Duty of Care in Cycle Claims
A cyclist is owed a duty of care by all other road users and by the bodies responsible for the Highway. The standard of care owed is that which a “reasonably careful” person should exercise. A cyclist also owes a duty of care to himself, therefore if an accident is caused entirely by his or her own carelessness a claim for compensation will fail.
Many cyclists who are injured do not take legal advice because they think that the accident was their own fault. In many cases the accident may, in part, have been caused by the lack of reasonable care by both the cyclist and the driver in question. In these circumstances a cyclist will be able to claim compensation, however, will only receive a proportion of the compensation to which he or she would have been entitled, had the third party been entirely to blame. If, for example, a Court decides a cyclist was 50% to blame for an accident, then he or she will receive half the full value of his or her claim.
Proving Negligence in Cycle Claims
Negligence is established by a simple test of carelessness. If, on the “balance of probabilities” (meaning more likely than not), an accident has been the result of carelessness, a claim brought against the careless party will succeed. The standard of proof in civil law is lower than the standard of proof in criminal cases. In criminal cases the prosecution has to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that a crime has been committed. If the Police do not prosecute the third party or the prosecution fails this does not mean that your claim for compensation will fail.
A breach of statutory duty may be committed by, for example, a highway authority that fails to maintain a road to a reasonable standard. A highway authority also has a statutory duty to inspect roads to ensure that they are safe for the use of traffic. Often cars and lorries will pass safely over hazards such as potholes; however, the same hazard will pose a great danger to cyclists.
If you do come to grief on a defect in the road, photographs will be invaluable evidence of the size and nature of the hazard. It should be noted, however, that the highway authority does have a defence to such claims. If it can be shown that proper inspections of the highway are carried out with reasonable frequency and the hole or defect has arisen since the date of the last inspection, a claim for compensation will probably fail.
Proving Loss in a Cycle Accident Claim
Loss is proved by establishing the fact of injury or damage to personal property.
Injuries are proved by obtaining a medical report from a medical expert who will describe your injuries in detail. The amount of compensation to which you are entitled to for your injuries will be assessed on the basis of expert medical opinion.
Such awards for compensation, specifically for your injury, pain, suffering and loss of amenity are referred to by lawyers as “General Damages.”
Other losses can result from an accident and are known a “consequential loss” or “Special Damages”, for example:
- Loss of Earnings – This is commonly a complicated and technical area. Any lost wages, bonuses, shift allowances or overtime can be claimed with proof such as wage slips and/or written confirmation from your employer. State benefits received as a result of the accident must also be claimed and repaid if the claim is successful.
- Care by a professional or family member. In both instances, costs of past care and future care can be recovered. The best thing to do after an accident is to keep a diary detailing who has done what for you and the time and cost involved, if appropriate.
- Damage to Property can be claimed. You are entitled to the cost of repairs to your cycle if damaged, to the value of the cycle at the time of the accident if it is beyond economic repair. The value of your ruined clothing, lost or damaged jewellery and damaged spectacles can be claimed, however, it is very important to note that you must prove your loss. Receipts and/or estimates for repair or replacement are essential for every item claimed.
What is a No Win, No Fee claim?
A No Win, No Fee Agreement is an agreement between you and your Solicitor which means that your Solicitor is only paid for the work they have done if your claim for compensation is successful.
If you win your case, your solicitor is paid a proportion of their fees by the other party, usually an insurance company. If your claim is not successful, you will not have to pay anything.
This means that there is no financial risk for you as a client when you make a claim. Speak to one of our team and we will take you through the whole process.
Contact our No Win, No Fee Cycle Accident Claims Lawyers - Preston, Manchester, Cambridge & London
To speak to one of our experienced cycle claim solicitors, contact us today on 0808 278 9967 or alternatively, complete our online contact form and a member of our team will be in touch. You can also start your claim online here.