BICYCLE/BIKE ACCIDENT INJURY CLAIMS - FAQs

- A COMPLETE GUIDE -

bicycle fall accident injuries attorney los angeles.gif

                                                                               

TOC:

What To Do When You’ve Been In A Bicycle Accident.............................................. 2

Things You Should Do Immediately After The Accident............................................ 4

Can I make a bike claim?........................................................................................... 4

Just like the Hit and Run situation, don’t despair. You can still  claim ..................................... 7

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Bicycle Accident?............................... 7

What evidence do I need to support my cycle claim?............................................... 9

How will my bike claim be funded?........................................................................... 9

What is the general procedure for a bike claim?..................................................... 9

How long does a claim usually take?....................................................................... 10

Most common types of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles;...................... 11

Typical Cyclist Injuries from the above accident types........................................... 11

What to do if you are injured in a cycling accident................................................ 11

Other Types of Personal Injuries............................................................................. 12

Sample Demand Letter for Bicyclist Hit by a Car.................................................... 12

Helpful Contacts....................................................................................................... 14

 liftarn-French-lawyer-early-20th-century..png


Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney - Downtown L.A Law

Gavel.pngWhat to Do When You’ve Been in a Bicycle Accident

 

If you are a cyclist and concerned about being involved in a cycle accident then there are a number of things you should be aware of following an accident.

 

If your injuries are not too serious then exchange details with the  driver if you’ve been hit by a vehicle[1], making note of the vehicle  registration, the driver’s name and address and telephone number and  name of their insurer if possible.

 

If you are worried about the validity of the details then ask for their mobile number and call it while you’re with them so they have your  number and you know they have provided the correct contact details. You should also try and get details of any potential independent witnesses who may have seen the accident occur; this is in case the third party disputes liability later on.

 

If you’ve been seriously injured then try to remain calm, get yourself to a safe location if you can, and call the emergency services.  In this type of situation the police would also usually be called and they will collect all the necessary contact information of the third party and any witnesses.

 

When you make a claim with us we can recover compensation for your injuries, damage to your possessions, and loss of earnings if you’ve been unable to work, and any other out of pocket expenses as a result of the accident or injuries.

Our five-point process in the event of an accident:

 

Get to a safe place if possible

Get details of the third party

Notify the police if necessary

Get medical attention

Keep a record of all costs following the accident

 

Sharing the roads with motor vehicles can be dangerous, even as an experienced cyclist you still rely on the skill and awareness of drivers of cars and vans who might not be used to the increasing number of cyclists on the roads these days. Some of the most common cycle accidents are caused by:

Cycling Accidents Facts & Figures  |  Bicycle Accident Statistics

●        Drivers turning across the path of a cyclist

●        Drivers emerging from a minor road into a cyclist

●        Car doors being opened in front of cyclists

●        Hitting potholes or raised ironworks and being thrown from the bike

●        Being hit by a vehicle when turning into a minor road

 

We’ve seen all types of cycle accidents and as cyclists ourselves,  our experienced legal teams will understand the situation and help you  through the claim process while making sure we recover the best possible  payout for your claim.

help-and-tips.pngThings You Should Do Immediately After The Accident

 

To increase your chances at filing a successful compensation claim, there are certain things you will need to do but even before that, you need to first make sure that your injuries are not worse than they look.

 

• Immediately after the bicycle accident, if possible you should get off the road and out of danger. Evaluate your injuries and call an ambulance, or ask for somebody to call an ambulance if you are badly injured. Meanwhile, ask people around you if they saw what happened and if they would be willing to come forward as witnesses. Get their contact details.

 

• Also get the contact and other details of anyone else involved in the accident. Write down the number plate details if a vehicle was involved as well as the other party’s name, address and insurance details.

 

• Get pictures of the scene and of the bike and vehicle damage with your camera phone if you have one with you.

