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Should I accept half offer from building company? [nsw]

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by northerner, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Hi all, not sure if this is the right area to post in but anyway...

    A few weeks ago I put my bike in for a service and had the shops loaner for the day. One the way to work, outside a building site, I came off on a mini roundabout caked in wet compacted clayey crap from the site. Very low speed, no damage to me apart from dislocated left shoulder (awkward landing). Very painful I can tell you! Relocated several hours later in hospital. Bike rideable but usual low speed damage (bent levers, ground casings etc).

    I paid the bike shop the $900 they estimated to fix it up, this was less than the $1000 excess on the insurance so insurance wasn’t involved.

    I’ve been chasing the building company to at least pay for the damage to the bike, I told them I’d take the 6 weeks of physio and dislocated shoulder etc. on the chin – I just didn’t want to be out of pocket because of their negligence in keeping the public roads safe outside their site, so please pay for the bike at least.

    After going round and round in circles for a few weeks with them (they were insisting that the bikes insurance should contact them to start proceedings off, even though insurance wasn’t involved) I sent them a letter basically saying;

    I had a dislocated shoulder and lots of pain.
    Six weeks physio.
    Due to you Mr Builder.
    Here’s the bill for the bike.
    Please pay or I will set workcover on you and pursue you for full medical costs and damages.

    Quiet for a week, then a letter saying they’ll give me $500 as long as that’s the end of the matter – sign here etc….

    So do you think I should just say ‘yep, that’ll do’, or ‘sorry that’s not good enough, you’re getting off lightly and I want the full $900’??

    I’m tempted to take the money and just accept the $400 loss as ‘one of those things’.

    What do you think???


  2. I wouldn't.
    I'd be writing a letter of demand (use the templates here and modify accordingly) and ask for all present and future medical / physio etc to be covered as well as all damage to the bike, gear etc.

    If step 1 doesnt work, a solicitors letter can do wonders!

    If this doesnt work, issue proceedings in the Magistrates Court.

    I would suggest that you have a fairly decent claim against thier public liabilty insurance.

    PM if you need more info. (With a phone no:...)
  3. If they're prepared to offer $500, then they know it's their fault and this is just damage control.

    Go for the lot.
  4. nick a bobcat
  5. A road is a road. Ride to suite it. I'd be pissed if some gumby sent me a letter demanding money because he didn't ride correctly.

    Still the precedence is they owe you, which sucks in my opinion.
  6. I have a general rule when negotiating (whether that be buying a car, a TV or getting a job) to never accept the first offer. If they can afford $500, they can afford $750, or even $1,000. Push hard - it's their fault. Talk to the council about what condition they should maintain the road in 0 the more ammo you have the better.
  7. Rubbish. Assuming they spread gravel or clay on the road... how is it any less their fault if he comes off than if they had spread oil? Sure most of us would have stayed up... but its still more dangerous than it was. And thats down to them.

    If I drop a safe in the middle of the road and someone runs into it.. well OK they are an utter nong.. but they got hurt for that... Some of its down to me. Maybe the damage to their bike? Which is what the OP wants
  8. This being NSW, isn't there a risk that if it gets to court the government will want to cash in and the police charge you with negligent riding?

    I would have expected a court to want to share the blame (?)
  9. A road is a variable thing. Some days it has dirt on it, some days it's wet, some days it's got a hole in it, some days it has oil on it, some days it is dirt.

    The fact that we think it's alright to sue because a road is a road astounds me.

    To me it's a bit like running into the back of someone because they did a double stop at a stop sign, while you were looking right to see if the road was clear. Sure you have a right to be pissed, but ultimately it's your fault.
  10. No building site, truck etc is allowed to do this and there are very very hefty fines for it from local councils. Do you have any photo's of the state the road was in from the building site?

    You can actually make a claim against the council for this off as well for the state of the road, they will issue a fine to the builder worth thousands and then chase them for the insurance damage to you.

    I assume your in the City of Sydney? If you ring the council they will send out a ranger to issue the fine to the builder if they can see evidence of the road have debris and crap on it from the site.

    The builder is just trying to get out light hoping you don't know better.. mate chase them for the lot.
  11. There is a thing called duty of care. Thier duty was NOT to make the road unsafe, on the facts as provided they did.
    Therefore, once again on the facts, they contributed to the result and are liable to some degree. The OP has a legitimate claim.
    None of us (both you and I included) know all the facts so we can't comment on who was in the right or wrong percentage wise.
  12. Thanks for the quick feedback guys,

    ibast I know where you're coming from and accept that road conditions vary and I DO take some of the responsibility myself - I feel pissed off with myself for coming off more than anything.

    But to put a bit more context on the situation, the building site had roadsweepers going from the entrance of the site up to the mini (tiny) roundabout, around it and back down. They did not sweep the exits of the roundabout because that would have been too much trouble. I ride this way to work every day and always go easy round there, but the morning of the accident they had obviously had a lot of trucks carting dirt out of the site and just hadn’t cleaned it up, it had all just been compacted by truck after truck, with the road sweeper cleaning the roundabout but not the exits.

    I saw the mud and was going extremely slowly but still managed to come off. As I was stood there with a dislocated shoulder at least 3 other bikes nearly came off, even cars had the odd slip and slide. One of the guys who stopped to help me out went straight to the site manager to get him to clear it up because it was so dangerous. I ran my foot over the road and it was like an ice rink.

    So yeah, whilst I agree that ultimately we’re all responsible for staying on the bike – this was ridiculous.

