believe in magic at all, but I find this story very hard to believe. In my experience, the cyclist has to have come from somewhere but instead of the driver owning up and perhaps admitting they did not look adequately, they opt for this less plausible reasoning for causing the collision.
Following on from the phantom cyclist appearing from nowhere is the slightly more likely excuse of “the cyclist pulled off the pavement in front of me.”
While this is more believable, it is not all that common in practice. Most cyclists will unfortunately be all too aware of the poor conditions of many of the roads in Scotland. More often than not the pavements are even worse and they are therefore not overly comfortable to utilise.
My personal favourite has to be “the cyclist was going too fast.” This can be used despite the speed limit being 60mph and the collision occurring on an uphill section of road. It always astounds me at how the claims handlers for the insurance companies say this excuse with such conviction. If there any cyclists out there who can travel at 60mph uphill I would like to know about it!
Unfortunately, this list is not exhaustive but one excuse which is slightly off topic and is only used when we get to the stage of discussing the value of the claim is “the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.” In certain circumstances, this can be a valid argument. However, when the cyclist has not even injured their head there are some insurers out there who will still try and reduce the amount of damages to be awarded on this basis.
The best part about being faced with such excuses is when you can completely disprove them. Often this is with the use of apps such as Strava or images of the high visibility clothing and lights displayed by the cyclist at the time of the collision.
At Cycle Law Scotland, we are all cyclists and therefore we can understand the prejudices that vulnerable road users face. Therefore, we do not shy away from raising such cases in Court in order to secure the best award of compensation that we can for our clients.