Cycling Accident Compensation
Open since 1988, we fight on a ‘no win, no fee*’ basis for those who have been injured through no fault of their own. Contact our experienced & caring team for a free, no-obligation assessment of your case.
Expert Care & Advice After Your Cycling Accident
Have you been injured as a result of a bicycle accident that wasn’t your fault? If you have, you deserve compensation for both your injury and the damage to your bike and/or kit. Here at Smith Jones Solicitors, we have a specialist cycling accident compensation team who are dedicated to nothing but cycling injury claims. Our expert team has taken on countless cases which we have successfully won – even those that other firms have turned down.
Smith Jones is ‘Lexcel’ accredited; a legal practice mark of quality put in place by the Law Society. This proves excellence in legal practice management and client care. In addition to this and a number of accreditations from leading industry bodies, Smith Jones Solicitors are proud to be corporate members of ‘Headway – the brain injury association’.
Almost all of our cycle accident claims are handled on a no win, no fee basis (Also known as a ‘conditional fee agreement’). What this means is that there is no financial risk to you just in case your claim is unsuccessful.
Cycling Accidents on the Road
A road traffic accident can often be traumatic and even have devastating consequences for the victim and their family. This can be especially true when the accident involves a cyclist, as they can find themselves with extremely severe injuries. Whilst each client’s case is entirely different, there are a number of situations which present a real danger to cyclists, increasing the risk of incident and injury, for example:
- Accidents on a roundabout, road or at a junction: We have represented many cyclists that have suffered serious damage as a result of drivers emerging from side roads into the path of a cyclist.
- Cycle lane accident claims: Parked cars or other obstructions in cycle lanes, car doors being opened into the path of a cyclist and other road users travelling within the lane can all result in a cyclist being endangered.
You can call our expert solicitors on freephone 0800 195 95 90 to discuss your accident and begin your claim for cycling accident compensation. Our specialist bicycle accident solicitors have acted for cyclists involved in accidents both in the UK and abroad, so we can expertly guide you through the process from start to finish. As leaders in this field, we will work with you to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.
Faulty bicycle parts are a common cause of cycling accidents. These are most likely caused by faulty parts from the manufacturer. A much less common cause of this type of accident is an incorrectly fitted or inadequately fixed component by a bicycle mechanic or cycle store.
We would always recommend that you keep the faulty part in your possession as this will play a vital part in proving your claim. If you are asked to return the part to the supplier or manufacturer, we suggest you seek advice from our experts beforehand.
Potholes can cause problems to all kinds of road users and appear on a large number of UK roads. For a cyclist in particular, they can be incredibly dangerous. The responsibility repairing potholes lie with the local Highways Authority, who will usually be a county, city or borough council.
Winning compensation after an accident due to a pothole can be difficult, especially if the defect has been repaired before you gather photographs and dimensions of the pothole that caused your accident. We recommend you take photographs which clearly identify the depth, width and length of the pothole, its exact location, and the direction of travel. It is also helpful to retain details of any witnesses to your accident to support your claim.
Cases relating to defective highway surfaces are all different and the consequences vary greatly. We have many years of experience representing cyclists in all types of situations and will be available to assist you however severe your wounds may be. Our advice is tailored to each individual client, so we do recommend you speak to us regarding the individual circumstances of your cycling accident claim.
Our specialists can guide you through the litigation process for cycling injury compensation if your child has been involved in an accident that was not their fault. Our advice is based on more than 30 years of legal experience and we can help you with every aspect of your child’s claim, including providing access to medical assistance and physiotherapy.
Pursuing compensation on behalf of your child isn’t much different from claiming for an injury you have suffered yourself. You will be required to act on your child’s behalf if they are under the age of 18 and the settlement monies that are awarded will be invested by the court funds office until your child has their 18th birthday. This is to protect the child’s best interests.
As with most personal injury claims, you will need to start your cycling accident claim within 3 years of the accident. Injury claims for children are slightly different in that they can be brought by a parent or guardian at any time up until the child’s 18th birthday. If it has not been made, a claimant injured before their 18th birthday can make a claim within 3 years from that date (up to the date of their 21st birthday).
