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  #1  
Old 16 Sep 2010
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Legal advice: accident in Germany

Hi all,

I was in an accident two days ago where a car drove into the back of my bike and I ended up under the car.
It's a miracle I'm almost not hurt except for a small fracture of my right shoulder bone.
It will take a couple of weeks to be back in shape and that's it.
The bike I don't know yet, haven't seen it since, but the police told me it was broken, although they showed me pictures and it seemed in ok shape.

Now, since I've been in hospital and my passport was in my bag in my topcase, I don't have any of my belongings.

The police doesn't want to give back my stuff unless I pay a 1500 Euro "warranty" because they claim I've caused the accident by overtaking on the right lane, and then I breaked.

(The fact that I breaked and someone drove in my back means nothing to them because of me overtaking on the right side, they say.)

Does anyone knows if this is legal and if they can keep my passport, stuff and bike?

Apparently the car that drove over me got hit in the back by another car.
Because of this it is a serious offence so they're blaiming me for the whole thing.

Any advice is welcome. I can't leave the country unless I pay this money. I got a lawyer and will check with him/her what the next action would be.

This happened on the last stretch of my trip around Europe for 2 months.
Had a great trip and want to put a blog somewhere.

Thanks for any info.
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  #2  
Old 16 Sep 2010
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Sorry to hear about your mishap . Good thing, you're OK.

First, you have a lawyer that's good .

If you indeed passed moving traffic on the right, that is a big "NO-NO" in Germany. German drivers would not expect to be passed on the right. That would be taken into account regarding fault finding.

Talk to your lawyer and find out if their have been traffic cameras near by, which might help your case.

Without specific legal knowledge, I am pretty sure that they can hold your passport until the issue has gone before some kind of hearing. I would not expect for it to take too long though.

Best of luck!
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Last edited by T.REX63; 17 Sep 2010 at 17:29.
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  #3  
Old 17 Sep 2010
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I'm not into this kind of things, but I may suggest you to give a phone call to your Country's embassy / consulate and explain them the situation.

I'm sure they know how to sort the situation out and will be able to give you the best advice about what to do now.
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  #4  
Old 17 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.REX63 View Post
If you indeed passed moving traffic on the right, that is a big "NO-NO" in Germany. German drivers would not expect to be passed on the right. That would be taken into account regarding fault finding.
That's only true on Autobahns! In cities you have free choice of lane as long as you're on a motorcycle or in a car weighing less than 3.5 tons:
Quote:
(2) Ist der Verkehr so dicht, daß sich auf den Fahrstreifen für eine Richtung Fahrzeugschlangen gebildet haben, so darf rechts schneller als links gefahren werden.
(2a) Wenn auf der Fahrbahn für eine Richtung eine Fahrzeugschlange auf dem jeweils linken Fahrstreifen steht oder langsam fährt, dürfen Fahrzeuge diese mit geringfügig höherer Geschwindigkeit und mit äußerster Vorsicht rechts überholen.
(3) Innerhalb geschlossener Ortschaften - ausgenommen auf Autobahnen (Zeichen 330.1) - dürfen Kraftfahrzeuge mit einem zulässigen Gesamtgewicht bis zu 3,5 t auf Fahrbahnen mit mehreren markierten Fahrstreifen für eine Richtung (Zeichen 296 oder 340) den Fahrstreifen frei wählen, auch wenn die Voraussetzungen des Absatzes 1 Satz 1 nicht vorliegen. Dann darf rechts schneller als links gefahren werden.
Source: StVO §7


Thus, passing cars on the right can be absolutely legal and no problem at all.

Beedee: first of all: where did it happen? City, outside the city or Autobahn (even Autobahn in a city counts as Autobahn)? Second: the police is not allowed to keep your passport because it's not your property. Thus they HAVE to allow you access to your passport and your belongings. Third: demand inspection of records, it's your right and cannot be denied. Fourth: good thing you have a lawyer, you might need him/her. Germans are a f*cking weird people when it comes to cars (I'm allowed to say that, I'm German) - they would rather sacrifice their first, second and third born child than allow someone to scratch their car. Unfortunately that also means that whenever they screw up and hit someone they instantly go into legal fetal position, claiming it's not their fault.

There are two basic rules in Germany: a) whoever is at fault for the accident has to pay for it, or rather his/her insurance which is mandatory in this country. b) whoever drives into the back of someone else is at fault.

