bike-car accident, police report police report and process...experience anyone?

17 posts in this topic

Good evening all,

I'm wondering if anyone had a similar experience and can contribute. I've read all similar posts but they don't describe the process.

 

I had an accident -- I in a bicycle and the other party in a car. Details not important, but I fell (helmets save your head!). People called ambulance and police, which arrived quickly. When police asked what happened I was only able to say that I was trying to turn left (I was still pretty shaken up), and then I was taken by the ambulance. The police interviewed the witnesses as well.

 

I called the police 2 days later to give my full statement (I was in hospital until that point) and also ask for the report so I can claim money for my helmet. Instead, they said the report had already been completed and forwarded to the Staatsanwalt (state attorney) and they also said that I am mainly at fault, but the Staatsanwalt will review it to determine if I have to pay any Bussgeld (penalty). I was pissed --  from the victim I became the perpetrator. I asked to see the report, and they said that they don't release the report as it is confidential and only lawyers and insurance firms can review it.

 

Today I received a letter from the police which has the contact info of the other party, the witnesses, and mine (It is not the police report). It further says I may forward this letter to my attorney or insurance firm (I assume so they can review the police report). Letter doesn't say anything about guilt. I don't know the process, but I assume the police report is now being reviewed  Staatsanwalt who will probably  in the near future send me a determination for the Bussgeld (penalty).

 

I don't see why the Staatsanwalt would make a different determination when the report probably says I'm at fault. So I'm now worried and not so much by the Bussgeld but if the driver decides to sue for damages. I don't think there were any damages, and if any probably a scratch to the front and maybe a dent to the hood. But based on some of the horror stories I read on some of the other posts, even this can get expensive.

I don't have liability insurance

 

I really want to see the report because (a) if the police pictures show the car where I think it was, then there is no way I'm guilty in any right-driving country, and I will definitely get an attorney; (b) if  can also see the car for any damages, and if there are none I can relax; and if there are damages I can evaluate whether they're small enough to pay it rather than get lawyers involved and end up pay the same.

 

1) Is there a way to get my hands on this police report?

2) Since I don't know the legal process, is there a legal disadvantage if I wait for the Staatsanwalt letter before getting an attorney or do it now (basically pay fees of up to 200 Euros based on what some other posts).

 

Thanks

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Whatever else you do, get Haftpflichtversicherung.  Things have a knack of happening, and whether you're at fault this time is irrelevant to the future.  So just in case, get insurance.
My 13-year-old was cycling on a one-way road through the woods when a young man drove his car around a corner - the two were unable to see each other - and ran into my son, who was deemed to be at fault.  Be prepared.

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@HenryM First and foremost, I am sorry this happened. I am very glad you are going to be okay. Thank you so much for wearing a helmet or you might not be here to have these (what are now) minor concerns.

 

10 hours ago, HenryM said:

I was trying to turn left

 

10 hours ago, HenryM said:

from the victim I became the perpetrator

 

If you did not have the right of way, I am sorry to say that you were injured, but you were also at fault. This is not a judgment of your integrity as a human being. This is just a statement on this one accident. Accidents happen. Sometimes we cause them. I am also from the US and I can tell you that it is not always the case that the bike or pedestrian has the right of way here or there. Here is my bike v. car story:

 

On 5/9/2019, 9:02:54, AlexTr said:

I want to clear up why I want the OP to use my lawyer and to clear up some misconceptions about liability in accidents while I'm at it.

 

In 2016 (I think; I forget now), I had a bike vs. car accident. I was driving the car. This happened in Mannheim. I was at a stop sign only ten meters from the intersection where I wanted to turn, signaled, looked to my right for bikes on the path and turned. A mountain bike flew into the driver's side of my car and the rider flew over my car. Thank god I was driving the MX5 that day and not the Scenic or the kid would have crushed his skull because he felt like it was much cooler to ride without a helmet. The police saw the accident happen.

 

I was so unnerved that I called my wife to get there and help me out. The police told her they saw the accident and what happened and that it would be best if I just signed off on liability. I did.

 

Then, I talked with our lawyer, Roswitha. She told my wife that I should not have signed. She went to the site, took photos, and found out that the cyclist was using the bike path in the wrong direction. So, he was a wrong-way driver. I had no obligation to look for him since there was no reason to anticipate fast traffic from that side. My lawyer got the senior officer in hot water with his boss when she pointed out that the signage was clear where the senior officer saw the accident. I believe there was some talk of "taking advantage of foreigners" but we'll move on.