We represent cyclists in all types of compensation claims, from road traffic accidents to pothole accidents and component failure. Whatever the circumstances of your accident, if you were not the party at fault, we are here to help. However unusual you think your case may be, our expert legal firm will be happy to assist you wherever possible. We have an excellent track record of winning difficult cases and have the expertise and determination required to give you the best chance of success.
The team here at Smith Jones Solicitors work hard to ensure that when a cyclist, through no fault of their own, sustains injuries on the road that they receive the maximum amount of compensation. In fact, we believe in helping cyclists so much that we have established a separate brand and department to deal exclusively with injured cyclists (Cycle SOS).
Compensation needs to cover the injury itself, the pain and trauma, any expenses (travel, medication, medical care etc. and the loss of personal income and more. For us to provide you with a more accurate answer to the “How much compensation for a cycling accident?” question we would need to go through the details of your accident and injury. The legal team working on these matters works exceptionally hard to secure the maximum amount of compensation for you or your loved ones. This also means that where possible we will try to secure some early compensation, especially when you or your loved ones are now out of work as a result of the injuries sustained.
Much like any injury that is caused by someone else’s negligence or an accident, the injury can range anywhere from small cuts and scrapes through to far more serious injuries. This makes it exceptionally difficult to give a precise figure for the amount of compensation you are likely to be awarded. Plus there are a number of factors that also have to be taken into consideration. We are able to give ballpark figures on the amount of compensation you are likely to receive based on previous cases and Judicial College Guidelines, but there are a number of other factors that need to be taken into consideration. When calculating the amount of compensation an individual is likely to be awarded, there are two types of damages that need to be considered. General Damages and Special Damages.
Special damages cover all of the out of pocket expenses that occur which are a direct result of the accident. Special damages are there to ensure that you or your loved one, as victims of a personal injury accident are not left out of pocket after being involved in an accident which appears from the outset to not be your fault.
Special damages cover the following;
- Assistance, care and support.
- Equipment repair or replacement, which can include bike, e-bike, clothing, helmet and any personal items on your person/bike at the time of the accident so mobile phone, headphones, Garmin etc.
- Home adaptations.
- Household help which can include carers, cleaners, gardeners etc.
- Loss of earnings to date but also any loss of future earnings. We also take into consideration loss of any future promotions, loss of potential rise in salary and pension, as well as age of retirement, qualifications etc.
- Medical care.
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments but also work etc. You can secure travel expenses if your mode of transport is now unavailable to use such as a broken bike, or if you need to get taxi’s to and from work, the hospital or the supermarket because you are now on crutches for example and can’t get public transport or use your usual method of transportation.
General damages cover the amount of pain and suffering (also known as PSLA (Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity) a personal injury victim has suffered because of the accident. Very often a medical expert will evaluate the medical evidence and in many cases will meet with you or your loved one, so that they can calculate this more accurately and also see what, if any, future pain and suffering might be present.
General damages also takes into consideration how the injury will prevent a person from carrying out general every-day activities that they were once able to carry out. It is important to establish whether you or your loved one will be able to return to life like it was prior to the accident or whether adaptions may need to be made to how you personally do things or your living environment. Some of the things which fall under loss of quality of life include being able to do the chores at home, caring for your children, hobbies or and any sports that used to be played.
Below is a table that lists estimated compensation figures for common injuries that arise out of cycling accidents. The amounts given in the table are estimates that are taken from previous cases and also based on the Judicial Guidelines. Please note that whilst they can be used as ballpark figures they should never be taken as fact, relied upon or applied directly to your situation. This is because every case is different and therefore compensation amounts do vary on a case-by-case basis. Plus everyone has different personal circumstances that need to be considered and accounted for. The figures below only show the award for an injury and do not take into consideration Special Damages, as these need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Sometimes the injuries that arise from a cycle accident are so severe that they are not only life changing but life-long. That means that when producing figures for compensation it is necessary to consider life-long care and funding for that, as well as loss of earnings, home adaptions, loss of earnings, medical care, medication and rehabilitation etc. These can only be estimated and future forecasted. Our team here at Smith Jones Solicitors have excellent knowledge and plenty of experience when it comes to producing figures for life-long compensation.
