Certain cycling injuries are considered far more serious than others and the importance of choosing a highly experienced solicitor to manage your claim should never be under-estimated.
If you have suffered a serious injury while riding your bike, seeking expert knowledge, advice and care is not only important in regards to making a personal injury claim; it is also crucial to seek medical assistance immediately.
Early diagnosis is crucial for any serious injury, as is the right treatment.
When it comes to pursuing a legal claim for compensation, instructing the right expert on the case can be the difference between achieving a successful settlement and having it rejected.
A good example of all this can be seen in a condition called Cauda Equina syndrome.
This is a spinal condition where the bundle of nerves below the spinal cord are damaged which can result in irreversible damage to the victims bladder, bowel and sexual functioning.
Surgery such as laminectomy can be offered, but in some cases the condition can be permanent and for younger people in particular, this can have devastating consequences.
It is very important to diagnose the condition early to avoid the worst long term effects, however, we see many negligence cases where cauda equine conditions have been misdiagnosed.
Similarly, there are relatively few spinal surgeons in the United Kingdom who have the necessary skill and knowledge to report as an expert witness in court proceedings, offering credible reports on such cases.
Many will say they can, but not all do, and choosing someone with less experience can work directly against the claimant seeking personal injury compensation.
For example, insurers have been known to argue that the time between the cycling accident and the diagnosis casts sufficient doubt that the trauma and physical problem is related, arguing this connection cannot be proven.
The Claimant should thoroughly review their potential Solicitor’s experience and background, asking as many questions as possible.
For those pursuing a serious personal injury claim, significant importance should be placed on the legal expert’s rehabilitation experience.
Does your personal wellbeing appear to be important to them? Are they actively encouraging you to seek rehabilitation ASAP? Can they suggest an expert who is experienced providing medico-legal reporting?
For example, did you know that anyone in the UK has the right to choose to arrange to have treatment and pay for this on a private basis, even if NHS treatment is available?
This means that where you require treatment or care as a result of your injury, you can include these costs in your claim against the wrongdoer, despite these services being available free of change on the NHS.
This is a right entrenched in law with too many people not being aware of, with insurers allowing injured Claimants to think otherwise.
Sadly, there are still too many cyclists on the road who still fail to wear helmets, so head injuries remain one of the most common of all cycle accident injuries.
Neuro psychiatrists and neurologists chosen to advise on legal cases should be experienced in doing so, as well as being highly experienced dealing with brain injuries and the correct type of MRI imaging.
It is little known, but the routine CT head scan performed in A&E following head trauma is often not sufficient in picking up more subtle brain injury abnormalities, which can have serious long term consequences.
It is important your solicitors give serious consideration to which “expert” is selected for legal reporting on your case.
Most solicitors who do Personal Injury work will insist they know what they are doing when instructing medical experts, but often things go wrong at this stage of the claim process with insufficient detail and attention paid to the format of that instruction and the rehabilitation process.
If you have been involved in a cycling accident leaving you seriously injured, I urge you to speak to myself or a team member to discuss your options – we provide free initial 30 minute consultations where we can have all your key questions answered.
Author: Jan Canter, Solicitor, Cycle Accident Claims Management.