Cycling Accident Claims
Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable users of UK road users, Indeed 15,800 cyclists were hurt or killed on Britain’s roads between July 2019 and June 2020, according to government statistics.
Sometimes accidents happen and it is nobody’s fault. But if you were injured in a cycling accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have every right to claim compensation for the pain, suffering and financial loss you have experienced.
How do I prove negligence?
To succeed in a cycling accident compensation claim, you need to be able to show that the person responsible for your injuries was negligent. This requires you to satisfy the following requirements on the balance of probabilities:
- the defendant owed you a duty of care;
- the defendant breached that duty of care;
- the defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused your injuries;
All drivers owe a duty of care to other road users – including cyclists – while Highways Authorities have a duty to ensure that roads are kept in a state that is safe for road users. If they breach this duty and you are hurt as a result, you are entitled to make a claim.
In most tort cases, such as a road accident, the person responsible for your injuries would be found to be negligent if their actions did not meet a certain standard. This standard is judged by what the ‘reasonable man’ or the famous ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ would do in the same situation.
What if the accident was partly my fault?
If you were partly responsible for the accident, or your injuries were made worse because, for example, you were not wearing a helmet when the accident happened, you may still be able to claim compensation – provided someone else was partially to blame too.
If this is the case, your compensation package would be reduced depending on how much the judge feel you are responsible for your injuries. In Capps v Miller, for example, the rider’s compensation was reduced by 10% after his helmet came off because the straps were not attached.
However, if you are knocked off your bike while not wearing a helmet and your injuries were not connected with you not wearing a helmet (ie, you did not receive a head injury), contributory negligence is unlikely to be found.
What evidence do I need to provide?
It is useful to your claim to have:
- the names and contact details of any witnesses to the accident;
- photographs or sketches of the accident scene;
- any available CCTV footage of the accident;
- photographs of your injuries;
- a diary of your recovery and rehabilitation;
- details of any financial loss you have suffered as a result of the accident;
- details of any police report;
- records of any medical treatment you received after the accident.
Who do I sue?
If you were hit by a car, your claim would be brought through the driver’s insurer. If the driver fails to stop and can’t be traced or is uninsured, you can still make a claim through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), and insurance company-funded body which pays out compensation to victims of untraced or uninsured drivers.
If you fell off your bike because the road was unsafe, for example, if there were spillages, potholes, or insufficient signage, you would bring your claim against the Highways Authority.
What is the process involved in bringing a claim?
If your claim is under £25,000, your claim is likely to be brought via the Claims Portal in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents. This sets standards and procedures that parties to a claim must abide by before formal court proceedings are issued.
The aim of the Pre-Action Protocol is to encourage parties to settle their dispute without having to go to court, to quickly assess whether you have needs that could be met by rehabilitation, treatment or other measures, and to ensure that all the paperwork is correct and deadlines adhered to if the case has to go to court.
If your case is particularly complicated or worth more than £25,000, your personal injury solicitor will strive to negotiate you a just out-of-court settlement or be at your side to offer advice and speak on your behalf if the matter has to go to court.
What are the time limits for bringing a claim?
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you must begin your claim within three years of your accident or from when you first became aware of the full extent of your injuries – whichever comes later.
However, if you are claiming on behalf of a child or someone who is mentally incapacitated this ‘limitation period’ runs, respectively, from the date they turn 18 or when they regain mental capacity.
How can a solicitor help?
You are strongly advised to consult a lawyer specialising in personal injury claims as soon as possible after your accident while details of the crash are still fresh in your mind and in those of everyone else involved.
As well as negotiating with the other party’s insurers or the MIB to get you the financial settlement you deserve, your personal injury solicitor will help you gather the evidence you need to strengthen your case, ensure all the paperwork is in order, and will refer you to medical expert who will assess how your injury was caused and they effect it has had on your life.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the seriousness of your injury, your long-term prognosis, and how it has affected your life, but could include damages for:
- pain and suffering (mental or physical);
- loss of earnings;
- additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
- out-of-pocket expenses;
- adaptations required for your home.