What happens if you suffer a fright while riding your bike in a public place, whether on a road or path, and fall off your bike causing injury or property damage? Can you claim compensation for your injuries or damage to your bike?
Here’s an example:
You are riding along past houses and a dog hidden behind a fence suddenly and unexpectedly barks, startling you so you lose control of your bike and fall. If this happens to you then you may be entitled to claim against the owner of the dog for the losses.
Under the Dog and Cat Management Act, a person can claim for losses sustained where the loss was caused by a dog or cat. This is even in cases where the loss does not arise from the animal attacking you or a collision occurring between the animal and you or your bike.
As with any claim against an individual, careful assessment needs to be given as to whether they have the means to pay any compensation. It is little known that within the public liability cover included in many home and contents insurance policies there is cover for personal injury and damage caused by family pets such as dogs. This could make the decision to commence an action for compensation a little easier.
Showing the losses sustained or that they were caused by the incident is usually not the issue in these types of claims. It is being able to prove the animal caused you to suffer a fright; sometimes called an "embarrassment" especially when there are no witnesses, which is often the case. It will then be a matter for a court to determine liability (fault) for the incident.
If you are a Bike SA member, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, loss of income and or damage to your bike under the insurances available as part of your membership.
If you experience a situation where you suffer “an embarrassment” caused by an animal, fall from your bike and sustain injury or property damage you should seek legal advice as to whether you may be entitled to claim compensation for those losses.