Whenever a person who caused an accident is not the claimant we are talking about liability claims. The settlement of a liability claim requires an expert's report which is drawn up by us. Such a report includes the assessment of the amount of loss and the calculation of the replacement value.
In the case of a liability claim we determine all significant key indicators, such as price as new and age of damaged bicycles and pedelecs, the salvage and replacement value or costs and duration of a repair as well as the condition just before the damaging incident and the extent of loss. The assessment of the latter may require the application of material-specific testing systems. This means, for example, that we test frames made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (carbon) by means of an extended stiffness analysis, if they seem to be in sound condition from the outside. This is a reliable method to detect defects in the fibre structure which was developed by us. We have been using this method successfully since 1997.
During our description of the loss we not only rely upon what we see. For an expert's report the damaged bicycles, e-bikes or components are thoroughly registered in detail by documenting them with numerous specific and comprehensible measuring methods and measured values. Prices and ages are determined by us on the basis of our unique archive which comprises catalogues and price lists of nearly all manufacturers of the past 30 years. We are therefore able to check proofs of purchase for their plausibility and to detect value-changing modifications. In addition, we compare the nature of loss to the described course of events and make an accident reconstruction as well as a failure analysis upon request. This is to reveal possible fraud and false statements.
A wealth of experience developed over decades
Our power of judgement in this respect is based on the practical experience of our team members. They commute daily by bike or e-bike; after work and in their spare time they all fancy cycle trips and other activities, such as training or competitions in different disciplines. On the other hand we are able to draw on 20 years of experience as technical bicycle experts and numerous concluded expert's reports as well as documented loss incidents. In addition, we are able to reliably assess durability and typical bicycle and pedelec component damage on the basis of thousands of fracture patterns. The latter were created during tests (until failure) in our internal laboratory and have been recorded in our company-own archives where they are accessible at any time. Our wealth of experience is particularly large in the case of bicycle components made of carbon; in case of damage their overload behaviour differs fundamentally from that of components made of metallic materials. The basis for this was laid by company founder Dirk Zedler in 1986 with his first practical and scientific works. The expert knowledge of fibre-reinforced composites has continuously grown since these days.
Focus on severe liability claims
The experts of GDFS draw up expert’s reports on the settlement of liability claims for bicycles, pedelecs and accessories at a value as new of more than 2000 Euro or in the case of accidents and material failure with personal injury. Expert’s reports for less expensive products and claims without personal injury are drawn up, in case of an insufficient plausibility of the incident of loss or if there are insufficient grounds for the claim for damages.
Reliable carbon tests are only profitable with carbon frames and wheels. For all other components, such as handlebars, saddles, forks etc. replacing the component is the better choice.