Cyclists are identified in the Highway Code as being amongst the most vulnerable of road users.
Cycling accidents commonly arise because of the actions of other road users, defects or hazards in the highway, or defective equipment. Injured cyclists may also experience financial losses.
Accidents can lead to injuries (sometimes minor, often severe), costly repair or replacement bills and in many cases consequential losses such as lost earnings.
Our specialist solicitors – many of whom are keen cyclists themselves and have links with a range of cycling organisations – may be able to help you if you have been injured while cycling. We have helped children and adults, leisure riders and club riders to pursue claims as a result of cycling accidents caused by the actions or omissions of others
We will quickly assess the merits of any claim you might have and advise you as to the prospects for achieving a successful outcome as well as the likely value of any compensation you may be entitled to. You are unlikely to be faced with legal bills as our work is almost exclusively undertaken on a no win, no fee basis.
We have recovered millions of pounds in damages for injured claimants over almost 50 years of serving claimants injured through no fault of their own. We can also assist in arranging rehabilitative treatment where it is required.
From the relatively minor to catastrophic injury, we have specialist solicitors who can help if you have been injured in a cycling accident.
How is the cycling accident claim funded?
You can contact us for an initial telephone conversation about your potential claim without any obligation to proceed. Unless you have legal expenses insurance, we will normally recommend that your cycle accident claim is funded under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). In the event that your claim is unsuccessful, there will be no charges.
In the event of a successful claim, the maximum deduction for legal fees will be 25% of the damages which we recover for you inclusive of the cost of ‘After the Event’ (ATE) insurance policy which we normally recommend that you take out as this protects you from any cost liability to the defendants. Provided you comply with the terms of the CFA there will normally be no other deductions.
Who pays the damages?
In the event that the collision was caused by a motorist, then damages are paid by the motorist’s insurance company. Approximately 10% of drivers on Britain’s roads are uninsured. In the event that the driver does not have a valid policy of insurance or you were hit by a ‘hit and run’ driver, then a claim is made to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.
If you were involved in a crash as a result of a defect to the road surface, then a claim can be made against the council under the Highways Act 1980. These claims are often not straightforward.
What can I claim for?
In the event of a successful claim, you can recover damages for your personal injuries and for your financial losses. The injury award is called general damages or pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA). The injury awarded is assessed in accordance with the Judicial College Guidelines and based on the independent medical evidence obtained.
In addition to the injury award, you can recover damages for any reasonably incurred expenses arising out of the accident and for your financial losses, for example, loss of earnings, medical expenses, gratuitous care provided by your family and property damage such as damage to your bicycle. The aim of the compensation is to return you as close as possible to the position you would have been ‘but for’ the accident. The aim of the compensation is to return you to the position you were in immediately prior to the accident.
How do you prove your claim?
An injured party bringing a claim for personal injuries has to prove their case on the balance of probabilities. It has to be proved that the potential defendant was negligent (or in a claim against a council for road defects that they were in breach of their statutory duty). A civil claim has to be proven “on the balance of probabilities”. It must be proven that, on this balance, the defendant was negligent or failed in their statutory duty
If it can be established that the defendant was negligent, this is called ‘primary liability’; the next stage is to consider if you were partly responsible for the collision. This is called ‘contributory negligence’. If you were partly responsible for the accident the court will divide liability in proportions such as 75/25, 67/33 or 50/50.
What does the claims process involve?
For claims worth between £1,000 and £25,000, these are dealt with in the MOJ Portal. This is a 3 stage process.
Stage 1 – Investigation: Your lawyer will send a Claim Notification Form (CNF) to the defendant and this must be acknowledged within 1 working day. The defendant then has 15 working days to respond (or 40 working days for a public liability claim) giving their liability stance. The claim will remain in the Portal if the defendant admits liability in full. If liability is not admitted the Defendant has a 3 month period in which to make their further enquiries and to respond to us.
Stage 2 – Negotiation: Once liability has been admitted We will obtain medical evidence and advise you on the value of your claim. The claim is presented to the defendant insure via the Portal ( a process known as presenting the stage 2 pack). A first offer must be made by the Defendant in 15 working days and if this is not agreed given a further 20 days – a total of 35 working days.
Stage 3 – Litigation: If agreement cannot be reached then the claim has to proceed through the court process.
Multi-track cases are claims worth in excess of £25,000. The claim is initiated by a Letter of Claim. The defendant should acknowledge safe receipt within 21 days and then has a further 90 days to investigate the claim and make a substantive response. This is called the ‘personal injury protocol period’. Medical evidence is obtained and the claimant’s losses are calculated and set out in the Schedule of Loss. Many cases settle without the need to issue court proceedings. If the parties cannot reach agreement on the value of the claim (this is called ‘quantum’) or on liability, then it is necessary to issue court proceedings.
Only a small percentage of cases proceed all the way to trial. Claims usually settle after a formal ‘Part 36 Offer’ has been made or at a ‘Joint Settlement Meeting’.
In cases involving serious injury, it can often take 3 or 4 years to reach a resolution as it is important to fully assess the impact of the injuries. A case cannot be reopened if any complications arise.
What are the time limits for making a claim?
The time limit for making a personal injury claim is 3 years. If court proceedings are not issued within 3 years of the date of the accident or date of injury then the claim is statute barred. There are exceptions for children and for claimants who lack mental capacity. In the case of children, the limitation period does not run until they reach their 18th birthday. The limitation period does not apply to claimants who lack mental capacity.
We will normally only accept instructions if the accident occurred less than 2 years ago because we need time to properly investigate the case before issuing court proceedings.