A considerable number of road accidents occur every year, both in cities and on interurban roads, causing injuries of varying severity to their victims. In these cases, clarifying who is solely liable is key to claiming compensation for pedestrian, cyclist or animal injury.
But many times, people who are victims of a collision believe that they are the ones to blame for, so they do not claim any compensation. Therefore, below we explain in which cases and how you can claim compensation if you are hit by a car.
What to do if you suffer an accident (run-over incident)?
In any traffic accident, the most vulnerable party is the one who is most exposed, such as pedestrians or cyclists. So if you have been hit by a car, it is essential that you act quickly in the aftermath. This is the most important thing to do:
- Whether you can move or not, call 112. It is important to be seen by a doctor within 72 hours of the accident. Even if you think you have no injuries, they may appear hours or days later.
- To avoid further collisions or other types of accidents, it is advisable to mark the area until the ambulance and the police or Guardia Civil arrive. Ask for help to do this if you need it.
- In the event that the person responsible for the accident does not want to sign the friendly report or has fled:
- Collect as many details of the vehicle and its driver as possible.
- Keep the details of witnesses so that you can locate them if necessary.
- Call the police or Guardia Civil to draw up a police report.
- Be sure to give your version of events in your statement to the police or Guardia Civil, either at that moment or as soon as you can.
- Try to take photographs of the material damage suffered.
- Follow all the treatments, check-ups and medical protocols prescribed to you, and keep all the documents and reports you are given.
- Do not let the legal deadlines for claiming your compensation pass.
When can compensation be claimed in the event of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle?
A person who has been hit by a car is always entitled to claim compensation in the following cases:
- If he or she was crossing correctly at a pedestrian crossing or when the traffic light was green for him or her.
- If the vehicle involved in the collision is a vehicle which has run away or does not have liability insurance. In these cases, the Insurance Compensation Consortium will pay compensation.
- Even if the pedestrian was not crossing in the right place, if the driver's conduct was not correct either.
In the latter case, there would be what is called "concurrence of fault", since both parties have contributed to the occurrence of the facts and, as a consequence, the injuries and damage caused. Therefore, the amount of compensation will depend on the degree of responsibility that the pedestrian has had in the accident.
On the other hand, a pedestrian is not entitled to claim compensation if he or she is solely responsible for the accident.
Calculation of damages for pedestrian collisions
Compensation for pedestrian collision is calculated in accordance with the provisions of Law 35/2015, of 22nd September, which sets out the system for the valuation of damages caused in traffic accidents.
In general, this type of compensation takes into account:
- The days of recovery and rehabilitation required after the accident. The traffic accident scale differentiates between four types of days depending on the seriousness of the damage caused in each one of them.
- The after-effects or permanent disability. Once the rehabilitation treatment has been completed and the victim has been discharged from hospital, a specialist doctor draws up a report in which he assesses the physical, psychological or aesthetic after-effects of the accident, as well as the surgical interventions required and the victim's personal circumstances before and after the accident, using a points system.
- Economic damage. This item compensates the material damages suffered in the accident, the income that has been lost during the healing period and the additional expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
Why do you need an accident lawyer to claim compensation for an accident?
The most common type of collision is one in which the sole responsibility for the accident is unclear. That is why it is essential to be well advised by a specialist road traffic accident lawyer if you want to obtain compensation.
When a collision occurs, it is the insurer of the vehicle involved in the accident who must pay compensation. Therefore, they will try to blame the accident on negligence on the part of the pedestrian. If you have a lawyer specialised in accidents, he or she will help you to prove that you are not at fault, to calculate the fairest compensation and to meet all the deadlines and legal requirements established by the Law so that you do not miss out on your compensation.
Collisions with cyclists
In recent years the use of bicycles has increased, both as a means of transport in the city and for sporting activities. As a consequence, there has also been an increase in the number of accidents involving cyclists, usually caused by carelessness or ignorance of the regulations on the part of both drivers and cyclists themselves.
In 2021, four out of every ten road deaths were pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists, according to the annual traffic balance of the Ministry of Interior and the National Department of Traffic (DGT). A total of 31 cyclists were killed last year, most of them on conventional roads where the speed of other vehicles is higher.
