Bike riders know that it’s not always a collision that can cause you to come off your bike. But unfortunately, compensation law doesn’t always see it that way – as Bicycle Network’s partner law firm Maurice Blackburn outline below.
Back in 1998, Maurice Blackburn represented Pavel Kapitan, a bike rider who was injured when he came off his bike while avoiding a vehicle that had cut him off. The vehicle fled the scene and Pavel was the only witness.
Pavel made a claim for compensation through the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). The TAC argued that independent evidence was required to substantiate his claim. Maurice Blackburn lawyer Geraldine Collins successfully argued that independent evidence supporting the claim was not a requirement under the Transport Accident Act 1986, nor was it a requirement that the injury involved direct contact with a motor vehicle. As a result, Pavel was able to access valuable compensation for the injuries he sustained.
Fast forward to 2017 and another unfortunate and eerily similar accident took place for Rowan White. The movements of two motorists forced Rowan out of the bike lane and onto the adjacent tram tracks where his wheel was jammed and he fell, seriously injuring his ankle.
His claim for compensation was denied.
With the help of Maurice Blackburn (again, Geraldine Collins), Rowan successfully appealed the denial and was granted valuable compensation to cover the ongoing medical expenses associated with his injuries.
Rowan believes his claim was “a matter of justice” and considers it important to acknowledge that his injuries were the fault of other road users, even though he did not come into physical contact with a vehicle. This point resonates with many bike riders who have found themselves in a similar situation.
For the average rider, it is tough knowing under which circumstances compensation is likely to be granted or denied. But fortunately, having those questions answered can be as simple as making a phone call.
Geraldine explained “the facts surrounding the happening of the event are critical to establishing if the accident falls within the legal definition of a transport accident. If they do, the injured cyclist is entitled to receive the benefits provided under the Transport Accident Act, which include lifetime medical and like expenses, lost wages and lump sum compensation, up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
With many years of experience and litigation cases on behalf of bike riders, Geraldine was able to obtain a just result for Rowan and Pavel, despite the circumstances not being clear cut.
Maurice Blackburn is proud to have represented many bike riders through their partnership with Bicycle Network. If you have sustained an injury while cycling it is important to know where you stand. Maurice Blackburn offers a free first consultation for Bicycle Network members and offers assistance with making a claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.