Unfortunately, cyclists are subject to many accidents on our roads due to their vulnerable state. As they are less visible on our roads, and have less protection against other road users, there is a greater chance of a cyclist sustaining an injury in a road accident as the result of a motor vehicle. However, cyclists are entitled to compensation just as much as any other road user.
If you are a cyclist who has been involved in a road accident with a motor vehicle, read on to find out more about how to get compensation in a bicycle accident and what you are legally entitled to.
Am I eligible for bicycle accident compensation?
If you have sustained an injury from a bicycle accident, you may be entitled for bicycle accident compensation.
What are the common causes of bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents can occur in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to):
- Sudden opening of car doors (car-dooring)
- Vehicles who cut off or fail to give way to cyclists
- Vehicles who drive in a bicycle lane
- Vehicles who suddenly pull out of driveways
What is required for making a bicycle accident compensation claim?
- Seek medical attention
It is important to ensure that any injuries sustained from an accident receive immediate medical treatment. This is not only for health reasons, but also because medical records and receipts are required as evidence for any future claims. Even if you feel as though you have not suffered any injury, sometimes injuries take time to appear and seeking medical attention helps determine if any future medical treatment or ongoing care required, for compensation purposes.
- Obtain the registration number of the car that caused the accident, and their CTP insurer.
In circumstances where you are unable to find the registration number or insurance details of the car, you should ask the police or any witnesses for details. If the driver’s details are still unable to be obtained, such as during a hit and run, then you are still eligible to claim for compensation under the Nominal Defendant Scheme.
- Report the car accident to the police as soon as possible.
If you have failed to report the accident within 28 days, you will be required to justify this delay when making a claims. Ensure that once you have reported the accident, you receive an event number from the police as this will be required for future claims.
- Lodge an accident notification claim
This claim must be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver, within 28 days of the accident. For this claim, you can receive up to $5000 in compensation for expenses incurred up to 6 months after the accident occurred.
- Lodge a personal injury claim
This claim must be also be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver, and within 6 months of the accident. This claim is for when the victim expects their expenses to amount more than $5000, or that their recovery time will exceed 6 months.
What can I receive compensation for?
- Replacement or repair of damaged property (including the bicycle, helmet, clothing, gps, ipod or other personal items)
- Medical, rehabilitation and hospital expenses
- Home modification and attendant care expenses
- Loss of earnings or earning capacity
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (if the victim has suffered a whole person impairment over the 10% threshold)
What precautions should cyclists should take?
A cyclist should ensure they have taken all the necessary precautions, such as:
- Wearing protective gear, such as a helmet
- Wearing bright and fluorescent clothing
- Having lights fitted to the bicycle
Not only do these precautions better ensure the safety of the cyclist, but it helps to claim the fullest compensation available. If the cyclist has not taken the necessary precautions, a driver may argue the defence of contributory negligence against any claims made. For example, a driver may claim that the cyclist failed to make themselves visible at night, and therefore the cyclist was partly responsible for the accident. Where the cyclist is deemed partially or fully at fault for the accident, the amount of compensation available will be smaller in value.
Who pays out the compensation?
Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, all car owners in Australia are required to have CTP insurance. Therefore cyclists injured by a car driver are covered by the scheme, and compensation claims can be made against the insurer of the negligent driver or car owner.
Are there time limits in making a compensation claim?
Yes, strict time limits do apply. Therefore, is important to ensure you make a claim as soon as possible to secure your best chance at receiving compensation and financial support for your injuries.
For more information about road accident compensation, contact Schreuder Partners today.