What city are you in right now?
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Last edited by mj; 17 Sep 2010 at 17:38.
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  #5  
Old 17 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
That's only true on Autobahns! In cities you have free choice of lane as long as you're on a motorcycle or in a car weighing less than 3.5 tons:
Source: StVO §7
I stand corrected. Sorry, did not want to mislead here... .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
Fourth: good thing you have a lawyer, you might need him/her. Germans are a f*cking weird people when it comes to cars (I'm allowed to say that, I'm German) - they would rather sacrifice their first, second and third born child than allow someone scratch their car.
Sadly, very true...
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  #6  
Old 18 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
That's only true on Autobahns! In cities you have free choice of lane as long as you're on a motorcycle or in a car weighing less than 3.5 tons:
Source: StVO §7


Thus, passing cars on the right can be absolutely legal and no problem at all.
Good to know, but I'm afraid this was a 4 lane bahn, 2 in each direction with a separation in the middle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
Beedee: first of all: where did it happen? City, outside the city or Autobahn (even Autobahn in a city counts as Autobahn)?
It was a B-road, forgot to ask the cops which one when I did my statement and paid them the 1500 Euro as a bail to get my stuff back.
Somewhere between Neuwied and Andermach, I was brought to Neuwied hospital which is apparently well known for treating motorbike accidents (nurburgring accidentees get flewn there).


Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
Second: the police is not allowed to keep your passport because it's not your property. Thus they HAVE to allow you access to your passport and your belongings. Third: demand inspection of records, it's your right and cannot be denied. Fourth: good thing you have a lawyer, you might need him/her. Germans are a f*cking weird people when it comes to cars (I'm allowed to say that, I'm German) - they would rather sacrifice their first, second and third born child than allow someone to scratch their car. Unfortunately that also means that whenever they screw up and hit someone they instantly go into legal fetal position, claiming it's not their fault.
scary.....

Anyway, got my things back, they were really anal about it but correct I guess.
I have a lawyer from the insurance company.
They claim I overtook on the right and have 5 witnesses so I'm charged with wreckless driving/being a danger to other road users.
Let's see how that turns out.

Some funny note: when you wipe your visor it might be taken as an offensive sign meaning "you're nuts". As offensive as giving someone the middle finger.
The witnesses claimed I did that.

When I saw my bike I saw the two other vehicles involved.
The one I was under was a Skoda SUV, luckily just high enough for me to survive.
The other one which drove in the back of the Skoda was a low BMW.
So there were three vehicles involved in the accident.
The other people were not really hurt but traumatized the police said.
They probably thought they killed me and that I was in a million pieces.
That would explain why they didn't hear me yelling from under the car to lift the bloody thing up or do something so I could crawl from under it.

Luckily there was a bystander with a jack to jack the car up.
Never got a chance to thank him... he saved my life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
There are two basic rules in Germany: a) whoever is at fault for the accident has to pay for it, or rather his/her insurance which is mandatory in this country. b) whoever drives into the back of someone else is at fault.
So even if I'm proven guilty, my insurance will pay court case and everything? I hope they'll pay me back the bail money too.


They claim that I'm at fault so the people driving into my back are not, because I made them do it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
What city are you in right now?
This was as I said between Neuwied and Andermach near Koblenz, but now back home, recovering.


My bike is still running!!!
Speedometer is broken, clutch handle, whatever, windshield crap, engine is leaking oil (well left boob of my boxer) but it is running with a nice sound!!!!

Fork looks good, frame ...looks... good, need to get it shipped asap to my guy here.

Personally can't drive, my right shoulder bone is fractured, rib cage was seriously compressed so hurting when using right side of my body, but running around and became temporary lefty which is interesting

Can't wait to get the bike back!!




PS: They questioned me in English, made the declaration in German, and then pasted it in google translate.... The translation was sucky; it more or less said what I told them but some things were really badly translated.
Also, what about your rights, google is a private company and they get given my private case information, information which I could not even get a copy off.
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  #7  
Old 18 Sep 2010
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That all sounds a bit third-world to me... sorta like if you wouldn't have been there it wouldn't have happened, thus it must be your fault. If it wasn't an Autobahn but a primary (B XY) or secondary (B XYZ) road I really don't see how overtaking on the right would be forbidden. Maybe you got hit by some mayor's or police president's son or some other local wannabe celebrity. Consult your lawyer about this, and make sure to tell him how fast you were going. Because even if it was illegal to pass on the right it always depends on the speed - §7.2 and §7.2a StVO clearly state that it's allowed to overtake on the right side under certain circumstances even on the Autobahn.

Keep us up to date please, I'm very interested in how this turns out. And speedy recovery of course, hope you'll be fine and back on your bike asap again.

PS: That translation thing is a joke, right? You have a right to a translator certified by the state or federal government. Using Google Translator is certainly illegal, your lawyer should definitely give them living hell for that.
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  #8  
Old 18 Sep 2010
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Well, concerning passing on the right: it's only legal in city limits, where you have free choice of lane. Anywhere else you are to take the right most lane, and only for passing move to the left. Passing on the right on an Autobahn is a far more serious offense than speeding. Now you said it was a "B" road aka "Bundestrasse". Normally these are single lane per direction, so passing on the right is not applicable (and would be a very serious offense too). Two lanes in each direction, with a physical barrier in the middle would be something like a "Kraftfahrtstrasse", and passing on the right is also a serious offense there - same as anywhere outside of city limits. Only within city limits passing on the right is allowed.

