Melbourne Bicycle Accident Lawyers
As the bike revolution continues to gather momentum, we are seeing more and more riders on the roads. And while this is great for the health of our country, the downside is we are seeing many more accidents, especially involving collisions with cars.
At Henry Carus + Associates we will be guided by TAC regulation whenever an accident involves a motor vehicle, and use our expertise to guide an injured cyclist in getting appropriate benefits and common law compensation. In recent years, there has been increasing evidence to suggest that there is a greater likelihood of a cyclist being injured due to the poor condition of the roadway – which usually means the relevant road authority or its contractors will be liable. This takes the cyclist into the world of public liability where the experience of Henry Carus + Associates excels.
If the incident involves another bicyclist, then we will investigate the liability of the other cyclist involved, and ascertain if appropriate insurance is available to assist our client.
Why Choose Henry Carus + Associates for Your Bicycle Accident Claim?
Our compensation results speak for themselves with 98% of our clients winning their cases. In some instances we have been able to get them five times more than their original offer.
We’re not like the larger corporate law firms who have separate departments which tend to focus on one area of compensation law. At Henry Carus + Associates, our nimble team has experience in pursuing a huge range of claims relating to bicycle accidents, and can turn to relevant laws to assist – whether it be TAC or public liability. We add one more essential element to this team, a total understanding of what it means to be bike rider. Our Henry Carus is a keen cyclist, having ridden his bike on the road for work, travel, sport and in support of bicycling organizations such as the Amy Gillett Foundation. That in depth knowledge is there to assist each of our clients injured in a bicycling accident.
Which means exactly what is says. Unless your claim is a success, you won’t be charged a cent. And that includes no upfront costs, or ongoing bills to pay.
Cycling Accidents Becoming More Common
Bicycles have flourished on Australian and Victorian roads in recent years. For example, the number of commutes made by bicycle in the Greater Melbourne area more than doubled during the two decades prior to 2011, according to a report from Monash University.
In 2008, a study by Melbourne City Council found that cyclists made up 9% of commuters in the city, according to The Age . That figure jumped to 15% in 2014, and cyclists reportedly take an even bigger share on some routes, such as Royal Parade and St Kilda Road.
Cycling’s surge in popularity has plenty of positive effects, such as environmental benefits from reduced petrol consumption and less pollution, health benefits for riders, and less motor vehicle traffic clogging Victorian roads. But there is also a dark side. More bicycles on the road mean more cyclists suffer serious injuries in accidents.
Statistics gathered by The Age highlight the injury risks that cyclists face on the road in Victoria. For example, 1,471 cyclists were seriously injured in accidents between July 2012 and July 2013. Of those accidents, 88% involved a collision with a motor vehicle, while 18 percent involved a collision with a pedestrian. The TAC received 387 claims for hospitalised bicycle accident victims in 2013 alone.
Urban bicycle accidents are said to most frequently involve turns at intersections – often when a driver turns into the path of a cyclist – while rural crashes often involve a motor vehicle striking a cyclist from behind. A study from Adelaide University found that motorists are at fault in 80% of collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles.
How Our Lawyers Help With Cycling Accident Claims
When a car, truck, or other motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the cyclist frequently suffers serious injuries. Many injured cyclists face a long period of recovery and may be unable to work for an extended period. Some victims of bicycle accidents suffer permanent impairments that prevent them from returning to the life they enjoyed before the tragic incident.
Henry Carus + Associates
At Henry Carus + Associates, our lawyers call on our experience and familiarity with the legal system to recover the full benefits an injured cyclist deserves from all available sources. We understand the legislation that is designed to provide compensation for injured cyclists. We also understand that the system is difficult to navigate without detailed legal knowledge.
That’s where our lawyers can help. We have a success rate that exceeds 98% when it comes to helping injured people in Victoria recover the benefits they need after an accident. Some of our clients recover up to five times more than the initial offer with the help of Henry Carus + Associates.
What You Should Know About Cycling Claims
Cyclists who are hurt in collisions with motor vehicles in Victoria are entitled to benefits from the TAC, regardless of who was at fault.
No fault benefits may include:
- Reasonable medical expenses to treat injuries suffered in the accident
- Reasonable rehabilitation costs related to the injuries from the accident
- Lost earnings caused by the inability to work while recovering from your injuries
- In-home assistance made necessary by your injuries
No fault benefits may also include payment of a lump sum if your bicycle accident injuries resulted in permanent impairment.
If the accident was due at least partly to someone else’s fault, and your injuries meet the legal definition of “serious,” you may be entitled to bring a common law claim for additional lump-sum benefits. These may include:
Replacement of lost or reduced earnings, both past and future
Compensation for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident
Common law claims often provide an accident victim with quite a bit more money than what is available in a no fault claim. The total sum may be affected by factors such as your income, your age and the severity of your injuries.
A public liability claim may be another option for recovering compensation after a bicycle accident in Victoria. For example, if a road defect or substandard highway maintenance played a role in the crash, the road authority and its contractors could be held liable in a public liability claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Melbourne Bicycle Accident Claims
Not every bike accident will leave you injured, and that is very fortunate! However, there are those sad accidents that you just know will lead to a serious injury.
Your first priority is to seek treatment for your injuries. This may involve dialling 000 and waiting for help to arrive or going to the doctor or emergency room on your own.
If you decide to wait for an ambulance, it is important to stay still and wait for the paramedics to assess your injuries. You may need to be taken to hospital straightaway if it is determined that you are seriously injured.