Lack of knowledge of regulations and accidents on cycle lanes
In general, there is a great lack of knowledge about the rules governing the coexistence of cyclists with pedestrians and other drivers, as well as the regulations governing the use of cycle lanes.
The regulation of cycling on cycle lanes is the responsibility of the local councils. However, in the event of any accident, the first thing to do is to refer to the provisions of the Traffic Regulations, then to the instructions of the DGT and, lastly, to the specific ordinance in force in each town council.
The existence of a cycle lane does not guarantee that accidents will not occur between bicycles and pedestrians, or between pedestrians and other vehicles. So in these cases, it is also very important to know the circumstances in which the accident occurred in order to determine who is responsible and whether the victim can claim compensation.
When can a cyclist claim compensation in the event of being hit by a car?
In cases where a cyclist is injured as a result of being hit by a car, he or she may claim compensation if:
- A motor vehicle is solely responsible for the accident, in which case the insurance company will be responsible for compensating the injured party.
- There is concurrence of fault, i.e. when the cyclist and the vehicle were both partly responsible for the accident. The cyclist can claim compensation in proportion to the percentage of fault.
- The accident has occurred where the cyclist has the right of way, such as a cycle lane.
If you are a cyclist, when are you at fault?
In the presence of cyclists, other drivers must drive more carefully, but cyclists, for their part, must respect the rules of the road. Therefore, a cyclist will be at fault for an accident, and therefore for the injuries and damage caused, in the following cases:
- If he/she does not respect traffic signs, traffic lights or pedestrian crossings.
- If there is no cycle lane and he rides on the carriageway, if he/she does not ride on the right or along the hard shoulder.
- When you do not clearly signal the direction of movement.
- If you do not use reflective elements or lights that make you visible, both day and night, to other drivers.
- When overtaking on the right.
- If you stand in the blind spots of the car and your driver cannot see you.
- When using a mobile phone or headphones with music while riding a bicycle.
- When you do not respect the maximum speed limit.
- If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Is it compulsory for a cyclist to have insurance?
It has often been said that the DGT intends to make it compulsory for cyclists to have insurance and a driving licence. However, although this may be logical, there is currently no regulation that obliges them to do so.
Nevertheless, if you are a cyclist, it is highly recommended that you have an insurance policy that covers, as a minimum, civil liability for third parties. So that in the event of an accident with a pedestrian, another cyclist or a motor vehicle, the insurance company will cover the physical and material damage caused, just as it does with other vehicles.
Calculation of compensation for bicycle accidents
As in any other accident, the calculation of compensation for a bicycle accident is based on the traffic accident scale, which establishes a system for assessing the damages suffered in an accident. This system includes the amounts to be paid in the event of compensation for temporary disability, death or permanent sequelae.
In each of these cases, different items are distinguished according to the type of damage or harm suffered:
- Period of temporary incapacity. During the days from the bicycle accident until the medical discharge, an amount is assigned according to the damage caused each of these days: very serious, serious, moderate or basic.
- After-effects or permanent disability. The amount will vary according to the points assigned to each of the sequelae, both functional and aesthetic, suffered by the cyclist after completion of the rehabilitation treatment and discharge.
- Economic loss. This is compensation for the material damage suffered, the extra costs incurred and the income foregone following the cycling accident.
However, in cycling accidents, as cyclists do not have insurance, in order to prove the material damage suffered in the accident, an expert appraisal of the damaged bicycle and equipment must be carried out.
In the event that the cyclist has suffered damage to his or her bicycle, equipment or personal belongings as a result of the accident, he or she may claim compensation from the insurer of the vehicle responsible for the repair or replacement of the same. In order to do this, an appraisal or expert's report must be carried out to serve as documentary proof of the economic value of the damage caused by the accident.
Having a report drawn up by a bicycle specialist will help the injured party to obtain fair compensation from the insurer and also in the event that a legal claim has to be filed.
Most frequent injuries
The most common injuries that a cyclist can suffer after a cycling accident and for which compensation can be claimed are as follows:
- Injuries to the neck area such as: herniated or fractured discs, tendon damage or pinched nerves.
- Fractures of the wrist, arm, leg, hip or collarbone, as well as dislocation of the jaw, fingers, shoulder, hip or knee.
- Contusions or bruises.
- Severe lacerations.
- Nerve injuries or paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries.