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  1. #1
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    Courier van vs my bike in downtown Toronto

    Hi all, I need some legal and practical advice regarding an incident that effectively ruined my bike.

    The details:
    A few weeks back, while running errands, I left my bike locked to a signpost near the driveway of a parking garage in downtown Toronto. When I got back, the bike was mangled. A witness told me that a courier van (North American company, name shall remain nameless...for now) had sideswiped it, and then took off without leaving a note or anything. Luckily, the witness jotted down the driver's plates and truck #, so I was able to contact the company. It gets trickier from here.

    Apparently, this company doesn't hire drivers as outright employees -- they're contracted to operate under the company name, but they have their own insurance, vehicles, etc. So, I finally get the driver's first name and cell phone number, and even though he admitted to both myself and the company manager that he did in fact hit my bike, he (a) claims he caused NO damage; and (b) just won't give me his insurance info.

    My questions:

    (1) Anybody out there know if there is possible criminal liability here, and if so, where it gets reported? I've called the police, but they can't seem to decide amongst themselves whether, because the bike was locked up and nobody was riding it at the time, this constitutes a failure to remain at the scene of an accident (criminal offense, according to both the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and the Canadian Criminal Code) -- in which case I have to go to the collision reporting centre -- or if it's merely a civil damages claim. The way I see it, bikes are legally classified as vehicles, and my "vehicle" was legally parked, so this is the same is if the driver hit a parked car.

    (2) Is there any other way to get a driver's insurance info, if he's refusing to provide it. The cops I've spoken with so far don't seem to have this high up on their priority list (understandable, I suppose, given nobody was physically hurt here, but still, the injustice of it all...).

    I'm not holding my breathe in terms of getting my money back, but it feels nice to vent a bit (it was my first ever bike, and I only learned to ride a year ago, at the ripe old age of 25).

    Cheers all!
    AK

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    I'd call the cops again see what they say. Then report it as a hit and run.

  3. #3
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Should qualify as a hit-and-run.
    Don't know about your local law, but here if a vehicle causes ANY damage the driver is supposed to stop. Applies to hitting street signs and fences (although most people probably run out on those) as well as other vehicles.
    Keep pushing the police to do their job. If it happened in your own town, talk to you city councilman or supervisor or whatever and get them to put pressure on the police. If the police still try to stonewall you until you go away, start asking about how to file a formal complaint. That might get their butts moving.

  4. #4
    Camo Shorts
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    I don't know your local laws, but they are probably available online. You should look to see if you have legal recourse by which to compel the disclosure of information.

    The Code of Virginia offers:

    The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident in which no person is killed or injured, but in which an unattended vehicle or other unattended property is damaged, shall make a reasonable effort to find the owner or custodian of such property and shall report to the owner or custodian the information which the driver is required to report pursuant to § 46.2-894 if such owner or custodian is found. If the owner or custodian of such damaged vehicle or property cannot be found, the driver shall leave a note or other sufficient information including driver identification and contact information in a conspicuous place at the scene of the accident and shall report the accident in writing within 24 hours to the State Police or the local law-enforcement agency. Such note or other information and written report shall contain the information that the driver is required to report pursuant to § 46.2-894. The written report shall, in addition, state the date, time, and place of the accident and the driver's description of the property damage.

    The penalty for a failure to comply with this law:

    Any person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of (i) a Class 5 felony if the accident results in injury to or the death of any person, or if the accident results in more than $1000 of damage to property or (ii) a Class 1 misdemeanor if the accident results in damage of $1000 or less to property.

    And what would, in your case, be really useful to you (by way of pressuring the employer, whatever the status of employment):

    If the driver fails to stop and make the report required by § 46.2-894, every person sixteen years of age or older in the vehicle with the driver at the time of the accident, who has knowledge of the accident, shall have a duty to ensure that a report is made within twenty-four hours from the time of the accident...


    If the employer has knowledge of the accident, they are compelled by law to provide the police information, which you may be able to get. Also, if you have any sort of insurance on your side, they will probably be happy to push all these avenues for you if they have any money on the line. Of course, all this is local to Virginia, USA, but maybe you damned Leafs fans have something similar. Go Caps!

  5. #5
    mouth breather karmaboy's Avatar
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    Small claims court brother.
    It may be the wrong place for the type of action, but there is nothing more motivating for a perp if he sees you on the warpath. You can bet he'll want to settle before anything happens in court. Look it up...our small claims system is awesome...lenghty but justice will be served.
    Karmaboy...
    "When you have nothing left to burn...you have to set yourself on fire"

  6. #6
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    You mentioned locked to sign post. If you bike was locked to one in a area where parking is allowed but not specifically set up for it your likly sol if your bike was on the road side of the post. Now if on op side of post from road then the driver will be at fault. Here in ohio the cops would say well this isnt a road that provides parking and when you do so your doing it at your own risk and should have locked the bike up on the other side of the post.

  7. #7
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    You're good for a police report. He's responsible for all your damage and expenses related to repair & replacement (S&H etc). Your free to lock up to signposts, which are a specified distance from the curve here in TO, and whatever side it's on his vehicle extended over the curb and struck it causing damage. He then left the area knowingly without an accident report or an exchange of information. The charge is not hit & run but rather "Failure to report an accident". A minor traffic that will result in demerits and a fine. He/she will be arrested if they ignore this. Demerits this guy doesn't need but should definately get. No good having people that inconsiderate on the road and if traffic law means nothing to him he shouldn't be driving professionally. Help everyone out and add to this guys record your legit complaint.