 

• Keep a copy of the police report as well as all medical and ambulance reports. All of these will act as supporting documentation when you file a claim for compensation[2].

help-and-tips.pngThings You Should Not Do

 

Along with all of the do’s, there are a few things you should not do.

• Do not admit liability as this can be held against you.

 

• Do not get angry and curse and swear. It will not help you or anybody else. Stay calm, and look around you to see if there is anything you may have missed the first time around that can be used as evidence.

 

• Do not get on your bike and ride away. For one thing, you are likely to be more shaken up than you realise and you could be putting yourself  in even more danger by riding on the roads immediately after the  accident. Instead, call a taxi or get a ride home.

Gavel.pngCan I make a bike claim?

 

If you have been involved in a bike accident, or have been injured  because of road disrepair whilst cycling, you can make a claim for  injury and financial losses as long as the incident happened within the  past three years. Unfortunately, if the incident happened over three  years ago, it is not likely to be possible to make a claim.

 

 If you only want to make a claim for the damage to your bicycle, this  can be done if the incident in which the damage was sustained happened  within the past six years.

 

Gavel.pngWhat you can claim for?

 

What you can claim for falls under three main headings: personal injury, damage to your property and loss of earnings.

 

help-and-tips.pngPersonal injury

You can claim for the costs of:

Private medical or dental treatment

Physiotherapy or other therapy designed to improve your medical condition

Cosmetic surgery or other cosmetic treatment

Care and support services whilst you are in recovery or incapacitated

Out of pocket expenses involved in your medical treatment

help-and-tips.pngDamage to your property

Replacement of your bicycle

Replacement of your cycling kit (or any other goods or property) damaged as a result of the accident

help-and-tips.pngLoss of earnings

Loss of income or opportunities from being unable to work.

There may be other things you can claim for and our experts will advise you once we’ve assessed your claim.

 

help-and-tips.pngYou will qualify to make a bicycle accident claim[3] if:

The accident happened in the last three years

 

It was not your fault

You can show that you were injured as a result of the accident and/or your bicycle and/or clothing was damaged

 

Gavel.pngTypes of Cycle Accident Claims

 

You hardly need us to tell that cycling is great fun, a fantastic way to commute and healthy too.

 

Sadly though it’s all too easy to have a bicycle accident that isn’t your fault. And let’s face it, if you get knocked off your bike there’s only going to be one loser – your body and your bike.

 

The types of cycle accident claims we generally make are from:

●        Being knocked off your bicycle by a car, van, lorry or bus.

●        A cycle accident due to a pedestrian.

●        A cycle accident due potholes, broken drain covers or damaged roads.

●        A cycle accident involving a motorbike or another bicycle.

●        A hit and run accident. (where the driver leaves without stopping)

●        Accidents caused by uninsured drivers or foreign vehicles.

 

As you can imagine, we have dealt with all sorts of cycle accident claims, from simple cases to very complex cases, You name it and the chances are that we’ve seen it and claimed the compensation too.

 

Below are the most common types of cycle accidents our clients are involved in. But it’s not exhaustive so if you have been involved in a  bike accident and want to find out if you can make a claim just give us a  quick call and one of our friendly, expert team will let you know  straight away.

 

help-and-tips.pngKnocked off your bike by a car, van, lorry or bus:

 

This is the most common situation. It seems some drivers are just blind when it comes to cyclists or maybe they are too busy trying to text and drive, talk on the phone or deal with kids screaming in the back. If it wasn’t your fault (and as we both know, it usually isn’t) you can claim for your injuries, lost earnings and damage to your bike and kit.

 

help-and-tips.pngA cycle crash from a wandering pedestrian:

 

Almost every cyclist has had to swerve to avoid a pedestrian who has  walked straight into the road without looking. It happens more and more,  especially as most people seem incapable of walking down the street  without looking at their phone to send messages or check their Facebook  updates. Just because you have been in a cycle accident caused by a  pedestrian rather than a vehicle, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a  claim. If you can, try to get the pedestrian’s name, address and contact  details.

