Case study: compensation for cyclist after accident without lights

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Our expert cycling accident solicitors advised a man who was involved in a road traffic accident with a car at a junction.

Mr W was cycling up a road on a hill on his bicycle as the Defendant driver was driving down the hill. The driver was turning right into a side road, and collided with our client who was cycling past the junction at the time. It was night time and it was dark, and Mr W admitted from the outset of the claim that he was cycling without using his lights.

Disputing contributory negligence

Our personal injury lawyers drafted a Claim Notification Form (CNF) and sent it to the Defendant’s insurers. After they conducted their investigations, primary liability was admitted for the accident but they reserved the right to raise issues of ‘contributory negligence’. This meant that, although they had admitted the driver was mainly responsible for the accident, it was alleged that our client contributed to the accident due to his lack of bike lights.

On receipt of the Police report, the Defendant’s insurers alleged that Mr W was 50% at fault for the accident due to not displaying lights on his bicycle. Our solicitors strongly disputed this as Mr W was cycling uphill slowly, the junction was (we argued) sufficiently lit by street lights and, accordingly, Mr W was there to be seen.

We alleged that the Defendant would still have seen our client in sufficient time to prevent the accident. Our team advised Mr W to return with a counter offer on the position and did not expect him to be any more than 25% at fault for the accident, meaning he would receive 75% of whatever his claim was worth.

Injuries to shoulder and collarbone

In the meantime, our personal injury team began to collate Mr W’s medical records and instructed a suitable expert to examine him, review the medical records and prepare a report on his injuries.

As a result of the accident, our client sustained an injury to his right shoulder (a grade two injury to the acromioclavicular joint) and his collarbone remained swollen for six months. He also sustained some general cuts and bruises which resolved within a few weeks. The Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon was of the opinion that the residual symptoms in his shoulder would be considered essentially permanent. Due to the accident, Mr W required one week off of work and was unable to drive for a few weeks, as well as having disturbed sleep.

Valuation of claim and offer

The Defendant’s insurers responded to advise that instead of finding Mr W 50% at fault, they made an offer that he was 30% responsible for the accident. We maintained that 25% was fair and reasonable, and therefore recommended to neither reject or accept the offer but instead focus on settling the claim in terms of money, allowing for the appropriate deduction in our offer.

Our personal injury solicitors were able to provide Mr W with a valuation of his claim and collated details of his financial losses, which was only the cost of repairing his bicycle. We negotiated a settlement and Mr W received £3,225 as compensation which included the 25% reduction.

Can I claim compensation if I was cycling without lights?

It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors, however, as with driving offences, whether you can claim compensation or not depends on context and whether the other party was negligent in their actions.

If you are successful with your claim, you are likely to have to accept a deduction in your damages to account for the absence of the correct lights (contributory negligence).

Blog | Can I claim for personal injury if I was cycling without lights?

Call our cycling accident solicitors today

If you have been injured in a bike accident that wasn’t your fault, or that you believe was as a result of negligence on another road user’s behalf, our personal injury solicitors in Bristol may be able to help.

Call our specialist cycling accident lawyers on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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