Bike riding has become an increasingly popular means of transport both for work and leisure, offering a combination of regular physical activity with clean, green pedal power.
On busy city roads without dedicated bike paths, however, bike riding can also be highly dangerous. Around 40 cyclists die on Australian roads every year, while more than 1,000 are injured. And because of their relative lack of protection, cyclists can experience quite serious injuries when involved in an accident with a car.
Like drivers, passengers in cars or other road users, cyclists are entitled to make a compensation claim under Queensland’s compulsory third party (CTP) scheme.
This claim can cover medical expenses and loss of earnings as a result of the accident.
This post looks at what a cyclist should do in pursuing a claim.
What should a cyclist do after an accident?
Whether you’re a driver, a pedestrian or a cyclist, the advice in the immediate period after an accident is similar.
For a cyclist, the first priority is to ensure you can make your way to a safe space if you’ve been knocked off your bike. A cyclist is at real risk of being hit by other cars once they come off their bike on a roadway.
Calling 000, police or other emergency services – or asking someone to do so on your behalf – is also crucial if it’s clear you need immediate medical attention.
Depending on the seriousness of the injury, it’s advisable to try and collect information at the scene of the accident. Weather, road and traffic conditions, the time of day or night, pictures of the scene, and the contact details of any witnesses to the incident can all provide essential information to support a subsequent compensation claim. Obtaining the registration plate number and other details of the driver involved in the accident is also important.
How does the compensation process work?
As mentioned, because of their vulnerability, cyclists can suffer serious fractures, head and brain injuries, open wounds, neck and spinal injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder even from glancing contact with a motor vehicle.
Most of these injuries will likely result in a substantial medical bill and lost wages during recuperation and recovery.
A Notice of Accident Claim Form must be lodged with the CTP insurer within nine months of the date of the accident. If one is lodged outside of this timeframe, it must be accompanied by a reasonable excuse for delay. In Queensland, a statutory time limit of 3 years exists for personal injury claims. This means that proceedings must be commenced against the at-fault driver’s CTP insurer within 3 years of the date of the accident or a person risks being statute barred from ever bringing a claim. Given the strict timeframes that apply, it is better to act sooner rather than later when it comes to making a claim.
Many cyclists, however, are the victim of hit-and-run accidents, with motorists panicking after coming in contact with such relatively unprotected road users.
In these cases, an injured cyclist can make a claim against the state’s Nominal Defendant, which handles compensation claims when the at-fault party cannot be identified. The time limits associated with these types of claims are far more strict. In these cases, a statutory time limit of nine months exists in which to bring a claim.
Discuss your case with experts
In any personal injury claim, the advice of legal professionals with the everyday experience of a wide variety of compensation claims is crucial.
Our Gold Coast Personal Injury Lawyers can help you with understanding your rights in terms of making a claim, collecting evidence and witness statements, organising medical assessments and ensuring your claim is filed within the relevant deadlines.
At Lifestyle Injury Lawyers we regularly represent cyclists injured on the state’s busy roads. Contact us compensation lawyers Gold Coast today for an initial consultation if you’ve unfortunately joined their ranks.