Contact one of the team here at Smith Jones to go through the specifics of your individual accident and work out whether you do indeed have a claim. We can also discuss the procedure for bringing a claim as well as how much you would likely be awarded when taking into consideration General and Special Damages, and the severity of the accident and injuries sustained and the impact of this now and in the future.
With over 19,000 cyclists injured every year on Britain’s roads, it is perhaps little wonder that the number of accident claims continues to increase. What’s more, with a 22% increase in the number of cyclists on our roads (with over two million of Britons participating in some form of cycling from statistics taken in 2015), there can be little doubt that more accidents and injuries are naturally inevitable.
Bicycle Accident Claim Process
Generally speaking, there are two types of bicycle accident:
- An accident involving a collision with a vehicle and
- An accident caused by a road surface.
In each scenario it is important to obtain as much evidence as possible – particularly if you have sustained a personal injury and/or there is damage to your bike, which of course is highly likely in the event of an impact.
In the event that there is a third party involved (for example, the driver of the vehicle with whom you may have collided) then it perhaps goes without saying that you are well advised to contact the police whilst still at the scene and at the very least obtain driver information, including driver name and vehicle registration number since it naturally follows that you’ll be claiming a claim against them.
Where possible (in either event), it is always a good idea to obtain photographic evidence (ideally at the time of the incident but if that is not possible, as soon as possible thereafter) and of course, any Go-Pro footage you might have. This can subsequently be used to substantiate your claim and also evidence any other contributing factors such as the weather conditions or road surface issues.
What Can I Claim For?
Generally speaking – as with any other claim scenario – you will be able to claim for any loss sustained including (but not limited to):
- Compensation (as defined by the Judicial Studies Board)
- Out-of-pocket expenses (such as travel to medical appointments, prescription costs or assistance costs during any period of rehabilitation)
- Loss of earnings (including any missed bonuses as a result of you not being able to work)
- Medical expenses (such as consultancy fees, physiotherapy and rehabilitation)
- Psychological injuries (where physical injury is also present)
Making Your Accident Claim
If you are intending to make a claim for a cycling accident then it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Whilst each claim will naturally proceed on its own merit the standard method of dealing with a claim is as follows:
- Your legal representative will initiate your claim following the process for the appropriate track. For claims which are likely to be valued between £1,000 and £25,000 this will be the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal;
- Where necessary, your solicitor will also start to collate vital evidence which may include (but is not limited to) a full medical report, details from your employer about any earnings or bonuses you may have lost as a result of you being off work together with details of any specific damages – such as damage to your bike and clothing.
- In the event that the third party insurers fail to offer a reasonable amount by way of settlement then your solicitor will most likely recommend that court proceedings be issued.
Always remember that throughout the claims process the third party may also cite ‘contributory negligence’. Popular examples of this include your alleged failure to predict or foresee the accident (for example, coasting alongside a parked car when it might be reasonable to expect the passenger door being opened) or even failure to wear a cycle helmet. The latter still remains a very grey area in terms of contributory negligence – particularly in cases where head injuries are sustained.
That said, with the right legal advice and sufficient evidence to prove your claim then there is absolutely no reason why you should not be able to recover what is rightfully yours so don’t be afraid to ask questions and ultimately, get results.
Despite being an increasingly common problem for cyclists, cycling accident claims for injuries sustained by cyclists being hit by car doors appears to receive very little publicity with only very few cases (comparable to the actual number of incidents) being heard by the Court. What’s more, it is commonly accepted that numerous cyclists simply don’t report such incidents – particularly in cases where there are no injuries and/or damage sustained to the bike.
British associations such as Cycling UK have not only identified this particular issue but continue to raise awareness of what they refer to as “car-dooring” in a genuine pledge to save lives on Britain’s roads. Government figures captured between 2011 and 2015 show that eight cyclists died needlessly from carelessly opened car doors; thus reiterating the need for further awareness – both with new and existing drivers.
Indeed, in response to such campaigns, the Department of Transport have now agreed to consider new messages on cycle safety as part of their “Think!” campaign and plans are certainly afoot for the “Dutch reach” (which involves opening doors with the “wrong” hand) to be taught to all new drivers.