 

help-and-tips.pngPotholes, broken drain covers and damaged roads:

 

Potholes, damaged roads and drains can be lethal. One minute you are  happily cycling along and the next minute you’ve slammed into a pothole  or drain cover and are face down on the tarmac. The cold weather last  winter has made the roads worse than ever and most Councils can’t keep  up with the repairs. You can often make a cycle claim against the  Council if the road is in disrepair even if there aren’t any witnesses.

 

help-and-tips.pngHit and Run: When the driver who knocked you off your bike

 

This is the disgraceful situation where you are knocked off your bike  and the guilty car driver (or van, taxi, lorry or bus driver or  motorbike rider) leaves you lying in the road without stopping. That  means you can’t get the driver’s details BUT it doesn’t mean you can’t  make a claim.

 

Almost as bad as a Hit and Run is when the driver who knocked you off your bike is uninsured  or driving a foreign registered vehicle. So, even though you know who did it, because they are uninsured or driving a foreign registered vehicle you can’t claim against an insurance company.

Just like the Hit and Run situation, don’t despair. You can still  claim .

Gavel.pngHow Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Bicycle Accident?

 

Gavel.pngWhat can I claim for?

 

Claims are usually separated into two categories:

 

help-and-tips.pngGeneral Damages – This covers your injury (physical and  psychological) and also takes into account any limitations your injury  has placed on you, for example inability to compete in races, or carry  out usual household chores.

 

help-and-tips.pngSpecial Damages – These are your financial losses. Some typical losses would be:

 

Our legal team will also negotiate a settlement for any loss of  earnings if the injuries you suffered led to time off work or missed  bonuses. The compensation for anything other than the injury is known as  special damages and includes:

 

●        Loss of earnings or bonus

●        Medical bills

●        Travel costs

●        Physiotherapy and rehabilitation

●        Psychological injuries as a result of an accident (where physical injury is also present)

●        Costs for help with household chores

●        Care and assistance

 

It is important that you keep receipts for any out of pocket expenses  as we can add these into your claim. We will even arrange for interim  payments to you while the case is on-going if you need help covering  expenses.

 

Please also note that the other side’s insurer is not obliged to make  any payments for financial losses which have no evidence to support  them.

 

Gavel.pngWhat evidence do I need to support my cycle claim?

 

●   For damage to the bicycle, you will need:

●   Estimate for the repair costs/pre-accident value. This will usually be from a cycle shop.

●   Photographs of the bicycle

●   Original purchase receipt, if available.

●   For damage to clothing photographs, estimates and original purchase receipts (if available) will be needed.

●    Receipts for all other losses will be required (e.g. physiotherapy invoices and taxi fare receipts).

 

 

Regarding loss of earnings, the evidence needed will differ depending on  whether you are self-employed or not. We will discuss the necessary  evidence needed with you.

 

Gavel.pngHow will my bike claim be funded?

 

 There are also a number  of other types of funding available i.e. legal expenses insurance, trade  union funding, private funding or a Conditional Fee Agreement  (essentially a no win, no fee agreement). To discuss which funding  option is best for you, please contact us and we will be happy to to  discuss this with you.

 

Gavel.pngWhat is the general procedure for a bike claim?

 

In a road traffic accident, the claim will be submitted to the insurer  of the other driver. This will usually be done via an online portal.

 

If liability is admitted, the process of the claim should be fairly  straight forward. It is simply a case of taking evidence of your injury  and financial losses and agreeing the value of the claim with the other  side’s insurer.

 

Evidence for financial losses is listed above. If you have been injured  you will usually be examined by an independent medical expert. The type  of expert we instruct will depend on the nature of the injury. Sometimes  it is necessary for more than one examination to take place. The expert  will produce a report, and the value of your claims will be based on  this report.

 

 Once we have sufficient evidence to value your injury and support your  financial losses, an offer will be made to the other side’s insurer. If  no reasonable response is received within the allocated time frame, we  can issue legal proceedings.

