Legal advice

24 posts in this topic

Hi all, 

I'm after some opinions rather than advice. 

Long story short, I was hit by a car in Frankfurt on 11/2/18 and was quite badly injured and have just got out of hospital yesterday 21/2. 

I am wondering whether it is better to seek compensation over here or in the UK where I'm from? 

 

Anyone have any experience of this situation? 

 

Thanks. 

Nick

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Your profile says you're in London, do you live there or here?

Firstly although Germans love their legal insurance this isn't the free-for-all cash cow regarding accident compensation that the UK is.

 

Did you report this to the Police here?

Do you have legal insurance here?

Do you have the details of the driver?

 

Edit: You were hit by a car or you were driving a car that was hit by another?

In which case it may be more to do with car insurance than personal.

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I have current experience of this, and there are two conflicting issues:

1) I was involved in a accident just before Christmas (car a total write off, wife and kids all needing to be in hospital for a couple of days, but fortunately no serious ongoing physical injuries). Whilst I wasn't looking to make money out of it, I was very surprised by how little compensation is being offered here. It is taking ages to come through (first, cash for the vehicle, then a small payment for me, and a later for one of my kids), but the overall sum is likely to be around €1k. I don't wish to belittle €1k but for the time it took me to be able to sleep properly, the lack of peace of mind (worry about my kids' wellbeing), my wife now refusing to drive on autobahns, let alone a couple of days I didn't feel able to do as much work as usual (I'm self employed), that nowhere near covers things for me or my family.

2) The accident was in Germany, the police report will be in Germany, the individual at fault (I assume) lives in Germany. As such, the natural place for choice of law would be Germany. It will be FAR easier to get compensation out of them in Germany.

 

Check your own insurance first though! It might be easiest to claim under that, and let them chase in Germany.

 

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@Malt-Teaser I live in London but spend a lot of time over here with my girl-friend. I don't have legal ins(the kind Germans have which is a personal ins I believe but tell me otherwise if I'm wrong) I have legal cover in my travel ins provided by my bank which should cover it (I hope)

I was a pedestrian crossing the street at a crossing with a green man in my favour, the driver stopped while I was being dealt with by 2 off-duty paramedics who happened to pass, the police arrived and got his details while the ambulance was turning up. 

 

I'm potentially going to be off work for the next 5 months, I would expect to be compensated for that at the very least. 

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@dstanners  tthaankks for the input,  that makes sense, german driver, you live in Germany etc but I was under the impression (and correct me if I'm wrong anbody) that under eu rules I could claim in England if I wanted to? 

 

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I think that you have no choice and you have to seek compensation in Germany.  This is because the accident occurred in Germany and the defendant is (I assume) based in Germany.  Therefore UK courts will not have any jurisdiction, only German courts.

 

 

There is an EU law ( 44/2001) with stipulates 

Quote

...persons domiciled in a member state shall, whatever their nationality, be sued in the courts of that member state

 

See this Link:  https://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/content/where-sue

 

 

But it might also depend who you are suing, for example the law states;

Quote


1. An insurer domiciled in a Member State may be sued:

(a) in the courts of the Member State where he is domiciled, or

(b) in another Member State, in the case of actions brought by the policyholder, the insured or a beneficiary, in the courts for the place where the plaintiff is domiciled,

...

 

 

So if you are suing the insurance company, then this seems to indicate that you could do it from the UK.

 

There are of course exceptions, and as with everything law related it is complex and up to judges and lawyers on how they interpret it.

 

 

You will need to find a lawyer who specialise in this to advise you.  

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You really need to ask your (travel) insurance people what would be covered.

Here in DE there's no concept of "sue the hell out of them and no win no fee".

 

I would guess from what you've said that you would probably win any court case if it can be proved you were totally in the right with a green light to cross, do you have witnesses?

What does the driver say?

What do the Police say?

 

I think you will have to initiate very expensive proceedings,

good luck (genuine).

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@dj_jay_smith thanks, some interesting reading and I'm no better off for knowing that now but I guess that's what lawyers are for. Yeah I think it would be very complex trying to initiate proceedings in uk and most likely drag things on way further in the future before being settled. 

 

@Malt-Teaser I'm not sure yet if there were any witnesses to the actual incident but my girlfriend tells me people stopped to help. The police haven't taken my statement yet and I'm not sure what the driver has told them, they were on the scene pretty quickly apparently. He did move his car right after the accident (which I found very strange) According to my girlfriend he parked somewhere slightly up the road from where the accident happened. Why would someone do this? 

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Was the driver charged with being at fault? What were the circumstances?

 

He could have simply been moving his car out of the road. I'm sure he was pretty shaken up as well.

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@fraufruitI'm not sure if he has, I am still waiting to give a statement to the police myself. The circumstances are I was crossing the road one minute then the next I was lying on the ground with my leg in a position I didn't know was possible whilst drifting in and out if consiousness. 

I have no doubt he was shaken up but moving his car after an accident is tampering with evidence whether intentional or not. Eveybody who drives knows you leave everything as it is and move nothing after an accident as that's how they determine what exactly happened. 

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Were you crossing at a legal pedestrian crossing with the green light/zebra or were you jaywalking?

 

I hate to even ask but a lot depends on the answer.

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@fraufruit i was crossing at a pedestrian crossing with a green man showing that I was safe to walk. 

Of course it would make a massive difference to any case and if I was jay walking I would expect to get hit and accept it was my own fault. 

