I thought I would reflect on some of the questions I am frequently asked by my cycling clients and take time to answer them and share more widely. So, here goes....
Who would my cycling accident claims be against? Your claim would be brought against the other individual involved in the collision. However, in practice, your claim will be dealt with by an insurance company on your behalf.
I may be partly responsible, can I still make a claim? Yes. We will be able to advise you on how much blame is likely to be attributed to you. In practice, we can usually reach an agreement with the insurance company on a percentage basis.
What do I do if I hit a pedestrian? You should take the name and contact details of the pedestrian and any witnesses. If you have insurance you should report the accident to your insurer straight away. You may face a claim against you by the pedestrian if they are injured. If you are also injured and the pedestrian was partly responsible for the collision then you may have a counterclaim against you.
Do I need insurance? There is no requirement for you to hold third party insurance cover in order to cycle in the UK. We do, however, encourage insurance cover to protect you in the event you are involved in a collision and it is alleged you are responsible. London Cycling Campaign members automatically get insurance cover as part of their membership. Consider signing up or looking for an alternative policy online, there are quite a few companies that provide cover.
What can I do to get my bike repaired? If you have been involved in a cycling accident, it is likely that your bicycle will have sustained damage or be a complete write-off.
Take your bicycle to a repair shop where they will then determine the extent of the damage and advise on whether it can be repaired or not. They will provide a written quote for the repairs or alternatively if the bicycle is beyond repair advise on the replacement cost. You will need to retain copies of the estimates if you intend on making a claim for bike damage.
What to do immediately after the accident? Always ensure that the Police are called to the scene of the accident. The police will then take a statement from you as well as the other party, and witnesses. Ensure that you report any injuries you have sustained. Take photographs of the bicycle and retain evidence including clothing and possessions as they may need to be inspected. If your accident has involved a pothole, then take photos of the length, depth and width.
Obtain details of the driver and any witnesses, including a full name, contact telephone number, address and vehicle registration plate as well as details of their insurer. Attend a GP surgery or hospital for medical attention and ensure that your inquiries are recorded. Seek legal advice from a solicitor specialising in cycling accident claims who has good knowledge of road accidents.
What can I claim for? After an accident, you are entitled to recover compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for your injuries. In addition, you may incur travel expenses, loss of earnings (if you have had to take time off work as a result of your injuries), medical and prescription costs, care and assistance received from family members or friends as well as treatment including physiotherapy or counselling and damage to possessions. You may also be entitled to recover future losses. This list is not exhaustive so if you have incurred a loss and are unsure whether you can recover it then just ask your solicitor. Do ensure that you retain copies of receipts and invoices for proof of payment.
Rehabilitation It is likely that after a road accident, you will be suffering from the effects of your injuries. Rehabilitation may be funded by the driver's insurer if liability is admitted to address physical and psychological symptoms and ensure that you recover as quickly as possible. An assessment would be conducted, with a physical examination to determine mobility and range of motion and then recommendations made for treatment such as physiotherapy. If liability is denied by the driver's insurer, then they may be unwilling to find rehabilitation. However, you can always seek a referral from your GP via the NHS for treatment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.