However, if you are not that seriously injured and you believe someone else, a vehicle or the road itself is responsible for your accident, there are steps you can take to show who is responsible, including:
- Take photos of the scene on your mobile.
(The photographs will be date/time recorded so you can easily say when the accident occurred. If you do not take photos, it is important to record elsewhere the date and approximate time of your accident.)
- If it involves a motor vehicle, get the details of the driver of that motor vehicle; the simplest way is to take a photo of the driver licence and of the licence plate.
- It is also helpful to get the driver’s details of his/her property damage insurer, as that insurer will cover the damage to your bicycle.
- If the accident is serious, the police are likely to attend also; it is good to give them your account of the accident.
- Finally, get the names of witnesses and their contact details as soon as you can and before they disperse.
After completing these steps, it is still important to seek medical care after a bicycle accident. This is true even if you feel alright, as the symptoms of serious injuries can sneak up on you and cause major problems.
Perhaps the most important step of all after any bicycle accident is to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you get started on your TAC bicycle accident claim and fight to maximise your benefits and other compensation.
Bicycle accidents can lead to a wide variety of different injuries. Cyclists have limited body protection in the event of a motor vehicle accident or an accident caused by a dangerous road condition, so it is highly likely that victims will require prompt medical attention.
Potential injuries in a bicycle accident include:
- Head injuries and brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Injuries to the back and spinal cord
- Bone fractures, with breaks in the fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and clavicle (collarbone) especially prevalent
- Soft tissue and orthopaedic injuries (i.e., damage to muscles, tendons, joints, etc.)
- Abrasions (i.e., scrapes and road rash)
- Scarring arising from fractures or from abrasions with the road surface (i.e., scrapes and road rash)
- Bruises and haematomas
In Victoria, all cyclists are required to wear a helmet. Wearing padded gear and/or heavy clothing can further reduce the risk of a serious head injury.
Unfortunately, bicyclists are outmatched in any encounter with a motor vehicle. Even a helmet and full safety gear might not be enough to protect you from serious harm. Statistics from the TAC show that 423 cyclists suffered injuries requiring hospitalisation and 14 cyclists were killed in VIC road accidents in 2020 (the most recent year of complete data).
Bicyclists are entitled to TAC benefits for the injuries they sustain in transport accidents. If you were seriously injured in an accident occurring through the fault of the driver, you may be entitled to recovery of additional common law personal injury damages.
Other vehicles represent the biggest danger for cyclists by far in and around Melbourne. Errors on the part of motorists account for the majority of bicycle accidents, with common issues in these crashes including:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Distracted driving
- Not leaving enough room between the vehicle and the bike
- Errors when overtaking bicyclists
- Failure to check mirrors and blind spots when making a turn or changing lanes
- Aggressive driving behaviours
- Drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs
Vehicles do not have to be in motion to put bicyclists at risk. Drivers opening their car doors into the path of cyclists are a major cause of bicycle accidents in the CBD and other areas of Melbourne. These accidents occur even where there are clearly defined bike lanes. ‘Near misses’ can also lead to accidents, with cyclists being forced to overcorrect when drivers get too close.
Of course, not all bicycle accidents are caused by human error. Dangerous roads are a significant problem in and around Melbourne as well as rural and urban areas of VIC. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable to hazards such as potholes, debris in the roadway, uneven grading and more.
In addition, accidents leading to severe injuries can even arise due to encounters with animals (such as a dog coming out into the path of a cyclist).
Read More: What Are the Biggest Dangers for Bicyclists?
There are multiple scenarios where you can make a claim if you are knocked off your bike. Most bicycle accident claims fall under the purview of the TAC, including transport accidents where:
- A motor vehicle or a train or tram collides with a bicycle
- A bicycle collides with a stationary vehicle
- A cyclist is injured by the opening of a door of a motor vehicle
- A cyclist suffers injury due to the opening or closing of the doors of a bus, train or tram
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in the course of your employment, you may be able to lodge a WorkCover claim. When filling out the Worker’s Injury Claim Form, you will need to specify what work-related tasks you were engaged in at the time of the accident.
Finally, you may be able to make a common law claim for bicycle accidents not involving a motor vehicle or relating to your work. If you get knocked off your bike due to a dangerous condition on a property owned or occupied by someone else, for instance, this would likely be controlled by the law of public liability.
For most cyclists, the time limit for making a bicycle accident claim can be found in S. 68 of the Transport Accident Act 1986. People who are injured in bicycle accidents, as well as dependants and surviving partners of those killed in motor vehicle accidents while cycling, have just 1 year to lodge a claim with the TAC.
Exceptions may apply if there are reasonable grounds for a delay in making a TAC claim (e.g., the transport accident injury did not manifest until a later date), in which case the claim can be lodged up to 3 years after the accident. Similarly, minor children who are hurt or lose a parent in a bicycle accident have until they turn 21 or a period of 3 years elapses after the accident – whichever is later – to make a claim.
Other time limits apply if your matter is covered by WorkCover or common law. Contact a Melbourne bicycle accident claim lawyer today to preserve your legal rights and explore your options for pursuing compensation.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
At Henry Carus + Associates, we believe You Deserve More. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, our lawyers will pursue all of the compensation you are entitled to, including TAC no-fault benefits and common law damages for serious personal injury.
Henry Carus + Associates offer a unique Medical + Like Services Support Service. If you are a client of the TAC and you are having trouble getting your benefits paid, our lawyers will work to resolve the dispute at absolutely no cost to you (we seek payment solely through the TAC).
Please call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our bicycle accident lawyers handle claims in Melbourne and throughout VIC.