The above being said, it's more in the details of what actually happened. Firstly, which lane did the accident occur in? If it happened in the left lane, after you passed on the right, you're screwed. If it happened in the right lane, to which you moved, passed a car or so and then slowed, you could argue you had passed on the left and then indended to stay in the right lane, slight misjudgement of speed whilst passing or the guy in the left lane slowed down, etc etc which wouldn't make it a pass on the right (well not an intentional one anyways). In that case they will probably go for a 50/50 guilt, because it would be a dubious pass on the right and abrupt braking, but the guy behind didn't keep enough safety distance. Only if you've been in the right lane for a while and he ran you over, then you can blame him for not keeping his distance/not reacting, so it'd be his fault, but this is difficult to prove, so these days they like to spread the blame.

As far as hand signs ... waving your flat hand in front of your face aka "wind screen wipers" is equivalent to flipping someone the bird, whereas German's won't understand the two fingers (index/middle). But they should be reasonable enough to understand that a) you are not familiar with that gesture and b) you were cleaning your visor.

Probably best to let your lawyer handle it, and let us know how it turned out. As to Google, probably goes in your favour, because you can claim the statement is rubbish and that they weren't very professinal and all.
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  #9  
Old 18 Sep 2010
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Hi Beedee,

my english is a little bit rusty ...
But I am living arround the corner.
From my place, its only 30 minutes to Neuwied.

So if you need any help
(with the papers, transporting the bike, finding a mechanic,
transport to airport ..and so on)

Just give me a call.
I sent you a PM too.

Best wishes

motravel
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Old 18 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motravel View Post
So if you need any help

Just give me a call.
This is what makes the HU community, and moto riders the World over, all so great.
We all want to help total strangers, without question, without motive, without reward.

If Governments could follow our example the World would get along fine.

Good luck Beedee, and my heatfelt gratitude to all who can and do assist him in matters I cannot.
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  #11  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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If you were overtaking on the right and then braked and two cars run into the back of you, weren't they also overtaking on the right?

Your third party insurance won't normally cover legal expenses. It only pays for damage to third parties, i. e. the cars, if you are found at fault. If you don't have legal insurance your lawyers bill could be very high. Be careful, or the 1500E bail will pale into insignificance.
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  #12  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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So sorry to read of your incident.
The illogic of the charge against you is screeming out of the screen. I certainly hope your lawyer is onto it.

If you were "overtaking on the right" and then got nailed by a car from the rear that can only mean that THAT car was travelling much faster than you and HE WAS ALSO IN THE PROCESS OF OVERTAKING ON THE RIGHT !Also he was grossly negligent in not seeing the traffic ahead of him and reacting to it.
Ergo the driver of that car which struck you was committing the same offense which you have been charged with.
The driver of the vehicle you were allegedly passing is also partially responsible - he was driving tooo slowly in the passing lane and should have moved back to the right lane.
Unless you were darting from the center lane into the side of said second car then it could be argued that you were merely moving back into the travel lane from the passing lane.The car which struck you should then have moved around your left.

This overtaking on the right business is taken to ridiculous intensity in Europe. Is it considered overtaking on the right if the left lane becomes blocked by some traffic obstruction and the only way to move on past the line-up is via the right lane? Is it "overtaking on the right" if one rides down the ausfahrt lane and passes slow moving autobahn traffic? ....or if you are entering the autobahn and in the merging lane pass the slower cars in order to slot into a space?
Stick to your guns and talk to the lawyer. At worst it should be a case of shared responsibility for inept driving and get thrown out of court.
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Old 21 Sep 2010
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I heard it's going to take two weeks to get my bike back but the specialist doctor yesterday (also a motorbike rider ) said I don't need an operation.

So can't complain

Motravel: got your privates, thanks for your info. I'm back at home but in case I would need some help with the bike I will certainly contact you.

That's what HU and bikers is all about, helping eachother just for helping.

Thanks for all the support everyone!

PS: I will be @ HU meeting Chiang Mai (if the gods let me )
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Old 21 Sep 2010
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Hey Beedy,

i only understood "your are still in this hospital".
But you are already at home ...
Get healthy verry fast !!!

And if you are interesting in Chiang Mai:
I was thinking about it too. But only for a kind of holiday trip.
I have 4 weeks left of vacation in 2010 and i was thinking about
going to this meeting, renting a bike and going a few weeks arround.

Are you going with your own bike?
Or have you any information about renting bikes already?
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Old 27 Sep 2010
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Hey Beedy,

i only understood "your are still in this hospital".
But you are already at home ...
Get healthy verry fast !!!
Thanks

Bike is still there grrrr


Quote:
Originally Posted by motravel View Post
And if you are interesting in Chiang Mai:
I was thinking about it too. But only for a kind of holiday trip.
I have 4 weeks left of vacation in 2010 and i was thinking about
going to this meeting, renting a bike and going a few weeks arround.

Are you going with your own bike?
Or have you any information about renting bikes already?
My plan is to buy a bike in Thailand, drive around SE Asia, and sell it again.
I have some friends there and they are looking for a Honda CB400 (seems to be very popular there) or so.

For SE Asia you don't need a carnet I think so should be fairly simple to drive around.

Let me know if you're going

Beedee
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