For most cyclists being able to take your bike on the roads is more than just a mode of transport, it's a lifestyle that comes with many different rewarding experiences for those lucky enough to appreciate it. Unfortunately cycling comes with its fair share of ever increasing risks. Where more and more people are embracing cycling, accidents involving cyclists continue to rise. According to ROSPA in 2015 there were over 18,000 accidents on UK roads involving cyclists
There are also more motorists on the road than ever before. For many people living in the UK, the days of one car per family are over. Now most family members have their own car and the roads are busier than they ever have been. This is one of the biggest factors influencing cycling accidents, as sadly not all motorists share the same level of experience or care when navigating the roads.
These hazards can come in many forms: Drivers may turn into the path of a cyclist or they may fail to see cyclists when turning a corner or changing lanes. The drivers may pull out in front of a cyclist or they may quickly open their car doors in front of an oncoming cyclist. It may just simply be driving too fast so they are unable to stop in time.
The roads surface itself may be the cause of the accident rather than a motorist. If a road has not been correctly built or if potholes have appeared and not been filled in by the local council, then the council themselves could be at fault. Cyclists like everyone else, pay their council tax and expect roads to be safe for them to travel on. Often it's not fellow road users who are the cause of the accident but the authority responsible for that road.
Simply put cyclists need to be alert on and off their bikes, should they suffer an accident they need to know where to turn, as more often than not, the accident was not their fault. If they have sustained an injury then they may be due a significant amount of compensation.
Specialist solicitors are used to helping cyclists who have suffered an injury from an accident that they did not cause and are more than happy to speak to cyclists in order to help them establish if they have a case or not. Most specialist solicitors offer a free no obligation consultation to help cyclists who may have recently been in an accident identify if they have a case, and what compensation they may be due. Many specialist solicitors also offer 'no win no fee', meaning those who inquire will not be at risk of financial loss if their case does not end in compensation.
The advice from a specialist alone is sometimes enough to help put a victims mind at ease. As the consultation is the first stage of the process, it's mostly designed to be a fact-finding exercise. This is to help the client learn if legal action is the right thing to do without the pressure or an expensive bill at the end. This allows the client to ask all the questions they wish to a professional who understands these matters in order to make the right decision.
Specialist solicitors will also do all the work involved for their clients as part of the service. While the amount of compensation received can vary depending on the individual, the injury and other factors. Most specialist solicitors will have a free compensation calculator on their websites, like here at Cycle-SOS. This allows those who have been in a cycling accident to get a decent idea of what they may be entitled to before applying. Once the case is active, cyclists who have been in an accident are then assigned their own legal representative. This representative serves as a point of contact and will handhold the client through the whole process.
Injuries from cycling accidents can come in many shapes and forms, but there are some that are considered the most common and generally lead to compensation. These are often referred to as 'general damages' and have certain amounts of compensation associated with each depending on the solicitor. The injuries are:
- Skin abrasions (Otherwise known as 'road rash')
- Injuries to the neck, shoulders and back
- Fractured or broken bones
- Damage to muscles or other tissue
- Concussion and/or head injury
- Anxiety and other associated psychological injuries
There is also 'special damages' which are much more individual and tailored to every specific case. They are to do with any financial loss the victim has sustained following a cycling accident. The amounts can vary and be extensive, but here is a list of what generally counts as special damages:
- Damage to the bike itself- Bikes are expensive and the accident may result in the bike needing to be repaired or replaced.
- Damage to clothing and accessories – Any gadgets attached to the bike, your mobile phone, iPod or cycling clothing may need replacing or repairing.
- Alternative travel arrangements – Lots of cyclists use their bike to get to work and to get around in their daily lives. If the bike is being repaired or replaced then the victim may be able to claim back petrol costs or bus fair as an example.
Loss of earnings – The accident may have resulted in the cyclist taking time off work. This can be the most expensive of all and can be claimed back.
Naturally every claim is different and needs to be assessed individually but specialist solicitors are always on hand to help those who need advice after being in a cycling accident. If the accident was not the cyclist's fault then compensation is likely.Speaking to a specialist solicitor is sometimes the only way this can be achieved so it's always worth picking up the phone and seeing what you may be entitled to. Cyclists are just as important as any other road user and deserve to be treated the same way.