What are my 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 claim. Like many claimants, you may prefer to get a rough idea of how likely your claim is to succeed before formally starting a claim.
This article takes a look at the basic claim criteria that a solicitor would use to determine whether you have a claim, and how likely you are to win.
What do you need to prove?
Your solicitor will start by discussing the circumstances of your accident and injury with you in more detail, in order to answer the following questions:
Were you injured as the result of the accident? - In the case of most cycling accidents, the answer to this is obvious. The link between a collision between a cyclist and a car and the cyclist's broken bone, bruise or laceration will be easy to establish. Proving a link 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 and CCTV or helmet camera footage is often used.
Did the party who caused the accident owe you a duty of care? - This can be hard to determine in the cases of some types of personal injury, but in the case of road accidents this is almost always easy to answer. In short, all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, owe a duty of care to each other. This means that if one road user's negligence injures another road user, the first party is liable for the second party's injuries.
Evidence to support your claim
Your solicitor will help to gather all the evidence needed to support your claim, and to give your claim the best possible chance of success.
Even if you do not have access to evidence like video from a helmet cam or witness statements, your solicitor will help you determine how best to proceed.
How likely are you to win?
If you can answer the above questions and prove that the driver's (or other party's) lack of care 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 car insurance company.
What happens if the other driver does not accept responsibility?
The outcome of claims where the road user who caused the accident does not accept liability can be harder to predict, and such cases may ultimately go to court.
Proving liability in these cases will often depend on available evidence. If you have strong evidence of the other side's negligence, you are likely to still have a good chance of a successful outcome.
Claims where both the cyclist and driver are partly to blame
You may still be able to make a successful claim and receive compensation in a situation where 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 the level of injury the cyclist would have sustained if they had been wearing a helmet, and base the compensation amount on that, or may determine the amount on a percentage basis, e.g. the cyclist is deemed to be 25% responsible for their accident, so the award is reduced by 25%.