Cycling is a great way to get around, but it can also be dangerous. Bicycle accidents can be devastating, resulting in injuries, property damage, and emotional distress. If you have been involved in a cycling accident and believe it was due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
Navigating the process of filing a cycling accident claim can be complex, which is why it is always recommended to instruct a legal professional with experience in this area of the law. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the specific laws and regulations that apply to your situation.
Our panel of personal injury lawyers at Major Trauma Group are highly experienced in this area of the law and can provide expert legal advice and assistance to clients to ensure they have the best chance of receiving the compensation they deserve. Please get in touch with our team today for a free initial consultation surrounding your bike accident claim.
What should you do if you have been involved in a cycling accident?
If you have been involved in a cycling accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention for your injuries and move to a safe location away from any traffic or hazards.
You should also report the accident to the police to ensure there is an official record and report of the accident, which will come in useful when making your personal injury claim or dealing with the relevant insurance companies.
You should also try to collect as much information as possible about the accident. This includes noting the date, time, and location of the incident. If there are any witnesses, try to obtain their contact information. Additionally, take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bicycle or other property.
Preserve any evidence that may support your claim. This includes keeping your damaged bicycle and any relevant equipment or clothing in its current condition. Also, you should retain all medical records, invoices, and receipts related to your injuries and treatment, as these can be useful in assessing damages later on down the line.
What injuries can cycling accidents cause?
Cycling accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the circumstances of the accident. Listed below are some common injuries that can be suffered:
- Head injuries: Head injuries are a significant concern in cycling accidents, especially if the cyclist is not wearing a helmet. These injuries can range from minor concussions and cuts to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs can have long-lasting effects on cognitive function, motor skills, and overall quality of life.
- Fractures and broken bones: Cyclists may suffer fractures or broken bones, particularly in the arms, legs, collarbones, or wrists. These injuries often occur when cyclists fall onto their outstretched hands or collide with vehicles or objects.
- Road rash and abrasions: Road rash refers to skin abrasions and lacerations caused by contact with the road surface. This injury can range from mild scrapes to deep, painful wounds that may require medical treatment, such as cleaning, dressing, and potentially skin grafts.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries involve damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Common soft tissue injuries in cycling accidents include sprains, strains, and contusions. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and reduced mobility and may require physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- Spinal injuries: Severe cycling accidents can result in spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis or loss of motor function. These injuries can have life-altering consequences and may require extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and adaptive equipment.
- Internal injuries: Cyclists involved in high-impact accidents can sustain internal injuries, such as internal bleeding, organ damage, or punctured lungs. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and require urgent medical attention.
- Psychological trauma: In addition to physical injuries, cycling accidents can cause psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic accident can have long-lasting emotional effects on the cyclist.
Who is eligible to make a cycling accident claim?
In general, individuals who have been involved in a cycling accident and have suffered injuries or damages due to someone else’s negligence may be eligible to make a claim. The main component regarding eligibility to make a claim is being able to prove that someone else/another party was at fault, which could include the following:
- Accidents caused by negligent drivers: If a driver’s negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, or drunk driving, causes a collision with a cyclist, the cyclist may be eligible to make a claim against the driver’s insurance or pursue legal action. The Highway Code prioritises cyclists when going straight ahead at a junction, or turning in to or out of side roads; therefore, motor vehicles would likely be found to be at fault for accidents in these circumstances.
- Poor road conditions or infrastructure: If a cycling accident occurs due to hazardous road conditions, such as potholes, inadequate signage, or poorly maintained cycling paths, the injured cyclist may be able to make a claim against the responsible entity, such as the local council.
- Faulty bicycle equipment: If a cycling accident is caused by a defective bicycle or faulty equipment, such as faulty brakes, a bad helmet, or a manufacturing defect, the injured cyclist may have grounds for a claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the defective product.
- Pedestrian negligence: In some cases, accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians can occur due to the negligence of the pedestrian, such as suddenly stepping into the cyclist’s path without looking.
Can you make a cycling accident claim against an uninsured driver?
If you were involved in a cyclist accident with an uninsured driver, then you can still make a claim, as the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) will oversee the insurance process for the road user who was responsible but uninsured.
The MIB is an organisation that operates in the UK and provides compensation to victims of road traffic accidents involving uninsured or untraced (hit-and-run) drivers. The MIB is funded by motor insurers and governed by an agreement between the UK government and the insurance industry.
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau has several functions, including:
- Uninsured Drivers: The MIB compensates individuals who have been injured or suffered property damage as a result of an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This allows victims to seek compensation even if the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance coverage.
- Untraced Drivers: The MIB also compensates victims of accidents involving untraced drivers, where the identity of the responsible driver cannot be determined or located. This ensures that individuals who have been injured or suffered losses in hit-and-run accidents have a means of seeking compensation.
- Green Card System: The MIB administers the Green Card system in the UK, which is an international motor insurance agreement. The Green Card system ensures that victims of accidents involving foreign-registered vehicles in the UK can access compensation.
The debate surrounding wearing a helmet
In the UK, there are no set laws surrounding cyclists wearing helmets.
Whilst there is no legal obligation for adults to wear helmets while cycling in the UK, Major Trauma Group encourages their use as a safety measure. Additionally, various organisations, including cycling advocacy groups and medical associations, promote the use of helmets and recommend that cyclists wear them to reduce the risk of head injuries in the event of an accident.
There is an ongoing debate surrounding wearing a helmet. The opposing view is that not wearing a helmet whilst cycling will mean that other road users will be more careful around the cyclist due to them having no head protection. Additionally, some would argue that the increase in head size caused by wearing a helmet, as well as muffled hearing whilst wearing a helmet, could make cyclists less aware of their surroundings, leading to an increased risk of injury.
Although the choice of whether to wear a helmet or not is down to the individual, not wearing a helmet could have an impact on the amount of compensation an individual receives if they suffered a head injury in a cycling accident. This is because, an opposing party could argue that the rider contributed to the severity of their injuries by not wearing a helmet.
How much compensation could you receive?
The amount of compensation you could receive for a cycling accident claim varies greatly on the circumstances of the accident, the extent of your injuries and the impact it has had on your life.
Compensation in cycling accident claims typically falls into two main categories; general damages and special damages.
General damages refer to compensation for the non-monetary losses you have suffered, such as pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
The level of general damages awarded is typically determined by considering factors such as the severity of your injuries, the impact on your daily activities and relationships, and expert medical opinions.
Special damages refer to compensation for the specific financial losses you have incurred as a result of the accident. This can include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, loss of earnings, property damage, transportation expenses, and any other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident.
Special damages are typically calculated based on documented receipts, bills, and other supporting evidence.
What are the time limits for making cycling accident claims?
In general, the time limit for filing a personal injury claim arising from a cycling injury is three years from the date of the accident or from the date you became aware of your injuries. This is governed by the Limitation Act 1980. There are exceptions to this rule in certain circumstances, such as when the injured party is a child or has diminished mental capacity. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand the specific time limits that apply to your case.
How can Major Trauma Group assist?
Our member firms at Major Trauma Group can offer valuable assistance in your pursuit of a cycling accident claim, ensuring that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. We understand that making a personal injury claim can be a challenging process, which is why our Accident Solicitors are dedicated to supporting you every step of the way.
Our lawyers offer their services on a no win no fee basis, meaning you do not need to worry about the costs that come with making a cycling claim. If you have any queries surrounding making a cycling accident compensation claim with Major Trauma Group, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.