Cycling accident compensation claims
This guide sets out everything you should know about making a successful cycling accident compensation claim.
Britain's roads are becoming gradually more 'cycle friendly' and there has been a slight reduction in the number of fatalities over the past 5 years.
Serious and less serious injuries have increased in absolute terms, although the numbers of cyclists have increased in the same period.
If you have been injured in a cycling accident that was not your fault, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries, treatment costs, damage to your bicycle, loss of earnings and any other financial losses.
What are the statistics?
The number of cyclists on Britain's roads has grown significantly in recent years. The National Cycling Charity has published research that shows that 43% of the population now own a bike or have access to one.
Cycling accidents have risen broadly in line with the number of cyclists. According to figures supplied by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) 18,375 people were injured in bicycle accidents that were reported to the police in the UK in 2016.
Of these, 3,397 people were seriously injured and a further 102 people were killed.
It is thought that most cycle accidents are not reported to the police, so these figures may represent only a fraction of the actual number of people injured each year.
If you were injured in a cycling accident in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Every year Quittance's network of solicitors help cyclists seek financial compensation and rehabilitation support when injured through no fault of their own.
Our cycling accident team focus on cycling claims and have years of experience in recovering the best possible compensation awards through insurance companies and the courts.
Serious injury experience
NHS data suggests that more than 40% of cyclists involved in an accident sustained head injuries - from serious skull fractures to minor concussion and cuts.
The Courts recognise the serious, and potentially long-term, impact that head and brain injuries including concussion can have, and compensation awards and settlements consequently can be high.
Injuries to limbs are also common; over 40% incurred some injury to their arms, and 25% to their legs. Although chest and abdomen injuries are less frequent they can be serious and often accompanied by head injuries.
Our specialist solicitors have successfully recovered compensation for cyclist injuries from the following:
- drivers turning across the paths of cyclists
- drivers changing lanes without looking
- drivers failing to spot cyclists on roundabouts
- 'dooring' incidents involving a person exiting a parked car
- cyclist falls caused by potholes and poorly maintained roads
- cyclists hurt by pedestrians stepping out in front of them
- cycle couriers injured during a delivery
Expert legal advice
Quittance offer expert legal advice and assist clients in achieving maximum compensation awards for their injuries and other losses.
Our clients include:
- cycle commuters
- mountain bikers
- sport and recreational cyclists.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
When choosing a suitable personal injury solicitor, people understandably focus on the amount of compensation they are likely to receive.
The severity of injuries sustained in cycling accidents varies significantly as can the level of financial loss. It is therefore misleading to talk about cycle accident compensation awards in terms of average payouts.
Compensation claim awards, or ‘damages', are broken down into two categories;
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages for cycling accidents
General damages often comprise the larger part of the award and are paid to compensate the claimant for their injuries.
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
These awards are calculated in relation to the nature and severity of an injury and are set out in the form of minimum and maximum amounts for a given injury.
Quittance's solicitors work hard to obtain the maximum payout within the guidelines.
It may also be possible to claim for existing injuries or medical conditions that have worsened as a result of the accident. Read more about making a claim for an existing condition.
Special damages for cycling accidents
Compensation can be claimed for financial losses (special damages) including:
- loss of earnings
- the cost of medical treatment (past and potential future treatment)
- damage to property including cycle repairs
- any other costs or expenses resulting from the accident, such as travel expenses to and from hospital
Compile evidence of costs and losses
Claimants are advised to keep any receipts for expenses incurred together with estimates for bike repairs or replacement bicycle parts. These documents can assist in making a claim for suitable compensation.
The burden is on the claimant to make reasonable endeavours to reduce costs associated with the accident.
To facilitate the calculation of reasonable compensation, claimants should get multiple estimates from suitable retailers or repairers. Unreasonably high expenses will not be included in the calculation of compensation awards.
If a bike is replaced, it is advisable to retain the original bicycle involved in the accident, even if it is severely damaged.
The bike could be requested for inspection at any time. Likewise, keep any damaged items such as helmets, gloves or other protective outerwear. These items may also need to be inspected at a later date.
