Top 10 Tips for a Successful Cycling Accident Claim
Written by Annmarie Normington, Trainee Solicitor
Being involved in a cycling accident can be an incredibly traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. Following a cycling accident, it is crucial to understand your legal rights to help you receive appropriate compensation and recover losses you may have sustained such as for bicycle damage, cycle kit and medical costs. Here we discuss a number of tips that can help you make a successful cycle accident claim.
1. Seek medical assistance if required
If you require medical assistance, we recommend you seek it immediately. Depending on your injuries, this may include ringing an ambulance, visiting the A&E department, or contacting your GP.
It’s important you get checked if you have any concerns about your health, even if symptoms only appear in the days/weeks following the accident.
2. Take photographs
Photographic evidence can be crucial when proving who was at fault in a cycle accident. It’s useful to take photographs of the scene, your injuries, property damage and the third-party vehicle.
Insurers will often ask for photographs of any damaged property to prove ownership. We recommend you take clear, full colour photographs of your items that clearly show the make and/or model and any damage to the items.
Photographs of your injuries are particularly important, as grazing, bruising, and scarring can change over time. Often a medical examination is only arranged weeks or months after your accident, so it’s important you have evidence of your injuries.
Photographs of the scene of the accident are important to show the exact location, road layout and conditions. If you’re unable to take photographs of the scene at the time, we recommend going as soon as possible to take them, or asking someone else to take pictures for you.
If the accident was caused by a defect, such as a pothole, it’s important you take photographs – as without them, it’s unlikely your claim will be successful. As well as photographic evidence, it is important to take measurements of the depth and width of the pothole. Although it’s unlikely you will have a measuring tape with you at the time of the accident, you can utilise your surroundings by taking a picture of your bicycle wheel in the pothole as a reference point. We would then recommend that you go back to the scene as soon as possible and take a tape measure for accurate measurements. This is important because defects can change over time.
3. Request insurance details from the third- party
Make a note of the full name, address, vehicle registration and insurance details of the third-party. These details will help us direct your claim to the appropriate insurer
4. Report the accident to the police
If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident, you should report the accident to the police. Firstly, they may be able to pursue criminal proceedings if the other party was driving carelessly or recklessly.
Secondly, the police may prepare a report which often acts as crucial evidence to prove fault.
5. Make a note of the accident details
Recollection of the accident details can fade with time. To ensure your recounting if the event is correct, you should take a note at the time of the accident, whilst your memories are fresh. Photographs are useful, as the metadata of the file will show the exact location, time, and date of the accident.
When notifying the third-party insurer of your claim, we are required to set out various accident details. This includes:
- Accident date, time, and location.
- Accident circumstances
- The weather conditions
- The third party’s name and vehicle registrations number
- Details of your injuries and any medical assistance you require
It is important the information is accurate as it can help build an accurate representation of events and be used as evidence in your claim.
6. Take details of any witnesses
Eyewitness testimony can be a crucial part of a cycling accident claim. We recommend taking down details of any witnesses to the accident, such as their full name, address, telephone number and email address.
Witnesses can be useful in not only in recounting the details of the accident and corroborating your claim, but also the events leading up to the event. It can also be useful in providing information that you may not recall yourself.
7. Keep details of any losses
Following an accident, you’re likely to incur costs such as medical expenses or travel costs. It’s important you retain any receipts, so that we can claim the costs back from the third-party insurer to ensure you’re not out of pocket.
Keep a note of any property that was damaged in the accident such as clothing, electronic devices, or your helmet. To recover compensation for the damaged property, the third-party insurer will request photographs and the original invoice.
8. Obtain a repair estimate for your bicycle damage
If your bicycle is written off, you should obtain a quote for the estimated pre-accident value of your bicycle. The pre-accident value is the price you paid for the bicycle, and a deduction for depreciation based on its age and condition. This accounts for wear and tear of the bicycle over time.
If your bicycle is repairable, you should obtain a repair quote. We will then claim the costs of the repairs. You should take clear, coloured photographs of the bicycle that clearly show the make and model.
9. Keep a diary of your symptoms
As part of the claims process, you’re likely to be seen from an independent medical expert, who will prepare a report. The expert report will detail the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Often, we will obtain your medical records prior to the examination, which can mean the medical examination will only go ahead a few months after the accident.
Memory can fade over time, and it may be that some of your symptoms improve over time. This is often the case with cuts and bruises. Therefore, we recommend that you keep a symptom diary you can refer to during your medical assessment to ensure you have covered all the injuries you sustained, and nothing is left out.
10. Keep a diary of any care you may receive following the accident
Make a note of any tasks you’re unable to carry out as a result of your injuries. This could include tasks such as cooking, personal care, cleaning, or gardening.
It’ is useful to keep a diary, as we may be able to claim compensation for the care and assistance you receive. The diary should record who helped you with the tasks, what tasks they helped with and how long they helped you for. Keeping a diary ensures nothing is forgotten.
Cycling accident solicitors
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a cycling accident, then our expert team are here to help. Our team of cycling solicitors specialise in helping cyclists claim compensation following an accident, and we’re proud to be the preferred legal partner of Cycling UK; one of the UK’s largest independent cycling organisations.
Contact our Cycle Injury Specialists on 0330 013 0252 to find out if you have a claim. Or you can start your cycling claim online.