As cyclists are less visible on our roads, and are physically less protected against other road users, there is unfortunately a greater chance of them being involved in a road traffic accident. However cyclists, just like any other road user, are entitled to compensation for their injuries and property damage resulting from an accident.
Read on to find out more about what to do if you have been involved in a cycling accident, starting with the first step of reporting the accident.
Exchange details with the other parties involved
After the accident has occurred, you are legally obligated to swap details with the driver that has hit you. You should obtain the driver’s name, address, contact details, car registration number and the name of their insurance company. If the driver’s details are unable to be obtained, such as during a hit and run, then you should ask the police or witnesses for any details that they may have seen. If you are still unable to obtain any details of the negligent driver, then you are eligible to make claim for compensation under the Nominal Defendant Scheme, which can be made to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority.
Report the car accident to the police
If you have not made a report to the police at the scene of the accident, then a police report can be made any time afterwards by attending a police station or by calling the police assistance line on 131 444. It is best to make this report as soon as possible after the accident has occurred because if you have failed to report the accident within 28 days, you may be required to justify this delay when making any compensation claims. Once you have reported the accident, ensure you have received a police event number, as this may be required for compensation claims.
Seek medical attention
It is important to ensure that any injuries sustained from the 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 compensation 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.
Lodge an accident notification claim
This claim must be lodged with the insurer of the negligent driver, within 28 days of the accident. For this claim, the cyclist 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 insurer of the negligent driver, within 6 months of the accident. This claim is for when the cyclist expects their expenses to amount more than $5000, or that their recovery time will exceed 6 months.
For both an accident notification claim and personal injury claim, compensation can be claimed 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 cyclist has suffered a whole person impairment over the 10% threshold)
Take precautions to avoid future accidents
There are precautions that cyclists can take in attempt to avoid future accidents, including:
- Wearing protective gear, such as a helmet and padded clothing
- Wearing bright and fluorescent clothing, for greater visibility to other road users
- Having lights fitted to the bicycle, to alert other road users
Taking these precautions not only better ensure the safety of the cyclist, but it can actually help a cyclist claim the fullest compensation available should an accident occur. If the cyclist has not taken the necessary precautions, a driver may argue the defence of contributory negligence against any compensation claims made – for example, a driver may claim that as the cyclist failed to wear a helmet, the cyclist was responsible for any injuries arising out of the accident. Where the cyclist is deemed partially or fully at fault for the accident, the amount of compensation they are likely to receive will be smaller in value.
For more information on what to do after a cycling accident, contact Schreuders today.