Personal injury /Cycling Accident
A true account of cycling serious injury, shared with fellow cyclists, outlining how cycle insurance and the right legal advice and representation matter when a serious cycling accident happens.
As many of you will know, I am a keen road cyclist. Yes I will admit to being part of that MAMIL club (middle aged man in Lycra). Consequently I mix with cyclists a lot and when I am not injured (will come to that later) usually do about 6 to 7 sportives a year. For the sake of maintaining a happy marriage I haven't yet joined a cycle club, but it is on the agenda, definitely in the next couple of years, by which time my kids will all be well into teenage years and will probably have no more desire to spend any more time with me ever again, especially if I am wearing Lycra.
The point I am getting to is that I think I know cyclists pretty well.
In my work, most of my time too is taken up assisting badly injured cyclists who have had no fault accidents, recovering back for them what is due. For over 20 years I have specialised as a solicitor assisting such clients. Inevitably over such time you pick up special knowledge (which your training as a lawyer doesn't provide) in understanding the anatomy of particular types of typical cycle injury, whether the classic cycle clavicle fracture, displaced or un-displayed vertebrae fractures, and the different degrees of soft tissue injuries (in many cases more painful and longer lasting than clean break fractures) and yes, despite what the Government and Mr Grayling will tell you, there is such a thing as whiplash actually, and it can ruin people's lives. (I just recently settled a severe whiplash claim for a very genuine client who recovered a 6 figure sum).
But, here's the thing, knowing cyclists as I think I do (and being one of them myself), I think when it comes to pushing hard for what is rightfully theirs after suffering serious injury in an accident, they can be, well, a little laid back.
Now don't get me wrong, I think 'laid back' is good and generally makes for a good "work/life" balance. It means that we appreciate far more the things that really matter in life, like completing a 100 mile sportive including 12 mountains in under 4 hours. No, seriously, you know what I mean, basically cyclists tend to be less materialistic as a group, some (though by no means all) are quite anti cars, and a good example of this is the typical comment early on in the claim from my cycle clients when asked what they really want… "Just to get back on my bike!”
Ok, I understand all that. Believe me I do, having just only 4 months ago broken 23 bones coming off my road bike on an organised sportive in Stoke. Ironically (for me being a claimant cycle lawyer) it was no one’s fault so I will recover nothing! I aim to be riding again in the next couple of weeks by the way.
BUT... sometimes my seriously injured cycle clients are a little guilty of selling themselves short. Basically, most of us are quite fit by virtue of our love (and in some cases obsession) and a 'bad' injury to a typical cyclist in their own mind is not the same often as a 'bad' injury to anyone else. To many cyclists it seems to me that their legs almost need to be hanging or their back in pieces before that definition applies!
My definition of 'serious injury' is something that is yes painful, but more importantly, likely to have permanent long term consequences, albeit in some cases quite minor long term consequences. For example, if that soft tissue injury will impair cycling performance even moderately for life isn't it worth evidencing properly? If it will affect how you are able to interact with your family, possibly long term, or if it is something that will influence, or possibly affect, your performance at work longer term, isn't it worth bothering with? Maybe there will be a future risk of arthritis developing in later life? Remember once a claim is settled that is it, it can't be resurrected in the future if some deterioration occurs.
It is also critical, for this reason especially, to go and see the best orthopaedic and other surgeons, surgeons who are particularly experienced in typical cycle injuries, as only they will understand the mechanics of the injury, and how it will impact cyclists. The consultants should have considerable experience in dealing with cyclists, almost understanding their mentality in the same way a good cycle lawyer needs to.
Again, treatment in the early stages can usually make all the difference, whether physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractor, acupuncture (increasingly now more mainstream) or surgical intervention. To rely on the NHS is not wise as delays in the early stages can have serious impediment to recovery. Often in my experience, cyclists being the nice laid back group they are, don't like to cause a fuss and so don't insist on this!
The rehabilitation, medical evidence and treatment package all go hand to hand in many ways and whilst, in many ways, are more important than the final compensation, cannot be divorced from it either. In that context too, with expensive road bikes especially, having specialist cycle insurance is a must and in my view no serious cyclist should be without it. After all, getting back on the road IS what it's about, no good being recovered if you can't afford to have the bike repaired and ride again!
This is where a specialist cyclist lawyer who will fight hard for a fellow cyclist, understands their mentality, and understands how important all of this is, can make all the difference so that the right specialist consultants are instructed, best private treatment and rehabilitation sourced, and yes, the right monetary compensation package is awarded at the end of the day. Money IS important too and no stone should be left unturned in achieving all of this.
Mr J M Canter
To talk to a serious injury lawyer for advice about a serious injury claim or personal injury claim call KLS Law solicitors in Warrington, their expert legal teams would be happy to provide the help and advice you need.