 

If liability is not admitted, liability investigations will need to be made. This is likely to include:

 

●   Obtaining a police report

●   Contacting witnesses for statements

●   Obtaining further vehicle damage documents

●   Obtaining a locus report/images

 

 Once we are happy that all available liability documents have been  collated and disclosed to the other side’s insurer, along with an offer  based on the medical report and financial losses, if liability is still  not admitted, we can consider issuing legal proceedings.

 

 Issuing legal proceedings does add a significant length of time to the  claim. We will only be able to proceed to Court if we are of the opinion  that the claim will succeed.

 

 There are cases where liability will be divided between both parties. We  will discuss this with you if this is likely to happen with your personal injury claim.

 

 Please note that if the other vehicle is a foreign vehicle, all usual time frames are doubled.

 

 In claims relating to highways it is likely that we will first need to  undertake liability investigations to prove that the road was not  adequately maintained. This is likely to include a locus report. With  claims of this nature, the liability investigations will differ  depending on the defect that caused the incident which we will discuss  with you. The actual process of the claim is the same as for a road  traffic accident as described above.

 

Gavel.pngHow long does a claim usually take?

 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to say how long a claim will take. There  are a number of factors which will affect the length of a claim. These  are most notably the seriousness of the injury, the nature of the  liability investigations and other associated parties’ co-operation (eg  police and medical experts).

 

Many,  bicycle accident victims do not realize that they are as entitled to  compensation for injury (including medical expenses and out-of-pocket  expenses) as other class of victim be it a lorry driver or pedestrian.

 

Gavel.pngMost common types of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles;

 

help-and-tips.pngDrivers turning right in front of a bicycle coming towards it

help-and-tips.pngMotorists hitting a bicycle when changing lanes or overtaking often resulting in ‘side-swiping’

help-and-tips.pngCar doors being opened in front of cyclists as they approach

help-and-tips.pngDrivers hitting cyclists when turning left where the cyclist is on the inside

 

Gavel.pngTypical Cyclist Injuries from the above accident types

 

help-and-tips.pngHead Injury -  this can be very serious and can occur even when the cyclist is wearing  a helmet. Depending on its nature the compensation claims for this  injury type tend to be at the higher end of the scale.

 

help-and-tips.pngBack/Neck/Whiplash Injury  - This usually occurs when the cyclist accident victim is struck with  some force causing a violent arching of the neck and/or striking of the  head off the ground or vehicle.

 

help-and-tips.pngCollarbone / Arm Injury  - These are very often caused when a vehicle door is opened suddenly or  when a cyclist is catapulted forward over the handlebars and strikes a  car bonnet or windscreen.

 

help-and-tips.pngLeg Injury -  Often caused by cyclists falling on one leg or in the more serious  scenario getting a leg crushed under a motor vehicle including lorries  or heavy goods vehicles in many instances.

 

The  above are just a snapshot of cyclist injury examples and these can  range from the minor (which notwithstanding you may still be compensated  for) to the severe catastrophic injuries where loss of earnings,  livelihood or even life may occur.

 

Gavel.pngWhat to do if you are injured in a cycling accident

 

help-and-tips.pngGet Medical Attention

Your  health and well-being are more important than any personal injury claim  for compensation. You should therefore seek medical attention by going  to Accident and Emergency or at least your GP - each are also able to  diagnose your injury properly and as well as ensuring you get best care,  it will help provide documented medical evidence of the injuries you  have suffered.

 

help-and-tips.pngRecord the details of the liable* party

This  is standard procedure in any road traffic accident scenario. You should  record (where appropriate) the registration number of the vehicle, the  other party’s name and address and the insurance details of the driver.

 

help-and-tips.pngRecord names of witnesses and take photographs of the scene

It  is important to gather all and any evidence* you can as this may assist  you with your injury claim later on and may even have a bearing on the  size of compensation for the accident.