 

In the end, the cyclist paid for 80% of my car damages in an amount in excess of 2000€. I paid him 120€ for 20% of his bike. I received no points. He received points on his driver's license and a fine for wrong-way driving.

 

Don't sign anything. Lawyer up.

ETA: Never forget that there is court precedent in Germany from 2014 (I think) that states that any cyclist with head injuries from an accident will be held liable for part of their own medical damages if they fail to wear a helmet even when the car driver is obviously at fault for the traffic error. (ETA: This precedent has since been lifted.)

 

So, my short answer: Get your lawyer now. You want him/her to be able to go to the site and get pictures right away. Give them the best chance to argue the case before the prosecutor comes up with a fine.

 

Second, if you are found fully responsible or even just partially, you will have to pay the car driver for any damage. You need a lawyer to help mitigate this. 

 

You should have been advised when you arrived in Germany to get liability insurance. If you have liability insurance, you turn this all over to them and they will do all of this so you can focus on getting well.

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20 hours ago, HenryM said:

there is no way I'm guilty in any right-driving country

 

You could be surprised.  Especially if you never studied the basic driving laws in Germany.   I am not saying you are guilty, but there are many small details that you wouldn't know as an American if you didn't actively tried to learn them.   For example, Right Before Left.

 

Without a description of what exactly happened we can't tell you if you are right or not.   But I would say there is big chance the police got it correct after interviewing witnesses.    Get a lawyer and I hope you had at least third party liability insurance, it is a almost a must if you ride a bicycle and it is dirty cheap.

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20 hours ago, katheliz said:

Whatever else you do, get Haftpflichtversicherung.

 

That won't help after the event.  But one should have it none-the-less.

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14 minutes ago, HEM said:

 

That won't help after the event.  But one should have it none-the-less.

It's like joining the Mieterverein.  Then it's there when you need it.

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Hey all, thanks for all the responses. I will definitely get the Haftpflichtversicherung, although as some mentioned it won't help now, but good to have in the future.

 

Spoke with an attorney today who said to wait for the Staatsanwalt determination before doing anything. I'll keep everyone posted in case other face similar situation (hopefully not!) and want to understand how the process runs.

 

 

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I´m surprised to read that police refused to take your statement and also to give you access to the records. Did your lawyer say this was okay? I don´t understand how they can refuse to hear your side of the story and why only a lawyer should get access to their file.

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On 10/16/2019, 12:32:52, HenryM said:

I fell (helmets save your head!)

You know that your helmet is no longer safe to use once you made good use of it, do you?

 

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Well thank you Jeba for pointless comment of the day. Th OP already stated he is looking to claim money for the helmet. He is hardy likely to use it again.

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Hey all,

I wanted to provide a status update and some info that I learned for others.

 

The next step in this fiasco:

I received a very sternly worded letter addressed to my home from the driver's attorney. The driver had after the accident immediately gone to a repair shop to get an estimate of the damages and also engaged an attorney to begin proceedings. The driver's claim includes the full salvage value of the car because of a dent the size of a quarter (seriously, no hyperbole here!); estimate costs; attorney fees, and some other small fees. Sidenote: After almost killing me, it's nice to see that the driver's next priority was to monetarily  benefit from this.

 

The driver's car is raggedy old POS so the salvage value was less than 2000. If this happens to you, just hope you're not hitting a new BMW or Mercedes or you're screwed.

The estimate fees were about 500. I called 3 different shops pretending that I wanted to get an estimate simply to get an idea of the costs and they all quoted two different prices: if I paid for it out of pocket or if the insurance paid for it. The out of pocket range was from 450-550. The insurance-paid was about 250. I'm not sure why the difference regarding who pays for it (perhaps insurances have pre-negotiated price).

 

I decided to get an attorney. I called 4 different attorneys to explain my side and gets quotes. The prices ranged from 275 to 325 to review the case, review the police report, write correspondences, etc. If the case went to trial or became more convoluted, then the costs  would correspondingly increase.

 

I can confirm, since I tried multiple ways, that only attorneys or insurance firms can review the police report.

My attorney ordered the police report from the Staadsanwalt.

During this time the Staatsanwalt also made a determination that I was not responsible for any Bussgeld(penalty). This strengthens my side of case.

My attorney also received the police report and he believes it further strengthens my case. I also looked a photos of the police report and it corroborated my story. Eyewitnesses are unreliable (I reviewed the statements the witnesses gave and each contradicted each other in material matters). Have photos or other hard evidence.

So we're not paying. If driver wants to go to court attorney that we will not pay and they're welcome to go to court if they like.