    I remember a few weeks ago someone posted about coming off of a (bigger) roundabout because of pot holes and gravel on the road and everyone was ‘yeah – gravel, pot holes – get over it’ until he posted some pictures and everyone was ‘holy crap dude look at the state of it, no wonder you came off!’

    So I guess there is a point when you have to say the road condition is unacceptably dangerous for the public, and particularly for bikers, and it’s not just a case of saying ‘tough shit, ride to the conditions’ as the NSW police department might say (thanks to the poster who pointed this out – it’s another thing I’m conscious of in terms of not pushing the whole thing too far and getting a ticket!)

    Anyway, I’m rambling now.

    Thanks for the feedback so far,

    Graham :)

    Edit: Was writing this at same time as above 2 posts. No pictures as site was cleaned immediately after guy highlighted the dangerous conditions to the site management. I do have 2 witnesses though.
  13. If it's like that, and you have witnesses, stick to your guns. I certainly would. They have a legal obligation to ensure their activities do not create a dangerous environment for others.

    That would do nicely too. :LOL:
  14. If it was me I would forget about the damage to the bike and take that on the chin, but I would be chasing them up for the shoulder injury. Once the bike is fixed, then thats it, no more problems, but with the human body you can never be sure that sh1t wont arise from this first initial injury.IMO.
  15. Ibast, they most definitely would have a work method statement which includes environmental factors. Even though I haven't read it, I'm quite sure it would have in it that they must sweep the roads / keep them clean. They haven't and someone has come off due to that. They don't have a leg to stand on. I hope the OP has photos. If they do, that's a guaranteed win. The $500 offer is rubbish. Its just someone being a smart-arse.

    OP, go for all costs. I would, especially if I had photos. To put a scare into them, ask for a copy of the safe work method statement for the site, their environmental policy, and their risk assessment that pertains to pedestrians and road users. If they haven't got that or refuse then ask them if they actually have one and if they don't you're sure Workcover would be more than interested in handing them a hefty fine.

    I don't know legalities like TheTramp does but I know what you must have in place for a worksite. A dirty road to the extent that there's a slippery layer built up across the road is unacceptable everywhere I've been. Good luck in getting what you deserve to be reinstated to the position you were in before your mishap.

    EDIT: I just saw you have no photos. However, independent witnesses are just as good as far as I'm aware.
  16. Listen to The Tramp and follow his advice. It is what I would do.

    Then if my total costs were $8000, and they offered half, I would still hold out for a better offer.

    Were there signs well down the road indicating the harzardous conditions ahead, allowing you to travel a different route? Were there clearways around the roundabout to allow the area to be maintained in a safe condition. (Parked cars might prevent cleaning of the roundabout entrance and exists.)

    When last I was in this situation I was seeking compensation for repairs caused by shoddy installation and then shoddy repair of that installation. They offered me half the amount in cash, then the full amount in services, which I couldn't use. I got tired of that and informed them if they didn't pay, I would add all my accomodation expenses and the loss of holiday time to my claim. They agreed to pay the full amount immediately, and I received the cheque, which cleared, promptly.

    You just have to persist when you are in the right and dealing with a business concerned with costs and profit.
  17. And this is the problem with the world.

    Tramp is the one to listen too if you want to claim.

  18. What exactly is the problem? There are minimum standards that builders/contractors sign off saying that they'll abide to. These standards are sometimes in excess of what the community expects. Dropping shit all over the road does not meet this standard. We had rumble strips and mobile washdown bays for vehicles leaving the site on one site I worked because we knew that there'd be a potential issue of trucks dropping a lot of material onto the road. At another part of the site, a lot of dirt/mud got tracked onto the road by light vehicles and took a few hours before that was cleaned up. Unfortunately, the site Superintendent had to order that onto those responsible for that area.

    Would you accept it if you fell off courtesy of an unacceptable amount of dirt/mud/gravel on the road which came from an adjacent worksite?

    As for damage to the bike, I remember another job where there was a motorist who claimed that he'd damaged his 20" wheel due to a rough section. He was advised by our side to get his insurance deal with our insurer. His claim may or may not have been valid. My boss had 19" wheels and didn't suffer damage going over the same spot.

    Some information someone who was close to retirement gave me soon after I started working was that even if you do everything reasonable and there happens to be a member of the public hurt or killed whilst coming through the worksite then, in his experience, someone has to pay. Some blame is usually put on the Principal Contractor in that case. Whether or not that is completely true, he was in senior roles (e.g Project Manager) on a lot of big jobs (up to $2 billion worth) and been on the stand due to injuries and fatalities to the public that occurred on sites he controlled (controls were in place but things like water carts suddenly dropping a lot of their loads and leaving big temporary puddles on the road are difficult to guard against). In the case of the OP, he was hurt. If things go like I've been led to believe, someone is going to pay for that.
  19. A road may be a variable entity, but it still has minimum standards that must be met.

    If the entire road was caked in clay and oil, would you still call it a rideable road?
  20. The fact that we think it's alright to sue because a road is a road astounds me.

    So if I throw a bucket of oil down and you crash you wont be suing me? Or is it ok if I do it by accident but not on purpose? What if I do it by accident, my can of valvoline broke open in the tray of my ute... but I could not be bothered to make it safe? Do you sue or not? Interesting to see the moral dilemma you would face in that situation

    The tramp is absolutely right. People have a duty of care to each other to not make the world pointlessly more dangerous. The prat that dropped a 2 by 4 on the corner near my home that I nearly decked the Kat on a few years ago had a duty of care to go back and pick it up. Is that not obvious? Cos seriously the fact that some people do not get that concept is most of what is wrong with the world