If you are involved in a bicycle accident, it is likely that it was not your fault. A bicycle accident lawyer can help ensure you receive any personal injury benefits and obtain appropriate accident compensation. Find out more about compensation claims for bike accidents, the causes, how much compensation you can expect, and common injuries that can occur after a cycling accident. Let’s take a closer look.
Who Can Make A Cycling Accident Claim?You may be entitled to cycling accident compensation if you are directly involved in a bike accident and have sustained serious injuries. You might be eligible for compensation if you depended on someone fatally injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle. You may still be able to claim cycling accident compensation even if the accident did not involve a motor vehicle. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to a claim, you should obtain legal advice from a bicycle accident lawyer specialising in personal injury. Many law firms offer a free initial consultation with a no-win no fee arrangement. Obtaining obligation free advice before submitting your claim can help ensure that your application is completed correctly, which can help your assessment.
Understanding Who Is Liable?A severe cycling accident can significantly impact your life, physically and mentally. It is crucial that before you claim compensation that you are familiar with the legal process and your entitlements. When you have been involved in a motor accident, you must understand who is liable to ensure that your claim is successful. You must demonstrate that the other party failed their duty of care and was responsible for the accident. Understanding the difference between public liability and third party insurance will help ensure that your compensation claim is finalised quickly. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, you may also be entitled to claim workers’ compensation or obtain total or permanent disability benefits. When you claim compensation, the insurance company of the person at fault is responsible for payment.
Third-Party InsuranceIn New South Wales, every registered road user must have compulsory third party insurance. When someone is injured by a motor vehicle, the insurance company will pay compensatory damages on behalf of the liable party. The CTP insurer will provide cover for personal injuries but not for damage to a vehicle. Anyone injured by a car, truck, bus or other stationary or moving vehicles are entitled to make a compensation claim against the insurance company.
Public Liability Insurance ClaimsIf a bike accident occurs without a motor vehicle being involved, for example, on a footpath or in a carpark, your damages claim will be against the public liability insurer of the responsible party. For example, if an accident occurs due to a pothole on a footpath, the insurance claim will be made against the local city council’s insurance company.
Are You Eligible For Compensation?If you have been injured in a bike accident, you must obtain professional advice from a lawyer specialising in personal injury law to ensure that you receive adequate cycling accident compensation. Depending on the accident’s severity, your injuries may change your life forever. You may no longer be able to work in the same role or enjoy life as you did previously. The impact can be devastating. In the initial consultation, your lawyer will access the following;
- The seriousness of your injuries
- Details surrounding your bike accident, how the accident occurred etc
- Future effects the cycling accident will have on your lifestyle and life
What Compensation Can You Claim From A Cycling Accident?Cycling offers enormous health benefits, and a cycling accident can have highly detrimental physical and health ramifications. You may be eligible to claim compensation if you have suffered a serious injury due to falling off your bike. An accident can incur a lot of financial stress and unplanned expenses, and, in some cases, life complications and health issues. Your legal team will assess your life path and how the incident has negatively impacted it, and a monetary value can be placed on the gap. You could claim a substantial lump sum settlement if the incident was not your fault. Some examples of cycling claims include;
- Pain and suffering – if your injuries are non minor
- Medical expenses – both past and future
- Loss of earnings
- Nursing or disability services
- Modifications to home and vehicle
- Employment retraining
- Future earning capacity
- Legal costs
Your EntitlementsEvery case is unique, and depending on the specific circumstances of your bike accident, your compensation entitlements will vary. Obtaining payments whilst you receive treatment for your injuries or take time off work can be a huge relief. Your entitlements will be covered for a specific period depending on the classification and extent of your injuries. Your injuries will be classified as minor, non minor or permanent impairment. You may receive income support and medical expenses for up to six months for a minor injury. An example of a minor injury could include; soft tissue injury, whiplash or muscle strain. For non minor injuries, such as brain injury, surgery or broken limb, you may receive home care and medical support beyond 24 months. You can claim compensation for pain and suffering if your injuries are non minor. It is important to note that some issues may worsen over time, and you may need to be reassessed if complications or additional issues occur. Your compensation will also be adjusted as per your losses, such as a loss of income.
Common Causes Of Bike AccidentsIf you have been knocked off of your bike, in most cases, you are not to blame. Most bike accidents are caused by drivers who are driving recklessly. Some of the most frequent bicycle accident compensation claims are due to the following:
Drivers Who Fail To Give WayThis happens when a driver pulls out from an intersection into the path of the cyclist or hits the cyclist side on.
Getting Hit From BehindA cyclist hit by a car from behind can result in serious injuries, particularly when they are hit at speed.
Having A Car Door Opened Onto You As You Ride By (Dooring)When the driver of a motor vehicle opens their door without looking behind, this type of accident is widespread and can result in significant injuries.
When A Car Speeds Past You, Or Passes Too Close, Causing You To CrashAny accident when a car is at speed can result in severe consequences. Close passes are a common hazard for cyclists.
Drowsy Or Drunk DrivingA sleepy or intoxicated driver can be hazardous to cyclists and other vehicles on the road. They drive recklessly and cannot respond quickly to avoid an accident.