    Was it ICS or Fedex?

    You have enough to make a charge stick, photo your bike and go make a complaint. As detailed as possible, for example precisely where you were down to the inch, NW corner York & Front 15 yds north No Parking 4-6pm sign.

  8. #8
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    oh and after you'll be able to file with his insurance carrier since he will be forced to relinquish that info. Your claim should go smoothly with a police report and subsequent guilty/fine action from the driver. Remember a bike is a complete unit that is a total loss if the frame is dented or damage. Much better for the Insurance company to buy you a new bike than risk you riding the old on with a questionable frame, so be sure (if your bike is truly mangled) the Insurance company knows it's totaled, complete write off.

  9. #9
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    You have the guys name and vehicle info; open your phone book to auto insurance and start calling.

    I did this to a guy that hit my bike while my son had it parked at his work. The guy first offered to pay for the damage but back tracked when I told him how much the parts would cost (I was giving him a deal by doing my own free labor). He also worked in an office with a bunch of criminal lawyers. The dumb lawyers told him that his bad driving may have been the fault of my son’s employer, and he should tell me to file the claim with the employer.

    I figured he was probably insured by 1 of 3 companies and I got a hit on the second call. The insurance company started my claim and then called the guys home to confirm the accident and ask why he had not reported it. The guys wife answered the phone from the insurance. She got mad and called my wife to bi*tch about me reporting them to their insurance. I called the guy and reminded him that I made a more than fair offer to settle and keep his insurance out of it. I also reminded him that he violated state law by not reporting it to his insurance within 24 hours on his own.

    The insurance company listened to his idea that it may have been the employers fault due to the location the bike parking was located at. I told the insurance company that was BS. The insurance wasted time and money by sending an investigator to the employer. The insurance then paid me triple the amount that I offered the guy as an original settlement.
    Last edited by CB HI; 10-09-05 at 05:15 PM.

  10. #10
    ... gokiburi's Avatar
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    aktor,

    here's a pretty useful link if you're thinking about pursuing this in small claims (posted by cavit8 from the fixed/singlespeed forum.) it's toronto specific too. good luck with the claim and i hope you get the bastard to pay up.

  11. #11
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    Most states have a statute that requires someone involved in an accident to give their insurance information. Try to find the stat. online. If you do, go back to the police, give them a copy of the stat., tell them the guy is being a dick and ask them, very nicely, to give the guy a telephone call. Next, send him a demand letter and quote the stat book and verse.

    Free advice from a lawyer.

  12. #12
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    This would be a question for a court to decide, but if this guy is driving for the carrier, he may be considered an agent under the law. Hard to know for sure, because he appears to be an independent contractor. It would all depend on whether he meets the legal tests for an agent. If he is the carrier's agent, they're not off the hook for this damage. But you'd need a lawyer to figure out whether he's an agent or not. If you file a lawsuit, you could always haul the driver and the carrier into court, and let the court sort out who's liable. But I wouldn't do that without some reasonable degree of confidence in your argument that he's the carrier's agent. Again, you'd need to talk to a lawyer about that one.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    So you've only got a name and mobile number? Do you have any way of looking him up on the internet? Whitepages.com, or some reverse directory maybe? I'd file the police report, and see what the cops can do as far as getting his details. You may also want to see if you can put any pressure on him through the courier company. No one wants to hire a contractor that does stuff like this. Let him know you'll do whatever you have to in order to be made whole. Keep us updated.

  14. #14
    yak
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    Zircon Encrusted Tweezer yak's Avatar
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    I would start by getting the witness to sign a notarized affadavit explaining what they saw, take this to the local adminstrative office for the company, find the highest person in the food chain, and explain that because the driver is not co-operating, you need the man's full name, address, and license and insurance company so you can both report him to the police for leaving the scene, and to file an insurance claim. Explain to him/her that if they will not provide this, you will sue the company, and the person you are speaking with will be prominently mentioned as the reason that the company has to waste time and money on legal crap - "How do I spell your name, what's your official title, ..."

    Either way, go to the police dept in person, and explain that the person is not cooperating and you need them to intercede on your behalf. Even if you can't get a complete name and address they should have the insurance company listed on the registration.

    In person is always a better way to go - they can't just hang up on you, and your dialog may be heard by others, so they can't sling the BS as easily as they might try behind an office door.

    If all else fails, see a lawyer.

    Good luck

  15. #15
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    VAK in your sig image is that 55.5mph max speed or kph? If its mph im scared of you lol.

  16. #16
    yak
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    yeah, that's my personal best in mph on my current bike. Still trying to find the right weather conditions (dry air) to go faster on that hill.

  17. #17
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yak
    yeah, that's my personal best in mph on my current bike. Still trying to find the right weather conditions (dry air) to go faster on that hill.
    Scarry heh. My all time fastest was ither 46.9 or 46.9 cant remember now been years ago. Just know it was the max my old comp would read. Did it on a down hill 3 times on a heavy mtb with more road like gearing.

  18. #18
    chicharron
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    the term 'hit and run', comes from a lot of television shows probably. Actually it probably is a case of property damage, and I would pursue a civil damage suit against the driver, and his insurance carrier.

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