Cycling Accident Claims Guide.
For many people cycling is simply a form of occasional exercise or fun; for others, it may be their main form of transport, or even a lifetime passion. But whatever your relationship with cycling, you’re part of a growing community that enjoys the enormous health benefits that cycling offers. However, the cycling community faces challenges in driver attitudes and the availability of safe cycleways, and unfortunately, cycling accidents are all too common. In this article we explain what to do if you’re injured in a cycling accident in NSW and how injured cyclists can claim bicycle injury compensation.
Can I claim compensation if I have a bicycle accident?
There are two ways you can claim compensation for a cycling accident:
1. If you’ve been in an accident with a car or any other vehicle then you may be able to make a cycling accident claim through the NSW CTP scheme, which may provide personal injury benefits and lump sums to injured cyclists under the at-fault driver’s CTP insurance policy.
2. If you’ve been injured from hitting a road hazard like a pothole, then you may be able to make a public liability claim against the council responsible for maintaining the road.
What do I do if I’m injured in a cycling accident in NSW?
Here’s the process to follow if you’re injured in a cycling accident with a car:
- Report the accident to the police.
- Keep records of any witnesses and photos of the accident scene. Helmet camera footage can be especially helpful with bike injury compensation claims.
- See your GP and get a full medical assessment. Even if you don’t need to go to hospital, it’s important to get a medical assessment as some injuries can worsen over time, and if your injuries do worsen you might need time off work or further treatment.
- Make sure your medical assessment covers all your injuries – including any bruising, pain or inflammation that might seem minor at the time. It’s important to have a record of all your injuries for your bike accident claim – this will determine the amount of compensation you receive.
- If you need any time off work or treatment, submit an ‘application for personal injury benefits’.
- You’ll need details of the vehicle involved to identify the CTP insurer, and a police event number. For detailed information on submitting your claim, refer to this step by step guide to submitting your claim.
- It’s important to submit your claim within 28 days of the accident to be eligible for your lost wages to be backdated to the date of the accident. The final date for lodgement is three months from the date of the accident.
If your bike accident didn’t involve another vehicle but was caused by a road hazard like a pothole, then you may be able to make a public liability claim against the council responsible for the road. However, these claims can be a particularly complicated, as there are many barriers to proving that a council was negligent and making a successful claim.
How much cycle accident compensation will I get?
The amount of bike accident compensation you receive depends on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries. But as a general indication, looking at all motor accident injury claims made through the CTP scheme in NSW in the 12 months to November 2020, the average payout per claim submitted was over $35,000*.
Some claims can go as high as six or even seven figures for serious injuries, but your compensation will depend on factors like:
- Your age
- Whether you’re responsible (fully or partly) for the accident
- The severity of your injuries
- Any financial losses (medical bills, wages, etc.)
- Any care or help you have needed at home
*Based on SIRA Open Data, November 2020. There were 10,345 claims submitted over the previous 12 months, and the total paid out for that period was $370M.
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How can I make a bike accident claim for compensation?
You can make a claim under the CTP scheme by filling out the required paperwork and submitting your supporting evidence via the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) online portal. This is an official website managed by the NSW government.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you could be eligible for bike accident compensation for:
- Lost income through time off work
- Treatment expenses
- Care expenses
- Lump sum for future lost wages
- Lump sum for pain and suffering
What injuries can I claim bicycle accident compensation for?
You can claim bike accident compensation for any injury that results in lost wages through time off work, or any treatment or care expenses. Injuries that qualify for a bicycle injury claim include:
- Soft tissue damage, cuts, and bruises
- Minor fractures and dislocations
- Serious head trauma
- Serious fractures and broken bones that require long-term treatment
- Falls that lead to paralysis or permanent/long-term limited mobility
- Permanent scarring to the skin
- Serious psychological trauma
The takeaway here is that you don’t need grave injuries to make a claim. Even if you don’t have any visible injuries, you may still be able to make a bike accident compensation claim.
Who will pay my bike accident compensation?
In NSW, it’s a legal requirement for all registered vehicles to have third party (CTP) insurance. If you’re injured in an accident with a vehicle, it’s the CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle that will be liable for paying your bicycle accident compensation.
If you’ve been injured from hitting a pothole, and you can successfully prove that the council responsible was negligent, then it would be the council’s public liability insurer that pays your cycle accident compensation. However, these claims can be particularly complicated, and there are many barriers to proving negligence.
Who’s at fault if a car hits a bicycle?
Accident statistics show that most bike accidents with cars are the fault of the driver of the car. However, assessing who’s at fault and how much their actions contributed to the accident (known as ‘contributory negligence’) is something that’s assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Some common examples of cycling accidents where the driver is typically at fault include:
- Drivers failing to give way
- Cyclists being hit from behind
- Having a car door opened onto you as you ride by (“dooring”)
- A car speeding past you or passing too close, causing you to crash
If your accident sounds similar to any of these, you may have a strong claim.
Do I need a lawyer?
No, you can make a bike injury claim yourself. There’s no need to involve a lawyer if you don’t want to and you can find plenty of helpful information on the CTP Claim Advice website.
However, it’s important to understand that the biggest mistake people make in claiming benefits is missing details that seem small, and assuming they’ll automatically receive everything they’re entitled to. If you don’t understand your entitlements and you simply accept the insurer’s decision, you risk being under-paid. For more information, refer to our short article on how to make sure you don’t miss out on entitlements.