It’s not easy being a cyclist!
Here in the UK, many people choose bicycles as their preferred mode of transportation – particularly in the summer months when the milder weather creates an ideal environment for cycling. However, in terms of traffic accidents, cyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups out on the road.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, around 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents every year in the UK. In actual fact, the real number of cycling accidents is likely to be much higher as many of the less serious incidents that occur on the road are not necessarily reported to the police.
If you have been injured as a result of a cycling accident and you believe that someone else was wholly or partly to blame, you might be eligible for compensation. As many cyclists are uninsured, the repercussions of a cycling accident can be far-reaching. Issues can range from the inconvenience of a damaged bicycle to serious physical or psychological trauma resulting from any injuries sustained. There is also the concern of financial losses including: loss of income from being unable to work, medical fees and the cost of rehabilitation or care whilst in recovery.
The process of filing a claim
If you believe that another party contributed to your cycling accident, you may well be able to make a personal injury claim. The first step your solicitor will take will be to gather evidence to support your claim. This is likely to include medical reports and eye-witness accounts as well as any other information that can demonstrate the extent of your accident, the effect it has had on your life and the degree to which someone else was to blame.
The next step is for your solicitor to contact the other party with a letter detailing your claim and looking for a settlement. If the other party was in a motorised vehicle, it is likely they will be covered by insurance and your letter will be sent on to the insurer where they will have a three-month window to reach a decision about the payout. The majority of cycling accident claims involve another party with insurance. However, if they are not insured, it is likely that the claim will be taken on by the Motor Insurers Bureau.
If the other party contests the claim, they will need to provide evidence of their own. In some situations, liability may be split and this will proportionately affect the amount of compensation, known as ‘damages’, that is awarded.
Compensation for your accident
The amount of damages you might receive varies greatly, depending on factors such as the extent of your injuries – generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the amount of compensation you might be eligible for.
As well as ensuring your injuries are covered, your solicitor will submit a document detailing any financial losses incurred. It is also possible, in some situations, to secure an Interim Payment to cover you if it is taking some time to settle the claim.
Throughout the process of claiming for a cycling accident, your solicitor has the expert knowledge required to provide you with all the advice and information necessary for you to make fully informed decisions about your course of action.