 

So a few ideas:

1) Get Hauptpflichtversicherung

2) Simply because the police say something it doesn't make it true. From my experience so far, I've found the police here in Deutschland unprofessional (don't get me started on: smoking during duty, unshaven, thug looking) and have zero self critical thinking skills.

3) In case of accident make photos of everything. Hard evidence.

3) Police reports are not available even to the parties involved. Only insurance firms and lawyers can access them. Stupid!

3) Costs related to cars are ridiculous.

4) People here are pettier than in the USA with lawsuits (although for some reason we're stuck with the reputation). I guess that's why Germans have insurances for every little thing. So again, get insurance.

5) Address/answer letters opposing parties, legal letters etc (someone mentioned this is another post). I believe judgment can be entered against you in absentia.

 

Hopefully, this helps a few people navigate their next experience (hopefully it never happens).

 

 

 

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@AlexTr, @HenryM

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Unfortunately, I was recently tagged by a car while cycling and am concerned now that I should hire a lawyer.

Would you recommend your respective attorneys, and if so, can you share their contact information? Thanks in advance.

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On 5.12.2019, 17:50:14, HenryM said:

Hey all,

I wanted to provide a status update and some info that I learned for others.

 

So a few ideas:

1) Get Hauptpflichtversicherung

2) Simply because the police say something it doesn't make it true. From my experience so far, I've found the police here in Deutschland unprofessional (don't get me started on: smoking during duty, unshaven, thug looking) and have zero self critical thinking skills.

3) In case of accident make photos of everything. Hard evidence.

3) Police reports are not available even to the parties involved. Only insurance firms and lawyers can access them. Stupid!

3) Costs related to cars are ridiculous.

4) People here are pettier than in the USA with lawsuits (although for some reason we're stuck with the reputation). I guess that's why Germans have insurances for every little thing. So again, get insurance.

5) Address/answer letters opposing parties, legal letters etc (someone mentioned this is another post). I believe judgment can be entered against you in absentia.

 

Hopefully, this helps a few people navigate their next experience (hopefully it never happens).

So nothing on your list about trying to understand traffic rules, just get a lawyer.  The wild arrogance of assuming you understand traffic rules of another country without bothering to find out about them is staggering.  God knows what damage you could cause at junctions in a car especially to cyclists and pedestians, without understanding the basics.  Hopefully this helps a few people to navigate their next experience. 

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17 minutes ago, caliyogi said:

 

@AlexTr, @HenryM

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Unfortunately, I was recently tagged by a car while cycling and am concerned now that I should hire a lawyer.

Would you recommend your respective attorneys, and if so, can you share their contact information? Thanks in advance.

 

What happened?

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13 hours ago, caliyogi said:

 

@AlexTr, @HenryM

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Unfortunately, I was recently tagged by a car while cycling and am concerned now that I should hire a lawyer.

Would you recommend your respective attorneys, and if so, can you share their contact information? Thanks in advance.

 

I don't know any Munich lawyers.

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On 12/5/2019, 6:50:14, HenryM said:

During this time the Staatsanwalt also made a determination that I was not responsible for any Bussgeld(penalty). This strengthens my side of case.

No, it doesn't really mean anything regarding your liability. The prosecution has closed the criminal side of the story, which is most probably §315c StGB "Endangering the road traffic". This offence you commit when you either DUI or severely break the road traffic rule which may lead to injury or death of a human. Since you were injured the prosecutor opened the case automatically, but did not found any evidence you committed this crime.

 

This doesn't affect your possible civil liability at all.

 

P.S. Yes, in Germany you can be dead/injured, but still guilty. In Israel if you injure a pedestrian or a cyclist you're in deep shit and can be imprisoned. Andere Länder, andere Sitten.

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23 hours ago, snowingagain said:

So nothing on your list about trying to understand traffic rules

Thank you for your comment, but the point of my post is to learn/understand more about the process and what happens after something has occurred.

 

23 hours ago, snowingagain said:

The wild arrogance of assuming you understand traffic rules of another country without bothering to find out about them is staggering.  God knows what damage you could cause at junctions in a car especially to cyclists and pedestians, without understanding the basics. 

I am not sure why you assume that I do not understand the traffic rules, but thanks for the comment.

 

23 hours ago, caliyogi said:

Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Unfortunately, I was recently tagged by a car while cycling and am concerned now that I should hire a lawyer.

Was there visible, provable damage to the car? Was the police called for a report? Was information exchanged between you and the driver.

Hope all is well!

 

 

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