If you are involved in a cycling accident it is likely that both you and your bike will come off worse for wear. It is not possible to roll back time and prevent the accident from occurring but you can claim financial compensation for your injuries and to put you back in the financial position that you would have been had the accident not occurred.
Your compensation (also known as “damages”) is split into two categories – “general damages” and “special damages”.
Broadly speaking, this is compensation for any physical and psychological injuries that you have suffered as a result of the accident. It will also compensate you for any limitations your injuries have placed on you, for example being unable to compete in cycle races or carry out certain household tasks.
To calculate the amount of that you should receive it will be necessary to obtain a medical report. This usually involves your solicitor arranging for you to see an independent medical expert (of an appropriate qualification for the type of injury that you have suffered). That expert will meet with you, discuss the accident and your injuries, carry out an examination and may wish to review your medical records. They will then prepare a medical report setting out what injuries you have suffered as a result of the accident, any treatment which may assist your recovery, and how long it should take for you to recover (or if you have already recovered, how long that recovery took). The length of time it will take for you to recover is known as the “prognosis period”.
Your solicitor will then review the “Judicial College Guidelines” which are the official guidelines as to how much compensation should be awarded for similar types of injury. The guidelines may suggest far-ranging brackets of compensation as being appropriate for some injuries. For example a simple fracture of the lower arm could warrant compensation anywhere from £5,000 to £15,500. Your solicitor will therefore also consider what settlements have been reached in other cases. It is vital that your solicitor has a high level of experience to ensure that they can negotiate the highest level of settlement possible.
This is compensation for any financial losses. A correctly calculated special damages claim should put you back in the financial position as if the accident had not occurred.
Typically in a cycling accident claim the following expenses may be incurred:-
- Bicycle repair and replacement;
- Loss of earnings (both past and future);
- Increased travel costs as a result of not being able to use your bicycle;
- Replacement helmet;
- Replacement cycle clothing;
- Physiotherapy and rehabilitation costs;
- Medical expenses.
It is important that you keep records and receipts for all expenses. It is also important that you retain any damaged items in case the insurers wish to examine them.
You may need to have your bicycle inspected by a mechanic who will prepare a brief report setting out the cost of repairs/replacement. Your solicitor can assist with this. Similarly your solicitor may need to contact your employers for details of any lost earnings.
If you find yourself struggling financially following an accident, for example if you are unable to continue working due to your injuries, then you can request an “interim payment” from the insurers for the responsible party to help you financially whilst your claim is investigated.