Bicycle Accident Compensation Guide
Many bicycle accident victims also do not attempt to claim bicycle accident compensation, even though they are eligible to do so and would have a good chance of making a successful claim. It is not clear why this is the case, although a lack of legal knowledge of compensation claims law is undoubtedly the case. Not knowing when bicycle accident compensation can be claimed prevents many bicycle accident victims from receiving the compensation they are entitled to.
If you have been injured in an accident while riding a bicycle, and you were not entirely to blame for the accident, it is usually possible to claim compensation for your injuries. Successful bicycle accident compensation claims can be made when an accident has been caused by careless drivers of vehicles, poor road condition, faulty bicycle repair and even coming off your bicycle after skidding of diesel or oil spills on the road.
No matter how you have been injured, if it was not your fault, you could be eligible to make a bicycle accident compensation claim and should seek legal advice about recovering compensation for your injuries.
When a Bicycle Accident Compensation Claim Can be Made
UK claims law stipulates that in order to make a claim for bicycle accident compensation, a cyclist must have sustained an injury in an accident which was caused by third party negligence. In many cycle accidents it is the negligence of a car, bus, taxi or lorry driver which causes an accident, and innocent cyclists are frequently injured through no fault of their own. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) the failure of a vehicle driver to look properly is the cause of 57 percent of serious bicycle accidents and 43 percent of serious collisions at junctions. 17 percent of accidents are caused by poor turns or manoeuvres by car drivers, and in such cases a bicycle accident compensation claim will be possible and will have every chance of being successful.
Bicycle accident compensation can also be awarded when there has not been a collision. Poor road surface accounts for many bicycle accident compensation claims each year. The local authority has a responsibility to maintain a safe road surface, and when potholes, cracks in the road and uneven surfaces are not repaired promptly, and an accident and injury results, it is classed as negligence and a bicycle accident compensation claim can often be made.
Negligence and Bicycle Accident Compensation Claims
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 20 percent of serious collisions occur when a bicycle has turned from the pavement onto the road. When a cyclist pulls into a road in front of a vehicle and causes a collision, it is unlikely that a bicycle accident compensation claim will be successful as this is often deemed to be entirely the fault of the cyclist. However if a driver could have stopped in time and avoided the accident, a bicycle accident compensation claim can be made. If a driver was distracted, on a mobile phone or was travelling to fast for the conditions, a claim for bicycle accident compensation may also be possible.
In London, 20 percent of bicycle accident fatalities involve a heavy goods vehicle, in particular when the vehicle is turning left at a junction and traps a cyclist. A quarter of accidents involving a cyclist and an HGV, bus or coach are due to it passing too close to a cyclist and not giving them enough room. All of these cases can result in successful bicycle accident compensation claims being made, as it is deemed to be driver negligence which is the primary cause of an accident occurring.
Travelling too fast for the weather conditions, drivers who have consumed alcoholic drinks and those who are exceeding the speed limit, all increase both the chances of a bicycle accident occurring and the severity of an accident. All of these are classed as driver negligence and a cyclist injured in these circumstances will be entitled to claim compensation for bicycle accident injuries.
Injuries to Cyclists Which Warrant a Bicycle Accident Compensation Claim
Bicycle injuries are highly varied, from cuts, bruises and soft tissue injuries to serious head injuries. Cyclists are most likely to suffer injuries to the limbs, with arm injuries involved in 40% of accidents, leg injuries in 25% of accidents and 40% of cyclists (45% of children) sustaining a head injury in a bicycle accident. It does not matter in the eyes of the law whether a minor injury has been sustained or a fatal accident has occurred; a bicycle accident claim for compensation will be possible provided the accident was caused by third party negligence and the injuries were severe enough to warrant seeking medical attention.
Contributory Negligence and Bicycle Accident Compensation Claims
Contributory negligence often applies to road traffic accidents, as they are more likely to involve multiple negligent parties. When the negligence of more than one driver has caused an accident, or the combination of a negligent driver and a road in poor condition, a separate bicycle accident compensation claim must be made against each party. In such cases, each negligent party will be liable for a proportion of any bicycle accident compensation award.
