Bicycle accident lawyer
Bicyclists shouldn’t have to worry about careless drivers hitting them, but hundreds of bikers are injured or killed every week due to driver recklessness and distraction.
If you or a loved one were hit while riding your bike, you may be eligible for compensation to pay for your medical bills, make up for lost income, and more. LawyerUp is a free directory build to help people injured connect with qualified attorneys in their area-even those injured in a bicycle accident.
How much does it cost to hire a bicycle accident lawyer?
As with many types of personal injury attorneys, bicycle accident attorneys often use a contingency fee model. This means unless your attorney wins your case do you owe anything.
Steps to take after being in a bicycle accident
The aftermath of a bicycle accident is overwhelming, but staying calm and taking the following steps is necessary in protecting your right to compensation.
1. Get to a safer location, but leave your bike
If you are able, get to the side of the road or sidewalk. Do not stay with your bike; after a crash, you are vulnerable to oncoming traffic and further injury. Leaving your bike in the exact spot it was hit can play a crucial role in determining who or what was to blame, so avoid moving the bike until after the police arrive.
2. Keep on your safety gear
Keep on your helmet and other safety gear until a medical professional says it’s okay to remove. You may suffer further injury from removing your safety gear too soon.
3. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance and the police
Under no circumstances should you let another driver convince you not to call the police. Crashes between a car and a bicycle must be investigated to ensure the safety of the road and of other bicyclists.
Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, you need to call for an ambulance. A bicycle accident can cause a temporary spike in “fight-or-flight” hormones like adrenaline, which can mask injuries and falsely lead you to believe you’re not hurt. When you call 911, the police will also arrive. The responding officer will create an accident report that can prove invaluable to your case.
4. Gather evidence at the scene
If you’re cleared by emergency personnel to stay at the scene for a few extra minutes, take the opportunity to gather photographic evidence and contact information of any witnesses.
Use your phone to take pictures of the scene, including damage to your bicycle and the vehicle(s) involved, any traffic or stop signs, and any visible signs of the collision such as skid marks or glass on the road.
5. Notify your insurance company
Bicyclists aren’t required to carry auto insurance, but your bike may be covered under your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance policy. If you have this type of policy, be sure to call your carrier as soon as possible. Remember, you’re not alone in this process – your bicycle accident lawyer can handle all communication with the insurance company.
6. Meet with a bicycle accident attorney
The only way to fight and win full compensation is by working with a skilled bike accident lawyer. Insurance companies make their living denying and devaluing people’s claims; when you work with an attorney, they’ll put an end to the insurance company’s tactics and will work toward securing full compensation on your behalf.
What kinds of compensation may I receive?
If you were hit on your bicycle by a car or other vehicle, your attorney is going to work toward securing monetary compensation on your behalf. In the personal injury world, this compensation is known as “damages,” of which there are two basic types: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are expenses directly related to the incident that comes with a bill, invoice, or receipt. They include things like:
- Ambulance rides
- Visits to the ER
- Doctor’s appointments
- Lost income from missing work
A skilled bicycle accident lawyer can also recover non-economic damages on your behalf. These damages are meant to compensate you for losses that are not as easily quantified and don’t necessarily come with a bill or receipt.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
There are a variety of laws related to bicycles and their riders. First, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. That means riders must obey all traffic laws, including street signage, yielding right of way, and more. However, bicyclists are forbidden to ride on highways and other high-speed roadways where only motor vehicles are expressly allowed. They are also not allowed to ride on sidewalks unless the rider is 12 years old or younger.
Motor vehicle drivers are required to yield to bicyclists on the road. In addition, they must leave at least three feet between themselves and the bicyclist if they wish to pass a bicycle heading in the same direction. Bicyclists must stay as far to the right as possible on the road unless they are turning left, avoiding a hazard, riding at the same speed as traffic, or unless the road is too narrow to share with a car.
When riding at night, bicyclists are required to have lights attached to their vehicles. Riders under 16 years old who are riding on public land are also required to wear a helmet.
Who’s liable for my injuries?
In order to recover compensation in a personal injury incident, your bicycle accident lawyer must prove that someone else was responsible, or liable, for the crash that caused your injuries.
Drivers of passenger vehicles are the most common liable party, but other potentially liable parties include:
- Another bicyclist
- A pedestrian
- The manufacturer or distributor of a defective bicycle or bicycle part
- A government agency responsible for maintaining roads, sidewalks, and bike lanes
A skilled bicycle accident attorney will uncover all liable parties in order to maximize your potential recovery.
How our bicycle accident lawyers prove negligence
Once we determine who is legally responsible (liable) for your injuries, we need to prove that their negligence was the direct cause of the incident.
This requires us to prove that the party:
- Had a duty of care toward you
- They breached this duty in some way
- That breach caused your injury
- You suffered real damages as a direct result
We’ll use evidence such as police reports, security footage, and your medical records to prove that the other party was responsible and therefore liable for paying your damages.
Common bicycle accident injuries
Bicycle accidents can happen for any number of reasons. A rider may lose their balance and fall, or they may be riding too fast and hit a hazard in the road. However, the most severe injuries most often happen after being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Most injuries happen in the upper and lower extremities, such as road rash, broken bones, and joint injuries.
However, in collisions with motor vehicles, injuries to the head, neck, and spine are common. These may result in permanent disfigurement, paralysis, and other lifelong complications. In the most severe cases, they may also result in death. Head injuries are particularly deadly, with bicycle accident-related fatalities occurring due to head injuries.
Helmets prevent, or at least lessen the effect of, most head injuries. However, just as important is wearing the helmet correctly. Other safety equipment, such as gloves, eye protection, padded shorts, and proper shoes can help lessen the effect of an accident. In addition, wearing reflective clothing can make riders more visible to motor vehicle drivers.
How a bicycle accident lawyer can help
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and, if so, who is to be held responsible for your injuries. They may also help you determine if you share too much of the burden of negligence to receive compensation.
Many states follow a comparative negligence statute. If you are found 50% or more at fault for your injuries, you cannot receive compensation. However, if you are found under 50% at fault for your injuries, your compensation will be lessened by the amount you are found at fault.
Negligence and injury laws can be quite complicated. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a bicycle accident lawyer if you’ve been injured. Take some time to search LawyerUp.co to learn more about bicycle accident lawyers in your city.
We help victims of bike accidents secure justice and compensation
As fun and efficient as bike riding is, accidents do happen. Riders may dart out into traffic. Drivers may not see bicyclists who are using the roadway legally. The manufacturer may not have constructed the bicycle properly. No matter the cause, if you are injured while riding your bike due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may have the legal right to compensation.
You also have the legal right to represent yourself in your lawsuit. This may seem like a good idea, since your case may seem pretty cut-and-dried. Unfortunately, even the most simple-seeming case can be complicated. Just filing paperwork incorrectly can lead to your case being dismissed.
That’s why it’s so important to speak with a qualified bicycle accident lawyer if you’ve been injured. An experienced attorney, like those listed on LawyerUp, can evaluate the details of your case and make sure the legal process goes as smoothly as possible.