Cycling injury claims: What to do after an accident
When we think of road traffic accidents we automatically think of two vehicles colliding with each other. However, road traffic accidents between vehicles and cyclists are also very common, despite the extensive awareness campaigns encouraging drivers to be even more conscious about driving safely and responsibly around cyclists.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a cyclist and have been injured, whether you were on a bike or you were the driver of a vehicle, you may be wondering what to do next. Here we explain the steps you should follow if you have been injured and should you wish to make a compensation claim.
Like with all road traffic collisions, the first thing to do is stop. Leaving the scene of an accident is classed as an offence and you could land yourself in trouble if you do so.
If another party does leave the scene of an accident, you should let the police know as soon as possible and give as much information to them as possible. Even if the accident seems minor and no one was hurt – it is still an offence to leave.
Call emergency services if necessary
If anyone is hurt, you should make it a priority to call the relevant emergency services. With accidents which involve cyclists or motorcyclists, there is a much higher chance that injuries are more severe ad the rider does not have the protective shell of a car.
Once you have made sure that injured parties have the required attention, your next step is to gather as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. Do note that after an accident, emotions are running high and people will often feel shaky and tearful.
Because of this, it is easy to miss or forget to note some information and sometimes this cannot be helped. Just try to gather as much information and evidence as possible.
Start by exchanging details with anyone else involved, which includes name, address, contact number and insurance details. Also note down the details of any vehicles involved. So make, model, colour and registration plate.
Insurers will often ask you what the weather and road conditions were like at the time of the accident, so jotting them down will help. Date, time and location of the accident is also information to note.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, it is worth asking them if they would agree to make a statement. If they wish to, take their details too. Do remember that not everyone will wish to give a statement, and it is their own right.
If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and make sure not to move anything. For example, moving your bicycle out of the road or moving your car into a ‘safer’ position will not help when trying to find out who was responsible.
Keep any damaged items
If you were wearing protective clothing and/or equipment whilst riding a bicycle or motorcycle and they are damaged in the collision, you may be tempted to throw them away. However, it is a good idea to keep any items that are damaged as the equipment could be important evidence in your claim.
In addition, the value of the damaged property can affect the amount of compensation you receive, and if you are able to produce said property, it will be more difficult for the defendant’s insurers to dispute their value.
Regarding a damaged bicycle, you should get a quote from a cycle repair shop as soon as possible following the accident and get a quote for the cost to repair the damage. If the bike is ‘written off’ (meaning there is too much damage to repair) then ask for a letter confirming this. Getting a quote for a replacement bicycle of a similar make and model is something insurers will also suggest.
If, at the scene of the accident, you were badly hurt, you may have received emergency medical treatment. However, sometimes this is not necessary though you are still injured in some way. If this is the case, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
It is always worth telling the medical professional that you may wish to make a personal injury claim in the coming days or weeks so they can help you accurately document your injuries.
Document your expenses
When making a personal injury claim for a cyclist accident, you are able to claim back expenses just as you would with any other claim. If you wish to do this, document anything that you feel is important such as medical bills, travel fees and loss of earnings.
Things to remember
Many insurance companies are now contacting the innocent party of a claim and making an offer of compensation to them. This offer is usually considerably lower than what they would have to pay out should you submit a formal claim through the courts.
In addition, it is immorally wrong for them to approach you in this way. Though any sum of money may be tempting to accept, you should not accept any offer from anyone without speaking to a legal expert first. He/she will advise you and give you a rough idea of what your compensation figure should look like.