Bicycle accident compensation claims are more likely than most personal injury claims to involve an element of contributory negligence on the part of the claimant. Although liability may be accepted by a third party, a third party insurer will be keen to limit any losses. An insurer may try to discredit a claim or try to find elements of contributory negligence to decrease the value of any bicycle accident compensation claims.
The failure to adequately protect oneself in the circumstances – for example, failing to use lights when cycling at night – could be deemed as contributory negligence on the part of the claimant, and any compensation award may be reduced to take such factors into account. However, as long as the accident was primarily caused by the negligence of a third party, a bicycle accident compensation claim can be made. Any bicycle accident compensation award however would be reduced to take any personal negligence into account.
Bicycle Accident Compensation Claims for Children
Bicycle accidents frequently involve children. When injuries are sustained by a child, bicycle accident compensation can be vital to the victim and their parents. Bicycle accident injuries can affect children for the duration of their entire life, and the cost of treatment and medical care can be incredibly high. Many families simply cannot afford to get the best possible treatment for an injured child, and bicycle accident compensation claims for children must be made to ensure that treatment can be provided.
A child cannot initiate a claim for compensation nor instruct a solicitor under UK claims law. A claim for bicycle accident compensation in the UK can only be made by a legal adult. Bicycle accident compensation claims for children must wait until the child turns 18 before the victim is legally entitled to make a bicycle accident compensation claim. Delaying such a claim will mean a delay in compensation being received and may affect the chances of making a successful bicycle accident compensation claim. In such cases it is possible to make a claim before the eighteenth birthday, if the claim is made on the child’s behalf.
Bicycle Accident Compensation Pursued by a Litigation Friend
A bicycle accident compensation claim for injuries to a child can be initiated before a child’s eighteenth birthday, but only if a responsible adult makes bicycle accident compensation claim on the child’s behalf as a ‘litigation friend’. A litigation friend will need to be appointed by the UK courts and must assume all financial responsibility for making the claim. A litigation friend is usually a parent or legal guardian, although this is not stipulated under UK claims law. When a litigation friend wins a bicycle accident compensation claim for a child, the compensation is held for the child by the UK courts. It will then be released on the child’s eighteenth birthday. The courts can be petitioned to release funds early if money is required to cover legitimate expenses such as medical treatment costs. A solicitor would help with arranging the release of funds, and should always be used to pursue claims for bicycle accident compensation made by a litigation friend.
No Win No Fee Bicycle Accident Compensation Claims
The majority of bicycle compensation claims involve clear cases of third party negligence, such as when a driver pulls into the path of a cyclist and causes an accident or when a cyclist is knocked off a bike due to a lack of care when driving. In such cases, a claim for bicycle accident compensation is likely to be strong and many solicitors will undertake such claims on a No Win No Fee basis.
Under this conditional fee arrangement, if the claim for bicycle accident compensation is not won a solicitor will waive all legal fees. Since an arrangement of No Win No Fee representation will not be offered on weak claims for compensation, it will be necessary to have a bicycle accident compensation claim assessed by a No Win No Fee solicitor to determine if it qualifies for such a conditional fee arrangement.
A No Win No Fee bicycle accident compensation claim may not be free under all eventualities so, if your claim qualifies for No Win No Fee representation, you should ask your solicitor about any costs for which you will be liable.
Seek Specialist Legal Advice from a Bicycle Accident Compensation Solicitor
Many personal injury compensation solicitors will be more than willing to take on a bicycle accident compensation claim, but it is important that your solicitor is aware of the laws affecting cyclists in order to give you the best possible legal advice. It can have an important bearing on whether a bicycle accident compensation claim will succeed.
When a specialist bicycle accident compensation solicitor pursues your claim, you should have a higher chance of winning compensation. The compensation amounts awarded to a victim also tend to be significantly higher with professional legal representation. In the majority of cases a bicycle accident compensation solicitor will be able to streamline the claims process and obtain compensation more quickly than if a claim is pursued without the use of a solicitor. An experienced bicycle accident compensation solicitor should also be able to negotiate an appropriate compensation settlement and avoid the claimant having to pursue bicycle accident compensation through the UK courts.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident for which you were not entirely to blame, we strongly recommend seeking legal advice immediately, to ensure that your legal right to make a claim for compensation is protected.