28 May 2009 by Mary Heaney
Accident solicitor: cycling claims
A growing number of people are getting on their bike but unfortunately this has led to a rise in accidents. We talk to accident solicitors for their advice.
The growing number of people getting on their bike, for both health and environmental considerations, is commendable but it does not take much for a cyclist to find themselves in need of an accident solicitor. As a cyclist you cannot always rely on the conscientiousness of motorists and accident solicitors highlight the danger of cycling by pointing out that cycling in London accounted for only 2% of all travel journeys but 9% of its casualties.
Type of work an accident solicitor can deal with
Should you find yourself suffering a personal injury following an accident on your bike it is important that you contact an accident solicitor as soon as possible. If you have suffered an injury you may have costly medical bills to pay and may have suffered a loss of earnings. An accident solicitor can help compensate you for these and other losses, including damage done to your bike.
Far from Britain's legal system suffering from a compensation culture, accident solicitors find that many people experiencing a personal injury are wary of making a claim and unaware of their right to compensation. In fact, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reports that between 60 and 90% of cycling casualties go unreported, many of whom could no doubt have been remunerated for their losses had they contacted an accident solicitor.
Many accident solicitors will be well equipped to deal with your claim, whether you are one of the 90% in a cycling accident who the RoSPA says suffer a limb injury or the far fewer who have experienced a skull fracture or brain damage. Cycling claims that accident solicitors most commonly deal with include collisions with motorists who fail to notice the cyclist, such as when turning out of a side road, and ones arising from poorly maintained roads. An accident solicitor can bring a claim against the driver involved, the council or even the bike manufacturer or repairer if they are to blame.
What to expect from your accident solicitor
Many accident solicitors offer a free consultation so if you are unsure of whether you can make a claim it is usually worth looking into it. At an initial meeting your accident solicitor should be able to give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the ball park figure for compensation you could receive. Your accident solicitor can also outline your options for funding the case. Besides private funding, you may also be able to pay for your accident solicitor through legal expense cover that could be tacked on to an existing insurance policy. Your accident solicitor could also offer a conditional fee agreement ('no win, no fee'), most commonly backed up by after the event insurance should your claim fail.
To assist your accident solicitor in making a claim you should keep a record of any expenses you wish to claim for and the development of your injury. You should seek medical advice after the event for your own good wellbeing but also to get medical evidence of your injury that will prove useful to your accident solicitor. Your accident solicitor's work will also benefit from details of any witnesses.
Obviously, there are precautionary measures you can take as a cyclist and these will also strengthen your case should you need to consult an accident solicitor. For instance, it is a legal requirement now to have lights on the front and back of your bike. Cycling helmets are more controversial and not yet a legal requirement; however, should you experience a head injury when you are not wearing a helmet, the other party's accident solicitor may seek a reduction in your payout.
Your accident solicitor should also be part of either the Law Society Personal Injury Panel or the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.