Thursday, May 13, 2010

Satisfaction - sort of

A busy old day today.

At about 3:30pm yesterday I got a call from my lawyers "reminding" me that they'd written to me back in October that I had a court date at 9am in the morning. Such court dates in the past had resulted in posponments and each time they said not to worry they'd call me a few days in advance just to give me fair warning! Guess they forgot that then!

It was for the case where a van driver rammed into the back of me when I was riding my bike perfectly nicely down a long straight road in perfect conditions with the sun shining high in the sky.

My bike disintegrated on impact and as I travelled on the way through his windscreen I was impaled by the window wiper fitting and then catapulted down the road in front of the van - the slide must have been pretty impressive as my bike was about 50m behind me as I slid down the tarmac lubricated by skin and blood.

How he managed to miss running me over is still a mystery to me and I never got a chance to ask him as he didn't even bring his van to a halt, he just legged it and left me for dead.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that he hasn't been seen or heard of for 3 years and although had a ruling against him we were left to take action against his company. They tried to worm their way out of it by claiming that they'd sold the van to the driver before the accident even though the paperwork didn't agree with that.

So almost 4 years later I had my day in court but with no preparation - my lawyer turned up 5 minutes before the case was due to be heard - you can imagine I was not a happy bunny.

The horse trading then began. The buggers offered me a quarter of what we were claiming, I said no way but I'll talk with them about an acceptable offer, they came back and said the offer was reduced by 30% - typical Chinaman negotiating tactics.

I told my lawyer to tell them a categorical NO and tell them I'm also insulted and now even more angry.

As the proceedings moved along, they came back and offered me the original settlement they'd started with. Once again typical Chinaman horsetrading games. They must have thought I had Alzheimer's or something; a short memory at least. It seemed to work on my lawyer though as he really thought it would be a good idea to accept.

What part of NO were they struggling to understand? I then got the usual old baloney from my lawyer about the danger of it going to trial, the years it'd be dragged out over, the judgement would be one thing but the enforceability an entirely different matter - the company could just dissolve for example blah blah.

In the end I took an offer of about a third what we'd been claiming. The house insurance had bought me a beautiful new bike, the medical insurance had paid for my hospital bills so this was all about some payback for the discomfort of sliding down the bare tarmac, having to wear a body brace for three month, missing Ironman Florida and simply wanting a little justice. So that's that and the owner of the company came to me at the end and shook my hand (didn't apologise) but was very pleasant and said that he's pleased that everything was settled amicably.

I could have some bitter and twisted feeling about this but in fact he seemed very pleasant and genuine and didn't have to say anything to me. He wasn't the driver but it had cost him money and he was still descent enough to acknowledge me at least. On top of that I don't bear grudges, I do celebrate the fact that I'm still alive (trust me I have no right to be after that accident it was pure luck that I'm still here) so what's there to be bitter about?

The driver I guess! But hey, he's on the run and however much of a twazzock he was that day I'm sure he didn't wake up and say "Mmm, I'm going to screw up the rest of my life by running over the first cyclist I see". Yes he is devoid of any morality for leaving me (he MUST have assumed I was dead) and fleeing the scene but hey at least it cost him a new windscreen, window wiper, bumper, and wing mirror and I know the insurance didn't pay for that because he didn't have any!!! What a silly sausage!


Brybrarobry said...

S, man that photo looks terrible. It's ashame what they did to your bike, luckly you just got away with a little boo boo. haha. Just kidding.

You are lucky to be alive and that's the main thing. When you told me the story and having my own, minor mishap compared to your, is was amazed you even got on a bike again. That is normally a turning point when people decided to take up mountain biking in the woods.

I love your attitude. Forgive and forget, your right, why harbour, the only person who loses is you and I hope the driver is the type of person that takes this personally and internalizes it and never forgets.

Glad to hear you got closure and it's all behind you. Your alive, and you got a new bike. Doesn't get any better than that.


Simon said...

Thanks Bryan, yup, all good, new bike, new perpective to live, a great story to tell and now some money to spend on the wife - as you say it doesn't get better than that.