We all suffer accidents from time to time which may require legal action. As cyclists themselves, we asked our friends over at Poole Alcock to offer some tips and guidance to avoid these unpleasant situations.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MINIMISE AN ACCIDENT WHILST OUT ON THE ROAD
- Make sure other road users can see you: wear high-visibility clothing and make sure you have working lights
- Make sure you can see: your lights need to be bright enough to illuminate the road ahead so that you can spot potential hazards
- Let other road users know what you are doing: use clear signals and allow plenty of time for manoeuvres
- Exercise caution when approaching junctions or overtaking parked vehicles: never assume that other road users have noticed you
- Make sure your bike is well-maintained and roadworthy: you can’t blame anyone else if your brakes fail
- Always wear a helmet: although there are often debates about their effectiveness it is surely better to be safe than sorry
DO I HAVE A CLAIM?
In order for your claim to be successful, it will be necessary to prove that someone else was negligent, or breached a duty of care.
Recent examples of cases Poole Alcock have successfully completed include:
- A cyclist who sustained a serious knee injury after taking avoiding action when a car pulled out in front of him at a roundabout – there was no impact between the car and cyclist
- A cyclist who was injured when a driver failed to spot him and collided with the back of his bicycle, despite the fact that it was a clear day and he was wearing luminous clothing and had lights on
- An elderly gentleman who was waiting to turn at a T-junction when a car travelling along the main road turned in, cut the corner and collided with him
- Two cyclists who were overtaking a parked car when the driver suddenly opened his door into their path, knocking them both off their bikes
- A cyclist who collided with an unlit bollard on a cycleway
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR MAKING A CLAIM?
Yes – court proceedings must normally be commenced within three years of the date of your accident. If this is not done then your claim will be out of time. Although a Court does have discretion to allow proceedings to be commenced and to continue after the three year period this cannot and must not be relied on.
Other time limits may apply, for example, if the cyclist is under the age of 18, then the three year time limit will not commence until their 18th birthday.
HOW MUCH CAN I CLAIM FOR MY INJURY?
There is no fixed scale of compensation for cycling injuries. Each case is assessed on its own merits and the amount you can claim will depend on a number of factors including your age, the nature of your injuries, any residual or permanent symptoms, for example scarring or ongoing pain or disability.
For example, a knee injury (common in cycling accidents) involving dislocation and a torn cartilage resulting in minor instability, wasting and weakness may attract compensation of between £10,000 and £21,000.
The psychological impact of an accident may also affect your ability to cope with everyday life and work. Again, compensation may be payable and the amount will vary depending upon your circumstances.
CAN I CLAIM ANY EXPENSES BACK?
In short, the answer is yes – you are entitled to claim all expenses reasonably incurred because of your accident. For cyclists who use their bikes as their main mode of transport this can be an important concern. Examples of expenses you are entitled to claim include:-
- Pre-accident market value of your bicycle in the event that it is damaged beyond repair
- Repair costs to your bicycle in the event it is repairable
- Other cycling equipment including your helmet
- Damaged cycle clothing
- Medical treatment costs
- Loss of earnings
- Cost of care
- Future expenses, such as ongoing treatment costs and loss of earnings
WHAT EVIDENCE WILL I NEED TO SUPPORT MY CLAIM?
There are a number of key details that you do need to obtain: For example:
- Name of the at fault driver
- Make and model, together with registration number of the vehicle
- Road names where the accident occurred
If you are able to obtain photographs of both your bicycle and the vehicle after an accident, this will also help. Equally photographs of the general layout of the accident location may prove invaluable.
If the accident results from the poor state of the road, for example a pothole, then measurements and photographs of the depth of the pothole are essential.
Our personal injury team will be able to advise you of any additional evidence which may be required, such as expert medical reports or witness statements.
HOW DO I MAKE A CLAIM?
For more information on how to make a claim, visit Bikmo's Make a Claim section.