At the very least, photographs of the damaged items should be taken. These photos may help support medical evidence when making the claim, for example, by indicating the severity and direction of the impact.
If a cyclist was injured in the last three years in an accident that was not their fault, they may be eligible to claim compensation.
To win a claim, the cyclist's solicitor will need to establish 'causation', meaning that their client's injuries must have resulted from the accident.
The solicitor will also need to establish that the defendant (the driver or other party who caused the accident) was legally responsible for the cycling accident.
Cycling accidents involving children are not constrained by this three-year limitation. A claim may be made on behalf of the child at any point up to their 18th birthday, or by the child themselves between their 18th and 21st birthdays.
Read more about making an injury claim on behalf of a child.
There are a number of things that can be done to help support a personal injury claim. Ideally, the following steps will have been carried out immediately after the cycle accident, but are still worth doing even if some time has passed:
- obtain full details of the driver including the vehicle registration number and insurance company
- obtain details (name and phone number) of any witnesses to the accident
- take photos of the aftermath especially vehicle position and any road markings
- report the accident to the police
Bicycle couriers operating in central London cover an average of 60-80 miles a day, 5 days a week.
Around 75% of fatal or serious cycling accidents occurring in urban areas. Of these 75% at or near road junctions and 80% in daylight (according to RoSPA).
The conditions that cycle couriers work in mean even the most experienced cyclists are vulnerable to serious road accidents.
If a courier's injury was sustained through an accident that was not his or her fault, it may be possible to claim compensation from the third party who caused the accident.
It may also be possible to claim against the courier's employer, if they were fully or partly responsible.
Quittance can help couriers recover much needed compensation from employers, property owners and other road users.
We have experience in assisting couriers injured in various circumstances, including:
- Road accidents
- Slips, trips and other injuries while on foot, making a delivery
- Lifting and manual handling injuries, caused by large, heavy or unsuitable packages
- Injuries arising from faulty equipment, or where adequate protective equipment (PPE) was not provided
What if I am a self-employed bike courier?
An injured cycle courier may be unable to work for an extended period, and therefore may claim for loss of earnings.
Lost wages can be claimed in addition to other special damages, such as a replacement bicycle or treatment costs and physiotherapy.
Self-employed couriers are treated as though they were employed by a company for the purposes of making a claim. However, calculating lost earnings can be more complex.
It is often not a simple matter of presenting wage slips, but your solicitor will be able to help you prove earnings and calculate potential future earnings.
Read more about injury claims for self-employed workers.
A no win no fee contract (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') is agreed between the claimant and a personal injury solicitor.
A CFA is, in essence, the terms and conditions under which the solicitor represents their client.
The CFA documents what the solicitor will do as well as how they are paid if your compensation claim is successful.
If you decide to choose Quittance Personal Injury for your cycling injury claim there will be no hidden costs in the terms and conditions, nothing to pay up-front and the complete peace of mind that you will not be out of pocket.
Who can you make a claim against?
Quittance's panel of solicitors have handled claims made against defendants that include drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists and local authorities and councils.
What if the other party is uninsured or untraceable?
Typically it is the defendant's insurance company who would pay compensation. If the defendant is uninsured or untraceable, a claim may be submitted to the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB). The MIB was set up in 1946 to "compensate victims of uninsured and untraced drivers fairly and promptly".
How soon after an accident must a claim be made?
Anyone injured in a cycling accident that happened in the last three years may be entitled to claim for personal injury compensation.
If an out-of-Court settlement has not been accepted by both sides within three years of the date of the accident, and Court proceedings have not started, the claim becomes 'statute-barred'. This means that a claimant can no longer commence legal action through the Courts to settle their claim.
By starting a claim as early as possible, the claimant's solicitor has more time to negotiate a better settlement amount from the other side or start Court proceedings if agreement cannot be reached.
Meet the QLS team
Quittance's nationwide panel of solicitors help injured people with all types of road accident claims and have a wealth of expertise with short-term, serious and life-changing injury claims. Our solicitors are chosen for their track record in winning cases and their knowledge and expertise.