TGB's Tim White writes about compensation for cyclists injured on Western Australian roads.
TGB’s Tim White writes about compensation for cyclists injured on Western Australian roads.
Cycling is a passion for the thousands of Western Australians who ride to and from work, for fitness or socially with friends on weekends.
Without doubt, cycling is excellent for the body, mind and the environment.
However, cycling safety remains an ongoing concern. Sadly, six cyclists were killed in cycling accidents Western Australia in 2013, above the average of three per year for the last ten years. 131 cyclists were seriously injured in accidents in 2013, a 10 year high, and well above the average of 109. Read more from the Office for Road Safety.
Injuries from a cycling accident can take a significant toll on a person’s ability to live and work. However, it is some comfort to know that if the accident involved another vehicle, and the accident was mostly the fault of the other driver, the injured cyclist is likely to have entitlements to compensation.
Liability is determined by a percentage – for example, if the accident was completely the fault of the other driver, the cyclist can claim 100 percent of their entitlements. In some cases, the Insurance Commission will attempt to reduce a claim by suggesting that the cyclist was partly at fault for the accident, and as a result it commonly becomes an area of dispute in cycling claims.
What can be claimed?
A compensation claim will take into account pain and suffering, the wages that have been lost (from not being able to go to work), loss of future earning capacity (if the ability of the injured cyclist to work is reduced) as well as the medical expenses that you have incurred and might incur in the future, including rehabilitation costs. There may also be compensation for damage to your bike.
The amount of compensation varies, depending the individual circumstances of the injured cyclist. Factors include the level of fault of the other driver, the extent of the injuries and medical/rehabilitation care required (a permanent injury will require more compensation), and personal circumstances, such as earning capacity and job requirements. This is where it is extremely important to seek the advice of a lawyer experienced with cycling compensation claims, to ensure that the injured cyclist receives full entitlements and assist with any disputes.
Disputing a settlement offer
When a settlement is signed off by an injured cyclist, it is final. It is therefore crucial to be fully informed before making such a decision. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know what is a fair settlement offer, and can offer important advice as well as lead negotiations with the insurer.
Negotiations between the insurer and lawyers are common and usually resolve before having to go anywhere near a court room.
Seeking advice as early as possible assists with the speed of the claim and helps identify any potential road blocks or issues early on.
Bicycling Western Australia
BWA offers insurance cover to members, which is an excellent initiative. While this cover is very helpful in many ways, payment for wages and medical expenses is limited and does not offer the same level of coverage as the Insurance Commission.
Our team enjoys being a part of the cycling community. I recently enjoyed the opportunity to embark on a charity ride through Western Australia, supporting Police Legacy. We also support a number of cycling groups across South Australia.
Free initial interview
If you have been injured in cycling accident and made a claim, contact me for a free initial interview about your potential claim. Call our Perth office on (08) 9211 5800 or register online here.
If you have not made a claim, disregard this publication.