 

Finally, consult with a reputable bicycle accident attorney

Contacting  a good personal injury lawyer as soon as practicable will hold you in good stead  in the long run. The solicitor will be able to determine if you have a  case and will be able to advise on how to proceed with a claim including  bring your case to the Injuries Board if applicable. It is usually a  good idea not to settle your claim immediately with the other party’s  insurance company, until your claim has been properly evaluated by your  own lawyer.

 

Gavel.pngOther Types of Personal Injuries

 liftarn-French-lawyer-early-20th-century..png

help-and-tips.pngThere are several common types of personal injuries:

●   Car Accidents

●   Motorcycle Accidents

●   Truck Accidents

●   Defective Roadway Accidents

●   Bus Accidents

●   Bicycle Accidents

●   Police Car Accidents

●   Hit and Run Collisions

●   Pedestrian Accidents

●   Motor Vehicle Accidents

●   SUV Rollover Accident  

Most personal injuries fall into the category of law known as torts[4].  Torts are a type of civil, not criminal, law. It is a way to hold  someone else legally responsible for your injuries.

 

Gavel.pngSample Demand Letter for Bicyclist Hit by a Car

January 19, 20xx

Mr. Arthur Enders

West Texas Insurance

P.O. Box 1200

El Paso, TX

Re: Your insured: Frank Jones

Date of injury: March 3, 20xx

Your file number: NH-88665 [NOTE: Always use the insurer’s file number on all correspondence.]

Dear Mr. Enders:

 

I have finished treating and so I am enclosing all of my medical records and bills on this case.

 

[NOTE: The adjuster will not consider your demand until he/she has your entire medical file.]

 

As you know, I was bicycling down Mountain Rd. in El Paso,  approaching 6th Street, when your insured, Mr. Jones, who was parked,  opened his driver’s side car door in my path when I was about 5 feet  from the door. I had no ability to stop, and so was “doored.” I hit his  door and was knocked down. I was bicycling at the right side of the lane  of travel. I had an absolute right to be where I was. Mr. Jones simply  did not look behind him when he opened his door. If he did, he wasn’t  paying attention to the road. Given these facts, I believe that your  insured was negligent and is liable for my injuries.

 

[NOTE: If liability is relatively obvious, you don’t need to get into too much detail. Learn more about Proving Fault in an Injury Case.]

 

As a result of this collision, I separated my right shoulder when I  hit the door and then the ground. My bike was also totaled. Mr. Jones  called the police, and they called an ambulance to take me to the  hospital. I was treated and released at the hospital. They told me to  see my primary care physician and to ask for a referral to an  orthopedist. I did get a referral to an orthopedist, Dr. Davis, and he  saw me for this injury. I saw him every other week for a month and a  half, and then he sent me to physical therapy to strengthen my shoulder  and get my range of motion and flexibility back. I went to physical  therapy three times a week for six weeks, and did exercises at home  every day.[NOTE: Summarize your medical treatment. You don’t need to give all of the details. You want to describe the main points.]

 

My shoulder was extremely painful for a week, then the pain  diminished. I took prescription strength pain medications for that week.  After that, I took Tylenol once or twice a day for the next couple of  weeks. My arm was in a sling for a month. I am right handed, and so only  had limited use of my dominant arm for that time. It was difficult to  do just about anything, such as bathing, drying myself after a shower,  using the toilet, cleaning the house, cooking, writing, using the  computer, etc. Obviously, I could not ride my bike or exercise during  that time.

 

[NOTE: You want to explain clearly and concisely your  injuries and your pain and suffering. Don’t exaggerate, especially when  you had more inconvenience than pain. Just explain what your injuries  were and how they affected your life.]

 

My medical bills total $9,000. I paid $600 in co-pays. My health  insurance paid the remainder of the bills, but they recently sent a  letter claiming a lien of $4,000 on any settlement that I may get in  this case. [NOTE: If you have to repay your health insurance (and you almost always have to), make sure that you tell the adjuster.]

