Cycling is an emerging phenomenon in Ireland. With more cyclists on the road, it is vitally important for drivers to be wary of the risks to cyclists. Accidents can happen as a result of car or truck drivers failing to check blind sports and use their mirrors properly. They also occur commonly due to the failure of drivers to leave adequate space when passing a cyclist on the road.
Accidents can happen as a result of potholes in the road as well, which may seem innocuous to ordinary drivers but can pose a serious risk of injury to cyclists. The fact that cyclists are quite exposed should an accident take place means that the potential for serious injury is heightened.
What to do if you are Involved in an Accident
If you are involved in an accident with a vehicle you should first check is anyone hurt and seek medical help if necessary. You should then report the incident to the police, take details from the third-party including name and car registration. You should try to find out the other drivers insurance details as well as whether they are the registered owner of the vehicle as it could be a company car for example.
If there are any witnesses to the accident you should also take their details and if possible, you should take pictures of the location of the accident including the position of the vehicle and bike following the collision.
If you have been involved in an accident as a result of a defect in the road you should take pictures of the defect and measurements if possible. You should check for any witnesses and get their information.
How We Can Help
Cycling accidents can be very serious, given the lack of protection for cyclists and the speed that can often be involved in collisions. Our personal injury solicitors are very experienced in dealing with claims of this nature. While the claims process can vary it will generally take the format adopted below;
1. Free initial consultation – If you have been involved in a cycling accident you can arrange an appointment with one of our personal injury solicitors. Your solicitor will take your instructions on the circumstances of the accident and ask you to provide any additional details you may have including photographs and the third-party insurance information.
2. Letter of Claim- Your solicitor will then send a letter of claim to the third party’s insurance company outlining the allegations of negligence made against the at fault driver.
3. Engineers report – Your solicitor will then instruct an expert engineer to examine the accident locus as well as the vehicles/bicycle involved in the accident. The engineer will then provide a report on the cause of the accident as well as an estimation of repair costs. This will then be sent to the third party insurance company for their consideration.
4. Medical Evidence – If you have been to your GP or the hospital after the accident your solicitor will obtain those notes and arrange an appointment with a specialist medical Consultant who will examine you and provide a report on the extent of your injuries.
5. Decision on liability – The third-party insurance company is obligated to complete their investigation and provide a decision on liability within three months from the letter of claim being sent. If liability is admitted then your solicitor will enter in to settlement negotiations with the third party insurance company with a view to recovering damages in respect of any injury or loss you have suffered.
6. Court proceedings – If liability is denied your solicitor will consult with you and come to a decision on whether to issue court proceedings as this will be the only available option to recover compensation. When Court proceedings are issued your solicitor will instruct a specialist barrister to help prepare your case for Hearing. Court proceedings can also be issued in a case where liability has been admitted if we feel the compensation being offered by the insurance company is not sufficient. Our expert solicitors will advise clients on their options, but the final decision will always be made by the client and we will ensure that their wishes are carried out.
If you are involved in a cycling accident it can be a very painful and stressful experience. Our personal injury solicitors aim to ease your burden and will help you to understand the claims process by keeping you informed of the progress regularly. We have complied a hypothetical scenario below to help you understand how the claims process works in practical terms:
Laura is a 38-year-old mother who is an experienced cyclist. She is out cycling on a Sunday morning with a group of 5 other cyclists and is leading the group. A car overtakes the group by driving on to the wrong side of the road but cuts back into the correct lane sharply when a car appears to be coming in the opposite direction. The driver of the overtaking car does not see Laura and clips her bike causing Laura to lose control and fall off her bike on to the tarmacked road.
Laura is bleeding and in pain. The driver of the car pulls in and approaches the cyclists accusing Laura of veering out on to the middle of the road. The other cyclists, having seen the incident unfold before them, argued that the driver of the car was at fault. They agreed to exchange details and a report was made to the police. Laura was then taken to hospital where she received stitches to her arm and face.
Laura then approaches PA Duffy and Company and they send a letter to the driver’s insurance company outlining the allegations of negligence against the third party. An engineer is then sent out to examine the accident locus, as well as the third party’s vehicle and Laura’s bike. The engineers report concludes that it is likely that the driver was negligent in that he failed to allow sufficient space when overtaking the cyclists. This report was then forwarded to the insurance company as supporting evidence for Laura’s case.
Laura’s solicitor arranged for her to be examined by a Consultant Plastic Surgeon who provided a report on her injuries. The report concluded that Laura’s knee injury was well healed and there would be an insignificant scar on her knee. However, the report noted that the scar on Laura’s face would be permanent and although small, was visible at conversational distance.
The third-party insurance company eventually admitted liability and entered into settlement negotiations. The insurance company made an offer of £18,000. Laura’s solicitor argued that given the permanent and visible nature of the scar that the offer was inadequate. After extensive negotiations and further medical evidence the case settled for £28,000. Laura was happy with this result and her solicitor was satisfied that this appropriately reflected the loss and damage caused.