If you are a cyclist who has been involved in a road accident involving another vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation.
The time limit for bringing forward a claim of this nature is generally around three years from the date of the accident however a Notice is required to be issued within 9 months of the date of the accident, accordingly it is best to act as soon as you feel up to it, particularly while your memory of the accident is clear. Depending on the nature of your case, a compensation claim can take between 12–18 months to finalise.
I’m a cyclist who has been in an accident. What should I do now?
If your accident is recent and you have suffered injuries, ensure you have reported the accident to the police, seen a doctor or gone to hospital to ascertain the extent of your injuries (even if you feel as though they are only minor) and then begin to determine any expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Depending on the accident and the injuries sustained, you may be able to claim compensation for expenses including loss of earnings, pain and suffering, a carer/home help as well as medical bills.
Who was at fault?
In making a claim for compensation, the onus is on the injured party to prove that the driver of the other vehicle did, in fact, cause the accident by driving in a negligent manner and that their negligence ultimately caused the cyclist’s injury.
In Queensland, a motorist must keep at least one metre away from a cyclist when overtaking where the speed is 60km/h or less, and at least one and a half metres away from a cyclist where the speed limit exceeds 60km/h.
The distance a motorist kept from a cyclist is one factor that will be considered, however other factors a court will consider, to establish if the other party was acting negligently, include:
- If the motorist was driving defensively;
- The speed the motorist was travelling at;
- If the motorist was able to observe the cyclist; and
- Whether the motorist had the capacity to evade the cyclist.
How much compensation will I receive and who will pay it?
When making a determination, factors such as the proportion of fault will also be considered. For example, if a motorist was driving at the speed limit and keeping at least one metre away from a cyclist but the cyclist made a sudden movement into the path of the car, the cyclist is partly at fault as the motorist was likely not afforded the opportunity to evade the cyclist. The liability may be apportioned 50% to each of the cyclist and motorist. This may mean that any compensation awarded to the cyclist is then halved as they were found to be equally at fault.
The amount of compensation awarded varies from case to case. A number of factors will be considered, including the extent of your injuries and what type of impact they will have on your life, the type of care you will need, your age, how many out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident and any lost wages.
Payment itself does not usually come from the individual driver; the insurance company they are covered by will make the payment.
Can I seek compensation on my own?
While it is possible to self-represent in compensation claims, it is advisable that you seek the assistance of a compensation lawyer. A compensation lawyer will be able to keep your case moving forward in line with any time limitations, while also dealing with the other party’s insurance, which can often be a daunting task.
For further information on compensation claims, get in touch with one of our lawyers in Cairns today.