Cycling Accident Claims Guide.
If you’re a cyclist, 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.
Fortunately, in NSW there’s a safety net available to cyclists hit by cars in the form of weekly and lump sum payments to support you and help you recover from your cycling accident injuries.
In this claim guide we explain everything you need to know if you’re injured in a cycling accident, how to claim your full entitlements, and how to get free legal help with your claim.
Cyclists hit by cars – who can claim compensation?
As a cyclist hit by a car in NSW, it’s likely you can claim compensation under the CTP insurance scheme if you meet the following two conditions:
- There was a car, or another vehicle involved in your cycling accident
- You’ve had time off work to recover, been admitted to hospital, or incurred any medical or treatment expenses
You don’t need to be a resident of NSW to make a claim, and even if you were at fault or partially at fault, you may still be able to claim compensation.
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 particularly complicated, as there are many barriers to proving that a council was negligent and making a successful claim.
What to do after a cycling accident in NSW.
Here’s the process to follow if you’re injured in a cycling accident:
- Report the accident to the police. This is important, as you’ll need a police event number to claim your entitlements.
- You’ll need details of the vehicle involved to identify the CTP insurer.
- Keep records of any witnesses and photos of the accident scene. Helmet or bike camera footage can be especially helpful with cycling accident 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 cycling 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’.
- 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 you have more serious injuries, you might be entitled to lump sum payments in addition to weekly payments. So before you lodge any bike accident claim, it’s a good idea to get legal advice on what you’re entitled to claim, to make sure you don’t miss out on any entitlements. You can get free legal advice from a bicycle accident lawyer by calling Law Partners on 13 15 15.
How much bike accident compensation will I get?
According to SIRA (the State Insurance Regulatory Authority), in the 12 months to June 2023, there were 11,666 motor accident injury claims reported in NSW and $1.14 billion was paid out in benefits and lump sums. That’s $97,760 paid out for every new claim reported.*
For serious injuries, bike accident compensation payouts can run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The amount you can claim as a cyclist hit by a car is determined by:
- 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, July 2023.
Can I claim lump sum compensation as a cyclist hit by a car?
For cycling accident claims where your injuries have been assessed as above threshold and you weren’t at fault in the accident, you’re entitled to claim an additional lump sum on top of your weekly payments. A lump sum claim is the only way to get support beyond 24 months after your bike accident, and these lump sum payments can be substantial. For an estimate of your bike accident injury entitlements, you can use this compensation payout calculator.
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How can I make a bike accident claim for compensation?
You can make a claim under the NSW CTP scheme by completing an online application and submitting your supporting evidence via the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) online portal. This is an official website managed by the NSW government.
However, before you lodge your claim it’s a good idea to speak to a specialist bike accident claim lawyer to find out how to claim everything you’re entitled to. If you lodge your own application and make a mistake you could miss out on significant payments or lump sums.
You’ll need to submit your claim within 28 days of the accident to have your lost wages paid from the date of the accident, so it’s strongly recommended to submit your claim as quickly as possible.
What injuries can I claim bicycle accident compensation for?
You can claim bicycle 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 even if you don’t have any visible injuries, you may still be able to make a bike accident 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 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 bike accident compensation.
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 this website.
However, it’s important to understand that the biggest mistake people make in claiming compensation 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 underpaid. For more information, refer to our article on what you need to know about CTP claims.
To find out how much you can claim or to get free legal advice, speak to a cycling accident claims specialist at Law Partners today.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law, backed by over 10 years’ experience in assisting injured Australians receive everything they’re entitled to with their motor accident claim.
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Our senior lawyers will assess your case for free.