What to do after a cycling accident

What to do if you have been involved in a cycling accident and think you are eligible to make a claim.

As the summer months settle in, many of us will be taking to bicycles and other modes of transport to make the most of the good weather. Cyclists and pedestrians are unfortunately very vulnerable road users, and often are involved in collisions with motorists. The Road Safety Authority has a useful guide on cyclist road safety, and if you’re getting back on the bike this summer it is worth refreshing your knowledge. 

Even with all the preparation in the world, sometimes accidents are unavoidable. If you have been involved in a cycling accident, there are a number of actions you should take if you feel you might be eligible to make a claim for compensation. 

Common causes of bicycle accidents 

As cyclists are vulnerable road users, there are many instances in which an accident can happen. Some of the most common include: 

  • Motorist negligence: incidents with motorists often occur when they fail to see a cyclist or may not leave sufficient room while overtaking a cyclist on a stretch of road. This can also include situations where traffic such as a taxi, car, or bus knocks you from your bike while they are attempting to stop or pull out into traffic. 
  • Other cyclists: if another cyclist swerves in front of you or makes contact with you or your bike, it may cause an accident. As with all road users, cyclists must have due regard and consideration for all road users including pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles. 
  • Pedestrians: if a pedestrian causes an accident or injury by walking in front of you without looking, or not using a designated pedestrian crossing, they may be at fault. 
  • Faulty equipment: if your bicycle has been recently purchased or repaired with a guarantee, and causes an accident and injury due to a fault, you may be eligible to make a claim against the repair shop or manufacturer. 

What to do if you have been involved in a cycling accident 

Medical attention 

First of all, you should ensure that you are safe and not injured. If you have been seriously hurt, you should seek medical attention immediately. Try not to move if you can, but if the accident has occurred on a road then you may be in danger of moving traffic and need to move. 

Gather information

It’s important to gather as much relevant information as possible after your accident. This includes: 

  • Details of the third party or driver that caused the accident and the people involved. You should get their name, address, contact information, vehicle registration number and vehicle insurance number;
  • Name and contact information of any emergency service workers at the scene such as the Gardaí or paramedics; 
  • It may be useful to take a picture of the scene from as many different angles and perspectives as you can. This should document the location of your bike, the other vehicle and any damage sustained to either;
  • Record the time, date and weather conditions at the time;
  • Throughout your recovery and after your accident, you should remember to retain your medical records, receipts and records of expenses incurred as a result of the accident, as these will be important in the claims process. 
Making a claim 

If you are thinking about making a bicycle accident claim for any of the personal injuries you have sustained during your accident, it’s important that you speak with a personal injury solicitor. They will be able to review your case and gather information such as medical reports, advising you on the elements that are required for the claims process. 

The first step in your personal injury claim will be to submit a claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. 

The PIAB is an independent statutory body, to which all personal injury claims in Ireland must be submitted. This does not include medical negligence claims. The purpose of the PIAB is to provide an independent assessment of personal injury claims for compensation following incidents such as road traffic accidents, workplace accidents and public liability accidents. 

While you can make an application to the Injuries Board without the assistance of a solicitor, it is recommended by the Law Society of Ireland that members of the public should use a solicitor in their dealings with the PIAB, as a competent personal injury solicitor will be experienced with the application process and all of its various requirements. This will also ensure that your claim will progress smoothly and in an efficient manner.

At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we have been helping people for decades to navigate personal injury* claims. If you have had a cycling accident, and have been injured due to someone else’s wrongdoing, we can help you with the claims process. Contact us on 021-496 3400 or maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

**Please note that the PIAB may allow you to take your claim straight to the courts without an assessment ‘if your injury consists wholly or in part of psychological damage which would be difficult to assess by means of PIAB’s assessment procedures’. (Source)