My medical bills were as follows:

●        Dr. Acton (primary care physician) 500.00

●        Dr. Davis (orthopedist) 1,000.00

●        El Paso Ambulance 1,000.00

●        El Paso General Hospital 3,500.00

●        El Paso Physical Therapy 2,500.00

●        TOTAL $9,000.00 [NOTE: Don’t make the adjuster read through your bills to figure out how much they are.]

 

I am a teacher in the El Paso public schools. I earn $1,000 per week  and missed four weeks of work because I could not do basic things like  write on the blackboard with my arm in a sling. I have attached a letter  from the orthopedist saying that I could not use my arm for that time.  Accordingly, my lost earnings claim is $4,000. I received short term  disability through the school district in the amount of $600 per week ($2,400 total). They have informed me that I will have to repay them  from any settlement that I may get. [NOTE: If you get short  and/or long term disability benefits, you will have to disclose that to  the adjuster. You will almost always have to repay these benefits if you  get a settlement, so make sure to disclose that as well.]

 

[NOTE: State your lost earnings claim briefly and clearly.  Make sure that you have a doctor’s note saying that you needed to miss  work for the entire time that you were out, or else the insurer is not  going to consider your lost earnings claim.] I also claim  damages for my totaled bike. My bike cost $800 and was six months old at  the time of the accident. Based on seeing similar bikes on Craigslist, I  estimate that it was worth $600 at the time of the accident.

 

[NOTE:  You are only entitled to claim the actual value of damaged property as  of the time of the accident. You can’t claim the original purchase  price.] My total special damages are thus $9,600.00.

 

Taking into account your insured’s absolute liability and my damages  in this case, I demand $50,000.00 to settle this case. Would you please  advise as to your thoughts on this matter.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

[signature]

Alexandra Wollman

                            

 


Gavel.pngHelpful Links / Resources

                Below, you will find a number of links to the websites of other organizations which may be of further help.

 

CDC - Bicycle-Related Injuries - Home and Recreational ...

help-and-tips.pngMedical Directories

        

help-and-tips.pngUnited States

help-and-tips.pngRelated Scholarly articles:

Bicycle-associated head injuries and deaths in the … - ‎Sacks - Cited by 201

The epidemiology of injuries to bicycle riders. - ‎Friede - Cited by 101

Accidents at 4-arm roundabouts - ‎Maycock - Cited by 160

                            

 

Gavel.pngAlso see other related docs:

 

help-and-tips.pngDOWNLOAD - Car accident - 3C's - Causes, Compensation & Claims

help-and-tips.pngDOWNLOAD – Sample Accident notification letters for a slip and fall accident (PDF)

help-and-tips.pngDOWNLOAD – Sample Personal Injury Demand Letter (PDF)

help-and-tips.pngBest Personal Injury Attorney Los Angeles - A Listly List by Ray Ball

help-and-tips.pngDOWNLOAD – Slip and fall accidents in home and at workplace – stats (pdf)

 

Hours & Info

Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Firm

 liftarn-French-lawyer-early-20th-century..png

1850 E. 15th St. Los Angeles, CA 90021

(855)385-2529

Lunch: 11am - 2pm

Dinner: M-Th 5pm - 11pm, Fri-Sat:5pm - 1am

PERSONAL INJURY AND ACCIDENT LAWYERS LOS ANGELES  - DOWNTOWN L.A LAW GROUP

 

 


[1] "What to Do When You're Hit By a Car - CityLab." 2015. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2015/05/what-to-do-when-youre-hit-by-a-car/393809/>

[2] "How to File a Claim - Workers' Compensation Board." 2011. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/onthejob/howto.jsp>

[3] "3 Steps to a Bicycle Accident Claim." 2014. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/bicycle-accident-claims.html>

[4] "Tort - Legal Information Institute - Cornell University." 2011. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/tort>