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I frequently look into a German (racing) bicyclists forum.

The experience there is, that you need a lawyer if you have a collision with a car.

So, laywer up, or forget it.

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Thanks for establishing that fact. You hadn't mentioned it before.

 

I guess you would need to consult a lawyer in the U.K. about what to do next. 

 

You probably still have a lot of recovering yet to do. I wish you well and am glad you are alive to tell your story.

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33 minutes ago, lee enfield said:

@fraufruit i was crossing at a pedestrian crossing with a green man showing that I was safe to walk. 

Of course it would make a massive difference to any case and if I was jay walking I would expect to get hit and accept it was my own fault. 

 

My assumption is that he was turning right onto the road you were crossing, meaning if he had a green light, you almost certainly had a green light.

 

Either way, he will be at fault, as he was driving a dangerous vehicle**. I hate that law, that the driver is always at least partially at fault when a pedestrian gets hit, but that should work in your favor in this case. 

 

**German law states essentially that vehicles are a necessary evil. Dangerous by nature but tolerated.

 

Disclaimer: I'm just an Internet idiot, get a lawyer.

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It's very odd that the police haven't been in touch - I spoke with them four or five times the evening of my crash. You need to give them a call and get the relevant details from them: the accident number, the name and address of the driver, the details of his car, his insurance details, and (hopefully) the fact that he has accepted fault (and if not, there is no point in delaying finding out the claim is contested). I think you will be far better off calling a German lawyer specialised in road accidents. If fault has been accepted, then the costs of the lawyer should be paid by the driver's insurance - most importantly, the lawyer will tell you all the things you can claim for (this even includes things like petrol money for your trips to the doctors). For obvious reasons, I know one German lawyer who is specialised in road accidents - from my very limited experience of road accident lawyers, she seems ok to me, but I've no idea whether she speaks much English. If you want I can send you her contact details though.

 

In terms of the jurisdictional issue, whilst I think that the claim should be based in Germany, rather than issued from the UK, there is one quick way for you to find out. Call any no-win no-fee road accident lawyer in the UK and tell them about your claim. By definition that shouldn't cost you anything, and I'm sure they'll just tell you to go elsewhere if they can't deal with claims in Germany.

 

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26 minutes ago, jaycool said:

I hate that law, that the driver is always at least partially at fault when a pedestrian gets hit, but that should work in your favor in this case. 

Where did have this nonsense from??

 

German law says that drivers get special training to be drivers, while pedestrians do not get any training to be pedestrians, this is where higher responsibility comes from. You are supposed to know how to use eyes and operate a brake pedal, when you don't, you get partial liability.

 

However, if you did everything correctly but could not avoid collision with a pedestrian, you are not liable, there is no automatic liability for the driver because they are the driver. In certain cases (you swerwe and hit your car against the wall to avoid collision) the driver can sue the pedestrian for damages.

 

Source: https://www.anwalt.de/rechtstipps/verkehrsunfall-fussgaenger-haftet-alleine_033001.html

 

P.S. Sorry for contributing to derailing this thread. The German keyword you look for is "Schmerzengeld". First try to contact the driver's insurance company. It is possible they pay you without the need to go to the court, then increase the premiums of the driver.

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https://www.firmenauto.de/betriebsgefahr-des-autos-autofahrer-haftet-bei-unfall-mit-radfahrer-6516135.html

 

I'm not going to translate it all into english, but here is just one example. A car is considered dangerous by default.

 

Quote

Bei einem Unfall mit Radfahrern bekommt der Autofahrer fast automatisch eine Teilschuld aufgebrummt. Grund ist die Betriebsgefahr des Autos.

 

Roughly translated: The Driver is almost automatically at partial fault when there is an accident with a cyclist. The reason being the inherent danger of a car's operation.

 

Edit: ok. I should have said "almost always" in my post above. I've actually read reports, I can look for it if I have to, in which a Driver was only partially at fault, because a chick rode her bike without lights at night on a sidewalk, and ignored the flashing red light warning that a car was pulling out of a garage.

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I don't know what firmenauto.de website is about, but I guess the author of that article is not a lawyer while the author from my link is.

 

1 hour ago, jaycool said:

Edit: ok. I should have said "almost always" in my post above. I've actually read reports, I can look for it if I have to, in which a Driver was only partially at fault, because a chick rode her bike without lights at night on a sidewalk, and ignored the flashing red light warning that a car was pulling out of a garage.

Where I live there is:

1. A very narrow exit out of the backyard with zero, literally zero possibility to see a pedestrian on the sidewalk. Basically you can see who is on sidewalk only when your car fully blocks it.

2. Densely parked cars which block the view to the road, you see neither cyclists nor other cars.

 

Basically you drive blind out or inner parking yard to the road. There have been no accidents. You just do it slowly: 2 kmh direction sidewalk, if there will be any pedestrians you will be able to stop in time, but usually they are very understanding and let you drive; then look through the sidewalks to the nearest crossing where you can seen the cars (that is 20 meters away) and then 5-8 kmh direction road: if there will be any car, you can stop and the car can swerwe, the same applies to a bicycle.

 

Speed is the queen. There are about 10% of cyclists without lights, but they have reflectors in front and in the back, so they are not invisible if you do not speed.

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This thread is not about cyclists.

 

If there is no visibility, why don't you request a mirror to be installed? Or put one up yourself? I would.

 

And stop all this "my link is better than your link" horseshit.

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