Drivers Using Bicycle LaneIn metropolitan areas, a bicycle lane can help ensure the safety of cyclists sharing the road with numerous vehicles. In some cases, particularly in the CBD with heavy traffic, vehicles may illegally use the bicycle lane, which can cut off cyclists and cause serious accidents.
Potholes and Road HazardsA cycling accident that involves your bike hitting a pothole on the road or pavement when hit at speed can cause the bike to flip and result in a severe injury.
Hit And RunHit-and-run accidents occur when the driver hits a cyclist and fails to stop, they can cause serious injuries. The NSW CTP scheme allows cyclists to apply for compensation from the “Nominal defendant” when the vehicle can not be identified.
Common Injuries From Cycling AccidentsEach year in every state and territory across Australia, thousands of cyclists are injured and seek emergency medical treatment at a hospital due to a cycling accident. The most common injury from falling from a bicycle involves striking a hard surface such as a bitumen road or concrete surface with your body. The impact can cause catastrophic injuries and even death. Other injuries can occur by hitting an object, for example, a pole or another static or moving object. Some of the most common physical injuries that can occur as a result of a bicycle accident include:
- Broken bones and arm fractures
- Knee and leg injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Concussion or brain damage
- Eye injury
- Shoulder Injury
- Cuts, open wounds and abrasions
- Soft tissue injuries (muscle strain, whiplash)
- Sprains and strains
- Crush Injury
- Wrongful death
How Much Does It Cost?Many lawyers can provide an obligation free initial consultation where you are informed of your legal rights and the legal process regarding a compensation claim. Also, they may include a no-win no-fee clause which means you may not have to pay any ongoing legal fees unless you win your case. You can also make a claim online through the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) portal, which the NSW government manages. You can obtain valuable advice from the CTP claim advice website. However, you run the risk of being underpaid by not understanding all of your entitlements. It would help if you spoke to a lawyer before lodging your application. Your claim will need to be submitted within 28 days from the accident to be eligible for any lost wages payments.
What Is The Process For Making A Cycling Accident Claim?The process for making a cycling accident claim will vary depending on the circumstances and the state where the accident occurred. Each state and territory has its laws that apply. When making a cycling accident claim, you should:
- Report the accident to the police – make sure that you obtain a police event number so you can claim your entitlements
- Obtain witness statements at the scene of the incident
- Record details of the vehicle – so you can identify the CTP insurer
- Obtain a medical certificate from your Doctor to support your claim – ensure that it is comprehensive, including bruising, inflammation and injuries which may worsen over time
- Submit an application for your personal injury benefit for time off of work
- Complete and submit a claim form with the appropriate insurer – it must be made within three months of the incident
Are There Time Limits That Apply?You must consult a professional law firm for expert advice as soon as possible after your cycling accident, as strict time limits occur when submitting a compensation claim. Each state has their regulations regarding time limits. Some are as early as six months, so you should proceed as soon as possible.
How Long Does A Cycling Accident Claim Take?The length of a compensation claim will vary depending on specific details such as; the time it takes to treat your injuries and if the insurance company accepts full responsibility. Generally, it can take between 1 and 3 years before you receive any lump sum payments. With a CTP claim, you can expect a letter within a month advising whether your claim was accepted, and if approved, payments should start within 14 days. Three months after lodging your claim, you should receive notification of the classification of your injuries and what future benefits to expect. Your bike accident lawyer can provide comprehensive advice regarding the claim process and the length of time before you may receive any accident compensation.
Can You Claim For Bike Damage?If you use your bike regularly for work, you may have some expensive modifications to make your riding more comfortable. A lightweight frame, custom pedals and mouldings etc. Sustaining damage to your bicycle may also mean losing your primary form of transportation and can impact your work and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the NSW CTP scheme does not cover property damage, only personal injury. To claim for damage to your bike, you will need to obtain a quote for damage and present it to the at fault party. You can also claim if you have bike insurance or if your bike is covered under your contents insurance. You may also need to submit a claim to the small claims division of your local court for damage to your bike. Discuss options with your lawyer regarding compensation, and work-related expenses may be included in a lump sum payment.
SummaryA cycling accident can disrupt your life, mainly if the injuries you sustained are serious. It can mean medical appointments, surgery and time off of work. Rehabilitation takes time, especially after a serious injury. You may be entitled to cycling accident compensation if you are directly involved in a bike accident and have sustained serious injuries. If you have been injured, you must obtain professional advice from a lawyer specialising in personal injury law to ensure that you receive adequate cycling accident compensation. Every case is unique, and depending on the specific circumstances, your compensation entitlements will vary. Some examples of bicycle accident claims include; pain and suffering, medical expenses, and loss of earnings. The most common injury from falling from a bicycle involves striking a hard surface such as a bitumen road or concrete surface with your body, resulting in broken bones, concussion, wounds, bruises, dislocation or even death. The process for making a cycling accident claim will vary depending on the circumstances and the state where it occurred. Each state and territory has its laws that apply. When making a cycling accident claim, you should:
- Report the incident to the police
- Obtain witness statements at the scene of the accident
- Obtain a certificate from your Doctor to support your claim
- Complete and submit a cycling accident claim form with the relevant insurer