What are the chances of winning a cycling injury claim?
If you have been injured in a cycling accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim. As a potential claimant, you may want to assess your chances of success before starting a formal claim.
What are the basic claim criteria?
To be eligible to make a personal injury claim:
- you must have become aware of your injury within the past 3 years
- your injury must have resulted from another person's actions or negligence
- the other person must have owed you a duty of care
If the injured party is a child (under 18), you can start a claim on their behalf at any point before their 18th birthday. Once the child reaches the age of 18, they have a further 3 years to start a claim.
What do I need to prove?
At the start of a claim, your solicitor will start by discussing the circumstances of your accident with a view to answering the following questions:
Were you injured as the result of the accident?
In most cycling accidents, it will be obvious that the injury resulted from the accident. A link between a car hitting a cyclist and the cyclist's broken bone, bruise or laceration will be easy to establish.
Establishing a connection between a collision involving a head injury and a cyclist's subsequent development of epilepsy may be more difficult, and will require expert medical opinion.
Who caused the accident?
Your solicitor will need to prove that the other party, e.g. a car or van driver, caused the accident. Witness statements, CCTV, or helmet camera footage is often used in support of a claim.
Did the party who caused the accident owe you a duty of care?
A duty of care is a legal obligation to act with reasonable care and attention to avoid harming others. It requires individuals and organisations to take reasonable steps to prevent harm and protect the safety and well-being of others.
All road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, owe a duty of care to all other road users. If a breach in this duty of care results in another road user being injured, a compensation claim may be possible.
How likely am I to win?
If it can be established that the other party's (defendant) actions caused the accident and your subsequent injury, you claim is likely to have a strong chance of success.
In practice, success usually means that your claim will be settled out of court, and that compensation will be paid in the form of a settlement by the defendant's or their insurance company.
What happens if the defendant doesn't accept liability?
The outcome of claims where the defendant does not accept liability can be harder to predict. An initial denial of liability may be a negotiating tactic, but if the defendant continues to deny liability and your solicitor thinks you have a strong case, the next stage will be to start formal court proceedings.
Not that most claims don't go to court and even if they do, the defendant may still accept liability well before the commencement of a trial.
If there is strong evidence to support your claim, you are likely to have a successful outcome.
Claims where both the cyclist and driver are partly to blame
You may be concerned, or even reluctant, about starting a claim if you feel you were partly responsible for the accident.
However, you may still be able to make a successful claim even if it is determined that you are partly responsible for the accident, or for your injury.
An common example is where a cyclist's head injury is more severe because they were not wearing a helmet. The court may determine that your injuries were more severe as a result of not wearing a helmet, and your compensation award reduced accordingly.
This is known as 'contributory negligence'.
If blame is apportioned on a 50:50 basis, you would receive 50% of the compensation you would otherwise have received if there was no contributory negligence.
Similarly, if blame is apportioned on a 75 (defendant):25 (claimant) basis, you would receive 75% of the compensation you would otherwise have received if there was no contributory negligence.