Originating some 50 years ago, the “Dutch Reach” is simply a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest away from the handle. So, in the UK this means the left hand of the driver, or the right hand of the passenger. This means that the person opening the door has to physically turn their body towards it, thus affording the opportunity to look over their shoulder and check for any oncoming traffic. It is a simple concept yet extremely effective and is even taught as part of the driving test in the Netherlands – something which British campaigners now believe should be introduced across the UK.
What Are Current Remedies Available To Cyclists?
Unfortunately, recent case law has led to much debate over whether the current penalties are high enough. Earlier this year, Loughborough Magistrates Court ordered a taxi driver, whose passenger knocked a cyclist off his bike, was only fined £300.00 despite this resulting in a fatality.
The circumstances in this particular case were that the passenger was exiting a taxi cab near Leicester railway station when the passenger door hit a 26-year old cyclist, Sam Boulton (a local school teacher who was cycling to work on his birthday). Whilst, in his defence the driver denied permitting the opening of a vehicle door so as to injure or endanger a person, he was nevertheless found guilty since the Court agreed he had been “neglectful of his duties”. The driver was also ordered to pay £625.00 in prosecution costs and a £30 victim surcharge; despite having parked on double yellow lines.
The maximum fine for car-dooring is currently just £1,000.00 and with no penalty points – even if the victim is killed as a result. Cycling UK continues to appeal this, stating that the fine fails to reflect the seriousness of the offence and perhaps gives some indication as to why so few cyclists report such incidents on the road.
What Does The Law Say On The Issue?
Rule 239 of the Highway Code states that motorists “MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic.”
However, this serves as guidance only and non-compliance of the Highway Code is not an offence. That said, s.42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 certainly DOES make it an offence to open “any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person”; so this also includes a cyclist having to swerve in order to avoid contact with a car door and not necessarily sustain actual impact.
Unfortunately, whilst it might seem obvious that passengers should check the road prior to opening their door, Courts will also consider contributory negligence i.e. whether or not the cyclist should have anticipated that a car door might be opened in their path. This was something the Court were called to consider in the landmark case of John Burridge v. Airwork Limited (2004) wherein the Claimant cyclist was knocked into the road by a mini-bus door before being hit by another vehicle. However, whilst the Defendant argued that the Claimant could have foreseen the accident, it was the Court’s view that this simply placed too high a standard on cyclists.
How To Make A Claim For Dooring
Any cyclist who suffers injury and/or equipment damage should most certainly seek legal advice with a view to making a claim. Both the car driver and the passenger owe a duty of care to the cyclist and certainly breach that specific duty the very moment they open the door without taking adequate (and basic) precautions.
In all cases, any claim made by the cyclist should be directed to the driver’s insurance company for a full investigation. This is likely to include consideration as to whether or not the passenger should also be held liable – for example, in cases where the driver had some sort of control over the passenger; as in the case of the taxi driver already mentioned.
Given that any claim of this nature is likely to involve a clear breach of the Highway Code and Road Traffic Act 1988, the most likely outcome is that the Court will make an award in favour of the cyclist. However, Claimants should always be mindful of any counterclaim for contributory negligence – hence the recommendation to seek independent legal advice at the very soonest opportunity. In the event this is accepted by the Court then the cyclist can almost certainly expect a reduction on the amount of compensation payable so it is well worth looking into.
With the huge uptake in cycling in recent years, we have seen the number of British operators offering EU cyclist training camps increase. Cyclists and operators often refer to training camps as cycling holidays, as cycle enthusiasts travel to warmer climes with their bikes. They generally take place just before the start of the competitive season and motivate cyclists to get out training throughout the winter months.
Unfortunately, on intensive road trips, accidents often do happen. We have represented a number of people that have been injured in road accidents while attending an EU training camp.
Because of varying legislation depending on where your accident occurred and who was to blame for it, we recommend you call us on freephone 0800 195 9590 for specialist advice based on the individual details of your accident.
If you have been affected by the death of someone close to you and are starting litigation on their behalf, we are here to provide you with support and assistance wherever possible. We will work alongside you to ensure you have all the information you need and will assist you wherever possible in attaining financial support to enable you to make any necessary arrangements.
We understand that a fatal accident claim is not just about the financial compensation and that the loss of a loved one can impact every aspect of your own life. Our team will always listen to your needs and take as much of the burden as possible.