Unfortunately, like most things, cycling comes with an element of risk, and whilst we all hope that we'll never be the involved in a collision, there is a chance that we may. It's important to be prepared should you ever be involved in an incident, so below you'll find some useful information should you ever need it.
Third party insurance
Third-party insurance offers protection if you are involved in a collision where you injure someone else and/or damage their property and they decide to make a claim against you.
Third-party insurance is mandatory for car drivers, but for cyclists this is left up to the individual.
It may not seem as if you and a bicycle could do much damage to another person’s vehicle or property, but you could find that a little dent on an expensive car could cost you dearly. Injury to another person can be even more expensive. The cover offered by most insurance companies will be at least one million pounds for damage or injury.
Some insurance companies offer third-party insurance as part of their theft insurance policy.
LCC members are automatically covered for third-party insurance.
For more information on our third party insurance click here, or if you need to make a claim please contact the office on 020 7234 9310.
Please note, your LCC membership must be current when the incident occurred for you to be covered.
Insurance for damage to your bike
After a collision, always inspect your bike carefully for damage, even if it appears to be fine. Some damage can only be seen on close inspection and structural damage could prove dangerous at a later date. If you are not sure what to look for, take your bike to a bike shop for a check. If there is damage and you decide to make a claim against the other party then you will need to get a quote from a bike shop.
If your bicycle is damaged and you have cycle insurance, you will need to contact your insurance company or broker. They may then decide to follow up the case on your behalf with the other party’s insurance company. The more information you can provide for the insurance company the easier your claim will be. They will want to know details of the collision, including contacts for the other party and a police report number, as well as the degree of damage to your bike.
Should you claim compensation...
You might decide you want to claim compensation following a collision. Most collisions cause relatively minor injuries and damage and so result in fairly modest claims or compensation. These can usually be settled without going to court. More complex or larger claims will require specialist legal knowledge.
If the other road user is prosecuted successfully for their actions, then this can be used in a civil court as evidence that they were at fault and such evidence is extremely difficult to rebut. However, if the police decide not to prosecute, or if someone is found not guilty, you may still have a case in a civil court as the rules of evidence in the criminal courts are much stricter. To succeed in bringing a claim for compensation against another road user, you will need to persuade either a court or insurance company that the driver was not taking reasonable care (in legal terms, ‘negligence’). If the collision was not down to negligence you will not be entitled to compensation.
The same principle applies to potholes: you have to show that the local authority did not take reasonable care maintaining the road. Factors include the importance of the road (a major road should be checked and repaired more frequently) and whether the defect was there long enough that they should have noticed it and repaired it.
Once you have established negligence, the level of compensation depends on evidence of the extent of your injuries and losses.
If you feel you need legal advice then we suggest you contact a solicitor. LCC members are entitled to a free initial interview of up to half an hour. Most will take on further work on a no-win, no-fee basis. However you should consider the implications and in particular, ask how much you will pay in legal fees if successful.
A solicitor will manage all the work necessary to bring a claim. If you choose not to initially use the services of a solicitor, you should complete the following steps:
• Write to witnesses asking for a statement of what they saw, including where they place responsibility for the collision. Ask the witness to sign the statement. Send them a stamped addressed envelope to encourage a reply.
• Write to the relevant police station requesting brief particulars of the incident, such as the driver’s details including their insurance company. Some police stations will advise on whether proceedings are pending against the driver.
• The second stage is to request a police report. They may charge for this (around £100). This may not be necessary if the other insurance company has accepted liability.
• Write to the driver, (or, in the case of potholes, the local authority) setting out the date, place and circumstances of the incident. State that you sustained injuries and losses and that you will seek compensation. Request that the letter is forwarded to their insurers without delay.
• Keep a record of your financial losses and receipts wherever possible. This can include:
-damaged clothing and accessories
-fares or alternative transport
-medical costs (even just aspirin tablets, plasters and dressings)
-loss of earnings
-any other losses or expenses as a result of the collision.
Don’t forget that insurance companies process thousands of claims every year and their paperwork and procedures can put you off and wear you down. A letter from a solicitor can work wonders when trying to negotiate an out of court settlement. They will also have a better idea what is a reasonable amount to claim for “pain and suffering”:
For something minor such as cuts and bruises you could still be entitled to receive over £100.
You should consider obtaining medical evidence to back up your claim. If you went to hospital, write to them asking for a medical report with all the relevant details, including whether there is a possibility of deterioration in future and whether your injuries might affect your employability. Such a report should describe your injuries, treatment and future prognosis. The hospital will charge between £75 and £150 for the report. If your injuries are more serious, a further medical report may be necessary later on, giving information as to how well you are recovering.