Can I Claim More For My Cycling Accident If The Driver Broke Lockdown Rules?9th Jun 2020
Cycling should be safer now the roads are less busy (even with the easing of lockdown). But tragically, cyclists are still being injured.
This should be one of the safest and happiest times of the year to cycle: lighter evenings, dry roads, fewer cars.
But cyclists are still falling victim to drivers’ mistakes.
And if anything, it’s getting worse: drivers are using the congestion-free roads as an excuse to put their foot down – with horrific consequences for the cyclists they hit.
I cycle to work every day. And I know what it’s like to be knocked off your bike by a car driver. Fortunately, I escaped with minor injuries – thanks to my cycling helmet.
But other cyclists are not so lucky. I see the injuries they suffer. Even so-called ‘minor injuries’ look far from minor.
Injured cyclists deserve compensation to help fund:
- medical treatment, care and rehabilitation
- lost earnings due to time off work
- damage to bikes, clothes and other possessions.
If you were the victim of a cycling accident, you deserve compensation too. Claim on a No Win No Fee basis so there is no risk to you. Find out more here.
How Much Compensation Could I Claim For My Cycling Injury?
Compensation payouts vary depending on the severity of the injuries. Damages for severe brain and spinal injuries can run into the millions. Mercifully, these cases are rare.
Most cyclists suffer broken legs (usually the side they are hit by the car) and smashed faces (when they go over the handlebars).
Injuries to complex and fragile parts of the body – such as ankles and knees – can be serious and have a lasting impact on the victim’s quality of life.
Compensation Victory 1: £105,000
A 48-year-old Dorset cyclist who needed surgery to his right knee plus a metal plate and four screws in his left leg agreed to £105,000 in compensation after Coles Miller took up his case.
He was initially offered £56,000 by the defendant’s insurer but we helped him to secure a higher compensation offer – even though the three-year time limit had passed.
That £105,000 higher offer included £48,000 in interim damages so the victim didn’t have to wait for the final settlement before getting paid.
Compensation Victory 2: £65,000
Coles Miller helped an injured Bournemouth cyclist to secure a £65,000 compensation settlement.
The victim was cycling to work when a car hit him on a roundabout. He suffered a series of injuries to his chest, neck and head.
He also sustained a shoulder injury, a fractured left wrist, psychological injury, cuts and bruises.
The driver’s insurers paid for private treatment, physio and surgery in addition to the compensation payment. Liability was admitted at an early stage.
Typical Compensation Payouts For Cycling Injury Claims
- Incomplete fracture of the leg (it never feels the same again) – £15,000 to £24,000
- Fractured femur (thighbone) – up to £12,000
- Fractured tibia or fibula (lower leg bones) – up to £10,000
- Broken ankle (needs plates, ongoing instability) – up to £23,000
- Broken ankle (full recovery) – up to £12,000
- Broken collarbone – £4,500 to £10,700 (depending on the severity)
- Severe facial scarring that leads to psychological injuries, reduced employability – up to £26,000
- Permanent facial scarring (that requires covering up/camouflaging) – up to £12,000
- Facial scarring that heals and goes away – up to £3,000.
It is important to note that women who suffer facial scarring tend to receive higher compensation payments than men with similar injuries.
What If The Driver Who Hit Me Broke Lockdown Rules?
You may be forgiven for thinking that a driver who broke lockdown rules is immediately at fault because they should not have been there. They should have obeyed the rules of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and stayed at home when required to do so.
It’s obvious, isn’t it? If they had kept to the lockdown rules, the accident would never have happened, right?
Sadly, the law doesn’t see it that way. You still have to prove that they were negligent…even if they should never have been there in the first place.
Let me give you a real-life example: if you cycle into a car parked on a double yellow line, you’re the one to blame in the eyes of the law. Even though the driver should not have parked there.
So you still need to have all your wits about you if you’ve been hit by a driver in breach of lockdown:
- Shoot a video or take photos with your mobile phone.
- Note down all the details of the accident as soon as possible, while they are fresh in your memory.
- Was the driver using a mobile phone? Had they been distracted at a critical moment? Was their judgment impaired by alcohol or drugs? Were they at fault for any other reason?
- Get the details of as many witnesses at the scene as you can – you will probably never get another chance to see them!
- Talk to other motorists who stopped to help you – do they have any dashcam video footage?
- Save, back up and log any helmet camera video footage you may have.
Will My Compensation Payout Be Higher If the Driver Broke Lockdown Rules?
Again, you might expect that your damages would be higher if the defendant had been in breach of the coronavirus regulations. After all, it seems like an aggravating factor, doesn’t it?
But sadly once again, that’s not how the law works in this country.
You’re probably used to seeing all those big Hollywood movies – often based on John Grisham blockbuster novels – in which the jury in a mass tort case gets to decide the amount of damages to be paid to the victim.
But in an English court your civil case (and any damages) would almost certainly be decided by a judge. Under the County Courts Act 1984, juries are used in the civil courts only in a limited number of cases (usually involving libel, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, fraud).
And when the judge awards damages, he or she will do so on a restitutionary basis: the compensation is intended to return your life to the way it was before the accident (as if it had never happened).
The damages are not punitive. They are not intended to punish the defendant (regardless of how much they may deserve it).
How To Improve Your Chances Of Claiming
Read these blog posts to find out more about claiming compensation for a cycling accident:
- How to maximise your chances of success in a cycle accident claim.
- How were you riding at the time of the accident?
- Don’t undermine your claim by breaking these cycling rules.