Cycling in Ireland has become very popular recently, but with the increase in vehicular traffic so have accidents.
IIf you have been injured in a cycling accident this guide below outlines some of the issues, although it is important that you also seek proper legal advice.
Typical Cycling Accident Type Examples
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable as a road user and in common with motorcyclists, they do not have the protection of other road users such as motor car drivers.
Consequently, if they are involved in an accident on the roads, the injuries tend to be quite serious in nature and typically involve head and brain injuries and broken bones are a regular feature in accidents involving motor cars and cyclists.
In addition, abrasion/burn type injuries are also common injuries when the cyclist comes in contact with the road surface.
Collision with other road users such as a motor vehicle
Where the accident occurred because of the fault of a motorcar or other road user, a cyclist is entitled to claim compensation for his injuries from the Insurance Company for the driver of the offending vehicle.
Trucks & other large vehicle blindspots
A high percentage of bicycle accidents are caused by articulated lorries and indeed rigid body lorries turning left, this happens because the truck drivers ability to see a cyclist in rere view mirrors is severely compromised when turning left as, when a “blind spot” occurs in his ability to see to his left. As is often tragically the case a cyclist is cycling on the near side of the truck and the truck turns left and collides with the cyclist that unfortunately, the truck driver cannot see due to the “blind spot” when making a left hand turn.
Injury due to spillage on the road surface
Where a spillage (e.g. from an oil spill) has occurred on the road surface and a cyclist incurs an injury as a result of this spillage, it may be possible to claim compensation in circumstances where it is possible to identify the person who created the spillage hazard in the first instance.
This can occur in farm-related incidents where oil or sewage is spilt on the road by a farmer or an employee of a farmer and in such circumstances it may be possible to seek compensation from the creator of the spillage hazard to seek compensation where an injury occurs.
An injury due to a defective road surface
Where an accident occurs due to a defective road surface such as a faulty repair to a road or where road works are in the process of being carried out to a road and the surface is left in a poor condition, it may be possible to seek compensation from the company that is carrying out the works (e.g. the ESB or the Local County Council etc).
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Will wearing of a cycle helmet (or otherwise) affect my claim?
It is not mandatory for cyclists to wear a helmet when cycling notwithstanding the Road Safety Authority recommendation to so do a number of years ago. However, there was conflicting evidence in support of such a measure and the government did not make wearing safety helmets compulsory however, it is advisable to wear a safety helmet and indeed other protective clothing when using a bicycle in a public place.
In addition, it is important to remember to always have front and rere lighting on a bicycle and in addition bright reflective safety clothing should also be worn.
What to do if your are involved in a cycling accident
It may sound obvious but check to see if you are injured if you are involved in a collision with a motorist on the road it would be somewhat unusual if you did not sustain some form of injury owing to your vulnerability as a road user.
Seek medical attention
Seek medical attention as soon as is practicable after the accident. Obviously if you are significantly injured it is important that an ambulance be called and ensure that you are taken to an Accident & Emergency Department of the nearest hospital. If you are lucky enough to be able to remove yourself from the scene of the accident be sure to have your injuries checked over by your GP as soon as possible after the accident in the event that your injuries are not significant enough to warrant going to the A & E Department.
(Even if you feel that you are not seriously injured, it is important to ensure that there are no latent or hidden injuries such as hairline fracture etc which may not show up for some time and accordingly it is important to be checked over by your GP).
Get the details of the driver involved
Get the details of the driver involved to include registration number, name of the driver, insurance particulars. If there is no significant injury the gardai may not call to the scene of the accident, but it is important for you to remember that it is in your interest to report the incident to the local garda station in the area of where the accident occurred as soon as practicable after the accident.
Collect evidence as to how the accident happened if possible. In these days most people have smart phones which are capable of taking photographs of the location of your bicycle and the motor car that was involved in the accident. In addition if there is are any witnesses to the accident it is important to acquire their names and telephone numbers and/addresses if possible as they may be necessary in assisting you in winning your case at a later stage in proceedings.
Contact an expert
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Compensation for Bicycle Injuries
Just as we have indicated above cyclists are a very vulnerable group of road users and as a consequence the percentage of cyclists that incur serious significant injury as a result of a collision on the road is much higher than other road user groups.
If you have been injured in a cycle accident and the accident was not your fault (or entirely your fault) then you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries sustained in that accident. In some cases, it may be possible to bring an action for negligence against the local authority arising out of the state of the roads in the event that the road surface caused your accident which resulted in an injury.
Quinn Solicitors is an established firm of Solicitors based in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10. A large proportion of our work is personal injuries litigation. The firm was established in 1998.
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