If you (like me) have ever been unfortunate enough to suffer a serious injury following an accident, then I suspect pretty high-up your list of priorities was getting fit enough to get back on your bike.
In many ways this says a lot about the values cyclists hold dear. Compensation is a secondary issue compared to continuing our cycling way of life. This attitude represents a refreshing outlook on life and in my experience significantly aids recovery from injury, even serious injury.
The more determined you are to get better, the more engaged you will be with your rehabilitation including specialist sports physiotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, gym-work and a range of other, often ‘alternative’ remedial therapies. In my 25 years of professional experience dealing with serious cycle injuries, it is this positive attitude that counts and contributes to a favourable recovery.
It goes without saying that any law firm chosen to deal with a claim should initially prioritise rehabilitation above all else. Too many solicitors do not have the specialist contacts and resources required for these very ‘particular’ claims.
Efforts made in the early stages, in terms of rehabilitation, reap massive rewards later on. Whatever you do, seek advice from the appropriate medical practitioners. Naming no names, I was treated whilst in hospital by a very nice young NHS physiotherapist who was very caring and spent a lot of time with me. It later turned out (after speaking to some senior NHS and private sports physios when I was back home in Liverpool) that he was a cardio physio, not trained in orthopaedics, and much of his advice was inappropriate!
I’m not knocking the NHS who were amazing, but for specialist physio for the commonly occurring cycle injuries (such as my shoulder and clavicle fractures), I would recommend you use a private sports physio if you know one. Alternatively, ask your solicitor to put you in touch with one. If your solicitor does not know of one, then they are not specialists in cycle claims!
For many of us, priority number two is getting the bike fixed or replaced – no easy task for many of us riding expensive, custom-built bikes and not wanting to take the chance that the beautiful carbon fibre has been forever compromised!
The best advice is to have your own cycle insurance from a specialist provider (there are cycle insurance comparison sites on the web). If you are not insured and are making a claim on a driver’s insurance, ensure your solicitor has the expertise and back-up of Cytech-qualified engineers to do a damage report. This will mean the bike can be replaced or repaired through specialist contacts…we know hundreds of shops throughout the country that can provide this service.
If you are concerned about getting back on the bike again, face those demons head-on and remember that the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks. I have clients in their eighties who are testament to this! Be positive, focused and take good medical, legal and engineering advice. And, like me, those bad days will be behind you quicker than Cav’s last 50 metres on the final sprint!
Article originally published in Cycling Weekly (2015) by Mr Jan Canter, Cyclist/Solicitor/Partner, KLS Law Solicitors.
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