UK Bicycle Accident Compensation
Introduction to Bicycle Accident Compensation in the UK
Despite an overall decrease in road traffic accidents in the UK, bicycle accident compensation claims continue to increase. According to figures released by the Department for Transport for 2010, bicycle accident fatalities rose by 7% to 111, while the total number of bicycle accident injuries in the UK rose to 17,185. It is worth noting that these statistics represent only those bicycle accident injuries in the UK which were reported to the police. Injuries sustained due to faulty road surfaces, and in other non-collision accidents, have not been included in the Department for Transport report.
The Myth of Cycling Growth in the UK
Inasmuch as those who like to dismantle statistics will argue that the increased number of UK bicycle accident compensation claims is proportionate to the growth of cycling in the UK; of an estimated total of 13 million cyclists, only 3.5 million are considered to be “frequent” cyclists – those who cycle once a week or more – whereas 73% of the cycling population are classified as recreational cyclists. A recent study by Lancaster University concluded that the proportion of bike journeys made nationally by cyclists in the UK had remained stagnant at 2% - whereas (reported) bicycle accident injuries in the UK now represent 8.2% of all casualties on the UK´s roads.
How Bicycle Accidents Occur
As one of the most important factors when claiming bicycle accident compensation in the UK is establishing negligence, a report compiled by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)makes interesting reading. In 2010, RoSPA found 84% of fatal bicycle injuries were caused by a collision with a motorist where the most common key factor recorded by police was that the motorist “failed to look properly”. Cyclists in heavily populated urban areas are also frequently injured by HGV vehicles, buses and coaches failing to allow enough room for the rider, and one-in-six serious injuries to cyclists occur when a bicycle is hit by a speeding car.
Typical Bicycle Accident Injuries
As many bicycle accidents result in multiple injuries, the value of UK bicycle accident compensation settlements is often higher than the average personal injury claim. In its analysis of the Department for Transport statistics, RoSPA found that more than 40% of bicycle accident victims suffered an arm injury, while a leg injury occurred in 25% of bicycle accidents. Chest and abdominal injuries occur far less frequently, but are often more serious, while 40% of bicycle accident injuries (45% for children) affect the head. This final statistic raises the debate about cycle helmets.
The Cycle Helmet Debate
In the UK, bicycle accident compensation claims are not affected by whether the injured cyclist was wearing a helmet or not – whereas with motorcycling injuries they would. Opinion is divided as to whether cycle helmets make a difference to the volume and severity of head injuries. Whereas the British Medical Association and RoSPA advocate the wearing of helmets, manufacturers of cycle helmets in the UK have acknowledged that the current European standard EN1078 is of insufficient strength to offer any significant protection when a person is thrown from a bicycle and hits their head on a tarmac road. Furthermore, it has also been suggested that cyclists cycle more aggressively because they believe that they are protected by the helmet. Inasmuch as the failure to wear a cycle helmet is not regarded in law as contributory negligence, there are several factors which are.
Bicycle Accident Compensation in the UK and Contributory Negligence
Contributory negligence is when the victim of a bicycle accident has contributed to their injuries by their own lack of care. Any cyclist who has been injured in an accident for which they were not wholly to blame is entitled to claim bicycle accident compensation in the UK, but if the cyclist is considered to have been partly responsible, how much bicycle accident compensation they receive will be reduced by the proportion to which they are considered liable. The most common example of contributory negligence is when children cycle straight onto the road from the pavement without paying due care and attention to any oncoming traffic.
Compensation for Bicycle Accidents in the UK
In the UK, bicycle accident compensation is paid to victims of bicycle accidents (or family members in the event of compensation for fatal bicycle accidents) provided that they have sustained a quantifiable injury due to the negligence of a third party. Whereas most bicycle accidents compensation claims in the UK are made against a negligent vehicle driver, local councils who have failed to maintain a road or cycle path in a safe condition, and utility companies who create hazards with their roadworks, can also have claims for bicycle accident compensation made against them. Bicycle accident compensation in the UK falls into four main components:-
Compensation for Physical Injury – Bicycle accident compensation is awarded for the pain and suffering experienced at the time of the accident and during the recovery period. Amounts of compensation vary depending on the severity of an injury and the length of time an injury may take to heal, and consequently people will receive different amounts of bicycle accident compensation for similar injuries depending on their age, sex and previous physical condition.
Compensation for Loss of Amenity – The term “loss of amenity” refers to the impact an injury has had on the accident victim´s quality of life – even temporarily. For example, if somebody who broke their leg in a bicycle accident were to regularly participate in active sports, it would be possible for them to claim UK bicycle accident compensation for the consequences of their injuries. Again, this will vary according to the victim´s usual activities prior to the accident.
Compensation for Psychological Injury – Experts are in agreement that whenever somebody has experienced a physical trauma, they suffer from a level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Furthermore, if the victim of a bicycle accident has lost their confidence to get back on their bicycle, or has suffered from depression while they have been immobile during their recovery, this too can be integrated into a claim for bicycle accident compensation in the UK.
Compensation for Financial Loss – Almost every injury has a financial cost attached to it – whether it is when medical treatment is sought, when care arrangements have to be paid for or when the victim suffers a loss of income due to being unable to work. UK bicycle accident compensation settlements include compensation for any quantifiable financial loss the victim has suffered and the costs of pursuing a bicycle accident compensation claim.
Get Free Advice about UK Bicycle Accident Compensation
In addition to the information above, we have produced a “Bicycle Injury Claims Guide” which provides valuable information about the procedures for making a claim for bicycle accident compensation in the UK. However, this is no substitute for speaking directly with an experienced personal injury solicitor, having a full assessment of your bicycle accident compensation claim and establishing that you have a claim which is worth your while to pursue.
We operate a freephone injury claims advice service, which you are invited to call if you have been injured in a bicycle accident for which you were not entirely at fault. Our solicitors have more than twenty years experience of assisting with bicycle accident compensation claims in the UK, and you are free to ask as many questions as you feel are relevant to bicycle accident compensation in the UK.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim for UK bicycle accident compensation once you have spoken with us, and all calls to our freephone injury claims advice service are naturally confidential. With the potential for substantial injuries after a bicycle accident, it is important that you receive qualified advice from a legal professional to ensure that you receive a fair and adequate settlement of bicycle accident compensation.